Friday, March 28, 2014

Video: Top 10 Riders to Watch in Gent-Wevelgem

Cyclingnews picks out 10 riders to watch in Gent-Wevelgem, including Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

San Dimas Stage Race Gets US Season Into Full Swing

Warm-up for National Racing Calendar start in Redlands

The start of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar is just over a week away, and as usual, the San Dimas Stage Race will serve as an important tune-up for series opener, the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Most of the top teams will be present for the race in the small Southern California town of San Dimas. The event favors the climbers with a 4.25 mile uphill time trial on Glendora Mountain Road on Friday, followed by the undulating Bonelli Park road race on Saturday. The fast and flat downtown San Dimas criterium completes the three-day race.

The race will have new champions this year, with last year's men's winner, Janier Acevedo graduating to the World Tour, and women's champion Mara Abbott moving over to UnitedHealthcare, who will not be participating in the race.

There are a number of riders on the start list: the race will be the first test for new Jamis-Hagens Berman recruit Daniel Jaramillo, a promising young Colombian climber, and veteran Spanish rider Eloy Teruel. Last year's criterium winner Juan Jose Haedo will also be back in action with the team.
It will also be Jake Keough's nascent outing with his new 5 Hour Energy/Kenda team. Expect Keough to target the road stages, while another new acquisition, Chad Beyer, will be a threat for the general classification.

Jelly Belly-Maxxis will have a strong team comprising former Garmin rider Jacob Rathe, Serghei Tvetcov and Mexican champion Luis Lemus.

On the women's side, former San Dimas champion Amber Neben will make her return with the FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Mr. Restore team. Neben has spent nearly a year rehabilitating injuries sustained in a dramatic crash at the Tour of California women's time trial in San Jose last May.

Neben's former team, Specialized-lululemon, will line up with a strong squad behind former US champion Robin Farina, climber Taylor Wiles, and Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies will be formidable with current US champion Jade Wilcoxson, Brianne Walle and new recruit Amber Pierce. Team TIBCO will field a young team under the guidance of veteran Andrea Dvorak.

Article Source: Cycling News 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wiggins: This Could Be My Last Ever Tour de France

By: Stephen Farrand
Team Sky rider reflects on track at Rio Olympics, Paris-Roubaix and the Hour Record

Bradley Wiggins was in a reflective mood after finishing third in the Tirreno-Adriatico time trial, hinting to Cyclingnews that this year's Tour de France could be the last of his illustrious career before he switches focus to the track and riding the team pursuit at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Wiggins desperately wants to be part of Team Sky's squad that will line-up in Leeds for the Grand Depart and is ready to work for Chris Froome in a key lieutenant's role. However, his ambitions to win a fifth Olympic gold medal, his age and the end of his major contract with Team Sky seem to be aligning to mark the end of his often difficult relationship with Le Tour.

"After the Tour de France, we're 18 months out from the Olympics and that's really when you've got to get back on the (track) programme. It could be that this is my last Tour. If it is, I'd better make it a good one," he told Cyclingnews, with his usual self-effacing irony.

Wiggins seems ready to sacrifice riding the Tour de France for one last campaign on the track.

"It's likely I'll be on Team Sky for the next couple of years, even if I'm on the track programme, because that's what the team was created for: to help the track guys. But in what capacity I will race could change drastically as I put on more weight for the track and specialise for it," he explained.

Wiggins has seen how poorly the Great Britain men's team performed in the recent track world championships [a young team finished 8th in qualifying and did not make the finals -ed] and believes he can again help the national cause.

"I think I can get in the team. Look at what they did in the Worlds. I don’t think it's going to be a tough team to crack into," he explained.

"It'll need a few guys coming back, people like Pete Kennaugh and others but perhaps Geraint won't come back because his road stuff is coming on so well. But I'm not going to take it lightly. I could even be back on the track this winter for the qualification process."

No Hour Record attempt planned

The track is Wiggins' first love and is likely to be his last as a professional athlete. He does not see himself going for the Hour Record, despite Fabian Cancellara's planned attempt reviving interest in the record.

"I don't think so," he told Cyclingnews. "It's something I could look at doing but I haven't given it any thought. The thought of riding around the track for an hour doesn't do anything for me."

"I remember seeing Boardman do it in 2000 and it looked horrible and not something you'd take on lightly. Especially if you have to sit in that traditional position."

"Just to warrant the time it needs makes it so difficult. There's so much other stuff going on. I think the only way to do it is to come off the Tour de France and treat it like the Olympic time trial. As a project you'd have to dedicate eight to ten weeks and I think it'd be difficult for riders to do."

Focusing on Paris-Roubaix

Wiggins is currently focused on preparing for Paris-Roubaix.

Fabian Cancellara scoffed at Wiggins' chances of winning on the pave when speaking to the media at Tirreno-Adriatico, but Wiggins is genuinely keen to be part of Team Sky's assault at success in northern France.

"Fabian is a bit like that. He's like a big kid at times," Wiggins said, putting the Trek Factory Racing rider firmly in his place.

"I think it’s his way of dealing with the pressure and a way of getting the respect he thinks he deserves as someone who has dominated the races."

"At Roubaix, you can't under estimate anybody and there's been some surprise winners in the past just as there's some clear favourites like Tom Boonen and Fabian. It'll be interesting; that's the beauty of Roubaix. I've ridden well at Paris-Roubaix in the past and I think I'm strong and part of a better team this time."

Wiggins is ready to be a team player along side his teammates Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas.

"It's not a case of me being team leader. Ian and Geraint both deserve that role with the form they've got," he said.

"But having several riders up front after the Forest of Arenberg is important. My goal is to be with those guys and be in the selection. After that it's about having the legs, so you can do something or help your teammates. You never know it could split early, like when Van Summeren won. We want to be in that position and then play it out on the road."

Article Source: Cycling News

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Where Are They Now? Chasing Down... Jason Richardson

by Amanda H. Miller

Jason Richardson was still racing w hile he pursued his doctorate.
Jason Richardson was still racing w hile he pursued his doctorate.
Jason Richardson was five years old when his big brother started racing BMX bikes in the late 1980s.

“I wanted to do it, too,” Richardson said. “I was terrible when I started. Terrible. But my brother was good, so I didn’t have to be.”

Through most of his BMX career, Richardson, who is now a licensed Psychologist and Doctor with an MBA and a business built around inspiring people, businesses and athletes to rise to their potential, never expected he would one day be a BMX legend. He didn’t forecast a 1994 World Championship or a 2007 Pan American Games victory.

He just liked racing and kept looking for ways to stay on the bike until he retired in 2008 as the oldest racer in the sport at the time.

From the beginning, Richardson’s future as one of the best BMX racers in history was not fated or obvious.

Richardson’s brother was almost five years older and he had a lot of success early on.

“He was getting a lot of notoriety and winning and getting sponsorships.”

The boys grew up mostly in New Jersey with their mom, but first discovered BMX bikes while visiting their dad in Las Vegas. He lived near the Desert Surf skate park. The boys borrowed a bike that first year of racing and each got their own bikes when they visited their dad for Christmas. It was pretty exciting.

Richardson said he was never very good but loved going to the races.

Getting into it

“I didn’t start coming into my own until I was 14 or 15,” he said.

It all changed because he was bored one summer. He was going into eighth grade when he asked his mom if he could ride his bike to the track, which was about five miles from his house. He rode nearly every day that summer.

“The first local race that season I won and everyone was really surprised,” Richardson said.

He won several amateur events that year and decided he wanted to get into the national racing scene. Around that time, he moved to Las Vegas to live with his father.

“I’d won kind of haphazardly back in Jersey and started to create this expectation for myself,” he said. “I wanted to race and get sponsored and get to the point where I was one of the winning guys in the amateur class.”

Richardson’s dad supported his BMX goals, but wanted to see him commit fully to the sport.

“My dad said if I wanted to race he needed to see me training – well, we called it practicing then,” he said.

Richardson rode up Lone Mountain Road nearly every day to train. He thought it was a pretty big hill until he moved to San Diego as an adult and realized his Vegas training ground had been pretty mellow.

Going pro

He figured he would have to give up his BMX biking once he went to college. That, combined with the knowledge he wouldn’t be able to amass enough points in his age group to win a meaningful title, convinced him to go pro. He just wanted to be able to say he’d been pro before he gave it all up.

“I didn’t really have any plans to make it a career,” Richardson said. “I was just going to have fun and hopefully make a little money before college.”

He raced single A because he never really considered getting into AA.

His sponsor, Auburn, would pay for just five races. He was in his freshman year at the University of San Diego and he didn’t have a car, just his bike.

He didn’t shine in his first two pro races. And he didn’t do well on the first day of his third race in Phoenix. But it rained that Sunday.

“I don’t know what happened, but something just clicked and I won,” he said. He did OK in Bakersfield. El Paso was going to be the last race his sponsor covered. He almost had enough winnings to turn up to AA, but not quite.

“I figured if I’m going to have this be my last paid race, I’m going to turn myself up and hopefully have my sponsor pay.”

Auburn paid to bump him up to the next level and he nailed it – finishing in the top three. While his sponsor didn’t cover any more races, Richardson used the winnings from each race to pay for the next one and had a complete season.

The next year, TNT Bikes sponsored him and he was training, racing and going to college full time.

“I was on a roll,” he said. “The sponsorships picked up and racing had turned into a job.”

He won a world title in 1994 – one of his proudest moments in racing. His friends from college were all looking for work and he already had enough money in the bank to buy a house after he graduated in 1997.

Planning for the future

He negotiated a great sponsorship with Giant and everything looked pretty great. “But I felt like – wow, I’m lucky. And also, I could lose all this. At the end of the day, it’s someone else’s decision if they want to pay me to ride my bike.”

So, Richardson decided to get his Masters in Business Administration. He studied and raced full time. And he just kept racing. There were some ups and downs with the sponsorships, but they were usually there and Richardson kept riding.

He broke his femur in 2006. Haro was his sponsor and they took care of him, giving him a coaching roll while he was off the track for six months.

“I didn’t want to have that be the way I went out,” he said.

So, he went back to racing that year as one of the oldest riders in the sport.

“My second race back after I broke my leg, I sat on the plane next to a couple – they were psychologists,” Richardson said.

He asked them a lot of questions about what they did and what they liked about it. He had been to sports psychologists before and was a philosophy major. It seemed like a good fit.

Dr. Richardson

“Literally, when I got off the plan that October I was researching programs and I was back in school by that January,” he said.

Richardson kept racing while he pursued his doctorate and had an opportunity to ride in the Pan American Games in 2007.

“I wanted to win it,” he said. I was so far along in age for a racer and I knew it was one of those races that go down in the history books. People might not know about cycling, but they’ve probably heard of the Pan American Games. There was some ego and legacy stuff in there.”

That’s why the Pan American gold medal win in 2007 is one of his most memorable and proud BMX moments.

He retired from racing after that in 2008 and finished his doctorate in 2011. Today, he works with athletes and offers training and motivational workshops for businesses. He’s a sought-after speaker and has found a lot of enjoyment and success in his new profession. He helps people identify and work toward their goals, something he finds tremendously satisfying.

He and his wife have two boys, who are 5 and 9.

“They know how to ride and they have great equipment,” Richardson said about his kids. “But I don’t know that they’re as into it as I was. They’re both athletic and talented. I just don’t think biking is their thing.”

Article Source: USA Cycling 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stronger Jelly Belly Team Aiming High In 2014

By: Pat Malach

Lloyd, Rathe and Rodriguez open new options for American team

The 2014 Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis team

Jelly Belly-Maxxis team manager Danny Van Haute has the type of problem this year that all managers hope for; his 2014 roster is so flush with talent that he might have trouble deciding which card to play on any given day.

In the past, the team went with the one card that most of the Continental squads have to play when competing against the WorldTour and Pro Continental teams that show up for North America's high-profile UCI stage races: infiltrate the breakaways tp get the TV time that the sponsors crave.

But with a roster that now includes three former WorldTour riders - Matthew Lloyd, Jacob Rathe and reigning US road champion Freddie Rodriguez - along with a core group of over-achievers from last year, Van Haute and team director Matty Rice will have some tough decisions to make.

"I think we have the guns to do more now," Van Haute told Cyclingnews recently from the team's training camp north of San Diego. "So we have to think strategy now. So if this scenario happens what do we do here. Let's do this, let's do that. So I think our team meetings will be a little longer this year."

Lloyd, who won the mountains classification and a stage of the 2010 Giro d'Italia, is an obvious GC threat for the team, and he'll have help from fellow climbers Kirk Carlsen and Luis Lemus. Meanwhile, Rodriguez will benefit from the lead-out experience of Rathe, who over the past two years was often near the front of the Garmin-Sharp train and was the last man in line to drop Tyler Farrar off for his stage win at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California.

Add into the mix 2013 Cascade Cycling Classic overall winner Serghei Tvetcov, Nature Valley Grand Prix stage winner Sean Mazich, two-time Mexican road champion Lemus, Ian Burnett and Nic Hamilton, and the team is raising expectations for the upcoming season.

"Our goals are set high," Van Haute said. "In the past I think our goals were set a little bit low, but you have to adjust that with the riders that you have. So this year, finally, we're pretty confident that staff-wise, rider-wise, we're pretty confident that when we're at the Amgen Tour of California, when we're at USA Pro Challenge, Philadelphia, Tour of Utah, we're contenders.

"That's how we all feel," Van Haute said. "We can go into these races now and, yeah, put somebody in the break like we always do, but we also have an opportunity to win a stage or maybe a good showing in the GC."

Van Haute said that although the team is targeting the big North American UCI races this season rather than trying to be the top team on the National Race Calendar, all of the events Jelly Belly enters will will be fodder for wins and stepping stones toward greater success.

"Is Gila a goal? Absolutely," Van Haute said. "Is Redlands a goal? Absolutely. They all are in a line, and we're building and building until we get to Amgen, until we get to USA Pro Challenge, until we get to the Tour of Utah. Those are all little steps to getting there, and before you know it we're winning a lot of races."

Lloyd will start his season with the team at Gila, where he will fine tune his form after coming over from his home in Australia, but his first big goal will be California.

"We don't really need to have him shine at Gila, because we have Luis [Lemus] who can climb, we have Kirk [Carlsen] who can climb, which is nice when you have three guys who can support each other," Van Haute said. "We don't have the pressure on Luis every day like last year. He was our only climber. Now we have two or three guys. So let's change it up."

Van Haute is also looking forward to finding out what Rodriguez is capable of achieving with a proper lead out, something Van Haute admitted was weak last year.

"The best we could do last year was maybe bring Freddie to the 1km mark," he said. "Now I think we can bring him to the 400 meter mark. Now we can bring him to the line, and maybe that's what he needs to win a stage."

After a warm up at the Tour de Murrieta following team camp, Jelly Belly will hit the San Dimas stage race, the Redlands Bicycle Classic and possibly the Sea Otter Classic. After the Tour of the Gila and Tour of California, the team will focus on the US pro championships, the North Star Grand Prix [formerly the Nature Valley Grand Prix] and the Philly Cycling Classic. Then Jelly Belly will head across the border into Canada for the Tour de Beauce and the Grand Prix Cycliste Saguenay.

"Then we'll take a big break - about four weeks of not doing anything. Everybody goes home and relaxes," Van Haute said.

The team will start the second half of the season at the cascade Cycling Classic, where Tvetcov will get a chance to defend his 2013 overall win.

"Then we hope to get invites to Utah, USA Pro [Challenge] and Tour of Alberta," Van Haute said. "And then we'll go into our Asia phase. I've applied for some races there - some races in Japan and some races in China. If we get the invites we'll go, if not, our season is pretty much done in September."

Article Source: Cycling News

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

10 Conclusions from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

By: Barry Ryan

1. Radio-free Europe Tour

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, so the truism goes, is not the Tour of Flanders. It’s 50 kilometres shorter, the final climb is much further from the finish and no serious Ronde contender is at peak condition a month out from the big day. On Saturday, however, it was a more recent difference between the two races that stood out.

When Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) went clear with Lars Boom (Belkin) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky), it looked like the winning move, but then a curious thing happened. Terpstra opted to sit up, calculating that Tom Boonen would have a better chance of winning from a large group than he would of beating Boasson Hagen in the sprint himself. There was one major drawback: by that point Boonen was no longer part of the chasing group, and the only Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider remaining was noted non-sprinter Stijn Vandenbergh.

Terpstra had no way of knowing that Boonen had been dropped, because as a non-WorldTour race, radio earpieces are not permitted at the Omloop and his team car was still behind the chasing group. Boom’s subsequent puncture meant that the move may have struggled to stay clear regardless, but the point remains. If Terpstra found himself in a similar situation at E3 Harelbeke or the Tour of Flanders, for instance, he would have been instantly updated on Boonen’s whereabouts and taken a very different decision. There are deeply entrenched views on whether radio earpieces make for better races or worse races, but one thing is clear – they certainly make for different races.

2. No Pompeiana? No problem

On the eve of the Belgian opening weekend came confirmation that the climb of Pompeiana will not feature in Milan-San Remo after all and the race will revert, for this year at least, to the pre-2008 route. You’d get a very different opinion from the likes of Joaquim Rodriguez and Philippe Gilbert, of course, but the riders canvassed in Belgium over the weekend made little secret of their pleasure at that development.

“The oldest course is the nicest one,” Boonen said of Milan-San Remo, and the action at Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne supported that old adage that it is the riders themselves, rather than the route, who make a race.

The last climb at Het Nieuwsblad is almost 40 kilometres from the finish line, while Kuurne is traditionally written off as a sprinters’ benefit. Yet the absence of a decisive hill in the finale did not diminish either of the weekend’s races; quite the opposite. Set-piece climbs in the latter stages of major races often serve only to calcify riders’ inhibitions and the relative inertia of the favourites before the last Kwaremont-Paterberg double at the past two Tours of Flanders is a case in point.

At Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne, by contrast, there is no set “script” in the finale. Their flat run-ins are instead like blank pages, and allow plenty of scope for invention and creativity. Since 1982, Milan-San Remo’s Cipressa-Poggio combination has served a similar purpose – neither too difficult nor too easy, it is familiar but still always open to new interpretations. As Omloop and Kuurne showed this weekend, that’s never a bad recipe for a classic.

3. A change of approach at Team Sky?

Ian Stannard’s Het Nieuwsblad victory is an early-morale booster for Team Sky’s often-maligned classics unit. Although it should also be noted that they have performed strongly on the opening weekend in each of their previous four seasons only to fall flat over longer distances and at higher stakes in April. However Team Sky delivered a very cohesive team showing on Saturday, with third-placed Boasson Hagen, Luke Rowe and Bernhard Eisel all playing their part in support of Stannard.

Initially – and externally, it should be added – much of the blame for Team Sky’s low-key classics display last year was placed on their decision to train at Mount Teide rather than race at Tirreno-Adriatico or Paris-Nice beforehand. Yet although that experiment will not be repeated this year, the team’s riders and staff insist that it was not the root cause of their woes on the cobbles.

Directeur sportif Servais Knaven pointed to the fact that many of his riders fell ill before the Tour of Flanders as mitigation for their performance, while Ian Stannard made an interesting observation during the recent Tour of Qatar when he wondered whether the team’s policy of approaching the classics with multiple leaders, all on an equal standing, had proved counter-productive.

On Saturday, Team Sky appeared to enter the race with a more fixed hierarchy than normal, whereby Stannard was the acknowledged leader and the fast-finishing Boasson Hagen his foil, and it will be interesting to see if a clearer demarcation of roles leads to significant improvements at Flanders and Roubaix. Incidentally, Stannard’s win also marks out his territory on the team for Paris-Roubaix, where Bradley Wiggins is set to make his first appearance since 2011.

4. Being Tom Boonen

Boonen’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne triumph was the 22nd classic or semi-classic victory since he got off the mark by winning E3 Harelbeke ten years ago. In that time, only two springs – 2010 and the injury-hit 2013 – have gone by without a Boonen victory on the cobbles. It’s a remarkable record, all the more so considering that he has been under the unrelenting focus of his home media and public throughout.

Gazet van Antwerpen’s Guy Van Den Langenbergh recently sat Boonen and Fabian Cancellara down together for an interview, published this weekend, and one exchange offered some insight into what life is like for Belgium’s most famous sportsman.

“I don't go to the supermarket because everybody is always looking at what I am buying when I go there,” Boonen said, to the horror of Cancellara.

It’s the kind of attention that has proved far too much for more than one young Belgian rider over the years, and Boonen has experienced his own share of turbulence during his career, but he has also shown remarkable endurance and resilience. At 33 years of age, he is still winning, still smiling – and still the man to beat on the cobbles.

5. The Empire Strikes Back

“The Tour of Qatar is not the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad,” Sporza television co-commentator José De Cauwer said when it emerged that Tom Boonen had been dropped on Saturday afternoon, suffering in the cold conditions. Indeed, on a disappointing afternoon for Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Niki Terpstra was one of the few to perform to his expected level and it left some wondering if the team’s domination in Qatar had been over-stated.

The Omega Pharma-QuickStep response arrived a day later at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and in emphatic fashion. Stijn Vandenberg set a fierce pace on the Oude Kwaremont, and by the summit there were five black jerseys in the leading group of ten. Over the next 60 kilometres, with help from a strong Belkin trio, they held off the chasing peloton and Boonen – inevitably – won the group sprint.

Team Sky directeur sportif Servais Knaven noted that the best teams have their riders in the right position before crucial climbs nine times out of ten, and after their Omloop disappointment, QuickStep were not going to miss out again. They don’t always win the classics (though they often do), but year after year, QuickStep set the standards that everyone else much match. It would be a surprise if that wasn’t the case again in 2014.

6. How soon is now for Van Avermaet?

Greg Van Avermaet’s failure to beat Ian Stannard at Het Nieuwsblad will only give further succour to those who look to dismiss the Belgian as a nearly man – his 2011 Paris-Tour victory, still a classic no matter what the WorldTour calendar might say, is often and unfairly overlooked – but there are still some positives to be drawn from his second place finish.

In the finale, Van Avermaet showed more confidence and initiative than he has done in such situations in the past. He forced the pace on the Leberg, led the chase of the Terpstra-Boom-Boasson Hagen group, and then seized the chance to launch the winning move with Stannard.

For the second year running at Omloop, however, the devil was in the detail. Last season, he suffered an untimely fringale on the run-in to Ghent. This time around, like many others, Van Avermaet was short of a layer of clothing when the heavens opened after the midway point, and short of a glove come the finish. Small but vital details that decide races. “My body didn't react anymore as I thought it would react,” he said of the sprint, where he was surprisingly beaten by Stannard.

7. Vanmarcke and Belkin bubbling under

Sep Vanmarcke didn’t come away with a win from the opening weekend in Belgium but he did enough over the two days to suggest that he will be a major factor at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix this year.

He seemed one of the strongest men in the race on Saturday, and was equally prominent at Kuurne, where he was a driving force in the Belkin/QuickStep alliance that decided the race before helping himself to third place at to finish.

His cameo on the Taaienberg during Omloop was particularly striking. The climb is Boonen’s traditional early-season test site, but this time it was Vanmarcke who issued the silent statement of intent by hammering his way up the smooth gutter on the right hand side of the road and stretching the peloton. Eight years Boonen’s junior, Vanmarcke seems the man most likely to inherit his crown as Belgium’s top classics rider – although Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne showed that there is no abdication planned just yet.

Lars Boom was already in fine shape at the Tour of Qatar and but for his untimely puncture and an agonisingly slow wheel change, the finale of Het Nieuwsblad could have had a very different complexion. Belkin’s strong team display at Kuurne and young Moreno Hofland’s second place finish are further encouraging signs for the Dutch squad.

8. an emerging classics force

Some WorldTour teams have the tendency to treat the Belgian calendar as though it contains fixtures to fulfill rather than races to win, but as befits a double Paris-Roubaix winner, manager Marc Madiot has never made any secret of his predilection for the cobbled classics. Prior to his retirement, Frédéric Guesdon was always a redoubtable presence on the pavé but he often seemed to be ploughing a lone furrow at FDJ. This year, it seems as though Madiot is finally on the cusp of developing a classics team commensurate with his ambitions.

FDJ’s young guns probably still a couple of years away from challenging for the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix, but they were audacious at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Yoann Offredo (who at 27 is admittedly no longer a classics neophyte) and Arnaud Démare both had the legs and the gumption to make it across to Terpstra and Boom’s attack, while former junior world champion Johan Le Bon exceeded expectations with his aggressive showing. “Before, we used to be spectators, but now we’re actors. We’re in the game more,” Madiot told L’Équipe.

9. Phinney takes a step forward

When Taylor Phinney (BMC) said in January that he had just enjoyed the best and most consistent winter of his professional career, it could easily have been dismissed as the kind of thing every cyclist tells the press – and perhaps tells themselves – at the outset of every new season.

However the young American’s performances since have borne out his assertion. Already the winner of the time trial and general classification at the Dubai Tour last month, Phinney was very much to the fore at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday.

Phinney’s brief was to work for Greg Van Avermaet. He was instrumental in helping to set up his teammate’s attack in the finale and his eventual seventh place capped off his best display on the cobbles since turning professional. Crashing out of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne took some of the gloss off the weekend. He needed six stitches in his knee but x-rays showed he did not fracture any ribs. He will no doubt face a painful week before starting Paris-Nice but his spring cobbled Classics campaign remains on track.

It now remains to be seen what progress Phinney can make in April as part of new manager Allan Peiper’s more streamlined BMC classics squad, where there are fewer potential leaders than before but perhaps a greater sense of purpose.

10. Not quite a dress rehearsal

More than one team manager this weekend described Het Nieuwsblad as a dress rehearsal for the Tour of Flanders but it’s worth noting too that a number of the leading players are saving themselves for the big occasion. Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan and Filippo Pozzato were among the contenders for April honours to miss the Opening Weekend, mindful perhaps that the last man to win the Omloop and a monument in the same year was Johan Museeuw in 2000.

Meanwhile, the riders who did show up were not yet in full voice, at least according to Boonen, who said: “If you are 100 percent for Omloop, you can forget about the Classics later. You can be up to 80 or 85 percent of your possibility, that is all.” Not so much a dress rehearsal for the classics, then, as much a teaser trailer. Three weeks from Milan-San Remo and five from the Tour of Flanders, there is still plenty of scope for late rewrites to the script.

Article Source: Coach Calorie 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jamis Xenith SL (2014)

Jamis Xenith SL (2014)
[re]designed. [re]engineered. [re]ignited.

Jamis Road Product Manager Todd Corbitt talks about the new Xenith SL for 2014
Video also stars rider Phil Mooney from Team Jamis Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home

Video Produced by Jamis Bicycles