VeloNews.com » Road http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Sun, 31 Aug 2014 03:53:10 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Gallery: 2014 Vuelta a Espana, stage 8 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/gallery-2014-vuelta-espana-stage-8_343308 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/gallery-2014-vuelta-espana-stage-8_343308#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 21:32:17 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343308

Racing against the sky (plus the heat, and the wind). Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Photos from stage 8 of the 2014 Vuelta a España

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Racing against the sky (plus the heat, and the wind). Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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Results: 2014 GP de Plouay-Bretagne http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/results-2014-gp-de-plouay-bretagne_343378 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/results-2014-gp-de-plouay-bretagne_343378#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 21:30:17 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343378 Results from the 2014 GP de Plouay-Bretagne, the conclusion to the UCI women's World Cup

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  • 1. Lucinda BRAND, Rabo-liv, in 3:08:26
  • 2. Marianne VOS, Rabo-liv, at :56
  • 3. Pauline FERRAND PREVOT, Rabo-liv, at :56
  • 4. Rossella RATTO, Estado de Mexico Faren, at :56
  • 5. Anna VAN DER BREGGEN, Rabo-liv, at :56
  • 6. Emma JOHANSSON, Orica-AIS, at :56
  • 7. Elisa LONGO BORGHINI, HiTec Products, at :56
  • 8. Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD, Boels Dolmans, at :56
  • 9. Alena AMIALIUSIK, Astana-BePink, at :56
  • 10. Tiffany CROMWELL, Specialized-lululemon, at :56
  • 11. Audrey CORDON, HiTec Products, at 2:57
  • 12. Roxane KNETEMANN, Rabo-liv, at 2:57
  • 13. Megan GUARNIER, Boels Dolmans, at 2:57
  • 14. Valentina SCANDOLARA, Orica-AIS, at 2:57
  • 15. Ashleigh MOOLMAN-PASIO, HiTec Products, at 2:57
  • 16. Claudia HÄUSLER, Giant-Shimano, at 2:57
  • 17. Jessie DAAMS, Boels Dolmans, at 2:57
  • 18. Evelyn STEVENS, Specialized-lululemon, at 2:57
  • 19. Tatiana GUDERZO, Ale Cipollini, at 2:57
  • 20. Iris SLAPPENDEL, Rabo-liv, at 2:57
  • 21. Malgorzta JASINSKA, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 22. Leah KIRCHMANN, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 4:57
  • 23. Marta TAGLIAFERRO, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 24. Elise DELZENNE, Specialized-lululemon, at 4:57
  • 25. Sheyla GUTIERREZ RUIZ, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 4:57
  • 26. Irene SAN SEBASTIAN LASA, Bizkaia-Durango, at 4:57
  • 27. Lauren HALL, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 4:57
  • 28. Joanne KIESANOWSKI, Tibco-To the Top, at 4:57
  • 29. Elena VALENTINI, BTC City Ljubljana, at 4:57
  • 30. Barbara GUARISCHI, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 31. Tayler WILES, Specialized-lululemon, at 4:57
  • 32. Eugénie DUVAL, FRA, at 4:57
  • 33. Lara VIECELI, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, at 4:57
  • 34. Edwige PITEL, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, at 4:57
  • 35. Amy PIETERS, Giant-Shimano, at 4:57
  • 36. Belen LOPEZ MORALES, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 4:57
  • 37. Lieselot DECROIX, Belkin, at 4:57
  • 38. Annelies VAN DOORSLAER, Belkin, at 4:57
  • 39. Ane SANTESTEBAN GONZALEZ, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 40. Melodie LESUEUR, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 4:57
  • 41. Janel HOLCOMB, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 4:57
  • 42. Oxana KOZONCHUK, RusVelo, at 4:57
  • 43. Lucie PADER, Vienne Futuroscope, at 4:57
  • 44. Polona BATAGELJ, BTC City Ljubljana, at 4:57
  • 45. Yevgeniya VYSOTSKA, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, at 4:57
  • 46. Shara GILLOW, Orica-AIS, at 4:57
  • 47. Carlee TAYLOR, Orica-AIS, at 4:57
  • 48. Alexandra BURCHENKOVA, RusVelo, at 4:57
  • 49. Sara OLSSON, HiTec Products, at 4:57
  • 50. Dalia MUCCIOLI, Astana-BePink, at 4:57
  • 51. Lourdes OYARBIDE JIMENEZ, Bizkaia-Durango, at 4:57
  • 52. Ursa PINTAR, BTC City Ljubljana, at 4:57
  • 53. Tetiana RIABCHENKO, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, at 4:57
  • 54. Jade WILCOXSON, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 4:57
  • 55. Uenia FERNANDES DA SOUZA, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 4:57
  • 56. Andrea DVORAK, Tibco-To the Top, at 4:57
  • 57. Julie BRESSET, FRA, at 4:57
  • 58. Eugenia BUJAK, BTC City Ljubljana, at 4:57
  • 59. Amélie RIVAT, Vienne Futuroscope, at 4:57
  • 60. Anna POTOKINA, Servetto Footon, at 4:57
  • 61. Sarah ROY, Vienne Futuroscope, at 4:57
  • 62. Anna TREVISI, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 4:57
  • 63. Maaike POLSPOEL, Giant-Shimano, at 4:57
  • 64. Elena CECCHINI, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 4:57
  • 65. Doris SCHWEIZER, Astana-BePink, at 4:57
  • 66. Elena BERLATO, Ale Cipollini, at 4:57
  • 67. Karol-Ann CANUEL, Specialized-lululemon, at 4:57
  • 68. Jasmin GLAESSER, Tibco-To the Top, at 4:57
  • 69. Natalia BOYARSKAYA, Servetto Footon, at 4:57
  • 70. Elena KUCHINSKAYA, RusVelo, at 4:57
  • 71. Fabiana LUPERINI, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 5:01
  • 72. Fanny LELEU, FRA, at 5:17
  • 73. Brianna WALLE, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 5:17
  • 74. Christine MAJERUS, Boels Dolmans, at 5:17
  • 75. Anastasiya CHULKOVA, RusVelo, at 5:27
  • 76. Kseniya TUHAI, Astana-BePink, at 12:08
  • 77. Kelly VAN DEN STEEN, Belkin, at 12:08
  • 78. Yulia BLINDYUK, RusVelo, at 12:08
  • 79. Lierni LEKUONA ETXEBESTE, Bizkaia-Durango, at 12:08
  • 80. Silvia VALSECCHI, Astana-BePink, at 12:08
  • 81. Špela KERN, BTC City Ljubljana, at 12:08
  • 82. Anisha VEKEMANS, Belkin, at 12:08
  • 83. Lucia GONZALEZ BLANCO, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 12:08
  • 84. Patricia SCHWAGER, Tibco-To the Top, at 12:08
  • 85. Martina RITTER, BTC City Ljubljana, at 12:08
  • 86. Marijn DE VRIES, Giant-Shimano, at 12:08
  • DNF Gracie ELVIN, Orica-AIS
  • DNF Amanda SPRATT, Orica-AIS
  • DNF Chloe HOSKING, HiTec Products
  • DNF Lauren KITCHEN, HiTec Products
  • DNF Eyerusalem KELIL, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox
  • DNF Azzurra D’INTINO, S.C. Michela Fanini Rox
  • DNF Amanda MILLER, Tibco-To the Top
  • DNF Lauren STEPHENS, Tibco-To the Top
  • DNF Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA, Boels Dolmans
  • DNF Annie EWART, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
  • DNF Oriane CHAUMET, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Charlotte BRAVARD, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Gabrielle PILOTE-FORTIN, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Aizhan ZHAPAROVA, RusVelo
  • DNF Alice Maria ARZUFFI, Astana-BePink
  • DNF Elisabet BRU, Servetto Footon
  • DNF Marina LIKHANOVA, Servetto Footon
  • DNF Ana Teresa CASAS BONILLA, Estado de Mexico Faren
  • DNF Dorleta ESKAMENDI GIL, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Clemilda FERNANDES SILVA, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Yulia ILINYKH, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Mélanie BRAVARD
  • DNF Anabelle DREVILLE
  • DNF Séverine ERAUD
  • DNF Sofie DE VUYST, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata
  • DNF Valerie DEMEY
  • DNF Alicia GONZALEZ BLANCO, LKT Team Brandenburg
  • DNF Eider MERINO KORTAZAR, LKT Team Brandenburg
  • DNF Floortje MACKAIJ, Giant-Shimano

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Lizzie Armitstead claims World Cup title as Lucinda Brand wins finale http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/lizzie-armitstead-claims-world-cup-title-lucinda-brand-wins-finale_343302 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/lizzie-armitstead-claims-world-cup-title-lucinda-brand-wins-finale_343302#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 20:24:29 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343302

Lucinda Brand solos to victory in the final round of the UCI World Cup. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Rabo-Liv squad sweeps the podium in the final race, but Lizzie Armitstead collects the overall World Cup title

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Lucinda Brand solos to victory in the final round of the UCI World Cup. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Rabo-Liv squad swept the podium at the GP de Plouay on Saturday, putting Lucinda Brand on the top step, as Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) claimed the overall title in the 2014 UCI Women’s Road World Cup.

The 121km race north of Plouay in Brittany was the final event in the series.

Brand soloed to the win by nearly a minute ahead of teammates Marianne Vos and Pauline Ferrand Prevot, who crossed second and third, respectively.

“I never believed I was actually going to win this,” said the 25-year-old Dutchwoman. “This year I have been very close to wins and just missed out by meters or even centimeters. That has left me with a bit of a trauma.

“But I heard what my gap was in the final and knew that I was not going to lose 50 seconds in the final two kilometers.”

The decisive move came 50km from the line. Vos launched a breakaway that soon included teammates Brand, Ferrand Prevot and Anna van der Breggen; Armitstead; Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS); Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products); Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-lululemon); Rosella Ratto (Estado de Mexico); and Alena Amialiusik (Astana-Be Pink).

The break was down to eight with less than 14km remaining when Brand made her move.

“I knew I wasn’t the strongest on the climb, so I had to let the group go there, but I saved energy and there still was something left in the legs. The others maybe expected something from the stronger riders and then I had a chance,” she said.

She built up a lead of almost a minute but saw that dwindle to 30 seconds on the Côte de Ty Marec, with gradients exceeding 10 percent. But the chase group included Vos, Van der Breggen and Ferrand-Prevot, and they weren’t doing any work.

Brand held on to take the victory, her first in a World Cup event. And 56 seconds later, Vos sprinted to second with Ferrand-Prevot right behind.

“It was a hard race and we attacked several times,” the world champion said. “Lucinda is always there for the team and today she wins this race. We all had our chances but in the end the one who makes the break takes it. I am very happy for her.”

As for Armitstead, who finished eighth on the day, crossing with the first chase, she was delighted to claim the World Cup crown.

“I showed I was one of the strongest on the road today,” Armitstead said. “There were just so many riders for Rabo-Liv and in the end I didn’t have the legs anymore for the sprint. But I won the overall World Cup and that was one of my career goals so I am happy.”

 

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Garmin-Sharp puts its Vuelta eggs in Daniel Martin’s basket http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/garmin-sharp-puts-vuelta-eggs-daniel-martins-basket_343295 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/garmin-sharp-puts-vuelta-eggs-daniel-martins-basket_343295#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 16:54:52 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343295

Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), shown crossing the line with the lead group on stage 4, is the team's best-placed man after eight stages. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

With Andrew Talansky and Ryder Hesjedal out of the running, Daniel Martin is Garmin-Sharp's best hope

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Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), shown crossing the line with the lead group on stage 4, is the team's best-placed man after eight stages. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

BAEZA, Spain (VN) — Garmin-Sharp is now putting all of its GC eggs in one basket in the form of Daniel Martin. The Irishman is the team’s sole survivor going into the second week of the Vuelta a España.

Andrew Talansky started the Vuelta admittedly not in fighting form in his comeback from his emotional Tour de France exit, while Ryder Hesjedal, who had hoped for a strong GC performance, lost his options in a pair of tough days in the first week.

That leaves the 28-year-old Martin to carry the team’s GC weight into the Vuelta’s second half. Speaking to VeloNews before the start of Saturday’s stage, Martin said he’s ready.

“The main thing is to try to keep the options for the GC. It would have been nice to have more cards to play, but that’s not the case. Now it’s me,” Martin said. “This position is a bit new to me, and I haven’t really led at a grand tour before. I am looking forward to it, and we’ll see how it goes in the mountains.”

Martin has had a solid opening week, punching to second in stage 3, and riding close to the top favorites to keep his GC options intact. Martin ended Saturday’s chaotic sprint stage 15th overall at 1:34 back.

Martin admitted he buckled on the short but steep climb up La Zubia in stage 5. Garmin-Sharp was driving the pace, but Martin suddenly was pedaling squares when the main players pushed forward. The searing heat in the first week of the Vuelta certainly wasn’t helping.

“It’s been a pretty good start, but we lost a bit of time when they tried to split up the bunch. It wasn’t really in the crosswinds, but in the downhill,” he said.

“Ryder losing his GC shot was a bit of a blow, but personally, it’s been a good start. I felt good on the uphill finish [La Zubia], but suddenly I just didn’t have the legs. I think it was the heat. The body stopped working with 2km to go. I was looking really good, then suddenly I wasn’t. It wasn’t like it was a slow decline. Hopefully the cooler temperatures will treat me well. I’ve felt good otherwise.”

This Vuelta is Martin’s seventh grand-tour start. A confirmed stage-hunter and one-day racer — he won the 2013 Liège-Bastogne-Liège but crashed on the final corner this year when he had another win in his sights — Martin admits he’s not sure if he’s cut out to be a contender in the three-week tours.

He struggles on longer, power-based time trial courses, and so far, his best grand tour was 13th overall in the 2011 Vuelta.

Martin crashed out in the opening team time trial at the 2014 Giro d’Italia, so this Vuelta could be a turning point in his career. If he does well, he could continue to work to develop his GC credentials. If not, he might look at focusing on winning stages, and on the prestigious one-day races, such as Liège or Giro di Lombardia, that fit him like a glove.

“I am still discovering myself as a rider,” Martin said. “Sometimes I don’t even think I like this stage-racing business. So far, it seems people are content with not losing the race, rather than winning the race.

“You saw the other day when we took control of the race, to try to win. We seemed like the only team who wanted to try to win the stage, and the other teams seemed more worried about saving energy for the next days. It’s not the style of racing I enjoy so much. I prefer the one-day races. Maybe I will change during this Vuelta. I am definitely maturing mentally as well.”

The next 72 hours could well decide much of Martin’s immediate future during this Vuelta. Sunday’s mountaintop finale is perfect for Martin’s punchy, attacking style. He can stay with the top contenders, and boasts a strong finishing kick to win stages like the Valdelinares summit finale.

And then there is the long, individual time trial at Borja on Tuesday, hardly Martin’s favored ground. If he loses too much time, he could revert into his role as a stage-hunter. Yet if he can manage to stay close, he will keep fighting into the final week.

“The Vuelta is long, and the hardest climbs are still to come,” Martin said. “I will try every day, like we’ve been doing so far. Whether that’s a stage win or a strong placing in GC, we’ll see.”

 

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Results: 2014 Vuelta a Espana, stage 8 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/results-2014-vuelta-espana-stage-8_343289 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/results-2014-vuelta-espana-stage-8_343289#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 16:28:59 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343289

Results from stage 8 of the 2014 Vuelta a España

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  • 1. Nacer BOUHANNI, FDJ.fr, in 4:29:00
  • 2. Michael MATTHEWS, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
  • 3. Peter SAGAN, Cannondale, at :00
  • 4. John DEGENKOLB, Giant-Shimano, at :00
  • 5. Greg HENDERSON, Lotto-Belisol, at :00
  • 6. Robert WAGNER, Belkin, at :00
  • 7. Kristian SBARAGLI, MTN-Qhubeka, at :00
  • 8. Roberto FERRARI, Lampre-Merida, at :00
  • 9. Tom BOONEN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 10. Jasper STUYVEN, Trek Factory Racing, at :00
  • 11. Danilo WYSS, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 12. Sébastien HINAULT, IAM Cycling, at :00
  • 13. Damiano CARUSO, Cannondale, at :00
  • 14. Michael Valgren ANDERSEN, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :00
  • 15. Geoffrey SOUPE, FDJ.fr, at :00
  • 16. Gerald CIOLEK, MTN-Qhubeka, at :00
  • 17. Christopher FROOME, Sky, at :00
  • 18. Alexandr KOLOBNEV, Katusha, at :00
  • 19. Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 20. Wilco KELDERMAN, Belkin, at :00
  • 21. Robert GESINK, Belkin, at :00
  • 22. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, Movistar, at :00
  • 23. Rigoberto URAN URAN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 24. Ivan ROVNY, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :00
  • 25. Fabio ARU, Astana, at :00
  • 26. Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :00
  • 27. Nikolas MAES, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 28. Maxime MONFORT, Lotto-Belisol, at :00
  • 29. Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS, Movistar, at :00
  • 30. Eduard VORGANOV, Katusha, at :00
  • 31. Koen DE KORT, Giant-Shimano, at :00
  • 32. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
  • 33. Simon CLARKE, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
  • 34. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Katusha, at :00
  • 35. Giampaolo CARUSO, Katusha, at :00
  • 36. Mikel NIEVE ITURALDE, Sky, at :00
  • 37. Daniel MARTIN, Garmin-Sharp, at :00
  • 38. Andre Fernando S. Martins CARDOSO, Garmin-Sharp, at :00
  • 39. Kanstantsin SIUTSOU, Sky, at :00
  • 40. Wouter POELS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 41. Fabio FELLINE, Trek Factory Racing, at :00
  • 42. Dominik NERZ, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 43. Guillaume BOIVIN, Cannondale, at :00
  • 44. Warren BARGUIL, Giant-Shimano, at :00
  • 45. Laurens TEN DAM, Belkin, at :00
  • 46. Pieter SERRY, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 47. Philip DEIGNAN, Sky, at :00
  • 48. Cadel EVANS, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 49. Luis Leon SANCHEZ GIL, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at :00
  • 50. Manuel QUINZIATO, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 51. Dario CATALDO, Sky, at :00
  • 52. Andrey AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA, Movistar, at :00
  • 53. Jerome COPPEL, Cofidis, at :00
  • 54. Steve MORABITO, BMC Racing, at :00
  • 55. Daniele BENNATI, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :10
  • 56. Jose Rodolfo SERPA PEREZ, Lampre-Merida, at :13
  • 57. Vasil KIRYIENKA, Sky, at :13
  • 58. Tobias LUDVIGSSON, Giant-Shimano, at :16
  • 59. Mitchell DOCKER, Orica-GreenEdge, at :18
  • 60. Christian KNEES, Sky, at :20
  • 61. Vegard BREEN, Lotto-Belisol, at :20
  • 62. Christophe LE MEVEL, Cofidis, at :53
  • 63. Patrick GRETSCH, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :53
  • 64. Andrea GUARDINI, Astana, at :53
  • 65. Romain SICARD, Europcar, at :53
  • 66. Romain HARDY, Cofidis, at :53
  • 67. Luis Angel MATE MARDONES, Cofidis, at :53
  • 68. Daniel NAVARRO GARCIA, Cofidis, at :53
  • 69. Sergio PARDILLA BELLON, MTN-Qhubeka, at :53
  • 70. David ARROYO DURAN, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at :53
  • 71. Yauheni HUTAROVICH, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :53
  • 72. Nathan HAAS, Garmin-Sharp, at :53
  • 73. Maarten TJALLINGII, Belkin, at :53
  • 74. Daniel MORENO FERNANDEZ, Katusha, at :53
  • 75. Lloyd MONDORY, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :53
  • 76. Oliver ZAUGG, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :53
  • 77. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Trek Factory Racing, at :53
  • 78. Filippo POZZATO, Lampre-Merida, at :53
  • 79. Paul MARTENS, Belkin, at :53
  • 80. Matthias KRIZEK, Cannondale, at :53
  • 81. Philippe GILBERT, BMC Racing, at :53
  • 82. Jesse SERGENT, Trek Factory Racing, at :53
  • 83. Paolo TIRALONGO, Astana, at :53
  • 84. Adriano MALORI, Movistar, at :53
  • 85. Vicente REYNES MIMO, IAM Cycling, at :53
  • 86. Matteo PELUCCHI, IAM Cycling, at :53
  • 87. Marcel AREGGER, IAM Cycling, at :53
  • 88. Gert JOEAAR, Cofidis, at :53
  • 89. Koldo FERNANDEZ, Garmin-Sharp, at :53
  • 90. Daniel TEKLEHAIMANOT, MTN-Qhubeka, at :53
  • 91. Imanol ERVITI, Movistar, at :53
  • 92. Johan LE BON, FDJ.fr, at :53
  • 93. Tanel KANGERT, Astana, at :53
  • 94. Adam HANSEN, Lotto-Belisol, at :53
  • 95. Oscar GATTO, Cannondale, at :53
  • 96. Jimmy ENGOULVENT, Europcar, at :53
  • 97. Winner ANACONA GOMEZ, Lampre-Merida, at :53
  • 98. Alberto LOSADA ALGUACIL, Katusha, at :53
  • 99. Gianluca BRAMBILLA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :53
  • 100. Sébastien TURGOT, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :53
  • 101. Martin VELITS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :53
  • 102. Johan VAN SUMMEREN, Garmin-Sharp, at :53
  • 103. Maciej BODNAR, Cannondale, at :53
  • 104. Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE, Lampre-Merida, at :53
  • 105. Valerio CONTI, Lampre-Merida, at :53
  • 106. Chad HAGA, Giant-Shimano, at :53
  • 107. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at :53
  • 108. José HERRADA LOPEZ, Movistar, at 1:08
  • 109. Jens DEBUSSCHERE, Lotto-Belisol, at 1:08
  • 110. Murilo Antonio FISCHER, FDJ.fr, at 1:08
  • 111. Ramon SINKELDAM, Giant-Shimano, at 1:08
  • 112. Romain ZINGLE, Cofidis, at 1:08
  • 113. Dmitry KOZONTCHUK, Katusha, at 1:08
  • 114. Yaroslav POPOVYCH, Trek Factory Racing, at 1:08
  • 115. Luke ROWE, Sky, at 1:08
  • 116. Jacopo GUARNIERI, Astana, at 1:13
  • 117. Jerome COUSIN, Europcar, at 1:13
  • 118. Rohan DENNIS, BMC Racing, at 1:13
  • 119. Matteo TOSATTO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 1:16
  • 120. Vincent JEROME, Europcar, at 1:26
  • 121. Jaco VENTER, MTN-Qhubeka, at 1:52
  • 122. Tony MARTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 1:52
  • 123. Fabian CANCELLARA, Trek Factory Racing, at 1:55
  • 124. Karol DOMAGALSKI, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 1:55
  • 125. Stef CLEMENT, Belkin, at 2:23
  • 126. Moreno HOFLAND, Belkin, at 2:23
  • 127. Martijn KEIZER, Belkin, at 2:23
  • 128. Johannes FRÖHLINGER, Giant-Shimano, at 2:23
  • 129. Nikias ARNDT, Giant-Shimano, at 2:23
  • 130. Lawrence WARBASSE, BMC Racing, at 2:23
  • 131. Kenny ELISSONDE, FDJ.fr, at 2:23
  • 132. Damiano CUNEGO, Lampre-Merida, at 2:23
  • 133. Chris Anker SÖRENSEN, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2:23
  • 134. Kristof VANDEWALLE, Trek Factory Racing, at 2:23
  • 135. Mikel LANDA MEANA, Astana, at 2:23
  • 136. Javier Francisco ARAMENDIA LORENTE, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 137. Maxime BOUET, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:23
  • 138. Carlos VERONA QUINTANILLA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 2:23
  • 139. Adam YATES, Orica-GreenEdge, at 2:23
  • 140. Nathan BROWN, Garmin-Sharp, at 2:23
  • 141. Przemyslaw NIEMIEC, Lampre-Merida, at 2:23
  • 142. Bart DE CLERCQ, Lotto-Belisol, at 2:23
  • 143. Amets TXURRUKA, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 144. Francesco LASCA, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 145. Guillaume LEVARLET, Cofidis, at 2:23
  • 146. Hubert DUPONT, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:23
  • 147. Gorka IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Movistar, at 2:23
  • 148. Yury TROFIMOV, Katusha, at 2:23
  • 149. Paolo LONGO BORGHINI, Cannondale, at 2:23
  • 150. Sergei CHERNETSKI, Katusha, at 2:23
  • 151. Natnael BERHANE, Europcar, at 2:23
  • 152. Merhawi KUDUS GHEBREMEDHIN, MTN-Qhubeka, at 2:23
  • 153. Rinaldo NOCENTINI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:23
  • 154. Peio BILBAO, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 155. Brett LANCASTER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 2:23
  • 156. Jacques JANSE VAN RENSBURG, MTN-Qhubeka, at 2:23
  • 157. Cédric PINEAU, FDJ.fr, at 2:23
  • 158. Luis MAS BONET, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 2:23
  • 159. Damien GAUDIN, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:23
  • 160. Maxime MEDEREL, Europcar, at 2:23
  • 161. Yannick MARTINEZ, Europcar, at 2:23
  • 162. Pirmin LANG, IAM Cycling, at 2:23
  • 163. Louis MEINTJES, MTN-Qhubeka, at 2:23
  • 164. Yohan BAGOT, Cofidis, at 2:23
  • 165. Sam BEWLEY, Orica-GreenEdge, at 2:30
  • 166. Dan CRAVEN, Europcar, at 2:30
  • 167. Ryder HESJEDAL, Garmin-Sharp, at 3:00
  • 168. David MILLAR, Garmin-Sharp, at 3:00
  • 169. Peter KENNAUGH, Sky, at 3:00
  • 170. Andrew TALANSKY, Garmin-Sharp, at 3:00
  • 171. Alexey LUTSENKO, Astana, at 3:51
  • 172. Sander ARMEE, Lotto-Belisol, at 5:52
  • 173. Jay Robert THOMSON, MTN-Qhubeka, at 6:47
  • 174. Carlos Alberto BETANCUR GOMEZ, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 6:47
  • 175. Johann TSCHOPP, IAM Cycling, at 6:47
  • 176. Andrey ZEITS, Astana, at 6:47
  • 177. Jonathan FUMEAUX, IAM Cycling, at 6:47
  • 178. Jesus HERNANDEZ BLAZQUEZ, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 6:47
  • 179. Sergio Miguel MOREIRA PAULINHO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 6:47
  • 180. Javier MORENO BAZAN, Movistar, at 6:47
  • 181. Julian David ARREDONDO MORENO, Trek Factory Racing, at 6:47
  • 182. Daniil FOMINYKH, Astana, at 6:47
  • 183. Cameron MEYER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 6:47
  • 184. Lawson CRADDOCK, Giant-Shimano, at 6:47
  • 185. Elia FAVILLI, Lampre-Merida, at 6:47
  • 186. George BENNETT, Cannondale, at 6:47
  • 187. Alessandro DE MARCHI, Cannondale, at 6:47
  • 188. Pim LIGTHART, Lotto-Belisol, at 8:59
  • 189. Bob JUNGELS, Trek Factory Racing, at 8:59
  • 190. Laurent MANGEL, FDJ.fr, at 8:59
  • 191. Dominic KLEMME, IAM Cycling, at 8:59
  • 192. Jonathan CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS, Movistar, at 8:59

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Nacer Bouhanni wins stage 8; Alejandro Valverde leads Vuelta http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/nacer-bouhanni-wins-stage-8-alejandro-valverde-leads-vuelta_343278 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/nacer-bouhanni-wins-stage-8-alejandro-valverde-leads-vuelta_343278#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:36:15 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343278

Nacer Bouhanni takes stage 8 from Michael Matthews and Peter Sagan. Photo: AFP

Nacer Bouhanni edges Michael Matthews to win stage 8 as a battle in the wind leaves Alejandro Valverde in red and the GC largely intact

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Nacer Bouhanni takes stage 8 from Michael Matthews and Peter Sagan. Photo: AFP

Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) out-kicked Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and a resurgent Peter Sagan (Cannondale)on Saturday, winning stage 8 of the Vuelta a España in a bunch dash to the line.

Bouhanni, who had protested Giant-Shimano sprinter John Degenkolb’s tactics in stage 5, didn’t mind changing his own line considerably to take victory on Saturday.

“I had good legs today. I was a bit surprised I could win. I went early, because I did not want to get boxed in,” he said.

“It was a hard stage, very nervous when the bunch started to split up. My team did a great job to help me stay in good position.”

The 207km stage from Baeza to Albacete saw a two-man break go clear: Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida) and Francisco Javier Aramendia Llorente (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).

The escapees took six minutes at one point before being retrieved with less than 40km remaining.

Gallery: stage 8

Then, with 25km to go, the bunch split into echelons. The front two groups came back together, and up front were Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Cadel Evans and Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing), Sagan, and Chris Froome (Sky), among others.

Another group was chasing a half-minute down, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Degenkolb.

“It was a crazy end. The wind was causing problems, but in the end we managed to save the day,” said Valverde, who added that he knew Quintana had been caught out.

“I was aware of it. I didn’t know exactly if Quintana was closing or not, but I couldn’t look back. I just had to keep going at the front.”

BMC was driving the pace in the lead group, with Manuel Quinziato and Steve Morabito. But inch by inch, more riders fought their way up to the leaders and it was a sizable group that formed up to contest the finale.

Giant took up the pace going into the final left-hander and through a roundabout with 2.5km to go. Then Orica-GreenEdge and Cannondale moved forward for Matthews and Sagan, with Orica on the point coming out of the final turn.

Degenkolb, Matthews, Sagan and Bouhanni battled for the win at the end, with the FDJ rider edging his Orica rival at the line. Sagan crossed third.

“I’ve won twice in a week, so I am happy,” said Bouhanni. “I was close to abandoning a few days ago, and I am happy that I made it to this stage.”

Despite all the action in the wind, when the overall was tallied, Valverde retained the red leader’s jersey by 15 seconds over teammate Quintana, with Contador third at 18 seconds.

Stage 8 results

 

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Junior world ITT champ Igor Decraene dies at 18 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/junior-world-itt-champ-igor-decraene-dies-18_343272 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/junior-world-itt-champ-igor-decraene-dies-18_343272#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:09:42 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343272

Belgian Igor Decraene, winner of the 2013 world junior time-trial championship in Florence, Italy, has died at age 18 after a training accident. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Junior world time-trial champion Igor Decraene dies at age 18

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Belgian Igor Decraene, winner of the 2013 world junior time-trial championship in Florence, Italy, has died at age 18 after a training accident. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

BRUSSELS (AFP) — Belgium cycling lost one of its budding stars on Saturday as the local media reported the death of junior world time-trial champion Igor Decraene.

He was 18.

The RTBF Sport website originally reported that he had been involved in an accident. But the Belga news agency reported later that Decraene had committed suicide. The agency gave no further details.

Decraens won the time-trial title in Florence last year, having also collected the national crown. He was in line to ride for Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s development squad.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Igor Decraene,” the team said via Twitter.

His cycling club, De Tieltse Rennersclub, said via Facebook: “Our thoughts are with his parents, his brothers and his family, to whom we wish a lot of strength and courage in this terrible ordeal.”

The club’s sports director, Koen Dutroit, who told Het Laatste Nieus that Decraene “couldn’t wait to defend his title at the world championships,” said he was stunned by the news.

UCI president Brian Cookson issued a statement, which reads, “This is a terribly sad news. Igor was a very promising rider. Our thoughts are with his parents, brothers, family and friends.”

The Belgian cycling federation said Decraene had been training with the national team in preparation for the UCI world road championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

“It’s difficult to comment on this terrible news, it will take time,” said Belgian federation president Tom Van Damme.

Editor’s note: The story is developing and will be updated.

 

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Hesjedal changes mindset, goes on the attack at the Vuelta http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/hesjedal-changes-mindset-goes-attack_343257 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/hesjedal-changes-mindset-goes-attack_343257#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:02:34 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343257

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was the best of the rest, finishing second in stage 7. One can't help but wonder how the finale would have played out if the group of four had made it to the end together to contest the stage. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

Days after losing hopes for a strong overall standing, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) went on the attack Friday after changing his attitude

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Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was the best of the rest, finishing second in stage 7. One can't help but wonder how the finale would have played out if the group of four had made it to the end together to contest the stage. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

ALCAUDETE, Spain (VN) — Two days after getting caught in an ambush in crosswinds that all but ended his GC hopes in the Vuelta a España, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) was on the march in Friday’s stage across treacherous roads.

Hesjedal punched into the day’s winning breakaway, the first successful break of this year’s Vuelta, but a late crash dashed his hopes for the stage win. The Canadian rode across the line second at 1:34 behind winner Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), frustrated but content with his efforts.

“I was on De Marchi’s wheel, and my bike just went out from underneath me. It’s pretty frustrating,” Hesjedal told VeloNews. “De Marchi and I were doing the lion’s share of the work. Who knows what would have happened. Hat’s off to De Marchi, he was super strong all day. I was in for a shot for the win, so it’s pretty frustrating.”

Hesjedal’s crash was similar to one involving grand tour rookie Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) earlier this week. Roads in southern Spain are covered in dust, grime, and oil, baking under an intense sun without rain for weeks if not months.

“The roads were pretty treacherous out there,” he said. “We were managing it pretty well, but my bike just slipped out from underneath me.”

Hesjedal’s presence in Friday’s breakaway revealed just how much this Vuelta has changed for the 2012 Giro d’Italia champion.

After skipping the Tour de France, he came into the Vuelta with quiet optimism of fighting for a top spot overall.

Those hopes evaporated Wednesday in an otherwise routine stage when Tinkoff-Saxo accelerated in crosswinds to try to split up the bunch. Unfortunately for Hesjedal, he was one of the biggest names caught in their trap, but he questioned Tinkoff-Saxo’s style of the attack.

“I am not a big fan of moves like that. We had just gone through a small village, with cobbles, and then a big descent, so the entire peloton is single-file, and then they drill it,” Hesjedal said. “Someone loses the wheel, and you’re caught out.

“I had Nathan [Brown] with me, but he punctured. Dan [Martin] was in the second group, and most of the team was having to deal with that. It was real hectic, and I didn’t have time to come back,” he said. “There were not a lot of guys in my group working. Basically, it was a 45km time trial. You cannot compete alone against the majority of the peloton.”

Hesjedal lost more than three minutes, and admitted he didn’t have great legs in Thursday’s explosive finale up La Zubia, losing even more time.

“The legs just weren’t there, so I rode up at my own pace,” Hesjedal said. “I have a different mindset now. The GC is over for me. We still have Dan [Martin], and we’ll ride to protect him. We’ll also be looking for other opportunities.”

Hesjedal was rewarded with the day’s most combative rider’s prize for his efforts. Garmin-Sharp’s second second-place stage finish — Martin was second in stage 3 — will only fuel their drive to win a stage before this Vuelta is over.

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Froome dodges bullet, confidence building day by day at Sky http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/froome-dodges-bullet-confidence-building-day-sky_343244 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/froome-dodges-bullet-confidence-building-day-sky_343244#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:58:54 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343244

Chris Froome (Sky) may have finished the Vuelta's stage 7 a bit battered and bloodied, but he also finished a couple seconds ahead of his rivals, showing his determination and GC ambitions. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

Froome dodged a bullet Friday, and confidence is growing within Team Sky that their man could have a real shot at Vuelta victory

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Chris Froome (Sky) may have finished the Vuelta's stage 7 a bit battered and bloodied, but he also finished a couple seconds ahead of his rivals, showing his determination and GC ambitions. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

ALHENDÍN, Spain (VN) — Chris Froome (Sky) dodged a bullet Friday, avoiding serious injury in an early-stage crash. He later sprinted, with his right knee and elbow covered in bandages, to take a couple seconds on his GC rivals.

Temperatures and tempers were on the rise during Friday’s transition stage over rough, bumpy roads across Andalucía’s barren olive grove country. Froome couldn’t avoid other riders crashing in front of him, and went skittering to the ground, giving everyone inside the Team Sky bus a scare.

“I’m OK, but you definitely get the feeling that when bad luck comes, it comes more than once,” said Froome, who also crashed in a pre-race warm-up last week in Jerez de la Frontera. “All things considered, I’m feeling alright, and I think I got off relatively unscathed. It’s good to have another day behind us.”

When Froome went down, there was confusion in the bunch because the day’s main breakaway was just forming prior to the third-category Alto de Illora. Some teams kept pulling, trying to control the break or place a rider into the group, while others were urging the pack to slow down.

“I narrowly avoided the crash,” said Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). “Froome lost a minute because he had a mechanical, but no one was pulling at the front. Everyone was expecting it to regroup, and to get through the rest of the day ‘tranquilo.’”

Froome initially struggled to regain contact, but Team Sky pulled back into formation and paced him back into the front pack after a quick visit to the medical car.

“When the crash happened, a Giant-Shimano rider went down in front of me. I swerved to try to avoid that, and went down,” Froome explained on the team’s website. “The guys paced me back. It took us a good 15km before we got back into the peloton.”

Froome then had a parting shot in the finish, darting clear out of the GC group, enough to take two seconds on Contador and the others.

Despite the scare, Froome is now in fourth place overall, just 20 seconds behind race leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Friday’s transition stage across the olive groves of Andalucía was hardly a walk in the park. The demanding parcours and rough, dust-and-oil-covered roads made for a tension-packed day of racing.

“Easy? Just ask Froome, he crashed,” Contador said after Friday’s stage. “The roads were super-slippery, and you had to be very careful. It took more than 40km before the break got away, so we were really going fast behind.”

The first week of the Vuelta closed out Friday with Froome looking a lot more credible than he did when the season’s third grand tour started in Jerez de la Frontera.

Though he may be one of the best contemporary grand tour riders, Froome came to the Vuelta with more question marks than confidence. Froome missed weeks of training to recover from his injuries that provoked his early exit from the Tour de France, preventing him from defending his yellow jersey.

Even Sky’s team boss Dave Brailsford said Froome wouldn’t know how he was going until the race hit the mountains. Froome answered those doubts Thursday in the short but steep climb up La Zubia.

Froome’s determination and aggressive racing in the first week have served as a spark within the Team Sky bus. When Froome was confirmed for the Vuelta, the team left home such riders as Ian Boswell to bring a stronger core group of experienced riders to protect Froome for a podium campaign.

One of those riders is Peter Kennaugh, who will be one of the key men for Froome in the mountains in the final week.

“The vibe has been pretty good from the start. Everyone is having a laugh. Everyone is working together, the spirit is really good,” Kennaugh told VeloNews. “Everyone knows their job. We’re all motivated to see Chris racing well.”

Kennaugh said he cannot understand speculation about Froome’s condition coming into the Vuelta.

“Maybe he wasn’t as good for the Tour de France, but Froomey in January is still better than 95 percent of the peloton,” Kennaugh continued. “I was always confident that he could do what he did [Thursday]. He’ll just keep getting stronger as the race goes on.”

Froome gave a hint that he was taking the Vuelta very serious when he sprinted to win a two-second time bonus at an intermediate sprint midway through stage 5.

“Why not take those bonus seconds when you can? Chris doesn’t forget that he lost the Vuelta [in 2011] by 13 seconds,” Sky sport director Dario Cioni told VeloNews. “It’s not easy to take two seconds in the race. It shows Chris is serious about this Vuelta.”

And if there was any doubt about Sky’s leader, he erased them in Thursday’s summit finale, riding to second in the stage, and erasing uncertainty about his form.

Without overlooking the potential dangers of crosswinds in Saturday’s sprinter’s stage to Albacete, the next major test comes in Sunday’s climbing stage to Valdelinares. The finale will be much better suited to Froome’s climbing style, with a second-category climb quickly followed by the 8km, first-category summit finish.

And following Monday’s rest day, Froome’s ace in the hole is waiting with the 36.5km individual time trial at Borja in stage 10. If Froome is anywhere near the same level the peloton’s seen over the past few years, he should be able to take important, if not decisive, gains on the Spanish mountain goats.

“The time trial will be very important for Chris,” Sky’s Dario Cataldo told VeloNews. “We have to keep Chris out of trouble, and protect him leading to the climbs. We are confident after what we are seeing so far.”

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VeloNews presents Athletic Achievement awards at Interbike gala http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/velonews-presents-awards-interbike_343144 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/velonews-presents-awards-interbike_343144#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:25:20 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343144

World champion Marianne Vos, winner of the 2014 Sparkassen Giro. Photo: AFP.

Nominees and winners in the Athletic Achievement category have been selected by the editors of VeloNews

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World champion Marianne Vos, winner of the 2014 Sparkassen Giro. Photo: AFP.

Interbike’s first annual industry awards gala, the IB Awards, celebrates the bike industry’s success and innovation. The 2014 awards honor achievements from the 2014 product year, beginning in July 2013 and concluding in June 2014. Nominees and winners will be selected from categories across the bike community, including Product Innovation, Athletic Achievement, Dealer Excellence, Supplier Performance and Advocacy Efforts.

Interbike has also partnered with multiple media organizations and other key industry colleagues to curate the different award categories, select nominees and ultimately honor the winners.

Tickets for the IB Awards can be purchased during the Interbike registration process. Special advanced ticket pricing for the event is $75 per person, and includes drinks, a sit-down dinner, and awards show entertainment. After September 6th, advance ticket pricing will end and tickets will only be available at onsite registration for $100.

Below is the list of nominees in the Athletic Achievement category; nominees and winners in the Athletic Achievement category have been selected by the editors of VeloNews. Click here for complete award category details.

North American Road Cyclist of the Year (Male/Female) – This award recognizes excellence in road cycling for the 2014 race season amongst North American Pro-level racers and includes both men and women. Performance is considered for all races that transpired between January 1st 2014 through July 22nd, 2014 for both domestic and international races.
• Nominees:
➢ Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp)
➢ Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare)
➢ Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing)
➢ Eric Marcotte (Team SmartStop)
➢ Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing)

North American MTB Cyclist of the Year (Male/Female) – This award recognizes excellence in mountain bike racing for the 2014 race season amongst North American Pro-level racers and includes both men and women. This category will include performances across all disciplines of mountain bike racing, including XC, DH, Dual Slalom, Enduro, etc. Performance is considered for all races that transpired between January 1st 2014 through July 22nd, 2014 for both domestic and international races.
• Nominees:
➢ Todd Wells (Specialized)
➢ Lea Davison (Specialized)
➢ Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountainbike Racing)
➢ Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)

International Cyclocross Rider of the Year (Male/Female) – This award recognizes excellence in Cyclocross Racing for the 2013 race season amongst International Pro-level racers and includes both men and women. Performance is considered for all races that transpired between July 1st, 2013 through June 30th, 2014 for both domestic and international races.
• Nominees:
➢ Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
➢ Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv)
➢ Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
➢ Sven Nys (Crelan AA Drink)

International Cyclist of the Year Male – This award will be given to the individual male professional cyclist that dominates their respective category of racing that year. This award will include all racers in multiple disciplines of cycling (Mountain, Road, and Cross) and across all parts of the world. Performance is considered for all races that transpired between January 1st 2014 and July 22nd, 2014 for road and mountain and from July 1st 2013 through December 31st, 2013 for cyclocross.
• Nominees:
➢ Julien Absalon (BMC Mountainbike Racing)
➢ Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
➢ Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
➢ Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)
➢ Sven Nys (Crelan AA Drink)

International Cyclist of the Year Female – This award will be given to the individual female professional cyclist that dominates their respective category of racing that year. This award will include all racers in multiple disciplines of cycling (Mountain, Road, and Cross) and across all parts of the world. Performance is considered for all races that transpired between January 1st 2014 and July 22nd, 2014 for road and mountain and from July 1st 2013 through December 31st, 2013 for cross.
• Nominees:
➢ Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
➢ Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv)
➢ Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano)
➢ Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective)

North American Revelation Rider of the Year– This award is recognizes the professional cycling athlete (male or female) that has a breakout race year. This athlete could come from the best young rider ranks or could be a racer that finally has a year for the ages and has become a force to be reckoned with. Performance is considered for all races that transpired between January 1st 2014 and July 22nd, 2014 for road and mountain and from July 1st 2013 through December 31st, 2013 for cross.
• Nominees:
➢ Eric Marcotte (Team SmartStop)
➢ Elle Anderson (California Giant Berries)
➢ Katie Clouse (Cole Sport)

International Ride of the Year – This final award recognizes the athlete that performs at an amazing level on one-day event. These epic performances will be one for the ages and could come from one of the classics, or a single stage in one of the big Tours, or an amazing DH run, or even an epic CX event in incredibly difficult conditions. This ride will include male and female and will cover multiple disciplines of cycling. Performance is considered for all races that transpired between January 1st 2014 and July 22nd, 2014 for road and mountain and from July 1st 2013 through December 31st, 2013 for cross.
• Nominees:
➢ Vincenzo Nibali (Stage 5, Tour de France)
➢ Zdenek Stybar (World Cyclocross Championship)
➢ Andrew Talansky (Stage 8, Critérium du Dauphiné)
➢ Nairo Quintana (Stage 16, Giro d’Italia)

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Alessandro de Marchi solos to victory in Vuelta stage 7 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/alessandro-de-marchi-solos-victory-vuelta-stage-7_343194 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/alessandro-de-marchi-solos-victory-vuelta-stage-7_343194#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:18:04 +0000 Spencer Powlison http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343194

Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale) soloed to win stage 7 of the Vuelta a España, his first grand tour stage victory. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

De Marchi rides alone to win in Alcaudete, while a cagey Chris Froome gains a little more time on GC rivals

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Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale) soloed to win stage 7 of the Vuelta a España, his first grand tour stage victory. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale) rode alone to Alcaudete to win stage 7 of the Vuelta a España.

Though the Italian had company for most of the 169-kilometer day, riding with Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Johann Tschopp (IAM Cycling), and Hubert Dupont (Ag2r La Mondiale) in the break, he seized the opportunity when Hesjedal crashed with 14 kilometers left.

Initially, there was some hesitation between de Marchi and Tschopp, but the Italian quickly made his move and never looked back.

Tschopp chased to no avail. Eventually he regrouped with Hesjedal and Dupont, but by that point, it was too late.

The Italian claimed his first career grand tour stage victory.

“It’s great to have been in a break with such strong riders,” said de Marchi. “After my top-fives, this is clearly the best result. A near perfect day today. … Obviously today I felt like I had good legs, and I was allowed [by the Cannondale team] to go for it.”

Behind, Chris Froome (Sky), again revealed his canny instinct and form. He remained attentive in the finale, sprinting out of the peloton and causing a slight split that gained him a two-second advantage over other GC favorites.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) still leads the overall by 15 seconds over teammate Quintana, with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in third, 18 seconds behind. However, with his effort in the finish, Froome is now only 20 seconds behind the leader in fourth.

Stage 7 photo gallery.

Four riders off the front

A very large group attacked early, but the peloton wasn’t about to let it go.

After the early escapees were brought back, another group went away, including Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Niklas Arndt (Giant-Shimano), Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing), and Dominik Nerz (BMC).

However, many other riders in the peloton wanted to participate, and as others bridged to the leaders, the breakaway’s size swelled to 15 riders.

Again, the field was unhappy with the situation, and brought it all back together.

“The course was tough and the riders made ​​it extra hard,” said Belkin sports director Erik Dekker. “The start was fast and not long after, all hell broke loose. In the first hour, about 100 riders were dropped. If that happens in a pro peloton, the pace must be really, really high.”

Hesjedal and Tschopp then got off the front.

A few kilometers later, the leading duo were joined by Dupont and de Marchi.

In the peloton behind, Chris Froome (Sky) suffered a crash, but returned safely to the field.

With 69 kilometers left, the break’s advantage hit its zenith at 7:18.

The gap was gradually brought down to 4:07 by the time the leaders saw 20km to go.

Crash disrupts breakaway

With 14 kilometers left, Hesjedal crashed on a gradual bend, possibly hitting a patch of gravel, losing contact with the leaders. De Marchi took advantage of the situation and rode away from Tschopp.

Dupont was dropped by the two leaders, while Hesjedal waited for a new bike. When he crashed, his bike was run over by a camera motorcycle.

Back in the peloton, Lampre-Merida tried to chase, but it appeared that Movistar moved to the front and told the Italian team’s riders to ease off the pace. Perhaps they believed the break was too far away to be easily brought back.

With 12 kilometers remaining, de Marchi had a 3:05 lead over the field, and Tschopp was still chasing, 20 seconds behind the Cannondale rider.

At 5km to go, de Marchi’s advantage over Tschopp was 45 seconds.

The Italian leader’s advantage stretched to 1:35 with 3.2km to go. Behind, Hesjedal had joined Tschopp and Dupont in the chase. The peloton remained 3:22 behind.

But de Marchi was long gone, riding solo to win. “It’s never easy to win, but you just have to keep trying,” he said. “The close results give you motivation to try again. This is an important win for Cannondale as well. The team is closing, and we wanted to leave this Vuelta with a stage victory. We will try to win another one.”

Behind, Hesjedal led the chasing trio in, followed by Dupont and Tschopp.

“I am really happy with the day and my fourth place,” Tschopp said. “I already eyed this stage even though it was difficult to know beforehand how I would feel since the heat is so intense from the start. We broke away from the group on the first climb, and with riders like Hesjedal and de Marchi as company, I really had to hang on during the false-flats. I gave my maximum and I managed to score some points for the king of the mountains. This will maybe help me if I recover well and find some opportunities in the second and third weeks of racing. Certainly it has given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the race.”

As the peloton arrived, Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), Philippe Gilbert (BMC), and Froome attacked out of the group, hoping to cause a split on the final rise to the finish. The Sky leader succeeded in taking two seconds out of other GC favorites, including the race’s current leader, Valverde.

Giant Shimano’s Warren Barguil suffered a crash in the finale. The Frenchman was slow to get off the tarmac, and eventually walked his bike across the finish.

“It was a hard stage, [with] dangerous roads, [and it was] very hot again,” said Valverde. “When Froome crashed, we waited. It’s a matter of respect. Tomorrow should be a bit easier, we hope. Every day has been hard so far in this Vuelta. We hope the heat diminishes in the coming days.”

“I decided to take the wheel of Alejandro [Valverde] because I thought Valverde was going to close the gap,” Contador said of the finish. “Froome started, but I saw that Alejandro didn’t go. That surprised me, and I [didn't] know if at the end we [had] lost any [time].”

The peloton faces a flat 207km stage from Baeza to Albacete Saturday.

Full stage 7 results.

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Daryl Impey to return to racing, pharmacist takes doping positive blame http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/daryl-impey-return-racing-pharmacist-takes-doping-positive-blame_343150 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/daryl-impey-return-racing-pharmacist-takes-doping-positive-blame_343150#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:52:24 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343150

Daryl Impey has been cleared of wrongdoing. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

A hearing in Johannesburg has determined that Daryl Impey's positive test for Probenecid was a result of pharmacist error

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Daryl Impey has been cleared of wrongdoing. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

MILAN (VN) — South African Daryl Impey may return to race with team Orica-GreenEdge after a hearing Thursday in Johannesburg determined his doping positive was due to a pharmacist’s error.

“We are extremely happy with the fact that Daryl has been 100 percent cleared to race and we all look forward to having him back riding for us,” team Orica’s general manager, Shayne Bannan, said. “We very pleased with how he has handled his case and the process around it. We will reinstate Daryl in our racing roster as soon as possible.”

“I’m thrilled to have been given the notification that I’m 100 percent OK to race again and no sanction whatsoever will be applied,” added Impey. “I was confident in my defense and I’m thankful that I was given the chance clear my name beyond any type of doubt.”

The 29-year-old was forced to clear his name after the results of an anti-doping test that were announced on July 2, on the eve of the 2014 Tour de France.

At the 2013 Tour de France, Impey made headlines when he placed 13th on the stage to Montpellier, took over the race lead and became the first African to wear the yellow jersey. He held it for two days.

The tests results, however, showed him positive for the banned diuretic Probenecid from the February 6 South African national road championships. He was removed from Orica’s nine-man Tour team before the race began.

Probenecid is a substance used to treat gout and hyperuricema but banned because it can be used as a masking agent. The 1988 Tour de France winner, Spaniard Pedro Delgado, tested positive for Probenecid but was later cleared and kept his title.

Impey’s defense focused on a pharmacy in Durban, on the country’s eastern coast. A report in The Star newspaper explained that the pharmacist gave Probenecid to another customer and sold Impey empty gel capsules with contaminated hands. The Durban pharmacist took the blame and produced cash register receipts showing the times of the purchases.

Impey explained that he needed the gel capsules to fill with bicarbonate of soda in order to fight against lactic acid in the championship race. He went early in the morning to buy them, he said, but the pharmacy did not have any. Later, the pharmacist called Impey to say that he found some and Impey returned in the afternoon to buy them.

“It’s just utter, utter relief that justice has been done,” Impey said in The Star’s article. “Everything that has happened, all the bad publicity, all the mud that has been thrown at my name, it’s never going to be rectified, but I knew I hadn’t doped, and would never dope. We presented the hearing with hard facts, factual proof. This was no ‘maybe’ or ‘could have been.’”

Impey last raced at the Critérium du Dauphiné, closing the race June 15 in 89th overall. He is reportedly due to return to racing at the Canadian one-day races in Quebec and Montreal on September 12 and 14, three months after the announcement, and seven months after the test. He also hopes to compete in the world championships in Ponferrada, Spain, in late September.

“This is something that should have been handled quicker. Athlete’s rights are as important as anyone else’s,” added Impey.

“It was hugely disappointing missing out on Tour de France, and the Vuelta. This could have been sorted out in May and April, I could have got on with my career. … There have been massive repercussions for my family and me. My name has been dragged through the mud.

“We found the source, the hearing found no fault, no negligence on my part. We gave them the facts. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or even the right place at the wrong time, almost cost me my entire career. Cycling is not a hobby for me. This puts bread and butter on the table for my family.”

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Big names duke it out in ‘Vuelta everyone is hoping for’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/big-names-duke-vuelta-everyone-hoping_343084 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/big-names-duke-vuelta-everyone-hoping_343084#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:25:13 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343084

The GC heads of state had their Vuelta test on stage 6, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) proved fastest. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

Marquee names are battling in the opening stages of the Vuelta a España, delivering on the promise of the season's most exciting grand tour

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The GC heads of state had their Vuelta test on stage 6, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) proved fastest. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

LA ZUBIA, Spain (VN) — The final grinding kilometers of the short but very steep climb up the flank of Spain’s Sierra Nevada saw the peloton’s top stars gritting it out, elbow to elbow, fighting for victory.

This is the battle the cycling world wanted to see earlier this summer at the Tour de France. What didn’t happen in July is unfolding with thrilling consequences in Spain’s summer heat at this year’s Vuelta a España.

Thursday’s mountaintop finale, the first of six in this Vuelta, delivered the goods in five short but explosive kilometers. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Sky) — two of the peloton’s elite — thrashed their legs for the win, each perhaps surpassing their own expectations after they crashed out of the Tour. Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), a perennial Vuelta favorite, played his card as expected with a sharp attack.

Yet it was Alejandro Valverde, who has openly vowed his allegiance to Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana, who came out the winner, taking the stage and recapturing the leader’s jersey.

It couldn’t have been a better script for the opening salvo from what’s arguably the Vuelta’s best field ever.

“This is the Vuelta that everyone is hoping for, with Quintana, Valverde, Froome, and Contador locking horns, really fighting,” said Sky principal Dave Brailsford. “This is just great to see. It’s really exciting. It gets you off your seat.”

The first mountain stage of any grand tour is often more a litmus test of form rather than a race-breaker. It reveals just as much about who possibly can win the Vuelta as who cannot.

La Zubia, a cruelly steep road straight up the flanks of the sun-seared Sierra Nevada, proved a worthy backdrop. Though only five kilometers long, it featured ramps as steep as 10 percent, the ideal proving ground for podium contenders and pretenders.

Movistar took control of the final climb, with Valverde throttling the front, putting much of the peloton into the red zone at two kilometers to go. A week of excessive heat, with temperatures hovering in the mid-to-high 90s, only heightened the suffering.

Valverde insisted he was riding to set up Quintana, but the pint-sized Colombian just sat there when everyone expected him to pounce. At 1,300 meters to go, the ideal moment to punch the accelerator, Quintana’s poker face gave nothing away, but his legs didn’t have the gas. Everyone was waiting for Quintana’s attack that never came. Instead, Rodríguez jumped with 700 meters to go. Valverde, who’s been criticized in the past for botching tactics, knew exactly what to do.

“We were setting a hard, steady pressure, trying to eliminate as many rivals as we could. When Purito [Rodriguez] jumped, I went right with him, and I had the legs to finish it off,” Valverde said. “I’ve said all along I am riding for Nairo [Quintana] in this Vuelta. I’ve been in the wind, doing some work, but also I am protecting my interests, not losing time. Nairo’s still there [second at 15 seconds back], but who’s to say I cannot win a stage when my legs are feeling good?”

As Valverde suggested, Quintana will surely take flight in the longer, even steeper climbs waiting in the final week of the Vuelta. And although the Giro d’Italia champion clearly didn’t have the spark to challenge for the stage — he was fifth at 12 seconds back — he was right where he needed to be.

Even more ecstatic was Contador, who not only was able to stay with Movistar’s incessant rhythm, but followed the accelerations late in stage, crossing the line for a morale-boosting third.

“Alejandro won the stage, but this is like a victory for me as well,” Contador said. “I couldn’t imagine being in the top-10 today, and there I was fighting for the victory. I am very content.”

Following his horrendous crash at the Tour that left him with a fractured leg, Contador was a final-hour starter for the Vuelta. He was only able to train two weeks before the start of the tour, but Thursday’s result gave him much-needed confirmation that he can be a player in this Vuelta.

“I’ve been really suffering in these first few stages. It’s a huge surprise to be up there today. I am so happy I decided to come to the Vuelta,” he continued. “It was so hard to miss the Tour. I was in the best form of my life, and I didn’t want to sit home on the couch, and miss the Vuelta as well. My leg still gives me a bit of pain, but I am feeling better with each passing day. Can I win the Vuelta? Well, I keep focusing on taking it day to day, but if I have a chance, I will certainly try.”

Froome, too, was more than content with his performance, nearly winning the stage. Like Contador, the 2013 Tour winner came into the Vuelta short on training days, and unsure of where he stood. He was able to stay with the Movistar surge, and then follow the late-stage accelerations to second place, an encouraging sign for the Sky entourage.

“Chris didn’t know where he was at. Today has given him a lot of confidence,” Brailsford said. “The idea was to build coming into the race, rather than start at 100 percent. He’ll be very happy today.”

On the sharp end of the action, there were a few more surprises. Fabio Aru (Astana) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) both punched into the top-10 on the stage. Robert Gesink (Belkin), back from heart surgery, was also there, as was young French hope Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano), riding as GC leader for the first time in his career. Mikel Nieve was ninth, meaning Sky will have firepower to support Froome deep in the mountains.

More than a few big names were on the back foot. Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who came with high expectations, couldn’t match Movistar’s searing pace, and lost touch with about one kilometer to go, crossing the line 19th, 1:04 back. Haimar Zubeldia (Trek Factory Racing) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), two veterans, both lost more than two minutes.

Samuel Sánchez (BMC Racing) also ceded time he didn’t want to, crossing the line 15th at 47 seconds. The 2008 Olympic champion, who is close friends with Contador, said it’s no surprise that he’s going better than expected.

“I have said from day one that if Contador is here, he will be competitive, so it’s not a surprise for me,” Sánchez said. “The best riders stayed at the front in the last one-and-a-half kilometers, and I could not follow them. I preferred to continue at my own pace to limit my losses.”

Garmin-Sharp was riding hard on the approach to La Zubia, with Andrew Talansky taking big turns until about 2.5km to go, but Daniel Martin couldn’t finish off the work, losing contact, and crossing the line 18th at 59 seconds back. Ryder Hesjedal, after losing time in the crosswinds Wednesday, was 44th at 3:44 back, results that put a serious kink into Garmin’s GC ambitions.

The Vuelta is just starting, but it’s shaping up to be the kind of race people were hoping to see this summer in July, before crashes and the huge gains eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali won across the pavé took the air out of the race.

Froome and Contador are clearly up for a fight. The strongest team in the race backs Valverde and Quintana. Rodríguez, Aru, and a host of others still might have something to say about it.

Buckle your seatbelts. The Vuelta is just starting.

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Costa, Horner, Gerrans, van Garderen announced for Canadian WorldTour races http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/deep-rosters-announced-canadian-gps_343063 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/deep-rosters-announced-canadian-gps_343063#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:28:32 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343063

Rui Costa, winner of the 2011 GP Cycliste Montreal. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Organizers of the fifth edition of the Québec City and Montreal Grands Prix Cyclistes have announced the rosters for the upcoming races

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Rui Costa, winner of the 2011 GP Cycliste Montreal. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Organizers of the fifth edition of the Québec City and Montreal Grands Prix Cyclistes (GPs), held September 12 and 14 respectively, announced the rosters for the upcoming races, which include six of the top-15 riders in the UCI WorldTour rankings.

For the first time, spectators in Québec will see the rainbow jersey of the reigning world road race champion, Rui Costa, in action. Costa is no stranger to either GP, having taken the top step of the podium in Montreal in 2011.

“These are tough, very beautiful circuit races,” he said. “They’re ideal preparation for the world championships. But above all, they are important for your palmarès. Montreal was the first major victory of my career in a one-day race.”

The Portuguese champion will have help from Lampre-Merida teammates, including the ageless Chris Horner, winner of the 2013 Vuelta a España.

But he’ll have his work cut out for him, against some elite competition, including a trio of French stars in Jean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r La Mondiale), second in the 2014 Tour de France, and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), sixth in that same race, as well as Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), who won a stage and wore the yellow jersey in this year’s Tour.

Others in the mix include Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing), fifth in the Tour de France, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), who won in Québec City in 2012 and has a reputation for bagging classics (he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège this year), Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), who won stages of both the Giro and the Tour de France in 2014, and Fränk Schleck (Trek Factory Racing).

The list of potential winners continues, including Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), who finished third in Québec City and fourth in Montreal last year, Arthur Vichot (FDJ.fr), second in Québec City last year, and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol), Edvald Boasson Hagen and Geraint Thomas (both of Team Sky), among others.

Among the 18 ProTeams in this year’s peloton, Ag2r La Mondiale, currently sitting second in the UCI WorldTour standings, has entered six of the nine men who took the team classification honors in the 2014 Tour de France (Péraud, Bardet, Blel Kadri, Christophe Riblon, Sébastian Minard, and Ben Gastauer).

“Québec City and Montreal are festive events conducive to great action, and the riders really love going over there. The circuits are very well laid out and favor climbers and puncheurs,” said an enthusiastic Péraud.

As always, the GPs will include a contingent of Canadian riders, including two of the three Québecers on the UCI WorldTour, Hugo Houle (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Antoine Duchesne (Europcar), who’ll be competing in front of a home crowd, as well as Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge).

Full team rosters are available here.

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‘Fab Four’ using Vuelta as springboard toward rainbow jersey http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/fab-four-using-vuelta-springboard-toward-rainbow-jersey_343051 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/fab-four-using-vuelta-springboard-toward-rainbow-jersey_343051#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:16:38 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343051

Classics specialists Fabian Cancellara (right), Tom Boonen (center), and Peter Sagan (left) are among the favorites for Ponferrada worlds who are using the Vuelta to hone their form. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

Four of the biggest favorites for Ponferrada are at this Vuelta: Fabian Cancellara, Philippe Gilbert, Tom Boonen, and Peter Sagan

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Classics specialists Fabian Cancellara (right), Tom Boonen (center), and Peter Sagan (left) are among the favorites for Ponferrada worlds who are using the Vuelta to hone their form. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

LA ZUBIA, Spain (VN) — In a Vuelta a España packed with superstars, most of the attention has been focused on the GC contenders. And for good reason, with the likes of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Chris Froome (Sky), and Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) headlining what should be a blockbuster battle for victory.

Behind them, there is an equally impressive field of heavy hitters pedaling through this Vuelta for very different reasons. Some of the biggest names in the pro peloton are here, all honing their form for the one-day race that truly matters in the second half of the racing season — the world road championships — set for September 28, two weeks after the Vuelta concludes in northwest Spain.

Four of the biggest favorites for Ponferrada are at this Vuelta: Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

Call them the “Fab Four,” among the peloton’s most successful and important riders, all at the Vuelta, with one thing in mind: the rainbow jersey.

“I am here at the Vuelta to prepare for the worlds,” Boonen said. “I’d like to try to win a stage, but the most important thing is to leave the Vuelta with good sensations for the worlds.”

That sentiment is echoed among all four of the marquee riders. So far in this Vuelta, there have been glimpses of their ambitions. Gilbert tried to win Wednesday’s stage, finishing seventh after beginning his sprint a touch too early. Cancellara, too, has been active, using the Vuelta to ease back into competition.

Of the four, it’s Sagan who seems to need the Vuelta to rediscover a winning kick. Sagan took a break following his third consecutive green jersey at the Tour de France, and signed a multi-million-euro deal to join Tinkoff-Saxo for 2015 and beyond.

Sagan has been uncharacteristically quiet so far in this Vuelta, and clearly is not on his best form. Some are questioning whether or not he has the desire to seriously make a run for the world title.

“Peter needs this Vuelta to regain his best form before the world championships,” said Cannondale sport director Mario Scirea. “He came here without racing, and he needs to use the first week or so to improve his condition. We hope to win a stage in the second or even third weeks.”

All four are hoping to leave the Vuelta with winning form heading toward Ponferrada. The rolling circuit course, with two short, steep climbs, is perfect for their powerful, puncheur style of racing. Many view Sagan as the outright favorite for the world title.

Two of the “Fab Four” have already won world road titles — Boonen in Madrid in 2005, and Gilbert in Valkenburg in 2012 — while Cancellara and Sagan are perennial favorites.

Cancellara already packs four world titles in his wardrobe, but all of those have come in the time trial. It’s the rainbow jersey of the road that has become Cancellara’s quest as he enters the closing years of his illustrious career.

“I have said many times I would like to win that rainbow jersey,” Cancellara said in an interview earlier this year. “I have been close a few times, but I have not had the luck. This year I will try again.”

Most of the favorites for the worlds are racing the Vuelta. Others include such riders as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and overnight race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge).

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), three-time defending world time trial champion, also is at the Vuelta to hone his form.

Since its move from April to September in 1995, the Vuelta has become the race of choice for worlds-bound riders. In fact, defending champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) is the first world champion since 2000 who did not participate in the Spanish grand tour. Recent Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is another notable absentee at this Vuelta, but typically, the world champion is honed on the roads of Spain.

Gilbert, for example, used the 2012 Vuelta as a springboard to his world title, salvaging what was an otherwise unspectacular season with two stage victories before his dramatic coup up the Cauberg.

“I hope to win a stage, but I came here not feeling great after the Eneco Tour,” Gilbert said. “The Vuelta is the best preparation for the worlds. There is no better way to train for the worlds than to race here.”

There is also a bit of jostling going on, especially between Boonen and Gilbert. Both will be fighting to prove their worth to lead the powerful Belgian team. Add Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), and Belgium will be one of the favorites for the rainbow jersey.

“Anyone who says they can win the worlds at 90 percent should be locked up in the loony bin,” Boonen said. “I have to earn my place as team leader. I have to show that I am strong during this Vuelta. If I do not feel like I can win the race, I will say it. I’ve missed a few worlds due to illness and crashes, so I am motivated for this world championships.”

If this Vuelta wasn’t already exciting enough, the preparation for the world championships adds another layer to what could be the most interesting grand tour of the season.

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Valverde shows his climbing legs with stage 6 win at Vuelta http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/valverde-shows-climbing-legs-stage-6-win-vuelta_343014 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/valverde-shows-climbing-legs-stage-6-win-vuelta_343014#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:18:04 +0000 Spencer Powlison http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=343014

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was unstoppable on the steep final climb in stage 6 of the Vuelta. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

Movistar's Alejandro Valverde is best on La Zubia, beating GC heavy-hitters on a steep final climb

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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was unstoppable on the steep final climb in stage 6 of the Vuelta. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won stage 6 of the Vuelta a España on a steep final climb to La Zubia.

After 167.1 kilometers of racing in southern Spain, all of the major GC contenders were ready to test each other on the Vuelta’s first summit finish.

An elite group of nine emerged in the final kilometer, with Valverde riding a brutal tempo. Teammate Nairo Quintana was tucked in behind, along with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Chris Froome (Sky), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), and Fabio Aru (Astana).

Though Valverde seemed to be playing the domestique, between his efforts to set the pace early in the finale, and his work to chase an attack by Rodriguez, he turned out to be strongest in the end.

Froome showed his form with a surge in the final few hundred meters, but Valverde clearly had the freshest legs and the fastest kick. He fending off the Briton and his countrymen, Rodriguez and Contador, who finished second, third, and fourth, respectively. Quintana rounded out the top-five

“I was at the front, setting a hard rhythm, we cut it down to 10-11 guys,” said Valverde. “When Purito [Rodriguez] went, I followed, and I had the legs to finish it off. I am content, because the legs are feeling good. Nairo [Quintana] is still there, and there are many mountains to come, but who’s to say that when I am feeling good I cannot win a stage?”

Valverde reclaimed the overall lead, and now sits 15 seconds ahead of his teammate, Quintana. Contador is third, 18 seconds back.

“I’m extremely happy for Alejandro [Valverde],” said Quintana. “He’s a great rider. He did great work for me in the finale and still was able to win the stage — that’s something not many riders can do. I’m still lacking some pace. You could see in the final kilometer I’m not still in my top condition, but I hope to keep progressing in the next stages. The important thing for us is to keep the win within the team, no matter if it’s him or me, and for the time being, that goal is being fulfilled.”

Stage 6 photo gallery.

Two for (the long breakaway) road

Lotto-Belisol’s Pim Ligthart again found his way into the breakway and was accompanied by Luis Mas Bonet (Caja Rural).

Several groups tried to bridge to the leaders, but were unsuccessful. For the second day in a row, the Vuelta had two riders off the front, and their gap soon increased north of four minutes.

The peloton treated the break lackadaisically. With 125 kilometers to go, the duo was 12:24 up the road. Then, it was nearly 15 minutes.

Garmin-Sharp took to the front to set pace, and by the 100km to go marker, the gap was 11:15.

After the day’s first two categorized climbs, Katusha moved to the front of the field to help pare down the gap. With 35 kilometers remaining, the break had a seven-minute advantage.

When the break reached the final intermediate sprint in Granada, their gap had fallen to 4:30.

With 10 kilometers left, the break was only 1:45 up the road.

As the gap went under one minute, Katusha was pulling hard on the front, setting up the finale for Rodriguez. Sky’s Peter Kennaugh also moved to the front to work on behalf of team leader Froome.

Lightard took a final dig, heading into the steep, 12 percent gradient at the base of the final climb to La Zubia.

The peloton seemed to ease off the accelerator as the climb began, waiting for someone to make a move.

Finally, with three kilometers left, the escape ended. Meanwhile, Cadel Evans (BMC) was dropped from the front group, as the favorites wound up the pace.

Valverde indicates his GC intentions

With two kilometers left, Valverde rode a fierce pace at the front of the group. Garmin-Sharp’s Dan Martin dangled off the back of the group, unable to keep pace.

Belkin’s Wilco Kelderman also found himself in difficulty with less than two kilometers left.

“It climbed for four kilometers and was straight uphill with an average gradient of 10 percent,” said Kelderman’s teammate, Laurens Ten Dam. “Valverde set the pace and really hurt me. I cursed him. I suffered a lot in the final three kilometers…”

Only nine riders remained in the front group with one kilometer to go.

Rodriguez initiated the hostilities with 600 meters to go, quickly gapping his companions.

Valverde jumped and was soon on Rodriguez’s wheel. Froome was chasing, a few bike lengths back, with Quintana and Contador on his wheel.

Froome accelerated, and pushed past Valverde and Rodriguez in the final meters, but the move came too soon.

Valverde kicked again and gapped the other contenders, riding to his first individual stage win at this year’s Vuelta, ahead of Froome. Contador was third, and Rodriguez could only manage fourth.

“I am content, because I was just hoping to be able to be in the top-10, and there I was at the front, fighting for the stage,” said Contador. “I am still not 100 percent, but today was encouraging. I’ve been suffering these first few days, but the legs are coming around. Today was important, and it’s a big boost for morale. I want to keep taking it day to day, because the hardest part of this Vuelta is still to come.”

The peloton will ride a 169km stage Friday, from Alhendín to Alcaudete. They’ll tackle a category 3 and a category 2 climb, and although the stage finishes on a climb, the final approach to the line is not categorized.

Full stage 6 results.

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Candelario, Day, Louder, Cooke all retiring from domestic peloton http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/candelario-day-louder-cooke-retiring-domestic-peloton_342999 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/candelario-day-louder-cooke-retiring-domestic-peloton_342999#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:57:33 +0000 Neal Rogers http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=342999

Salt Lake City's Jeff Louder, leading the Best Utah Rider competition at the 2012 Tour of Utah. Photo: Wil Matthews | VeloNews.com

As the 2014 domestic race calendar draws to a close, several familiar names on the domestic road racing circuit are closing out their

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Salt Lake City's Jeff Louder, leading the Best Utah Rider competition at the 2012 Tour of Utah. Photo: Wil Matthews | VeloNews.com

DENVER, Colorado (VN) — As the 2014 domestic race calendar draws to a close, several familiar names on the domestic road racing circuit are closing out their professional racing careers.

Americans Alex Candelario, Jeff Louder, and Matt Cooke, as well as Australian Ben Day, are retiring from the pro peloton and moving on to other endeavors.

Candelario (Optum-Kelly Benefits), a pro since joining Prime Alliance in 2002, registered several top-10 finishes at marquee events races, such as second at the 2008 national criterium championship, second at the 2010 U.S. national road championship, and fifth at the 2008 Philadelphia International Championship.

Though he lives in Bend, Oregon, Candelario closed a loop, in a sense, at the start of the final stage of the Pro Challenge in Boulder, where he trained for many years and also attended college — he was the winner of the 1998 collegiate cyclocross championship and also the 1999 collegiate road champion, racing for the University of Colorado.

“It’s kind of coming full circle,” Candelario said in Boulder. “I started racing here, and this is my last domestic race. It’s been a long career. A lot of people helped me out. I love Colorado. I love the racing here. I’m going to miss it a lot.”

Candelario, 39, said too much time away from his family had been the primary driver that led to his decision to retire. He and his wife, who is from Hawaii, will be launching a cycling tour company, Big Island Bike Tours, on the Big Island in November.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and it’s just been too much time away from my family,” he said. “I really wanted to put my efforts into something else now. I love riding bikes, but it’s been too much time traveling.”

Candelario’s final race with Optum will be the Tour of Alberta, held September 2-7.

Day’s final race was the USA Pro Challenge. The 2003 Australian national time trial champion, Day, 35, won a road stage at the 2004 Tour Down Under, ahead of Aussie stars Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke. He began racing in North America in 2007, with Navigators Insurance, and went on to notch overall wins at the Tour de Beauce, in 2007 and 2010, as well as at the 2010 Redlands Bicycle Classic and San Dimas stage races.

Day also rode for Toyota-United and Fly V Australia in the U.S.; the final three years of his career were spent with the UnitedHealthcare squad.

Day, who runs a coaching business called Day By Day, met with the media following the stage 6 Vail time trial at the Pro Challenge — a course where he once held the record, 25:48, set at the 2008 Teva Games. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) smashed that record on Saturday, riding a 24:26, assisted by a strong tailwind.

“I think for me, the toughest part of cycling is stability,” Day said. “You can have everything moving smoothly and make a life out of it and then you get kicked in the teeth and you just have to pick yourself up and start over again. It’s not a job, it’s a life. We put absolutely everything into it. You can’t compare it to a normal nine to five job. Cycling defines who we are and it’s normally not always a healthy balance, but you have to give it 110 percent all the time. I’ve been really appreciative of my team over my career. It’s been a great final few years for me.”

A video of Day discussing his decision to retire can be found here.

A pro since 2000, Louder, 37, spent the first three years of his career with the Belgian Landbouwkredit team before returning to the USA. He spent three years with Navigators Insurance and two years with Health Net-Maxxis before a four-year stint with BMC Racing, from 2008-2012. His career highlights included overall wins at the 2008 Tour of Utah and the 2009 Redlands Bicycle Classic, and third overall at the 2005 Tour de Beauce. He stood on the overall podium at the Tour of Utah — a home race for the Salt Lake City resident — on three occasions. Like Day, the final three years of Louder’s career were spent with the UnitedHealthcare squad.

“I’d like to be known as a guy who worked hard and tried to do his best as an athlete, and as a good teammate,” Louder said. “I love this sport, I’ve loved it since I was a 13-year-old kid riding my mountain bike, and it’s been my passion since then. Hopefully I can pass on to the young guys a hard work ethic, and an ability to pursue the sport on a pure level and race well.”

Louder’s final race will be the U.S. national criterium championship, held September 6.

Day and Louder were both part of UnitedHealthcare squad at the Pro Challenge that brought teammate Kiel Reijnen to a stage victory (and leader’s jersey) on stage 1, in Aspen, a second-place stage finish on stage 7, in Denver, and the green points jersey. Reijnen was on the verge of tears in Denver, upset that he had been unable to deliver the win as a parting gift to his teammates.

The KOM winner of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, Cooke retired quietly, announcing via Twitter on Monday that the Pro Challenge had been his final race.

A former triathlete, Cooke, 35, won the national elite road championship in 2006, earning him a spot at Navigators Insurance in 2007. During his pro career, he won the Mont Mégantic climbing stage of the 2012 Tour de Beauce, finishing that race fifth overall, and he also finished fourth overall at the 2013 Tour of the Gila. Cooke nearly saw his career end after his Exergy team imploded in fall of 2012, but he returned the next year with Jamis to take the KOM title at the Pro Challenge in his adopted home state of Colorado.

Cooke’s announcement came the day after the Pro Challenge ended, posting on Twitter, “Hi folks, I have retired from pro cycling as of the last stage of Pro Challenge. Thank you for the support. I wish you all the best.”

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Lawson Craddock crashes on stage 5, but finishes, at the Vuelta http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/lawson-craddock-crashes-stage-5-finishes-vuelta_342960 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/lawson-craddock-crashes-stage-5-finishes-vuelta_342960#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:00:24 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=342960

American Lawson Craddock (left) is in his grand-tour debut at the Vuelta. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

The American hit the deck midway through the 180km stage to Ronda, but that wasn't going to stop him from celebrating the second team

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American Lawson Craddock (left) is in his grand-tour debut at the Vuelta. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com.

RONDA, Spain (VN) — American Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) lived the highs and lows of grand tour racing all in one day in Thursday’s fifth stage at the Vuelta a España.

The grand-tour rookie hit the deck midway through the 180km stage to Ronda, but that wasn’t going to stop him from celebrating the second team victory of this Vuelta with German sprinter John Degenkolb.

“I’m okay, nothing that’s going to take me out of the race,” Craddock told VeloNews via telephone. “I am a little stiff, a little sore, but given that John won the stage, that lifts my spirits.”

The 22-year-old slid out while riding through a roundabout nearing the day’s feed zone. A photo posted on his Twitter account revealed the damage, with scrapes to his right elbow, torso, and hip.

Roads in southern Spain can be coated in oil and dust following months and months without any substantial rainfall, making it treacherous for the high-speed peloton.

“I was going through a roundabout, maybe a little hot. The next thing I know, my front wheel went out from underneath me,” he said. “Ninety-nine out of a 100 times, nothing happens, but I got slammed to the ground. I am just glad I didn’t take anyone else out with me.”

Craddock didn’t appear on preliminary race results; he explained that he switched bikes, and his back-up frame didn’t have a transponder, but added that he finished safely in the pack to survive another day.

“It will hurt to shower. Pretty much that top layer of skin is gone,” he said. “It’s more of a burn than any serious cuts or scrapes. I’ll be sore, but I should be OK.”

Craddock, along with compatriot and teammate Chad Haga, is making his grand-tour debut. So far, Giant-Shimano has won two out of five stages, thanks to the team’s hard work and Degenkolb’s impressive finishing kick.

Craddock said he’s been impressed with what he’s seen so far in the opening stages of the Vuelta.

“It’s been a bit of a shock so far. The pack is bigger than anything I’ve ever raced against before. You notice how good these top guys really are,” Craddock said. “It’s been fun racing with the guys. It’s been an awesome learning experience so far. John’s won two out of five stages. Now we have 16 more to go.”

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Hesjedal’s GC hopes at Vuelta take a blow in crosswinds http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/hesjedals-gc-hopes-vuelta-take-blow-crosswinds_342900 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/hesjedals-gc-hopes-vuelta-take-blow-crosswinds_342900#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:12:20 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=342900

Garmin-Sharp's Andrew Talansky (left) and Ryder Hesjedal (right) were left behind when crosswinds split up the peloton. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) lost more than three minutes in Wednesday's stage when the bunch split up under pressure from Tinkoff-Saxo

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Garmin-Sharp's Andrew Talansky (left) and Ryder Hesjedal (right) were left behind when crosswinds split up the peloton. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

RONDA, Spain (VN) — Ryder Hesjedal’s GC hopes at the Vuelta a España took a blow Wednesday, when he ceded more than three minutes in what looked like, at least on paper, a relatively routine stage.

But there is never a routine stage in a grand tour, when teams and riders are ready to turn the screws at any moment.

The 2012 Giro d’Italia champion started the Vuelta with quiet optimism to surprise the superstar peloton, but he was caught out late when Tinkoff-Saxo started to attack in crosswinds with about 40km to go approaching the third-category climb at Puerto el Saltillo. The peloton snapped, and Garmin-Sharp was torn between its two protected leaders. Daniel Martin was able to scramble into the main GC group, but Hesjedal was caught out.

After coming over the El Saltillo climb with about 15km to go, with Tinkoff-Saxo continuing to pour it on, it was clear Hesjedal would not be able to regain contact. Hesjedal tried in vain to close the gap, but he crossed the line 90th, at 3:19 back.

Mala suerte,” Garmin-Sharp sport director Bingen Fernández told VeloNews. “It was bad luck. Ryder was near the back of the peloton, and we needed to be up front. Tinkoff started pulling, and the group split up.”

Martin was able to ride into the main group, finishing 40th, five seconds behind a baker’s dozen of sprinters who charged ahead to contest for the stage victory, to keep alive his GC aspirations.

With the time losses, it will be difficult for Hesjedal to pose a serious threat against such big names protected by strong teams.

“We had to have a few riders to work for Dan, and Ryder. Ryder went full gas, but couldn’t get across,” Fernández explained. “Ryder came here with big ambitions. We still have Dan. We’ll see.”

Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew Talansky also lost time, crossing the line at 3:51. Talansky, however, made it plain at the start of the Vuelta he was here to support Martin and Hesjedal, and did not harbor legitimate GC aspirations.

“We have a great team here. For Dan and Ryder, from the Giro onwards, their sights have transitioned to the Vuelta. I am happy to be here to support those guys,” Talansky told VeloNews last week. “We have two great leaders for the Vuelta, and I am excited to help them.”

Hesjedal sounded optimistic before the start of the Vuelta. He skipped the Tour de France for the first time since 2007, riding into the top-10 at the Giro before reloading for the Vuelta.

“Everyone has the legs, it’s a matter of how it unfolds. Are we capable of multiple guys up there in the race? I think so,” Hesjedal told VeloNews last week. “I think I can do a good Vuelta. It’s where I made my grand tour debut [in 2006], and I remember when I won my first grand tour stage here [stage 12 in 2009]. I’ve always had good luck at the Vuelta.”

Unfortunately for Hesjedal, that luck ran out on the road to Ronda on Wednesday.

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Degenkolb takes second win in a row in Vuelta a Espana’s stage 5 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/degenkolb-takes-second-win-row-vuelta-espanas-stage-5_342882 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/degenkolb-takes-second-win-row-vuelta-espanas-stage-5_342882#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:27:16 +0000 Spencer Powlison http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=342882

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won stage 5's sprint at the Vuelta, despite a late charge by Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr). Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Tinkoff-Saxo shows their confidence, splitting the peloton in crosswinds, and Degenkolb prevails again in the sprint

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John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won stage 5's sprint at the Vuelta, despite a late charge by Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr). Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won his second stage in the Vuelta a España, sprinting to victory in stage 5′s punchy finale in Ronda.

The 25-year-old German confirmed his late-season form, surviving a surprise effort by Tinkoff-Saxo to split the field in the crosswinds, then charging up the final hill to win.

Degenkolb also showed his canny instinct, shutting the door on Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr), who tried to shoot the gap between the Giant-Shimano rider and the barriers. Though Bouhanni adamantly protested in the finale — waving his arms several times in frustration — and also appealed to race officials, Degenkolb remained the outright winner.

“I don’t think I changed my line,” said Degenkolb. “I stayed from the beginning on the right and if he wants to pass he has to go on the left side because there was enough space.”

Despite Tinkoff-Saxo’s efforts in the crosswinds, the GC picture remained relatively unchanged. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) kept the overall lead. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) remains second, although he slipped to 13 seconds behind, and teammate Alejandro Valverde is now 20 seconds behind.

Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) both remain in the top-10 overall after the day’s 180 kilometers of racing.

“The information was very bad, [they didn't] give much information about who was behind and who [wasn't],” said Contador of the split in the field. “We didn’t know who had been cut. I think at the beginning it had been a few [riders] that were interesting to leave behind, but then [some of them came] back and nobody told us [anything]. There has been a bit of confusion, but well, we have tried and here we have to be aware and well placed, because anything can happen.”

Stage 5 photo gallery.

Two-man breakaway

Thirty kilometers into the stage, two riders got away from the peloton, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Belisol).

The field’s chasing efforts were sporadic, with FDJ.fr shaving the lead down to 1:30, then letting it go out to 2:30. To an extent, this corresponded with the bonus sprints, which were contested by FDJ.fr’s Bouhanni.

With 70 kilometers remaining, Martin suffered a mechanical and was reabsorbed by the peloton, leaving Ligthart alone on the front.

Perhaps signaling his form and intent, Chris Froome (Sky) attacked and earned a two-second time bonus at the sprint in Campillos. Contador, however, downplayed its importance. “In the first sprint [Froome] tried, but Bouhanni took it,” Contador said. “In the second sprint [Froome] attacked with his teammate, from further away, but isn’t important.”

Crosswinds lead to split peloton

At 40 kilometers to go, Tinkoff-Saxo took to the front on a slight descent and split the field in the crosswinds, catching out a number of riders, including Garmin-Sharp’s Ryder Hesjedal and Andrew Talansky.

“Nobody expected Tinkoff-Saxo would go full gas on the descent,” said BMC director Valerio Piva. “Unfortunately, we had Cadel behind. But Garmin had Daniel Martin behind, so Cadel stayed just stayed in their wheel and the group came back. Fortunately, the gap was never more than 25 or 30 seconds.”

Ligthart was quickly caught by the field due to the increased pace.

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), and Froome all made the front group.

Race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and fellow sprinters Bouhanni and Degenkolb bridged the gap to make the front peloton as well.

The gap between the front peloton and those off the back extended to 1:35 at the top of the final climb with 14 kilometers to go.

Tinkoff-Saxo and Sky both pushed the pace on the front, keeping the pressure on the group in arrears.

With two kilometers remaining, Sky was firmly ensconced on the front, stringing out the bunch.

BMC took control with 1.5km to go, setting up Philippe Gilbert for the sprint.

Just after the red kite, the peloton squeezed through a chicane, aiding BMC’s efforts to string out the field.

Gilbert sat in perfect position at third wheel, coming into the base of a short rise to the line with 500 meters left.

Koen de Kort (Giant-Shimano) lost his leader, Degenkolb, in the run-in, and took a stab at the finale on his own.

Gilbert quickly came around the Dutchman and looked to have the win in his pocket with only a few hundred meters remaining.

But then, wearing the sprinter’s green jersey, Degenkolb emerged on the left side of the field, blasting up the edge of the finish chute.

Bouhanni tried to shoot the gap, but wasn’t able to come between the German and the barriers.

Degenkolb took the win, but not without visible protestations from Bouhanni, who seemed to think that the Giant-Shimano rider deviated from his line.

“At the end we made the best out of the situation with just three of us,” Degenkolb said. “Warren [Barguil] put us in position, but after Koen launched I had to improvise after nearly missing a corner. I lost the wheel and had to close the gap, but luckily I was strong enough to still sprint.”

The Vuelta takes on its first summit finish Thursday on a 167.1km stage from Benalmádena to La Zubia, a category 1 climb. It will likely be Matthews’ last day in the leader’s jersey. “I’m going to try and enjoy it tomorrow as much as possible,” he said. “I think from the start it is going to be pretty difficult because I think a lot of the guys are going to want to go in the breakaway because it is possible to stay away.

“Putting on the red jersey for the last day tomorrow is going to be pretty emotional. It has been a really good journey so far with the jersey the last couple of days and I have really enjoyed it.”

Full stage 5 results.

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