Monday, December 29, 2014

Basso focused on being Contador's super domestique in Giro-Tour double

By: Daniel Benson
Italian puts off talk of retirement as he joins Tinkoff-Saxo

Ivan Basso has put aside any talk of retirement and told Cyclingnews that he can be Alberto Contador’s super domestique in the Spaniard’s quest to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double.

Basso, 37, moved to Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo squad at the end of the season and has enjoyed two training camps with the team in recent months. After seven years within the Cannondale-Liquigas set up, the move also sees him return to Bjarne Riis, for whom he rode for between 2004 and 2006.

“There was no real talk of retirement because I had another few possibilities and I wasn’t ready to really stop,” Basso tells Cyclingnews.

“I let my heart lead me and it has led me here. I have been friends with Oleg [Tinkov] and he wanted me in his team with Bjarne for a long time. I had a couple more options at WorldTour, working for other leaders like Alberto, but I wanted to come here.”

A two-year deal was signed and ratified after the transfer window opened in August and Basso has tried to put behind him what has been a difficult period in his career in terms of results. The 2010 Giro d’Italia winner struggled for form and fitness, slumping to 15th in this year’s edition of the race. And after a poor 2013, in which he failed to finish a Grand Tour, it looked as though the Italian might call time on his career.

“This year I tried my best, I had the best preparation but something went wrong. This year wasn’t to my standard but it’s not just about age, it’s not just about the results, it’s also about what you feel inside. If inside you feel like you can’t support the pressure on you and you’re not in the same place as you were in the past, then you have to change your goal.”

“I don’t have to change too much though. For me, it’s been physiological and you find yourself in that situation slowly over time,” he says, referring to his age and drop in performance.

With Contador gunning for the Giro and Tour double, Basso has taken the role of elder statesman on the team and along with Michael Rogers will form the core of Spaniard’s support. It’s a new role for the veteran Italian but one he believes that he can perform.

“But I don’t have to change my mentality too much. If I want to help Alberto I need to be in the front of the races when there are not many people there. That’s not changed and to help him I need to be a super, super domestique on the race and off the race but I need to be super team leader for all the young riders as well. That’s important, to make sure they do want Tinkov wants because he wants us to be the best team in the world. To be the best in the world you need to be the best with all the small details.

“If you’re strong and you’re in the front of course you still have some good situations but that’s almost secondary because I’m here for another focus and that’s to help the team win.”

Basso was a rival when Contador attempted the Giro and Tour double in 2011. The Italian skipped the Giro and rode the Tour that year, finishing in eighth with Contador in fifth. Basso believes that Contador is the one rider who can attempt the two races back-to-back but admitted that it would be harder if his main rivals attempted just the Tour.

“As a spectator, my opinion is that if all the top GC decide to ride the Giro and the Tour and they all target the win then Alberto is the favourite for both races. If Alberto rides the first and the second and someone only rides the Tour, then that’s more difficult, but that’s just my opinion. I’ve never really rode close to Alberto. Sometimes in France and then now in training camps. He’s a Hors Categorie champion, he does his job and he takes care of all the small details as if he was a neo-pro and that’s the biggest difference. If you’re a big talent and you do everything right then it all makes a big difference.”

Article Source: Cycling News 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Vincenzo Nibali Voted Best Rider in Cyclingnews Reader Poll 2014

Cyclingnews is the world's leading cycling website, bringing you the most up-to-date news, race results and live race coverage. You'll also find the latest tech reviews, exclusive interviews, a lively forum and a whole lot more.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

USA Pro Challenge Stage 6 Returns to Loveland and Fort Collins in 2015

Host cities decided by event's fans

Organizers of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge announced on Monday that the event’s fans have voted for stage 6 to start in Loveland and finish in Fort Collins on August 22. Thousands of fans submitted their opinions and provided more than 20 start and finish city options but nearly half the responses encouraged a return to Northern Colorado.

“Loveland and Fort Collins have been such great host cities in the past and we’re looking forward to visiting them again,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “Last year, we gave fans the chance to weigh in on the final stage of the race and we got a huge response with people voicing their support for the two different options. This year, the fans once again showed their passion for the sport through an overwhelming number of responses regarding where Stage 6 should take place.”

The USA Pro Challenge will host seven stages that take place from August 17 to 23. Organizers announced the host cities for six of the stages at the beginning of December but allowed fans to provide suggestions on the host cities for stage 6 through Facebook and the race website.

Loveland and Fort Collins have been used as the start and finish cities for stage 6 during the 2013 edition of the race, which included a climb up Devil's Gulch and through Estes Park. The organization said, however, that the route through Larimer County will be new and unique in 2015.
Specific stage details will be announced in the spring.
2015 USA Pro Challenge stages

Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 17 – Steamboat Springs Circuit Race
Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin
Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 19 – Copper Mountain Resort to Aspen
Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 20 – Aspen to Breckenridge
Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 21 – Breckenridge Individual Time Trial
Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 22 – Loveland to Fort Collins
Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 – Golden to Denver

Article Source: Cycling News 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Alberto Contador Voted Best Male Rider in Cyclingnews Reader Poll 2014

Cyclingnews is the world's leading cycling website, bringing you the most up-to-date news, race results and live race coverage. You'll also find the latest tech reviews, exclusive interviews, a lively forum and a whole lot more.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Garmin-Sharp Cervélo R5 Voted Best Team Bike in Cyclingnews Reader Poll

Cyclingnews is the world's leading cycling website, bringing you the most up-to-date news, race results and live race coverage. You'll also find the latest tech reviews, exclusive interviews, a lively forum and a whole lot more.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

North Americans React to Luca Benedetti's Lifetime Ban

By: Pat Malach

Teammate suspected Italian before positive test in June

When news broke this fall that Amore & Vita-Selle SMP rider Luca Benedetti had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, some of his competitors were surprised, but at least one teammate had harbored suspicions about Benedetti since the Italian's first week on the team.

The UCI recently issued a lifetime ban to Benedetti, who tested positive for a form of EPO called Darbepoetin on June 6 at this year's Grand Prix Saguenay in Canada. He was provisionally suspended in September and then banned for life last week.

The doping sanction is the second for Benedetti, who was suspended in 2010 for his part in the Padua investigation during the GiroBio. At that time, Benedetti's entire Lucchini-Unidelta team was removed from the race after Italy’s Anti-Narcotics Group found contraband medical products in the manager's home and in the team's training base. Benedetti's suspension was later reduced to one year.

The 26-year-old Italian returned to racing with the Bottoli amateur team in 2013, taking 11 wins that year, according to Amore & Vita 2014 director Phil Cortes. Benedetti, who was riding his first season at the Continental level this year, waited to move Amore & Vita until after his wife gave birth to a baby girl in March. He had only been racing with the team a few days before the positive test at Saguenay.

"It's unfortunate that some young riders are still following in the unethical footsteps of the former generation," Cortes told Cyclingnews. "He was only with the team for six days before testing positive. He debuted with the team at Philly."

Benedetti's time with Amore & Vita started out well. He was fourth at the Philly Cycling Classic on June 1 and won the mountains classification at Saguenay the next week. Benedetti sprinted to the stage 1 win at the Tour de Beauce the following week ahead of Optum Pro Cycling's Eric Young.

Michael Woods, a Canadian who rode with Amore & Vita at the start of this season before signing with 5-hour Energy after the Tour de Beauce, was runner-up to Benedetti in the KOM competition at Saguenay. Woods, who will ride for Optum next year, wrote on his personal blog that he had suspected Benedetti of doping since an Amore & Vita teammate told him the Italian had asked the other rider to purchase banned insulin for him.

“...[I]n the arbitration of my mind, my verdict towards Luca’s credibility as a rider had long passed. When Luca asked one of my teammates back in June if he could buy him insulin at Walmart – Luca was in no way being pursued by Novo Nordisk [an all Type 1 Diabetic Cycling Team] – a banned substance for non-diabetics by WADA, I was pretty confident that he was not playing by the rules,” Woods wrote.

“I left Amore & Vita, in part, because of riders like Benedetti,” Woods continued. “I am trying to move up in this sport. I am trying to do it clean, and to be linked with suspect characters is something I have no interest in doing. This sport has a terrible history when it comes to doping [so do all other pro sports], however, this positive test, in my mind, is a mark that this sport is turning the page. It is getting harder for the cheaters to cheat.”

Young, a two-time US criterium champion, told Cyclingnews this week that he was surprised but not shocked that Benedetti tested positive, and he's glad the Italian rider received a lifetime ban.

"It's not the biggest loss of my career or anything," Young said of the sprint he lost to Benedetti at Beauce. "So that's not too big a deal. I had a pretty successful year, so that's all good. But I do think it's a shame that somebody at the Continental level, where we're not even racing the best people in the world or racing for that much money, it's a shame that somebody like that feels the need to artificially enhance his cycling. It seems stupid to me. I guess it pisses me off a little bit, but whatever. That's his decision."

Woods wrote on his blog that Benedetti's decision to dope did rob the riders he beat of a chance to bask in the glory of the win, spend time on the podium or get increased coverage in cycling media. It may have even cost riders jobs on other teams. Despite the lifetime ban, those things can never be replaced.

Young took little stock in the notion that he might have another win added to his 2014 palmares.

"If only that really counted," he said. "It doesn't seem like in cycling that that really matters. There should be a better way of handing those things down."

Article Source: Cycling News 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Jamis Hudson (2015)

Jamis Hudson

We Make Riding Easy

Video Produced by Jamis Bicycles

Music by Gio Galanti "Together Forever"

Starring: Rick & Susan Stockton, John & Linda Ewig, Ben & Lily Seeger

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Velo Wrench Bike Shop Would Like To Wish You and Your Family a Very Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Retro Tech: 1972 Colnago Super Pantografata

By: James Huang
 Colnago produced the Super Pantagrafata in very limited numbers - and imported far fewer than that into the United States

This article first appeared on BikeRadar

There was a time when riders drilled holes and milled channels in components as a means of making them lighter. Eventually, these modifications also became a means of artistic expression, and few bikes exemplified this practice better than the 1972 Colnago Super Pantografata.

The Super Pantografata was Colnago's flagship road racing bike at the time. It was based on a standard Columbus steel tubed Super frameset but dressed up with a radically 'pantographed' version of Campagnolo's Nuovo Record group. This wasn't some sort of special edition that Campagnolo provided, however, but something Colnago went out and did on its own.

"There was no collaboration with Campagnolo about the decoration," Ernesto Colnago told BikeRadar through company representative Alessandro Turci. "At that time, Campagnolo did not agree to that job. They were manufactured by hand by an Italian craftsman close to Colnago. [It was] a masterpiece."

Campagnolo may not have given Colnago its blessing but the outcome was stunning. Lightening holes were drilled in the brake levers, for example, but their placement was carefully chosen so they actually added to the Nuovo Record group's already gorgeous aesthetic. Likewise, the slots milled into the chainrings reduce their weight but also turn them into rotating pieces of artwork, rather than just a consumable drivetrain item.

Shallow slots were also milled into the upper portion of the seatpost, but simple holes or slots simply would not do for the shift levers. The interiors were removed entirely, leaving just a minimal – but beautiful – outline in its place.

Even more impressive are the various Colnago logos and diamond patterns carved into several of the components. Still-visible milling marks clearly indicate that they were created by human hands, not a machine connected to a computer. Most of the modifications were embellished with various colours of paint.

The Super Pantografata wasn't just a standard Super dressed up with special parts, either. Unique identifying features on the frame include chromed lugs with holes drilled in the fork crown, while the included Silca Impero frame pumps were finished to match – complete with a properly placed Colnago logo that lines up perfectly with the one on the seat tube.

Ernesto Colnago says that he doesn't remember how much the Super Pantografata cost back then, but he did confirm that it was the top-end model for the time.

"It's very difficult to know that," he said from Colnago's headquarters in Cambiago, Italy. "Too much time [has passed] to remember. [It was] a high price bike for the early 70s – like a C60 today."

What we do know, though, is that the bike is still stunning to behold more than 40 years later. Modern bikes may offer better performance than this aging steed but few will be cherished like this one in another four decades.

Special thanks to the folks at The Pro's Closet, who will soon open up a museum of noteworthy vintage bikes at their headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.

Article Source: Cycling News

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Froome to race Stan Siejka Classic

Tasmanian criterium secures appearance of 2013 Tour de France champion

The 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome and teammate Richie Porte will both race the Stan Siejka Classic in Launceston, Tasmania, over the weekend of December 6-7. A women's race will also be held with Orica-AIS and Wiggle-Honda both confirmed for the event.

The Stan Siejka Classic is the centrepiece in Tasmania's Christmas criterium racing series that take place in December.

"We are excited and honoured to not only have Richie support and race at his home event again, but to have a Grand Tour winner in Chris Froome race is a massive coup. The presence of both Porte and Froome will no doubt put Tasmania on the map worldwide," said race director Nigel Baker of the Team Sky duo.

Froome and Porte will race the Kermese at Symmons Plains on Saturday and the Stan Seijka Classic on Sunday evening which takes place in the Launceston CBD.

The Stan Seijka Classic will be contested by 100 cyclists with Pro-Continenal team Drapac and Australian National Road Series teams Avanti and Budget Forklifts confirmed for the race which is expected to be watched by a 20,000 strong crowd.

Australian criterium champion Sarah Roy and her Roxsolt team will also be in attendance at the women's race as will Tasmanian trio, junior world time trial champion Macey Stewert, points race world champion Amy Cure (Lotto-Belisol ladies) and Georgia Baker.

"All going to plan, this year's event will also be televised live around Australia & possibly into many European countries with the TV rights to be finalised over the coming days," said Baker.
Last year's elite men's race was won by Orica-GreenEdge's Caleb Ewan while Lauren Kitchen was victorious in the women's race for Wiggle-Honda.

Article Source: Cycling News 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2015 Giro d'Italia Promo Video

Race organisers of the Giro d'Italia create an exciting video to promote the 2015 race

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Phinney Continues Lengthy Recovery from Broken Leg

By: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

American hopeful for Tour de France in 2015

Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) is continuing his recovery from a broken leg sustained during a crash in the road race at the USA Cycling Professional National Championships in May in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While he's well on his way to recovery, Phinney has many more months ahead of him and he does not yet know when he will resume racing.

"I had the accident and they told me it would be a six- to nine-month process, with six months being the most optimal progress," said Phinney. "I think they kind of said that to make me feel better about it, but it's more of a nine- to 12-month thing. I did a lot of damage to myself."

Noting that some days are better for him than others, he said that he is able to ride pain-free sometimes. His best days on the bike come after he's done other kinds of rehab.

"Every time I do yoga or strengthening in the morning, I feel better on a bike," he said. "It's a slow process. When I'm at home, I just ride easy so that it doesn't hurt, and I get better."

The serious injury has given the 24-year-old a new perspective.

"Fifty years ago, I would have been the guy dragging my leg everywhere for the rest of my life," he said. "Thanks to modern medicine, I can ride my bike now. I just have to keep calm and not get carried away and respect the process. I don't want to come back too early and make things worse. I think I'll deal with a fair amount of pain and discomfort when I'm old and retire, but these things happen."

The young American said the injury has helped him learn a lot about himself. "There is a silver lining to everything. I had to face a lot of things about myself that I never had to face before in my life," he said. "That brought out a lot of demons and brought out a fair amount of depression at times, which is totally normal."

The injury has gave him an appreciation for what he can do and for the freedom that riding a bike can provide.

"It also gave me a glimpse of what life would be like without a bike. That's something that a lot of people think about but struggle to embrace when it comes time to hang the bike up. It's hard when you're a kid and you barely go to high school and then you don't go to college and you just race your bike and live the dream."

"You just train and race and do not have many other responsibilities - you just take care of yourself. When you remove that aspect, you realize there are other things in life and other things you have a passion for. That was important for me to find out this year."

While he was completely off the bike, Phinney had plenty of time to soul search. "I did a lot of different things. I'm pretty happy and grateful for the time I've had to be able to experience that. You don't want to wish something like this on anyone, but if you can come back and be healthy and get back to the level you were at before, the benefits outweigh sticking to the same mentality you had before."

"I've had my fair share of small injuries here and there, but you take everything for granted so much. Once you have a big injury, it's hard to get out of the rut of thinking about things too much and almost causing yourself pain by doing so."

"There is a lot of mental energy that goes into having an injury. I was thinking the other day that the amount of time that I spend every day just thinking about my leg and how it feels - maybe it feels good, maybe it feels bad - that doesn't stop the whole day. When you're sick and have a little cold, that's all you think about - it's like that and then you get healthy and forget you were even thinking about that."

Phinney is hoping to resume racing in the spring. Though he had originally thought that he could come back to racing this fall to do the Tour of Britain and the Worlds, the process is turning out to take longer.

"They say the five to seven or eight-month period is the hardest because you get mobility back and some strength back, but you still have to work hard to even yourself out and you still have chill out."

"You have to realize it will take a while. It's impressive how much strength and muscle mass you can lose in a leg just having it stagnant for six weeks, then how long it takes to get that muscle mass and strength back. I'm going to start training again when I feel like my legs are close to equal and my left leg is close to 90%. That will take a lot of time in the gym. That will take a lot of riding with my mind turned on to focus on using that leg as much as my right leg."

In the meantime, Phinney may get some more hardware taken out of his leg. He's already had one screw removed - it had been holding his dislocated fibula to his tibia.

"There are a few more screws that keep the rod in my tibia in place. The bone has to finish filling in, and then I'll get those screws out. I'll keep the rod in my tibia for the rest of my life. The trauma to get that out would be too big."

When asked about his goals for next season, Phinney pointed to the Tour de France. "I was supposed to go this year for the first time, but didn't because of the crash. There is a prologue this coming year which is really exciting for me. Then it's Worlds and beyond that, the Olympics. If I had to have something happen, this year was not a bad time to have it happen."

He's also mulling over a shot at the new hour record, but at the same time, he thinks that there is nothing worse than that kind of effort.

"Yeah, I'm thinking about it, but I can talk about it and say I'm thinking about it and people love to make it a headline. There's a lot of people thinking about it. The bar was set, but it wasn't set that high."

"I equate it to talking about running for president in the United States," he joked. "There are a lot of people who want to and in the media, people always ask and everyone always says 'I don't know maybe' and there is a lot of speculation about it."

"I would never want to run for president."

Article Source: Cycling News 

Monday, October 27, 2014

2015 Tour de France Route Unveiled

By: Stephen Farrand
Short time trials make it a Tour for the climbers

The 2015 Tour de France will include just 42km of time trials but seven mountain stages and five mountain finishes, making it a race for the climbers and giving French riders Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet and Jean-Christophe Peraud a chance of winning the legendary yellow jersey.

The 2015 Tour de France starts in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on Saturday July 4, with a 14km time trial stage. There is no final time trial before the finish in Paris on Sunday July 26. Instead the last battle for the yellow jersey will be on the 21 hairpins of L'Alpe d'Huez in the Alps on Saturday July 25, before the riders fly to Paris. The total race distance is 3344km divided into 21 stages.

The team time trial returns to the Tour in 2015 on stage nine with a 28km contre-la-montre between Vannes and Plumelec near the Brittany coast, but the rest of the route tips in favour of the climbers, with mountain stages to La Pierre Saint Martin, Cauterets Vallé de Saint Savin and Plateau de Beille in the Pyrenees, then Pra Loup, Saint Jean de Maurienne, La Toussuiere Les Sibelles and L’Alpe d’Huez in the Alps. The final two Alpine stages are only 138km and 110km long, with race organisers hoping the racing is more intense and exciting. To try and shake up the overall classification in the first part of the race, time bonuses of 10-6-4 seconds will be awarded to the top three riders at the finish but only on stages 2-8.

The details of the full route of the 102nd edition of the Tour de France were unveiled by race director Christian Prudhomme in a packed Palais des Congress in the centre of Paris, close to the Arc du Triomphe and the Champs Elysees where riders complete the three-week Grand Tour every July.

2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali, Pinot, Peraud, plus Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), Cadel Evans (BMC) and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) all attended the presentation, along with UCI President Brian Cookson. Alberto Contador was absent after undergoing minor surgery on the leg he injured in this year's Tour de France, while Chris Froome was in Britain for a Team Sky get together.

Stage details

A highlights video recalled the drama of the 2014 Tour de France before the 2015 route was revealed. Then Prudhomme confirmed details of the Grand Depart in Utrecht and revealed the details of each stage.

The opening 14km time trial will twist around the streets of Utrecht and will immediately create small time gaps and so award the first yellow jersey of 2015. The sprinters will have a chance of taking yellow on stage two to Neeltje Jans on the exposed western coast of the Netherlands. However the cross winds could spark echelons and make for a dramatic stage and see someone lose any chance of overall success.

The overall contenders will also be on edge on stage three to the top of the Mur de Huy. The double-digit final gradient will be a fight for every second and will come after a long fight for position on the roads of the Belgian Ardennes. The 2015 Tour also includes another taste of the cobbles of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix on stage four to Cambrai. This year Vincenzo Nibali set up his overall victory with an impressive ride on the pave and in 2015 there will seven sectors of pave for a total of 13.3km  of racing on the bone-jarring cobbles.

During the first week, the 2015 route cuts across northern France via Amiens, Le Havre and Fougeres, offering British fans a chance to hop across the channel to see the race and give the sprinters more several chances of success. Race organiser ASO has officially classified nine stages as flat, with extra points awarded on these days for the green jersey competition. The overall contenders will have to stay vigilant along the coast and especially on stage eight on the uphill finish on the Mur de Bretagne. Cadel Evans won here in 2011 and the short climb could spark time gaps.

The first part and the Northern section of the 2015 Tour ends with the 28km team time trial between Vannes and Plumelec. The stage is on long straight roads but ends with the 1.7km Cote de Cadoudal climb. The stage pays homage to local hero Bernard Hinault.

The mountains

The mountains of the 2015 Tour de France begin after the first rest day in Pau, with stage ten on July 14, Bastille Day, from Tarbes to La Pierre Saint Martin. The stage covers flat roads to the foot of the 15.3Km climb. The gradient then kicks in hard however, rising at over 8% until the 10km point. It could catch out someone after ten days of pushing big gears on the flat roads of the north.

The triplette of mountain stages in the Pyrenees includes a stage to Cauterets Vallé de Saint Savin, which includes the Tourmalet, and before it the Col d'Aspin, to remember the late Fabio Casartelli, who tragically died during the 1995 Tour de France. Stage 12 is along hard 195km in the Pyrenees with three nasty climbs before the finish at Plateau de Beille. It is the sixth time Plateau de Beille hosts a finish, with the 16km, 8% climb expected to cause significant time gaps.

The Tour transfers across the south of France via Rodez, Mende and Valence, with the sprinters getting a chance of success after suffering in the Pyrenees and the overall contenders again facing a nervous moment on the short but steep Cote de la Croix Neuve up to the small airstrip. It will see another fight for a few seconds.

The Alps hosts the final mountain stages of the 2015 Tour de France after the second rest ay in Gap, with a series of four decreasing in distance stages, the like of which have rarely been seen together in one edition of the Tour.

Stage 17 to Pra Loup includes the rarely used Col d'Allos followed by a difficult descent -- which brought a smile to Nibali's face during the presentation but which will scare many of his rivals. The climb to the finish at Pra Loup recalls the historic stage from the 1975 Tour, when Bernard Thevenet ended Eddy Merckx's reign and stopped him winning a sixth Tour.

The Tour de France shows a flash of innovation on stage 18 by including the Lacets de Montvernier climb. It has 18 hairpins cut into the side of the mountain that twist and turn on themselves. It is only 3.8km long but will be a spectacular moment and comes close to the finish in Saint Jean de Maurienne after the peloton has already climbed the Col du Glandon. Stage 19 is short at only 138km but includes the early Col de Chaussy, the Col de Croix de Fer and the Col de Mollard before the finish at La Toussuiere Les Sibelles.

The Alps and L'Alpe d'Huez host the final Alpine stage and the final mountain of the 2015 Tour de France. The 110km stage starts with the Col de Telegraphe and the Col du Galibier double whammy before the long descent to the foot of L'Alpe d'Huez. The crowds will no doubt be huge on the 21 bends with the Dutch corner packed as ever. The riders could be fight for overall victory and places on the podium all the way to the finish.

The riders fly to Paris before the final 107km parade stage from Sevres Grand Paris Seine Ouest to the Champs Elysees. Christian Prudhomme promised a new entry point to the centre of Paris would visit the Eiffel Tower and the Left Bank before starting the finishing circuits on the Champs Elysees. It will be the 40th time the Tour de France ends on the Champs Elysees, with the winner crowned on the podium with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Twenty-Four National Titles Up for Grabs at Beech Mountain this Weekend

Beech Mountain, N.C. (October 22, 2014) -- The final national titles of 2014 are set to be awarded this weekend as the 2014 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships get underway at North Carolina's Beech Mountain.

In addition to the cross-country, short track, downhill, and dual slalom contests, the event will also feature the return of the co-ed team relay which was a rider and fan favorite in its debut last year.


By the end of the weekend, 24 national titles will be awarded including the coveted team omniums in Divisions I and II.  Fort Lewis College will look to defend its Division I team omnium from 2013 which it won ahead of powerhouse Marian University. In Division II, Brevard College will ride in defense of its omnium which it took ahead of Western State Colorado University last year.


The trails on Beech Mountain certainly won't be lacking any talent this weekend. Kate Courtney (Stanford University) will be one to watch in the Division I women's races. She won both the cross-country and short track cross-country events last year, but she'll have to face threats from riders like Linnea Dixson (University of Wyoming), Emily Shields (Lees-McRae College), and Coryn Rivera (Marian University). In the gravity events, watch out for Rebecca Gardner (Fort Lewis College) (DH) and Shayona Glynn (Marian University). In Division II, spectators can expect plenty of heated action from riders like Sarah Hill (Brevard College) and Kaysee Armstrong (King University).

Many of the key players from last year's Men's Division I competitions have moved out of the collegiate ranks, but there will be strong riders like Sepp Kuss (University of Colorado – Boulder) and John Swanguen (Lindsey Wilson College) who will be sure to keep things interesting. In Division II, Zachary Valdez (Brevard College) will return to Beech Mountain to ride in defense of the cross-country and short track titles that he took home a year ago, but he'll have to fight off attacks from riders like Wesley Lamberson (Union College – KY) and Dylan Johnson (Brevard College).


Racing kicks off on Friday with the short track contests, as well as downhill seeding. Cross-country and downhill finals will take center stage on Saturday before the event concludes on Sunday with the team relay and dual slalom races. For a complete schedule, click here.

Article Source: USA Cycling 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2015 Tour of California Host Cities Announced

AEG adds women’s three-day stage race

AEG, organizers of the Tour of California, have announced the host cities of the 2015 edition which will kick off in Sacramento on May 10 and end in Pasadena on May 17, running north to south. They also announced a women’s three-day stage race set to start in South Lake Tahoe on May 8 and conclude in Sacramento on May 10, followed by an individual time trial in Big Bear Lake on May 15.

"Since we launched the Amgen Tour of California nine years ago, we have strived to host the world's top cyclists in a race that will not only challenge them as professionals, but will also provide a stunning backdrop," said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports.

"As we look ahead to our 10th edition of the race, we're certain the worldwide audience will be on the edge of their seats watching as the sport's best men and women cyclists compete against each other in what is likely to be our most challenging and picturesque course ever."

After its depart from state’s capital, the professional men’s race will travel to Nevada City, Lodi for the first time, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) before finishing at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The women's race will expand from a one-day circuit race that was held in Sacramento and an individual time trial that was held in Folsom to a three-day stage race from May 8-10 followed by the annual time trial, for a total of four days of racing.

"AEG has always been proud to support women's cycling and is pleased to once again expand its women's competition to four days," said Bachochin. "Hosting four days of women's cycling, fans will have the opportunity to watch the immense talents and achievements of the best women cyclists from around the world."

2015 Amgen Tour of California host cities:

Women’s race:

Stage 1: Friday, May 8 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 2: Saturday, May 9 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 3: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Invitational Time Trial: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake

Men’s race:

Stage 1: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Stage 2: Monday, May 11 – Nevada City to Lodi
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 12 – San Jose
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 13 – Pismo Beach to Avila Beach
Stage 5: Thursday, May 14 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Stage 6: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 7: Saturday, May 16 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8: Sunday, May 17 – L.A. LIVE (downtown Los Angeles) to Pasadena

Article Source: Cycling News

Saturday, October 18, 2014

inCycle video: Which Professional Bike Rider Would You Like To Be?

InCycle talk to Chris Froome, Fabian Cancellara and Taylor Phinney and ask them which bike rider they would like to be for a day (other than themselves)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2015 Tour de France Could feature Pra-Loup and Alpe d'Huez

By: Barry Ryan
Course to be unveiled in Paris next Wednesday

Oleg Tinkov’s proposed triple Grand Tour challenge has stoked plenty of media interest but has met with a decidedly non-committal response from the most interested party, the riders themselves. From next Wednesday, however, their stances might become a little clearer, as the route of the 2015 Tour de France is unveiled in the Palais de Congrès in Paris on Wednesday October 22. The presentation will be streamed live on

The precise details of the Tour route are typically a closely guarded secret, although three years ago, of course, ASO did accidentally publish the entire 2012 parcours on its website two days ahead of the presentation. So far, at least, there have been no leaks from Issy-les-Moulineux, bar the occasional cryptic tweet from the Tour’s Twitter account, though as ever, a rough skeleton can be pieced together through the rumours circulating in the local press – often based largely on unusual block bookings of hotel rooms in the area – and the efforts of websites such as

Going Dutch

One certainty on the 2015 Tour route is the Dutch Grand Départ in Utrecht, which was confirmed a year ago. The race gets underway with a 13.7km time trial on Saturday, July 4 – the longest opening time trial since the 15km test in Monaco in 2009 – before a flat first road stage to Neeltje Jans on the North Sea coast. Stage 3 will take place entirely in Belgium, with a start confirmed for Antwerp and the finish – according to Sudpresse – set to take place atop the Mur de Huy.

The remainder of the opening week should see the race sweep across northern France and towards Brittany, after missing out on the French cycling heartland entirely in 2014. Following its absence in 2014, the return of the team time trial has been floated in some quarters – the discipline has featured every second year since 2009 – but the location remains unclear. Ouest France has confirmed that Rennes is “99% likely” to host the start of stage 8, which could end with a hilltop finish at Mur-de-Bretagne, where Cadel Evans won in 2011. A finish in Plumelec – possibly a time trial, though hardly a team time trial as France Télévisions has speculated – has been touted for stage 9, a nod to local hero Bernard Hinault’s victory there in the prologue of his final Tour win in 1985.

The mountains

The first rest day of the Tour will take place on Monday July 13 after the caravan makes the long trek south to Pau, the gateway to the Pyrenees. When the action resumes on Bastille, the Tour is likely to visit a new summit finish at Arette La Pierre Saint-Martin, according to La Republique des Pyrenees. A second Pyrenean summit finish is expected two days later in the Ariège, at Plateau de Beille, according to La Depeche du Midi.

After passing through the Massif Central at the end of week two - a finish at Mende is rumoured - the final denouement of the 2015 Tour will come in the Alps, and again, it seems the organisation will seek to mark an anniversary. Local newspaper Le Dauphiné reports that the Tour will return to Pra-Loup for the first time since Bernard Thevenet brought the curtain down on Eddy Merckx’s dominance there in 1975.

La Toussuire has been slated as a possible second summit finish in the Alps, while Le Dauphine and both suggest that the final major rendezvous of the race could come at Alpe d’Huez on the final Saturday of the race. The speculation may be based on part on the assumption - which doesn't always hold true - that the Tour visits the climb every second year, although the ski station’s local council confirmed in the summer that it would bid for a Tour stage in 2015. If successful, it would mark the third time in Christian Prudhomme’s tenure that the Tour has featured a summit finish on the penultimate day, after the finales atop Mont Ventoux (2009) and Semnoz (2013).

The final stage will conclude on the Champs-Élysées on July 26, and as was the case for the past two years, an evening finish seems likely in Paris.

While the 2015 Tour's anti-clockwise route around France is a certainty and a number of the rumoured stage towns seem very likely to appear, there are bound to be just as many surprises when the official parcours is unveiled on October 22. There will also be some important nuance to be added to the picture, not least regarding time trials. There was just one time trial in the 2014 race, on the penultimate day, and while more will be expected next year, it will be fascinating to see if the total time trialling distance ends up being much higher than the 54km on the menu last July.

Once details such as those have been processed, Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana can begin to cut their cloth for 2015 in earnest.

Article Source: Cycling News 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Andy Schleck Retires from Professional Cycling

Former Tour winner forced to stop due to knee injury

Andy Schleck, 29, has announced his immediate retirement from professional cycling, citing cartilage damage in his right knee as the cause. The 2010 Tour de France winner confirmed the news at a press conference held in his native Luxembourg on Thursday, ending weeks of speculation over his future.

With his existing contract at Trek Factory Racing winding down this year, Schleck found himself without a team for 2015 but any hopes of renewing with the American squad, or finding a new team for that matter, were dashed with his knee failing to recover from what turned out to be a career ending crash in this year’s Tour de France.

"Now I have to confirm the speculation. In 2015 I will not be a professional cyclist anymore, which hurts me a lot but I had no real decision. It was taken from me by my crash in the Tour in the UK," Schleck said in Mondorf-les-Bains on Thursday. "I could ride for three to four hours but when I went hard on a climb, my knee swelled up. I went back to the doctors and they said there was not much they could do.

"The ligaments were fine, they healed, but I have almost no cartilage left under my kneecap."

Thursday’s news brings the curtain down on career that spanned a decade and included not just a Tour win but victory in Liege-Bastogne-Liege (2009), three Tour de France stage wins and three white jerseys as the race’s top young finisher. Schleck also finished second in the 2007 at the Giro d’Italia but his career highlight arguably came at the 2011 Tour when he held off the entire peloton to win atop the Col du Galibier.

His brother, Frank, remains with Trek Factory Racing, after signing a two-year contract in September.

A bright start

Andy Schleck burst onto the professional scene in the mid-2000s. Coming from a family of professional riders stretching back several generations, the signs of success were there for all to see with a strong ride in support of Lars Bak in the 2005 Tour de l'Avenir.

He was signed by Cyrille Guimard at VC Roubaix at the age of 19 with the Frenchman telling Cyclingnews’ Jean Francois Quenet that “I quickly realized that he was like Laurent Fignon.”

After his second place at the Giro d’Italia in 2007, Schleck stated that “I aim at winning a big Classic before a Grand Tour.”

He succeeded, winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege after a daring attack on the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons. He would ride to second in the Tour de France later that year, finishing behind Alberto Contador.

The two riders had a mutual respect for each other that bordered on friendship but the pair clashed at the Tour de France a year later in 2010. This time Schleck was more of a challenge for the Spaniard, winning stages at Morzine-Avoriaz and on the Col du Tourmalet. However controversy reigned on stage 15 to Bagnères-de-Luchon when Schleck had a mechanical problem during an attack on Contador. The Spaniard swooped past his forlorn rival and claimed enough time to wrest the yellow jersey from his shoulders.

Contador would later be stripped of his title after testing positive for Clenbuterol in a twist that would see Schleck inherit the jersey at a ceremony in his hometown of Mondorf in March 2012.

“It’s nice to accept this jersey, but for me it doesn’t change anything – it’s not like a win. It’s not the same sensation as climbing on the podium,” Schleck said at the time.

During the intervening period - between Contador’s win and the eventual loss of his 2012 crown - Schleck mounted a third Tour attempt. However, in Cadel Evans he found a rider able to fend off aggressive attacking style in the mountains. Despite leading the race after the final stage in the mountains and with Evans at 57 seconds in arrears, the Australian was able to move into yellow in the final time trial, consigning Schleck to another runner-up spot.

Andy Schleck's Palmares

1st GC, Tour de France 2010
2nd GC, Tour de France 2009, 2011
Best Young Rider, Tour de France, 2008, 2009, 2010
1st Tour de France Stages: 8 & 17, 2010; 18, 2011
2nd Giro d’Italia 2007
1st Liège–Bastogne–Liège 2009
2nd Flèche Wallonne 2009
3rd Liège–Bastogne–Liège, 2011

The accidents start

The win on the Galibier would prove to be the last victory of Schleck’s career, with crashes and losses in form repeatedly taking their toll. A fall in the 2012 Dauphine left Schleck with a broken sacrum and a rush back to fitness at the tail end of the year compounded matters with a dramatic dip in form and confidence. A change of management at Leopard Trek and the break down in communication between the Schleck brothers and team owner Flavio Becca hardly relieved the situation.

Race after race ticked by and each one became a depressing reflection of the last as he struggled to keep up.

In July of this year Schleck opened up about the difficult period in between 2012 and 2013 in an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews.

“At night you sit there in your room and you know that you have to go through it all over again the day after. Then it’s onto the next race and it’s the same scenario again and again and at night when it’s just you and your thoughts and no one to talk with you lie there and you ask yourself ‘what’s wrong with you?”

“I went from one crash to the next, one injury to the next and yes there was a lack of motivation at points. I was training and training and then I was going to races and I was being dropped. I’d ask myself what I was doing wrong but I needed to fight.”

There were further problems off the bike with stories of a lack of motivation, rumours of a drink problem and concerns over his biological passport - swiftly denied by his team - raised in the media.

His crash in this year’s Tour de France was a battle too far, a comeback he could not pull off. After an operation in July he travelled to Mallorca, Spain to begin his rehabilitation as Trek Factory Racing patiently waited for some promising news. However with the rider only able to ride for a couple of hours before knee pain and severe swelling would return, the writing was on the wall.

Article Source: Cycling News 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pro CX: Compton Doubles Up at 2014 KMC Cyclo-cross Festival to Extend Lead

(Oct. 8, 2014) -- Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Trek Factory Racing) made a clean sweep of last weekend's races at the KMC Cyclo-cross Festival in Providence, R.I., to increase her lead in the 2014-15 USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross Calendar (Pro CX) women's standings.

Katie Compton leads the field during the 2014 KMC Cyclo-cross Festival in Providence, R.I.
Katie Compton leads the field during the 2014 KMC Cyclo-cross Festival in Providence, R.I. (photo by Wil Matthews)

Compton's back-to-back wins earned her 150 points to push her season total to 498 as she sits firmly entrenched atop the women’s standings. Meredith Miller's (Boulder, Colo./Noosa Professional Cyclocross) fifth-place finish on Saturday enabled her to leapfrog Caroline Mani (Littleton, Colo./Raleigh Clement) and move into second place with 373 points. Mani, still riding with a broken wrist, dropped to third in the standings with 340 points. Entering the top five via their performances in Providence were Helen Wyman (GBR/Kona Factory Racing) and Courtney McFadden (Bellingham, Wash./GE Capital - American Classic). Wyman had second- and third-place finishes to move into fourth place in the standings with 282 points. Two top-five placements for McFadden give her 265 points for the year, good enough for fifth place in the standings.

Although he only raced on Saturday, Jeremy Powers (Easthampton, Mass./Rapha Focus) reached the top step of the podium and remains in first place in the men's standings with 533 points. James Driscoll (Park City, Utah/Donnelly Sports) moved from fourth place to second place by virtue of sixth- and second-place finishes in Providence. He now has 327 points. Also jumping up in the standings, from fifth to third, is Ben Berden (Boulder, Colo.Raleigh-Clement) after placing fourth and third in the weekend's races to give him a total of 316. Moving into the top five of the men's standings are Lukas Winterberg (SUI/Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) and Tim Johnson (Topsfield, Mass./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld). Winterberg has accumulated 300 points after third- and fourth-place finishes at the KMC Cyclo-cross Festival, while Johnson used a second-place finish on Saturday to join the top five with 286 points.

Jeremy Powers remained atop the Pro CX standings with a win at the 2014 KMC Cyclo-cross Festival in Providence, R.I.
Jeremy Powers remained atop the Pro CX standings with a win at the 2014 KMC Cyclo-cross Festival in Providence, R.I. (photo by Wil Matthews)

The KMC Cyclo-cross Festival was the first opportunity for the juniors to amass points and Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo./Alpha Bicycle Company Vista Sub) jumped to the early lead in the Pro CX juniors standings with 65 points following a win on Saturday and a second-place performance on Sunday. Consistent riding by Cameron Beard (Bend, Ore./ Devo) puts him in second place with 49 points, just two points ahead of Sunday's winner, Spencer Petrov (Mason, Ohio/Element Cycles). Rounding out the juniors top five and separated by just one point are Cooper Willsey (Hinesburg, Vt./ Devo) with 42 points, and Michael Owens (Richmond, Vt./ Devo) with 41 points.

Check out the photo gallery from the KMC Cyclo-cross Festival.

Full results from the KMC Cyclo-cross Festival are available online.

Article Source: USA Cycling

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ladies Night at Velo Wrench Bike Shop

Ladies Night
Friday, October 10th 2014
6:15 - 9:00 pm 

Velo Wrench Bike Shop 
860 Alamo Drive
Vacaville, CA 95688

Free mechanics clinic and close door sale. This is one of our most popular events! Please RSVP HERE . There is limited seating

Friday, October 3, 2014

Top 10 Conclusions from the Road World Championships

Wiggins carries Great Britain

Whether you’re a fan of Bradley Wiggins or not, few can argue over the rider’s impressive, almost extraordinary, palmares. A Tour de France; a handful of week-long stage races; world titles and Olympic medals on the road and track: all he needs now is a win in the Classics to complete his set.

To broaden the point, he’s not only Great Britain’s most successful cyclist of all time; he’s also one of the most complete athletes the sport has ever produced.

Yet physical attributes aside, it’s Wiggins’ ability to flip between disciplines and targets that’s most impressive. Much of this stems from Sky’s willingness – and at times it seems they don’t have much choice – or allowance in letting the rider pick and chose his objectives, but in a matter of weeks, Wiggins morphed from track rider at the Commonwealth Games, to week-long stage rider at the Tour of Britain, to time trial world champion at Ponferrada, Spain. He may have missed out on the first two targets but he scored the most important and arguably most difficult, just at the right time.

He may never win another Grand Tour and to some it may feel like he has been a passenger at Team Sky – he’s barely raced a WorldTour event in the last two seasons - but he has already achieved a status most riders never accomplish: he’s an icon. And Ponferrada didn’t cement this; it merely reinforced it.

And that point was given greater definition by Great Britain’s overall performance at the Worlds where Wiggins picked up the team’s only medal. Lizzie Armistead provided a valiant performance in the women’s race but was ultimately frustrated into submission, while in the men’s event the team could only manage 12th through Ben Swift. The nine-man team entered the race with the correct approach and by backing Kennaugh and Swift they deserve more praise than the Dutch and several other nations who either failed to make an impact or got their tactics wrong but in the remaining races the team’s highest performance came from Melissa Lowther in the junior women’s time trial (seventh).

It would be wrong to say that Wiggins’s win papered over the cracks but his TT triumph certainly emphasized his importance to Team Sky and British Cycling. With all these factors combined, it’s little wonder that a development team with him at the centre is in the offing. (DB)

Italy fully of heart of tactics cost them

The Italian Squadra team left Ponferrada without a medal but with their heads held high, proud that they at least tried to take control of the race with a series of attacks in the final laps.

Sonny Colbrelli was Italy's best placed rider, finishing 13th after he managed to stay with the sprinters on the final climb of Mirador and finish with the likes of John Degenkolb, Nacer Bouhanni, Fabian Cancellara and Michael Matthews. Italian national coach Davide Cassani praised the young Bardiani-CSF rider and also refused to criticise any of his riders after they gave their all.

After 20 years an Italian television pundit, Cassani is skilled at deflecting criticism and the Italian media seem ready to accept that 2014 is year one (or even year zero) of a long-term project to rebuild the Italian national squad at every level.

Italy lacked a true team leader and finisher like Gerrans or Degenkolb and so winning the rainbow jersey was always unlikely in Ponferrada. The riders followed Cassani's "Controlled Chaos" strategy, collectively going on the attack with 70km still to race and then always having a rider in the moves. However there is little else the Italian team got right. There was little control and lots of chaos, with the lack of race radio blamed for them riding like a team of juniors.

Giovanni Visconti was supposed to be a protected team leader for the final two laps but he kept going in the break with Tony Martin and Pete Kennaugh, using up his energy in a move that was never going to be decisive. Alessandro De Marchi tried his hand late on but used all his energy to keep the attack alive and so had little left in his legs to go with Kwiatkowski when he jumped across. Vincenzo Nibali rode better than expected, especially after his mid-race crash, but was never going to have the legs to go with a late attack and then win alone as he did in Sheffield at the Tour de France. Colbrelli tried his best but made a mess of the sprint for seventh place.

In short, Italy tried hard, went on the attack and gave it a go but messed up tactically, ending their already slim chances of success.(SF)

One last hope for Gerrans

Simon Gerrans came into the Worlds as a red hot favourite having won back-to-back one-day races in Canada. On the evening of his second win in Montreal, one journalist at the event rather prophetically exclaimed that the Australian's second win would guarantee his failure in Ponferrada.

In the end, it wasn’t a question of a loss of form, or being marked out of the race, as many expected. Quite simply, Gerrans was beaten by a better rider on the day. Such is the line between victory and failure, that each time Kwiatkowski’s winning move is replayed it seems inevitable that he will be caught – just before he attacks the group including De Marchi, he’s within touching distance and the chase behind can almost feel the spray from his rear wheel as rides away from them in the rain.

Gerrans would eventually settle for silver, bringing and end to his recent hot streak and the immediate conclusion is that he has missed his final chance of donning the rainbow jersey.

For a rider who has a skill in remaining invisible right until the last moment, Ponferrada was a course tailored to his skill set. Next year in Richmond, with the course holding less than 1000ft in climbing, we should see the riders who competed for eighth in Spain – Kristoff, Bouhanni and Matthews compete for the win – with the following year a nailed-on bunch sprint in Qatar. To win next year, Gerrans will have to change his tactics – something he’s more than capable of doing but the Rio Olympic course may turn out to be a more likely target for his aspirations. (DB)

Is Vos’ dominance under threat?

Since winning the road title for the first time in 2006, Marianne Vos had never finished lower than second in the road race. No matter what the course, she would make it onto the podium. Ponferrada marks the first time in her professional career that Vos leaves the road World Championships without a medal.

There are a number of factors in this. Vos saw a medal-winning chance go up in smoke during the team time trial, after a crash took out almost the entire team. It was just a minor setback, but one she could have done without. The important event was still ahead, the road race.

It looked like things were going to plan in the road race when she escaped off the front with three others. However, Vos looked unusually cautious in this group of favourites, as they inexplicably sat up and allowed the chasers to close them down. For a rider who we are used to seeing take races by the scruff of the neck, it was a strange sight.

Vos has beaten all three of her escape companions in sprints in the past, and would have been the favourite to take victory from this select group, but they refused to work together. As the race approached the finish line, she did take up the sprint from the front but was swamped when the others followed suit. In stead it was her trade teammate Pauline Ferrand-Prévot that took the honours.

The Dutch rider rolled across the line in 10th and the disappointment was evident on her face. Prévot’s victory has shown that Vos is not the unbeatable rider she once was. This year’s world championships saw a large group of riders arriving in very good form and rarely have we seen so many potential contenders.

Vos will look at this race as a small blip on yet another superlative season and you can bet your house that she will be as good as ever in 2015. It won’t be as easy for her to win as it was in the past and her rivals have certainly closed the gap on the Queen of cycling. The depth of talent is as good as it ever has been in women’s cycling and, with teams getting ever more focussed and structures, this will only increase. (SO)

A tougher circuit would produce a better race

Depending on who you listened to before the world championships, the Ponferrada circuit suited the sprinters, the Ardennes Classics riders and even the Grand Tour contenders. It reportedly had more metes of climbing than last year's race on Florence, with no flat transfer section to the circuit and two climbs positioned closely together on each of the fourteen, 18.2km laps. There were lots of favourites but few punters had any real clue on who would win the world title.

When teams arrived in Ponferrada, many seemed to accept the elite men's race would end in a sprint as the course seemed flatter and easier than many expected, with the first Confederacion climb little more than a long drag out of town and the second Mirador climb just a short, sharp drag up the a hillside was finely balanced but not very inspiring, offering little chance for attacks to get away before the finish. But then the junior and under 23 races showed that breakaways had a chance. The rain also convinced some teams that the race would be more selective.

Yet on the day in both the elite women's and elite men's events, produced a controlled and hesitant race, stifling any decisive attacks and turning both races into a kind of end of season Milan-San Remo. The final 10 minutes were thrilling but the six hours before that were sleep inducing.

The UCI reportedly ensures that every 10 years a world championship course suits the sprinters. Perhaps they should ensure that the courses approved for the other nine years include sufficient climbing to inspire serious attacks and more aggressive racing. (SF)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Strong Showing by Bookwalter and Howes as Road Worlds Conclude

Brent Bookwalter (r) and Alex Howes both finished the men's road race within 14 seconds of the winning time.
Brent Bookwalter (r) and Alex Howes both finished the men's road race within 14 seconds of the winning time. (photo by Casey B. Gibson)

Ponferrada, Spain (September 28, 2014) -- The 2014 UCI Road World Championships concluded on Sunday in Ponferrada, Spain, with the 254.8-kilometer elite men's road race on a day that included on-and-off rain during the more than six-hour race. In the end it was Brent Bookwalter (Asheville, N.C./BMC Racing Team) and Alex Howes (Boulder, Colo./Garmin-Sharp) both finishing within 14 seconds of the winning time in 25th and 30th, respectively, for the United States squad.

An early four-rider break that included Ukraine's Oleksandr Polivoda, Croatia's Matija Kvasina, Lithuania's Zydrunas Savickas and Colombia's Carlos Julian Quintero built up a 15-minute advantage on the peloton after four of the 14 laps, but the gap began to come back down as the team from Poland pushed the pace behind.

When the four leaders were caught with just over three laps to go, only Bookwalter and Howes remained in the race for the U.S. squad. Howes had recovered from a brief crash to catch back on to the main field.

"It was a tricky course with some really nasty downhills," said Howes. "I was feeling pretty good up until a little fall with like four to go or so. I had to do some chasing but the boys helped me out, helped get me back up there."

"We had four guys that we wanted to get into the race as deep as possible and see where it shuffled out," Bookwalter said. "None of us are really proven at this level at 250k, but I think we're all getting better each year. I thought the race was really hard. We were down to only a couple guys with a few laps to go so Alex and I were just trying to hang tough. I think he was actually probably better than me, and then he was unfortunately caught up in that little bit of a crash so that took a lot of energy out of him."

The decisive break in the final lap was made by Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski, and he managed to stave off the hard-charging field and claim the rainbow jersey ahead of Australia's Simon Gerrans and Spain's Alejandro Valverde. Bookwalter was in a group just seven seconds behind Kwiatkowski, with Howes coming in 14 seconds off the winning time.

"I felt like I had one speed I could peg it at basically threshold the whole time and guys would attack and kind of come back, and guys would move up the field and come back, and I was just grinding along at the same speed," Bookwalter said. "It wasn't quite enough to get into position to go for a top 10 or a good result, but I gave it everything I had all the way to the very last meter."

Bookwalter also noted the effort needed for a race like the world championships.

"It was just fast the whole day. It definitely ramped up at the end but not as much as some of the other worlds that I've done in the past. This one was just fast and hard all day. Those guys obviously had an unbelievable acceleration at the end. We were so deep into the race and everyone was so tired. That's one of the things that make these one-day races so beautiful and dramatic is it really takes every last ounce out of you."

With the World Championships returning to U.S. soil for the first time in 29 years next year in Richmond, Va., Bookwalter spoke about the inspiration that will give to the American riders.

"We're really inspired to have a chance to race Worlds in Richmond next year," he said. "We have a great group of guys here and a few guys that aren't here. We've been kind of building up to this for a long time with this group of guys, this generation, and we're really excited to put on a good showing in Richmond."

The U.S. team wraps up the world championships with four medals in the team time trials and two more in the individual time trial, including a silver medal by Adrien Costa (Los Altos, Calif./Hagens Berman U23) in the juniors men's time trial, and a bronze medal by Evelyn Stevens (Dennis, Mass./Specialized-lululemon) in the elite women's time trial.

In the team time trial competition, Tejay van Garderen (Boulder, Colo./BMC Racing Team), Carmen Small (Durango, Colo./Specialized-lululemon) and Evelyn Stevens (Dennis, Mass./Specialized-lululemon) each won gold medals racing with their trade teams, while Alison Tetrick (Mill Valley, Calif.) earned a bronze medal with her Astana BePink Women's Team.

Other top-10 performances by the U.S. during the week included fifth-place efforts from Zeke Mostov (San Francisco, Calif./Hagens Berman U23) and Emma White (Delanson, N.Y./Hot Tubes Junior Development Team) in their respective juniors time trials, a sixth-place finish by Shelley Olds (Gilroy, Calif./Ale-Cipollini) in the elite women's road race, and an eighth place by Alison Powers (Pinecliffe, Colo./UnitedHealthcare) in the elite women's time trial.

2014 UCI Road World Championships
Ponferrada, Spain
Sept. 21-28, 2014

Article Source: USA Cycling

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

World Championships - Women's Road Race: Top 5 riders to watch

World Championships - Women's Road Race: Top 5 riders to watch. Marianne Vos goes into the race looking to take her third consecutive title and fourth overall. She will have some tough competition though, here are Cyclingnews' top five riders to watch for the women's road race.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

World Championships: Specialized-lululemon win women's TTT

By: Barry Ryan

Specialized-Lululemon has turned to crowdfunding to ensure its survival when its sponsors withdraw at the end of this season, and the American squad was certainly value for its victory in the women’s team time trial at the World Championships in Ponferrada.

It was Specialized-Lululemon’s third win in as many years in the event, and they delivered a smooth, assured showing over the 36km course to finish 1:17 clear of Orica-AIS and 2:19 up on Astana-BePink. Powered by Evelyn Stevens, Carmen Small and Trixi Worrack, they led at each of the time checks, and increased their advantage all the way to the finish to seal an emphatic victory.

“There’s nothing more special than getting to win together,” said Stevens, who has been part of the team’s winning sextet each year. “It gives me goose bumps. I said at breakfast this morning that it feels like Christmas – it’s such a special event and it’s the highlight of the year.”

While there was little precious surprise about the gold medallist, there was no shortage of drama out on the road, much of it provided by the unfortunate Rabo-Liv. The Dutch squad was on course for a podium place as they entered the final kilometres, only for Annemiek van Vleuten to crash into the barriers and take her three remaining teammates down with her. Anna van der Breggen was the worst affected, and was unable to remount and complete the race. Early reports suggest that she sustained a fractured pelvis in the incident.

By that point, Rabo-Liv had already lost Marianne Vos, who was surprisingly dropped shortly after the second intermediate check with 10 kilometres still to race. When Roxane Knetemann also was distanced on the final climb, Rabo-Liv’s hopes of holding off Orica-AIS for silver were already rapidly diminishing, perhaps, but the crash ended the debate, and they eventually crossed the line 10:05 down in last place.

“I blew up. Team time trialling is not really my thing, but I was not really that good,” Vos said of her own showing, which will be a concern with Saturday’s road race in mind.

Specialized display

Specialized-Lululemon were the final team down the start ramp, and it was immediately apparent that they bore no ill-effects from their own crash while reconnoitring the course the previous afternoon. “Oh, I felt a million bucks,” Stevens said, and so, it seems, did all of her teammates. By the first time check after 12 kilometres, they were already 16 seconds up on Rabo-Liv and 20 ahead of Orica-GreenEdge.

That margin stretched out still further over the middle section of the course, and by kilometre 23, they had 40 seconds in hand on Vos et al, with Orica-AIS a further 16 second back. More tellingly, while their rivals were beginning to shed riders in the closing kilometres, Specialized-Lululemon retained a full complement of riders all the way over the top of the climb.

As Specialized-Lululemon tackled the technical drop to the line, the Astana-BePink squad were ensconced in the hot seat as the provisional leaders. The Italian-based squad had been sixth-quickest at the second check but produced a remarkable final ten kilometres to move up the standings. Their final elevation to the podium was down in part to Rabo-Liv’s crash, of course, but the bronze medal was a reward for a well-paced effort.

“It’s an incredible experience to get a medal. We might not have been favourites for a medal but we did a very good ride,” Alison Tetrick said. “We’re very proud of the result.”

Orica-AIS, meanwhile, were locked in a battle with Rabo-Liv for the silver medal place through the final kilometres, and despite being down to the minimum four riders in the finale, the efforts of Emma Johansson and Valentina Scandalora suggested that the balance may have been tipping in their favour even before the crash.

“To get everything right is the difference between taking a medal or not and we pulled out a really good ride and got everything right, so it was nice,” Emma Johansson said.

There was simply nothing to be done against the might of Specialized-Lululemon, however, as Stevens, Small, Worrack, Chantal Blaak, Lisa Brennauer and Karol-Ann Canuel’s cohesive display saw them cruise home with over a minute to spare.

It remains to be seen under what banner the team operates next season, and where many of its riders end up, but they’ll always have Ponferrada. “The outcome for next year was going to be what it was going to be – more than anything we were focused on this year and on today,” Small said.

Article Source: Cycling News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

World Championships Preview: In Search of Spanish Gold

By: Barry Ryan
A selective course that's difficult to define

Almost 2,000 years on, they again come to north-western Spain in search of gold. When the Roman Empire was approaching its greatest extent towards the end of the first century AD, its most important gold mine was located at Las Médulas, near what is now Ponferrada. Next week, an increasingly globalised peloton descends upon the town for the World championships, sifting for rainbow jerseys, for medals or simply, contracts for 2015.

Ponferrada could certainly have done with some of that Roman gold to defray the costs. Host cities now pay the UCI the princely sum of €5 million simply to host the event, and it is estimated that the total cost of organising the Worlds could stretch to €14 million by the time the curtain falls on September 28.

The seemingly spiralling expense of staging the Worlds should be a concern for the UCI. Economic factors contributed to the decision to shelf the proposed uphill finish for the time trial events, after all, and at this rate the pool of financially viable prospective hosts seems destined to shrink over the next decade. Even so, from a purely sporting point of view, Ponferrada promises to provide a fascinating week of racing across all categories.

Much of the intrigue is set to be provided by the road race circuit, which, depending on who's asking, is apparently either too tough for the sprinters or too easy for the climbers. Bluff or not, it's certainly a parcours that defies easy description and should thus encourage inventive racing – a welcome development after the sure-fire bunch sprint in Copenhagen in 2011, the inevitable Cauberg shoot-out in 2012 and the (admittedly enthralling) war of attrition that preceded the explosive final lap in Florence twelve months ago.

For the first time in five years, the point-to-point preamble for the men's race is dispensed with and all of the road races take place entirely on the 18.2 kilometre circuit around Ponferrada. The course features two climbs, which, on first glance, seems to follow the popular Worlds template of a long, steady ascent followed by a shorter, shaper climb nearer the finish.

First up is the Alto de Montearenas, which is 5.1 kilometres long but with an average gradient of just 3.5%, and the early ramps of 8% are unlikely to shed too many of the in-form fast finishers, as new Italian coach Davide Cassani has pointed out. The second climb, the Alto de Compostilla, is a stiffer prospect. Just 1,100 metres in length, it pitches up to 10% and averages 6.6%. It's certainly tough enough for the strongest to punch clear. It remains to be seen, however, whether any lone rider can build up a sufficient lead to then stay away on the four kilometres to the line, which incorporate a tricky descent.

The time trials were originally slated to finish at San Cristóbal de Valdueza, atop a 9km climb, but will instead finish, like the road races, not far from Ponferrada's Castle of the Templars. The elite men's time trial features a flat opening 30 kilometres but the final 10 miles include the short climbs of Confederacion and Mirador before the drop to the finish.

Elite men – Australia with options

On a course that seems finely balanced between puncheurs and sprinters, few teams seem as equipped for all eventualities as Australia. Simon Gerrans arrives in Spain as the man of the moment after victories in Quebec and Montreal last week, and however many fast men are still in the contention come the final lap, Michael Matthews seems a certainty to be among their number. With the likes of Cadel Evans, Adam Hansen and Heinrich Haussler in supporting roles, Bradley McGee has arguably the strongest team in the race at his disposal.

When the Ponferrada Worlds were first unveiled, Peter Sagan was instantly installed as the favourite for the rainbow jersey, and he certainly has all the weapons needed to win on this course – but therein, perhaps, lies the problem for the Slovak, who has often struggled to choose correctly from a surfeit of options in the finale of major races. More pressingly, Sagan's recent form has been underwhelming in the extreme, although after a non-descript Vuelta a España, he has shown signs of life in Italy this week.

John Degenkolb has been the other man on everybody's lips since the beginning of the year, and his haul of wins at the Vuelta only heightened the expectation around the German. He was admitted to hospital this week after wounds from a crash in Spain became infected, however, and it remains to be seen if he can recover in time for Sunday week.

The home nation's challenge will be led by Alejandro Valverde, and Spanish selector Javier Minguez will hope he can dovetail more neatly with Joaquim Rodriguez than in 2013, when he conspicuously failed to cover his trade teammate Rui Costa's winning move in the finale. Valverde has accumulated five world championship medals during his chequered career but his failure to land a rainbow jersey suggests a crippling lack of tactical acumen. To miss out on gold once is unfortunate, to do so five times is careless. For Rodriguez, meanwhile, one senses his best opportunity may just have passed him by in Florence twelve months ago.

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) is also aware that he is running out of chances to land the victory he covets above all others, and he has begun to make notable sacrifices for the Worlds in recent seasons. Last year he skipped the Tour de France; this year, he forgoes the time trial. Cancellara will have drawn lessons from Mendrisio in 2009, when he won the strongest man contest but missed out on the rainbow jersey. Five years on, he seems more judicious in his efforts. If he gets his timing right in Ponferrada, anything is possible.

Belgium have two former world champions, Philippe Gilbert and Tom Boonen, in their ranks, yet the form men seem to be Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke, and it will be interesting to see how the roles are divided to everyone's satisfaction. For Italy, there is no doubting that Vincenzo Nibali is the leader, but the course hardly seems as suited to the Tour de France winner as Florence, while the squadra azzurra's option in a sprint finish looks set to be Filippo Pozzato.

France will pin much of their hopes on Nacer Bouhanni surviving the climbs, while Ben Swift seems the best bet for Great Britain. Alexander Kristoff is already a candidate for rider of the year. Worlds victory would confirm that status, but the race is perhaps coming a month too late for the Norwegian, who has barely let up all season. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) highlighted his form at the Tour of Britain and is backed by a potentially strong Polish team. For puncheurs such as Dan Martin (Ireland) and Romain Bardet (France), the climbs might not be selective enough, but after 250 kilometres, a rider strong of legs and fleet of mind can find a way to win regardless of the circumstances – just ask Rui Costa (Portugal).

In the time trial, meanwhile, Tony Martin is chasing a fourth consecutive rainbow jersey, where Bradley Wiggins ought to provide the sternest opposition in the absence of Cancellara. Tom Dumoulin is fancied in his debut in the event, though the strong field also features Adriano Malori, Andrew Talansky, Tejay van Garderen, Alex Dowsett and Rohan Dennis.

Elite women – Vos against the rest?

How do you solve a problem like Marianne Vos? That's the conundrum that has faced the Worlds peloton ever since the Dutchwoman entered the elite ranks in 2006. In eight attempts, Vos has never finished lower than second at the Worlds – regardless of the terrain, the road to the rainbow jersey runs through the best rider on the planet.

Vos has "only" three world road titles to show for her dominance however – 2006, 2012 and 2013 – and endured a maddening run of five consecutive silver medals. On four occasions, she was thwarted by an Italian rider, and the squadra azzurra will again pose a major obstacle here, with a line-up that includes double world champion Giorgia Bronzini, Rosella Ratto and Elisa Longo Borghini.

As ever, Vos' long-time rival Emma Johansson (Sweden) will be in the mix, but the biggest individual threat may well come from Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain), who has one of the season's outstanding performers. The Yorkshire native wrapped up the World Cup with a round to spare and was hugely impressive in soloing to victory at the Commonwealth Games.

Tiffany Cromwell (Australia), Evelyn Stevens (USA) and Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) will be among those looking to go on the offensive, and they can take heart from the fact that Vos has appeared short of her very best in recent weeks. However, they must also face her imposing orange guard. For the past two years, Anna van der Breggen has been the best rider in a supporting role at the Worlds, and the strong Dutch squad also includes Annemiek van Vleuten and Elen van Dijk.

Van Dijk will be favoured to retain her title in the time trial, but Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) and Evelyn Stevens ought to provide very tough opposition indeed over the 29.5km course. Villumsen, in particular, has been a model of consistency over the past four years, with four podium spots but no rainbow jersey to show for her efforts.

A week of racing

The action gets under way on Sunday September 21 with the men's and women's team time trials. Three years into its existence, the jury is still out as to the success of this venture, which was created largely to provide trade teams with a visible platform during the UCI's showpiece week of racing. That said, it is enormously popular with the teams that take the event seriously, as Omega Pharma-QuickStep's decision to travel to Ponferrada four days beforehand to train on the course demonstrates.

Tony Martin and company will be the favourites to take a third successive title on the 57km course, although a number of squads with strong team trialling pedigree – Sky, Orica-GreenEdge and BMC – will be looking to spring an upset. It's a similar scenario in the women's team time trial (36km), where Specialized-lululemon chase their third title, ahead of a chasing pack led by Orica-AIS, Giant-Shimano and Rabo Liv.

The individual time trials follow over the next three days, with the junior women (13.9km) and under-23 men (36km) in action on Monday, the junior men (29km) and elite women on Tuesday and the elite men on Wednesday. There is no action on Thursday, to allow for training on the circuit and the UCI's conference for junior riders, before the schedule resumes on Friday with the junior women's and under-23 men's road races.

At under-23 level, Caleb Ewan (Australia) is the outstanding favourite for victory in the road race, but there will be a high-level field in Ponferrada. Dylan Teuns (Belgium) impressed as a stagiaire with BMC at the Tour of Britain, for instance, while new Orica-GreenEdge recruit Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark) is also on hand. In the time trial, Ireland's Ryan Mullen and Australia's Campbell Flakemore – fourth last year – are among the contenders.

Mercifully, the junior men's race is returned to its traditional place on the Saturday morning, rather than clashing with their elite counterparts the following day. The elite women's road race remains in its Saturday afternoon slot, before the elite men bring the curtain down on the week's racing.

Intrigue at the world championships is not limited to what happens out on the road, of course. For amateurs and professionals alike, the week acts as something of a market place, while there is also a degree of political theatre, as the UCI gathers for its annual congress on Friday, September 26. There won't be quite the same melodrama as last year, when Brian Cookson was elected president after a bitter battle with Pat McQuaid, although the Briton's first twelve months in office have not been without incident. A year is a long time in cycling.

Article Source: Cycling News