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)