VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Sat, 19 Apr 2014 00:26:57 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 McCabe, Olds win road races at Winston-Salem Classic http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/mccabe-olds-win-road-races-winston-salem-classic_324694 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/mccabe-olds-win-road-races-winston-salem-classic_324694#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:56:39 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324694

Team SmartStop's Travis McCabe took a big win at the Winston-Salem Classic. Photo by Matt Brown, www.336Creative.com

A pair of American riders, Travis McCabe and Shelly Olds, took victories Friday at the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic in North Carolina.

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Team SmartStop's Travis McCabe took a big win at the Winston-Salem Classic. Photo by Matt Brown, www.336Creative.com

A pair of American riders, Travis McCabe and Shelly Olds, took victories Friday at the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic in North Carolina.

The UCI and National Racing Calendar (NRC) women’s race was the first of two professional cycling events Friday in Winston-Salem. Olds (Alé Cipollini-Galassia) won a bunch sprint finale ahead of Canadian Joelle Numainville (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Eugenia Bujak of Poland (BTC City Ljubljana) at the end of the 91-kilometer race that comprised eight laps of an 11.5-km circuit.

“It’s probably my favorite win of the year by far,” Olds said. “It’s my country and I never get to race here. Now, to see some riders racing over here that I normally see in Europe, it kind of mixes up the whole dynamic of the racing. You don’t just have American style racing or European racing. You have a combination of both. It makes it much more exciting. It was really fun.”

Alé Cipollini set up Olds perfectly, shutting down multiple attacks throughout the day. Olds also played a role in ensuring the bunch sprint by marking an acceleration by UnitedHealthcare’s Alison Powers with two laps to go, and again on the final lap. Erica Allar (Colavita-Fine Cooking) also made her way onto the wheel of Powers, who tried a final time to attack solo on a descent. But even a 10-second advantage was not enough to prevent the bunch finish, as she was caught on the steep section of the final climb that featured a maximum gradient of 10 percent.

“This actually was supposed to be my break after my block in Europe,” Olds said. “But, we found out about this race and it’s really important for our team to be here and race today. I didn’t know how I was going to feel, I’m trying to take sort of a rest from the whole block, but I think the rest did me good last week with my family and now I am kind of fresh.”

Alison Tetrick (Twenty16 Pro Cycling) won both the “Queen of the Mountain” and the sprint competition after attacking on the second lap and staying away until about two-and-a-half laps remained. She gained as much as a 90-second lead, but an attack by Powers brought a select group to her wheel. But that move was eventually neutralized by the field.

“Our team just wanted to race hard and show Winston-Salem a little bit about women’s cycling,” Tetrick said. ”Sometimes you can’t plan for bike racing, when the moment’s right you just go for it. It was pretty early, but it was a beautiful course and a lot of fun to ride. I definitely enjoyed that time. I think this is my first solidified queen of the mountains jersey of my career. I won a sprint jersey on Ronde van Drenthe, so now this is my second of those.”

McCabe times it perfectly

Later Friday, McCabe used a perfectly-timed attack on the final climb to solo to victory, ahead of Australian Joe Lewis (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team). Canadian national road champion Zach Bell (SmartStop) sprinted to third out of a small group, five seconds later.

“This is huge,” McCabe said of the victory. “The team is based out of Winston-Salem. It’s our home town, so it was a race we really wanted to win. The team was always there in all the moves and all of the splits. It’s a big win for us. We’re really excited.”

The chaotic race came down to a group of 14 riders which formed in the final nine laps of the 171-kilometer race that comprised 15 laps of an 11.4-km circuit. A three-rider escape group of David Cueli (UnitedHealthcare of Georgia), Matt Green (Astellas), and Oscar Clark (Hincapie Sportswear) stayed away out of that group for several laps starting at that point. A seven-rider chase group formed behind those three, and Green was eventually dropped. A group of 10 formed with three laps to go, but there was a regroupment of 34 riders about half a lap later.

Attacks continued to fly, but a strong counter attack by Will Routley (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) with two laps remaining upped the pace in the group significantly. By the time Routley was caught due to an acceleration from Bell, there was only a lap to go and the front group had splintered.

Several teams were well-represented in the small group that contested the finish. Smartstop had four riders, Hincapie Sportswear had three and the Optum and 5-Hour Energy-Kenda squads each had two.  Smartstop took over the front to set up McCabe, with the 2013 U.S. national elite criterium champion launching his winning attack on the final climb.

“I went on the steepest part — the last 50 meters of that climb,” McCabe said. “It was sort of like a stair-stepper. You had the kicker, it flattened out, then a kicker, and then the last 50 or 100 meters it was just steep. I knew right there we had four guys. I just lined it up and we just took a chance and I went as hard as I could up over the hill. It was so short after the hill that if I could get up and over with a gap, I could recover over the rollers. If anyone caught me I had enough of a kick. So I just took a chance and it played out really well.”

Smartstop team director Michael Creed said McCabe’s victory in the UCI-National Racing Calendar event builds on the team’s earlier accomplishments this season: a stage win by McCabe at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, second and third at last weekend’s Novant Health Invitational Criterium, and a runner-up finish with Rob Britton at Vuelta Independencia Nacional in February.

“To see the guys who didn’t know each other from the start, who had very few connections amongst them, come together and to be at the helm of that – for them to do what I say and trust it is very satisfying,” Creed said. “It’s one thing to say this is a tactic, and another for the riders to have a mentality to make sure it happens. These guys did that and there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction.”

In addition to the runner-up finish for Lewis, Hincapie Sportswear swept the king of the mountains and sprint competitions with Lewis and Alexander Ray, respectively.

The two-day Winston-Salem Cycling Classic continues Saturday with the fourth round of the USA Crits Series. The women will contest a 60-minute criterium, followed by a 75-minute men’s event. Both races will stream live at VeloNews.com.

Watch day 2 of the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic >>

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Omega rolling confident into Ardennes week http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/omega-rolling-confident-ardennes-week_324789 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/omega-rolling-confident-ardennes-week_324789#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:16:32 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324789

Omega's Michal Kwiatkowski looks to strike in the Ardennes races, starting with Amstel. (c)Tim De Waele

Omega Pharma is traditionally thought of as a cobbled classics team, but this year the Ardennes may show another side to the Belgian squad

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Omega's Michal Kwiatkowski looks to strike in the Ardennes races, starting with Amstel. (c)Tim De Waele

SITTARD, Netherlands (VN) — Omega Pharma-Quick Step is fresh off a Paris-Roubaix victory, and has an ace in hand for this week’s hilly classics. It’s good to be an Omega rider right about now, and it could get even better soon.

The Belgian powerhouse team, which salvaged its classics campaign on the wings of Niki Terpstra’s dazzling solo effort last week in the velodrome, enters the second phase of spring races with Michal Kwiatkowski as an outside favorite in the hilly Ardennes races — and a deep roster with many riders capable of striking.

“I know I can do it well, Amstel Gold Race,” Kwiatkowski told reporters on Friday. “We go into the race very motivated. As for me, I’ve had more results this year leading into Amstel. So, because of that there is perhaps more pressure, but until now nothing has changed.”

Indeed, this season has shaped up nicely for Kwiatkowski. He’s finished first and second at the Volta ao Algarve and Tour of the Basque Country, respectively, and won Strade Bianche, where he smashed Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in the final, steep kilometer. The 23-year-old has become the next hottest thing in cycling, and certainly enters into races now with expectation and a bit more pressure, two things that come quickly for young riders taking major results. And even with undisputed talent and form, winning one of these Ardennes races is a tall, tall order. Kwiatkowski must butt heads with the likes of Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), and Joaqium Rodríguez (Katusha).

“I can say much more after the race. I have to save a lot of energy until the last climb on the Cauberg. It’s not easy to stay in front all day of a 250km race. If you want to save energy, perhaps some people will think it’s better to sit in the back of the group. But, it’s always better to sit in the front,” Kwiatkowski said. “You have to do that. Don’t use energy to be there. You have to know where to be before the climb and on the climb. That’s why the recon and experience of this race is so important and I am happy we’re well prepared. I know the parcours really well, as does the team.”

Kwiatkowski said the race tends to boil at about 70 kilometers to go, adding that he will be weary of attacks. “There are a lot of good riders who are explosive on the climbs. Philippe Gilbert, Joaquim Rodriguez, or Alejandro Valverde for example. This race is unpredictable, so it’s difficult to give a true prognosis before the race,” Kwiatkowski said.

Omega boss Patrick Lefevere is bullish on his rider. And why wouldn’t he be?

“Michal last year was also competitive in these kinds of races,” Lefevere said. “This year, the riders around him have become stronger. We have experienced riders like Pieter Serry, Jan Bakelants, and Wout Poels, who is racing at home. We’ll also have to see how recovered Zdenek Stybar is from Paris-Roubaix. As for the race, it typically is very nervous. There are a lot of curves. They announced crosswinds for the race, so it will be even more tough.”

Poels, coming off a stage win at Pais Vasco, said he feels up to the task of Amstel — a race that seems to feature every hill in The Netherlands, comprising its 13,000 feet of climbing.

“I feel really good,” Poels said. “Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco was a really nice victory, and race in general. I feel really good, so I hope we can do a nice job at Amstel Gold Race. It means a lot at my home province. It’s a really nice race, and a nice public here at my home. I’m looking forward to it. I feel the team really likes this race. We have climbers in the team who can also do well in a one day race like this.”

Another Omega rider looking forward to the climbs of the region is Jan Bakelants. The 28-year-old Belgian soared to prominence last season when he held the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for stages 3 and 4 after a stage win on the second day of the race.

“The upcoming two races, Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, are really important races of my season,” Bakelants said. “I look forward to competing in them. Clearly I am eager to do them and hoping to do well for me as well as the team. Amstel Gold Race is not typical because it’s all about short, uphill, almost sprinting efforts. One sprint is not enough to get to the top though, so there’s a mix of endurance and efforts that go into the lactic acid. So, this parcours is a nice challenge. As for the team, OPQS has a strong team this year with 30 strong guys. No matter which race we come to, we have always eight really competitive riders.”

That much, he’s certainly right about. Amstel begins on Sunday in Maastricht.

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Pro Bike Gallery: Joe Schmalz’s Felt FC http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/pro-bike-gallery-joe-schmalz_324765 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/pro-bike-gallery-joe-schmalz_324765#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:52:31 +0000 Logan VonBokel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324765

The Hincapie Development rider employs a Shimano Ultegra 6800 groupset paired with a Dura-Ace 7900 SRM crank

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Cavendish to skip Giro in favor of Tour de France prep http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/cavendish-skip-giro-favor-tour-de-france-prep_324761 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/cavendish-skip-giro-favor-tour-de-france-prep_324761#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:48:53 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324761 The British rider’s No. 1 objective for the season is the Tour de France

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PARIS (AFP) — British sprint specialist Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) revealed on Friday that he will bypass next month’s Giro d’Italia to focus on the Tour de France, which begins July 5.

The 28-year-old Isle of Man native will instead use the Tour of Turkey (April 27-May 4), Amgen Tour of California (May 11-18), and the Tour de Suisse (June 14-22) as his tune-up races for the Tour de France. This summer’s Tour begins in Leeds, located in Yorkshire, England.

“As everyone knows, my main objective this year is the Tour de France,” said Cavendish, who has won 25 Tour de France stages.

“I will not do the Giro this year, which saddens me because it is a race that has given me a lot of satisfaction in the past.”

Cavendish, whose mother is from Harrogate, the finishing town for the first stage of this year’s Tour de France, has won 15 Giro stages during his career and earned the overall points title at last year’s race.

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Matthews hopes to bolster season wins total at Amstel Gold Race and Giro http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/matthews-hopes-to-bolster-season-wins-total-at-amstel-gold-race-and-giro_324754 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/matthews-hopes-to-bolster-season-wins-total-at-amstel-gold-race-and-giro_324754#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:40:16 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324754

Michael Matthews picked up a stage win at the Tour of the Basque Country earlier this month. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Orica-GreenEdge rider recently earned two wins and a runner-up ahead of Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race

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Michael Matthews picked up a stage win at the Tour of the Basque Country earlier this month. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

GENT, Belgium (VN) — Michael Matthews takes confidence into Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. The Aussie known as “Bling” already won twice this season and placed second behind Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) in Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow).

“The Amstel Gold Race is going to suit me,” Matthews told VeloNews. “It’s basically the same as Brabantse Pijl but on a bit of a higher level.”

The 23-year-old Orica-GreenEdge rider chalked up two wins in the last week and a half: a stage in the Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja and, at the UCI WorldTour level, a stage in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country). It marks the most promising start to a season since the former under-23 world champion turned professional in 2011. It also follows up on two stage wins in the Vuelta a España at the end of last summer.

After teammate Simon Gerrans escaped at Belgium’s mid-week classic Brabantse Pijl Wednesday, Matthews had his chance to win. He followed the wheels in the uphill drag to the finish, closed on Yukiya Arashiro’s attack, and responded to Gilbert’s sprint.

Gilbert, who won the road worlds title in 2012 a year after he swept all three Ardennes classics, won the sprint last week. Matthews finished second.

“I definitely had the legs to win Brabantse Pijl but I was boxed into the last corner by Arashiro. I couldn’t get through and had to settle for second,” Matthews said.

“I’m just coming off of two wins and that makes a difference heading into races like Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold. It’s nice to be back on top with wins under your belt because you go into the races with more confidence. I hope there’s more to come from here in both Amstel and the Giro d’Italia.”

Gerrans placed third in the Amstel Gold Race last year and in 2011. He gives the Aussie team its best option to win the Dutch classic. However, just as in Brabantse Pijl, the team has different options with Daryl Impey and Matthews.

“Orica will be one of the strongest teams because we have several options — and that helps going into it,” Matthews said. “We don’t just have one favorite, but three favorites with Gerrans and Impey. Being able to play off one another takes the pressure off and allows the other two to rest and to counter any moves.

“I’m taking confidence from the two wins and this second place into the Amstel Gold Race.”

Following Amstel, Matthews backs off and focuses on the Giro d’Italia and possibly the Tour de France. This year, instead of supporting Matt Goss, who will race in the Amgen Tour of California, Orica is backing “Bling” for stage wins. He already showed what is possible with a win in Lago de Sanabria and in Madrid last year at Spain’s grand tour.

“After the Amstel Gold Race, the Giro is my goal. Orica is aiming for the team’s TT in Belfast. We will see how long we can hold the jersey for after that, and I’ll certainly try to win a stage,” Matthews said.

“The Giro’s a goal for me. I hope to hold this form through to the Giro and have good legs there. I also want to take it onto the Tour de France.”

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Despite 2013 success, Garmin enters Ardennes week as an underdog http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/despite-2013-success-garmin-enters-ardennes-week-as-an-underdog_324728 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/despite-2013-success-garmin-enters-ardennes-week-as-an-underdog_324728#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:03:04 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324728

Dan Martin kicked to victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Despite having defending Liège-Bastogne-Liège champ Dan Martin on its squad, Garmin remains in the shadows

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Dan Martin kicked to victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

GENK, Belgium (VN) — As usual, American outfit Garmin-Sharp finds itself a bit of an outsider as it heads into the hilly classics. As usual, the team prefers it that way. And unsurprisingly, the team itself maintains its traditional looseness — the riders all piled into a boat on a rarely sunny Belgian afternoon — in spite of having the defending Liège-Bastogne-Liège champion on its roster.

But make no mistake here: Garmin brings a very deep team into the Ardennes classics, one with 2013 Liège winner Dan Martin of Ireland. But Garmin doesn’t have the megastar of a Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), who won all three Ardennes races in 2011, and it doesn’t have the deep expectations of a Belgian team. The squad kicks off Ardennes week at Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race.

Alex Howes, one of Garmin’s key support riders, says he’s unsure of the pressure the team will face, particularly in Liège next weekend. The team hasn’t found itself in this position before.

“I’ve never had to defend Liège. We’ve never been in this position before. I think we’re fortunate in the fact that we’ve always been seen as underdogs,” Howes said, reclined on a couch at the team hotel a short distance from the start of Amstel. “But maybe that’ll change a little bit this year. But honestly, you look at the guys coming to these races. Guys like Gilbert, and Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez], [Alejandro] Valverde. Hitters. They’ll have a full squad around them, very deep squads as well. We’re definitely not the favorites.”

That’s a role the Garmin boys prefer. Martin won Liège last year to many people’s surprise when he unfurled a devastating final kick, dropping Rodriguez (Katusha) in the process. On that day, Garmin employed attacking teamwork brilliantly, as it sent a flying Ryder Hesjedal up the road to provoke the race rather than truly try and control anything. That’s not what wildcards do, control things.

Martin is excited to be back, and why not? Starting a monument with the ones on his back is something he’s looking forward to.

“Obviously in the past we’ve been relatively successful. Even last year coming into it I’d been sixth in Flèche and fifth in Liège,” Martin said. “And so we were optimistic about what we could achieve. I don’t think any of us could imagine that we’d be coming away with victory, but yeah, it happened. And to be starting Liège this year with the number ones on my back? It’s going to be incredible. It’s a pleasure to ride that race and I’ll be really proud pinning those numbers on. But at the same time, that’s last year, it’s done, it’s finished.”

Come Sunday in Valkenburg, it’s all business. The Amstel Gold Race climbs more than 13,000 feet and has riders packed into small streets for six, seven hours. Martin said he’s thinking of Amstel first and foremost, and that the rest of the Ardennes can wait.

In his Garmin teammates, Howes sees a deep lineup and, as a result, doesn’t think he has much of a chance to ride for himself in the Ardennes. He finished sixth in Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow) in 2012.

“We’ve got a really, really deep team for Amstel, Flèche, and Liège,” Howes said. “It goes all the way down. We’re defending the Liège title. And Ryder Hesjedal’s always really good in these races. Tom-Jelte [Slagter], he’s been kicking phenomenally in the finals. Nathan [Haas] is looking good this year. Fabian Wegmann … He’s always there. On paper, I’m the weakest link.”

Garmin, even with a champ, is an underdog. The squad won’t hold any press conferences — maybe one before Liège for Martin — and won’t be stared at to constrict the races.

“We’re fine with that,” Howes said. “We’re gonna throw down.”

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Valverde ready to pounce in hilly Ardennes classics http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/valverde-ready-to-pounce-in-hilly-ardennes-classics_324732 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/valverde-ready-to-pounce-in-hilly-ardennes-classics_324732#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:27:24 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324732

Alejandro Valverde is riding to win at the Ardennes classics. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Spaniard wants to add to his classics win total and make up for a third at Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year

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Alejandro Valverde is riding to win at the Ardennes classics. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is ready to make up for disappointment last year across the Ardennes with a winning ride in at least one of the hilly classics.

Which one? He doesn’t care. Already a winner of one Flèche Wallonne (2006) and two Liège-Bastogne-Liège (2006, 2008), the veteran Spaniard is motivated to make up for third in last year’s Liège, when a mechanical problem in the final attack kept him from shifting gears and opening up his sprint.

“As I’m feeling now, the only goal is winning,” Valverde said in a team release. “We know it’s much easier said than done. I was running well last year, and I was always in the front, but I couldn’t win any of the three.”

Last year, Valverde was solid across the Ardennes, riding to second behind the unstoppable Roma Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) at Amstel Gold, seventh at Flèche, and third at Liège behind Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp).

Always a consistent performer in the hilly classics,Valverde is on good form, and will be a five-star favorite across Ardennes week, which begins Sunday with Amstel Gold Race.

Valverde already has seven wins on the 2014 season, including Roma Maxima and GP Indurain. He skipped racing the Volta a Catalunya to race across the cobblestones at Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke to get a taste of what awaits in this summer’s Tour de France.

At the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) earlier this month, he was out-gunned by eventual winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), scoring three second places in stages, but falling off the final podium after bleeding too much time in the final time trial to finish fifth.

Contador is skipping the Ardennes after his highly successful spring campaign, meaning Valverde, and steady Ardennes performer Joaquin Rodríguez (Katusha) will be the top Spanish riders for the upcoming classics.

Backing up Valverde will be a solid Movistar team, including Beñat Intxausti, John Gadret, Imanol Erviti, and Iván Gutiérrez.

“I always get asked which one I would like to win if I could choose just one, but I won’t do that because I like all three,” Valverde said. “It’s true that Amstel is the one that resisted me so far, I’ve been second and third there, but I still love Liège. I will give 100 percent in all three.”

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Preview: At long last, Amstel Gold Race arrives for climbers http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/analysis/long-last-amstel-arrives-climbers_324596 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/analysis/long-last-amstel-arrives-climbers_324596#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:49 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324596

Two-time winner Philippe Gilbert is among the favorites for Sunday's Amstel Gold Race. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The cobbled classics are over and the time for the climbers has arrived with Sunday's Ardennes-opening Dutch classic

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Two-time winner Philippe Gilbert is among the favorites for Sunday's Amstel Gold Race. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

SITTARD, Netherlands (VN) — The bumps of Belgium are long gone now, and in their stead come the hills of the Dutch Limburg region. To be more precise, there are 34 climbs over the Amstel Gold Race’s 251 kilometers, amounting to more than 13,000 feet of climbing.

The Amstel Gold Race comes this weekend and with it a different sort of rider and race. Gone are the big and hearty men of the northern cobbles, and out come the climbers, the GC types, the puncheurs.

This Sunday marks the opening of what’s known as Ardennes week, the 10 days of hillier one-day races spanning the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Though Amstel is held in the Limburg region, outside of the forested Ardennes, it’s lumped into the onslaught of steep, paved climbs and teams look at the three races the same way: hard.

See the ’17 years of winning moves at Amstel Gold Race’ gallery >>

The favorites here are punchy climbers and general classification riders — riders like Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), Rui Costa (Lampre), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

Amstel Gold Race’s return to the new finish, and 34 climbs

This marks the second year for the “new” finish of Amstel Gold, nearly two kilometers past the top of the Cauberg climb above Valkenburg, the site (and the same finish, now) as the 2012 UCI Road World Championships. Ahead of last year’s 48th edition, Amstel Gold Race course director Leo van Vliet, a coach for the Dutch worlds team in 2012, elected to go with the worlds finish. On Wednesday, crews put the finishing touches on massive hospitality tents at the flat finish line.

The alteration means a different finish that can suit a different type of rider. If a lithe climber breaks free of the clutches of a group at the base of the Cauberg (1.2km at 5.8 percent), he may not be able to sustain the gap over the 1.8km to the finish. It’s mostly flat, but it will most likely be windy.

The field will climb the Cauberg — Gilbert’s springboard for his 2012 rainbow jersey — twice near the end of the race. The first time, the riders will pass through the finish area and up the Geulhemmerberg (970m at 7.9 percent), then the Bemerlerberg (900m at 7 percent), and then the Cauberg a final time before the finish in Vilt.

Climbs of the 2014 Amstel Gold Race:
1. Slingerberg (1.3km, 4.8%)
2. Adsteeg (700m, 4.5%)
3. Lange Raarberg (1.8km, 3.9%)
4. Bergseweg (2.6km, 3.3%)
5. Sibbergrubbe (1.8km, 3.9%)
6. Cauberg (1.2km, 5.8%)
7. Geulhemmerberg (1km, 6.2%)
8. Wolfsberg (800m, 4.4%)
9. Loorberg (1.5km, 5.5%)
10. Schweibergerweg (2.9km, 3.9%)
11. Camerig (4.3km, 3.8%)
12. Drielandenpunt (3.7km, 3.7%)
13. Gemmenich (900m, 6.4%)
14. Vijlenerbos (1.8km, 5.1%)
15. Eperheide (2.3km, 4.1%)
16. Gulpenerberg (700m, 8.1%)
17. Plettenberg (1km, 4.2%)
18. Eijserweg (2.2km, 4.3%)
19. Huls (1km, 7.7%)
20. Vrakelberg (700m, 7.9%)
21. Sibbergrubbe (2.1km, 4.1%)
22. Cauberg (1.2km, 5.8%)
23. Geulhemmerberg (1km, 6.2%)
24. Bemelerberg (900m, 5%)
25. Loorberg (1.5km, 5.5%)
26. Gulpenerberg (700m, 8.1%)
27. Kruisberg (800m, 7.5%)
28. Eijserbosweg (1.1km, 8.1%)
29. Fromberg (1.6km, 4%)
30. Keutenberg (700m, 9.4%)
31. Cauberg (1.2km, 5.8%)
32. Geulhemmerberg (1km, 6.2%)
33. Bemelerberg (900m, 5%)
34. Cauberg (1.2km, 5.8%)

Kwiatkowski’s coronation, a veteran’s confirmation, or a surprise attack?

All that climbing on those narrow roads and its timing as the kickoff to the Ardennes make Amstel Gold wildly hard to predict, though this much is clear: it will be incredibly difficult and immensely stressful. The roads here are one-car wide, and the amount of traffic furniture — bumps, poles, odd curbs — is incredible. Crashes at Amstel Gold are a near certainty, and large and loud crowds are a guarantee. It’s a race named after a beer, after all.

Amstel Gold could fall to a younger rider like Kwiatkowski or an older one like Valverde (second last year). Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) will have his eyes on the Ardennes races, as will Garmin-Sharp’s Daniel Martin, winner of last year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Gilbert has won this race twice, in 2010 and 2011, and demonstrated in Wednesday’s De Brabantse Pijl that he has sharpened his fitness ahead of his home races.

Kwiatkowski is a good bet because he comes into Amstel Gold having shown he’s on great form (second at Vuelta al País Vasco, behind a flying Alberto Contador) and is a year wiser. And he showed his late-race snap when he blew up Peter Sagan (Cannondale) to win Strade Bianche in March. Last year, he finished fourth at Amstel Gold and fifth at La Flèche Wallonne. The Polish champion appears to be on the cusp of an Ardennes victory.

“Kwiatkowski was fourth last year and is in a good moment of his season. With Kwiatkowski the team can also count on a guy like Wout Poels, the queen stage winner of País Vasco. We did really well at País Vasco as a team last week, and therefore it is good for the cohesion of the unit that we also selected Jan Bakelants, and Tony Martin — who is returning to the classics after a few years away — as well as Pieter Serry and Michal Golas,” Omega Pharma director Wilfried Peeters said. The Belgian squad will also bring Zdenek Stybar. “He is the lone rider who participated in the cobblestone classics. He likes this race and the parcours. It’s kind of like a Tour of Flanders with hills, but without the cobbled sections. So, it can fit his skills,” Peeters said in a press release.

Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) won last year’s Amstel Gold Race, and shouldn’t be discounted, either, though he downplayed his chances this week in a team interview.

“I don’t feel at my best yet, but you never know. Even last year at this time, I felt really bad and at the end I won anyway. But I’m confident in terms of doing Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne. Rory (Sutherland), Karsten (Kroon), Nicki (Sørensen), and I are ready, experienced and I’m sure that you’re going to see our Tinkoff jersey there,” he said.

Last year’s third-place finisher, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) has had a quiet start to the classics season, though he won his national championship in the road race — no small feat in Australia nowadays — and also snagged the overall at Santos Tour Down Under in the first month of the season.

In fact, the list of men who could win these races feels longer than that of the northern classics. Though the climbing finales are, in theory, more predictable than flatter finishes, races like Amstel Gold seldom are. Who saw Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) winning in 2012, or, a step further, Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) winning Liège that same year as well? Probably two people: Gasparotto and Iglinsky.

Riders from the home country have won 17 times, the most of any nation by a healthy measure. Bauke Mollema (Belkin) could certainly snag one for the home nation this weekend, but others like Costa and Slagter, twice a stage winner at Paris-Nice earlier this season, appear more suited to the uphill, then flat, finish.

As of Thursday, the Amstel flags were flying above Valkenburg. The massive tents at the finish and small patios lining the base of the Cauberg waited to house their raucous spectators. But what they’ll see? Well, that’s about as predictable as can be expected after a couple hundred kilometers of sinuous, hilly Dutch roads: not at all.

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Tech scenes from the 2014 Sea Otter Classic, Round 3 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/tech-scenes-2014-sea-otter-classic-round-4_324696 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/gallery/tech-scenes-2014-sea-otter-classic-round-4_324696#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:18:15 +0000 Logan VonBokel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324696

Scenes from around the Sea Otter Classics, including new wheels from Xentis and Rolf, and Scapin's Anouk carbon road frame

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Ask a Mechanic: Loosening seized bicycle spokes http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/video/ask-mechanic-loosening-seized-bicycle-spokes_324672 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/video/ask-mechanic-loosening-seized-bicycle-spokes_324672#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:07:36 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324672

Unable to true a wheel because your spoke nipples are locked up? Follow these tips to loosen them up

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Unable to true a wheel because your spoke nipples are locked up? Follow these tips to loosen them up

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Video: How to prepare for the Iditarod Trail Invitational http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/video/video-prepare-iditarod-trail-invitational_324668 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/video/video-prepare-iditarod-trail-invitational_324668#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:54:33 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324668

Thinking about the Alaskan mountain biking epic? Patrick Sweeney walks you through his build-up to the 2014 race

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Editor’s Note: This video interview is courtesy of EpicTV. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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GCN Video: How to improve your climbing speed http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/video/gcn-video-improve-climbing-speed_324658 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/video/gcn-video-improve-climbing-speed_324658#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:00:39 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324658

Global Cycling Network provides tips on becoming a faster and more efficient climber

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Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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USA Cycling names seven riders to Pan-Am squad http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/usa-cycling-names-seven-riders-pan-squad_324639 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/usa-cycling-names-seven-riders-pan-squad_324639#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:45:41 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324639 Evelyn Stevens will lead the women’s team in the time trial at the May 8-12 games

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SITTARD, Netherlands (VN) — The USA Cycling development house in the Netherlands was abuzz Thursday morning with the news that some of its athletes will be sent to the 2014 Pan American Continental Road Championships, slated for May 8-12 in Puebla, Mexico.

Maura Kinsella, 23, a rider training and racing here in the women’s spring classics, sat quietly in the early morning, drinking coffee and pecking away on a laptop. She’s been in northern Europe for two months now. She made the Pan-Am roster.

“I’m really excited to be selected for the Pan-Ams, because it’s a really big step forward in my cycling career,” said Kinsella, who races professionally for Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies. “To be in such good company with [Evelyn Stevens], and Megan [Guarnier] and Kristin McGrath and Lauren [Komanski], I’m really excited. I think we have a really good team going.”

Kinsella’s best result here during this block is a sixth place at Le Samyn des Dammes; her selection is something like validation. Her racing in Europe this spring has been difficult — for a very good reason.

“I’ve definitely been happy with how it’s going so far,” Kinsella said. “I petitioned [for the games] obviously with the hope of making it, but it’s a little bit of a surprise for me, so I’m really exited about that.”

Komanski, 28, made the team as well. “It’s huge. It wasn’t really something I expected. It’s a huge honor to have another chance to race for USA. And on this stage is really exciting,” she said.

“It’s hard racing,” said Komanski, who has been over in Europe training and racing for two months. “But you kind of expect that coming over. But I was lucky enough to have some good groups coming over. Having good people around you makes a huge difference.”

USA Cycling announced Thursday morning the athletes who will represent the United States in Mexico. Leading the squad will be 2012 world time trial silver medalist Stevens (Specialized lululemon). She will race the time trial, as will McGrath (Twenty16).

McGrath, Guarnier (Boels Dolmans), Kinsella (Optum), and Komanski (Twenty16) will link up in the road race.

For the men, Justin Mauch (Airgas Cycling) and Chris Putt (Bissell Development) will team up to represent the United States in the men’s U23 ranks.

Elite women

Megan Guarnier, road race
Maura Kinsella, road race
Lauren Komanski, road race
Kristin McGrath, road race and time trial
Evelyn Stevens, time trial

U23 Men

Justin Mauch, road race and time trial
Chris Putt, road race and time trial

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Stetina, van Garderen join BMC’s cobblers for Tour recon ride http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/stetina-van-garderen-join-bmcs-cobblers-for-tour-recon-ride_324646 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/stetina-van-garderen-join-bmcs-cobblers-for-tour-recon-ride_324646#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:10:16 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324646

Tejay van Garderen's path to the yellow jersey this summer will go over the cobblestones. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The squad is preparing for the Tour de France’s 15km cobbled section by riding part of the Paris-Roubaix route

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Tejay van Garderen's path to the yellow jersey this summer will go over the cobblestones. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

GENT, Belgium (VN) — BMC Racing will ride Paris-Roubaix’s pavé Thursday for its Tour de France leader Tejay van Garderen. Nine of the nasty cobble sectors in Northern France will form part of the Tour’s fifth stage July 9.

“Us Tour climber guys are going to learn how to ride cobbles with a few of the Roubaix guys,” Peter Stetina told VeloNews. “I feel bad because they have to go back after Roubaix and re-ride the cobble sectors!”

BMC’s cobble warriors Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Schär will shepherd van Garderen, Stetina, Peter Velits, Dominik Nerz, and Amaël Moinard during the recon ride. Besides the days in the mountains, the stage from Ypres to Arenberg could be one of the Tour’s most crucial stages.

“It’s definitely possible that someone might lose their Tour de France chances because of it but that’s just the nature of the beast,” Stetina said.

“I think Tejay will be good at it because he’s one of the bigger GC riders. He has the weight and the momentum to carry him over. He’ll be able to use the inertia. We raced cyclocross together as juniors so he knows how to handle himself well on the dirt.”

Paris-Roubaix passed over 51.1 kilometers of cobbles Sunday. The 156km Tour stage will include 15.4km on cobbles.

In 2010, the Tour only raced over 13.2km but the riders felt the impact. Andy Schleck made the lead group, but his brother Frank fell and broke his collarbone. Alberto Contador lost one minute and Lance Armstrong lost two minutes.

“I’ve never rode any of those hardcore cobbles. We rode around on them [as under-23 riders] once in Izegem, but it doesn’t compare. Even that was in Flanders, totally different than the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix,” Stetina added.

“I’ve heard horror stories from past Tours when the race went over those cobbles. It sounds like all-out warfare, and then the next day’s pretty easy because everyone has PTSD — Post-traumatic stress disorder, like the war vets!”

To prepare for the “war,” Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) previewed the sectors on Monday. Astana scheduled a reconnaissance with its leader Vincenzo Nibali for Thursday.

Stetina spent the last four years in the service of Dan Martin and Ryder Hesjedal at Garmin-Sharp. BMC signed him over the offseason to help van Garderen in the Tour’s mountains.

On Wednesday, Stetina led classics captain Philippe Gilbert to victory at Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow). He said BMC called him in for the race because it worked with his travel schedule around the Roubaix reconnaissance.

“It wouldn’t be bad to race the other Ardennes classics but I have other goals,” Stetina said. “I’ve got to go to Tahoe to prepare for the Tour of California. The team is allowing me a chance to win it and that’s my big goal before switching over to helping Tejay win the Tour.”

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Horner leaves hospital in high spirits after training crash http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/horner-leaves-hospital-in-high-spirits-after-training-crash_324641 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/horner-leaves-hospital-in-high-spirits-after-training-crash_324641#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:20:32 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324641 The 42-year-old was struck by a car last week during a training ride in Italy

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PARIS (AFP) — Vuelta a Espana champion Chris Horner left the hospital in a jubilant mood Wednesday following a training crash with a car last week.

The American Lampre-Merida rider was taken to the hospital last Friday after being involved in a crash while riding around Lake Como in northern Italy.

The 42-year-old, who became the oldest grand tour winner in history at last year’s Vuelta at age 41, suffered a punctured lung and four broken ribs in the accident.

But he has now left the Lecco hospital and gone back to his home in Como.

“I’m happy I can come back home, it was a bad experience, but I also think I was lucky: the crash could have had worse consequences,” Horner said in a statement released by Lampre. “I still feel pains when I move. I know I must be patient, I hope I can soon pedal on the rollers.”

Horner also suffered cuts to his head and bruises to his elbow in the accident.

Before his Vuelta victory, Horner’s previous best finish in a grand tour was ninth at the 2010 Tour de France. Two years later, he finished 13th at the 2012 Tour.

His other notable results included an overall victory at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) in 2010 and the Amgen Tour of California in 2011.

He was also a reasonably successful rider in the spring classics, with top-10 finishes at all three Ardennes classics in 2010.

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Magazine Excerpt: The spirit and the letter http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/analysis/magazine-excerpt-spirit-letter_324610 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/analysis/magazine-excerpt-spirit-letter_324610#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:00:50 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324610

Where is the line between performance advantages and doping? Graphic: Mike Reisel | Velo magazine

Is there a gray area when it comes to anti-doping?

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Where is the line between performance advantages and doping? Graphic: Mike Reisel | Velo magazine

Editor’s note: The following passage is excerpted from Velo head writer Matthew Beaudin’s Lede VeloNote in the May 2014 issue of Velo magazine. To read the full story, as well as our Official Guide to the Giro d’Italia, pick up a copy at your local bookseller or bike shop, or download from the Apple iTunes store today.

They filled up their veins with the blood of relatives, just another bodily transaction before competition, just another advantage in an unfair sport and world.

American cyclists won nine total medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, with seven members taking supplemental blood, accounting for four of those medals. The last time the U.S. had won a medal in cycling at the Games was in 1912.

There is zero doubt that blood boosting contributed to the rise of the U.S. cycling program at that moment in time, though Connie Carpenter turned down the offers from coaches and won gold in the road race. One third of the team transfused the blood of other human beings into their arms.

It helped, and it wasn’t illegal then. Not yet. But was there a moral imperative saying that the act, the use of someone else’s red blood cells, or even one’s own, to transport oxygen at a higher level, was wrong? Can something feel wrong but not be wrong, per the letter of the anti-doping laws?

This a cyclical theme in sport, on the finest and most ragged of lines, the plane that divides winning and losing. Athletes have always sought advantages over one another, some overt, some tacit. The latest shadow method came to the fore during the Sochi Olympics in the form of xenon, an inert gas that, when inhaled over time, forces the body to produce more erythropoietin, more commonly known as EPO, thus increasing oxygen transport and creating a more efficient athlete. Think of it as more train cars filled with coal burning a hotter fire.

Xenon has been used as an anesthetic since the 1950s, and the Russian Olympic Committee has been pushing the gas on its endurance athletes for years, or at least three Olympics. It wasn’t illegal, and they weren’t shy about it.

Perhaps as a tangential result, the home nation swept the podium in the Olympic 50-kilometer cross-country skiing event. Vladimir Uiba, the leader of Russia’s Federal Biomedical Agency, alluded that athletes may have been using xenon gas but said it was not wrong to do so. “Xenon is not an illegal gas,” Uiba told Russian news agencies. “We have a principle not to use what is forbidden by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).”

A 2009 British study found that subjecting mice to a blend of 70 percent xenon and 30 percent oxygen doubled the mice’s EPO levels a day after; another in Shanghai indicated a raised protein level (Hif-1 alpha) that leads to increased EPO production stayed elevated for two days after treatment. Altitude tents, according to that study, saw an EPO bump that lasted only hours. All of this is not indicative of performance in humans, but on a basic level, the methodology is effective.

Injecting artificial EPO is, of course, illegal under World Anti-Doping Agency rules; but what about using a gas to elevate those levels that are naturally occurring, however minute the rise may be?

Read the full story in the May 2014 issue of Velo magazine.

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High-caliber field set for Winston-Salem Cycling Classic http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/high-caliber-field-set-winston-salem-cycling-classic_324627 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/high-caliber-field-set-winston-salem-cycling-classic_324627#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:23:48 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324627

Jade Wilcoxson, of Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, will be racing the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic. (Photo © Casey B. Gibson.)

Top professional cyclists from around the globe will be on the start line later this week for the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic in North

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Jade Wilcoxson, of Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, will be racing the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic. (Photo © Casey B. Gibson.)

Some of the top professional cyclists from around the globe will be on the start line later this week for the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic in North Carolina.

The two days of competition includes UCI/National Racing Calendar (NRC) road races on Friday, and National Criterium Calendar (NCC)/USA CRITS series races on Saturday. Provisional start lists include every stage winner of the recent Redlands Bicycle Classic, plus a roster of foreign and domestic pros with extensive European and international racing experience.

Friday’s 50.4-mile road race for women begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by the men’s 120-mile road race at 12:30 p.m. USA Cycling criterium races on a new, 1.5-mile course near Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude before the finish of the pro men’s road race. Saturday’s pro criterium for women starts at 4:45 p.m. and at 6 p.m. for pro men, both on a 0.9-mile loop through downtown. A 50-mile and 80-mile gran fondo in the morning and a special USA Cycling criterium in the afternoon precede both pro races.

“We heard a lot of feedback from participants last year who said these races were some of the toughest in America,” said Winston-Salem Cycling Classic race director Ray Boden. “They loved the intense competition of our races and the downtown courses. Our goal this time is to make everything bigger and better.”

Featured riders in the men’s professional field include (in alphabetical order):

Zach Bell (CAN), SmartStop Pro Cycling

A 2008 and 2012 Olympian, Bell is the reigning Canadian national road champion, a stage winner last year at the Tour de Korea and the Tour de Taiwan, and won the King of the Mountains classification at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Teammate Jure Kocjan of Slovenia won two stages at the Vuelta Independencia Nacional in February and is a past stage winner at the Vuelta a Cuba.

Alex Candelario (USA), Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies

A stage winner at the 2012 Tour de Korea, Candelario has announced this is his final season of a professional career that began in 1999. Joining him on the Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies roster is 2010 Canadian national road champion Will Routley, as well as Jesse Anthony and Mike Friedman, overall winners of the Nature Valley Grand Prix in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Optum was champion of the NRC standings last year and the top-ranked U.S. continental team in the UCI America Tour standings.

Jake Keough (USA), 5-hour Energy-Kenda

Winner of stages last year at both the Volta a Portugal and the Tour of Qinghai Lake, Keough has also won stages at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and the Vuelta del Uruguay. Teammate Chad Beyer is a past Giro d’Italia finisher (2011) and winner of the King of the Mountains classification on the way to a runner-up finish at the 2012 SRAM Tour of the Gila.

Jeff Louder (USA), UnitedHealthcare

Champion of the 2009 Redlands Bicycle Classic and the 2008 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Louder is also a stage winner at the Tour of Qinghai Lake and has extensive experience in both Europe and Asia. UnitedHealthcare’s roster also includes Australian sprinters Hilton Clarke, last year’s NCC and USA CRITS series champion, and Karl Menzies, who finished in the top five last year in the Speed Week series and NCC standings.

Joey Rosskopf (USA), Hincapie Sportswear Development Team

A stage winner and the overall champion at the 2014 Redlands Bicycle Classic, Rosskopf won stages of races in Canada, France and the United States last year on the way to a runner-up finish in the NCC standings. He will be joined on the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team roster by 2012 Under 23 national criterium champion Ty Magner.

The international men’s field for the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic also includes the Italian Amore & Vita-Selle SMP team, featuring American Logan Loader, and the Garneau-Quebecor Professional Cycling Team and Silber Pro Cycling Team, both of Canada.

 

Featured riders in the women’s professional field include (in alphabetical order):

Mara Abbott (USA), UnitedHealthcare

The most-decorated active American cyclist, Abbott is a two-time national road champion (2007 and 2010), a two-time champion and four-time stage winner at the prestigious Giro d’Italia Femminile (Italy) and a consistent winner on the domestic and international circuits. Abbott won the Vuelta a El Salvador earlier this year, in addition to winning El Salvador’s Grand Prix de Oriente and a stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Erica Allar (USA), Colavita-Fine Cooking-Stradalli

Winner of the 2012 and 2013 NCC and the USA CRITS series titles, Allar won the Delray Beach Twilight Criterium last month and was runner-up at both the Novant Health Invitational Criterium and the Sunny King Criterium this month.

Joanne Kiesanowski (NZL),  TIBCO

A three-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012) and two-time Commonwealth Games representative (2006, 2010), Kiesanowski has won eight national titles in four events: road race, points race, scratch race and the omnium. Teammate Amanda Miller was runner-up last year at the national criterium championships. In its 10th year, Team TIBCO is the longest running women’s team in North America.

Amber Neben (USA), FCS-Zngine + Mr. Restore

The 2008 world time trial champion and a member of the winning team time trial squad in 2012, Neben is also a past national road (2003) and time trial (2012) champion. Winner of the 2006 and 2012 time trials at the Pan Am Games, Neben is a two-time Olympian (2008 and 2012).

Shelley Olds (USA), Alé Cipollini-Galassia

Runner-up at the GP de Dottignies last week and a past national champion on both the road and track, Olds used her sprinting prowess to win national criterium titles in 2010 and 2011 and win back-to-back scratch race titles in 2008 and 2009. Winner of the 2010 Tour of New Zealand and the 2012 Tour of Chongming Island, she finished seventh in the 2012 Olympic road race race and won a stage of the Giro d’Italia Femminile the same year.

Alison Powers (USA), UnitedHealthcare

Winner of the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic road race and criterium last year, Powers is the reigning national criterium champion and a past national time trial (2008) champion. Overall winner of the Tour Femenino de San Luis in January, Powers won her second NRC title last year and a two-time winner of the Joe Martin Stage Race. Joining her and Abbott on the squad is Lauren Tamayo, silver medalist in the 2012 Olympic team pursuit.

Laura Van Gilder (USA), Mellow Mushroom-Pink Siren Sports

The leader of the USA CRITS series has been racing professionally since 1992 and was the 2000 national criterium champion. A two-time winner of the Tour of America’s Dairyland (2012 and 2013), she won the NRC title in 2002. Heading into last weekend’s USA CRITS seres races, teammate Laura Jorgensen was second in the standings and the Mellow Mushroom presented by Pink Siren Sports squad led the team standings.

Jade Wilcoxson (USA), Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies

The current national road champion, Wilcoxson also won a gold medal in the individual and the team pursuit at track nationals last year and was runner-up at the 2013 national cyclocross championships. Teammate Leah Kirchmann, the Canadian national criterium champion, won a pair of stages at the Redlands Bicycle Classic on her way to third overall.

Italian squad S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, the Colombian national women’s team, and two squads from Mexico — Estado De Mexico Faren and the Mexican national team — bring additional international competition to the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.

More information on all events can be found on the official website, www.winstonsalemcycling.com.

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Video: Enduro riders shred in the land of the Inca http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/mtb/video-enduro-riders-shred-land-inca_324618 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/mtb/video-enduro-riders-shred-land-inca_324618#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:49:22 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324618

With more than 100 competitors, wet conditions, and a start above 15,000 feet elevation, The Inca Avalanche enduro tests riders' fortitude

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Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of EpicTV. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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Q&A: BMC’s Larry Warbasse eyeing a grand tour in 2014 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/road/bmcs-larry-warbasse-eyeing-grand-tour-2014_324470 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/road/bmcs-larry-warbasse-eyeing-grand-tour-2014_324470#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:44:17 +0000 Neal Rogers http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324470

BMC Racing's Larry Warbasse was nearly finished with his degree at the University of Michigan when he left to join the professional peloton. Photo: Graham Watson | BMC Racing

BMC Racing's 23-year-old American Larry Warbasse is hoping to race his first grand tour this summer

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BMC Racing's Larry Warbasse was nearly finished with his degree at the University of Michigan when he left to join the professional peloton. Photo: Graham Watson | BMC Racing

When Philippe Gilbert won Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl, 23-year-old American Larry Warbasse was among the BMC Racing teammates that Gilbert thanked for their hard efforts.

Earlier this year, VeloNews caught up with Warbasse at the Tour de San Luís, in Argentina, where he landed a fourth-place result in the stage 5 time trial.

At the time of the interview, the 6-foot, 147-pound Michigan native was not certain of his race calendar, but he has since tackled Tour Méditerranéen, helping his teammate Steve Cunmmings take the win, as well as Strade Bianche and Volta a Catalunya, where teammate Tejay van Garderen won a climbing stage.

Now immersed in his second year with BMC Racing, after several years splitting his time between the BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team (in the U.S.) and the USA Cycling under-23 national team (in Europe), Warbasse is hoping to become a more prominent face in the peloton, both by assisting the team through mountainous days in stage races, and securing some results for himself as well.

After moving to Nice, France, for the new year, Warbasse is hoping that 2014 will also bring him a first start at a grand tour. He recently learned that he’d be racing Brabantse Pijl, Flèche Wallonne, Tour de Romandie, and the Amgen Tour of California. In 2013, he raced the USA Pro Challenge, but this August, he’s hoping for a start at the Vuelta a España.

VeloNews: You were on the squad for BMC’s Tour of Qatar squad in 2013. That’s a hell of a way to start off your pro career.
Larry Warbasse: Yeah, it was awesome. It was kind of like a trial by fire with all the crosswinds. When I told everyone my first race was Qatar, they just laughed. But it was really good, we had a really good time — great squad, great group of guys. It helped with the cohesion.

VN: You also have guys like [Garmin-Sharp's] Phil Gaimon, whose first year at the WorldTour level is coming at 28. What do you think such a wide spectrum of ages for starting out as a pro?
LW: To even be able to go WorldTour at that age is really hard. There are a lot of guys who are 25 or 26 and they’re really good, but they don’t even get looked at because they aren’t young.

VN: When did you first start racing?
LW: I started mountain-bike racing when I was 13 and I switched to road when I was 15 or 16. I started racing with the national team when I was 17 and stayed with them until I was 22 — first with a junior national team, and then a U23 national team.

VN: You put in a strong time trial [at San Luís.] What kind of racer do you see yourself as?
LW: I’m more of a GC kind of guy. Right now it’s more helping out in the mountains, and I can ride a good time trial. Usually I can climb pretty well, but unfortunately that didn’t come out [in San Luís], but I hope to show that in the next bit of races. In some of the races last year I was up there on the climbs. In Colorado [at the USA Pro Challenge], I was helping Tejay. I was also climbing pretty well at the Tour of Utah. I had a rough season last year — just adapting to life in Europe and everything like that. I lived in Italy, and I [moved] to Nice, France this year with Joe Dombrowski. With Taylor Phinney there, too, I think it will be easy to build a younger American community, which is necessary.

VN: What race are you most hoping to do this year?
LW: Hopefully I’ll do my first grand tour. Whether it’s the Giro or the Vuelta, I’m not sure. That’s the main goal. I think one of the options would be to come back to Tour of California after a few WorldTour races. [Warbasse has since confirmed that he will race the Tour of California, rather than the Giro.]

VN: Is there any race you did last year at the WorldTour level, or just any race that you thought you could do well in, that would suit your characteristics?
LW: A lot of the WorldTour stage races seem to fit my characteristics. I think one day I’ll be able to do well in them. Last year I struggled a bit, but it was a really good experience. I did Catalunya and the [Critérium du] Dauphiné, and I really, really suffered at Dauphiné. It was probably my worst time of the year — I was a bit over-trained and just struggled through every single day. I learned a lot there and it really helped me turn around the second half of the season. One day I’d love to do well at those races, and, some day, Paris-Nice. This year I’d like to be good at helping whoever our leaders are over multiple days in the mountains, and maybe have a good time trial for myself — or even an opportunity for a stage win. I just want to feel like I’m more part of the race this year. A lot of times last year I was barely in. In the second half of last year I started becoming part of the race, and that really helps raise the confidence.

VN: You left school with two semesters left to chase the bike racing dream?
LW: I never planned on being a cyclist. My parents were pretty big into academics, so I wanted to be a doctor, and then go into business. Cycling was just kind of a hobby, I guess. I went to the University of Michigan, as it has a really good business program. I worked really hard, it’s a three-year program. I studied so hard, and still tried to train, running myself into the ground every day. The only thing I looked forward to was going to sleep, because it was the only time I wasn’t stressed. When I went to race with the national team in Europe, I just realized I loved what I was doing. Every day I was looking forward to waking up, couldn’t wait to get on my bike. I just lived for the sport. And it hit me: Why would I do something I didn’t like at all, when I could do something I loved? So right then and there, I decided to become a pro cyclist.

VN: What was your best result as a U23 rider?
LW: I was very consistent. In 2011 I had a couple of podiums, third in a stage in Nation’s Cup in Tuscany, fifth in the U23 Liége. And then seventh in some big stage races, fifth in the Tour of Berlin. I started talking to BMC and they decided I should do another year as a U23, so I went back to school in the fall of 2011, and then went to Europe, raced, and signed with BMC. And that was that.

VN: You said your parents were very into academia. Did they support your becoming a pro cyclist?
LW: My junior year of college I took a semester off to see if I could do the cycling thing, and my parents flipped out. I told them I wasn’t asking for their permission, but for their support. They said they would support emotionally, but not financially. I ended up moving to Greenville [South Carolina] to train with George Hincapie in the winter of 2010-2011. I went over with the national team in March, and had quite a few good results. … I’ve been under the radar a bit, just because I’ve mostly raced in Europe; I’ve never done any [National Racing Calendar] stuff. So I’ve taken a different path than the other guys. Now my parents think it’s cool, they came over to Europe [in 2013] to see me, and see Catalunya, so they came to the last stage, in the heart of Barcelona. I was in the breakaway and I saw them and said, “Guys!” and waved. They thought it was awesome. It was pretty cool they saw me race, and where I lived, and how I was doing everything. They thought it was cool.

Addie Levinsky contributed to this story.

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Results: 2014 De Brabantse Pijl http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/results-2014-de-brabantse-pijl_324598 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/04/news/results-2014-de-brabantse-pijl_324598#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:30:15 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=324598 Full results from the midweek tuneup ahead of the Ardennes classics

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  • 1. Philippe GILBERT, BMC Racing, in 4:54:26
  • 2. Michael MATTHEWS, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
  • 3. Tony GALLOPIN, Lotto-Belisol, at :00
  • 4. Simon GESCHKE, Giant-Shimano, at :00
  • 5. Björn LEUKEMANS, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at :00
  • 6. Nathan HAAS, Garmin-Sharp, at :00
  • 7. Davide REBELLIN, CCC Polsat Polkowice, at :00
  • 8. Julien VERMOTE, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
  • 9. Sébastien REICHENBACH, IAM Cycling, at :00
  • 10. Aleksei TCATEVICH, Katusha, at :00
  • 11. Dries DEVENYNS, Giant-Shimano, at :00
  • 12. Yukiya ARASHIRO, Europcar, at :00
  • 13. Jeffry Johan ROMERO CORREDOR, Colombia, at :00
  • 14. Julian ALAPHILIPPE, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :04
  • 15. Wouter POELS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :04
  • 16. Pieter SERRY, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :04
  • 17. Luis Angel MATE MARDONES, Cofidis, at :04
  • 18. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at :04
  • 19. Davide MALACARNE, Europcar, at :04
  • 20. Kristian SBARAGLI, MTN-Qhubeka, at :10
  • 21. Fabio Andres DUARTE AREVALO, Colombia, at :10
  • 22. Romain ZINGLE, Cofidis, at :10
  • 23. Alexander RYBAKOV, Katusha, at :10
  • 24. Sander ARMEE, Lotto-Belisol, at :10
  • 25. Franco PELLIZOTTI, Androni Giocattoli, at :10
  • 26. Fabio FELLINE, Trek Factory Racing, at :10
  • 27. Nathan BROWN, Garmin-Sharp, at :12
  • 28. Thomas SPRENGERS, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, at :16
  • 29. Pieter JACOBS, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, at :16
  • 30. Thomas DEGAND, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at :16
  • 31. Cesare BENEDETTI, NetApp-Endura, at :16
  • 32. Guillaume LEVARLET, Cofidis, at :22
  • 33. Mauro FINETTO, NRI, at :22
  • 34. Petr VAKOC, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :22
  • 35. Enrico BARBIN, Bardiani-CSF, at :22
  • 36. Kiryll POZDNYAKOV, RusVelo, at :22
  • 37. Fumiyuki BEPPU, Trek Factory Racing, at :22
  • 38. Martin VELITS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :25
  • 39. Gustav LARSSON, IAM Cycling, at :25
  • 40. Bartosz HUZARSKI, NetApp-Endura, at :25
  • 41. Patrick SCHELLING, IAM Cycling, at :25
  • 42. Alex HOWES, Garmin-Sharp, at :28
  • 43. Preben VAN HECKE, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, at :33
  • 44. Johnny HOOGERLAND, Androni Giocattoli, at :34
  • 45. Zico WAEYTENS, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, at :39
  • 46. Simon GERRANS, Orica-GreenEdge, at :39
  • 47. Daryl IMPEY, Orica-GreenEdge, at :39
  • 48. Kristof VANDEWALLE, Trek Factory Racing, at :50
  • 49. Andrei SOLOMENNIKOV, RusVelo, at 1:16
  • 50. Kevin ISTA, IAM Cycling, at 1:57
  • 51. Nick NUYENS, Garmin-Sharp, at 1:57
  • 52. Peter STETINA, BMC Racing, at 1:57
  • 53. Amaël MOINARD, BMC Racing, at 1:57
  • 54. Thomas DEKKER, Garmin-Sharp, at 1:57
  • 55. Yannick EIJSSEN, BMC Racing, at 1:57
  • 56. Daniel MARTIN, Garmin-Sharp, at 1:57
  • 57. Jan BAKELANTS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 1:57
  • 58. Nico SIJMENS, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 1:57
  • 59. Kévin REZA, Europcar, at 2:43
  • 60. Michel KREDER, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 3:30
  • 61. Matthias BRANDLE, IAM Cycling, at 3:30
  • 62. Marc DEMAAR, UnitedHealthcare, at 3:30
  • 63. Kiel REIJNEN, UnitedHealthcare, at 3:30
  • 64. Adrian HONKISZ, CCC Polsat Polkowice, at 3:30
  • 65. Johannes FRÖHLINGER, Giant-Shimano, at 3:30
  • 66. Bartlomiej MATYSIAK, CCC Polsat Polkowice, at 3:30
  • 67. Boy VAN POPPEL, Trek Factory Racing, at 3:30
  • 68. Maciej PATERSKI, CCC Polsat Polkowice, at 3:30
  • 69. Eliot LIETAER, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, at 3:30
  • 70. Kevin DE WEERT, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 3:30
  • 71. Pieter WEENING, Orica-GreenEdge, at 3:30
  • 72. Edwin Alcibiades AVILA VANEGAS, Colombia, at 3:30
  • 73. Pim LIGTHART, Lotto-Belisol, at 3:30
  • 74. Thomas DAMUSEAU, Giant-Shimano, at 3:30
  • 75. Jérôme BAUGNIES, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 4:28
  • 76. Martin KOHLER, BMC Racing, at 5:19
  • 77. Lawrence WARBASSE, BMC Racing, at 5:19
  • 78. Frantisek PADOUR, NetApp-Endura, at 5:19
  • 79. Dennis VANENDERT, Lotto-Belisol, at 5:19
  • 80. Marco CANOLA, Bardiani-CSF, at 5:19
  • 81. Antonio PARRINELLO, Androni Giocattoli, at 5:19
  • 82. Stephen CUMMINGS, BMC Racing, at 5:19
  • 83. Jan GHYSELINCK, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 5:19
  • 84. Andrea ZORDAN, Androni Giocattoli, at 5:19
  • 85. Artem OVECHKIN, RusVelo, at 5:19
  • 86. Francis DE GREEF, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 5:19
  • 87. Daniele COLLI, NRI, at 5:19
  • 88. Angelo PAGANI, Bardiani-CSF, at 5:19
  • 89. Javier MEGIAS LEAL, Novo Nordisk, at 5:19
  • 90. Lukasz OWSIAN, CCC Polsat Polkowice, at 7:33
  • 91. Adrian KUREK, CCC Polsat Polkowice, at 7:33
  • 92. Dennis VAN NIEKERK, MTN-Qhubeka, at 7:33
  • 93. Roman MAIKIN, RusVelo, at 7:33
  • 94. Juan Esteban ARANGO CARVAJAL, Colombia, at 7:33
  • 95. Frederik VEUCHELEN, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 7:33
  • 96. Pirmin LANG, IAM Cycling, at 7:33
  • 97. Tosh VAN DER SANDE, Lotto-Belisol, at 9:38
  • 98. Thierry HUPOND, Giant-Shimano, at 9:38
  • 99. Sean DE BIE, Lotto-Belisol, at 9:38
  • 100. Petr IGNATENKO, Katusha, at 9:38
  • 101. Alessandro BAZZANA, UnitedHealthcare, at 9:38
  • 102. Pieter VANSPEYBROUCK, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, at 9:38
  • . Roy CURVERS, Giant-Shimano
  • DNF Yohann GENE, Europcar
  • DNF Morgan LAMOISSON, Europcar
  • DNF Perrig QUEMENEUR, Europcar
  • DNF Michael SCHÄR, BMC Racing
  • DNF Caleb FAIRLY, Garmin-Sharp
  • DNF Benjamin KING, Garmin-Sharp
  • DNF Kris BOECKMANS, Lotto-Belisol
  • DNF Damien HOWSON, Orica-GreenEdge
  • DNF Cameron MEYER, Orica-GreenEdge
  • DNF Adam YATES, Orica-GreenEdge
  • DNF Simon YATES, Orica-GreenEdge
  • DNF Cheng JI, Giant-Shimano
  • DNF Sea Keong LOH, Giant-Shimano
  • DNF Marco HALLER, Katusha
  • DNF Mikhail IGNATYEV, Katusha
  • DNF Alexander PORSEV, Katusha
  • DNF Rudiger SELIG, Katusha
  • DNF Jasper STUYVEN, Trek Factory Racing
  • DNF Fabio SILVESTRE, Trek Factory Racing
  • DNF Danny VAN POPPEL, Trek Factory Racing
  • DNF Marco BANDIERA, Androni Giocattoli
  • DNF Manuel BELLETTI, Androni Giocattoli
  • DNF Marco FRAPPORTI, Androni Giocattoli
  • DNF Emanuele SELLA, Androni Giocattoli
  • DNF Sonny COLBRELLI, Bardiani-CSF
  • DNF Nicola BOEM, Bardiani-CSF
  • DNF Filippo FORTIN, Bardiani-CSF
  • DNF Mateusz TACIAK, CCC Polsat Polkowice
  • DNF Jérémy BESCOND, Cofidis
  • DNF Edwig CAMMAERTS, Cofidis
  • DNF Julien FOUCHARD, Cofidis
  • DNF Stéphane POULHIES, Cofidis
  • DNF Clément VENTURINI, Cofidis
  • DNF Rodolfo Andres TORRES AGUDELO, Colombia
  • DNF Duber Armando QUINTERO ARTUNDUAGA, Colombia
  • DNF Edward Fabian DIAZ CARDENAS, Colombia
  • DNF Stefan DENIFL, IAM Cycling
  • DNF Jonathan FUMEAUX, IAM Cycling
  • DNF Ferekalsi DEBESAY ABRHA, MTN-Qhubeka
  • DNF Linus GERDEMANN, MTN-Qhubeka
  • DNF Martin REIMER, MTN-Qhubeka
  • DNF Jay Robert THOMSON, MTN-Qhubeka
  • DNF Jaco VENTER, MTN-Qhubeka
  • DNF Francesco CHICCHI, NRI
  • DNF Giorgio CECCHINEL, NRI
  • DNF Samuele CONTI, NRI
  • DNF Luigi MILETTA, NRI
  • DNF Mattia POZZO, NRI
  • DNF Mirko TEDESCHI, NRI
  • DNF Ivan BALYKIN, RusVelo
  • DNF Leonid KRASNOV, RusVelo
  • DNF Timofey KRITSKIY, RusVelo
  • DNF Alexander SEROV, RusVelo
  • DNS Martin WESEMANN, MTN-Qhubeka
  • DNF Iker CAMANO ORTUZAR, NetApp-Endura
  • DNF Jonathan MCEVOY, NetApp-Endura
  • DNF Erick ROWSELL, NetApp-Endura
  • DNF David LOZANO RIBA, Novo Nordisk
  • DNF Kevin DE MESMAEKER, Novo Nordisk
  • DNF Joonas HENTTALA, Novo Nordisk
  • DNF Thomas RAEYMAEKERS, Novo Nordisk
  • DNF Martijn VERSCHOOR, Novo Nordisk
  • DNF Christopher WILLIAMS, Novo Nordisk
  • DNF Arthur VAN OVERBERGHE, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
  • DNF Jonathan CLARKE, UnitedHealthcare
  • DNF Davide FRATTINI, UnitedHealthcare
  • DNF Ken HANSON, UnitedHealthcare
  • DNF Christopher JONES, UnitedHealthcare
  • DNF Martijn MAASKANT, UnitedHealthcare

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