Friday, May 26, 2017

How To Ride At Altitude

Matt & Si are riding in the Dolomites, Italy. The altitude can easily effect performance, luckily they're here to help with how to cope when the air is thin.

Ex-Professional Cyclists Simon Richardson and Matt Stephens are here to give you the stats on how cycling at altitude can effect you. All is not lost though. Si and Matt are here to provide advice and tips on how to help you cope with cycling in the mountains. As well as Do's and Dont's!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Commentary: Five Tour of California Takeaways

What will be the lasting storyline from the 2017 Amgen Tour of California? It’s still tough to say. The seven-day race from Sacramento to Pasadena delivered a plethora of compelling tales. Overall winner George Bennett taught us the vague definition for the term “twisting a nut” after his impressive time trial. Andrew Talansky finally ended Cannondale-Drapac’s two-year winless streak on the WorldTour when he won stage 5 at Mt. Baldy. Rally Pro Cycling turned lemons into lemonade by winning two stages after their GC hopes were destroyed by crashes and mechanicals. And yes, team Katusha had a really poopy time in Big Bear.

In lieu of these amazing tales, here are my five takeaways from the week:

1. ToCA becomes Tour prep for classics and sprint teams

With its lumpy (but not too mountainous) parcours and mid-May date, the Amgen Tour of California’s inaugural WorldTour edition attracted more stars from the Belgian classics than grand tour honchos. A quick glance at the rosters from the WorldTour squads not named Cannondale and Lotto-Jumbo revealed a long list of sprinters and cobbled specialists: John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb), Zdenek Stybar and Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step), Ella Viviani (Sky), Matti Breschel (Astana), and of course every Bora rider other than Rafal Majka. For many of these riders, the race was the first leg shaker since Paris-Roubaix way back on April 9, and the official start of Tour prep. Fast guy Tour prep is potentially the new identity for California. GC guys like Chris Froome and Alberto Contador will likely bypass California for the traditional Romandie/Dauphine preparation model, due to timing and the mountainous routes of those races. For the fast men, California presents the perfect opportunity.

2. It’s time for Rally to step up

Rally Pro Cycling stole the show at this year’s Amgen Tour of California. Full stop. Evan Huffman won more stages than anyone else in the race (2), Rob Britton dusted his WorldTour breakaway companions on the climb up Glendora Mountain Road, and Sepp Kuss then climbed alongside the best in the race. It’s difficult to think that, just two months ago, there was a debate within U.S. cycling about whether Rally even deserved to have one of the race’s two Continental berths. Now there’s a new conversation to be had around Rally, and that is whether the team should step up to the Pro Continental level. The step from Continental to Pro Continental is not simple, and would require a few hundred thousand dollars in sponsorship and the addition of riders and staff. The success in California is validation that the team is ready. According to team sources, there is already talk of making the step up in 2018. If the team wants to hold onto Huffman and Kuss, it’s a necessary step.

3. LottoNL-Jumbo gets its reward

Overall winner Bennett was undoubtedly surprised after his fourth-place ride in Saturday’s individual time trial. Yet it was no surprise to see Bennett take the overall. His LottoNL-Jumbo team was strong, with a singular focus on the climbs. Other European WorldTour squads came to the race toting classics contenders and sprinters. LottoNL-Jumbo brought pint-sized climbers, several of whom are U23 riders. When asked how he believed the final stage would play out, Bennett said, “[Majka] will be heading up the inside for sprints, with my team of 15-year-old climbers on the front chasing them down.” The team put its climbing strength on display during stages 2 and 5; during the latter stage it thinned down the bunch before unleashing Bennett. So while it was Bennett’s unlikely time trial that eventually brought him the victory, LottoNL-Jumbo’s decision to bring along those “15-year-old climbers” is what put him in the position to win.

4. Talansky’s Tour prep on track

Cannondale-Drapac’s Andrew Talansky was perhaps the strongest GC rider at the race. He won the stage 5 summit finish and then finished third place in the individual time trial. Talansky is likely still kicking himself for his blunder on stage 2. He decided not to follow Majka, Ian Boswell (Sky), Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data), and eventual overall winner Bennett when they attacked over Mount Hamilton. Talansky later said he expected the group to come back. It didn’t, and the riders put 37 seconds into the American. Did the decision cost Talansky the overall? Perhaps. Still, his performance over the weeklong race points to strong form heading into his final preparation for the Tour de France, the race that he famously skipped last year after a spring wrought with sickness.

5. Morton, Boswell ready for leadership

Boswell and Morton came into the race leading WorldTour squads for the first time. Both men showed they were up to the task when they broke free from the peloton on stage 2 over Mount Hamilton alongside Bennett and Majka. While both men eventually fell out of podium contention, they showed grit and class along the race. Perhaps sensing he was bound to lose his podium position in Saturday’s time trial, Boswell gritted out the summit finish to Mount Baldy, repeatedly fighting his way back to the front group. Morton suffered a mechanical just seconds after starting his time trial. The ensuing slow time pushed him to ninth overall and second in the race’s best young rider’s jersey. The next day, Morton attacked into the breakaway. He helped drive it to the line, grabbing back the best young rider jersey and slotting into seventh overall. Whether the two will be given race leadership duties again this season is yet to be determined.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

George Bennett Wins Tour of California

Huffman wins stage 7 finale in Pasadena

George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) is pumped to be in the yellow jersey (Getty Images Sport)
George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) wrapped up the overall victory at the Amgen Tour of California on Saturday, finishing safely in the peloton on the seventh and final stage to seal his first WorldTour general classification win.

Rally Cycling's Evan Huffman out-sprinted breakaway companions David López (Sky) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis, Solutions Credit) at the finish line in Pasadena to claim his second stage victory of this year's race. 22 seconds later, Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan led the pack across the line for sixth place behind the escapees, securing the green points jersey.

His teammate Rafal Majka finished in the peloton as well to secure his second place overall, 35 seconds down on Bennett, with Cannondale-Drapac's Andrew Talansky rounding out the GC podium a further second back.

How it unfolded

A number of attackers went clear shortly after as the race rolled down from the start line at Mountain High, but the peloton set a high pace through the early kilometres, refusing to let anyone get away for long. The day's main breakaway move did not form until over 40 kilometres into a stage that stretched for just 125 kilometres in total – and only after a brief flurry of attacks from the GC contenders.

As the road tilted upward, Bennett and Majka tested each other on the early slopes of the Mt. Emma Rd. climb, but neither could force any separation. Then it was the stage hunters who went on the move.

Stage 4 winner Huffman, his Rally teammate Rob Britton, López, Edet and Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data) jumped away on the ascent. Five became six after Rally's Sepp Kuss made a long ride to bridge into the break. They worked their advantage up to around a minute before the peloton tightened the leash, and the gap hovered there or thereabouts as they traversed the remaining two categorised climbs.

Talansky and Sunweb's Sam Oomen made short-lived attempts to escape on the second-category final climb but neither managed to create much space, with Majka and Bennett live to the danger.

Still with only a minute in hand as they began the long descent toward Pasadena, the breakers had their work cut out for them to hold off a pack full of sprinters' teams eyeing the flat finish. But even with Katusha-Alpecin and Quick-Step Floors pushing a high pace, the riders out front stubbornly held their gap as the kilometres ticked down.

With Kuss and Britton pulling the six along, the break took around 40 seconds into the final 10 kilometres. Kuss came detached after a big effort with around seven kilometres to go, but the surviving five proved up to the task of holding off a charging peloton.

With Morton mostly focused on picking up a few seconds to claim the young rider's jersey and Britton emptying the tank to support his teammate, it was down to Huffman, López and Edet to contest to stage victory. Huffman and López rode neck and neck in the final sprint until the final 100 metres, when Huffman pulled away to nab his second win of the week.

Sagan pipped Quick-Step's Matteo Trentin in the ensuing sprint for minor placings, with Bennett, Majka and Talansky all coming home moments later to seal their GC podium placings.

Full Race Results Here

Article Source:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Giro d’Italia GC Ambitions Hid Behind Poker Faces

Nairo Quintana kept his cards close to the chest in the Giro d'Italia's hilly stage 11. Photo: Tim De Waele |
BAGNO DI ROMAGNA, Italy (VN) — Cycling is just as much a game of poker as it is a test of strength. If this Giro d’Italia is a game of Texas Hold ‘Em, everyone’s got their cards very close to their chests.

And the poker faces were out in force in Wednesday’s potentially explosive, four-climb stage across Italy’s spine.

You might think there would be a sense of panic following Tom Dumoulin’s huge gains in Tuesday’s time trial. But you’d never know it walking around the team buses Wednesday morning.

“We are exactly where we expected to be right now,” said Movistar’s Rory Sutherland at the start. “We knew we’d be behind after the time trial — we knew we’ll have to attack to win this Giro. Nairo is confident he can win.”

No one was ready to give away a thing, not before, during or after the frenetic stage.

Dumoulin turned the Giro upside-down Tuesday with his dramatic time trial victory. He took a commanding lead of 2:23 to Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and a pack of climbers.

And Wednesday, Movistar gave him a taste of things to come. The Spanish team placed Andrey Amador, JJ Rojas, and José Herrera into a big group, putting the pressure on Dumoulin and his out-numbered Sunweb crew.

Dumoulin coolly answered the threat. American Chad Haga and Tour de France stage-winner Simon Geschke controlled the pace. Laurens Ten Dam snuck into the breakaway to be there in case things blew up. “Laurens is our old warrior, he’s getting better with age. Like a good wine,” Dumoulin told AFP.

“We didn’t see any weakness in the direct rivals, but nevertheless, the weariness is starting to add up. And one day they will feel it,” Quintana said at the line. “You have to keep looking ahead and remain optimistic. You have to wait for the right moment to take back time.”

The buzz around the peloton Wednesday morning was that this Giro is far from over.

“It’s still a long way to Milan,” said Trek-Segafredo sport director Kim Andersen. “To beat Dumoulin, first you have to isolate him, then attack. Things will change when we reach the stages with more than one climb.”

Dumoulin’s rivals know they must be patient. They sense that his team is weakened following the exit of Wilco Kelderman, who crashed out Sunday after colliding with a motorcycle. They also believe that Dumoulin will cede time once the Giro hits the steep, longer climbs stacked up in the Dolomites.

Across the peloton Wednesday, most teams emphasized patience. However, a few others showed a few of their cards. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) both attacked on the final climb.

“I know they have to make up a lot of time on me up a lot of time on me in the mountains,” Dumoulin said. “I think the pressure is on them, not on me.”

The all-in bet will come in the final week. Everyone’s said that since before this Giro started. No one scripted Dumoulin’s race-changing time trial, which flipped the GC card table.

“The differences are important, but we believe that things will change dramatically in the final week,” said Nibali helper Giovanni Visconti. “The hard stages of two, three, and four climbs will count more. That’s when this Giro will be decided.”

The main protagonists now regroup for back-to-back transition stages ideal for sprinters (their last chances). The next big skirmish comes with the one-climb, uphill finale in the 131km, stage 14 to Oropa on Saturday. Dumoulin’s rivals will need to up their ante.

Quintana’s difference to Dumoulin might be manageable, considering the Giro’s hard third week. The final-day time trial could tilt things in Dumoulin’s favor. He knows his rivals will have to take riskier bets, not only to erase Tuesday’s TT gains, but also build up a buffer for the inevitable final-day TT losses.

“It’s nice to have a big gap on GC,” Dumoulin said. “It gives me more room to play with. I was never in stress, and always in control.”

Professional cyclists are loath to give away any hint of weakness. They know if they do, the sharks will pounce without pity.

The poker faces will remain in place, at least until the pain of the final climbs in the Dolomites strip them away.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

"A Mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take" 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Custom Bikes At The 2017 Giro d'Italia

Lasty has been poking around the team mechanics trucks at the Giro d'Italia and has uncovered some custom bikes.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Nibali vs. Quintana: Sparks to Fly on Mount Etna

Vincenzo Nibali may aim to take pink in stage 4 so he can wear the jersey into his hometown of Messina on Wednesday. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media |
CEFAL, Italy (AFP) — Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali says he has no gripe with Giro d’Italia rival Nairo Quintana, but warned the Colombian sparks could fly when they race to the first summit finish on Mount Etna Tuesday.

After Monday’s rest day, the 100th edition of the race resumes Tuesday with a 181km stage 4 from Cefalu in the north of Sicily to the summit of Europe’s highest active volcano.

Fernando Gaviria, another Colombian, who rides for Quick-Step, will start in the pink jersey after he took the race lead from fellow sprinter André Greipel by winning stage three to Cagliari, Sardinia, on Sunday.

But after three days of seeing the fast men of the peloton sprinting for glory, fans get a chance to tune in for some early race salvoes in the definitive battle for the pink jersey.

It is the first summit finish of the race and Nibali, the winner in 2013 and 2016, expects 2014 champion Quintana to put the hammer down.

“It’s inevitable that something happens, because Etna is a real challenge,” Nibali said Sunday when asked about the threat from Quintana.

Nibali, also the 2014 Tour de France champion, refuted reports in La Gazzetta dello Sport of tension between him and climbing specialist Quintana, who rides for Movistar.

“No, not at all,” Nibali said.

But Nibali, born and raised in the Sicilian town of Messina, said he isn’t racing for charity.

“He races for one team, and I race for a rival team, so it’s only normal we’re enemies,” he said. “We don’t acknowledge each other that often, because we’re both very concentrated and have to pay attention on the road.

“But we’re both here trying to win it.”

Only four stages into the race’s 100th edition, the ride to Mount Etna is certain to see Gaviria, a sprint specialist who excels on the flat, hand the coveted pink jersey over to a new race leader.

After a first 55km over undulating terrain, the peloton will tackle the 32.8km climb to the summit of Portella Femmina Morta. Rather ominously, it translates to ‘Dead Woman’s Door.’ Thankfully, its average gradient is a manageable 4.5 percent.

After a long, winding descent, a more formidable 17.9km ascent to Etna, where the steepest sections reach 12 percent, provides a far tougher challenge.

“It won’t be decisive, but the stage to Etna is important because it will give me an indication of my form and an indication of who the real GC contenders could be for the final week,” said Quintana.

As well as Nibali and Quintana, fellow GC contenders like Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Spaniard Mikel Landa (Sky), and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) are expected to be at the front of the peloton.

A prestigious stage win is at stake, although the responsibility of controlling the race would then fall to the team of the new pink jersey holder — demanding precious energy that could prove useful for more decisive stages in the third and final week.

Yet, with stage 5 finishing in his home town of Messina, Nibali has extra incentive to claim the ‘maglia rosa’ on Tuesday.

“I can’t wait for the stage to Messina, it’s my hometown,” he said.


Friday, May 5, 2017

What You Need to Know About the Giro’s Eight North Americans

Cannondale-Drapac is home to more North American riders than any other in the Giro, with Alex Howes, Joe Dombrowski, and Mike Woods. Photo: Tim De Waele |
ALGHERO, Italy (VN) — Ryder Hesjedal was spotted walking around the seafront Thursday ahead of the start of the 2017 Giro d’Italia. Asked if he missed racing, the 2012 Giro winner diplomatically said he was enjoying his retirement.

With Hesjedal, who became Canada’s first grand tour winner in 2012, no longer in the fold, North American riders at this year’s Giro take on a different look in 2017.

Six Americans and two Canadians start the 100th edition of the Italian grand tour Friday. Only one — BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen — comes with real GC ambitions. The others are a mix of stage-hunters and domestiques intent on taking the most out of the season’s first grand tour.

Here is a quick primer on the North American contingent:

Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Drapac)

The pure climber made an impression in his Giro debut last year, riding into several key mountain stage breakaways. Now 25, Dombrowski has the experience and confidence to aim even higher. With Cannondale-Drapac not putting any focus on GC, the team will be racing an aggressive Giro, with an eye on breakaways, stage wins, and perhaps a run at the climber’s jersey. That means Dombrowski will get his chances.

“I think Joe got a glimpse last year of what he can do at the Giro, and for someone like Joe who has very high quality capabilities, but in very specific types of races, the Giro is always going to be attractive to him,” said sport director Charly Wegelius. “When we get to the high altitude in the last week, he can do his best, so we need to wait for him until the last week.”

Bib number: 63
Age: 25
Giro history: Second start. In debut last year, fifth in the young rider’s competition, third in stage 20.

Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac)

Howes has been around the peloton a few years, with four grand tours under his belt, and he will be making his Giro debut this year. Like his teammate Dombrowski, he will have freedom to attack. Hot off winning the best climber’s jersey at the Tour of the Basque Country, Howes carries some promising form into the Giro. There are plenty of lumpy transition stages ideal for a breakaway. “Giddy” is the word to describe his pre-Giro feelings.

“I’ve done a couple of Vueltas and a couple of Tours but I have this funny giddy feeling like this is my first ‘real’ grand tour,” Howes said. “Growing up, the Giro always had this special, almost romantic charm and appeal that no other race had. It was always the ‘real’ race. A race of not just legs but a competition of heart and spirit.”

Bib number: 65
Age: 29
Giro history: Giro debut

Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac)

Canada’s latest top prospect is pumped for his grand tour debut. Injuries last year kept him out of the Giro, but now he’s back in great form after a spectacular spring campaign that included ninth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, 11th at Flèche Wallonne and second at GP Miguel Indurain. The Giro’s penchant for hilltop finales in the first and second weeks should see Woods with a green light to chase a stage win.

Well into his second WorldTour season, Woods said he respects the challenge that lies ahead of him.

“I am pumped to be doing this race. Last year I managed, through some bad decisions on my part and bad luck, to not start any grand tour on the calendar. This has made the significance of this one, to me, that much greater,” Woods said. “Aside from the excitement, there is definitely some respect that I am storing up for that final week of racing and the process of getting there. I know crashes, illness, and just a few off-days can derail even the best riders in the peloton, so I am making sure not to get too far ahead of myself.”

Bib number: 69
Age: 30
Giro history: Giro debut

Svein Tuft (Orica-Scott)

The legendary hardman from the Great White North is starting his 11th career grand tour. Ever steady on the flats, and with some speed in his legs for time trialing (he wore the pink jersey in the 2014 Giro), Tuft slots into a helper’s role during this Giro. His job will be shepherding Orica’s GC man Adam Yates around the Giro’s rolling obstacle course. At 39, he will be the second-oldest rider in the Giro peloton (Angel Vicioso at Katusha is 40).

Bib number: 128
Age: 39
Giro history: Five Giro starts; wore the pink jersey after leading GreenEdge across the line in the team time trial to open the 2014 Giro in Belfast.

Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing)

The American all-rounder enjoyed a breakout 2016 campaign, winning his first European races since making the bump to the WorldTour in 2015. After completing his first Giro last year, he rode with strength into the Tour of Limousin in central France. He won stage 1 in a breakaway, and then defended his lead to claim the overall in the four-stage race along the Massif Central.

Coming into this year’s Giro, he brings solid form, highlighted by a team time trial win at the Volta a Catalunya (after Movistar was relegated), with 30th at the Tour of the Alps, and 10th at the Tour of Yorkshire. With van Garderen riding for GC, Rosskopf will be one of his compatriot’s key helpers in the transition stages.

Bib number: 46
Age: 27
Giro history: Second start; rode to 85th in 2016 debut.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

6 Sportive Tips For Beginners

Whether you are new to sportives or not, these tips can help you out on the day of the event.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017

9 Riders To Look Out For At The 2017 Liège–Bastogne–Liège

Dan Lloyd looks ahead to this Sunday's Liège–Bastogne–Liège and 9 riders you need to keep an eye on!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Your New Favorite Race: Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Positioning and climbing — two keys to Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Photo: Tim De Waele |
Welcome to the VeloNews 2017 WorldTour fan guide. Great news: There are tons of cycling races all season! Less-great news: Like trying to pick an ice cream flavor at Ben & Jerry’s, tons of choices can be overwhelming. So, we’ll try to help out by giving you quick, fun overviews of major races. Stay tuned for more previews.

Your new favorite race: Liège-Bastogne-Liège, April 23

Why should you care about this race? They call it “La Doyenne,” the “old lady,” and though Liège is six years younger than the August Paris-Tours race in … uh … August, it’s considered by most to be the oldest major one-day race. It’s also the final monument classic of the season and a damn hard race, what with 10 notable climbs over 258km of racing in Belgium. This is the exclamation point at the end of Ardennes week, a race that can only be won by a climber with impeccable endurance and tactical savvy to play the final sprint perfectly, because Liège isn’t often won solo in the modern era.

Most dramatic edition in recent memory? Boy, 2014 was a good year for the Ardennes. Earlier this week, I recalled that year’s edition of Flèche Wallonne, but one might argue that 2014 Liège was even more exciting. Giampaolo Caruso and Domenico Pozzovivo attacked on the Côte de Saint-Nicholas, the final climb, 5 kilometers from the line. They dangled with about a 10-second advantage as the chasers bickered, but under the red kite, 1km to go, they were in sight. Defending champion Dan Martin attacked the peloton and quickly got a gap. He gobbled up Pozzovivo. Then he was on Caruso’s wheel. Then … NO!! He was on the ground. Stay on your bike, Danny! The field swept by the fallen Irishman, and Australian national champion Simon Gerrans sprinted past Alejandro Valverde to win. Caruso was fourth behind Michal Kwiatkowski, leaving us all to wonder if Martin could have held off Gerrans in those final few hundred meters after the fateful right-hand turn.

Your race’s defining feature: Before 2016, I might have suggested that Côte de Stockeu was Liège’s defining feature. Heck, it’s got a monument for Eddy Merckx at the top — who would question the race’s only five-time winner? Alas, this nasty climb near Stavelot is not in the route. So, I’ll name the next best climb: Côte de la Redoute, which is always lined by spectators, camper vans, beer tents, and cyclo-touristes who surrendered halfway up the 2km ascent that averages a tick less than nine percent. This is where the late Frank Vandenbroucke put in an unbelievable big-ring attack on the climb’s steepest double-digit grades and rode on to victory in 1999. It was a different era, but it sure made for good television.

Ladies first? Kudos to race organizer ASO for doubling-down on women’s racing in the Ardennes for 2017. In addition to its Wednesday Flèche Wallonne Féminine race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège will host a women’s race for the first time. The 135.5km route features the same run to the finish in Ans as the men’s race: La Redoute, then the 1.3km, 11-percent Roche-aux-Faucons, and finally the 1.2km, 8.6-percent Saint Nicholas. It’s a fitting climbers showcase for the final race of the three hilly classics.

Who are you betting your beer money on this year? Never ever bet against Movistar’s Valverde in a race like this — both due to his age-defying strength and climbing abilities as well as his tactical knowhow and experience that approach wizard status. In the women’s race, I like how aggressive Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3) has been riding lately, and she is one of the best climbers in the peloton.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Gilbert Makes History with 4th Amstel Gold Race Win

Belgian is second only to Dutchman Jan Raas on all-time Amstel win list

Mike Kwiatkowski, Philippe Gilbert and Michael Albasini on the 2017 Amstel Gold Podium ( Bettini Photo)

Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) made history Sunday when he took his fourth win at the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands, winning a two-up sprint with Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) to notch his fourth victory in the first round of the Ardennes Classics while climbing to second on the race's all-time win list behind Dutchman Jan Raas.

Although he hit the deck about halfway though the 261km race, Gilbert, who also won the race in 2010, 2011 and 2014, initiated the winning move about 40km from the finish after the peloton reeled in the early breakaway. He then joined Kwiatkowski in a move on the final climb of the day, sticking the move to the line with the Pole and then blowing past after Kwiatkowski led from too far out. Gilbert is now only the third rider in history to win the Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold Race in the same season.

"He surprised me a little bit in the sprint, but knowing there was a headwind, I remained calm and got closer and closer," Gilbert said.

There had been considerable discussion leading up to the race about how course changes would affect the finale, with the mighty Cauberg climb coming 16km from the finish this year. Although some had speculated that the changes would lead to a bunch sprint, the new formulation seemed to embolden opportunists like Gilbert and his fellow late escapees, including Kwiatkowski, Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott), Nathan Haas (Dimension Data), Jose Rojas (Movistar), Sergio Henao(Team Sky) and Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida).

“We went early, on the Kruisberg, and we worked really well together," Gilbert said. "All the guys deserved to win, because they did a great job helping the group go. On Bemelerberg, I could see everyone was as their limit, but I attacked and got a gap with Kwiatkowski."

In the finale, Kwiatkowski forced Gilbert into the lead and then lingered about a bike length behind as they approached the final 500 metres. The Pole jumped viciously as he swung to his right, but Gilbert was quickly on him and moving past, eventually taking his third win of 2017 after Tour of Flander and Three Days of de Panne.

“Today’s race was hard and we rode aggressively, but this is my favourite way of racing," Gilbert said. "I’m not scared of this and I’m very happy of how things panned out. It was a perfect day. My goal every season is to win a Classic. Now it is already two and this is maybe for the years I didn’t win one."

Friday, April 14, 2017

How To Pedal | Cycling Technique

Pedalling comes naturally, for the most part. But there are things you can do to make your pedal stroke more efficient.

Where the pros have the edge is a well-developed flexibility, allowing their muscles to move freely through the full pedalling range. Regular stretching will go some way to giving you that flexibility too.

Cadence drills can help maintain your efficiency even when churning up hills, and even thinking about saving energy by keeping your upper body steady will help in the long run.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

BMC Celebrate Their First Ever Monument Victory at Paris-Roubaix

'This is at the top of the list of races we've always wanted to win,' says team manager Ochowicz

The BMC Racing Team celebrated Greg Van Avermaet's victory at Paris-Roubaix at their hotel on Sunday evening, savouring how the team performed throughout the 257km race, and how Van Avermaet joined the move that decided the race and then put his rivals to the sword with a perfectly executed sprint finish on the Roubaix velodrome.

Team manager Jim Ochowicz has been in professional cycling for over thirty years but this is the first time one of his riders has won the Hell of the North, and it was Van Avermaet's and BMC team's first ever victory in a Monument.

Video footage showed how Van Avermaet celebrated in the velodrome and with teammate Daniel Oss, who rode so generously to help him in the finale of the race. The importance of victory was also clear to see in the BMC team car, with footage capturing directeur sportif Valerio Piva and Fabio Baldato celebrating with sheer joy.

"It's as if I won myself," Oss said after hugging Van Avermaet and then watching him raise the winner's cobblestone in celebration.

"When I was away off the front, I dreamt that it was perhaps my day but when and the others came up to me, I gave everything I had so that the chasers wouldn't close the gap. I've realised that I can perhaps ride Paris-Roubaix with the aim of winning it. One day I want to come back and give it a try."

Ochowicz celebrates BMC quality and hard work

The BMC team, like all their rivals, lost some riders due to crashes and mechanical problems but other riders stepped up. Stefan Küng crashed and hurt his left wrist, while Manuel Quinziato was also slowed early on in what he later revealed was his last ever Paris-Roubaix as he considers plans to end his career this season.

When Van Avermaet crashed early, three teammates waited for him and Jeremy Drucker played a huge role in helping him get back to the peloton before other serious attacks were made. Australian national champion Miles Scotson later played a key role and managed to finish his first Paris-Roubaix.

"It's a dream come true to win Paris-Roubaix but dreams don't happen for nothing, they happen for a reason," Ochowicz told Cyclingnews as he celebrated with technical manager Allan Peiper.

"They happen to good people and they happen to good organisations. And we've got a great organisation and a lot of great people and a lot of great riders."

"It's nice to have this one. Greg and the team have had it as a goal for a long time. I've been coming here for 31 years now and I finally got one. It takes a while but it was worth the wait."

No regrets about Gilbert

Ochowicz has long preferred Van Avermaet as BMC team leader for the cobbled Classics. He let Philippe Gilbert move to Quick-Step Floors for the 2017 season and then saw him win the Tour of Flanders, with Van Avermaet taking second. However, he has no regrets about the decision, especially after Van Avermaet's super spring results. Few riders have been so consistently successful across so many Classics – modern and historic – between late February and April.

"This is at the top of the list of races we've always wanted to win and we put a lot of passion and energy and work into getting to the start of races like Paris-Roubaix at our very best," he said.

"We parted on good terms with Philippe and were still on good terms. I'm happy for him winning the Tour of Flanders and I'm sure he's happy for us winning Paris-Roubaix."

"We were pretty clear about our strategy: Greg was the leader. It has paid off. He's just leapt ahead in the WorldTour ranking and that's a goal of ours, as is the team WorldTour ranking. But we go weekend to weekend and we've got another big race next weekend with the Amstel Gold Race and then others after that."

Ochowicz was not afraid to claim at least some of the glory for Van Avermaet's transformation from a nice guy, but eternal second to one of the best Classics riders of his generation, who rarely makes a mistake in the biggest, most challenging races.

"I think we've helped him a lot, I really do," the American team manager said.

"We've had a lot of close calls and lots of discussions. But I think this season, more than ever, he's got a good feeling for the bike race, he knows what to do and does it so well. He's got the power to finish the job even against the best of the best.

"I think it's his mentality. He's more mature now in lots of ways. His training has gotten him farther ahead and I think the team is stronger around him. There's also all the science we do, the bikes and equipment we use and then the staff and directeur sportif and the tactics we use.

"You need the combination of a lot of things to win such a big race like Paris-Roubaix. In the end, we need the bike rider to put it all together and get to the finish line first. Greg now knows how to do that."

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Your New Favorite Race: Paris-Roubaix

Photo: Tim De Waele |
Welcome to the VeloNews 2017 WorldTour fan guide. Great news: There are tons of cycling races all season! Less-great news: Like trying to pick an ice cream flavor at Ben & Jerry’s, tons of choices can be overwhelming. So, we’ll try to help out by giving you quick, fun overviews of major races. Stay tuned for more previews.

Your new favorite race: Paris-Roubaix, April 9

Okay, same disclaimer here as last week for Flanders: I realize Roubaix isn’t new to most fans. For many of you, it’s already your favorite race. I still remember my first image of riders on the Roubaix pavé — it was Graham Watson’s iconic photo of Bob Roll, on the cover of Mountain Bike magazine. I was perplexed. So read on for a primer on all things Roubaix.

Why should you care about this race? Every major race on the calendar is unique in its own way, but Paris-Roubaix stands apart, completely unlike your typical road races, even the other cobbled classics. Unlike it’s fellow WorldTour events, 55 kilometers of the 257km route are held on pavé so rough that simply driving a car across them (let alone racing a carbon bicycle) is dangerous. The Flanders cobbles won’t transform a Skoda into demolition derby fodder. The Roubaix cobbles this with some regularity. These cobblestones are so special, so hallowed, that there is a society dedicated to preserving the sectors that make “The Hell of the North” so devilishly hard.

Unique race dynamics go hand-in-hand with a unique course, making Roubaix so special. Tactics are often far more aggressive, less cagey, because riders want to lead on the pave to avoid mayhem. Fans are almost always treated to an exciting race this special Sunday in April.

Most dramatic edition in recent history? Tough question — if you’re a breakaway guy, editions like 2012 when Tom Boonen won alone are your jam. If you prefer suspenseful sprints, 2016 was about as good as it gets. I love an underdog. In 2007 Stuart O’Grady was allowed to fly free after his CSC team leader Fabian Cancellara gave him carte blanche. It was amazing. O’Grady had made the early breakaway, after 25km of racing. He was set back by a flat in the Arenberg Forest, but he soloed to victory, holding off the likes of Tom Boonen, Juan Antonio Flecha, and other favorites. O’Grady was the first Australian to win Roubaix.

Your race’s defining feature: Unless you’ve skimmed up to this point, it should be obvious that cobblestones are Roubaix’s defining feature. But perhaps we should drill down a little more — which sector is most essential. On one hand, the cumulative effect of all the pave dictates the race. By the end many are too worn down to follow the winning attack, or too fatigued to sprint well in the velodrome. On the other hand, the Arenberg Forest is a truly iconic sector, even if it does appear relatively early in the race. You can’t win Roubaix on the Arenberg, but you can definitely lose it there. You can also lose body parts there. This is where Johan Museeuw shattered his kneecap in 1998, nearly losing his leg to gangrene.

Some races will rip your legs off — Johan Museeuw nearly lost one of his (literally) after a crash in Paris-Roubaix 1998 resulted in a terrible infection. Photo:
Arenberg is great, but I’m going to say that Le Carrefour de l’Arbre is THE cobblestone sector of Roubaix. The fourth-to-last sector, only 17km from the finish is where the decisive move often goes. Boonen launched a winning attack here in 2009, for instance. That edition also has some of the most dramatic race commentary ever when Thor Hushovd overcooked a turn and crashed into a barrier.

But the thing is … Some years we miss out on an epic showdown between the big favorites because a crash takes one of them out in the early stages of the race. Most recently, Fabian Cancellara was knocked out of the running last year in his final Roubaix, taking Peter Sagan out of the group as well. Other notables have come to grief on days they thought would be theirs to win the cobblestone trophy: Boonen crashed out in 2011; in addition to Thor’s crash (AY TOOOR!), Johan Vansummeren and Flecha also went down 2009. How can we forget George Hincapie’s steerer tube snapping in 2002, causing one of the wackiest (and most heartbreaking) crashes of all time?

Ladies first? Unfortunately, no. The Women’s WorldTour gets back to it at Amstel Gold Race a week from Sunday. We hope Ladies Roubaix happens someday.

Who are you betting your beer money on this year? With my head, I’m betting on Greg Van Avermaet, who has a strong BMC team and is on top form. With my heart, I’m betting on Tom Boonen for a record fifth victory — admit it, you’d love to see Tommeke get that Hollywood ending on the velodrome in Roubaix.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Tour of Turkey moved to October

UCI says stage race has support of Turkish government despite political turmoil

Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida leads the ovreall GC at the Tour of Turkey into the final day (Bettini Photo)

The UCI has announced that the 2017 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey will take place between October 10-15 after it was postponed from its original April date.

The UCI added the stage race to the expanded 2017 WorldTour calendar but the organisers struggled to attract teams due to recent terrorist attacks, a failed military coup and oppressive action by Turkish President Recep Erdogan. A report in February said only one team had accepted an invitation to the race.

Thousands of dissidents, journalists and critics of Erdogan have been arrested in recent months, sparking concerns about safety and civil rights in Turkey. The country is due to vote in a referendum on April 8 that would give Erdogan sweeping powers. The Tour of Turkey was originally scheduled for April 18-23.

An initial request to move the race was turned down in January, but following a meeting of the UCI Professional Cycling Council (PCC) on 21 March in Brussels, the UCI agreed that the Tour of Turkey will be postponed to October 10-15 2017.

The UCI claimed the race has the continued support of the Turkish Government and the race organisation to ensure the success of the event.

The UCI specified that the date change is only for the 2017 season, revealing that the 2018 UCI WorldTour calendar will be confirmed in June at the next PCC meeting.

The October date will mean the Tour of Turkey comes after Il Lombardia on Saturday, October 7, and before the new Gree-Tour of Guangxi that will take place in China between October 19-24, which brings down the curtain on the long WorldTour calendar.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Flanders Classics Hegemony Threatens De Panne Tradition

Driedaagse de Panne-Koksijde may have to change its date for 2018. Photo: Tim De Waele |
GENT, Belgium (VN) — Driedaagse De Panne celebrated Philippe Gilbert’s overall victory along the unseasonably warm Belgian coast Thursday, but this may also be the end of its 41-year chapter as the warm-up race for Tour of Flanders.

Gilbert, along with past greats like Michele Bartoli, Johan Museeuw, and George Hincapie, used Three Days of De Panne as final Flanders prep. That tradition could stop in 2018.

According to several in the cycling-mad area, organizer Flanders Classics is pushing out the three-day race to have the Wednesday spot free for its one-day race Dwars door Vlaanderen. In 2018, it could have a run of events: Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday and its crown jewel, the Tour of Flanders, on Sunday.

Of course, Flanders Classics also has the Scheldeprijs the Wednesday after Flanders and Brabantse Pijl the next Wednesday following Paris-Roubaix, run by Tour de France organizer ASO.

Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) won this year’s Dwars door Vlaanderen, which ran March 22, the Wednesday two days before E3 Harelbeke.

The Flanders Classics power-play leaves little space for the Three Days of De Panne, organized by KVC Panne Sportief and for 41 years, sitting in the precious pre-Flanders spot.

“It’s pure tradition,” director Bruno Dequeecker told Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad last month. “I don’t see how another organizer from the same country, the same region and with the same type of race can suddenly claim our date.”

De Panne could perhaps swap with Dwars door Vlaanderen, moving to the Tuesday through Thursday prior to Friday’s E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. It would need to come to an agreement with the E3 Harelbeke, which KWC Hand in Hand organizes.

The smaller De Panne and E3 Harelbeke organizers are seemingly at Flanders Classics’s mercy. The Belgian organizer is one of cycling’s big three, alongside ASO and RCS Sport.

The E3 Harelbeke at least has leverage thanks to its WorldTour status. De Panne sits just a level below as a 2.HC race and suffers somewhat as a result. Teams are either too busy with other races or their riders too tired between WorldTour events to bother with De Panne. It is not only the classics, but teams must prepare for major races like País Vasco starting the Monday after Flanders.

The 2017 De Panne start list looked like a colander with its many holes. Orica-Scott began with only six men. Its star Jens Keukeleire, second in Gent-Wevelgem behind Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), pulled out after the first day to prepare for the Tour of Flanders. Other big teams like Sky, BMC, and Dimension Data did not bother to attend.

Teams must conserve their energy for the top races, specifically the ones with valuable WorldTour points. This year, the UCI added 10 new WorldTour events to its calendar. Reportedly, part of the reason Flanders Classics applied for, and received, WorldTour status for Dwars door Vlaanderen was so that it could make its push for the pre-Tour of Flanders Wednesday date.

BMC Racing said that its star Van Avermaet is cherry-picking top WorldTour events for points and resting wisely in the week between.

“He’s not wasting energy [racing and winning Gent-Wevelgem] because we still have a week to rest before Flanders,” sport director Fabio Baldato told VeloNews.

“With the new UCI rules, races like Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem are very important just like Flanders and Paris Roubaix. And that’s with all respect to Flanders and Roubaix, because they are something special.”

Cycling’s governing body will announce the 2018 calendar this fall, but the unseasonably warm breeze seems to have blown in a change across the Flemish fields. Flanders Classics, according to some insiders, already made the deal with the Belgian cycling federation.

The Three Days of De Panne must find a new date or fight Goliath. It may go with the latter as Dequeecker said that he would take the rival organizer to court if necessary to protect his race’s pre-Flanders date.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Top 10 Cycling Photos - By Graham Watson

Legendary cycling photographer Graham Watson has recently hung up his camera after 38 years capturing our beautiful sport. Here's Graham's Top 10

Ex-Professional Cyclist Dan Lloyd talks you through the imagery featuring professional cyclists such as; Jesper Skibby, Sean Kelly, Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen, Claude Criquielion, Fabian Cancellara, Miguel Indurain, Sean Yates, Nacer Bouhanni, Michael Matthews, Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Preview: Sprint or Attack? No Guarantees at Gent-Wevelgem

The peloton stayed mostly together during the early kilometers, taking shelter from the wind as much as they could in Gent-Wevelgem 2016. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media |
The northern classics continue Sunday at the 80th Gent-Wevelgem. With the fearsome Kemmelberg as its centerpiece, the race is always a tug-of-war between attackers and sprinters.

Fair weather is forecasted, and organizers have made the descent off the Kemmelberg much safer than it was a few years ago, but it’s the wind that is usually the main protagonist of Gent-Wevelgem.

Bunch sprint or attackers? That is the question for Gent-Wevelgem.

Despite its reputation as a sprinter’s course, the bunch has come in for a mass gallop only four times over the past decade. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) won a sprint in 2014 and Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) won back-to-back sprints in 2011-2012. Oscar Freire won a sprint in 2007, but the other editions over the past 10 years have been won by attacking riders.

The bunch is usually thinned-down to about 60-70 riders, pummeled by crosswinds (remember Luca Paolini’s win in 2015?) in western Flanders and the cumulative effects of the mid-race climbs. The Kemmelberg, tackled two times in the 2017 edition, is usually the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Attacking riders pull clear, and it’s a drag race to the line.

New for 2017 are the so-called “plugstreets,” a kind of eco-friendly, grass farm road added to the route. The course also pays homage to World War I battlefields, and officially changed its name to Gent-Wevelgem — In Flanders Fields.

Who’s got the speed?

Gent-Wevelgem is drawing some top sprinters who parachute in, often straight from Milano-Sanremo to Belgium. Some will only race here and at Scheldeprijs, skipping the harsher, more challenging races at Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix.

A few stand out: Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step), sixth in his debut last year, was second in the Sanremo bunch sprint to Arnaud Démare (FDJ), who led the bunch in behind Peter Sagan and three others. Both Démare and Gaviria will be working for a mass gallop, and shoot to the top of the favorites.

Other speedsters include Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida), Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), Dylan Groenwegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Michael Matthews (Sunweb), Degenkolb and Eduard Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), and Danny Van Poppel (Sky). Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), who’s never won Gent-Wevelgem, was not on preliminary start lists.

So far, it’s been hard to measure Degenkolb’s form, and the German typically prefers harder, more selective races.

And so far through the first few classics, Quick-Step has proven a powerhouse. Once again, some of the bigger wins have escaped them, but victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen and second with Philippe Gilbert at E3 Harelbeke mean that the Belgian outfit will be present in the breaks and with Gaviria and Boonen for the sprint.

Who can stay away?

All eyes will now be on Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), who’s been on a tear this spring, winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harelbeke, with second at Strade Bianche. The Olympic champion is clearly on winning form, and has the legs to go the distance if the race tilts toward an escape.

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) will be looking to make up for just missing victory at Milano-Sanremo. And after crashing in Harelbeke, the defending champion will be all-in for Gent-Wevelgem. Having Sam Bennett as a man for the sprint might help Sagan’s chances to save his legs if he’s part of a leading breakaway, meaning he won’t be the only one who will have to pull.

Sep Vanmarcke, second last year, will be leading a motivated Cannondale-Drapac crew, while defending Roubaix champion Mat Hayman (Orica-Scott) might want to stretch his legs before next week’s big races.

A few big names look to be skipping Gent-Wevelgem, including Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) and Gilbert, perhaps looking to save their matches for next week’s Ronde. Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard (Sky), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) will try their luck in late-race moves.

And then there’s Boonen. Quietly eighth at Harelbeke, he’s shown glimpses of winning strength as he approaches his final shots at Flanders and Roubaix. He shares the record of three wins (with four others), and has indicated he’ll be riding for Gaviria if it comes down to a sprint.

But at 249km, that means Gent-Wevelgem is near “monument” distance, and it’s in that extra hour of racing that Boonen thrives in. Perhaps Tommeke has a surprise up his sleeve.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

2017 U.S. Pro Nationals Routes Revealed

USA Cycling announced the time trial and road race routes for 2017 U.S. Pro road national championships on Wednesday. The championships will be held June 24-25 in Knoxville, Tennessee, a first-time host venue for the event.

The weekend’s first event will be the individual time trial, held Saturday, June 24. The professional women will cover 23.17 kilometers, three laps of a 7.72-kilometer circuit, and the men will complete four laps for 30.9km. BMC’s Taylor Phinney won the men’s national time trial championships in 2016, alongside Carmen Small (Veloconcept), who was the women’s champion.

2017 U.S. national time trial championships route

After the time trial, America’s top pros will vie for the stars-and-stripes jersey in the road race championships, Sunday, June 25. In 2016, Greg Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman) stunned a number of favorites from the WorldTour to win the title, while Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) won a repeat championship.

“Wearing the stars and stripes of the U.S. National Road Champion is a huge source of pride. It’s a tangible reminder of the hard work that I’ve put in day-after-day, year-after-year,” said Guarnier. “The success I’ve had while in the stars and stripes — winning Strade Bianche, the Giro Rosa, the Amgen Tour of California, the inaugural Women’s WorldTour — makes this jersey extra special.”

Both men’s and women’s races will take place on a rolling 12.71km circuit. The women will complete eight laps for a 101.4km race, and the men will complete 14 laps for a total of 175.4km.

2017 U.S. national road championships route

“Knoxville is an ideal location for the Pro Road and Time Trial National Championships. Being so close to the Great Smokey Mountains, both courses are incredibly challenging and offer cycling fans so many great viewing opportunities. We look forward to seeing some great competition for the Stars-and-Stripes jerseys this June,” said USA Cycling VP of national events Micah Rice.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Quintana Turns Focus to Giro d'Italia after Tirreno-Adriatico Win

'I'm hopeful that the best times are still to come' 

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) during the Tirreno time trial (Tim de Waele/

Nairo Quintana
 (Movistar) lifted the Tirreno-Adriatico winner's trident trophy above his head on the final podium in San Benedetto del Tronto, with a proud smile briefly revealing his inner happiness at winning the Italian race for a second time.

While some of his Giro d'Italia rivals stumbled and struggled during the seven days of intense racing, some claiming that they were still not at their best form in early March, Quintana and his Movistar team were rock solid and showed it in the opening team time trial, on the mountain finish on Terminillo and on the testing stage in the Le Marche hills.
Quintana is like a sphinx and never revealed any visible chinks in his armour. He always listens quietly when facing questions and judges his answers as carefully as his racing.
"I'm really happy with this win. Tirreno-Adriatico is a really beautiful race, one that I really like, and conquering it again makes me proud, for all the effort I put in here and especially my Movistar team, which supported me all the way to this time trial," Quintana said.
"I've finished this race in better shape than when I started it. I'm still building upwards, and I'm very pleased because I'm in good shape and have done some good work for the future races. More than winning, my goal is to progress well towards the main objectives of the season."
Quintana started the final 10km time trial with a 50 second lead on Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and 1:06 on Rohan Dennis (BMC) but had to ride close to his limit to ensure victory. He didn't panic or make any mistakes, and eventually finished 45th, in a time of 11:59, some 41 seconds slower than stage winner Dennis. It meant he beat the Australian by 25 seconds in the final general classification, with Pinot slipping to third at 36 seconds.
"I knew I had to go strong today. I couldn't let the specialists put too much of a gap over me," he explained.
"Yet, I was calm and confident that I could secure the victory with the advantage I held. With all rivals we had to face and such a tough course, it's a really prestigious victory to take."

To Colombia to prepare for the Giro d'Italia

Quintana has been cautious about revealing his plans between now and the Giro d'Italia as he prepares to target the ambitious goal of the Giro and Tour de France in the same season. However, he is set to return to Colombia very soon and train at altitude at home before returning to Europe to ride the Vuelta a Asturias (April 29-May 1) in Spain as a last test of his form before heading to Sardinia for the start of the Corsa Rosa on May 5.
He is not avoiding his rivals but just doing the preparation and training that best suits him and his Giro-Tour goal.
"I've got some important weeks coming up, with some important training at home, while also enjoying time with my family and friends as I get to my best condition," he explained.
"This race was all part of the process. Taking part in races like Tirreno-Adriatico is always important, and not only because the win that's at stake. In the end, it's also a Giro d'Italia-organised event, and that makes sure you'll find finishes very much similar to those you'll have to tackle in the Giro. For us, getting to know the roads, reinforce our bond as a team, get used to the pace we'll find in May - it's all about getting focused on that first Grand Tour goal of our season."
Quintana has clearly landed at least a psychological blow to his rivals, but he is aware that they will be stronger come May and perhaps be able to avoid the mistakes of Tirreno-Adriatico. He seems especially wary of defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), who was the last rider to be dropped by Quintana on the climb to Terminillo.
"Team Sky were very unlucky in the team time trial and they'd have been a lot closer," Quintana conceded.
"In the Giro d'Italia we'll have to keep a very close eye on Thomas and not just him, also the rest of his teammates, who will be preparing for this big race very seriously. I think there's going to be a very high level of participation in the Giro d'Italia and we'll have to be very careful," he said.
"Nibali wasn't great here, for example, but he is always at a high level in the Giro. It's a home race for him, and so is Fabio Aru (Astana). They're always strong there, that's an objective for them they always live up to expectations. Other rivals? Geraint will very strong, and there are sure to be others. But the Giro is very different, and some riders who weren't so good here, will be building.
"Of course I also don't feel like all my victories in the early season mean I've reached the top of my career's physical condition, either. I've been developing gradually. Obviously there must be a limit to a rider's progression, but I'm hopeful that the best times are still to come."
Quintana turned 27 in early February and is arguably in the best years of his career. It is perhaps why he has set the goal of the Giro and Tour in the same season. He insisted he is not in a race with Esteban Chaves or any other Colombian riders to make history and become the first ever Colombian winner of the Tour de France.
"My objective is to win the Tour de France one day. I'm not sure if it'll be at the first, second or third try, but my aim is to win it, and other races. I'm a rider who wins from the start of the year more or less to the end of it, and my idea is to stay on this level."

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Why Do Professional Cyclists Slam Their Stems?

Matt Stephens asks pro bike riders at the Abu Dhabi Tour why they ride in extreme "Slammed" positions.

In the past few years we've witnessed handlebar stems getting "slammed" to the headset bearing cover. This gives an extreme saddle - handlebar drop, something that looks like it may not be comfortable. But with a change in UCI regulations, see video, it's helped the increasing trend of "slamming"

Ex-Professional Cyclist Matt Stephens talks to pro riders and finds out if the gains are vanity or performance driven?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rally and Jelly Belly Expected to be Named to Tour of California Teams List

Race will announce official line up for first WorldTour edition on Thursday

The Tour of California takes off from Pismo Beach in 2015 (Getty Images Sport)

Cyclingnews understands that Rally Cycling and Jelly Belly-Maxxis will be among the teams named to the starting list for the 2017 Tour of California, the race's first year on the UCI's WorldTour calendar.

Multiple sources, who asked for anonymity because they are not authorised to speak on the issue, told Cyclingnews the two long-time US Continental teams have been selected for the 16-team field, although Michael Roth, a spokesman for race owner AEG, declined to comment before the official announcement on Thursday.

Rally Cycling director Jonas Carney also declined to comment on whether his team has been selected, while Jelly Belly-Maxxis director Danny Van Haute told Cyclingnews on Tuesday that he did not yet know his team's fate. Axeon Hagens Berman director Axel Merckx and Holowesko-Citadel director Thomas Craven each confirmed to Cyclingnews that AEG had informed them they would not be invited to the race this year.

The question of participation in the Tour of California among Continental teams has been an issue since last fall, when the UCI announced the race would jump from 2.HC status to the WorldTour, a category normally reserved for WorldTour and Pro Continental teams.

Exceptions to the rules requiring all 18 WorldTour teams to participate were altered for the 10 new WorldTour races that were added this year, however, with new events allowed fields with as few as 10 WorldTour squads, opening up the possibility that Continental teams could get in and prompting speculation about which teams would be included.

Participation in the country's biggest race has become lifeblood for many of the upper-echelon US Continental teams, which rely on the exposure the race provides to draw and keep sponsors. Among the 10 Continental teams currently registered in the US, Rally Cycling, Jelly Belly-Maxxis, Axeon Hagens Berman and Holowesko-Citadel are the only ones with a history of participation in the California race.

Pro Continental and WorldTour teams

Among the Pro Continental ranks, US-registered teams UnitedHealthcare and Novo Nordisk are likely participants and have history with the race.

Expect to see US WorldTour teams BMC Racing, Cannondale-Drapac and Trek-Segafredo on the start list, as well the German Bora-Hansgrohe team of Tour of California stage-win-record-holder Peter Sagan, nicknamed the 'King of California'.

Other WorldTour teams with the Tour of California posted in the calendar section of their official websites include Team Sky, AG2R La Mondiale, Astana, Quick-Step Floors, Katusha-Alpecin and UAE Team Emirates.

Teams that have calendars through May that don't mention the Tour of California include Bahrain-Merida, Lotto Soudal and Movistar. Teams without calendars include Dimension Data, FDJ, Orica-Scott, LottoNL-Jumbo and Team Sunweb. Of those final five, LottoNL-Jumbo and team Sunweb have the most history with the race, with LottoNL-Jumbo's Robert Gesink having won the overall in 2012.

Article Source: Cycling News

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What Can Giro d’Italia Fans Learn from Tirreno-Adriatico?

In 2013, Vincenzo Nibali won Tirreno-Adriatico and then went on to claim the Giro d'Italia. Can he repeat the feat in 2017? Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).
LIDO DI CAMAIORE, Italy (VN) — Most of the Giro d’Italia favorites gathered along the sunny Tuscan coast Tuesday for this week’s Tirreno-Adriatico. A win in central Italy could equal success in the three-week Italian grand tour or it could just be a peak in a long season.

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) last won the seven-day stage race in 2013 and went on to conquer the Giro d’Italia in the same year. But he is one of the few, since the race did not always suit grand tour riders.

The overall winner in San Beneetto del Tronto next Tuesday should be well-suited for the Giro’s classification in May given that the race this week includes a 16.1-kilometer summit finish and two time trials. He will also have to battle and conquer an A-list of rivals.

“The main guys for the Giro d’Italia are here, so it’ll be a good test for everyone,” Geraint Thomas (Sky) said. “Saying that, a lot can still change from here until the start of the Giro.”

When the dust settles in San Benedetto del Tronto, cycling fans still must wait around two months for the 100th Giro to kick off in Sardinia on May 5. It is a period of classics and other short stages races — and a time of speculation.

“You still have around 60 days,” Nibali told VeloNews. “It’s not written anywhere that Tirreno success will bring Giro success. It can be indicative, but there are those who already started strongly and started early. It’s hard to say if he who wins Tirreno will win the Giro.”

As Nibali spoke, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) walked by in the press conference room.

Nibali added, “To have all of those riders here who’ll be at the Giro you could already get an indicator to how your rivals are racing and riding, their tactics, all those small things.”

RCS Sport’s cycling director, Mauro Vegni looked please with the cast he gathered in Tuscany for the start of Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday.

The start list of 22 teams, 176 cyclists, includes Thomas, Nibali, Dumoulin, Quintana, van Garderen, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), and Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates).

Olympic champion and 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico winner Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) is also on the start list. “But it’d have to snow again for me to win,” he said. Last year, bad weather forced Vegni to cancel the queen stage and opened up Van Avermaet’s chances.

“Tirreno on its own has value and importance because it’s WorldTour and gives points to the team, but clearly, it’s a testing ground for all the cyclists,” Vegni said.

“The sprinters are building for Milano-Sanremo here. And of course, you can see right away how those men who are building for the Giro stand.”


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Women’s Tour de France Cancelled in Protest over Clash of Dates

Route de France Féminine hit out at UCI after failing to secure a place in the WorldTour calendar

Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-Honda) wins La Route de France (Wiggle-Honda)
The organisers of the women’s Route de France Féminine stage race – arguably the women’s Tour de France - have confirmed the cancellation of this year event, blaming the UCI for failing to include the stage race in the 2017 women’s WorldTour calendar.

La Route de France Féminine claims to be the continuation of the Tour de France Féminin and is France’s most prestigious stage race for women. However, the race failed to secure a place in the 2017 WorldTour calendar after the organisers were late in submitting their request. As a consequence the 2017 Tour de France Féminin (August 5-13) clashes with the UEC road championships and then the Crescent Vårgårda WorldTour races in Sweden on August 11 and 13.

In a Facebook post titled: ‘Tout simplement scandaleux, Merci l’UCI,’ race organisers Hervé and Brigitte Gerardin blamed the UCI for the cancellation of their race, while promising to organise the race in 2018 if it secures a better slot in the calendar.

“After more than 10 years of organisations at the highest international level, the 2017 Route de France is challenged by an inconsistency at the level of the international women's calendar,” the post reads.

“Despite the strong will of the organising committee to continue and a desire to organise the 2017 edition of the race, we have decided to challenge and to show the Union Cycliste Internationale our disagreement on the procedure of the implementation of the calendar team.

“In 2017, we wished to integrate the race in the new schedule of the WorldTour, access we have unfortunately been refused by the UCI for the following reason: our file sent mid-August, arrived too late to the UCI!?!

“Yes, we have agreed not to be in the WorldTour calendar but we denounce the inconsistency that has led to the cancellation of the Route de France. The 2017 calendar includes several events on the same dates as that the Route de France, which is stuck between the European Championships and two WorldTour races that are usually located after the Route de France. It is, therefore, impossible to envisage the organisation of our race because this situation deprives us of the best French and international teams.”

The organisers promised they would fight to put on the Route de France Feminine, but only on condition they obtained an ‘honourable’ place in the race calendar. They called on French and international women’s cycling to support them.

There was no initial reaction from the UCI to the organiser's decision and criticism.

Article Source: Cycling News

Saturday, February 25, 2017

When To Eat While Cycling - Cycling Nutrition

If you want to go for long bike rides or if you train regularly then you are going to need fuel. Here are our tips for getting your cycling nutrition strategy right.

Ex-Professional cyclists Dan Lloyd and Matt Stephens explain when and how to eat when out cycling. It's not as simple as it would possibly seem! The guys explain the two key considerations for your cycling nutrition strategy – Timing and Terrain.

Timing can be made simple. If you're riding for more than an hour or an hour and a half, you will need to eat. Any less, you can probably do without. Use your training rides to work on a timing strategy that works for you. Some of us will need to eat more often when we're cycling, others might not need to eat so regularly on the bike.

Terrain, again, can be made simple. Ask yourself: Is it difficult or dangerous to take my hands off the handlebars to eat here? If the answer is yes, then the terrain isn't quite right. If the answer is no, then you'll probably be OK to eat while you're cycling along.

One thing that we need to emphasise is that it is OK to stop cycling to eat and that you shouldn't attempt to ride without your hands on your handlebars if that's illegal where you live.