Sunday, November 19, 2017

Top 7 Winter Cycling Mistakes

In the cold and wet winter months you want to make sure you get things right. Here are 7 winter riding mistakes you want to avoid

Thursday, November 16, 2017

No Doping Charges for Wiggins, Team Sky and British Cycling Over Mystery Package

Team Sky's Dave Brailsford  and Bradley Wiggins in the team bus at the 2013 Giro d'Italia

UKAD closes investigation, unable to confirm contents of jiffy bag

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has published its final report into allegations of a potential doping violation surrounding Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky and British Cycling, confirming that no charges will be brought against any of the parties concerned.

Despite spending over 12 months investigating a case that involved a suspect medical package being sent to Team Sky at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2011 in order to treat Wiggins, UKAD could not find sufficient evidence surrounding the contents of the package.

UKAD interviewed 37 people during the investigation but a lack of medical records kept at British Cycling and Team Sky hampered the process. Both British Cycling and Team Sky took several weeks to claim that the package contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil but they too were unable to provide a paper trail.

“No anti-doping charges will be brought in relation to the package as a result of that investigation and all interested parties have been informed accordingly. This will remain the case unless new and material evidence were to come to light,” UKAD said in a statement released on Wednesday.

“UKAD’s investigation was particularly challenging in light of a lack of contemporaneous medical records. This aspect of the investigation serves as a reminder to all those responsible for medical record-keeping within sport to ensure that medical record policies are fit for purpose, and that such policies are systematically followed.”

The investigation was launched in September 2016 after it was alleged that the package contained triamcinolone – a substance that Wiggins had taken via the TUE process on the eve of three Grand Tours. Team Sky refuted this allegation but only provided the Fluimucil story several weeks after the allegation was made.

In the intervening weeks, Dave Brailsford claimed that the courier of the package was making the journey from Manchester to mainland Europe in order to meet with female cyclist Emma Pooley. Curiously, this proved to be inaccurate as Pooley was racing in Spain and several hundred miles away from the Dauphine.

Brailsford also claimed that Wiggins could not have been treated with the contents of the package because Wiggins had already left the race. This also proved to be untrue and Shane Sutton – then of Team Sky and British Cycling – confirmed in front of members of the British Parliament that he had asked for the medical package to be delivered to the Dauphine in order to treat Wiggins. Sutton also stated that the Tour de France winner was treated on the final stage of the Dauphine by Richard Freeman, who administered the package to Wiggins while on the Team Sky bus.

Freeman was asked to give evidence to both UKAD and members of Parliament. He told UKAD that his medical records were kept on his private laptop only and that the device had been stolen while on holiday in Greece in 2014. He declined to appear in front of MPs due to illness and has since stepped down from his role as medical officer at British Cycling.

“Put simply, due to the lack of contemporaneous evidence, UKAD has been unable to definitively confirm the contents of the package. The significant likelihood is that it is now impossible to do so,” UKAD added.

Team Sky: We are pleased

Minutes after UKAD published their findings, Team Sky released a statement, welcoming the news that the investigation had been closed.

“We are pleased that UK Anti-Doping have concluded their investigation and that they will not be taking any further action,” the statement said.

“We have always maintained that there was no wrongdoing and we have co-operated fully with UK Anti-Doping over the last year.

“Since our inception as a new pro cycling team in 2010 we have continually strengthened our systems and processes so they best support our strong commitment to anti-doping.”

Team Sky has, however, faced very serious and important questions over the last twelve months. Not only over the misinformation that Brailsford attempted to provide the Daily Mail over Pooley and the team bus, but the serious allegation made by the Mail that he had offered them another, more positive story.

"First came the offer of an alternative, more positive story,” the Mail’s Matt Lawton wrote last December.

“Then possibly a story about a rival team winning races with Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) — something he did not reveal in the end. And at the end of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, Brailsford asked if there was 'anything else that could be done?'"

Earlier this year, the head of UKAD, David Kenworthy, raised further questions when he said: “"So everybody can remember this from five years ago, but no-one can remember what was in the package. That strikes me as being extraordinary. It is very disappointing."

He was not alone. Damian Collins MP, who chairs the Culture and Sport select committee, told reporters that, “the credibility of Team Sky and British Cycling is in tatters - they are in a terrible position.”

Having reached a dead-end, UKAD have sent their evidence to the General Medical Council. However, in its statement, UKAD made clear that the relationship between British Cycling and Team Sky and both parties lack of medical records was a serious concern.

“Our investigation was hampered by a lack of accurate medical records being available at British Cycling. This is a serious concern. As part of their conditions to receive public funding from UK Sport and other Home Country Sports Councils, all sports governing bodies must comply with the UK National Anti-Doping Policy. In this case the matter was further complicated by the cross over between personnel at British Cycling and Team Sky,” the statement read.

“We have written to British Cycling and a copy of this letter has also been sent to UK Sport and Sport England. We have also separately written to Team Sky.”

Article Source:

Monday, November 13, 2017

Report: Cancellara Demands Gaimon Pull Book After Motor Accusation

Fabian Cancellara is demanding that Phil Gaimon pull his new autobiography from the shelves due to allegations of motor cheating. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File)
Het Nieuwsblad reports that Fabian Cancellara’s lawyers have demanded that Phil Gaimon’s publisher stops distribution of “Draft Animals” after controversy arose over motor cheating allegations. Cancellara’s manager Armin Meier says he is also expecting a public apology from the American.

In his new autobiography, former pro racer Gaimon wrote, “When you watch the footage, [Cancellara’s] accelerations don’t look natural at all, like he’s having trouble staying on the top of the pedals. That f—ker probably did have a motor.” He was referring to the 2010 Tour of Flanders, which some fans have pointed to as proof of motor cheating in the peloton.

The allegation caught the UCI’s attention last Thursday.

“We can’t rule out opening an investigation if new elements come into our possession,” a UCI spokesman said, confirming comments also made by UCI president David Lappartient to Cyclingnews.

“We need to know exactly what is behind this. Of course, I heard all the rumors, like everybody, and I just want to know exactly. So we will investigate, that is our job,” Lappartient said.

Cancellara retired from pro racing in 2016 and has always denied accusations of motor cheating.

Gaimon declined to comment when contacted by VeloNews about this story.


Friday, November 10, 2017

2018 Giro d'Italia Route Presentation Confirmed for November 29

Bettini Photo

The Times reports Froome interest in Giro-Tour double

RCS Sport has confirmed that the presentation of the route of the 2018 Giro d’Italia will take place in Milan on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 29. The event will take place at RAI television studios on Via Mecenate.

The Giro route has been announced in October in recent years – usually prior to the Tour de France presentation – but this year’s presentation was delayed while RCS Sport finalised the details of the course, including the host city of the final stage, which is expected to take place in Rome.

It has already been confirmed that the 2018 Giro will begin with an individual time trial in Jerusalem on Friday, May 4 and the gruppo will tackle two further stages in Israel before resuming in Italy after a rest day.

Many details of the course have been leaked in the Italian media in recent weeks. After leaving Israel, the Giro is expected to spend three days in Sicily, including a summit finish at Mount Etna via the novel and steep Valentino approach.

Reports indicate that the Giro route will include an uphill finish at Montevergine di Mercogliano near Naples at the end of the opening week, and a tough summit finish atop Monte Zoncolan on stage 14.

Last month, Turin daily La Stampa reported that the final days of the Giro will feature three demanding legs in the Piedmont Alps, with summit finishes at Pratonevoso, the Jafferau and Cervinia on stages 18, 19 and 20. According to La Stampa, stage 19 will also feature the dirt road of the Colle delle Finestre.

It is widely anticipated that the final stage of the Giro will take place in Rome, with the peloton due to travel by plane from Turin to the Italian capital following stage 20. The Giro last finished in Rome for its centenary in 2009.

As on that occasion, it seems likely that the Roman stage of the Giro would be an individual time trial, a development that might yet encourage defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky) to line out at the corsa rosa.

Speaking to Cyclingnews in Jerusalem in September, race director Mauro Vegni called on Froome to “make history” by riding the Giro in 2018. Froome won the Tour and the Vuelta a España in 2017, and could become the first rider since Bernard Hinault in 1983 to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time.

Froome has already stated that bidding for a record-equaling fifth Tour de France title will be his primary objective in 2018, but a report in the Times on Tuesday suggested that the Sky rider is giving serious consideration to attempting the Giro-Tour double next season, when there will be a six-week gap between the two races rather than the usual five.

Froome has not raced the Giro since his maiden season at Sky in 2010, when he was disqualified from the race for holding onto a police motorbike on the ascent of the Mortirolo.

Article Source:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tour of Hainan: Fight Breaks Out Between Chinese Rider, Swiss Team

SHANGHAI (AFP) — A Chinese rider with the local Keyi Look team faces severe punishment after attacking members of the Swiss national team at the Tour of Hainan last week.

Race organizers on the southern Chinese island said Wang Xin and his team would never be allowed back following the violent incident that saw police step in and Keyi Look expelled from the event.

Video footage posted online showed a rider, purported to be Wang, beating one staff member of the Swiss team to the ground and kicking him in the head, before attacking a second one.

The rider then retrieved a tire pump from a support car, with the likely intent to use it as a weapon. Police and bystanders rushed in to intervene and took the pump from him as dozens of people looked on in shock.

The Chinese Cycling Association (CCA) is weighing further punishment following the incident at the end of Friday’s stage 7, a 166.5-kilometer ride between Sanya and Wuzhishan.

The incident was sparked when the Swiss team car “had physical contact” with Wang during the stage, causing him to crash, the CCA said.

The CCA said it had “a zero-tolerance attitude towards uncivilized behavior and violence” and alleged that in addition to Wang, Keyi Look team staff were also involved.

“CCA will make a further decision after more investigations on this incident,” it said in a statement.

Danilo Hondo, the Swiss team manager and allegedly one of Wang’s targets, denied the team’s car had struck the Chinese rider.

“We never bumped into him, you can see that from the race video,” he told Eurosport. “He simply hit the back wheel of another rider and went down. He was obviously embarrassed and took out his frustration on us.

“We tried to approach him after the race, in fact we waited 45 minutes after the finish for him to cross to apologize for any misunderstandings and to show him and his team that we respect them and meant no harm.

“But both he and his team approached us with anger and everything escalated from there.”

Keyi Look and Wang apologized in statements on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, but blamed the Swiss for knocking him over with their car.

The Tour of Hainan vowed never to allow them back.

“Wang’s behavior is not acceptable and doesn’t reflect Chinese cycling. Hainan people are known for being very friendly,” race organizers said in a statement.

“The image and the reputation of the Tour of Hainan cannot be tarnished by such improper behavior. Fighting will never be permitted in this event.”


Saturday, November 4, 2017

4 Toughest Cyclists Ever

The following cyclists didn't just walk the walk, they talked the talk, or maybe it's the other way around. But anyway, these cyclists were tough, make no mistake. Here's who, and here's why.

Now we could not include the Cannibal in our list of toughest cyclists, could we? Although, undoubtedly Merckx is one of the finest riders of all time, that doesn't necessarily mean he's one of the toughest. But when you factor in 525 career wins, including five Giros, five Tours, two Vueltas, and three World road titles, it may actually suggest otherwise.

Anyway it was the manner of the way he set about winning that sets him apart. Hence the nickname, the Cannibal. Merckx wanted to win every time he got on his bike. Driven by an insatiable appetite for success. And he once said, "The day when I start a race without "intending to win it, I won't be able to look at myself "in the mirror." His style was simple, attack. And generally, when he did, the results were catastrophic for his rivals.

As well as immense strength, the grocer's son exemplified a fiery, single minded determination, which was illustrated at its best in the 1974 Giro d'Italia, where in a one particularly hard stage he attacked from the gun in atrocious, awful weather conditions, while still suffering from a bout of pneumonia to topple one of his fiercest rivals Jose Fuentes. And that ride laid the foundation for the win in the overall of the Giro that year, and also it meant that he went on to win the holy grail of cycling, the triple, the Giro, the Tour, and the World championships.

Known as the badger, or, Bernard Hinault was as equally renowned for his tempestuous nature as his physical prowess on the bike. During a career that netted him a quite incredible five Tour de Frances, three Giro d'Italias, two Vuelta a Espanias, and a World road title.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

How Helen Wyman Would Fix cyclocross’s Seven Big Problems

Cyclocross is far from perfect.

Perhaps no athlete is more familiar with the sport’s problems than Helen Wyman. The 36-year-old has raced in the women’s professional field for the last 14 years, winning nine British national championships and two European titles. She also sits on the UCI’s cyclocross commission and helps the governing body address the various issues that spring up each season.

We presented Wyman with the following hypothetical situation: she has the power to solve cyclocross’s toughest problems with one wave of a magic wand. Here are the problems she chose to address, along with her pragmatic solution for each one.


The UCI World Cup has a major disparity in prize money between men and women. Per UCI rules, promoters must pay out a minimum €39,500 for the men’s field and €10,400 for the women’s field per World Cup round.

WYMAN: To me, this is a tough one to fix, because where do you find €30,000 per round? The races in Belgium ethically should do it because they have profits from each round. Races in Iowa, the Czech Republic, and Germany are different. For me, the solution would be to get an outside investor to support the races. You look at the DVV Trophy series for men and women. They were able to televise the women’s series when they went to an individual sponsor and got it specifically for the women’s series. They’ve used the women to bring in a new sponsor, and that is what the UCI should do. Why would a Belgian company not want another full hour of cyclocross viewing? The viewing figures are very close to the men’s. The average percent watching TV across the 30 races was like 54 percent of the market share. Why would you not want that? I’ve always said that cyclocross is saturated. But a lot of cycling disciplines are saturated on the men’s side. But the women can be their own product if you give them an opportunity.


The UCI’s current sponsorship structure does not allow companies to sponsor specific races or series, such as the women’s cyclocross World Cup.

WYMAN: There are good people working at the UCI on cyclocross. They have gone out of their way to get sponsors. Unfortunately, their hands are tied by the rules of the UCI. When [the UCI] signs a new big sponsor, it [applies] across all disciplines. So you sign Shimano for the road, but they are across all of the sports, even cyclocross. When you operate a World Cup, then they have a ton of banners out on the course because the UCI owns 40 percent or so of the advertising space. How does a World Cup organizer get extra cash for the women when they only own 60 percent or so of the advertising space? They also can’t have conflicting sponsors. They can’t go to SRAM and ask them to support the women’s race. Personally, I think this is fixable. You create a new structure and separate the other disciplines from the sponsorship sales. I just don’t think the people that make those ultimate decisions are prepared to do that. When we make a decision on the [UCI] cyclocross commission, it has to go through the UCI management committee, and they have to agree on it for us to do what we want to do.


There aren’t as many paying jobs for female racers as there are for men.

WYMAN: My solution is that if you want to be a UCI pro team then you have to have a woman. For the first time ever, we now have UCI ’cross teams. We made sure that in order to be registered with the UCI you have to have a woman, and that rider counts in your UCI team ranking. This means that teams need a woman, we hold a better value, and if you want to be high in the ranking you need a good woman. So this problem is fixed! It will take time for this to filter down to mid-pack riders, for sure, but when it does I believe more women will be on a salary. Right now Beobank-Corendon, Telenet-Fidea, Marlux-Napolean Games, Crelan-Charles, and ERA-Circus — all the big Belgium teams — have women on their rosters, among other teams. So Sanne Cant, Maud Kaptheijns, Laura Verdonschot, Alicia Franck, Jolien Verschueren, Annemarie Worst, and Ellen Noble are all on UCI ’cross teams now.


The UCI World Cup goes back to the same venues year after year.

WYMAN: It’s always Koksijde or Zolder or Hoogerheide. I could honestly race Koksijde tomorrow and nail the lines from lap one. I do appreciate that the money and the big teams are in Belgium, but I think we need to rotate the World Cup venues. Every two years we can come back to a location. From a rider point of view, it brings new energy and more interest back to the racing. The same old venues become mundane after 12 years. Everyone went to the [World Cup] at Milton Keynes [in Great Britain] in 2015 and loved it. It had huge reviews.


Outside of Belgium, countries have a difficult time developing cyclocross talent.

WYMAN: So the British juniors this year won worlds and finished second and third, so I’m not saying that there isn’t talent outside of Belgium. There is incredible talent. But when I go to America and I see the juniors racing there, I think it’s really sad that the juniors aren’t racing together in their own field but are instead racing against adults in the amateur fields. I understand that America is massive and it is hard for the best juniors to race against each other every week, due to the cost of travel. So instead you need to develop the cyclocross scene in your area so that you can have 20 or more juniors race in one race, or maybe even 100 of them on a race weekend.

In most countries, you can only race in a junior category. In England, you have a local race and the best women’s juniors would always race each other. That would be one separate category. In America, you have the juniors spread across three or four different races, which is crazy to me. Category 3? Category 4? How is that going to increase the competitiveness and make them better? How does that create a race that you can be really proud of? Because you didn’t beat the other juniors but instead raced Category 3 racers. You need to separate these juniors and have them race each other.

I’ve raced in the junior men’s category in Belgium and my best position was 13th. Daphny van den Brand, when she was European Champion, her best result was ninth in a junior race. That’s how fast they are. I just don’t think that racing a bunch of Cat. 3 racers is going to make [the juniors] fast enough.


Attracting junior participation to cyclocross is extremely challenging.

WYMAN: In the United States and Britain and Australia, cyclocross is very much propped up by the veteran guys. These are the guys in the lower categories that compete outside of the elite race. They are the ones who pay the money to make the events run because of entry fees. That’s not sustainable in my eyes.

You need juniors to come through even if they leave the U23 ranks; they will come back someday to race as veterans or masters.

You need to entice them in the beginning to love the sport. I see many people trying to develop the juniors, from Adam Myerson [in Massachusetts] to Jim Brown in Seattle. I think it’s something that needs to go into schools and colleges, honestly. Cycling and cyclocross needs to be promoted in the education system. If it’s a school sport, maybe you get more people in then. If I had my magic wand — and I have no idea how I’d do this — I’d make cycling part of the physical education program in countries around the world. Cyclocross would be the winter version — or it could be track — and people could have a crack at both. I know that this is hugely difficult and expensive. It would be very difficult.


Cyclocross is still a niche sport within cycling, and it needs to find a bigger audience.

WYMAN: I know this would probably be a love/hate thing, but I would put cyclocross into the Olympics. I think it would be fascinating as a part of the Winter Olympics. It would be completely different. Yes, it might seem more gimmicky. I would still put it in because that’s how you get the sport out there for more people to see. If it’s on the TV every four years for everyone to see, then that’s how the sport becomes as popular as road racing.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Introducing the 2018 Host Cities | Amgen Tour of California

The 2018 Host Cities include the return of fan and race team favorites, long-time veterans like San Jose and Sacramento, and two first-time destinations: Ventura and King City.

A favored site for the women’s race, South Lake Tahoe will once again host the men for the Stage 6 finish and welcome back the women for the fourth year in a row.

The peloton will revisit Stockton and Long Beach for the first time in 11 years, with the men’s overall start overlooking the beautiful Long Beach Waterfront.

Folsom returns as a third-time host for an epic stage through the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The exciting overall conclusion of both races on the same day in the State Capitol of Sacramento will provide spectators the opportunity to cheer on favorites across both fields.

May 13-19, 2018

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Citing Reduced WorldTour Rosters, BMC Slashes Team Size for 2018

BMC Racing will have a smaller roster for 2018. Photo: Tim De Waele |

BMC Racing is reducing its team roster going into 2018 by nearly 20 percent, citing the reduced team roster requirements for major races next season.

That’s just the kind of impact that riders’ groups feared when the UCI announced that major WorldTour races would be run with smaller teams. For 2018, grand tours will be raced with eight riders instead of nine, and one-day races will see seven starters instead of eight.

“[The reduction]” is aligned with our race calendar and the reduced numbers of riders per team at certain races next year,” a BMC release said Wednesday.

Proponents of the new rule say it will create safer racing conditions as well as produce a more dynamic and less controlled racing action in the peloton.

Riders, agents, and others criticized the rule by saying it would have a negative impact on the number of racers that teams would carry going into next year’s racing season.

That’s how it has played out at BMC Racing, the first major WorldTour team to confirm it will be reducing its roster from 29 to 24 riders for 2018.

BMC Racing also confirmed four new arrivals. Alberto Bettiol and Patrick Bevin join from Cannondale-Drapac, Simon Gerrans from Orica-Scott, and Jürgen Roelandts from Lotto-Soudal.

Leaving are retirees Martin Elmiger and Manuel Quinziato. Samuel Sánchez was dropped after testing positive ahead of the Vuelta a España. Silvan Dillier joins Ag2r La Mondiale, Ben Hermans to Israel Cycling Academy, Amaël Moinard to Fortuneo-Oscaro, Daniel Oss to Bora-Hansgrohe, and Manuel Senni to Bardiani-CSF.

BMC Racing general manager Jim Ochowicz said the team enjoyed its best season ever in 2017 in terms of victories, with 48 wins. The team won its first monument with Greg Van Avermaet taking Paris-Roubaix, while Silvan Dillier and Tejay van Garderen each taking their first respective grand tour stage wins, both during the Giro d’Italia.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Koksijde: Kaptheijns Untouchable in the Sand

Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles) captured the first world cup victory on her career on Sunday in Koksijde, Belgium. Photo: Tim De Waele |

Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles) was flawless in the sand dunes of Koksijde, Belgium on Sunday, as she took victory in the third Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup of the season. She finished fifth and 10th at the first two world cups in the United States, but since returning to Europe she has been virtually unbeatable. This is the first world cup victory of her career.

The Dutchwoman took over the lead on the opening sand section and never relented, increasing her gap to the others throughout the entire nearly 45-minute race. Sophie de Boer (Parkhotel Valkenburg-Destil) rode most of the race alone to finish second.

World champion Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) and Loes Sels (Crelan-Charles) battled on the final lap for the final place on the podium. Cant powered through the final sand section before the finish and was able to open a gap over Sels. Sels would manage to get back to Cant before the finishing straight, but did not have enough energy to contest the sprint, meaning the world champion captured the final spot on the podium.


1. Maud Kaptheijns, (NED), 44:20
2. Sophie De Boer, (NED), 45:12
3. Sanne Cant, (BEL), 45:47
4. Loes Sels, (BEL), 45:49
5. Katherine Compton, (USA), 46:06
6. Lucinda Brand, (NED), 46:06
7. Helen Wyman, (GBR), 46:20
8. Kaitlin Keough, (USA), 46:22
9. Nikki Brammeier, (GBR), 46:23
10. Pavla HavlÍkovÁ, (CZE), 46:24

The third stop of the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup visited the hallowed sand dunes of Koksijde. Riders were happy conditions were suitable to race, though it was a bit chilly, as last year a monstrous wind storm whipped-up overnight and made conditions impossible, forcing the organizers to cancel the event.

Helen Wyman (Kona) took the holeshot and led the group onto the first sand section, which was a terribly steep run-up. Kaptheijns slipped by Wyman after the descent and began laying down the power once on the front. Behind her, Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale p/b and de Boer chased with Cant having a difficult opening lap. She fell-over dismounting on one of the sand run-ups and was seen riding around 10th place.

Kaptheijns’ gap really ballooned on the opening lap when she was able to ride a sand section that most were forced to run. By the end of the lap, she had 10 seconds over de Boer followed by Keough a few seconds after.

Katie Compton (KFC Racing/Trek/Panache) was over 30 seconds behind with Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans) and Cant was a further 10 seconds back of them.

On the second lap of five, Cant began to pick-off riders, as she found her rhythm and fought to the front of the race. She would team up with Compton and Sels would latch on as well. The trio would begin to close in on the podium. However, they would never come close to the lone leader.

Entering the final lap, Cant was alone in third, but Compton and Sels were right behind. The fight for the final podium spot was fierce. Meanwhile, Keough had faded and was at risk of falling outside the top-10. De Boer and Kaptheijns were comfortable in second and first.

Sels left Compton behind on one of the many sand sections and made the junction to Cant late in the lap. Cant wouldn’t go down without a fight though and blitzed through the final uphill sand section to open a gap. Her Belgian counter-part would rejoin her, but have no energy to contest the sprint.

Kaptheijns pumped the sky multiple times as she crossed the line, to capture her first victory in cyclocross’ top series.

De Boer finished second, albeit she was nearly a minute behind and never in with a shot at victory after Kapthijns opened her initial gap.

Compton, a multi-time winner at Koksijde, nearly had heartbreak on the line as Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) charged-on late in the race. The two threw their bikes across the line and Compton’s initial reaction seemed to show she thought she had been beaten. However, she wasn’t and finished the race in fifth.

The runner-up at the first two world cups in Iowa City and Waterloo, Keough, finished eighth with fellow American Elle Anderson ( Motorhomes) finishing 23rd.

The Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup continues on November 19 in Bogense, Denmark, a first-time host venue.

Full results

1. Maud Kaptheijns, (NED), 44:20
2. Sophie De Boer, (NED), 45:12
3. Sanne Cant, (BEL), 45:47
4. Loes Sels, (BEL), 45:49
5. Katherine Compton, (USA), 46:06
6. Lucinda Brand, (NED), 46:06
7. Helen Wyman, (GBR), 46:20
8. Kaitlin Keough, (USA), 46:22
9. Nikki Brammeier, (GBR), 46:23
10. Pavla HavlÍkovÁ, (CZE), 46:24
11. Eva Lechner, (ITA), 46:37
12. Ellen Van Loy, (BEL), 46:38
13. Annemarie Worst, (NED), 46:39
14. Jolanda Neff, (SUI), 46:39
15. Laura Verdonschot, (BEL), 46:50
16. Lucie Chainel, (FRA), 46:53
17. Joyce Vanderbeken, (BEL), 47:16
18. Fleur Nagengast, (NED), 47:23
19. Alice Maria Arzuffi, (ITA), 47:36
20. Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado, (NED), 47:46
21. Karen Verhestraeten, (BEL), 47:52
22. Nikola NoskovÁ, (CZE), 47:52
23. Elle Anderson, (USA), 48:11
24. Kim Van De Steene, (BEL), 48:15
25. Karla ŠtĚpÁnovÁ, (CZE), 48:42
26. Lucia Gonzalez Blanco, (ESP), 49:00
27. Geerte Hoeke, (NED), 49:17
28. Jolien Verschueren, (BEL), 50:13
29. Pauline Delhaye, (FRA), 50:32
30. Marlene Petit, (FRA), 50:52
31. Marlène Morel Petitgirard, (FRA), 51:15
32. Hannah Payton, (GBR), 51:16
33. Marion Norbert Riberolle, (FRA), 51:38
34. Inge Van Der Heijden, (NED), 51:52
35. Anna Kay, (GBR), 52:00
36. Nadja Heigl, (AUT) , 52:25
37. Evita Muzic, (FRA), 52:33
38. Bethany Crumpton, (GBR)
39. Maina Galand, (FRA)
40. Natalie Redmond, (AUS)
41. Léa Curinier, (FRA)
42. Elizabeth UngermanovÁ, (CZE)
43. Tereza ŠvihÁlkovÁ, (CZE)
44. Margriet Kloppenburg, (DEN)
45. Amira Mellor, (GBR)
46. Mara Schwager, (GER)


Friday, October 20, 2017

Froome: Joining Tour’s Five-Win Club Won’t Be Easy

Chris Froome received the Velo d’Or prize as the best rider in 2017 at the Tour de France route presentation. Photo: Tim De Waele |

Chris Froome (Sky) knows he’s got his work cut out for him if he wants to join the five-win club at the Tour de France next summer.

After getting his first glimpse Tuesday of the 2018 Tour route, Froome admitted that winning a fifth yellow jersey won’t be easy as he seeks to join cycling’s most elite club.

“We’ve got a massive challenge ahead of us for next year,” Froome told Eurosport. “It’s a Tour de France that tests every aspect of cycling.”

Froome, 32, will line up next July as the five-star favorite. No rider has won four yellow jerseys without winning a fifth.

On Tuesday, after watching the official route presentation in Paris, Froome singled out the stage ending as at Alpe d’Huez as the “queen stage” for 2018.

“I think the ‘queen stage’ will be the Alpe d’Huez stage,” he said. “With 5,000 meters of climbing, that will be the biggest challenge of the Tour.”

The route features relatively few kilometers against the clock, which means the climbers will be licking their chops as they try to take down Froome and Team Sky’s dominance at the Tour. All the major climbs will be packed into the final half of the race, but Froome pointed to the dangers lurking in the first week.

Crosswinds, narrow roads, and the inclusion of 15 sectors of cobblestones in stage 9 mean that the race could be lost even before reaching the mountains. The only year Froome missed out on the Tour, in 2014, was when he crashed out in the first week.

“That’s going to make the Tour very nervous until we reach the Alps,” Froome said. “It will be a very nervous race. That region in the northwest part of France is known to be very windy. That will play a big part as well.”

Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford called the Tour route “balanced,” and said it will require a complete performance to win.

“It’s a very balanced route, and it will favor the most complete rider,” Brailsford said. “There’s a team time trial, there’s pavé, stages with a lot of wind, mountains, including one that’s only 65km. It’s a route that favors a complete rider, but it’s clear there are more mountains than time trials.”

Hot off winning the Tour and Vuelta a España in consecutive fashion this season, Froome was awarded the Velo d’Or prize as the best rider in 2017 on Tuesday as well.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tour de France 2018 Route Revealed

21 stages include cobbles, dirt roads, two time trials and three big mountain finishes

The route of the 2018 Tour de France has been revealed in Paris, with organiser ASO continuing a blend of tradition and innovation as they look to shake up the racing and seemingly make it harder for Team Sky and Chris Froome to dominate yet again.

The 2018 Tour de France will include a team time trial on stage three, sections on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, a finish up to L’Alpe d’Huez and then a grand finale of mountain stages in the Pyrenees before a hilly time trial will decide the winner of the yellow jersey.

Stage 10, the first mountain stage of the race, includes a section of dirt road on the Plateau des Glières. It is 100km from the finish of the stage in Le Grand Bornand but comes after a six-kilometre climb at 11 per cent. Technical director Thierry Gouvenou has admitted he one day hopes to include a long dirt climb in the Tour de France.

The 2018 Tour de France starts in the Vendée region on Saturday July 7 - a week later than usual due to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. It ends three weeks later in Paris on Sunday July 29 with the traditional evening stage and circuits of the Champs Elysées.

Froome, Thibaut Pinot, Simon Yates, Nairo Quintana, Warren Barguil, Romain Bardet, Alberto Contador, Nacer Bouhanni, Arnaud Demare were amongst the 4000 guests at the presentation at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. They seemed stunned by the severity of the route, knowing they will race with just seven teammates in 2018 after team sizes were reduced to eight riders by the UCI and race organisers.

A race of two parts

The 21 stages are divided into two parts, with riders taking two plane transfers. The first nine stages visit the Vendée coast, Brittany and the north of France, with the cobbled stage from Arras to Roubaix coming before a transfer and first rest day at Annecy in the Alps.

Stage 10 marks the start of the mountains, with three important stages in the Alps to Le Grand Bornand, La Rosière-Montvalezan and L’Alpe d’Huez. The 2018 route avoids the South of France and the Mediterranean coast, crossing to the Pyrenees via Valence, an uphill finish to Mende, and a second rest day in Carcassonne.

From the ancient walled town, the riders can see the jagged Pyrenean peaks on the horizon. They face four days of suffering, with a chance for the sprinters in Pau. Two long stages to Bagneres-du-Luchon and Laruns are divided by the short stage to the Col de Portet. The stage is only 65km long but includes 37km of climbing. Pau will act as the base for many of the teams for all of the Pyrenean stages.

The Tour de France will be decided by a 31km time trial on the final Saturday, with the rolling roads between Saint-pee-sur-Nivelle and Espelette in the French Basque Country hosting the showdown on the 2018 race.

Cyclingnews will have more analysis on the 2018 Tour de France route, rider reaction and a photo gallery.

The 2018 Tour de France stages:

Stage 1, July 7: Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile – Fontenay-le-Comte, 189km

Stage 2, July 8: Mouilleron-Saint-Germain – La Roche-sur-Yon, 183km

Stage 3, July 9: Cholet – Cholet (TTT), 35km

Stage 4, July 10: La Baule – Sarzeau, 192km

Stage 5, July 11: Lorient – Quimper, 203km

Stage 6, July 12: Brest – Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan, 181km

Stage 7, July 13: Fougères – Chartres, 231km

Stage 8, July 14: Dreux – Amiens Métropole, 181km

Stage 9, July 15: Arras Citadelle – Roubaix, 154km

Rest day, July 16: Annecy

Stage 10, July 17: Annecy – Le Grand Bornand, 159km

Stage 11, July 18: Albertville – La Rosière, 108km

Stage 12, July 19: Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs – Alpe d’Huez, 175km

Stage 13, July 20: Bourg d’Oisans – Valence, 169km

Stage 14, July 21: Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Mende, 187km

Stage 15, July 22: Millau – Carcassonne, 181km

Rest day, July 23: Carcassonne

Stage 16, July 24: Carcassonne – Bagnères-de-Luchon, 218km

Stage 17, July 25: Bagnères-de-Luchon – Saint-Lary-Soulan (Col de Portet), 65km

Stage 18, July 26: Trie-sur-Baïse – Pau, 172km

Stage 19, July 27: Lourdes – Laruns, 200km

Stage 20, July 28: Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle – Espelette (ITT), 31km

Stage 21, July 29: Houilles – Paris Champs Elysées, 115km

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Roundtable: Our 2018 Tour de France Wishlist

Tour de France organizer ASO will announce the race’s 2018 route on Tuesday, October 17. We know a few things by now. It will start in the Vendée region of western France with a road stage from Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile to Fontenay-le-Comte, including a ride over the infamous Passage du Gois. Stage 2 is another road stage, from Mouilleron-Saint Germain to La Roche-sur-Yon. Stage 3 is around Cholet, suggesting a team time trial could be back in the Tour. There are also rumors of a return to the cobblestones near Roubaix and a trip up Alpe d’Huez.

The rest of the 21-stage “Grande Boucle” is unknown. That’s where we come in. Our panel of experts is taking this opportunity to dream up our wishlist of ways to make the 105th edition the best Tour yet. Let’s roundtable!

Pick two things you want to see in the 2018 Tour route — one practical idea and one WACKY idea.

Fred Dreier @freddreier: We all know that dirt is cycling’s hot trend. So the Tour de France needs to fire up the Future Bass playlist and live in the now, dammit. I say for 2018, the Tour adds some long sections of the Belgian grass/dirt roads that are used in Schaal Sels for the first week of the race. Then, in week three, there’s a day of big, long, dirt climbs in the Pyrenees.

That final stage of the 2017 Hammer Series was so unorthodox and bizarre, and boy did I love it. So my wacky idea is for the TDF to install a bizarre TTT format where the teams leave the start gate like 30 seconds at a time and then are allowed to group together and attack each other as a full TTT squad. The first five riders across the line win! Nacer Bouhanni is already practicing his left hook.

Spencer Powlison @spino_powerlegs: I want two mountainous stages that are shorter than 120km, ideally one in the Alps and one in the Pyrenees. If you want to get wacky, let’s also run a team time trial on the Roubaix cobblestones early in the race, but make sure those pavé sectors are nice and long — I’m thinking 40km of racing with 39km of cobbles.

Chris Case @chrisjustincase: I’d love to see a big, painful, uphill time trial. Maybe that’s Alpe d’Huez but probably not this year. Better yet, have them tackle the Galibier or Tourmalet. Yes, I want more agony. But what I really want to see is a team competition interlude à la the Hammer Series, with a climb, sprint, and chase component. The video explaining the rules of the Hammer Series is almost two minutes long, so I’ll spare you the details. Suffice to say, it will bring a much-needed wacky respite from the doldrums created by Team Sky’s smothering tactics.

Andrew Hood @eurohoody: OK, so we’re doing this eight-rider per team thing this year. But let’s keep an open mind about it. Teams and riders say it is not good for their job security, or for their ability to finish the race. If safety is the true concern, there is a lot more the UCI and race organizers can do. If major grand tours don’t have a discernable safety improvement after this year, bring it back to nine-man teams.

Wacky: How about making this the Tour of short climbs? We’ve seen that the shorter, multi-climb stages are the most thrilling and decisive. So why not pack this Tour with a lot of them? There still have to be longer stages to make it a race of attrition, but when it comes to the mountains, pack in a string of shorter, 100-125km stages, one after another. Three in the Alps, and two more in the Pyrenees. Remember, short is the new long.

Dan Cavallari @browntiedan: I want super-short, super-steep climbing stages on successive days, followed immediately by short, fast sprinter’s stages. Keep the excitement over the course of four or five days to shake up the race and help prevent that feeling of it being a foregone conclusion during the final week. For my wacky idea, let’s kick it old school: flat pedals only on one stage.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Despite Regional Turmoil, U.S. Racers Feel Safe at Tour of Turkey

Skirting Turkey's western coast, the Tour of Turkey has been tranquil despite regional turmoil. Photo: Tim De Waele |

KUMLUCA, Turkey (VN) — American cyclists say they feel safe racing in the Tour of Turkey despite heightened political tensions in recent weeks.

A war over the border in Syria and attempted coups in Turkey have not stopped teams racing in the 53rd Tour of Turkey. However, two days before the race start Sunday night, the Turkish government stopped issuing visas to Americans wanting to visit for work or holiday.

“From what I read, there were some repercussions from the attempted coup last year that included some American citizens,” said Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo).

“It sounds like the U.S. stopped issuing visa to Turks in retaliation, and the Turkish government stopped issuing them to American citizens. But that was the day after we came in. It doesn’t look like it has been very well-enforced on either side.”

Both sides have imposed travel restrictions on each other’s citizens in a worsening diplomatic spat. Thankfully for the organizer, it came too late to stop cyclists from beginning the national tour Tuesday in Alanya.

Three U.S. cyclists lined up for the six-day stage race along with cyclists from South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. The race skirts the Mediterranean coast and flies north for its last stage in Istanbul.

“I’m a proud American, but I’m not showing off too much right now,” said Chris Butler, a South Carolinian who lives in Spain and races for Spanish team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Butler is visiting Turkey for the first time. Despite a risk of being sent home just hours before a blanket ban fell on Americans, he was able to buy his visa on landing.

“Because I was rolling with a Spanish entourage, it may have been easier,” Butler said.

“I have raced in a lot of crazy places: Israel, all over Asia. At the moment, it is not too crazy here and let’s keep it that way.

“Normally, I just think about racing my bike but there is a one percent chance for something crazy to happen. I am careful about what I do. I don’t give them a reason to throw me in jail. I just keep quiet and go with the flow.”

Children waved red Turkish flags along the starting street this morning in Kumluca, a beach resort town that caters to Turkish as well as visitors including British and Russians. Rolling along the coast, the peloton would have found it hard to think about the Islamic State troubles in Syria or Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s clampdown on protests.

“Along the coast here it is very beautiful, we are almost every day by the beach. The weather is great and the people are really friendly,” added Reijnen.

“It’s all relative, we are pretty far west in Turkey and like the U.S., it is a pretty big country. If we were racing along the Syrian border, it might be different. We are racing here along the coast, it’s a big tourist destination and it certainly feels as safe as any race.”

The Turkish national team rolled by with Ahmet Örken, who raced in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“I’ve been racing the Tour of Turkey for five years, I don’t think there’s a problem,” Örken explained.

“This problem between America and Turkey, not being able to go to Turkey to the U.S., it’s not good.

“Is it safe in Turkey? Yeah, there’s no problem.”


Sunday, October 8, 2017

GCN's Top 10 Cycling Apps

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Colorado-Based 303 Project Plans to Go Continental in 2018

303 Project captured the overall title of the 2017 Green Mountain Stage Race on the final day with Austin Stephens. Photo: Dean Warren/303 Project

VeloNews has confirmed that Colorado-based 303 Project has applied to become a UCI Continental team for 2018. The team was registered as a USA Cycling Domestic Elite Team in 2017.

“I felt like going Continental so we could have a shot at some bigger races and that was what we needed to do to give [the riders] more opportunities,” said team owner Nicholas Greeff.

The 303 Project, a registered LLC owned by Greeff, is making the jump to the professional ranks rather quickly, as the team has only raced for one season.

The move to Continental status is not a cheap one due to USA Cycling and UCI fees. Furthermore, the UCI requires a bank guarantee of 20,000 euros or 15 percent of the combined salaries of riders and staff (whichever is higher) for teams with Continental licenses.

“At this point, I am putting in some money and I’ve got some people helping me out with that, just in a personal capacity,” Greeff said of the bank guarantee. “I have personally enough funding to cover what we’ve done this past year and some more races. There is a guarantee that we are going to be able to race, but we are in the process of trying to get funding so we can have a high-level race calendar and actually do the UCI North America series. I feel like we are going to have the riders that are going to be competitive in that and we’ll have enough riders to do that. We also have enough staff to do that.”

With three prominent Continental programs applying for second-tier Pro Continental status in 2018 — Axeon Hagens Berman, Rally, and Holowesko-Citadel — 303’s potential move up could be a welcome addition to America’s thinning herd of pro development teams.

Greeff, 32, was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. He moved to the U.S. full-time in 2014. After one year of racing for Colorado-based Team Rio Grande, the team folded at the end of the 2014 season.

In the fall of 2015, Greeff started the 303 Project to give riders based in Colorado’s Front Range a chance to race at a high level. “I had guys that were really good domestic elite riders, all Colorado-based, that were into it,” Greeff said. “We had some guys who were pros before, but that weren’t old, like in their high 20s, but weren’t racing much anymore and were more into life. We had them guiding the younger guys, and it worked great.”

Being a first-year domestic elite team, Greeff’s chances of getting into the top U.S. races, especially the UCI-registered ones, was slim. “I took a different approach and called the race organizers and sent them an actual proposal and not just an email,” Greeff said.

“We got into every race we wanted to. We went and we raced, and we did really well. We built the team on culture and race for each other and fight for each other. We’d pack our stuff into guys’ cars with our bikes on the roof and drove the country like that the whole year. It was not even close to any other team’s set-up, but on the bike, we outperformed all the other people that had all the resources.”

As well as being the team owner, Greeff will also serve as the general manager at all team races. He brought on Drew Christopher to direct the team. Christopher raced for the Champion Systems-Stan’s No Tubes for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Greeff told VeloNews that while the team isn’t strictly Coloradoans, riders would all live in Colorado during the season. Austin Stephens will be one of the team’s more notable riders. He recently won Vermont’s Green Mountain Stage Race (GMSR) at the end of August. Stephens entered the final criterium stage at GMSR more than 30 seconds out of the yellow jersey. He finished the race in yellow thanks to time bonuses and a breakaway move.

It was a comeback win of sorts for Stephens. He broke his collarbone at the North Star Grand Prix in June. Isaiah Newkirk, Taylor Warren, Cristhian Ravelo, and Mac Cassin are also returning to the 303 Project for 2018.

Boulder resident Greeff wants 303 Project to be both a professional cycling team and also a part of the Colorado community, specifically the Front Range. So, he also registered a 303 Project non-profit.

“We really want to be involved with the community, and I feel like we have really done a good job of that this year and we want to expand on that and we don’t want our identity to change just because we are changing our license. We still want to be the same team, but achieving bigger things and actually getting more involved in the community and doing more things and being a long-lasting entity within the sport and for Colorado.”

303 Project’s clothing will be Cuore of Switzerland and the team will ride Scott bikes.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Peter Sagan Goes Mountain Biking

Peter Sagan tests out the new Alban Lakata mountain bike trail in Lienz with the world mtb marathon champion himself

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Matthews Hoping to Snatch Second Jersey from Sagan

Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) won the green points jersey at the 2017 Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele |
BERGEN, Norway (AFP) — Michael Matthews has already stripped Peter Sagan of one jersey this year and now the Australian is aiming for a double at the world championship road race on Sunday.

Sagan had owned the Tour de France green jersey for five straight years until July, but after the Slovak double world champion was kicked off the race for elbowing Briton Mark Cavendish in a frantic sprint finish, Matthews succeeded him in winning the sprinters’ points jersey.

Now the 26-year-old, known as ‘Bling’ for his flashy style, is aiming to relieve Sagan of the rainbow jersey he’s held for the last 24 months. “I have one jersey now so we have to go for the second one,” said Matthews.”Everything’s been going really well up to this point. One goal was to win the green jersey; now another is this jersey.”

Matthews is enjoying the best season of his career having claimed two stages during July’s Tour as well as the green jersey.

Last year he finished fourth at the worlds, but in 2015 he came away with the silver medal as Sagan won both years.

But now Matthews will have the entire nine-man Aussie squad working for him.

“To have the full support of the Aussie team is something I’ve been dreaming of for the last couple of years,” he said. “To have the full nine guys here on the startline on Sunday gives me really a lot of motivation and a lot of confidence for myself to deliver for the guys who are going to be putting their heart and soul on the line for me to do my best in the finish there.”

Sagan and Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet of Belgium will start as the two outstanding favorites, but Matthews believes many riders will be lining up with the conviction they can come away with the rainbow jersey at the end of the punishing 276.5km race.

“There’s a lot of guys in the bunch that are favorites for this race, it’s not just a small bunch.”

Matthews has had some impressive results during his career, but he is yet to win one of the sport’s major one-day classics.

The Team Sunweb rider was fourth in Liege-Bastogne-Liege in the spring, while two years ago he was third at both Milan-San Remo and Amstel Gold Race. He believes the time has come for him to step-up and claim some major honors.

“When you’ve seen the course, I’ve been riding around it this week almost every day, I know what I’m in for,” said Matthews. “I think it’s going to be quite an open race.”

He has the advantage that he has already won a gold medal at these championships, a week ago in the team time-trial with Team Sunweb.

And his compatriot Mathew Hayman, who two years ago won one of cycling’s biggest one-day classics, Paris-Roubaix, believes Matthews can continue riding the crest of a wave.

“A big factor in this sport is what’s going on between the ears and if you’re having fun and enjoying it, which you obviously are if you’re winning stages in the Tour and the green jersey, then that’s obviously a big factor,” Hayman added.

Aside from Sagan and Van Avermaet, former world champions Philippe Gilbert of Belgium and Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski will expect to have their say while home hopes will rest on Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen.

Kristoff won the European championships earlier this year and has won two of cycling’s prestigious ‘Monument’ one-day classics. He has three times finished in the top-10 at the worlds.

Boasson Hagen was world silver medalist back in 2012 and in July claimed his first Tour stage win after six year of trying.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Top Five Cycling Tantrums | GCN

Unwritten rules, impeccable etiquette and gentlemanly behaviour - but not quite always. John ‘Chocolate Voice’ Beavan brings you our top 5 cycling tantrums.

Which is your favourite tantrum? Could it be…

-Jeremy Santucci getting ‘smashy’ at the Red Hook Crit
-One Pro Cycling’s Hayden McCormick not settling for second
-The Costa vs Barredo fisticuffs
-Debating turns on the front with Brambilla and Rovny
-Marcel Kittel emerging from Dubai’s sandstorm looking a little worse for wear

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cavendish Won’t Race Norway Worlds

Still recovering from a broken shoulder, Mark Cavendish had a disappointing showing at the Tour of Britain. Photo: Tim De Waele |
Former world road race champion Mark Cavendish announced Thursday that he won’t be lining up with the British team to race 2017 worlds in Bergen, Norway, September 24.

He posted a statement explaining that the shoulder injury sustained during the Tour de France was still healing.

“I’m gutted to say I won’t be representing Great Britain this year at World Road Championships in Bergen, Norway,” the Dimension Data rider wrote. “It was a goal I’d set to try and win this year, on a course that suits me at my peak.”

Cavendish finished second at 2016 worlds in Doha, Qatar. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the title that day, his second consecutive rainbow jersey.

Longtime rivals in sprint finishes, Cavendish and Sagan tangled in the Tour’s stage 4 finish. The Brit broke his shoulder, and the race jury kicked Sagan out of the Tour for what it deemed to be unsafe sprinting.

Cavendish returned to racing on home soil in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain but was not himself, finishing well off the pace. He abandoned the eight-stage race on the final day.

Sagan, on the other hand, will be a top favorite for worlds having just won the Grand Prix de Quebec.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Froome Says Grand Tour Triple ‘Not Impossible’

Chris Froome finally won the Vuelta after three second-place finishes. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media |
LONDON (AFP) — Chris Froome, fresh off wrapping up a Tour de France and Vuelta a España double, believes winning all three grand tours in the same year would “take some doing” but “nothing is impossible.”

Froome, 32, completed victory in the Vuelta on Sunday to become only the third man to achieve a Tour-Vuelta double in the same year and the first since Bernard Hinault in 1978. The Brit is the only rider to win the double since the Vuelta moved to its late-summer time slot in 1995.

No rider has ever pulled off a Giro-Tour-Vuelta treble. While Froome feels it is unlikely, he does not believe it is unachievable.

“I wouldn’t say it’s impossible,” the British rider, a four-time Tour de France champion, told BBC Radio Four on Monday.

“Nothing’s impossible, but certainly it would take some doing.”

He was more circumspect about his chances of surpassing Belgian great Eddy Merckx’s record of 11 grand tour victories.

“A completely different era,” said Froome, who finished second in the Vuelta three times (2011, 2014, and 2016) before finally securing the red jersey.

“Eddy Merckx’s time of racing, he was able to win every single kind of race on the calendar. The sport has transformed since his time.”

Froome’s double triumph came after a challenging period for Team Sky.

Bradley Wiggins, Froome’s former teammate, was revealed to have obtained permission to use a powerful corticosteroid before the 2011 and 2012 Tours — the latter of which he won — and the 2013 Giro.

Wiggins and team principal Dave Brailsford said the rider’s use of the drug, which was sanctioned by cycling’s authorities, was necessary for medical reasons.

Sky is also under investigation by UK Anti-Doping over a mysterious package that was delivered to Wiggins during the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.

Sky denies wrongdoing and when asked if his support for Brailsford was unequivocal, Froome replied: “Certainly.”

He added: “For us on the road, we’ve just been focused on the racing side of things.

“Those allegations haven’t been aimed at us at all, so it really hasn’t been an issue.”


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Contador Rallies with Strong Vuelta a Espana Time Trial

Spaniard into 5th but still 2:18 shy of podium in goodbye race

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) (Bettini Photo)

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) made a huge leap up the overall classification as he moved from ninth to fifth overall at the Vuelta a Espana with an impressive time trial performance on Tuesday. He still remains more than two minutes adrift of the final podium spot controlled by Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb), and the three-time champion says that making the podium in the final race of his career will be tough to do.

"I think I did a good time trial, but after today I think reaching the podium will be very difficult," explained Contador.

Contador finished 59 seconds down on stage winner and race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky), equal on time with Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) while giving away some seconds to Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb).

When he crossed the line, he had the fastest time, and it would take Kelderman to push him off his perch. Contador said afterward that he had opted not to race the stage by numbers but by feel. He admitted that it hadn't been his best performance against the clock.

"I didn't have the split times of my rivals; I covered my SRM and preferred to ride only on my sensations. I don't think it was the best time trial I have done in the last years - even recently I have done better, like my time trial at the Tour de France," said Contador.

"There were some riders who were superior: Kelderman and of course Froome. We knew that Froome was the big favourite for today; I think today's time trial suited him down to the ground."

Why change a habit of a lifetime? As he did in the time trial and many other days before it, Contador is going to listen to what his body tells him in the final stages of the Vuelta a Espana.

"I will be riding on the base of my sensations, from moment to moment," he said when asked if he would attack in Wednesday's mountain stage to Los Machucos. "There are five nice stages to come, and I will continue to enjoy this race, including the stage to Madrid, which will be very special as it will be my goodbye race."

The chances to do gain ground are ever diminishing, and the make-up of the top 10 looks increasingly certain, with more than three minutes separating 10th and 11th places. The order in which the top 10 comes home and even the complexion of the podium is still far from a foregone conclusion. While Contador is coy on whether or not he will attack in the next few stages, he is expecting his rivals to put up a fight.

"I think a lot of things will happen in the next days; there'll be a lot of movement. There are riders who will make another move, like Lopez who will surely be on the attack," Contador said. "I think tomorrow will be very hard for everyone giving the difficulty of the climbs, and the ramps on Los Machucos."

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Nibali to Race 10,000-foot Taiwan Hill-Climb in October

Vincenzo Nibali is confirmed to race the Taiwan KOM Challenge in October 2017. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | (File).
Former Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali will race the Taiwan KOM Challenge this fall, joining another former yellow jersey winner, Cadel Evans. Race organizers announced that the Italian has committed to the 105km race that climbs 3,275 meters — more than 10,000 feet.

Nibali’s brother Antonio, also on the Bahrain-Merida team, will race the hill climb as well.

Other top professionals have raced the KOM challenge over the years. Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) and Emma Pooley raced in 2016 with Pooley winning the women’s title. Oscar Pujol (UKYO) won the men’s race last year.

The race pays out equally to men and women, 500,000NTD apiece, which is approximately $16,500.

Also of note, the race bars any rider with a prior doping suspension from competing.

The route climbs through the Taroko Gorge then up Hehuan Mountain to Wuling Pass after starting on Taiwan’s eastern coast in Hualien Qixingtan. The route begins with an easy 0-2 percent gradient for the first 20km. Then, the road climbs at a steady 6 percent average gradient until the final 9.5km. At the top, the course offers 10-22 percent gradients to the finish.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Froome Takes 'A Huge Step' in Vuelta a Espana Bid

Chris Froome on the podium after the 11th stage of the Vuelta a Espana (Bettini Photo)

Chris Froome (Team Sky) may not have won at Calar Alto on stage 11, but the Briton confirmed that his second place on the Vuelta a España's first major mountain finish and the time gaps he had established constituted a "huge step towards securing my lead" in the race.

After the first nine days of skirmishing and a previous maximum GC margin of 36 seconds, Froome has now opened up a gap of more than double that, 1:19, on his closest rival, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).

Riders like Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) lost time, while BMC Racing Team's duo of GC contenders, Nicolas Roche and Tejay van Garderen, had a very difficult day.

The GC is looking more clearly in Froome's favour after a week where he was in the lead but always by narrow margins.

Asked if this was a big step towards winning the Vuelta overall, Froome said, "Definitely. Given the time gaps today, it's definitely one of the more crucial stages that shapes this Vuelta a España. I'm really pleased with how it went. It's a huge step towards securing my lead at the Vuelta."

The Vuelta has moved into a different phase, Froome pointed out, given you "just have to look at the GC to see how the race has completely opened up now. It's a very different kind of race, it felt as if we were in the Spring Classics with this kind of weather, not something you expect in Vuelta a España.

"But we're all in the same boat, and you have to make the best of these circumstances. Orica made the race at bottom of last climb, [and put] a lot of people on the limit, when Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali attacked, the race exploded completely."

Froome singled out teammates Gianni Moscon and Mikel Nieve for praise after their strong racing on the final climbs. The two Sky riders managed to bring back Contador and Nibali well before the last flurry of moves on the flatter upper segment of the Calar Alto.

At one point Froome was seen talking to Moscon. "I probably told him not to worry too much about Nibali and Contador," Froome said of the conversation. "With a lot of road to cover, we didn't need to chase them full gas."

Asked by one reporter if he had buried the hatchet with Nibali following their stormy relationship during the 2015 Tour de France, Froome confirmed that was the case, saying there were "certainly no issues" now. Even so, it is clear that Nibali, himself a former Vuelta winner, is currently the Briton's biggest rival on GC and with Chaves on the back foot, Froome's teammates clamped down the Shark's attack.

Tellingly, Froome then was feeling strong enough in the final kilometres to allow Nieve to launch his own attack and go for the stage win, but as the Vuelta leader said, despite his easing back, the counter-moves proved too strong for Nieve's charge away to work out

"Today wasn't my cup of tea given the conditions, I do prefer the really high temperatures and today was almost polar opposite, but all have to make the best of this situation," Froome explained.

"I could sit back a little bit and I didn't want to play cat and mouse, guys like Contador and Nibali stood more to gain from this stage than me, so I left them to it. I told Nieve to go for it on GC and thought maybe they were not going to chase him, but the race opened up again."

Froome then shadowed Nibali all the way to the line in the final kilometre, gaining time all other rivals barring the Italian and Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb), a final indication, if it was needed, that he is more than in control of the situation at the Vuelta.

"At no moment was I afraid of being dropped," Froome emphasised. After such a strong initial performance on the Vuelta's first major summit finish of three this week, there seems to be little chance of that happening in the days to come, either.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Top 10 Cycling Friendly Cities 2017

It's not the first time that we've looked into the best cities in the world for cyclists, but with an update to the Copenhagenize Index, there are some exciting changes to the rankings. Does your city feature amongst the very best?

Cities like Amsterdam have long been known as extraordinarily cyclist friendly, with cycling engrained as part of everyday life for many. In order to encourage more people to use this mode of transport in urban areas, there's been a huge improvement in cycling infrastructure in cities across the world.

The Copenhagenize Index looks into a number of measures to judge how safe and encouraging each urban area is for cyclists, even including the use of cargo bikes! 136 cities worldwide are now analysed, and we bring you the results here. Some might surprise you!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

GC Battle Taking shape at Vuelta

Photo: Tim De Waele |
After just five stages, the battle for the General Classification at this year’s Vuelta a España is beginning to take shape. Chris Froome (Sky) commands the strongest army, and he faces a small group of talented rivals, each of whom brings a set of weapons to the fight.

During the race’s fifth stage to Alcossebre, Froome’s Sky teammates shredded the peloton, with Italian rider Gianni Moscon dropping many of the contenders on the steep final climb. The effort helped Froome distance himself from his Tour de France rivals Fabio Aru (Astana) and Romain Bardet (AG2R), as well as Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) on the day’s final 3km climb.

Yet the Briton was unable to shake Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) who appears to be the best climber among the challengers. Further back, American Tejay van Garderen—who has the time trial chops to contend for the overall—limited his losses to just 8 seconds, keeping himself in second place in the GC. Van Garderen’s BMC teammate Nicolas Roche had a good ride as well, ceding just 11 seconds to Froome.

After the first five stages, the battle appears to be between Froome and Chaves, with van Garderen and Roche also in striking distance. Behind these four, a second tier of favorites is poised to contend for the podium.

“Looking at the time gaps now, the GC is taking a bit more shape,” Froome said after the stage. “Chaves seems to be one of the strongest climbers in this Vuelta. Tejay and Roche are both still in the mix, and they have a few cards to play. I was surprised to see Nibali and Aru to lose a bit of time today, and Romain Bardet. But it’s a long race, and today was just a 3km climb, and it will be a different race once we get into the high mountains.”

Indeed this year’s Vuelta favors the climbers, as the route contains nine summit finishes. During the race’s second and third weeks the route also heads into the high mountains, with stages to Sierra de la Pandera (stage 14), Sierra Nevada (stage 15), and the Alto de l’Angliru (stage 20). Those stages present the best opportunity for Chaves to gain an advantage on Froome and the other riders. The diminutive Colombian has shown his climbing chops throughout his career, most notably during the 2016 Giro d’Italia, where he climbed to second place overall. Chaves also struggles in the individual time trial, and will be looking to carve out a time gap before the 42km individual time trial on stage 16.

Chaves has also showed he has the explosive power to stay with Froome on the punchy uphill finishes, where the race’s other climbers—Bardet and Aru, included—have lost time.

“[Chaves] has showed he’s one of the strongest climbs so far in the race. Last year, he rode extremely well, and I am imagine this year he will be up there again,” Froome said. “The TT is not really in his favor.”

Unlike Chaves, van Garderen will look to limit his losses on the punchy uphill days, and will instead target the long, grinding ascents that come on the Vuelta’s second week. Van Garderen will also try to distance himself from the pure climbers during the time trial.

After finishing stage 5, van Garderen said his game plan is to “keep chipping away” at Froome’s lead.

“It was a bit of a pity of losing a few seconds there at the end,” van Garderen said. “I am right there, if I keep chipping away, day by day, we’re headed in the right direction.”

The X-factor in the fight for the overall could be Spaniard Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), who will retire at the end of the three-week race. Contador’s bid for the overall took a major blow during the third stage, when he ceded three minutes to Froome. Yet on Wednesday Contador was one of just three riders to follow Froome up the steep climb to Alcossebre. If Contador can retain that form for the remainder of the race, he could ride his way onto the podium.

Like Froome, Contador said that the GC battle has begun to take shape. But the mountains that appear later in the race will determine the outcome he said.

“It was a short climb, very explosive. The longer climbs come in the second week,” Contador said. “First, we have to see how I feel, and if I can recover the sensations. And then we can see what we can do in this Vuelta.”