VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Thu, 24 Apr 2014 23:52:46 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Gallery: Inside Fleche Wallonne http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/gallery-inside-fleche-wallonne_325367 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/gallery-inside-fleche-wallonne_325367#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:29:54 +0000 BrakeThrough Media http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325367

From start to finish, the midweek classic is all about the brutal Mur de Huy

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Tech scenes from the 2014 Sea Otter Classic, Round 4 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/tech-scenes-2014-sea-otter-classic-round-4_325134 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/tech-scenes-2014-sea-otter-classic-round-4_325134#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:05:10 +0000 Logan VonBokel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325134

Logan VonBokel shares what he came across on the final day of Sea Otter

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Reviewed: SR Suntour Durolux RC2 fork http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/mountain/reviewed-sr-suntour-durolux-rc2-fork_325068 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/mountain/reviewed-sr-suntour-durolux-rc2-fork_325068#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:24:27 +0000 Spencer Powlison http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325068

Heavy-duty magnesium lowers ensure that the Durolux holds steady on rough trails. The Q-LOC thru-axle can be oriented with the lever on either side of the bike. Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com

The Taiwanese company wants a place at the high-end suspension table — and it may deserve it

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Heavy-duty magnesium lowers ensure that the Durolux holds steady on rough trails. The Q-LOC thru-axle can be oriented with the lever on either side of the bike. Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com

Mountain bikers are open-minded, but when it comes to forks, most expect their brands to have an “x” in the name — RockShox, Fox. SR Suntour doesn’t have that same fashionable cache. But the Durolux fork is a sleeper shredder, despite some quirks. And, of course, its designers put an “x” in there for good measure.

Eagle-eyed gear heads have probably seen SR Suntour forks before, but unfortunately, they’ve been spec’d on lower-end models, bikes never intended to see proper action on the trail.

However, SR Suntour has recently pushed into the high-end market. In fact, the company has an Olympic gold medal to its credit, won by France’s Julie Bresset in the cross-country event at the London Games in 2012. Plus, SR Suntour sponsors freeride danger man James Doerfling and signed enduro star Rémy Absalon, who is currently sitting in eighth overall after the first round of the Enduro World Series.

We were curious to see how Suntour stacked up against today’s more established fork companies. What better way to find out than with a heavy-duty all-mountain fork, the 160mm travel Durolux RC2?

Unusual axle

The Durolux looks to be a straight shooter, until you put on your front wheel. Sure, you wouldn’t buy a fork for its axle system, but SR Suntour’s Q-LOC system is quite different, and it’s better than most modern the thru-axle systems in many ways.

Instead of using a threaded dropout to tighten the thru-axle, the Durolux uses the 20mm Q-LOC. This axle contains a spring-loaded end that cinches against the dropout. No need to spin the lever to tighten or loosen it, and you can orient the cam on either side.

This also means that the fork lowers have no threads, which looks very clean and eliminates the unlikely threat of permanent damage by cross-threading.

When it’s debris-free and well lubricated, the Q-LOC works smoothly and allows for easy wheel removal. However, mountain bikes are dirty and under-lubricated by nature, so regular attention is necessary to keep the axle and lever functioning correctly. If you neglect it, the Q-LOC can be a hassle.

Early hiccups

After a few preliminary rides, we dropped in to the 2013 Colorado Freeride Festival Enduro World Series race. During the first few race stages, we noticed the fork was rebounding too quickly, and no damping adjustment could remedy things. Fortunately, SR Suntour was available at the venue to rebuild the fork. Its representative told us that the factory had neglected to treat fork internals with thread lock solution during the early production run, which caused the damping assembly to loosen and fail.

Once our test fork was repaired, it returned to the smooth, plush action we’d enjoyed up until that point. It was disconcerting, but our contact assured us that all forks have been receiving a heavy-duty thread lock upon assembly in Taiwan.

Overall performance

Right out of the box, and aside from the initial damping malfunction, the Durolux impressed. Its tremendous stiffness gave our test bike a sharp precision not ordinarily experienced on a slack-angled 160mm travel bike.

The fork’s burly lowers and 35mm stanchions compelled its internals to work overtime on trail’s smallest ripples and chatter. The simple air chamber and RC2 damper — which offers rebound as well as high- and low-speed compression adjustment — were up to the task.

When bike travel goes north of 140mm, riding style and speed demand greater damping adjustability. The Durolux’s adjustable high- and low-speed compression helped prevent the brake dive that steepens headtube angles and makes for sketchy handling on steep roll-ins.

It’s worth noting that the SR Suntour mechanics gave us a slightly heavier weight oil at the Freeride Festival to ensure a full range of adjustability. Nevertheless, the RC2 damper could reign in the fork’s action on even the roughest terrain.

Try this at home

Fork maintenance can be daunting to the average home mechanic. When the Durolux’s seals got dry and started chirping at the Big Mountain Enduro series finale in Moab, Utah, we knew it was time to give it some love.

Fortunately, for the less mechanically inclined, SR Suntour’s forks are designed around their “Quick Service Product” (QSP) philosophy. This means that we don’t have to worry about carefully placing a drip pan to save our kitchen floor from the usual mess that accompanies an oil bath fork.

To get the Durolux running smooth again, all we had to do was loosen the bolts on the lowers, tap them loose with a mallet, pull the legs off, wipe down and grease the seals, then reassemble.

It seemed that the fork required service more frequently than the average oil bath design of its competitors. But, the required maintenance was easy and quick, and once we’d finished, the fork’s action was impressively smooth.

Fighting for the front of your bike

It’s no small feat to produce a fork that competes with RockShox or Fox. While the Durolux’s initial damper issue make us reluctant to declare it an outright threat to the established “x” brands, it offers a good product at a lower price.

SR Suntour’s fork costs about $250 less than a Rock Shox Pike RCT3. It is not as adjustable, lacking RockShox’s on-the-fly open/firm/locked adjustments, and is also 140g heavier. But given the price drop, we were able to get past the decreased adjustability and modest weight increase.

Not everyone will feel like pulling their fork lowers every couple of months to grease the seals. And, even fewer riders will be so bold as to take a chance on a somewhat unproven high-end fork.

A bit of assurance, then, from one rider to another: I had a lot of big days with the Durolux last summer, but probably none more memorable than the final day of the Enchilada Enduro in Moab with its 6,000 feet of elevation loss. On that day, the fork never held me back.

Price: $750
Weight: 1,975g
Pros: Easy service, great stiffness and smooth action.
Cons: More frequent service needed, initial problems with internals, Q-LOC axle cannot be neglected.
SRSuntour-cycling.com

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Gilbert optimistic for Liege after off day at Fleche Wallonne http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/gilbert-optimistic-for-liege-after-off-day-at-fleche-wallonne_325344 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/gilbert-optimistic-for-liege-after-off-day-at-fleche-wallonne_325344#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:51:44 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325344

Philippe Gilbert said he was out of position on the Mur de Huy in Wednesday's La Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The BMC rider triumphed in Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race but finished 10th in Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne

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Philippe Gilbert said he was out of position on the Mur de Huy in Wednesday's La Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

GENT, Belgium (VN) — Philippe Gilbert says he hopes an off day at La Flèche Wallonne will work in his favor for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Belgian and BMC Racing rider wants to win the biggest of the three Ardennes classics this Sunday for a second time.

“The fact that I was a little behind in the Flèche Wallonne will help me to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège,” Gilbert said after Wednesday’s race. “My opponents might think I’m not as good, which would’ve been a different story had I placed on the podium in Flèche.”

On Sunday, Gilbert pointed to the white BMC lettering on his red and black jersey as he won the Amstel Gold Race. He attacked on the Cauberg and rode away from his rivals with 2.5 kilometers remaining. The victory followed one in the Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow) four days earlier.

The 31-year-old had not enjoyed such success in the Ardennes classics since his golden year in 2011, when he won Brabantse Pijl and all three Ardennes classics. He became only the second cyclist to do so after Davide Rebellin won the Ardennes Triple in 2004.

Finishing 10th yesterday, 15 seconds behind winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), reminded his rivals that they are dealing with a more tamed version of Gilbert.

“At the Amstel Gold Race, Gilbert was unbeatable,” Valverde said. “But in the Flèche Wallonne, that wasn’t the case.”

A combination of factors worked against Gilbert in La Flèche Wallonne: strength, positioning, and the wind. Due to the winds, Gilbert said the group did not split up as he had hoped it would.

“I thought we’d be a small group of 20,” he said. “I was too far back at the bottom of the Mur de Huy. When it’s like that, it’s hard to move up on the climb itself. You just have to wait until everyone is behind each other and then you can move up. I did that. I moved up six positions, but I couldn’t do any more.”

“Philippe didn’t have the legs that he had Sunday and he didn’t have a good position for the Mur,” BMC sport director Valerio Piva said.

“Tenth place was the maximum we could do.”

BMC is recovering and looking forward to the most prestigious of the Ardennes classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The race, one of cycling’s five monuments and this year celebrating its 100th edition, starts in Liège, travels south to Bastogne and returns for its finish in Liège’s outskirts in Ans. There are 10 climbs along the 263km route.

Gilbert knows it well and considers the race one of his favorites. Though he now lives in Monaco, he grew up in Wallonia near the Redoute climb.

“My legs were good, so that’s not a problem. It’s just a fact that the finishing climb up the Mur in the Flèche Wallonne suits me less than than the Cauberg in Amstel or Liège-Bastogne-Liège,” Gilbert said.

“I’m not down. In fact, I am optimistic for Liège. It’s a real classic, 260 kilometers. It’s good that we have four days of rest to recover and to be ready to win Liège.”

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Ask a Mechanic: Can I cross shifter cables? http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/video/ask-a-mechanic-can-i-cross-shifter-cables_325338 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/video/ask-a-mechanic-can-i-cross-shifter-cables_325338#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:21:25 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325338

Is crossing shifter cables under the downtube OK to do? Art's Cyclery has the answer

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Is crossing shifter cables under the downtube OK to do? Art's Cyclery has the answer

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Finding inspiration in an eclectic group of California-riding women http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/commentary/raphas-tour-california-ridden-six-ambassadors-one-journalist_324224 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/commentary/raphas-tour-california-ridden-six-ambassadors-one-journalist_324224#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:00:47 +0000 Addie Levinsky http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324224

The spirit of a wildly eclectic group lifted seven riders over the climbs of California to Sacramento. Photo: Jeremy Dunn | Rapha

Seven women ride the Tour of California, in reverse, and discover inspiration in the commonalities across a wild range of ability levels

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The spirit of a wildly eclectic group lifted seven riders over the climbs of California to Sacramento. Photo: Jeremy Dunn | Rapha

Seven women, 700 miles, and one overwhelming sense of inspiration.

Women’s ambassador programs have become rather prominent in cycling over the past few years, and while there is not necessarily one common objective among them, they all come together with a unifying message: cycling should be accessible for all women, regardless of background and ability.

Rapha, known for its chic cycling apparel, has expanded wildly in the last few years, not just with its impeccable line of clothing, but also its presence in the community of the sport. Celebrating the romanticism of road cycling, Rapha has sought to build a community around the shared love for cycling — whether in the interest of socializing in the saddle or competition through racing. Perhaps most notably has been Rapha’s development of its Women’s Ambassadors program. Sometimes confronted over a limited women’s apparel selection, Rapha’s support of women’s cycling and drive to enhance the sport is anything but limited.

Earlier this month, the brand hosted a retreat, The Calling, for its 14 North American women ambassadors near Los Angeles. After the weekend retreat, six of the women embarked on a rather epic journey, riding the entire 2014 Amgen Tour of California route, in reverse, from Thousand Oaks to Sacramento.

I accepted an invitation to join the ride and, over the ensuing week, learned a great deal about our commonalities in the struggle that is cycling.

On paper, the Tour of California is arduous — 700 miles and over 60,000 feet of elevation gain (the equivalent of ascending Mount Everest, twice). Every element becomes a consideration, and in many cases, a nemesis. Whether it’s the demoralizing coastal headwind, the thick fog and torrential rain, that new saddle you’re not quite used to, or the intent focus on pacelining and echeloning with wheels you’ve never ridden behind. Coupled with the emotion that develops both on and off the bike when a rider has hit her limits, physically and mentally, the strength and inspiration of those around her is really what keeps her turning the cranks.

The group was eclectic, featuring two former professionals in Meredith Miller and Julie Krasniak, and others who have been riding and racing for a many years, while others had only previously ridden a single century. This wide range of experience and abilities is precisely what resulted in a sense deep sense of camaraderie as the group wound its way north to the state capital. And that, in and of itself, introduces a component of women’s cycling with which we often struggle. Too often, female cyclists find themselves in one of two categories: beginner or elite. Either they’ve never ridden a bike and need guidance through each and every step, or they’re competitive racers with no reason to diverge from the mentality that comes with being well-seasoned elites.

In my eyes, the Rapha ride slashed the dominant dichotomy of female cyclist stereotypes. The radiation of eclecticism was ultimately the driving force that pushed us across the finish line. Having neither preconceived notions of each others’ abilities or tendencies on the bike, or the assistance of a full-fledged peloton, required a certain tenacity that surprised all of us. The mental difficulty may have surpassed the physical challenges, as there was no opportunity to tune out.

Riding for up to 10 hours a day, especially when alone, is solitary. Turning the cranks becomes mechanistic, thoughts become few, and scenery becomes free entertainment. We had the joy of climbing over canyons so desolate I wondered if anyone had traveled there before. Or why they would have. Climbing Mount Hamilton in the pouring rain, counting down the switchbacks from 18 to 17 to 16, became futile as visibility was but a distant memory. Romanticism at its finest.

This romanticism was not ever-present, however. On a ride of this nature, small talk becomes as necessary as rice cakes, water, and chamois cream. All seven of us had the opportunity to get to know each other, and what better place to do it than on the bike, but that doesn’t make it any less exhausting. Pacelining along dismally windy pastures doesn’t make for positive small talk. Keeping every rider front of mind, at all times, is tiring to say the least. Unlike a race, where a rider prioritizes herself and perhaps her team, this was an instance in which each one of us was responsible for every rider in the peloton, regardless of ability, and regardless of how we were feeling at that very second.

Trying to quantify my own exhaustion, I searched for perspective. Climbing up the exposed, painfully steep Old San Marcos Road in Santa Barbara, I turned to Meredith Miller and asked, “How does this compare to stage racing in terms of exhaustion?” Perspiration forming along her helmet and sunglasses, she answered plainly, “Totally exhausting. In different ways.”

That was one of many moments in which we were all on the same level. Abilities, experiences were no matter. If you were to ask Kim Cross, a 38-year-old freelance writer and editor from Birmingham, Alabama, where she fit in with the crew, she would deem herself “the weakest link.” But, quite the contrary, Cross, like most of us, rides her bike when she can. Not only that, but she’s more partial to the dirt, so her road miles are few and far between. The mere fact that she even thought to tackle this feat was inspiring.

Inspiration is cliché in endurance sports. We’re all looking for that boost to climb aboard the saddle when the legs ache and the weather grumbles. But a group of seven women attempting to shift the paradigm of how female cyclists are viewed based on physical capabilities — that’s inspiration. I consider myself inexplicably lucky to have joined the Rapha Ambassadors on this journey. I left Sacramento with an incredible sense of inspiration — from the professionals I secretly wanted to mimic in cyclocross races, to the working moms who rode more that week than they had all year; from the support crew, which included Rapha’s Jeremy Dunn, Tim Coghlan, David Wilcox, and Chris Distefano, who offered long-distance emotional support, to the man behind Sag Monkey, Nick Nicastro, to the creative mind behind this crazy journey, Paige Dunn.

Female, male, it doesn’t matter. Tackling 700 miles in seven days on relentless terrain is a feat. Simulating the Tour of California gave me a tangible perspective on where we rode, and furthered my belief that pro cyclists are, well, superhuman. Jumping in head first, despite not knowing anyone, or how we would work together, created a camaraderie that could not be simulated in any other capacity.

Let this experience be a driving force for every cyclist. Whether you’ve just bought your first bike to start commuting to work, or you’re thinking of riding your first century or racing your first criterium, or even those of us who have been around the block with every discipline of racing, and riding, but never made it beyond “seasoned local” … no matter what your two-wheeled goals may be, they are possible. Whether you’re male or female, there is no real difference between the beginner and the elite in the grand scheme of cycling. Whether intentionally or not, the instances in which we come together, gasping for air, and ignoring the inevitable burning in our legs, are the pinnacles of this sport.

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Gallery: 2014 Fleche Wallonne http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/gallery-2014-fleche-wallonne_325164 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/gallery-2014-fleche-wallonne_325164#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 03:33:41 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325164

It's all about the Mur de Huy as the women and men tackle the midweek classic at Flèche Wallonne

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Sky confirms Froome for Liege–Bastogne–Liege http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/sky-confirms-froome-liege-bastogne-liege_325131 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/sky-confirms-froome-liege-bastogne-liege_325131#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:03:08 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325131

Chris Froome will ride Liège–Bastogne–Liège on Sunday in Belgium. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Kenyan-born Briton will ride the spring's final classic, his Sky team confirms

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Chris Froome will ride Liège–Bastogne–Liège on Sunday in Belgium. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Tour de France champion Chris Froome will start Liège–Bastogne–Liège on Sunday, his Sky team confirmed Wednesday.

Froome was originally scheduled to skip the Ardennes classics, but will take the start of “La Doyenne,” according to a team spokesperson. The Kenyan-born Froome was originally scheduled to start Milano-Sanremo in March, but backed out when road conditions forced organizers to change the route weeks prior to the race.

The Sky captain’s top result in Liège is 26th, in 2013. Three months later, he rode away with Great Britain’s second consecutive Tour title.

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Tour of Alberta confirms Garmin, Belkin, host cities for 2014 edition http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/tour-alberta-confirms-garmin-belkin-host-cities-2014-edition_325115 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/tour-alberta-confirms-garmin-belkin-host-cities-2014-edition_325115#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:00:07 +0000 Brian Holcombe http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325115

Rohan Dennis won the inaugural edition of the Tour of Alberta in 2014. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Canadian stage race lands new title sponsor for its second edition

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Rohan Dennis won the inaugural edition of the Tour of Alberta in 2014. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Garmin-Sharp and Belkin will be among the teams to compete in the second Tour of Alberta in September. The race organization unveiled its host cities Wednesday and will kick off with a prologue in Calgary and finish six days later with a circuit race in Edmonton.

“I loved the Tour of Alberta last year. It had plenty of challenges throughout the whole race and I think the fact it was the inaugural Tour of Alberta made it all the more special to me,” 2013 winner Rohan Dennis (Garmin) said in a press release. “The race itself was organized perfectly. I am looking forward to being around the people of Alberta. I honestly could not believe how friendly everyone was. It’s an important race for me and the team this year.”

The tour will reverse course in 2014, starting in Calgary and finishing in the capital of Edmonton. New host cities include Lethbridge (stage 1), Innisfail (stage 2), and Wetaskiwin (stage 3).

“The commitment by our host communities is special,” said executive director Duane Vienneau. “They are true partners in every sense of the word. Through their commitment, we will be able to stage a second and successful race.”

Organizers also unveiled a new title sponsor in ATB Financial and will confirm the stage routes later this year.

2014 Tour of Alberta (Sept. 2-7)

Prologue: Calgary (ITT)
Stage 1: Lethbridge (Circuit Race)
Stage 2: Innisfail — Red Deer
Stage 3: Wetaskiwin — Edmonton
Stage 4: Edmonton — Strathcona County
Stage 5: Edmonton (Circuit Race)

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After third in Huy, young Kwiatkowski ready for the Liege finale http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/third-huy-young-kwiatkowski-ready-liege-finale_325127 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/third-huy-young-kwiatkowski-ready-liege-finale_325127#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:19:16 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325127

Michal Kwiatkowski finished fourth Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne and said he is confident for Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Polish champion says he is confident and tactically ready to contest the victory at Liège–Bastogne–Liège

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Michal Kwiatkowski finished fourth Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne and said he is confident for Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

HUY, Belgium (VN) — Michal Kwiatkowski walked quietly and confidently this afternoon to meet the press. After 199 kilometers and 4.5 hours, the 23-year-old rode to third place in the Flèche Wallonne — his best result so far in a big classic.

“I rode smartly,” Kwiatkowski said in a press conference. “If I began the Mur de Huy too far behind, then for sure, I wouldn’t have finished third.”

The sun lit up his white and red Polish national champion’s jersey with the name of his team’s sponsors, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, as he made his way to the press conference. A half hour prior and on the steep, 26-percent ramps up from Huy, he fought for the win with seasoned professional Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Valverde won and Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), the reigning Liège–Bastogne–Liège champion, slipped by for second place. Kwiatkowski, though, held off the rest of his rivals for third.

He rolled over the line four seconds after Valverde, who served a doping ban but has also won the Vuelta a España and two editions of Liège. The other riders were scattered much further down the road. The last placed rider, Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing), finished 10:22 back. Some, like Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), crashed and 2012 Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) abandoned.

The soft-spoken Kwiatkowski finished fifth last year behind winner Daniel Moreno (Katusha). Omega Pharma’s tactics, he explained, helped him move closer to the win on Wednesday.

“I lost position on two corners last year. I had good legs, but I couldn’t finish on the podium. It’s about tactics,” he said. “This time, I was relaxed in the peloton. I was just waiting for the last climb.”

Though he has yet to land a major classics victory, Kwiatkowski already knows what it’s like to win. This spring, he won the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana and Strade Bianche one-day races. He also took two stages en route to the Volta ao Algarve title in February.

Tirreno-Adriatico went poorly for him in March, but he was able to back off and recover for the Vuelta al País Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) one month later, where he finished second behind Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

In the Amstel Gold Race three days ago, he placed fourth behind Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) and explained that his rest ahead of País Vasco, and his participation in that race instead of the cobbled classics, helped ahead of the Ardennes races.

“I took a different path,” he said. “Strade Bianche was the first check up before the Ardennes classics. I preformed well in Tirreno-Adriatico, but I didn’t finish it well.

“I knew, however, that I had two more weeks to train and I was back in form for País Vasco. The path that I decided on this year was way better than last year.”

Along with Gilbert, the top three from Flèche Wallonne — Valverde, Martin and Kwiatkowski — are considered the favorites to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday. At just 23, Kwiatkowski is punching above his age, but the Omega Pharma man said Wednesday he would be ready come Sunday’s finale.

“It’s not as though my confidence is higher because of Amstel and Flèche,” he said. “I was confident last year, as well, but I couldn’t get a result because I was too tired in the end. Now, though, with the different path that I took, I’m going to be ready to win.

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Valverde marches toward Liege over boos in Huy http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/valverde-marches-toward-liege-boos-huy_325123 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/valverde-marches-toward-liege-boos-huy_325123#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:55:55 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325123

Alejandro Valverde won Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday and hopes to take home his third Liège–Bastogne–Liège title Sunday. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Spaniard takes his second Flèche Wallonne and hopes to add a third Liège–Bastogne–Liège title in four days' time

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Alejandro Valverde won Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday and hopes to take home his third Liège–Bastogne–Liège title Sunday. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

HUY, Belgium (VN) — It seemed obvious from the start. The peloton stood relaxed in the warm morning, chatting and laughing. But Alejandro Valverde was down the road, alone, warming up and riding toward the finish.

Four hours and 36 minutes later, Valverde was alone again, this time at the end of the Wall of Huy. His arms were raised this time, a wide smile across his face. He’d won his second La Flèche Wallonne and set a record time up the Mur de Huy, and put his name atop the list of favorites, if it weren’t already there, for Sunday’s monument, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“I was very, very — I wanted to win today. Winning is always very, very important for me. I won this race once. It’s important for me to win another one. I was very very motivated today,” Valverde, 33, said in his victor’s press conference.

His Movistar team, thin at times, did enough to put him in contention and keep the race bridled, with the help of BMC Racing and Katusha.

“I don’t think the team was working badly,” Valverde said. “Every rider worked in his moment, and I think that on Sunday in Liège the team will be strong enough to control.”

While BMC rode brilliantly last weekend at the Amstel Gold Race, delivering Philippe Gilbert to a dazzling win, the team and its star weren’t able to pull off something special today, and the Belgian finished 10th, 15 seconds back of Valverde. Katusha’s Daniel Moreno, last year’s winner, came in 11 seconds down, one place better than Gilbert. Joaquim Rodríguez, who crashed and abandoned in Amstel, finished in 70th place, more than four minutes back of Valverde.

The result sets up a quarrel of Ardennes darlings barreling into Liège. Gilbert has shown he’s on form, and Valverde noted that much, though doesn’t seem at all frightened.

“In Amstel Gold he was very, very strong. And today also. But I was better today. Gilbert wanted to win also, but I had better legs. In Liège, maybe Gilbert will be another strong rider. But there will also be more riders on form. It’s not only [me] the main favorite for the race. There will be me, Gilbert, and others.”

Now, Valverde has won Flèche twice, and he’s looking to make it three Liège wins come Sunday. The long, brutal course suits him well, and he’s shown he’s as explosive this season as he is fit for longer hauls. “I like all the classics here. But Liège-Bastogne-Liège is very special for me. It’s different because the climbs, they are longer than here,” he said.

Asked if a change in training was the reason for his sharp form this year — he’s won Roma Maxima, finished third at Strade Bianche, and won the Vuelta a Andalucía — he said there’s still no secret to going fast.

“It’s always the same. You have to train yourself very hard. You have to be careful. But there’s no mystery about training,” he said.

Perhaps he couldn’t hear them, though, the bit of boos that wafted up the finish line as he won, but they were there as Valverde rode across the line atop the Wall of Huy, arms up.

The cheers were louder, though the low yells certainly served as a tacit reminder of the Spaniard’s past, even in beautiful victory: he was linked to Operación Puerto in a doping scandal that dated back to 2006, and served a two-year ban in 2010, returning to the sport in 2012.

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Ferrand-Prevot rides out from the long shadow of Vos http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/ferrand-prevot-rides-long-shadow-vos_325119 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/ferrand-prevot-rides-long-shadow-vos_325119#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:44:55 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325119

Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (left) embraced teammate Marianne Vos after the world champion helped her to victory at Flèche Wallonne Wednesday. Photo: David Stockman | AFP

Frenchwoman rides to victory at Flèche Wallonne with the support of the world champion

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Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (left) embraced teammate Marianne Vos after the world champion helped her to victory at Flèche Wallonne Wednesday. Photo: David Stockman | AFP

HUY, Belgium (VN) — When the world champion is in the wind all day, pulling for you, and she says to attack now, you’d better do it, then and there.

Thankfully, that’s just what Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) was able to do at Flèche Wallonne Femmes Wednesday. It was a sort of victory that happened in slow motion for Ferrand-Prevon. She had enough of a gap to celebrate, but the sheer exhaustion and steepness of the Mur de Huy’s sharp finish reduced the sprint to something like survival. The pressure was on her heavy, with teammate Marianne Vos sacrificing herself, likely knowing full well that she — Vos — could win Flèche Wallonne for a sixth time.

“It was a great responsibility for me. … I was a bit afraid because I thought I may disappoint her. I was doing the whole race on her wheel and on the last climb she told me to attack. I’m very, very happy to have a world champion working for me,” said the effervescent 22-year-old. “Marianne told me I had to wait to see the finish line … if you attack too early it’s very difficult to maintain. So I did what she told me … it was a very close sprint. I’m very happy to win.”

Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) finished second and Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) was third. American Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) finished fourth. Vos, in spite of her efforts, came in sixth, 13 seconds back.

It was just a day before the race that the team gave Ferrand-Prevot leadership and the win marked the first UCI Women’s Road World Cup victory for a French rider in 10 years. Ferrand-Prevot, the youngest rider in the 2012 Olympic road race (she finished eighth) is also an elite mountain bike racer and hopes to race both disciplines at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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Results: 2014 Fleche Wallonne http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/results-2014-fleche-wallonne_325108 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/results-2014-fleche-wallonne_325108#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:20:06 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325108 Full results from the men's and women's editions of Flèche Wallonne

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  • 1. Pauline FERRAND PREVOT, Rabo-liv, in 3:26:43
  • 2. Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD, Boels Dolmans, at :01
  • 3. Elisa LONGO BORGHINI, HiTec Products, at :04
  • 4. Evelyn STEVENS, Specialized-lululemon, at :07
  • 5. Ashleigh MOOLMAN-PASIO, HiTec Products, at :11
  • 6. Marianne VOS, Rabo-liv, at :13
  • 7. Emma POOLEY, Lotto-Belisol Ladies, at :13
  • 8. Linda Melanie VILLUMSEN, Wiggle-Honda, at :21
  • 9. Claudia HÄUSLER, Giant-Shimano, at :24
  • 10. Eleonora VAN DIJK, Boels Dolmans, at :28
  • 11. Emma JOHANSSON, Orica-AIS, at :30
  • 12. Anna VAN DER BREGGEN, Rabo-liv, at :31
  • 13. Elena BERLATO, Ale Cipollini, at :31
  • 14. Joanne HOGAN, Bigla, at :31
  • 15. Katarzyna NIEWIADOMA, Rabo-liv, at :35
  • 16. Katrin GARFOOT, AUS, at :42
  • 17. Megan GUARNIER, Boels Dolmans, at :45
  • 18. Jessie DAAMS, Boels Dolmans, at :49
  • 19. Elena CECCHINI, Estado de Mexico Faren, at :50
  • 20. Lauren HALL, USA, at :57
  • 21. Alena AMIALIUSIK, Astana-BePink, at :59
  • 22. Shara GILLOW, Orica-AIS, at 1:11
  • 23. Karol-Ann CANUEL, Specialized-lululemon, at 1:12
  • 24. Liesbet DE VOCHT, Lotto-Belisol Ladies, at 1:48
  • 25. Lucie PADER, Vienne Futuroscope, at 2:27
  • 26. Ane SANTESTEBAN GONZALEZ, Ale Cipollini, at 2:29
  • 27. Leah KIRCHMANN, Cannondale, at 2:32
  • 28. Rossella RATTO, Estado de Mexico Faren, at 2:40
  • 29. Malgorzta JASINSKA, Ale Cipollini, at 3:29
  • 30. Alexandra BURCHENKOVA, RusVelo, at 3:31
  • 31. Audrey CORDON, HiTec Products, at 3:37
  • 32. Susanna ZORZI, Astana-BePink, at 3:46
  • 33. Valentina CARRETTA, Ale Cipollini, at 3:55
  • 34. Trixi WORRACK, Specialized-lululemon, at 4:16
  • 35. Maaike POLSPOEL, Giant-Shimano, at 4:16
  • 36. Lucinda BRAND, Rabo-liv, at 7:10
  • 37. Elke GEBHARDT, Bigla, at 9:19
  • 38. Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN, Rabo-liv, at 9:21
  • 39. Sari SAARELAINEN, Servetto Footon, at 9:24
  • 40. Lauren KOMANSKI, USA, at 9:25
  • 41. Pauliena ROOIJAKKERS, Parkhotel Valkenburg, at 9:30
  • 42. Dani KING, Wiggle-Honda, at 9:30
  • 43. Amy PIETERS, Giant-Shimano, at 9:32
  • 44. Francesca CAUZ, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo, at 9:32
  • 45. Edwige PITEL, FRA, at 9:35
  • 46. Mayuko HAGIWARA, Wiggle-Honda, at 9:35
  • 47. Mascha PIJNENBORG, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 9:37
  • 48. Anouska KOSTER, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 9:37
  • 49. Amy CURE, Lotto-Belisol Ladies, at 9:37
  • 50. Christine MAJERUS, Boels Dolmans, at 9:37
  • 51. Dalia MUCCIOLI, Astana-BePink, at 9:39
  • 52. Vera KOEDOODER, Bigla, at 9:45
  • 53. Laura TROTT, Wiggle-Honda, at 9:45
  • 54. Anna RAMIREZ BAUXEL, Bizkaia-Durango, at 9:47
  • 55. Floortje MACKAIJ, Giant-Shimano, at 9:48
  • 56. Stephanie ROORDA, Cannondale, at 9:51
  • 57. Tiffany CROMWELL, Specialized-lululemon, at 9:51
  • 58. Ally STACHER, Specialized-lululemon, at 9:51
  • 59. Irene SAN SEBASTIAN LASA, Bizkaia-Durango, at 9:51
  • 60. Marion SICOT, FRA, at 9:54
  • 61. Aizhan ZHAPAROVA, RusVelo, at 9:54
  • 62. Cecilie Gotaas JOHNSEN, HiTec Products, at 9:56
  • 63. Anna SANCHIS CHAFER, Wiggle-Honda, at 9:56
  • 64. Sheyla GUTIERREZ RUIZ, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 9:59
  • 65. Fanny BOURDON, FRA, at 9:59
  • 66. Gabrielle PILOTE-FORTIN, Vienne Futuroscope, at 9:59
  • 67. Sofie DE VUYST, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 9:59
  • 68. Tatiana ANTOSHINA, RusVelo, at 10:05
  • 69. Annelies VAN DOORSLAER, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 10:05
  • 70. Doris SCHWEIZER, Astana-BePink, at 10:05
  • 71. Rozanne SLIK, Parkhotel Valkenburg, at 10:08
  • 72. Chiara PIEROBON, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo, at 10:08
  • 73. Latoya BRULEE, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata, at 10:10
  • 74. Melodie LESUEUR, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 10:11
  • 75. Taryn HEATHER, Bigla, at 10:11
  • 76. Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA, Boels Dolmans, at 10:25
  • 77. Julie LETH, HiTec Products, at 10:27
  • 78. Valentina SCANDOLARA, Orica-AIS, at 10:27
  • 79. Loes GUNNEWIJK, Orica-AIS, at 10:27
  • 80. Carlee TAYLOR, Orica-AIS, at 10:37
  • 81. Tayler WILES, Specialized-lululemon, at 10:54
  • 82. Aude BIANNIC, LKT Team Brandenburg, at 10:59
  • 83. Eugénie DUVAL, FRA, at 11:35
  • DNF Lauren KITCHEN, HiTec Products
  • DNF Annette EDMONDSON, Orica-AIS
  • DNF Alice Maria ARZUFFI, Astana-BePink
  • DNF Silvia VALSECCHI, Astana-BePink
  • DNF Marijn DE VRIES, Giant-Shimano
  • DNF Kyara STIJNS, Giant-Shimano
  • DNF Tatiana GUDERZO, Ale Cipollini
  • DNF Jolien D’HOORE, Lotto-Belisol Ladies
  • DNF Anisha VEKEMANS, Lotto-Belisol Ladies
  • DNF Lieselot DECROIX, Lotto-Belisol Ladies
  • DNF Joanna ROWSELL, Wiggle-Honda
  • DNF Fabiana LUPERINI, Estado de Mexico Faren
  • DNF Lucy MARTIN, Estado de Mexico Faren
  • DNF Dulce PLIEGO, Estado de Mexico Faren
  • DNF Anna TREVISI, Estado de Mexico Faren
  • DNF Elena KUCHINSKAYA, RusVelo
  • DNF Yulia BLINDYUK, RusVelo
  • DNF Sarah ROY, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Oriane CHAUMET, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Amélie RIVAT, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Manon SOUYRIS, Vienne Futuroscope
  • DNF Jennifer FIORI, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
  • DNF Asja PALADIN, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
  • DNF Silvia CECCHINI, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
  • DNF Soraya PALADIN, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
  • DNF Annelies DOM, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata
  • DNF Kathryn DONOVAN, USA
  • DNF Maura KINSELLA, USA
  • DNF Ruth WINDER, USA
  • DNF Emilie AUBRY, Bigla
  • DNF Desiree EHRLER, Bigla
  • DNF Emily ROPER, AUS
  • DNF Rebecca WIASAK, AUS
  • DNF Felicity WARDLAW, AUS
  • DNF Mélanie BRAVARD, LKT Team Brandenburg
  • DNF Lucia GONZALEZ BLANCO, LKT Team Brandenburg
  • DNF Aida NUNO PALACIO, LKT Team Brandenburg
  • DNF Simona BORTOLOTTI, Servetto Footon
  • DNF Annalisa CUCINOTTA, Servetto Footon
  • DNF Marina LIKHANOVA, Servetto Footon
  • DNF Anna POTOKINA, Servetto Footon
  • DNF Maria Adele TUIA, Servetto Footon
  • DNF Manon BOURDIAUX, FRA
  • DNF Alna BURATO, FRA
  • DNF Dorleta ESKAMENDI GIL, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Yulia ILINYKH, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Lierni LEKUONA ETXEBESTE, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Lourdes OYARBIDE JIMENEZ, Bizkaia-Durango
  • DNF Catherine DESSUREAULT, Cannondale
  • DNF Annie EWART, Cannondale
  • DNF Annie FOREMAN-MACKEY, Cannondale
  • DNF Kim DE BAAT, Parkhotel Valkenburg
  • DNF Riejanne MARKUS, Parkhotel Valkenburg
  • DNF Kirsten PEETOOM, Parkhotel Valkenburg
  • DNF Marissa OTTEN, Parkhotel Valkenburg
  • DNS Chloe MCCONVILLE, AUS

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Valverde wins Fleche Wallonne after late move on Mur de Huy http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/valverde-wins-fleche-wallonne-late-move-mur-de-huy_325102 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/valverde-wins-fleche-wallonne-late-move-mur-de-huy_325102#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:51:34 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325102

Alejandro Valverde surged late on the Mur de Huy to win Flèche Wallonne Wednesday. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Spaniard attacks to win the midweek Ardennes classic ahead of reigning Liège–Bastogne–Liège champion Daniel Martin

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Alejandro Valverde surged late on the Mur de Huy to win Flèche Wallonne Wednesday. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

HUY, Belgium (AFP) — Spaniard Alejandro Valverde timed his attack to perfection on the grueling Mur de Huy to win La Flèche Wallonne for the second time on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Movistar team leader, who also won this race in 2006, passed Ireland’s Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) of Poland in the final 200 meters of the 199.5-kilometer ride to claim his fourth victory in an Ardennes classic.

Martin finished three seconds down, with Kwiatkowski another second back.

“More than revenge I simply wanted to win and I tried to win,” said Valverde. “On Sunday at Amstel I was happy (with fourth) because Gilbert was simply much stronger. But today I had good legs, I went for the win and I got it. I’m delighted for me, for my team, for my teammates, because everyone worked hard together.”

Last year’s winner Daniel Moreno (Katusha) could finish only ninth; Amstel Gold Race winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) was 10th.

Valverde had been pushed off the podium at Sunday’s Amstel race as Belgian Gilbert burst clear to win by five seconds over Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge).

But this time, Gilbert failed to get himself into one of the leading positions at the foot of the final climb, the imposing Mur de Huy.

Frenchman Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) attacked at the foot of the climb, which averages almost 10 percent and has a steepest section of 26 percent.

But Bardet could not make it stick and soon a host of other riders had come to the front.

Kwiatkowski seemed to have edged ahead but Martin, last year’s winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, came storming past with a brutal acceleration.

Yet he too slowed down as Valverde, also a two-time winner in Liege, made his move, which proved the winning effort.

“They say you have to learn how to race it, this last climb,” said Martin. “Every year I get a little bit better. … This year it was just flat out the whole way up. Alejandro was the strongest today. With 100 meters to go I definitely thought I had it, but he blew past.”

Kwiatkowski said he was satisfied with a podium in the midweek classic, which he said doesn’t suit him as well as the other two races of Ardennes week.

“I think I little bit surprised myself, you know? Flèche is the race that doesn’t really suit me,” said Kwiatkowski. “I think Amstel and Liège suit me well. I could recover well from Amstel. … I’m really happy with what I did today.”

Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Belkin) earned his best ever finish in a classics race with fourth, and compatriot Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin) was fifth.

Moreno’s Katusha team had looked to be controlling the peloton coming up to the final climb but suffered a crucial blow when 2012 champion Joaquim Rodríguez was brought down 3km from home by a crash involving Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida).

That seemed to affect several riders’ ability to position themselves at the front of the peloton for the crucial final 1.3km up the Mur.

The day had begun with a three-man breakaway involving Australian Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), Belgian Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin) of Lithuania.

Clarke was dropped around 50km from home and the other two battled on until they were reeled in with just over 10km left, having spent around 170km in the lead.

At that point the racing was furious with BMC, Movistar, and Katusha sharing pace-making duties to ensure their leaders were in pole position once the Mur de Huy came into view.

But Gilbert’s hopes of matching the Ardennes treble he achieved in 2011 went up in smoke as he was caught well back down the field when the climb up the Mur began.

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Pauline Ferrand-Prevot wins Fleche Wallonne Feminine http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/pauline-ferrand-prevot-wins-fleche-wallonne-feminine_325098 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/pauline-ferrand-prevot-wins-fleche-wallonne-feminine_325098#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:29:35 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325098 American Evelyn Stevens, the 2012 champion, finishes fourth at the annual race in Belgium

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Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo Women) prevailed in Wednesday’s La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, the biggest victory of her career.

Ferrand-Prevot is the two-time defending French time trial champion and placed eighth in the Olympic road race in 2012.

She finished one second ahead of Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) and was four seconds better than Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) Wednesday in Belgium.

American Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon), the 2012 champion, finished seven seconds back in fourth.

The race finished with a painful climb of the Mur de Huy, a 1.3-kilometer ascent that averages more than 9 percent. Its steepest section is 26 percent.

“It was me, Lizzie and Pauline battling each other,” Stevens said of the final climb. “I was probably a little too quick to go, and then Elisa Longo passed me right at the end.”

Stevens was asked about the steep pitches on the climb that can bring out the best — and worst — of bike racers.

“You think about your legs burning, and then just stab the knife six more times,” she said. “When you win it, it feels pretty good. When you don’t, it feels awful.”

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No ban for Rogers in clenbuterol case http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/ban-rogers-clenbuterol-case_325084 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/ban-rogers-clenbuterol-case_325084#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:04:33 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325084

Michael Rogers will not serve a racing ban for his clenbuterol positive, as the sport's governing body believed there was a high probability the traces of the banned substance came from eating contaminated meat in China. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Michael Rogers is "extremely pleased" after news that he will not receive racing ban for his clenbuterol positive in the 2013 Japan Cup

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Michael Rogers will not serve a racing ban for his clenbuterol positive, as the sport's governing body believed there was a high probability the traces of the banned substance came from eating contaminated meat in China. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) will not serve a racing ban for his clenbuterol positive after winning last year’s Japan Cup, avoiding a possible two-year disqualification that might have ended his career.

The 34-year-old Australian will be disqualified from the Japan Cup victory, but will not face a disciplinary ban, the UCI reported Wednesday.

“Upon careful analysis of Mr. Rogers’ explanations and the accompanying technical reports, the UCI found that that there was a significant probability that the presence of clenbuterol may have resulted from the consumption of contaminated meat from China, where he had taken part in a race before traveling to Japan,” the UCI said a press release.

“As a result, the UCI has proceeded with the automatic disqualification of Mr. Rogers’ results at the 2013 Japan Cup Cycle Road Race (the competition during which the positive sample was taken) but, after consulting WADA, decided that he should not be sanctioned any further.”

Rogers has been inactive since last October, when he raced at the UCI-promoted Tour of Beijing, and then won the Japan Cup a week later.

Rogers insisted that he did not take clenbuterol, and suggested that it entered his system via contaminated meat that he ate during a week-long stay in China before racing in Japan.

Many riders swore off eating meat during the Beijing tour, and the UCI insisted that controls were being conducted for clenbuterol during the race.

The decision marks a first in cycling. The World Anti-Doping Agency has previously not pressed for disciplinary bans in other sports in clenbuterol positives, most notably cases involving soccer players attending a junior tournament in Mexico.

Rogers’ teammate Alberto Contador served a back-dated, two-year racing ban after testing for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France. Like Rogers, Contador argued that minute traces of the banned substance entered his body during a rest-day dinner after consuming meat brought to France from nearby Spain.Unlike Rogers, a three-member tribunal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport did not buy into the argument that contaminated meat was the source of the clenbuterol, and handed down a two-year ban in 2012.

Contador has maintained that he never doped during his career, but was disqualified from his victories in the 2010 Tour and the 2011 Giro d’Italia, among other results.

There was no immediate reaction from Tinkoff, but Rogers said the news was “extremely pleasing,” and vowed to return to racing as soon as possible.

“Over the past four months, my family and I have endured a very difficult time,” Rogers said in a statement Wednesday. “The UCI’s decision means that I can return to racing immediately, and I am looking forward to getting back to work, competing in the sport I love.”

Here is the UCI announcement in full:

Following a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Tokyo indicating an adverse analytical finding for clenbuterol in a urine sample collected during a test conducted at the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race on 20 October 2013, the UCI provisionally suspended Mr Michael Rogers (see press release of 18 December 2013).

In accordance with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules and the World Anti-Doping Code, Mr Rogers took the opportunity to explain to the UCI how the prohibited substance had entered his system, and to provide supporting information.

Upon careful analysis of Mr Rogers’ explanations and the accompanying technical reports the UCI found that that there was a significant probability that the presence of clenbuterol may have resulted from the consumption of contaminated meat from China – where he had taken part in a race before travelling to Japan.

As a result, the UCI has proceeded with the automatic disqualification of Mr Rogers’ results at the 2013 Japan Cup Cycle Road Race (the competition during which the positive sample was taken) but, after consulting WADA, decided that he should not be sanctioned any further.

The UCI is monitoring very carefully the latest developments concerning clenbuterol, and will continue to take appropriate steps to ensure riders are properly informed.

However, the UCI reiterates that the presence of clenbuterol in a urine sample constitutes an anti-doping rule violation under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules. It is generally acknowledged that in certain countries a risk of meat contaminated by clenbuterol can exist and produce, in specific conditions, a positive sample from an athlete. WADA has issued specific warnings about this problem in China and Mexico. Consequently, the UCI reiterates its recommendations to the athletes and teams concerned to avoid eating meat in these countries.

In line with WADA recommendations, the UCI will continue to assess the presence of clenbuterol on a case by case basis taking into account the country in which contamination may have taken place, as well as any scientific evidence supporting the likelihood of such contamination.

Rogers’ statement in full

Statement by Michael Rogers — Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Today, I received the extremely pleasing news that the UCI has decided that no period of ineligibility is to be imposed against me following my inadvertent adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol in October 2013.

As a consequence, my provisional suspension is lifted with immediate effect. The UCI acknowledged that the presence of Clenbuterol in my sample collected during the 2013 Japan Cup was due — as I always stated — to the consumption of contaminated meat during my stay in China for the Tour of Beijing. The UCI, in particular, confirmed the absence of any fault or negligence on my part.

Notwithstanding the above, and because the substance was found in my sample during the competition, my result obtained during the 2013 Japan Cup must be automatically disqualified in accordance with the UCI rules. Although this is unfortunate for me, the UCI is bound by its rules and must apply them consistently.

Over the past four months, my family and I have endured a very difficult time. The UCI’s decision means I can return to racing immediately, and I am looking forward to getting back to work, competing in the sport I love. I wish to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, teammates, colleagues, medical experts and fans who have showed continued support and understanding. Further, I wish to show my gratitude to the board of Tinkoff-Saxo for the professional manner with which this ambiguous ordeal has been handled. Thank you for having the perception of what is right, rather than following the path of least resistance.

Michael Rogers

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Book Excerpt: How to make slingshot, faux, and bungee attacks http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/training-center/skills/book-excerpt-make-slingshot-faux-bungee-attacks_325060 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/training-center/skills/book-excerpt-make-slingshot-faux-bungee-attacks_325060#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:00:10 +0000 Jamie Smith and Chris Horner http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325060

Successful attacking isn't just about going harder than the peloton. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

An effective attack is much more than simply mashing the pedals. Learn more about the art of the assault from Jamie Smith and Chris Horner

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Successful attacking isn't just about going harder than the peloton. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

If conditions are right for you to attack, then all you have to do is pick your moment and start mashing the pedals. You can jump with every sinew of your being and see if you can get something started, be it solo or a party.

But let’s think about this for a moment. We already know that the act of accelerating and hammering will burn matches, and we know that a lone rider must fight the wind. If you are neither very strong nor very lucky, your solo attack is unlikely to succeed.

Slingshot attacks

Better to find a more efficient way to launch your attack. One of the best is a two-rider slingshot, where you lead a teammate to the front, fast, and send him up the road.

Here’s how it works: You are going to ride behind me in the pack in about 20th position. When your moment arrives, you will tell me to start rolling. You can use whatever command you wish. You can say, “Yep.” You can say, “Go.” You can cough loudly like Chevy Chase in the movie Spies Like Us. Just make sure I hear you.

Upon hearing this, I will accelerate with you glued to my rear wheel (Figure 5.1). When the two of us get to the front of the pack, you will already be traveling at the speed of light without ever having felt a headwind. When I pull aside, you will launch yourself into space. And, as an added bonus, I will find myself at the front of the field in the perfect position to begin the blocking procedure that will ensure your success.

You’re welcome.

Many times, as a racer and as an announcer, I have seen riders launch a fierce attack from 20th position on their own. By the time they have reached the front of the pack, they’ve lost a lot of steam. But imagine what 20 bike lengths looks like if you don’t turn on that energy until you get to the front of the field. That’s a decent gap.

I’ll remind you of this slingshot thing when we discuss bridging gaps, chasing breakaways, and sprinting later in this book. It’s a tactic that you need to practice with your teammates a few times to make sure you’re in sync with your accelerations and timing.

And you must somehow find a way to communicate your intentions to your teammate. Try to do it in a way that won’t give away your escape.

Faux attack

Would you ever attack without intending to follow through?

Sure.

Sometimes a rider just wants to see who’s awake and alert. It’s fun to attack, if only to see who will respond. In the early stages of a race, you will have no trouble stirring up some sort of action, whether you are serious about
it or not, because everyone is fresh and willing. Later in the race, you can use this tactic to find out who still has gas in the tank.

Another reason to make an uncommitted attack is to wear down the competition. By making them respond, you’re making them expend energy. You’re essentially softening them up for a more serious attack that will come from your teammate later in the race.

Fake attacks come in rapid succession, one after the next. Each time the same team will be the instigator, and each time it will take just a little more zip out of the legs of others. It can be an effective tactic if you have enough strong riders on your team to keep the peloton under stress.

Another version of the fake attack is to attack up one side of the road, taking the entire pack with you, only to be counterattacked by your own teammate up the other side of the road.

It’s all part of a plan. Picture this: The wind is hitting your peloton from the right. You attack up the left side of the road, and you string out the field in the left gutter. Suddenly, up the right side of the road your teammate attacks on his own. Now, in order for riders to catch your teammate, they must bridge across the width of the road and into the wind. He has an immediate gap. That may be all it takes to discourage anyone from following. Or at least it will discourage the riders who are on the bubble.

That’s another thing to consider. As I said at the beginning, not all riders have the same capabilities and strengths. If an attack goes off the front, the riders nearest to it may not be willing or physically able to respond. If Rider X attacks and the first five riders on the front of the field (let’s call them Rider 1, Rider 2, Rider 3, Rider 4, and Bachelor 5) are cooked from a previous effort, then Rider 6 is already five bike lengths behind before he begins to respond. That’s a gap. If Rider X’s intention is a solo breakaway, he’s away, and the chase is on.

Rider 6 will likely hesitate because he’s expecting R1, R2, R3, R4, and B5 to react. If they don’t, Rider X has a bigger lead.

That’s a smart attack. Rider X assessed the strength of the riders around him, and he attacked when those riders had been weakened in battle.

I hate Rider X. Unless he’s on my team.

Bungee attack

We’ve all seen them. We’ve all made comments about them. We are powerless to stop them. The ill-fated bungee attack is a phenomenon that we see most frequently in the lower, less experienced categories. Riders will attack with all the heart and hubris of Hercules, but they will only last for about a mile. It’s as if they’re attached to an invisible bungee cord. They come back as fast as they go out.

In almost every racing community, there is at least one local racer who is known for his bungee attacks. This rider, however, is completely unaware that he is doing it. He truly has every intention of breaking away. However, as the old saying goes, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I’m reminded of an episode of the TV show M*A*S*H in which there was a character named “5 O’clock Charlie” who flew over the encampment every day at precisely 5 p.m., dropping a bomb far off target, to the hearty guffaws of the 4077th staff.

That is the bungee attack. With almost clocklike precision, the attack comes at a meaningless point in a race, lasts for about a mile, gets reeled in without any real effort, and gets unceremoniously spit out the back, to the
hearty guffaws of the 4077th staff.

The thing is, one of these days, it just might work.

Editor’s note: Excerpt republished with permission of VeloPress from ‘Reading the Race: Bike Racing from Inside the Peloton’ by Jamie Smith with Chris Horner. Learn more at VeloPress.com.

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Sutherland Q&A: Riding with Contador, European life, and the Ardennes http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/sutherland-qa-riding-contador-european-life-ardennes_325080 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/sutherland-qa-riding-contador-european-life-ardennes_325080#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:30:50 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325080

Rory Sutherland (front, right) is hoping for a Tour de France nod come July. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Rory Sutherland is loving the Ardennes classics and hoping for a start at the Tour de France

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Rory Sutherland (front, right) is hoping for a Tour de France nod come July. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MAASTRICHT, Netherlands (VN) — Rory Sutherland slithered between the Amstel Gold Race’s stage and the kilometers of fence, headed back toward his team bus. The fans pack into the square thick, and riders, journalists, and team managers can hardly move. Exuberance for Amstel is high on this morning. Sutherland, who signed with Tinkoff-Saxo last year after a long stint at UnitedHealthcare, took a few moments to chat with VeloNews about life on the road.

VeloNews: I haven’t seen you in a while. How’s it been going?
Rory Sutherland: Good. Really good this year. Good program with the team. Obviously Alberto [Contador] is riding pretty well; it’s pretty nice to be on that team.

VN: Yeah, what’s it like, riding with a star?
RS: It’s awesome. When your captain is so good, obviously the competition is also really strong. But when you have a captain like him, you ride better as well. You want to do the best job you can for him so he can do his job. You’re not going to screw him. The fact is he’s a super nice guy as well. Great guy, very thankful, very respectful, and knows that as long as everyone does their best then he responds really well to that.

VN: Seems like he’s just flying.
RS: He’s going pretty well.

VN: What about these Ardennes races do you like?
RS: love it. Of course the cobbled classics are really cool, for a different reason. But … you never go further than 20, 30 kilometers at the most away from Maastricht [in Amstel], and you’re doing 260K. It’s like back and forth and up and down. I crashed last year in one of the big crashes, and I still loved it. It’s just a really cool feeling and the people out there and the fact that the sun is shining — it’s a beautiful area to ride a bike.

VN: You obviously made a big shift, from domestic to full-on Euro-pro again. Was that the right call?
RS: Yeah. With Tinkoff-Saxo it’s been fantastic. It’s a year last year getting used to it and coming back into it a little bit and opening the eyes up again. And this year I feel with a year behind me from last year, just racing, racing, racing, I feel a lot stronger for it. And now the team’s kind of figured out a little bit more of what I can do and where I can be used and we’re aiming toward that, which makes it a bit easier. But look, my wife’s happy here. The kids are happy here. So it’s not like we’re living somewhere we don’t want to be.

VN: Where will you go from here?
RS: I do the next [races] to Liège, then I have a break after Liège. At home in May. And then I don’t know. Everything is kind of up in the air for what happens in June/July.

VN: You hope for the Tour de France, then?
RS: Yeah, I think everybody does. Especially with Alberto, the way he’s going, and I think I can do a good job in an area of the team that we don’t have people, you know? Kind of the middle mountains, the middle group. Not the end group, not first flat group, but it depends on, you know, so many different things coming into June and July. That’s why it was good to ride with Alberto the last couple races, because then he knows whether he wants you around or not. But we’ll see.

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Startlist: 2014 Fleche Wallonne http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/startlist-2014-fleche-wallonne_325052 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/startlist-2014-fleche-wallonne_325052#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:30:55 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325052

Daniel Moreno will wear the No. 1 dossard of defending champion on Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | VeloNews.com

Final startlist for the 2014 Flèche Wallonne

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Daniel Moreno will wear the No. 1 dossard of defending champion on Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | VeloNews.com


Rabo-Liv
1. Marianne VOS
2. Lucinda BRAND
3. Pauline FERRAND PREVOT
4. Katarzyna NIEWIADOMA
5. Anna VAN DER BREGGEN
6. Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN

Hitec Products
11. Elisa LONGO BORGHINI
12. Audrey CORDON
13. Cecilie Gotaas JOHNSEN
14. Lauren KITCHEN
15. Julie LETH
16. Ashleigh MOOLMAN PASIO

Boels Dolmans
21. Elizabeth ARMITSTEAD
22. Jessie DAAMS
23. Megan GUARNIER
24. Christine MAJERUS
25. Katarzyna PAWLOWSKA
26. Eleonora VAN DIJK

Orica-AIS
31. Emma JOHANSSON
32. Annette EDMONDSON
33. Shara GILLOW
34. Loes GUNNEWIJK
35. Valentina SCANDOLARA
36. Carlee TAYLOR

Astana-BePink
41. Alena AMIALIUSIK
42. Alice ARZUFFI
43. Dalia MUCCIOLI
44. Doris SCHWEIZER
45. Silvia VALSECCHI
46. Susanna ZORZI

Specialized-lululemon
51. Evelyn STEVENS
52. Karol-Ann CANUEL
53. Tiffany CROMWELL
54. Ally STACHER
55. Tayler WILES
56. Trixi WORRACK

Giant-Shimano
61. Marijn DE VRIES
62. Claudia HAUSLER
63. Floortje MACKAIJ
64. Amy PIETERS
65. Maaike POLSPOEL
66. Kyara STIJNS

Ale Cipollini
71. Ane SANTESTEBAN GONZALES
72. Elena BERLATO
73. Valentina CARRETTA
74. Tatiana GUDERZO
75. Malgorzata JASINSKA

Lotto-Belisol Ladies
81. Emma POOLEY
82. Amy CURE
83. Liesbeth DE VOCHT
84. Jolien D’HOORE
86. Anisha VEKEMANS
87. Lieselot DECROIX

Wiggle-Honda
91. Linda VILLUMSEN
94. Danielle KING
95. Anna SANCHIS CHAFER
96. Laura TROTT
98. Mayuko HAGIWARA
99. Joanna ROWSELL

Estado de Mexico-Faren
101. Fabiana LUPERINI
102. Elena CECCHINI
103. Lucy MARTIN
104. Dulce PLIEGO
105. Rossella RATTO
106. Anna TREVISI

RusVelo
112. Tatiana ANTOSHINA
113. Aleksandra BURCHENKOVA
115. Elena KUCHINSKAYA
116. Aizhan ZHAPAROVA
117. Yulia BLINDYUK

Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope.86
121. Sarah ROY
122. Oriane CHAUMET
123. Lucie PADER
124. Amélie RIVAT
125. Manon SOUYRIS
129. Gabrielle PILOTE-FORTIN

Top Girls Fassa Bortolo
131. Francesca CAUZ
133. Jennifer FIORI
135. Asja PALADIN
136. Chiara PIEROBON
137. Silvia CECCHINI
139. Soraya PALADIN

Futurumshop.nl-Zannata
141. Sofie DE VUYST
142. Annelies DOM
143. Anouska KOSTER
144. Mascha PIJNENBORG
145. Annelies VAN DOORSLAER
147. Latoya BRULEE

U.S. National Team
151. Lauren HALL
152. Kathryn DONONVAN
153. Maura KINSELLA
154. Lauren KOMANSKI
156. Ruth WINDER

Bigla
161. Joanne HOGAN
162. Emilie AUBRY
163. Désirée EHRLER
164. Elke GEBHARDT
165. Taryn HEATHER
166. Vera KOEDOODER

Australia
173. Katrin GARFOOT
174. Chloe MC CONVILLE
175. Emily ROPER
176. Rebecca WIASAK
177. Felicity WARDLAW

Lointek
181. Aude BIANNIC
182. Mélanie BRAVARD
183. Lucia GONZALEZ BLANCO
184. Sheyla GUTIERREZ RUIZ
185. Melodie LESUEUR
186. Aida NUNO PALACIO

Servetto Footon
191. Simona BORTOLOTTI
192. Annalisa CUCINOTTA
193. Marina LIKHANOVA
194. Anna POTOKINA
195. Sari SAARELAINEN
196. Maria Adele TUIA

France
201. Edwige PITEL
202. Manon BOURDIAUX
203. Fanny BOURDON
204. Alna BURATO
205. Eugénie DUVAL
206. Marion SICOT

Bizkaia-Durango
211. Dorleta ESKAMENDI
212. Yulia ILINYKH
213. Lierni LEKUONA ETXEBESTE
214. Lourdes OYARBIDE
215. Anna RAMIREZ
216. Irene SAN SEBASTIAN LASA

Canada
222. Catherine DESSUREAULT
223. Annie EWART
224. Annie FOREMAN-MACKEY
225. Leah KIRCHMANN
226. Stephanie ROORDA

Parkhotel Valkenburg
231. Kim DE BAAT
232. Riejanne MARKUS
233. Kirsten PEETOOM
234. Pauliena ROOIJAKKERS
235. Rozanne SLIK
237. Marissa OTTEN

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Nibali: ‘It’s about the Liege win, not places and points’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/nibali-liege-win-places-points_325049 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/nibali-liege-win-places-points_325049#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 16:07:48 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=325049

Vincenzo Nibali attacked from long range at Milano-Sanremo last month and said this week he isn't afraid to do so again at Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Giro d'Italia champion vows to launch a long-range attack on Sunday if the situation is right

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Vincenzo Nibali attacked from long range at Milano-Sanremo last month and said this week he isn't afraid to do so again at Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

GENT, Belgium (VN) — Vincenzo Nibali will risk losing in a big attack in order to win Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He said that others are too afraid or think too much about WorldTour points to make a move like the one that nearly landed him a Milano-Sanremo victory in March.

“The teams don’t want to try these big and long moves because they are thinking of the WorldTour classification,” Nibali told VeloNews. “The riders all think about bringing in points because they are important for the teams and for their contracts.”

The Italian in Astana’s light blue made such a move at Liège in 2012 when he raced for Liquigas-Cannondale. He attacked on the Côte de La Roche aux Faucons and used his skills to break free on the descent with 19.5 kilometers left.

He held 45 seconds on the favorites group with Philippe Gilbert as he climbed the Saint Nicolas and closed in on the finish in Ans. Maxim Iglinsky followed more closely, however. At the foot of the 1.3km ramp to Ans, he caught Nibali and rode clear to the win. Nibali finished second.

“I’d do it again, too,” Nibali said. “I’m not bitter from two years ago, it was the right thing to do. I didn’t make any mistakes, only that Iglinsky had a great day and was able to pull me back. I lacked the energy at the end to do anything about him.”

Nibali showed his love for the long-range attack in Milano-Sanremo four weeks ago. He shot free on the Cipressa climb with 25km to race and lasted until the Poggio, with 9km remaining to his first monument victory.

“I can do it solo in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but Milano-Sanremo is another story. Sanremo is 300 kilometers, not 250, so any sort of extra effort you do … It’s difficult,” Nibali added. “For Milano-Sanremo, I could’ve used someone with me on my attack. I had many kilometers ahead of me. Ahead of my move on the Cipressa, I spoke with someone. I won’t say or name names of those who should’ve gone with me. Instead, I was on my own.”

Nibali named Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara after the race. This week, though, he complimented Cancellara’s racing tactics.

“Riders like me and Cancellara don’t think about the points, just the win,” he said. “That way of thinking, about placings and WorldTour points, it’s a big downward spiral. It’s a shame for cycling because it steals the show from the fans but that’s the way it is because many riders have contracts that are linked to points so they watch the classification closely.”

Nibali won the 2010 Vuelta a España and last year took top honors in the Giro d’Italia’s overall classification. His aim is trained on the Tour de France this year. He is ramping toward the Tour with specific training and spent two weeks at altitude in Tenerife prior to arriving in Belgium last week. He went over the border to France Thursday to ride the cobbled sectors of the Tour’s fifth stage.

Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne, but more so Liège-Bastogne-Liège, remain his last goals this spring before taking a break and returning at June’s Critérium du Dauphiné ahead of the July 5 start for the Tour de France.

“Liège suits me with its long climbs,” he said. “I’ll have to see what the situation’s like on Sunday, but I’m not afraid to attack from far out.”

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