Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Italy build Worlds squadra around Viviani and Nizzolo

'Unfortunately for us Cavendish is on form,' says coach Cassani
Elia Viviani and Giacomo Nizzolo (Bettini Photo)

Italy has still to name its team for the elite men’s road race world championships in Qatar but the squadra azzurra is all but decided, with national coach Davide Cassani hoping that Elia Viviani or Giacomo Nizzolo can step up and produce a sprint that can beat bigger name rivals and faster finishers such as Peter Sagan, Andre Greipel, Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen.

Cassani was at the Giro della Toscana last week observing his riders and Italy’s rivals. He saw Sam Bennett win the final stage and noted that Cavendish was strong despite losing to the Irishman.

“Unfortunately for us Cavendish is on form…” Cassani told Cyclingnews.

Cassani is expected to name his squad of 11 riders after Thursday’s Gran Piemonte race. Eleven riders will be selected and will travel to Qatar, with nine riders starting the race on Sunday October 16. The riders expected to pull on the Italian jersey are Viviani, Nizzolo, Daniele Bennati, Fabio Sabatini, Jacopo Guarnieri, Matteo Trentin, Manuel Quinziato, Daniel Oss, Sonny Colbrelli, Marco Coledan and Filippo Pozzato.

Both Viviani and Nizzolo staked a claim to team leadership when speaking to Cyclingnews during the Tour of Britain, with a final decision likely to be made on the eve of the race depending on their form and the weather conditions in Qatar.

The Italian team will gather for a short get together next week before riders compete at Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours with their trade teams. Former Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi has been invited along to inspire some national pride and perhaps recall how he sacrificed his own chances to lead out Mario Cipollini in 2002 when he won the rainbow jersey. Italy was once the dominant nation at the world championships but has not won the rainbow jersey since 2008, when Alessandro Ballan won in Varese. Cassani is under pressure but aware that he does not have the fastest or most experienced sprinter in the peloton.

“We aren’t the favourites that’s for sure. The favourites are Sagan, Greipel and Boonen, who has won 22 stages in Qatar and the whole Tour of Qatar four times. Tom is devastating in the wind,” Cassani told Gazzetta dello Sport as he discussed the form of the Italian riders and their rivals.

“The weather will be a big factor on the day. If there’s no wind then it’ll just be a normal sprint race. If it’s windy, then it’ll be very hard and just a group of 30 or 40 riders, coming from the front two echelons. The heat will also play a big part. Temperatures of between 36 and 39 degrees are expected. It’s not easy to race in heat like that for 250km and it's something nobody has ever really faced before in a World Championships. I’ll need to look the guys in the eye to see who is riding better before I decide leadership roles and strategies."

A strong collective

The Italian team seems built for a hard day in the Qatar desert, with strong domestiques such as Oss, Quinziato and Sabatini all good in the wind. Like France and Germany, the Italian squadra will also have two sprinters in its starting nine. Bennati will be the experienced road captain with Colbrelli expected to have some kind of leadership role after his recent run of success in the Italian one-day races.

“We’ll have two sprinters as protected riders in Viviani and Nizzolo,” Cassani confirmed to Cyclingnews at the recent Giro della Toscana. Both are going well. It’s just a pity that Viviani was ill and missed the Eneco Tour. He needed it to find some endurance. To be competitive he needs to be 100% but he knows how to read a sprint.

“Bennati is like wine, he gets better as he gets older. He’s an important rider for the team. He knows how to race in the wind in Qatar and has experience. Colbrelli is riding well and I’ve got a lot trust in him even if there are questions about his ability in the heat and the echelons.

“Bennati, Oss, Sabatini, Guarnieri, Trentin and Quinziato can all teach people a few things about riding in echelons. We’ll be a strong collective but we’re aware that it’ll be difficult to win. If we don’t get a result we’ll just roll up our sleeves, try to understand why and work harder for the future.”

Article Source: Cycling News

Sunday, September 25, 2016

5 Ways To Ride Faster Without Getting Fitter

We all want to ride our bikes faster, but, we don't necessarily want to train to get there. Here are a few shortcuts.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bahrain – Merida to UCI: Keep 18 teams in the WorldTour

Vincenzo Nibali's new team is angling for a spot in the 2017 WorldTour. Photo: Tim De Waele |
MILAN (VN) — Bahrain – Merida says it is confident about debuting in the UCI WorldTour next year, but it wants to see cycling’s governing body keep 18 teams at the top level instead of cutting it to 17. The current squads are racing for points before the 2016 season closes while they head into the unknown.
South African Brent Copeland, who managed Lampre – Merida over the last three years, accepted the general manager role this summer on the new Bahraini team from the Persian Gulf. Part of his immediate concern is making sure the team, which will include Vincenzo Nibali from team Astana, holds a 2017 WorldTour license instead of one as a lower-ranked Pro Continental team.
“The license situation is good,” Copeland said during a quiet moment near his home on Italy’s Lake Como.
“All the registration process is moving forward as we planned. We don’t have definite answers from the UCI, none of the teams do because we are all going through the same process waiting on the license commission.”
If successful, the Bahrain – Merida team would become the first Middle East team in the WorldTour. The team is building with several top riders and preparing its WorldTour application for the UCI.
All teams must make a series of deadlines in their WorldTour applications. Registration files are due October 3 and by early November, the UCI license commission should decide. The teams, including those currently in the WorldTour, must apply.
It becomes trickier with a new elimination and promotion system that the governing body wants to introduce that’s based on WorldTour points. The idea is that the lowest-ranked team would lose its spot to the highest placed Pro Continental team for the next season.
This winter, the sport’s top organizer ASO is putting pressure on the UCI to make a planned reduction in teams from 18 to 17. Currently, IAM Cycling and Dimension Data sit at the bottom of the rankings. With IAM Cycling folding, though, that leaves Dimension Data worrying. The question is, however, does Dimension Data keep its ranking for the evaluation or move to the 16th spot with Tinkoff, currently in second place, also folding. If Dimension Data stays put, there would be a three-way battle with Bahrain – Merida and German team Bora – Hansgrohe, which is asking for a promotion from the Pro Continental division after Peter Sagan joined.
“It’s two different ways of interpreting the rules. At the moment, it doesn’t seem very clear on how the rules for the 17 teams will be applied,” Copeland said.
“Points-wise, we are there with Bora. The problem is that it becomes a race to see who’s going to get enough points to get the 17th spot because one team will be left out.
“Leaving it at 18 teams is the fairest for everyone. No one wants that Dimension Data is put out of the WorldTour just because of this rule. At the same time, no one wants important sponsors like Bora and Bahrain – Merida to be left out. What would it change for cycling if there are 18 instead of 17 teams?”
ASO wants more control on which teams come to its WorldTour-ranked races like Paris-Roubaix, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and the Tour de France. In the Tour, for example, ASO would be able to invite five wildcard teams, instead of four, from the Pro Continental ranks if the WorldTour teams were limited to 17. However, one selection would seem obvious if Dimension Data fell into the lower ranks, since the South African information technology company also sponsors ASO’s races.
Copeland spoke confidently, though. He can afford to do so with backing from a group of Bahraini businesses, like the BAPCO Petroleum Company and the world’s second largest bicycle manufacturer, Merida. They are helping Copeland and his group present their application to the UCI.
The group is growing quickly. In addition to announcing contracts for cyclists like Nibali, the team created its service headquarters base near Milan, signed a clothing deal with Sportful, and hired experienced sport directors Gorazd Stangelj (from Astana) and Tristan Hoffman (Tinkoff). Almost everything is in place. Now it just needs a racing license.
Article Source: Velo News

Monday, September 19, 2016

Defending Champion Tim Wellens Downplaying Eneco Tour Chances - News Shorts

Positive test for Samuele Conti, Third straight NRS victory for Joe Cooper, European Championships video highlights
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) (Bettini Photo)

Two time Eneco Tour Tim Wellens is aiming to make it hat-trick this week at the final stage race of the 2016 WorldTour calendar. The Lotto Soudal rider won the Tour de Pologne in July and is facing stiff competition for another WorldTour stage win this season.

"I cherish the Eneco Tour very much. In 2014 this race was my first victory so that's why I'm very attached to it. This year it will be harder to win the GC again," said Wellens who will wear the number one dossard for the race. "First of all because I'm not as good as I hoped. After the races in Canada I participated in the GP de Wallonie and I wasn't good. Maybe I had bad legs or maybe I still suffered of the long flight back home. I don't know."
The 25-year-old added that his chances have also been hampered by a change in the parcours.
"Adding to that, the course of this year's Eneco Tour doesn't suit me very well. The organization decided to cut my favourite stage, the one to La Redoute. Fortunately the time trial and the team time trial are no disadvantage. The circuit of the individual time trial is the same as the one in 2014. Usually I’m not at my best in a flat time trial, but if the legs are good that shouldn't make any difference," he added.
With stage 1 looking like being decided in a bunch sprint, the first test for the GC riders comes on stage 2 with the 9.6km Breda time trial key to Wellens' overall aspirations.
"The stage in the Ardennes is usually the stage where I take over the leader's jersey. This year the finish is in Lanaken and the flat finale will make big time differences almost impossible," he said. "The last stage to Geraardsbergen will be the most important one in this edition but also the bonus seconds and the time trial will be decisive. After the time trial on the second day we'll know immediately if I can set a good overall result or not."
Lotto Soudal will have Andre Greipel for the sprints and sports director Herman Frison is expecting the German champion to shine as he prepares for next month's world championships.
"It looks like the Eneco Tour is based on the World Championships in Qatar. First of all it's scheduled much later than usual in the cycling calendar and there are a lot of flat stages. Not even the stage in the Ardennes is hard. All courses are rather flat and the first day could be a simulation of what can happen in Qatar: if there is a bit of wind, the riders can form echelons," Frison said.
Lotto Soudal for the Eneco Tour: Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere, Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts and Marcel Sieberg.

Samuele Conti tests positive, Angelo Citracca to take rider to court
Wilier Trestina-Southeast have announced its rider Samuele Conti tested positive to GHRP-2 on August 13. The 25-year-old rode the Tour of Qinghai Lake in July then recorded a DNF on August 5 at the UCI 1.1  Dwars door het Hageland - Aarschot. He was next in action at the Arnhem-Veenendaal Classic on August 19 where he was 55th.
Team manager Angelo Citracca expressed his anger with Conti's positive test for the growth hormone releasing peptide for undoing all the hard work of the team to ensure a 'transparent' image.
"After spending all the day in the hospital because my son needed a surgery operation I've been informed about Samuele Conti's positivity, a real shock," Citracca said. "We were clear at the beginning of the season about this topic, we have a system of internal controls for making the team the most transparent as possible.
"Unfortunately the actions of an idiot can ruin everything, they put at risk the job of 40 people and the life of 40 families. I spoke with the rider who told me that he took a vitamine supplement but I don't believe this bullshit. I think this is just the excuse of a stupid person who thinks to be smarter than the others. As a team we are totally extraneous and we are ready to take him to court."
Third straight NRS victory for Joe Cooper at National Capital Tour
Avanti IsoWhey SportsJoe Cooper made it three straight NRS wins as he took out the 2016 National Capital Tour ahead of Robert Stannard (mobius Future Racing). Despite crashing on the wet fourth and final stage, Cooper held on to continue his winning streak.
"Nobody really wants to race in these conditions and then everyone wants to take risks and then I end up on the ground because two riders got tangled and took me out. It's pretty average racing when they do that, I'm not 20 anymore and I don't enjoy crashing," Cooper said. "After that, everyone sort of calmed down a bit. If it takes the yellow jersey to fall off for everyone to calm down then so be it.
"It's good to go back to back to back, that is three NRS tours in a row now, I don't know if it's been done before… I'm all about doing things for the first time." 
The NRS continues with the Tour of Tasmania from October 5-9 and concludes October with the Melbourne to Warrnambool on October 15.

Article Source: Cycling News

Friday, September 16, 2016

Five Star Riders Headed to New Teams, but Will They Succeed?

Tony Martin's days of off-season pillow fights are over as he leaves Etixx for Katusha in 2017. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

We cycling fans may struggle to recognize our favorite riders this coming year, as many of them will be flying new colors for different teams. Peter Sagan in Bora black? Tony Martin in Katusha red? Aside from the updated wardrobe, what do the transfers mean for these riders and their new teams? Let’s consider five of the biggest moves for the coming year, and how they might — or might not — work out.

Peter Sagan to Bora – Hansgrohe

Best-case scenario: Based on his exploit at the Rio Olympics mountain bike race, Peter Sagan is getting a little sick of racing road bikes. He certainly likes to have fun and keep things fresh, so a change of scenery with a team that lacks a maniacal overlord (ahem, Oleg Tinkov) might help him stay focused on winning more monuments and other big races.

Worst-case scenario: Although Sagan is capable of racing like a Lone Ranger (and he does love Americana) he really could use a strong team to support his ambitions in the season’s biggest races, like Tour of Flanders and Roubaix. Bora is on a shopping spree, picking up at least six of Sagan’s henchmen from Tinkoff, but will that be enough when they face off with WorldTour mainstays like Etixx – Quick-Step?

Unexpected perk: Between stovetop manufacturer Bora and faucet company Hansgrohe, the Sagan household should be able to do a real nice kitchen remodel in 2017!

Alberto Contador to Trek – Segafredo

Best-case scenario: Okay, so Trek hasn’t officially confirmed Contador’s signing for 2017, but it’s the worst-kept secret in the peloton. [Well, one day after we published this story, Trek confirmed that he’ll race in the pinstripes next season -Ed.] For Contador, this is a chance to really harness the team’s firepower to support one last bid for a grand tour title. He doesn’t have to share the spotlight with Sagan any longer — will the theme of next season be “El Pisolero … Reloaded?”

Worst-case scenario: Oh, wait, we forgot. Contador doesn’t share a team with Sagan any longer, but there’s John Degenkolb (see below) to take some of the limelight and resources. Will that make the leadership situation murky for Contador? It might not matter if he just crashes in the first week of every grand tour he tries to win — like he did in the Tour and the Vuelta this year.

Unexpected perk: After befriending Herman the sheep, Trek’s Tour mascot, Contador swears off meat entirely and never has to worry about a clenbuterol positive again.

Vincenzo Nibali to Bahrain – Merida

Best-case scenario: “The Shark of Messina” wins a few major one-day races, and perhaps a Tour stage. Let’s face it, Nibali won the Giro on the back of a strong Astana team and a healthy dose of luck (good luck for him, bad luck for Steven Kruijswijk). A newly organized team, backed by a Sheik with questionable character, directed by Brent Copeland, who has never led a team to an overall grand tour victory, doesn’t seem like a surefire way to take Giro pink, let alone Tour yellow. Maybe the Vuelta would be possible.

Worst-case scenario: The UCI doesn’t grant Bahrain – Merida a WorldTour license, due to public outcry over Sheik Nasser’s past. Nibali races some of the major events, but gets left out of the Vuelta, which might have been his best chance at an overall win.

Unexpected perk: Timeshares in Bahrain’s opulent palaces during the offseason (blackout dates apply).

Tony Martin to Katusha

Best-case scenario: Martin and Alexander Kristoff both get their grooves back. Martin has won only two time trials so far this season, German nationals and stage 7a at Tour of Britain. While Kristoff has 12 wins, he hasn’t notched a big one (read: WorldTour) since GP Ouest France in 2015. Wait, do we even really count that as truly big? No, Martin needs to rediscover his TT and stage-winning form, and he also needs to put that massive horsepower to good use, supporting Kristoff in the classics.

Worst-case scenario: Martin continues down the rabbit hole of cobbled classics, a pursuit that was essentially fruitless in 2016, and his TT chops continue to dwindle.

Unexpected perk: After five years of compulsory pillow fights with Etixx – Quick-Step in the off-season, Martin will be able to devote himself entirely to cycling when Katusha meets for winter training camps.

John Degenkolb to Trek – Segafredo

Best-case scenario: It’s unreasonable to expect the German to return to his monument-winning ways after fighting through 2016, recovering from January’s traumatic crash and subsequent surgery to reattach his finger. The good news is, this is the team that buoyed Fabian Cancellara to two Flanders wins and one Roubaix victory. Degenkolb should be back at the spring classics in 2017, but whether or not he’ll be able to compete is up to his recovery. We’re not hand surgeons, so we can only send good vibes his way. Perhaps it’s more realistic for him to aim for another cobblestone trophy in 2018, or farther down the road.

Worst-case scenario: Degenkolb’s recovery stalls out and his injured finger doesn’t improve any more. He might never get back to the magic form that earned him an unprecedented Sanremo-Roubaix double in 2015.

Unexpected perk: He opens up a German location for Jasper Stuyven’s family chocolatier — talk about diversifying!

Article Source: Velo News

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Uphill Finishes and Controversies: Guillen Dissects the 2016 Vuelta a Espana

Race director defends the route and discusses the time limit fiasco
The top gradient on the final climb (Tim de Waele/
The Vuelta a España has been steadily growing in stature in recent years, but this year’s edition, despite being a memorable one, saw race director Javier Guillén forced to deal with a string of contentious issues.

Many of these centred on the design of the route, which once again went in for a huge helping of uphill finishes. There were 10 this year, maintaining an average of 9.6 across the five previous editions.

In contrast to the long high-mountain climbs of the Giro or Tour, the Vuelta has become synonymous with shorter, but far steeper, ascents – the ones that are often so narrow and poorly paved that they barely resemble roads. The day after making his way up the 20+ per cent gradients and dusty cement tracks of the Mas de la Costa, Team Sky’s David Lopez struggled to contain his frustration, arguing that the peloton was "sick of going up these impossible climbs” and “wanting the Vuelta to end, and to not have to return."
While the repeated doses of tough summit finishes may not appeal to all – from fatigued riders to fans wanting less of a slugfest – Guillén argues that they play a vital role in enhancing the spectacle – and by extension the sustainability – of the race.
“The following day it was clear he [Lopez] was not speaking on behalf of the peloton, because many put his words into context,” Guillén countered in a Q&A with Spanish sports newspaper AS. “The participation in recent years doesn’t tell us that riders don’t like the Vuelta.
“Furthermore, the riders have as much responsibility as anyone when it comes to thinking about the public, because cycling’s business model depends on its audience. The sport is based on the ‘epic’, but epic isn’t just about the kilometres – it’s also about the efforts. If any cyclist has other ideas that would produce the same result, I’m all ears.”

The exigencies of the route, which led Tyler Farrar to describe this Vuelta as the hardest Grand Tour he’s ever done, can be seen as the cause of some of the race’s controversies.

There were two occasions where riders were criticised for taking it easy – first on the stage to Urdax when the peloton finished over half an hour down on the breakaway, and then on the explosivestage 15 when over 90 riders missed the time cut having been dropped early on.
With regard to the former, one rider made the point on Twitter that such a go-slow was an inevitable by-product when the peloton is expected to provide ‘epic spectacle’ everywhere else.
“I can understand any race circumstance, but there’s a thing that cycling has learned about in recent times: it’s called image. It’s important to give a good image,” says Guillén.
“Losing one minute per kilometre and not making an effort – that’s bad. Some will think of it as a blow to the organiser. Well, no. It’s a blow for everyone. That day there was greater indignation for the way in which it happened, than what happened itself.”
The decision to allow 94 riders back into the race after missing the stage 15 time cut was the one that sparked the biggest polemic of the three weeks. “No other decision could have been taken,” argues Guillén, saying that “there was still a week remaining and we’d have been left without a Vuelta.”
The rules do allow for leniency in the face of exceptional circumstances, but IAM Cycling’s Larry Warbasse revealed the group, which ceased to be a part of the stage after an explosive start, believed they’d have safety in numbers, and weren’t fighting to finish within the limit.
Much was made of the fact that on the next day’s stage the top 13 finishers were all members of that gruppetto, and the conundrum of how to punish riders if you’re not going to apply the rulebook is something of a head-scratcher.
“I’ve spoken to the UCI about this," says Guillén. "But there’s one thing – with economic sanctions, you can purchase rest. We can’t have loopholes where missing the time cut becomes worth it. We have to look for a solution, but I haven’t seen a perfect formula. I don’t see the sense in eliminating them from the next days’ classifications, because they can’t compete partially. If you allow them back in, you do it accepting all the circumstances.”

Despite the issues and debates that will run and run, Guillén was keen to highlight the positives, and sought to highlight the Vuelta's position as an ideal part of a Grand Tour double. 

While Alberto Contador’s 2015 season highlighted the difficulty of the Giro-Tour double, this year’s podium - with Tour rivals Quintana and Froome joined by Giro runner-up Chaves - reflects the Vuelta's suitability to those who have already targeted one of the other three-week races. 
“For me, the message of this Vuelta is that you can do two, and win two," he said. "That’s now becoming the trend. I’m really happy that it’s not just one race that justifies a whole year. Cyclists know that they need the palmares.”
Article Source: Cycling News

Saturday, September 10, 2016

2017 Vuelta to Start in French City of Nimes

Riders at the 2017 Vuelta will start the first two stages in France. Photo: Tim De Waele |
BILBAO, Spain (AFP) — The southern French city of Nimes will host the start of the 2017 Vuelta a España, organizers confirmed Friday.

Race director Javier Guillen told a press conference ahead of the 13th stage of this year’s event in Bilbao that the idea came to him when he attended a bullfight in the southern French city in 2012.

“I liked this city and I made contact with city officials in Nimes, with whom there was an instant rapport because they love Spanish culture. We’ve been working on this project for several years now,” said Guillen, who was accompanied by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.

The 72nd edition of the Vuelta will get underway on August 19, 2017, and will have at least two stages on French soil.

It will be just the third time the race has started outside of Spain — it began in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon in 1997 and in Assen, Netherlands in 2009.

Article Source: Velo News 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sky Hoping for Vuelta Rebound, But it May be Too Late

Missing the decisive breakaway in stage 15 may have been the nail in the coffin of Chris Froome's red jersey aspirations. Photo: Tim De Waele |
Team Sky heads into the Vuelta’s second rest day on the back foot following an embarrassing drubbing in Sunday’s Spanish-style shootout at the Vuelta a España.

Chris Froome lost 2:41 to race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in stage 15 to all but cede hopes of winning an elusive Vuelta crown. The surprise attack in the Pyrenees put Froome a whopping 3:37 back, where he remains after Monday’s stage for the sprinters.

“We’re still in the fight for the Vuelta podium,” said Sky sport director Dario Cioni. “We’re still second on GC, having won two stages.”

On Sunday, a humbled Froome tipped his hat to Quintana and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), who joined forces early in the 118km stage to blow up the Vuelta.

“Credit to them. They rode a really smart race and they have gained a lot of time today on us,” Froome told ITV Sport. “It’s definitely made it a lot more hard now. A minute was manageable. Three minutes is going to be extremely tough.”

Where was Froome in what may have been the decisive moment of the 2016 Vuelta? Race radio reported Froome chasing down the first move, but he missed a second surge from Contador. With other riders jumping on, including Etixx teammate Davide de la Cruz, Cannondale – Drapac’s Davide Formolo and Moreno Moser, Fabio Felline (Trek – Segafredo), and Kenny Elissonde (FDJ), there were 14 riders in the quickly forming group. Key was the presence of two Tinkoffs and two Movistars with Contador and Quintana.

Both Sky and Orica – BikeExchange suggested a crash just as the Contador-Quintana alliance was forming on the road was a key factor.

“Esteban [Chaves] and Jens Keukeleire were very close to being part of the Contador attack,” said Orica sport director Neil Stephens. “But a crash happened right in front of them at the wrong moment. They got held up, and by the time they were around it, it was too late.”

Lotto – Soudal’s Tosh Van der Sande said he crashed out of the Contador group as the break was forming, and posted a picture on Twitter of his back and shoulder covered in gauze coving scrapes and gashes. It’s hard to say how much a crash might have impacted the chase, but the race was on, and it’s unlikely the attacking riders would have known of a crash behind them — and if they did, they certainly would not have stopped.

As the stage unfolded, only Salvatore Puccio and David Lopez were with Froome as the peloton fractured early under the blistering pace, and by the time the Tour winner hit the final climb, both were long gone. Sky seemed to be waving the white flag following Sunday’s uncharacteristic lack of attention.

“Sometimes in sport you have to take a punch in the face,” Sky principal Dave Brailsford told ITV Sport. “You turn around and say, ‘Right, OK, six days left of racing, we’re still in the same position as we were this morning,’ and we will keep on going.”

So is the Vuelta lost for Froome? Logic would say yes. Quintana was saying he wanted to have three minutes on Froome before going into the 37km time trial in stage 19 waiting in the Vuelta’s final weekend. With a gap of 3:37, the Colombian would need to lose more than five seconds per kilometer to Froome, something very unlikely at this late in the season. Even Froome in mid-July, peak Tour de France fitness could not take not that much time out of Quintana, who is steadily improving against the clock.

When asked before the start of Sunday’s stage how much time Quintana needed, Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué said two and a half minutes.

But there is more to this Vuelta than Friday’s decisive time trial. When the peloton returns to racing after the rest day, they’ll take on a steep first-category climb at the end of stage 17. Saturday’s penultimate stage is a rollercoaster until the “especial” summit at Alto de Aitana. Perhaps Froome can take back some time Wednesday, knock it out of the park Friday, and still have the Vuelta within his grasp Saturday.

Perhaps. Strange things happen in the Vuelta. It’s hard to imagine Movistar getting caught asleep at the wheel with less than a week to go in this Vuelta. Quintana is still haunted by his losses in stage 2 in the 2015 Tour. In fact, that’s been driving him all the way into this Vuelta. As the saying goes, the winner is crowned in Madrid.

Article Source: Velo News

Sunday, September 4, 2016

3 Ways To Become A Stronger Cyclist

Ever worked on your 'never-miss-a-turn-ability'? Well, it's just one of the ways that you can become an even stronger cyclist.

When you think of becoming a stronger cyclist it might be that you think of your sprint power, how ripped your legs are, or, maybe, whether you can pull through and take your turn at the front when the weather gets grim. What then means then, is that, although it's difficult to define cycling strength for everyone, there are plenty of ways that you can get stronger on the bike. Here are three of them.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Behind the Brand: Bianchi by Bicycling Magazine

Bianchi Product Manager Angelo Lecchi describes how passion for riding infuses the iconic Italian brand.