VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Thu, 18 Sep 2014 22:30:34 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Gallery: Jens Voigt’s hour record ride http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/track/gallery-jens-voigts-hour-record-ride_346491 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/track/gallery-jens-voigts-hour-record-ride_346491#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:35:21 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346491

Voigt set a new record, 51.11 kilometers, a day after his 43rd birthday. The crowd sang happy birthday to the German after his ride. Photo: Ulf Schiller Schillerphoto.com

Images from the Swiss velodrome, where Jens Voigt sets a new hour record of 51.11 kilometers

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Voigt set a new record, 51.11 kilometers, a day after his 43rd birthday. The crowd sang happy birthday to the German after his ride. Photo: Ulf Schiller Schillerphoto.com

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In the News: Wiggins may head Sky-backed development team http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/news-wiggins-may-head-sky-backed-development-team_346476 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/news-wiggins-may-head-sky-backed-development-team_346476#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:48:05 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346476

Bradley Wiggins' future remains uncertain after being left off Sky's 2014 Tour de France lineup. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Guardian reports that Team Sky and British Cycling are investigating forming a development team with Bradley Wiggins as its leader and

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Bradley Wiggins' future remains uncertain after being left off Sky's 2014 Tour de France lineup. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Guardian has reported that Team Sky and British Cycling are investigating forming a development team which would have Bradley Wiggins as its leader and figurehead, from midway through 2015 into 2016, when the 2012 Tour de France winner hopes to bow out with a bid for an Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro.

Wiggins is currently contracted to Sky, with negotiations taking place about the future form of his contract, and this initiative is being seen as one way of securing his future.

“We’re still discussing ways of supporting Brad’s Olympic ambitions in Rio, but [which] would also explore the fantastic developmental opportunities which could exist in order to support the next Bradley Wiggins,” said Team Sky’s head, Dave Brailsford. “We’re looking at that from various different angles, and there are positive opportunities which I am sure we can make happen.”

British Cycling’s Performance head, Shane Sutton – who was heavily involved in Wiggins’ 2012 Tour win – said he would welcome such a move. “There’s no better opportunity for a rider to be given the chance to follow in the footsteps of Sir Brad. I’m not sure what his plans are, I don’t think anything is set is stone.

“Sir Bradley is under contract to Team Sky and negotiations for next year are ongoing,” said a spokesman for his management agency XIX. “There will be no announcement on his 2015 race calendar until October at the earliest.”

Read the complete story on The Guardian > >

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Voigt sets new hour record, riding 51.11km http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/voigt-sets-new-hour-record-riding-51-115km_346464 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/voigt-sets-new-hour-record-riding-51-115km_346464#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:08:15 +0000 Spencer Powlison http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346464

Jens Voigt set a new hour record Thursday, riding 51.11km in 60 minutes. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI | AFP

The 43-year-old German closes out his career by setting a new world record on the track in Grenchen, Switzerland

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Jens Voigt set a new hour record Thursday, riding 51.11km in 60 minutes. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI | AFP

Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) set a new hour record at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland.

He rode 51.11km over the course of an hour Thursday. The 43-year-old German bested Ondrej Sosenka’s mark of 49.7 kilometers by 1.41km.

“I started a bit too fast, after 20 minutes I had to ease off,” Voigt said. “I wanted to give it all in my final race.”

For years, the UCI recognized two different hour records. The Athlete’s Hour, also called the Merckx Hour, was performed aboard heavily regulated equipment in a very specific position.

Another record, called the Best Human Effort, placed very few restrictions on the bike and position used. The exceptionally fast “superman” positions of Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman fell under this record.

However, In May, the UCI hit the reset button on the hour record, opening the door for a record attempt by Voigt.

Both the Athlete’s Hour and Best Human Effort were scrapped in favor of a single hour record with regulations in line with modern UCI track rules. That means that as UCI track cycling rules change, so will the rules for the hour.

“Jens Voigt’s performance was sensational. I’m very happy for him,” said UCI president Brian Cookson. “I’m confident that his achievement will have a domino effect: other great riders will resolve to attack one of the greatest challenges in our sport.

“This is good news for cycling and is exactly what the UCI hoped would happen when we simplified and modernized the rules for the hour record earlier this year. This has made the challenge more comprehensible for the fans and a more attractive proposition. I think we’re now entering a new era in which interest in the Hour Record will grow. This is all very beneficial for cycling.”

Voigt’s longest hour

To start his attempt, Voigt turned in a 23.574-second first lap, understandably slow, starting from a stand still.

He needed to average 18-second laps to beat the record.

The German rode the first kilometer in 1:15491.

He turned in a 6:00.954 time for the first five kilometers, 4.839 ahead of Boardman’s 2000 mark, but behind Merckx’s 1972 record.

After the first 10 kilometers, Jens’ time was 12:01.336, which was still ahead of Boardman, but behind Merckx, and slightly behind Sosenka’s splits. It was noted that Merckx’s hour record started at a blistering pace, and the Belgian champion faded in the final half of the ride.

After 15 minutes, Voigt was on pace to set the record.

“The first 10 minutes I could not feel the pedals and thought, ‘Oh this is easy!’ Then I went, ‘Oooooh, maybe you’d better pace yourself a little bit here,’” said Voigt. “Then I went on cruising speed from 20-40 minutes. But I could feel at that speed I was good, I could hold on to this speed, I am not going to break down or slow down. So I felt in control, and yes indeed I had a little bit of time to enjoy it.”

When Voigt reached 20 kilometers, his time was 23:39.198, meaning that his average speed at that point was 50.718kph, on track to set a new record.

Halfway through the hour, Voigt was still on pace.

Nearing the 40-minute mark, he started to show the strain of the effort, adjusting his position, and occasionally rising from the saddle to stretch.

With 15 minutes remaining, Voigt was still turning in laps quicker than 18 seconds.

Voigt’s split at 40 kilometers was 47:16.668. That split indicated that the world record was within his reach.

In the final 10 minutes, Voigt began to push to the finish, riding increasingly faster lap times — some even quicker than 17 seconds. “The last 10 minutes were flat out — all-in,” Voigt said.

With less than five minutes left, he fought his bike in the straights, pushing out of the saddle.

On his 199th lap with 1:28 left in the hour, he surpassed Sosenka’s mark.

At the end of an hour, Voigt had turned in 205 laps, riding a total distance of 51.11 kilometers, a new world record.

“I saw Chris Boardman beating the record in 2000 and I said to myself, ‘What a great way that would be to finish my career,’” he said. “33 years of cycling behind me. This was my last attempt. I’m in so much pain … But what a way to retire!

“I remember how Boardman was walking after his effort, and I am not far off from that. I am basically limping. It hurts in my glutes!

“Boardman was my first roommate in 1997 and I can’t ask for a better good-bye than this.

“I am extremely proud to be joining all the iconic riders that have beaten this record before me. I’m proud that my name is now among the greats. It’s one of the big highlights of my career.”

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Ask a Mechanic: Different bottom bracket standards http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/video/ask-a-mechanic-different-bottom-bracket-standards_346436 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/video/ask-a-mechanic-different-bottom-bracket-standards_346436#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:51:32 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346436

With so many bottom bracket standards being used on the market, what are the pros and cons of each one?

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With so many bottom bracket standards being used on the market, what are the pros and cons of each one?

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Degenkolb sees Kittel split if they want green jersey http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/degenkolb-sees-kittel-split-want-green-jersey_346451 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/degenkolb-sees-kittel-split-want-green-jersey_346451#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:33:55 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346451

Degenkolb enjoyed green jersey glory at the Vuelta. Now, if he has ambitions to win the same competition at the Tour, he knows he cannot do so in Kittel's shadow. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Though he's happy with his team, the German all-rounder knows something must change if he wants to win the Tour's points competition

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Degenkolb enjoyed green jersey glory at the Vuelta. Now, if he has ambitions to win the same competition at the Tour, he knows he cannot do so in Kittel's shadow. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

More than anything, John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) is a realist. Despite winning nine stages in two editions of the Vuelta a España, he doesn’t consider himself a sprinter.

And after winning his first grand tour points jersey at the Vuelta, suffering through the final week with an infection that left him in a hospital bed, Degenkolb also realizes that if he wants to win the green jersey at the Tour de France, he will have part ways with teammate and friend Marcel Kittel.

“Green is a nice color. It’s a big goal for the future,” Degenkolb told VeloNews. “I am also realistic to know that Marcel and I cannot fight for the green jersey if we are both on the same team. That’s how it is.”

Ever the realist, Degenkolb has happily slipped into the role as team worker in the ever more effective Giant-Shimano leadout train, especially at the Tour, where Kittel has emerged as the premier sprinter over the past two editions.

When it’s a pure sprinters course, Degenkolb knows the team works exclusively for Kittel, and the big German ace has delivered eight stage victories in the past two Tours.

Giant-Shimano, however, gives Degenkolb his chance in hillier stages that tend to bust up the bunch, and spit the big sprinters like Kittel out the back. Degenkolb twice finished second in this year’s Tour, meaning that he’s knocking on the door for a breakthrough Tour stage win that would give him victories in all three grand tours.

“For me it’s not as simple as Marcel to be there in the bunch sprint. I need several circumstances to happen,” he said. “You need to be lucky that no one attacks with 5km to go, like Tony Gallopin or Ramunas Navarduaskas. Things like that happen, and I am happy for those guys because they did a great race, but next time it will be my turn.”

Chasing stage wins is one thing, but the green jersey is quite something else. To win green, a sprinter must be there in every scenario. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won his third straight jersey this summer without winning a stage, but he was consistently in the top-five in every key stage where points were in play.

Both Kittel and Degenkolb realize that if either wants to seriously chase the points jersey, one of them will have to sacrifice his chances for the sprints. To win the green jersey, a sprinter needs to be present in every finish and mid-stage sprints that are in the offering. Giant-Shimano’s current tactic of divide and conquer between Degenkolb and Kittel won’t work if green becomes a serious goal.

“It’s not possible. If we split the stages between us, it’s not possible to fight for the green jersey, because every single point is important,” Degenkolb said. “If one of us wants to go for the green jersey, one of us has to go our separate ways.”

Degenkolb isn’t saying a split is imminent. Both are under contract through 2016 with Giant-Shimano. Degenkolb said he’s very happy with his situation on the team, and he gets plenty of chances to win. It’s only during the Tour that he slots into the more limiting helper role behind Kittel.

And Degenkolb isn’t obsessing about the green jersey, at least not right now. His main focus and passion are the spring classics, and he lets it be known that he wants to win races like Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, and Milano-Sanremo. An increased focus on the classics would likely see him lose a bit of his top-end speed, but Degenkolb is still young, at 25, and said he’s only getting stronger.

His immediate goal is the worlds. He will miss Sunday’s team time trial with Giant-Shimano, but hopes to be back at full strength for the elite men’s road race September 28.

“I have not seen the course. People say it’s good for me, good for [Peter] Sagan, but the worlds are also good for [Vincenzo] Nibali, for a lot of guys,” Degenkolb said. “You cannot say it’s perfect for [Fabian] Cancellara or [Philippe} Gilbert. There are many altitude meters to climb. The worlds are always hard.”

Despite his infection, Degenkolb said he came out of the Vuelta feeling stronger than ever, and is quietly optimistic he can ride well in Ponferrada.

“What is the ideal preparation? It’s hard to plan. The Vuelta is always a bit of a risk, because you can crash at any time. For me, it’s good preparation for the worlds,” he said. “Two years ago, I did the Vuelta, and I was in very good shape. Last year, I did only one-day races after the Tour, and I didn’t feel I had the real power to be there in the final.”

For the present and near future, he’s all in with Giant-Shimano, and he’s content being Kittel’s sidekick in the Tour mass sprints. Yet he knows at a certain point, especially if he wants to make a serious run at the Tour’s green jersey, he will have to cut the ties.

“That changes nothing with Marcel. He is a great guy, but I am also realistic enough to see the situation, and he realizes that, too,” Degenkolb said. “I would like to win the green jersey some day. And so would Marcel. It’s not possible for both of us on the same team.”

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Merckx says Voigt’s hour record will prompt other attempts http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/merckx-says-voigts-hour-record-will-prompt-attempts_346446 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/merckx-says-voigts-hour-record-will-prompt-attempts_346446#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:55:29 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346446

Jens Voigt has been preparing for an hour record attempt at Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland. Photo: Maxime Schmid/Trek Factory Racing

Belgian champion believes that Voigt will be the first of many big names attempting the hour record in the coming years

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Jens Voigt has been preparing for an hour record attempt at Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland. Photo: Maxime Schmid/Trek Factory Racing

MILAN (VN) — Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx believes that Jens Voigt’s hour record attempt Thursday in Switzerland will clear the way for more stars to follow.

Merckx, who won five editions of the Tour de France and broke the hour record in 1972, told Belgium’s Sporza TV, “With Voigt doing it, others will follow.”

Germany’s Voigt will attempt the record Thursday, 19:00 local time or 1:00 p.m. EDT, in his black and white Trek Factory Racing kit at the Vélodrome Suisse in Grenchen. Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) are preparing for next week’s world championships in Ponferrada, Spain, but will likely be following the live stream from Grenchen.

To see Merckx set the hour record of 49.431 kilometers in Mexico City, you can watch this video. The current record to beat is Ondrej Sosenka’s 49.700-kilometer mark. After Voigt tries, Merckx said that three-time world champion time trialist Tony Martin could be next to line up for the hour.

“Right now, I think Martin would be the one,” explained Merckx. “Wiggins has more experience on the velodrome’s curves, but I see Martin as more of the time trialist to do it. Though Sir Wiggins and Cancellara, of course, are no ordinary customers.”

All three riders have said that they are interested in attempting breaking cycling’s blue riband event. Cancellara, Voigt’s Trek teammate, was ready to do so this year but put the project on the back burner when cycling’s governing body changed the rules to allow pursuit-style track bikes. It is believed that Voigt’s attempt today could be a dry run of the materials and methods that Cancellara would use if he does schedule an attempt.

Wiggins explained that he wants to incorporate the hour record into his run at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Next year, he is backing off from stage racing and focusing on the classics and more track events, the hour record could fit in to his 2015 plans.

“If I pencil it in, it will be in late June because of the good weather. It leads on from Paris-Roubaix and the training for that,” the English 2012 Tour de France winner told Britain’s Guardian newspaper in August before Voigt’s hour announcement.

“I hope that I can pave the way for the next person, whether it’s Fabian [Cancellara] or Tony [Martin]. I’d like to rejuvenate it, re-establish a mark for everyone to attempt.”

Martin said that he “has the hour record in mind” but his Omega Pharma team added that it has to fit in with his other objectives in the season, like the Tour and worlds. Merckx explained that it is a race that all major cyclists should compete in before retiring.

“I would have regretted it if I hadn’t done [it],” Merckx said. “It is something prestigious, you race to yourself. My career would not have been complete without it.”

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Goss to leave Orica for MTN-Qhubeka in 2015 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/goss-leave-orica-mtn-qhubeka-2015_346440 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/goss-leave-orica-mtn-qhubeka-2015_346440#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:03:12 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346440

Matthew Goss has ridden for Orica-GreenEdge since 2012. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Australian joins three other high-profile riders to join the South African-based team

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Matthew Goss has ridden for Orica-GreenEdge since 2012. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Former Milano-Sanremo champion Matthew Goss is departing Orica-GreenEdge for MTN-Qhubeka next season.

The Australian, who has won two Giro d’Italia stages (2010, 2012) and two team time trials at the Vuelta a Espana (2010) and the Tour de France (2013), will bolster MTN’s spring classics and grand tour teams.

The 27-year-old Goss won Milano-Sanremo and a stage at Paris-Nice, the Amgen Tour of California, and the Tour of Oman in 2011. He was also second overall in the Santos Tour Down Under and won both the first stage and the sprints title at the Australian race that year. In 2013, Goss won the second stage at Tirreno-Adriatico.

“I am very excited to be joining Africa’s Pro-Continental outfit, Team MTN-Qhubeka,” Goss said in a press release. “I think that the foundations and ideas that the team is built on are really inspiring and motivating. Racing and winning as a team, for the sponsors and myself while helping to raise awareness for a great foundation like Qhubeka. I can’t wait to make the most of this opportunity, to win at the highest level throughout the Spring Classics and grand tours.

“The team being built for 2015 is going to be a fantastic team with great depth, strength and motivation. I come with a lot of experience racing at highest level over the past eight years and I’m excited to share my knowledge with the new generation of up and coming African riders. I look forward to working with the many other strong riders already part of Team MTN-Qhubeka and the riders joining for 2015.”

Said team principal Douglas Ryder: “Matthew Goss is a great addition to our strong focus on the spring classics and grand tours next year, he has worked for some of the best sprinters in the world and has won many significant races, too.”

It was recently announced that American Tyler Farrar will leave Garmin-Sharp and ride for MTN-Qhubeka next season, along with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Theo Bos.

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Criterium International to stay on Corsica http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/criterium-international-to-stay-on-corsica_346432 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/criterium-international-to-stay-on-corsica_346432#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:10:49 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346432

The Criterium International will remain on Corsica for at least two more years. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The two-day race is slated to take place at Porto-Vecchio on the Mediterranean island

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The Criterium International will remain on Corsica for at least two more years. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

PARIS (AFP) — The Criterium International will continue to be raced in Corsica, at Porto-Vecchio, for the next two years, organizers announced Thursday.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme and the mayor of Porto-Vecchio have extended by two years a contract first signed in 2010, before the Corsican town hosted the Grand Depart of the 100th Tour de France last year.

The last three editions of the Criterium International have been won by Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), Chris Froome (Sky) — both winners of the Tour de France — and Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale), who finished second in this year’s Tour.

The Criterium International will be held the weekend of March 28 and 29.

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Asian Games: Nepalese mountain biker mounts unlikely challenge http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/asian-games-nepalese-mountain-biker-mounts-unlikely-challenge_346417 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/asian-games-nepalese-mountain-biker-mounts-unlikely-challenge_346417#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 22:30:51 +0000 Paavan Mathema http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346417

Ajay Pandit Chhetri, 26, a bike mechanic from Nepal hopes to beat the odds when he toes the line at the Asian Games in October. Photo: AFP

Ajay Pandit Chhetri, 26, a bike mechanic from Nepal hopes to beat the odds when he toes the line at the Asian games in October

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Ajay Pandit Chhetri, 26, a bike mechanic from Nepal hopes to beat the odds when he toes the line at the Asian Games in October. Photo: AFP

KATHMANDU (AFP) — A short and skinny former bicycle mechanic from one of the world’s poorest countries is hoping to beat the odds and surprise Asia’s best mountain bikers at the Asian Games.

Nepal’s Ajay Pandit Chhetri, who is 5-foot-4 and weighs just 106 pounds, is a shopkeeper’s son who won his first race on a borrowed bike.

When he makes his Asian Games debut in the cross-country race on October 1, he’ll be riding a bike that costs far less than his competitors’ cutting-edge machines.

But in his favor is a life steeped in mountain biking after spending years since childhood riding Nepal’s remote Himalayan trails.

And in Incheon, South Korea, Chhetri believes he can make an impression by finishing in the top five.

“Even now, those racing against me in South Korea will have bikes costing double of mine,” Chhetri said. “It is like a fight between a khukri (a traditional Nepalese knife) and a gun.”

Chhetri has been Nepal’s national champion since 2009, quite a feat considering he couldn’t afford his own mountain bike when he won his first race at 15 years old.

At the time, even a low-end mountain bike costing about 20,000 rupees ($205) was out of his reach, until well-wishers pitched in to help him pay for it.

“It amuses me when people get surprised by my achievements,” he said. “I may be thin and short, but my hard work and preparation has brought me this far.”

Chhetri’s love of mountain biking comes from long before he dreamt of winning medals. As a young boy, he spent his free time riding around hills on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

“I was always good at sports, but cycling appealed to me because it is all about an individual’s effort. It is about what you can do,” he said.

His evolution as a competitive racer came almost by chance. Tired of going to a mechanic every time his bike broke, he joined a workshop to learn how to fix it himself.

Soon, his expertise as a mechanic brought him into contact with mountain bikers visiting Nepal, who opened his eyes to the possibilities and prompted him to enter his first race.

“When I was repairing … those powerful cycles, I used to dream about owning them. Now I know that dreams can come true,” he said.

Chhetri, 26, has spent the past four months training rigorously for the Asian Games, but he has continued to taste success along the way.

Last week he became the first foreigner to win the 268-kilometer (167 miles) Tour of the Dragon race in Bhutan, smashing the course record by more than 30 minutes.

Chhetri’s experience of Himalayan terrain helped him navigate the hilly course, including four treacherous mountain passes, three of which were over 10,000 feet.

He is no stranger to competing at altitude, having won Nepal’s annual 400-kilometer Yak Attack — dubbed the world’s highest mountain bike race — four times.

The race kicks off in Kathmandu, traverses the Annapurna mountain circuit at more than 17,500 feet and ends close to the Chinese border.

Although Nepal is “naturally blessed with a terrain perfect for mountain biking,” Chhetri said a lack of government support and insurance discourages riders from turning professional.

“Often we don’t take on challenging routes even if we want to because there is no insurance to fall back on. What will happen to me if I break my bones?”

Chhetri is traveling to Incheon with 197 other athletes who will represent Nepal in 24 sports, including athletics, martial arts, and wrestling.

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Interbike Gallery: New helmets http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/gallery/interbike-gallery-new-helmets_346389 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/gallery/interbike-gallery-new-helmets_346389#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:59:12 +0000 Logan VonBokel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346389

Whether you're looking for an aero advantage or extra protection for rough trails, new helmets found at Interbike have you covered

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Thor Hushovd to retire Saturday http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/thor-hushovd-retire-saturday_346375 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/thor-hushovd-retire-saturday_346375#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:33:03 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346375

Thor Hushovd at Paris-Roubaix in 2014. He will retire after racing Saturday. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Thor Hushovd, a world champion and green-jersey winner, is retiring on Saturday

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Thor Hushovd at Paris-Roubaix in 2014. He will retire after racing Saturday. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Former road world champion and two-time green jersey winner Thor Hushovd will retire on Sunday, drawing the curtains on a distinguished racing career.

“The God of Thunder” won the worlds road title in 2010, was the first Norwegian to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France and has 10 individual stage wins to his credit at the Tour.

Hushovd will close his professional cycling career Saturday in Belgium at the Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem, his BMC Racing Team announced Wednesday. It marks the second high-profile departure for BMC this week; on Monday it was reported that Cadel Evans would race the Tour Down Under in 2015, then retire shortly after.

And though Hushovd’s palmares is exhaustive, it lacks one of the races he so coveted, in Paris-Roubaix, where he finished in second in 2010 and third the year prior. Hushovd won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2009 and Gent-Wevelgem in 2006.

“It has been a real pleasure to have Thor be a part of the BMC Racing Team in the twilight of his career,” BMC Racing Team president/general manager Jim Ochowicz said in a team release. “We will not soon forget the impact he has had on the sport, especially in his home country of Norway.”

The stout 36-year-old turned professional in 2000 with Crédit Agricole, and later raced for the Cervélo Test Team, Garmin-Cervélo, and finally BMC.

Hushovd was, and still is, a rider of grit and broad skill in an era increasingly marked for its specialization. In 2011, he held the yellow jersey from stage 2 through 9.

Greg Van Avermaet, winner of the Grand Prix de Wallonie on Wednesday, will join Hushovd in his final race, along with Luke Davison, Martin Kohler, Sebastian Lander, Michael Schär, Dylan Teuns, and Rick Zabel.

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Q&A: Lea Davison’s long road to mountain bike worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/qa-lea-davisons-bumpy-road-worlds_346357 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/qa-lea-davisons-bumpy-road-worlds_346357#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:11:02 +0000 Maxwell Nagel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346357

Lea Davison claimed the bronze medal in the cross-country at 2014 world mountain bike championships in Norway. Photo: AFP PHOTO | NTB SCANPIX | GEIR OLSEN | NORWAY OUT

After undergoing hip surgery earlier in 2014, Lea Davison fought her way onto the podium at mountain bike world championships

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Lea Davison claimed the bronze medal in the cross-country at 2014 world mountain bike championships in Norway. Photo: AFP PHOTO | NTB SCANPIX | GEIR OLSEN | NORWAY OUT

If you asked Vermont native Lea Davison (Specialized), at the end of January, if she could imagine herself standing on the podium at the mountain bike world championships in September, she’d probably just have laughed. As one of the fastest cross country racers in the world, Davison, 31, has a long list of top results to her name, but her most successful win to date is her recovery from invasive hip surgery earlier this year.

With her 2014 season nearly a wash, Davison bounced back from injury with the support of her family, friends, doctors, and coaches before earning a bronze medal at mountain bike worlds in September.

Velonews caught up with Davison following worlds to recap her hectic year.

VeloNews: What was the extent of your hip injury?
Lea Davison: I started feeling pain in my hip at the beginning of January. My doctor thought it may be bursitis, so I went on a 10-day course of heavy anti-inflammatory medication. The pain didn’t clear up, so I got an MRI and they found a clear tear in the labrum on my right hip. I went in for surgery as soon as possible with Dr. Lighthart at Vermont Orthopedic Clinic in Rutland, Vermont on January 24.

VN: What was the recovery timeline given to you by doctors following surgery?
LD: We thought with an earlier surgery date, I could aim to race the end of the season. Dr. Lighthart said the joint should be healed four months out, so I worked with Bill Knowles, my strength coach and athletic trainer, on recovery and strength training. The doctors wanted me to be on crutches for four weeks, but with Knowles’ training plan, direction, and a ton of hard work, I was walking by two weeks out. The entire process was very aggressive and I had to work on gait training for five months. It doesn’t always come easy …

VN: What was your state of mind, knowing how daunting hip surgery can be?
LD: Well, I had the same surgery in April of 2010 and took the season completely off. My next season, 2011, was my best yet, and I made a huge jump in my career. So, unlike the first time around, I knew I could come back to racing strong eventually. The question was, could I come back to the same level of racing where I left off in 2013, halfway through the 2014 season? This was a complete unknown. So, I just put my head down and worked as hard as I could and kept my fingers crossed. But, when I was clicking around on crutches or working on walking correctly, it’s a bit of a mystery how exactly this could happen. My coach kept telling me, he wasn’t worried. Bill Knowles, and my cycling coach, Andy Bishop, had a plan and really believed that I could have some great results in the second half of the season.

I definitely had my doubts, but all I could do was my best. An experience like this really has a way of making me focus on the things in my control. It was so easy to focus on what everyone else was doing, all of the base miles my competitors were putting in, all of the races everyone did from March to July. But, I absolutely couldn’t. I couldn’t focus on results. My only focus was to do everything in my power to heal my hip, get back on the bike, and feel back to normal. Luckily, all of my sponsors, Specialized, Clif Bar, Oakley, and L.L. Bean stuck with me through this bumpy road. This support really makes a big positive impact in a time like this. Look what can happen when there’s a good support network around an athlete combined with hard work — so much is possible.

VN: What was the recovery like?
LD: In the beginning, for the first couple of months, I would literally spend all day working on recovery. I would wake up, do a strength and range of motion workout. Then, I drove to physical therapy and got manual work.  After that, I would drive to the pool and do strength and range of motion workout in the warmer pool where all the kids played. I would drive home and do my last workout of the day. It was harder and more involved than ‘normal’ training on the bike. My biggest threat during this initial phase of recovery was slipping while crutching around on the ice or slipping on the way to the pool. Luckily, I had ice picks on my crutches and my friend, Jojo, to give me a piggyback over all of the slippery surfaces and drop me into the pool. I spent some time spinning on the trainer, but it was very limited. I started at 10 minutes and worked my way up to two sessions of 20 minutes.

VN: What about getting back outside and on the bike?
LD: I went out to Santa Barbara for a USAC women’s mountain bike skills camp in early March and this was my first time riding outside. It was for 30 minutes, flat, easiest gear in the sunshine, and I was so happy. I was feeling great, pain was decreasing, and my hopes were growing. But, right at the two month post-surgery mark, I started to have pain and my range of motion decreased pretty significantly. So, this was a major setback. I went from thinking I was going to be fully on bike training in early April to having to take the whole week of Sea Otter off of everything to try to reduce pain. I really started training on the bike in earnest [1.5-2 hour ride with a climb] in late May.

VN: And racing, when did you feel ready to tie on a number again?
LD: I did my first mountain bike race back at the ProXCT in Missoula, Montana, and I was proud of my result. I still wasn’t anywhere near my form in 2013, and I would still have pain when I came back from a two-hour ride. Then, my coach had the brilliant idea of doing the seven-day mountain bike stage race, the BC Bike Race at the end of June. From that point on, my hip stopped hurting and I gained valuable fitness. It was like ripping off the band-aid and condensing my cycling base into seven days. At the BC Bike Race, the goal was just to ride, but I was so excited about racing again that I went for the win on the first stage and got the leaders jersey. Then, I was locked in a tight battle for the overall with Wendy Simms the whole week. I raced myself into the ground, but I ended up with the win by a mere one minute after 18 hours of racing. I raced myself into the ground and couldn’t really breathe. My diaphragm was completely cramped by the end because I hadn’t breathed that much in over a year. It was a gamble with the race ending two weeks before the national championships. Luckily, it paid off.

VN: What does it mean to podium and have your best-ever result at worlds with such a hard and hectic year?
LD: It means the world to me. When I came down that finish straight at the world championships with a bronze medal, it was like I had won that race. With all the hard work I put it to go from crutches in January to getting the best result of my career, it gives it even more meaning. It was literally like my wildest dream had come true. When I told Benno, the Specialized team manager, the news back in January that I would have to have hip surgery and miss the first half of the season. He said, “I don’t care about the World Cups or anything. Do whatever you need to do to be good at the world championships.” When he said that, I thought, “Well, that would be nice, but it’s also a bit crazy.” To be able to bring home a bronze, it’s almost unbelievable. I just keep looking that this medal and thinking, “Wow, this is actually mine. I did it.”

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Canada will send small but strong team to worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/canada-announces-small-strong-worlds-team_346335 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/canada-announces-small-strong-worlds-team_346335#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:38:16 +0000 Maxwell Nagel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346335

Svein Tuft will return to world championships to represent Canada, but he will only compete in the TT. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Cycling Canada releases roster for the world road championships

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Svein Tuft will return to world championships to represent Canada, but he will only compete in the TT. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Cycling Canada has announced their full roster for the upcoming road world championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Opting to not fill all of their available spots, the elected athletes were chosen based on criteria put forth by the Canadian federation.

Cycling Canada stated, “[We] only nominate athletes to the world championship team who have shown they can contribute to Canada’s performance objectives.”

Canada’s U23 racers were unable to secure enough UCI points to field a U23 men’s team, but they are planning on structuring the 2015 season to allow for more development opportunity to increase the talent pool, in hopes of securing a squad for future world championships.

Elite women

Joëlle Numainville (road race)
Karol-Ann Canuel (time trial and road race)
Leah Kirchmann (time trial and road race)

Elite men

Svein Tuft (time trial)
Christian Meier (road race)
Michael Woods (road race)
Ryan Anderson (road race)

Alternate: Guillaume Boivin (road race)

Junior women

Dafné Theroux-Izquierdo (time trial and road race)
Laurence Dumais (road race)
Emeliah Harvie (road race)
Sara Poidevin (road race)

Junior men

Pier-André Cote (time trial and road race)
Edward Walsh (road race)
Jean-Simon D’Anjou (road race)
Derek Gee (road race)

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Must read: Jens Voigt’s hour-record pacing, playlist, and more http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/must-read-jens-voigts-hour-record-pacing-playlist_346360 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/must-read-jens-voigts-hour-record-pacing-playlist_346360#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:38:04 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346360

Jens will be making the hour record attempt on Thursday, September 18. Photo: Maxime Schmid/Trek Factory Racing

Do you like 80s metal? Jens Voigt has his hour-record playlist all picked out

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Jens will be making the hour record attempt on Thursday, September 18. Photo: Maxime Schmid/Trek Factory Racing

With less than 24 hours to go until Jens Voigt’s hour-record attempt, the first high-profile attempt since the UCI changed the rules surrounding the record in May of this year, final preparations are now being made. Voigt’s sponsor Trek requested hour-record questions from its Twitter followers, spanning from his target power output to his race-day playlist. A few select questions and answers are reprinted below, with Trek’s permission. The full Q&A is available here.

Question: @Bike_ABK6: What average wattage will Jens target?
Answer: 370 watts average.

Q: @sufferfest: Can he see his wattage? Q: @JHLudlum: How about using an earpiece?
A: He cannot see live power data, per UCI-standard track-racing rules, but he can record it for later analysis. We’ve worked closely with SRM to keep his 55-tooth crank setup freshly calibrated so we can get a lot of information from this attempt. He cannot have an earpiece, but is allowed one person on the side of the track to give him verbal coaching.

Q: @BWSimons: What’s on Jens’ 60-minute playlist?
A: We asked him, and this is what he said:

Warmup:
• REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You”
• Brian Adams “Summer of 69″
• Journey “Wheel in the Sky”
• Air Supply “Making Love out of Nothing at All“
• Metallica “Turn the Page”

Hour Record:
• Republica “Ready to Go”
• P.O.D. “Feel So Alive”
• Metallica “One”
• AC/DC “Hells Bells”
• AC/DC “Highway to Hell”
• Farmerboys “Here Comes the Pain”
• Ugly Kid Joe “Goddam Devil”
• AC/DC “Thunderstruck”
• Black Sabbath “Paranoid”
• Metallica “Frayed Ends of Sanity”
• Europe “Final Countdown”

Cooldown:
• Metallica “Nothing Else Matters”
• Cranberries “Zombie”
• Kansas “Dust in the Wind”
• Air Supply “All Out of Love”
• Lita Ford/ Ozzy Osbourne “Close My Eyes Forever”

Read more > >

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Anti-doping: Is the cure worse than the disease? http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/anti-doping-cure-worse-disease_346334 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/anti-doping-cure-worse-disease_346334#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:36:04 +0000 Paul Dimeo and and Verner Møller http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346334

Dimeo and Møller argue that the difference between Lance Armstrong and Bjarne Riis illustrates one of the problems with modern anti-doping efforts. While Armstrong is banned for life and stripped of all Tour titles, Riis, an admitted doper, is still listed in the records as a Tour winner. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Professors Paul Dimeo and and Verner Møller are skeptical of the current anti-doping system and its effect on cycling and sport

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Dimeo and Møller argue that the difference between Lance Armstrong and Bjarne Riis illustrates one of the problems with modern anti-doping efforts. While Armstrong is banned for life and stripped of all Tour titles, Riis, an admitted doper, is still listed in the records as a Tour winner. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Editor’s note: VeloNews contributor Steve Maxwell and his TheOuterLine.com partner Joe Harris sought out Professors Paul Dimeo of the University of Stirling in Scotland and Verner Møller of Aarhus University in Denmark to pen an opinion piece about the state of anti-doping efforts in the sport of pro cycling. The following is an excerpt of their column.

A note from The Outer Line: Although most participants in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of pro cycling and the mainstream cycling press may not be too aware of it, there is actually an ongoing and robust discussion in academic circles regarding the effects of anti-doping regulations on elite sports. Indeed, there is a significant community of scholarly practitioners around the world who are actively researching and debating the longer-term effects of anti-doping programs, conducting regular global conferences on the topic, and writing interesting and provocative papers and books.

Two of the primary observers and critics of existing anti-doping approaches are Professors Paul Dimeo of the University of Stirling in Scotland and Verner Møller of Aarhus University in Denmark. This duo has produced a number of recent papers essentially arguing that in the wake of the systematic doping scandals of the past, a sweeping anti-doping hysteria has created what economists refer to as “moral panic” — a perceived crisis which threatens the existing social order. Worried that these scandals could effectively destroy the sport, its leaders have often and impulsively addressed the doping problem in zealous, arbitrary and even irrational ways. Møller and Dimeo argue that differing objectives and an uncoordinated alliance between WADA, national anti-doping agencies, law enforcement authorities, sports organizers, and the media has led to an often confusing and disastrous situation — resulting in an array of unintended consequences, inconsistent and inequitable application of the rules, and a situation where anti-doping efforts may actually be doing more harm than good.

This perspective may seem improbable or dubious to some. And it is a somewhat politically perilous position to take in today’s environment of moral outrage about past doping practices; it is often much easier today for previously fawning fans or journalists to “pile on” to Lance Armstrong and his compatriots, than it is to step back and objectively look at the underlying situation and current approaches. But Møller and Dimeo’s thesis is interesting and worthy of closer examination. In their recent paper “Anti-Doping: The End of Sport” they review the era of the Festina and Puerto scandals, and make the argument that anti-doping approaches must be more rational, consistent and compatible in order to protect the competitive spirit of sports. The Outer Line has recently had an extended discussion with Professor Dimeo, and he has worked with Professor Møller to provide the following brief summary of their primary ideas and findings.

Many people within pro cycling are now saying that the war on drugs in cycling appears to be won; the conventional wisdom is increasingly that “things have turned the corner.” It appears that we’ve had a clean winner of the Tour de France for the last four consecutive years. There have been no major new drug busts or cheating scandals for several years. It no longer appears possible to dope with impunity, as so many riders did a decade ago. Today’s riders say that omerta is an anachronism, and that they don’t face the same no-win decisions that their elders did a decade or two ago. And all stakeholders within cycling are certainly eager to promote this new vision of a cleaner sport — to help attract new sponsors, larger audiences, and more television coverage.

One hopes that we have indeed turned the corner, and that the various international and national anti-doping organizations — WADA, USADA, UKAD, and so on — formed over the last two decades have finally begun to have a lasting impact on addressing this problem in cycling, as well as in other professional and Olympic sports. But we would argue that the agencies involved with anti-doping and the approaches employed to date to solve the problem are so overlapping and complex, so inconsistently utilized, and so inequitably applied that, in effect, the cure may be worse than the disease. We argue that anti-doping has gone too far and now poses more of a threat to the spirit of athletic competition than a solution.

We highlight a number of well-known examples in pro cycling to illustrate this argument:

- Although many might point to the USADA Reasoned Decision and the “Armstrong affair” as the death knell of the modern doping era, this case itself actually illustrates many of the problems with current anti-doping approaches. We are by no means Armstrong apologists, but we must question the inconsistencies of holding one person (or a few people) responsible for the sins of a whole generation, and more importantly, what this kind of witch hunt implies for the overall nature of competitive sports. Why have Armstrong’s Tour de France victories been revoked, while those of other well-known dopers’ victories remain intact? How far down the list of top finishers during the Armstrong years does one have to go to find a certifiably clean rider? It is well known by now that most of the runners-up during those years also had undeniable doping connections. Why has this punishment and sense of moral outrage not extended back to Anquetil, or to Merckx — who also tested positive for drugs three times in his career? We do not condone doping, but we believe that it basically spells the end of competitive sport if we insist on erasing victories when, at any point in the future, it may be found out that the winner was cheating. Cheating has always been part and parcel of sport, and we have to find a way to live with it and try to moderate it in order to maintain any competitive structure for elite sport at all.

- There are numerous situations where this tendency toward anti-doping hysteria has effectively overwhelmed the rules of the sport. Bad decisions have been made — based not upon logic or the regulations of the sport, but upon presumptions, concerns about public image, or perceived credibility issues. A prime example is the forced withdrawal of leading riders — including Basso and Ullrich — from the 2006 Tour de France. This decision was made on the basis of their suspected, but not proven, involvement with Operation Puerto. This deprived fans and sponsors of the best performing riders. Moreover, it undermined one of the essential features of sport — that top races should be a competition of the best talent.

- Another example of perception concerns outweighing the actual rules of the game is the case of Tom Boonen, excluded from the 2008 race due to an out-of-competition positive test for cocaine. This should not have led to a ban because — whatever one’s opinions about recreational drug use — cocaine is only banned within the competition timeframe. These decisions were taken based upon public perception and image concerns — not the rules of the sport.

- Indeed, it often seems that pro cycling is transforming from a sports competition into a credibility contest. Consider the expulsion of Michael Rasmussen from the 2007 Tour. His dismissal, as well as the exclusions in 2006, was not conducted in the spirit of fairness, and none of these riders, at the time of the event, had actually been caught breaking any rules. Suspicion was apparently preferred to proof by the anti-doping agencies and race organizers, who too often seem willing to bend the rules on a whim.

- Another example where cycling authorities followed their preferences rather than the rulebook was the 2010 case of Alberto Contador’s positive clenbuterol test. This may also be a case where the capabilities of rapidly advancing analytical technology got ahead of both the rules of the sport and general logic. The level of clenbuterol found in Contador’s blood was 400 times less than the published WADA minimum standards. Nonetheless, his victory was revoked, and perhaps worse, it took two years just for a decision to be made. Contador’s disqualification made Andy Schleck the winner — and Schleck’s reaction is illustrative of the fundamental threat that the current approach portends. “I battled with Contador in that race, and I lost,” he said. “My goal is to win the Tour de France in a sportive way, being the best of all competitors, not in court.”

We cite these examples because they controvert the important sporting dimensions of tradition and progression. We should be able to refer to the record books to see who has won, and we should be able to check the improvement in performance times. We need, fundamentally, to know for certain that the athlete who wins a race is actually indeed the winner of that race. Yet, the decision to identify certain known dopers and rewrite the history books undermines these dimensions of sport. The consequence is a lack of certainty as to who won anything. The fact that the 1999-2005 Tour de France titles have not been reallocated is a farce. However, any detailed analysis of the top ten finishers in each of those years would show how hard it would be to find a definitively clean rider to award the title to — so reassigning the victories would also be a farce. This simply demonstrates how detrimental current anti-doping practices have been to the Tour de France, and it is further underlined by the blatant inconsistencies in the administration of the winners list. Bjarne Riis is still the 1996 winner, despite admitting to doping, but the UCI apparently thinks this goes back too far in time. Armstrong’s 1999 victory has been eradicated but Marco Pantani has kept the 1998 title, won partly because of the Festina scandal, even though he too was a known doper. There are numerous other and well-known examples of this sort of directionless administration of the rules.

Read the complete opinion piece on The Outer Line >>

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Froome leads British assault on Ponferrada http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/froome-leads-british-assault-ponferrada_346323 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/froome-leads-british-assault-ponferrada_346323#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:41:59 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346323

Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins will share the spotlight on Great Britain's worlds team, but they will compete in separate events. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Great Britain brings a squad that relies heavily on talent from team Sky to contest worlds in Spain

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Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins will share the spotlight on Great Britain's worlds team, but they will compete in separate events. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

LONDON (AFP) — Former Tour de France champions Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) were named to the Great Britain team for the world road championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

But while Froome, who recently came second in the Vuelta a España behind Alberto Contador, will spearhead a nine-man team in the men’s road race, Wiggins will only feature in the time trial.

Froome, the 2013 Tour de France winner, is joined on the road race squad by Geraint Thomas (Sky), Pete Kennaugh (Sky), and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), who is due to retire at the end of the season.

British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton said, “I’m pleased with the teams we’ve selected for the UCI road world championships. Across the board, we have some real podium contenders.

“For the men’s road race, Chris proved he’s in good shape by coming second at the Vuelta and I’m pleased David Millar will be leading the team in his last outing in Great Britain kit.”

The lineup for the men’s road race in Ponferrada on September 28, the final day of the competition, is completed by Steve Cummings (BMC), Luke Rowe (Sky), Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), and Ben Swift (Sky).

Wiggins, who won the Tour de France in 2012 before claiming the time trial gold medal at the London Olympics, will compete in the September 24 race against the clock, alongside Alex Dowsett.

Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) leads the six-strong women’s squad, which also includes two-time junior world champion Lucy Garner (Argos-Shimano) but does not feature a competitor for the time trial.

Great Britain team for the road world championships in Ponferrada, Spain

Men’s elite road race: Steve Cummings, Chris Froome, Pete Kennaugh, David Millar, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates, Simon Yates

Men’s elite time trial: Alex Dowsett, Bradley Wiggins

Women’s elite road race: Lizzie Armitstead, Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Anna Christian, Lucy Garner, Annie Last

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Greg Van Avermaet storms Citadelle, wins GP Wallonie http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/greg-van-avermaet-storms-citadelle-wins-gp-wallonie_346317 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/greg-van-avermaet-storms-citadelle-wins-gp-wallonie_346317#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:11:42 +0000 Spencer Powlison http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346317 The Belgian puncheur claims a win in Wallonia, showing his form ahead of world championships

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BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet won the Grand Prix de Wallonie, riding out of a select breakaway group and winning the final sprint with the peloton breathing down his neck.

“It’s a beautiful place; it’s one of the most beautiful places in Wallonia,” said Van Avermaet. It’s a very hard race, especially toward the end where it comes to the Citadelle. I just wanted to deliver [for my team].”

Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol), Van Avermaet, and defending champion Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) were out front with three kilometers left.

The lead group of four hit the base of the final climb, the Citadelle de Namur, and Bakelants attacked.

Vanendert gave chase and welded the group back together, bringing along Van Avermaet. Schleck was tacked onto the back of the group.

The chasing peloton was close behind in the final sinuous kilometers of the climb to the castle, with Tinkoff-Saxo driving the pace.

With 1.7km left, Bakelants went again, and Van Avermaet again closed the gap.

Vanendert countered with 1.4km left, as the peloton appeared to make the catch, but the Lotto-Belisol rider’s effort stretched the gap again.

With one kilometer left, Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) leapt from the field to make an attack of his own.

However, Van Avermaet was ready, countering the move, and leading out sprint. None of the other contenders could overtake the Belgian in the final sinuous meters of racing, and he rolled across the line victorious.

“I was pretty strong and I was confident to keep it all together for my sprint because I felt I was fastest of the group,” Van Avermaet said. “But with the attacks, it always slowed down again and the peloton was coming back. So it was a little bit tricky.”

Gallopin finished second, and Bakelants was third.

“I recovered perfectly toward the end,” said the winner. “We had a good atmosphere with the [breakaway] quartet. It worked out very well for me.”

Looking ahead to world championships in Spain, Van Avermaet said, ” [It is] good timing of course, I was ready in North America, that was good for my confidence and so is this ahead of the world championships.”

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Valverde spearheads Spain’s world championships squad http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/valverde-spearheads-spains-world-championships-squad_346314 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/valverde-spearheads-spains-world-championships-squad_346314#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:47:26 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346314

After dueling at the Vuelta, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez will team up to ride for Spain at world championships. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Spanish team endeavors to win worlds title in front of home crowd in Ponferrada

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After dueling at the Vuelta, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez will team up to ride for Spain at world championships. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MADRID (AFP) — Fresh off finishing third at the Vuelta a España, Alejandro Valverde will lead Spain’s quest for glory on home soil at the world road championships in Ponferrada.

The 34-year-old, who penned a new three-year deal with Movistar on Tuesday, will line up alongside Katusha’s Joaquim Rodríguez, who finished fourth in the Vuelta, for the road race on September 28.

Spanish coach Javier Minguez has also selected Jonathan Castroviejo, Imanol Erviti, Ion Izagirre, Jesús Herrada, Dani Moreno, Luis León Sánchez, and Dani Navarro for the 254.8km road race, which encompasses 14 laps of a hilly 18.2km course.

Castroviejo and Markel Irizar have been selected for the 47.1km individual time trial on September 24.

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Italy’s worlds team: Pozzato and Nibali to star http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/italys-worlds-team-pozzato-nibali-star_346309 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/italys-worlds-team-pozzato-nibali-star_346309#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:25:19 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346309

If world championships shapes up to be a race of attacks and counter-attacks, Vincenzo Nibali will be poised to lead the Italian team. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Team director Cassani has a variety of options, but he'll likely tap familiar riders to lead Italy in Ponferrada

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If world championships shapes up to be a race of attacks and counter-attacks, Vincenzo Nibali will be poised to lead the Italian team. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Italy’s world championships team is taking shape this week at a trio of one-day races, including Wednesday’s Coppa Agostoni. Head director Davide Cassani is guiding a national team and following the races daily to have a close inspection of his possible riders, 11 of whom he will name Thursday.

“Vincenzo Nibali was very good and showed good condition after a long stop. He showed that he is ready and convinced [of] his chances,” Cassani told Tutto Bici website. “Filippo Pozzato gave an important signal and took a strong second place behind Elia Viviani.”

Viviani won yesterday’s Coppa Bernocchi with the help of Cannondale teammate and worlds favorite Peter Sagan. The Italian is rumored to be joining team Sky in 2015, but he will not join the national team for the worlds in Ponferrada, Spain, September 28, because he failed to show strongly earlier in the year with no wins in the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France.

Cassani will also be unable to rely on Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who has faded since winning a Tour de France stage in Nancy this July. Instead, Pozzato and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) could lead Italy in the case of a possible, and likely, sprint into Ponferrada.

This year’s 254.8 kilometer course features 14 18.2-kilometer circuits, each with two small climbs and a five-kilometer descent to the finish line.

Pozzato has had a difficult season and after missing the Tour de France, said that he considered retiring. With second place yesterday, and a good Eneco Tour earlier this August, he appears to be on track for the Italian team. He looks skinnier than ever and hungrier than ever.

“Cassani was clear with what he wanted, a signal,” Pozzato said. “I’m good and I’ll give my best if I race the worlds.”

If the worlds turns into one of attacks and counter-attacks, which Italy wants, then Cassani said that he would support Nibali and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar). Nibali placed second in 2012 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and third in Milano-Sanremo. He showed yesterday that he is capable, despite a 50-day stop since winning the Tour de France.

“I wanted to try something,” Nibali said, who attacked with four kilometers remaining Tuesday. “I’ll try again in Tre Valli, which suits me better.”

“Nibali impressed me,” Cassani added. “I’ll wait for more from both him and Pozzato in Tre Valli, the most important race of these three and the one that’s nearest to the worlds on September 28.”

Nibali, Visconti, Pozzato, Nizzolo … Cassani must still come up with five other cyclists to wear the blue national jersey. Out of the 16 he named already, he will decide Thursday which 11 will receive airplane tickets to Spain. The final nine will be decided in Ponferrada in the days before the race.

Davide Formolo (Cannondale) is racing only in his first year, but in Canada he was the first to respond to Gerrans’ attacks. Cassani could take the 21-year-old to support Nibali and Visconti’s attacking plan — and to learn. Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Alessandro Vanotti (Astana), and Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing) could race as the Squadra Azzurra’s workhorses, and Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) could captain the team in Spain, where, unlike WorldTour races, the UCI does not allow two-way radios.

Cassani, however, will confirm his roster Thursday.

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Interbike gallery: Packs, racks, and cases http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/gallery/interbike-gallery-packs-racks-and-cases_346263 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/gallery/interbike-gallery-packs-racks-and-cases_346263#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:07:00 +0000 Logan VonBokel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346263

Logan VonBokel shows us some of the storage options on display at Interbike

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