Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Who will win the 2017 Tour de France?

Chris Froome looks to be on cruise control, but Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet, and others will surely challenge the Briton next July. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
MILAN (VN) — Chris Froome dominated the 2016 Tour de France over the last three weeks and rode into Paris on Sunday with a 4:05 winning margin over his nearest rival. Will victory be his again in 2017, and if not, who will challenge him?
The Sky rider took his third title in what many critics called a boring edition of the Tour. What bodes well though is that only 1:12 separated second place from fifth place. Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Adam Yates (Orica – BikeExchange), and Richie Porte (BMC Racing) — who finished second through fifth, respectively — all had a shot at the podium and all showed promise for the 2017 edition.
“I’ve won it three times, I can’t say the novelty has worn off,” said Froome, confirming his plans to return for next year’s edition. “It’s such a big dream to have the yellow jersey. It’s an honor, the biggest in our sport. I hope to be back next year to fight again.”
It is not just Froome, but the Froome/Sky combination that makes the possibility of a fourth title appear likely. Froome, in many key moments, had two to three helpers by his side when his rivals had none.
Colombian Nairo Quintana appears most likely to take Froome’s crown. He has been knocking on the door since his debut in 2013, and after 2015 he appeared ready to step up and win the race after two second-place finishes. He pedaled anonymously through this Tour and only his steady, defensive riding earned him a third place.
Quintana’s Spanish WorldTour team Movistar may need to make changes. It could start with the results of expected medical tests because at the Tour, Quintana said, “my legs are not working as they normally do.” The team may decide to tweak his training and racing so that he spends more time in Europe instead of Colombia.
Just as Froome has done with his Tour titles, Richie Porte clearly won the right to lead BMC Racing in the future. American Tejay van Garderen struggled to hang on in the third week and had no explanation why.
“It does give me confidence [for the future],” Porte said of his fifth-place result. “A few times, I had a bit of bad luck, but it’s exciting for next year. I hope to come back and give it another crack and see what I can do.”
Had Porte not punctured in stage 2 or crashed in stage 19, a podium place would have been likely. Along with Bardet, he sparked the race when it smoldered. He attacked on the Finhaut-Emosson summit finish and time trialed like a grand tour winner. If BMC reinforces its team, it could have its second Australian Tour winner after Cadel Evans in 2011.
France is looking for its first grand tour victory since 1985. It hinges its hopes on Bardet after this year’s stage win at Le Bettex and second overall. Bardet, however, will need to improve his time trialing if he hopes to win one day.
Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador would normally sit higher up the favorites list, but next season he will be 34 years old and adjusting to his new Trek – Segafredo team. The American WorldTour team will likely support the Spaniard from Madrid, who already counts seven grand tour wins, over Dutchman Bauke Mollema. Mollema sat second overall in this Tour, but cracked and slipped to 11th.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali will likely lead his new Bahrain team in the 2017 Tour. He has one Tour, one Vuelta, and two Giro titles on his palmarès.
Going deeper, fans have reason to be excited with Yates, Esteban Chaves (Orica), Fabio Aru (Astana), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL – Jumbo), and Tom Dumoulin (Giant – Alpecin) all improving.
The bad news is that American fans will have to wait some years before they celebrate another Tour win, without an obvious challenger in sight.
Article Source: Velo News

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cummings replaces Kennaugh on British Cycling's team for Olympic Games

Team Sky rider withdraws himself from men's road team
Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) takes the win (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

British Cycling and the British Olympic Association announced Tuesday that Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) has replaced Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) on the team heading to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. According to a press release from the national governing body, Kennaugh withdrew himself from the men's road team.

The press release noted that Kennaugh has volunteered to step down after struggling for form since returning from breaking his right collarbone in the Tour of California two months ago, and that Cummings was the first reserve for Rio and he accepted the place.

"London 2012 was one of the highlights of my career so I am gutted to be missing out on Rio but, knowing that I am not able to give my best, I felt it was my duty to withdraw," Kennaugh said.

With regard to Kennaugh volunteering to give up his place, British Cycling programmes director Andy Harrison said, "I am disappointed for Pete but I respect his decision and I'm sure he can bounce back and finish his season strongly. Clearly Steve is in excellent form and I'm certain he will do Team GB proud."

British Cycling announced the men's road team in June to include Kennaugh along with Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates and Ian Stannard. But it was considered a controversial selection because of the absence of Cummings, who this year alone has won stages at Tirreno-Adriatico, Pais Vasco, Criterium du Dauphine and most recently in stage 7 at the Tour de France.

In addition, the initial selection included all Team Sky riders with the exception of Yates, who competes on the road for Orica-BikeExchange. After his Olympic snub, Cummings called for Rod Ellingworth to be replaced as Great Britain's road race coach due to a 'conflict of interest' between his role for British Cycling and his duties at Team Sky. "I criticise the coach. I criticise the tactics, I criticise the selection criteria, and I criticise British Cycling," Cummings said at the time.

In British Cycling's press release, however, Ellingworth said "As always when selecting a team for a road race, the ideal situation is to leave the decision as late as possible as it's difficult to predict riders' form and health so far out.

"Since the selection panel made the original decision, there's been 38 days of WorldTour racing during which time we've had some excellent results from the British Cycling squad, for example we've had British riders wear the yellow, green and white jerseys at the Tour de France.

"I'm confident that with this team, Team GB can be competitive at the men's road race in Rio."

Cummings is pleased to be added to the Olympic team saying, "I've shown over the 2016 season to date that I am in great shape and I look forward to going to Rio to represent my country and hopefully we as a team come back with a medal from the road race."

Article Source: Cycling News

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Quintana Waves White Flag, Resets Sights on Podium

Nairo Quintana has not looked like his usual self on the climbs at this year's Tour de France. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
By Andrew Hood

CHAMONIX, France (VN) — Nairo Quintana waved the white flag Thursday in the 2016 Tour de France.

On another day when he would have expected to gain time, the two-time Tour runner-up lost 1:10 to Sky’s Chris Froome in Thursday’s climbing time trial. Still fourth, but now 4:37 behind, the Movistar leader will be fighting to save a podium spot with only two mountain stages left.

“Now we have to fight for the podium,” Quintana said at the line. “The overall win is very difficult. Froome is untouchable.”

In what’s one of the biggest disappointments of this Tour, Quintana has not been able to challenge Froome at any phase of the race. Despite a few tepid attacks early on Mont Ventoux, the Colombian has been a shadow of the rider he was in 2013 and 2015, when he gave the Sky captain a run for his money.

What’s happening? Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué hinted that Quintana was pummeled in the crosswinds between the Pyrénées and Alps. Although he never lost time, the effort to fight for position cost him so much strength he had nothing left in the tank to attack. Also, Sky has been a much stronger unit than Movistar, and Froome is firmly establishing himself as the best Tour rider of his generation.

“This is not my normal performance for me,” said a frustrated Quintana. “I don’t know what’s happening. Maybe it’s some sort of allergy. Maybe the rain that is forecasted will help me feel a little better.”

Quintana will now be racing to secure a podium spot. In two Tour starts, he’s been second both times. Anything less than the podium in a year when he was vying for the yellow jersey is a stinging disappointment.

It won’t be easy. Although he is only 45 seconds adrift of second-place Bauke Mollema (Trek – Segafredo) and 21 seconds behind third-place Adam Yates (Orica – BikeExchange), he is only 20 seconds ahead of fifth-place Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and 23 seconds ahead of Richie Porte (BMC), now in sixth.

All five of are only separated by 68 seconds, so the fight for the podium will be intense as those riders will forget about Froome, and start attacking each other.

“There are still two hard stages left, and we are going to try to do it as best as we possibly can,” said Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde. “Everyone knows after today that [winning] the Tour is very complicated.”

Quintana, 26, won’t be happy with how this Tour has gone, and confirmed Thursday he will race the Vuelta a España in August following the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. With Froome dominating this year’s Tour, his “yellow jersey dream” (sueño amarillo”) will have to be put on hold until next summer.

Article Source: velonews.com

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tour de France: Stage 16 Highlights


Sagan beats Kristoff in Berne with a bike throw

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) added his third stage win of the 2016 Tour de France Monday in Berne, taking out the bunch sprint from a reduced group ahead of Katusha's Alexander Kristoff. The stage decision came down to the finish photo, as Sagan won by a tyre width with a perfectly timed bike throw as Kristoff hesitated.

The 206km stage from Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne, Switzerland, was on of the longest of the Tour, but the flat parcours didn't offer much in the form of challenges to break up the bunch. A short cobbled climb in the closing kilometres nixed the chances for the pure sprinters, leaving all-rounders like Sagan and Kristoff to battle for the win.

Etixx-QuickStep teammates Tony Martin and Julian Alaphilippe decided to make the peloton work hard before the second rest day of the Tour, taking off after 10 hard opening kilometres of racing for a two-man time trial. Three-time UCI time trial world champion Martin supplied most of the power to the breakaway, holding off a four-rider chase and the peloton until just before 20km to go.

Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) then tried his luck with a solo move, but he was swept up with 4km to go as the sprinters' teams closed in on the finish for their fast men.

Article Source: Cycling News

Friday, July 15, 2016

Prudhomme: ‘The Tour Must Go On’

Christian Prudhomme met with the media in Qatar on Friday. Photo: Gregor Brown | VeloNews.com

BOURG-SAINT-ANDEOL, France (AFP) — Friday’s 13th stage of the Tour de France will go ahead despite the terror attack which killed at least 84 people in Nice on Thursday night, Tour director Christian Prudhomme said.

But a minute’s silence was to be held both at the start and finish lines while the publicity caravan that precedes the Tour along each stage route will be silent in memory of the terror attack victims.

“We want this day to be dignified in hommage to the victims,” said Prudhomme ahead of the start of the stage, a 37 kilometer time trial from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to La Caverne du Pont d’Arc in the south of France.

Ireland’s Sam Bennett was the first rider to start his race against the clock at 10:05 a.m. local time. Race leader Chris Froome was due to start last at 4:49 p.m.

The yellow jersey wearer, who suffered his own personal drama in a sensational stage 12 finish on Mont Ventoux on Thursday, paid tribute to the victims on Twitter.

“Thoughts are with those affected by the horrific terror attack in Nice,” he wrote, alongside a picture of the French flag.

Tour organisers met with local government officials, gendarme police and GIGN anti-terror special forces earlier on Friday before deciding to proceed with the stage.

“The day’s stage in the Ardeche is maintained. We asked ourselves the question but we think, in agreement with State authorities, that the race must go on,” said Prudhomme.

“And that we must not give in to the pressure of those who want us to change our way of life. The Tour will continue with restraint and dignity. Our thoughts are with the victims, we commiserate with all those affected, who’ve lost their loved ones, who are injured in their bodies or in their souls.

“It’s a day of mourning for France and a day of mourning for the Tour de France.”

A minute’s silence was held in the departure village before Bennett set off on his time trial.

Another minute’s silence will be held at the finish when the various distinctive jersey wearers head up to the victory podium to receive their prizes.

Article Source: http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/prudhomme-tour-must-go_414810

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Tour de France: Porte expects Movistar and Sky to set the tempo

Richie Porte (BMC) answers questions from the press pre-stage (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
BMC teammate van Garderen expecting fireworks

Other than Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) losing time and Adam Yates unnecessarily losing rather a lot of skin, the majority of the GC contenders in this year's Tour de France came throughstage 7 relatively unscathed.

Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) safely finished in the group containing their principle rivals, with the Australian expecting far sterner tests in the weekend stages that traverse through the Pyrenees.
"Movistar and Team Sky will make it hard but we don't really know what's going to happen," Porte said at the end of stage 7.
The pace throughout Friday's stage varied dramatically. During the opening phase the riders were left breathless until a large break – containing race leader Greg Van Avermaet  – went clear. The mood relaxed as much as it could for a Tour stage, and the pace up the final ascent of the Col d'Aspin was steady rather than relentless – although it was too much for Pinot, who saw his podium aspirations slip away as the peloton distanced him for around three minutes.
"It's not easy if a guy like Pinot is dropped," van Garderen said.
"With the next two days coming up people are nervous with what's to come. We're going to see some fireworks."
Porte found the pace on the Col d'Aspin comfortable and with Van Avermaet up the road the rest of the BMC squad had an excuse to sit back while others controlled the bunch.
"It was a bit strange with Greg jumping in the breakaway. The pace wasn't that high. Tony Martin was riding for a part of it and it never really got too crazy. I felt good and it's another day down. It could have been quite tricky but it all went well. There's two more hard days to come and it was such a steady pace that I don't think too much damage was going to be done."
Unlike van Garderen, Porte still has time to make up after his first week puncture saw him concede 1:45.
"The morale is good though and I'm climbing with the best. The time loss still hurts but I'll take it day-by-day." 
Article Source: Cycling News 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Custom, New & Secret Bikes At The Tour De France 2016



There are some stunning custom bikes on show at the Tour de France this year. Here are just a few of them

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Which Group Do You Belong In?


In case you ever wondered what group ride you belong in, here is a guide to help you find the perfect group for you. Remember that riding a bike has inherent dangers and you should be in good physical health before you begin any exercise program. Be honest with yourself when you evaluate where you belong. If you are on the fence, ride one group down. You can always move up if it's not for you. Remember this is just a guide.

GROUP LEADER: These riders are completely comfortable in the peloton. They have the ability to communicate their intentions on the road or off and possess superior handling skills on the bike. A group leader can fix most on the road mechanicals and can assist others with theirs. They are comfortable riding home alone if they get dropped. This person can maintain a very high pace in excess of 23-25 MPH for a sustained distance on the Road or a steady high pace on the mountain depending on ride type. A ride leader knows his or her abilities and will not endanger other riders by attempting un-mastered skill in a group; she/he can assume the responsibility of ride leader and knows how to maintain a group ride. They can notice when a rider is suffering and take action to keep the group going.

A Group: Riders are completely comfortable in the peloton this rider has the ability to communicate their intentions on the road or off and possess superior handling skills on the bike. An A group rider can fix most on the road mechanicals and can assist others with theirs. They are comfortable riding home alone if they get dropped. This person can maintain a very high pace in excess of 23-25 MPH for a sustained distance on the Road or a steady high pace on the mountain depending on ride type.

B Group: Riders are fairly comfortable in group situations; they possess the necessary handling skills and experience to avoid most crashes. This rider can maintain a pace in excess of 18mph for a sustained distance on the Road or a steady quick pace on the mountain depending on ride type. He/she is competent with most mechanical situations, this rider is confident enough in their abilities to make it home alone in the event of being dropped by the group. This rider is completely versed in group communication and exercises on the side of caution. This rider is looking to better their skills and is comfortable being pushed a little to improve their riding.

C Group: This rider is new to cycling and is still learning the ins and outs of group riding. This rider should be able to maintain a pace in the 15-18 mph range. He/she is learning how to communicate with a group. Ideally this rider is gaining in strength and is not easily scared of close riding. He/she is comfortable on the bike and understands how all the components work, should be able to change a flat and perform some limited mechanical in an emergency. This rider is physically fit and able to ride on their own if necessary.

D Group: This rider is new to the bike and may be learning how everything works with the bike. He/she should be confident with some limited mechanical and be able to change their tire. (A must in group riding) The rider may need instruction on equipment and the dynamics of a group ride. This rider can maintain a pace in excess of 10mph and should be able to cover up to 20 miles in a single ride. This rider should be willing to listen to an instructor or ride leader during the ride. This rider should learn all they can about group ride etiquette. This rider should give lots of room to the other riders around to increase safety.