VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Mon, 22 Dec 2014 00:20:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Gallery: Cyclocross World Cup #4, Namur http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/gallery-cyclocross-world-cup-4-namur_356589 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/gallery-cyclocross-world-cup-4-namur_356589#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 00:20:40 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356589

The fourth round of the 'cross World Cup delivers plenty of action on a classic, heavy course in Belgium as Nash and Pauwels take wins

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Compton satisfied with podium finish after asthma issues at Namur http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/compton-satisfied-podium-finish-asthma-issues-namur_356603 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/compton-satisfied-podium-finish-asthma-issues-namur_356603#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 17:33:41 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356603

Katie Compton overcame allergies and asthma for a third place finish that helped to keep the World Cup overall close. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

The U.S. national champ was content with her third-place finish after breathing issues threatened to end her race early

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Katie Compton overcame allergies and asthma for a third place finish that helped to keep the World Cup overall close. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

American cyclocross champion Katie Compton said she was content with her third-place finish at Sunday’s World Cup race in Namur, Belgium, after breathing issues nearly ended her race early.

The threat of an asthma attack, combined with a missed pedal at the start, forced Compton to stay within herself over the muddy, hilly course at Namur. The Trek Factory Racing rider, who has been crowned World Cup series champion the past two seasons, never saw the front of the race, where world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) and Katerina Nash (Luna) battled for the victory.

Instead, Compton worked her way through the field, finishing third, 1:07 behind Nash, and 34 seconds behind Vos, who was returning to cyclocross after her traditional break after the road season.

Though she’s won 10 consecutive national titles, Compton’s career has also been beset with physical struggles, including crippling leg cramps, hypothyroidism, and allergy-induced asthma that has hindered her at key events, including the 2014 world cyclocross championship in Hoogerheide, where she finished a disappointing ninth.

Asked if third place in Namur is a result that she could be satisfied with, Compton answered, “Yeah, because I was on the edge of having an asthma attack the whole time. The way I’m feeling, and the way training has gone, today was actually really a successful day for me. Today, I’m really happy. I felt like today I won, because I finished the race. I was able to manage my breathing enough to get to the finish.”

Compton blamed her asthma on mold, and said she came into the race knowing that Nash and Vos would set a speed that would be difficult for her to match.

“I knew Katerina was riding fast, and I knew Marianne was going to ride fast, so they were off the front and I was like, ‘I’ve got to cut my losses and just finish as high as I can,” Compton said. “It was so hard out there today, it was more like a time trial. If you could ride faster, you were going to ride faster, and I couldn’t.”

Though she started on the front row, Compton missed a pedal at the start, and found herself well behind the leaders from the gun.

“I missed my pedal at the start, which is odd because I’ve been doing starts — and hill starts — and I still missed my pedal,” Compton said. “So that sucked, but I actually didn’t lose so much time, I was probably in tenth or fifteenth spot. So I was able to pass a few girls and be patient. I didn’t feel that great today, so I knew I couldn’t go too deep. So I just slowly picked people off and rode steady.”

Compton also said she could take solace in the fact that she rode a technically clean race, devoid of crashes that slowed down both Vos and French champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Rabo-Liv), who finished fifth.

“Technically I felt pretty good. I was able to push hard on enough sections to not lose time,” Compton said.

As for the World Cup series, a third consecutive overall win is still a very real possibility for Compton — with two events remaining, she sits one point behind Belgian Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) who finished sixth in Namur, with Belgian Ellen Van Loy in third, a distant 32 points down.

“I’m one point back [in the World Cup overall] so of course [it’s still a goal],” Compton said. “But I want to win a race, that would be nice. I really just want to feel well and ride better. We still have Zolder [December 26] and Hoogerheide [January 25] — Hoogerheide has never been a good course for me, so we’ll see how that one goes. But I like Zolder, and it’s a fast race, so we’ll see.”

As for her asthma issues, Compton said that a week spent training in Mallorca, Spain, prior to Namur hadn’t solved the problem, but she was optimistic that time spent at her home in Colorado Springs, following Zolder, would alleviate the issue.

“I’m going to go home, and I think that once I’m in a desert climate it will be better, “Compton said. “The mold here is really bad, I’ve got to get out of Europe. So I’m going to go home after Zolder and hopefully train and recover and feel good for Worlds. That’s the goal.”

VeloNews.com correspondent Dan Seaton contributed to this report from Namur, Belgium

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North American Woman of the Year: Katie Compton http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/north-american-woman-year-kaite-compton_354264 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/north-american-woman-year-kaite-compton_354264#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 17:00:52 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=354264

At the end of the 2014 cyclocross World Cup, Compton claimed the top step on the podium for a second consecutive year. She made history one year earlier, as the first American to win the series. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Compton claims three Velo awards: International Cyclocross and North American Cyclocross Woman, and North American Woman of the year

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At the end of the 2014 cyclocross World Cup, Compton claimed the top step on the podium for a second consecutive year. She made history one year earlier, as the first American to win the series. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Velo magazine, the annual awards issue.

American Katie Compton has been winning international cyclocross races so consistently, and for so long, it’s sometimes easy to overlook her world-class caliber.

It’s not accurate to say that Compton is without peer — Marianne Vos has proven a formidable opponent, particularly at the world championships — but in the context of an award that acknowledges consistent performances across the calendar, Compton has proven to be the most dominant rider in women’s cyclocross, and the most impressive North American woman in pro cycling across all disciplines.

Over the 2013-2014 season — which started slowly for her due to injury and illness during the summer of 2013 — Compton won 14 races from 21 starts, including five of seven World Cup events, sealing her second consecutive World Cup series title. She is the only American, man or woman, to ever win the UCI’s prestigious World Cup series.

In January, Compton also clinched an incredible 10th straight national championship. The last American woman to win the stars and stripes jersey at a national cyclocross championship was six-time winner Alison Dunlap, in 2003.

Compton has been awarded Velo’s North American Cyclocross Woman of the Year title for the past decade, but this marks the first time she’s been awarded North American Woman of the Year, which spans across all disciplines; it’s also the first time she’s been awarded International Cyclocross Woman of the Year.

“It’s pretty sweet to win all three categories,” Compton said in October. “I’m really happy with last year’s season, especially after some preseason setbacks, and these awards just top it off.”

A powerful rider who excels in sloppy, difficult conditions, Compton’s biggest adversary has always been her health. Over the past decade she’s dealt with crippling leg cramps, thyroid imbalances, and debilitating allergies, and through it all, she’s tailored her training, travel, and diet as needed to compete at the sport’s highest level. In October, she won her 100th UCI cyclocross race, as she continued to split time between the U.S. and her adopted home in Belgium pursuing a third straight World Cup crown.

Still, Compton, who turns 36 in December, knows her window of opportunity to win a world title is beginning to close. Vos, who is nine years younger, holds two significant advantages — youth, and experience. The Dutch rider, who splits her season between road and ’cross, has seven world cyclocross titles to her name. When it comes to a rainbow jersey, the pressure is on Compton, every world championship one more opportunity to execute a flawless performance against the most impeccable woman to race on two wheels.

Whether Compton’s dream scenario comes true at the world championship in Tabor, Czech Republic, in February, or in Zolder, Belgium, in 2016, or never, it’s something she refuses to dwell on.

“Of course I want to win a world championship. Everyone wants to,” Compton told VeloNews earlier this year. “Especially having been so close. But if it never happens, it doesn’t happen. I have had tons of success, I have overcome a lot of physical issues, and I have been able to win, and do well, and I am pretty proud of that. I’m not going to keep doing this forever, trying to win worlds … one of these days, I’m either going to be retired or I’ll win one. We’ll see. I’m okay with what I have accomplished, and where I am. I am still striving to win worlds, but it’s a hard thing to accomplish.”

A world championship, however, is not everything in pro cycling, and over the last 12 months, Katie Compton has proven to be the most dominant woman in cyclocross, as well as the most dominant North American woman in all of pro cycling.

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Kevin Pauwels wins cyclocross World Cup in Namur http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/race-report/pauwels-wins-namur_356578 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/race-report/pauwels-wins-namur_356578#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 15:18:21 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356578

Kevin Pauwels secured his overall lead in the World Cup with an impressive win in Namur. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

Pauwels plays his cards perfectly, riding a patient race on a heavy course and making the winning move on the final lap

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Kevin Pauwels secured his overall lead in the World Cup with an impressive win in Namur. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) won the fourth round of the cyclocross World Cup in Namur, Belgium on Sunday.

Wearing the white World Cup leader’s skinsuit, the Belgian made his move on the final lap, and proved to be the most sure-footed on a difficult, hilly course, getting the best of Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano) and Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus).

Early in the race, a group of seven riders broke off the front of the field. The lead group began to slowly pull apart during the first 20 minutes of racing, until Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) attacked with six laps to go. Van der Haar took up the chasing duties, and with a big effort, he bridged alone to the 26-year-old Belgian leader.

“This is a couse where you can actually do something on your own, and I saw an opportunity to go when Meeusen went, and I felt I was really strong uphill,” Van der Haar said. “So I just went full gas to him and then just did my own race.”

Behind, Corné van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea) and Pauwels battled for third place.

“In the beginning of the race I wasn’t better than the rest, so it was fast enough for me,” Pauwels said. “I was always in the back of the [front group]. But I rode all the race at my own rhythm, and in a race like this it’s better not to go too deep in the beginning. Always ride your own speed.”

When they came through with five laps to go, Van der Haar had faded and was riding with van Kessel and Pauwels.

The chasers persisted and brought Meeusen back, a little over the race’s halfway mark.

With four laps left, van der Haar attacked on one of the course’s many steep hills, early in the lap. The Dutch champion quickly got a gap, and the increased pace caused Meeusen to drop from the chase.

Walsleben, who’d been lurking in fifth place, overtook Meeusen, and soon had the podium in his sights.

“It wasn’t my intention to close the gap to the leaders, I was just was riding at my own speed as fast as I could,” Walsleben said. “But then, obviously, I was coming closer to the first two, and then I thought I had a chance. But, of course, they were riding a little bit for tactics, the last couple of laps. So I could come close, but I knew they were looking at each other.”

On a high-speed descent, van Kessel crashed on a right-hand corner and lost his chance at the podium.

With three to go, van der Haar’s advantage had grown, and Pauwels, the World Cup series leader, chased alone. Walsleben sat in third position.

Undeterred, Pauwels slowly reeled in van der Haar, and by the penultimate lap, the 30-year-old Belgian had returned to the front of the race. Pauwels moved ahead of van der Haar after a trip through the pits. The two traded the lead a few times but waited to attack.

On the final lap, the two leaders slowed a bit, and began to play tactical games, offering Walsleben a ray of hope, as he chased close behind. But it was not meant to be. Pauwels accelerated away from van der Haar and extended his lead on a brutally technical off-camber section.

“Just before the off-camber I felt good, and I had a little gap,” said Pauwels. “On the off-camber I came back on the penultimate lap to Lars. I didn’t know, but in the last lap I suddenly saw that I had a gap, so I presumed that Lars made a mistake. But I didn’t know, but it was in the same place again.”

Van der Haar was forced to settle for second place, and Walsleben stayed close to finish third.

“It became a bit tactical, and I wanted to see if I could beat Pauwels,” van der Haar said. “And I did really good in the next-to-last lap, but in the last lap I wanted to do the same, like go in the front in the off-camber bit. But I got a lot of stuff in my eyes just before I wanted to go over, and I just couldn’t see how I wanted to do it. So then I just stayed put. And then you come to the off-camber and I was just like, ‘Ok, now I have to do it. I have to do it.’ And of course, it goes wrong. So I lost a lot of time.

“Then, a little bit later, I made another mistake where Walsleben was almost back in my wheel,” van der Haar continued. “And I made myself so angry, I was like, ‘No way, that’s not going to happen.’ So I just pushed myself so hard that I was still the second place.”

With two events remaining, Pauwels is poised to claim the World Cup series overall.

“The World Cup is looking very, very good. We have two races to go, so it’s not sure yet,” he said. “Friday in Zolder I will try to lose as few points as possible on the other guys. But it’s looking really, really good. Zolder remains the most important race of the Christmas period, even though I have a big lead in the classification. I’m feeling strong, but not super strong. Maybe because I trained very intensely during the training camp in Mallorca, so maybe it will come back next week.”

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Katerina Nash wins Namur World Cup http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/race-report/katerina-nash-wins-namur-world-cup_356574 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/race-report/katerina-nash-wins-namur-world-cup_356574#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 14:09:41 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356574

Katerina Nash broke rode away from Marianne Vos to earn a solo victory in Namur. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

Marianne Vos claims second, and Katie Compton is third in Namur at the fourth round of the cyclocross World Cup

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Katerina Nash broke rode away from Marianne Vos to earn a solo victory in Namur. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

Czech Olympian Katerina Nash (Luna) claimed her first World Cup cyclocross victory of the season on Sunday.

After winning the Czech Republic’s national cyclocross championship title the weekend before, Nash took on a muddy course and a competitive field in Namur, Belgium, the fourth round of the World Cup.

“It wasn’t easy, but it was a good ride,” said Nash. “I had two tiny little hiccups, but overall I just had a really good day and I’m super excited about it. I raced here two years ago and I just knew I wanted to come back to Namur. I really like the course and the steep ups and downs. So I’m really happy to come here and have a really good ride.

Rabo-Liv’s Marianne Vos captured second place, and American Katie Compton (Trek) rounded out the podium in third. Vos had a fast start and an early lead, but Nash chased her down and then forged on alone to win.

“Marianne got a gap and I just slowly worked my way up toward her, and we rode just briefly together,” Nash said. “I just felt stronger, and I wanted to go because you never know, you know? You can have a flat tire, anything could happen, so I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve gotta go, I’ve got to keep going hard.’”

Until recently, Nash, 37, had raced primarily in the U.S. during the fall season. However, the Luna rider has had no problem stepping up to the international level of competition, besting the reigning world champion, Vos, by 34 seconds.

“It was not a win, but I’m quite happy with a first ride,” said Vos. “This is a hard one, and I knew up front that it was going to be really tough. I was happy with the start, I had some advantage, but I knew it was going to be hard to stay in the lead.

“I saw Katerina coming, and I tried to keep up but I didn’t have anything left, so I had to take my own rhythm and had to let her go. But I’m really happy with second place in my first race, and I hope that the rhythm will come race by race.”

Compton finished over one minute behind the day’s winner after battling with world road champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. Belgian Sanne Cant, who held the series lead going into Namur, had a disappointing showing, finishing sixth. However, she managed to hold the World Cup leader’s jersey, thanks to a strong final lap that saw her move up from eight place.

“Today I’m really happy,” said Compton, who is still struggling with asthma. “I felt like today I won because I finished the race. I was able to manage my breathing enough to get to the finish. And then, I also rode a clean race. Technically I felt pretty good. I was able to push hard on enough sections to not lose time.

“I knew Katerina was riding fast, knew Marianne was going to ride fast, so they were off the front and I was like, ‘I’ve got to cut my losses and just finish as high as I can.’”

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Top 14 stories of 2014: Will CIRC make a difference? http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-will-circ-make-difference_355031 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-will-circ-make-difference_355031#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 13:30:38 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=355031

The UCI is taking a big step forward with its review commission, but is it enough? Photo: AFP

Cycling's independent commission is a big step toward repairing the sport, but Steve Maxwell points out a number of shortcomings in its

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The UCI is taking a big step forward with its review commission, but is it enough? Photo: AFP

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Nys, on poor condition: ‘I don’t know what’s wrong’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/nys-poor-condition-dont-know-whats-wrong_356564 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/nys-poor-condition-dont-know-whats-wrong_356564#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 16:54:38 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356564

Sven Nys' (Crelan-AA Drink) string of bad form and bad luck has left the Belgian champion and his team searching for answers. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

After a poor performance at the Essen Bpost Bank Trofee, Sven Nys said he doesn't know what is wrong with his condition, which has slipped

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Sven Nys' (Crelan-AA Drink) string of bad form and bad luck has left the Belgian champion and his team searching for answers. Photo: Dan Seaton | VeloNews.com

After a disappointing performance Saturday at the Essen stop of the Bpost Bank Trofee series, Belgian national champion Sven Nys (Crelan AA Drink) said he doesn’t know what is wrong with his condition, which has slipped dramatically over the past six weeks.

Nya finished 13th on Saturday, almost three minutes behind winner Wout van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace), losing his lead in the BPost Bank Trofee series classification.

“The series classiciation, I can forget it,” Nys told Sporza. “I do not know what’s wrong. For me this is a big question mark.”

Nys announced, via Twitter, that he would not race at Sunday’s Namur World Cup event.

The Essen race was a return to competition for the 38-year-old Nys, who took two weeks off, after finishing fourth at the December 6 Bpost Bank event in Hasselt, instead heading to Spain for a training camp in Mallorca.

Nys started the season out well, with wins at CrossVegas, Soudal GP Neerpelt, and the Bpost Bank Trofee in Ronse — all in September and early October.

His last win came on November 11, at Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel. He twice finished eighth in November, including at the World Cup event at Milton Keynes in Great Britain.

Prior to the start of the Essen race, the 2013 world champion said he felt back to his former self, however he fell off the pace early, and was never a factor.

“Despite two weeks away, it’s just not right,” Nys said. “At the moment I am riding at 50 percent of my potential. I can ride an hour at tempo, but as soon as I want to accelerate, I feel that I don’t  have the strength. I just do not ride at my level.

“I have to draw conclusions, and my ambition is scaling back. I have to draw a line through this [series classification] ranking. It’s over. I do not know what to do now. Rest? I do not know.”

Nys told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that he would likely skip all of the upcoming Christmas-week races, including the New Year’s Day race in his hometown of Baal, named after him, focusing instead on the Belgian national championships, held January 11 in Erpe-Mere, and the world championships, held in Tabor, Czech Republic, on February 1.

“I think it is better for a while to switch completely and change my frame of mind. Namur is tomorrow, which I certainly will not do, and Heusden-Zolder will come too soon after. I can better focus on the championships early next year, the Belgian championships and the world championships in Tabor early February. Whether I start in my own ’cross race, in Baal, on New Year’s Day, I will decide later.”

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Van Aert solos to victory in muddy Essen race http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/race-report/van-aert-solos-victory-muddy-essen-race_356557 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/race-report/van-aert-solos-victory-muddy-essen-race_356557#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:30:26 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356557 The 20-year-old phenom soloed to victory at a muddy edition of the race in Essen, Belgium, the fifth round of the 2014-15 Bpost Bank Trofee

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Twenty-year-old phenom Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) soloed to victory at a muddy edition of the Grand Prix Rouwmoer cyclocross race in Essen, Belgium, Saturday, the fifth round of the 2014-15 Bpost Bank Trofee.

Van Aert took to the front early on the first lap, and never looked back. He was initially joined by his teammate, Rob Peeters, with Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) bridging across to form a lead group of three.

Belgian national champion Sven Nys (Crelan AA Drink), the Bpost series leader who returned to competition after a spell of poor form saw him retreat to Mallorca for training, sat in a large chase group, 11 seconds back after one lap.

After two laps, the leading trio had stretched its lead to 17 seconds, as those in the chase group began eyeing each other rather than pushing the pace.

Heading into the third lap, Van Aert picked up 15 seconds of time bonuses for the series classification, with Peeters taking 10 seconds, and Meeusen taking five.

On the third lap, Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) rode clear of the lead chase group, attempting to bridge across to the leaders, while Nys could not maintain contact and drifted to the back of the chase.

After three laps, the trio’s lead over Pauwels was 12 seconds, while the main chase group was a full 29 seconds down.

On the fourth lap, Van Aert went solo as Pauwels made his way up to Peeters and Meeusen. That threat from behind promoted a reaction from Meeusen, who rode away from Peeters.

Heading into the fifth lap, Van Aert held an 11 seconds over Meeusen, with Peeters caught by Pauwels a few seconds behind; Nys trailed almost a full minute down.

With four laps remaining, Van Aert continued to push the pace, alone at the front, with Meeusen chasing alone, followed by Pauwels, with Peeters on his wheel.

With three to go, Meeusen sat 37 seconds back of Van Aert, with Pauwels and Peeters 51 seconds down.

With two laps to go, Van Aert’s lead stretched to 42 seconds as it became clear that Meeusen was racing for second place.

Van Aert crossed the finish line on the final lap with a massive 58-second lead over Meeusen, with Pauwels and Peeters a full 1:30 down.

At the finish, Van Aert’s lead was 1:06 over Meeusen, with Peeters in third, 1:40 back, and Pauwels fourth, at 1:50.

With the win, the U23 world champion also took the Bpost series lead, 1:50 ahead of Nys, with Pauwels in third, at 1:56.

Nys, who had led the series, finished the race in 13th, 2:50 down, prompting his team manager, Jan Verstraeten, to tell Sporza, “Nys is still not as he should be. We will continue to look for the cause.”

Several top riders were absent, including 19-year-old star Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus). Belgian Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) sat out the race due to illness.

World champion Zdenek Stybar, who lives in Essen, has historically used the Essen race as his return to racing after a long road season, but after a shoulder injury in October, Stybar has opted to sit out the remainder of the season. Still, the world champion wrote on Twitter Saturday that it “hurt” not to be on the start line.

In the women’s race, Dutch rider Sophie De Boer (Kalas-NNOF) defeated Belgian national champion Sanne Cant. American Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) did not compete, while American Arley Kemmerer finished 13th, 3:27 down.

Laurens Sweeck (Corendon-Kwadro) won the U23 race, 18 seconds ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games).

In the junior race, American Brannan Fix finished fourth, 29 seconds behind winner Roel van der Stegen; American Cooper Willsey was 10th, 1:12 down.

On Sunday, the sport’s best racers will compete in Namur, Belgium, for the fourth round of the UCI World Cup series. World champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) will make her return to the World Cup circuit.

The Bpost Bank Trofee series resumes on December 30, with the Azencross in Loenhout.

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Top 14 stories of 2014: 10th anniversary of Pantani death http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-10th-anniversary-pantani-death_355033 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-10th-anniversary-pantani-death_355033#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:00:58 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=355033

Prosecutors are reviewing new documents concerning the death of Marco Pantani. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Pantani's biographer says that much of the media coverage surrounding the Italian's death has been self-indulgent and profit-oriented

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Prosecutors are reviewing new documents concerning the death of Marco Pantani. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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In the News: Stapleton agrees to conditional settlement in Armstrong case http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/news-stapleton-agrees-conditional-settlement-armstrong-case_356552 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/news-stapleton-agrees-conditional-settlement-armstrong-case_356552#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:10:14 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356552 Lance Armstrong's longtime business associates have agreed to pay $500,000 to the U.S. government as part of a conditional settlement

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USA Today reports that Bill Stapleton and Barton Knaggs have agreed to conditional settlements in the Armstrong case.

Two of Lance Armstrong’s longtime business associates have agreed to pay $500,000 to the United States government as part of a conditional settlement in a lawsuit filed by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis.

Stapleton, Armstrong’s longtime agent, and Barton Knaggs, Armstrong’s longtime business partner, also have agreed to pay $100,000 to the law office of Landis’ attorney, Paul Scott.

If approved by the U.S. government, the settlement would release Stapleton, Knaggs, and their agency, Capital Sports & Entertainment, from Landis’ lawsuit in exchange for their combined payments of $500,000 to the government and $100,000 to Scott.

Read more >>

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Top 14 stories of 2014: A tale of two breakaways http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-tale-two-breakaways_355035 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/road/top-14-stories-2014-tale-two-breakaways_355035#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:45:39 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=355035

BMC Racing's Michael Schär (left) saw a more than four-minute lead over the top of the last climb – 38km from the finish – reduced to seconds inside the final kilometer of the 210km race. Hincapie rider Joey Rosskopf (right) was caught 3km from the finish. Photo by Casey B. Gibson.

At the Tour of Utah, breakaway companions Michael Schär and Joey Rosskopf were on opposite ends of the spectrum between agony and ecstasy

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BMC Racing's Michael Schär (left) saw a more than four-minute lead over the top of the last climb – 38km from the finish – reduced to seconds inside the final kilometer of the 210km race. Hincapie rider Joey Rosskopf (right) was caught 3km from the finish. Photo by Casey B. Gibson.

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In the News: Minnesota’s only velodrome will close http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/news-minnesotas-velodrome-will-close_356534 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/news-minnesotas-velodrome-will-close_356534#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:19:04 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356534 In the face of a $75,000 bill for repairs, the National Sports Center Foundation rejected a resolution to keep the Blaine track open

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The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Thursday that Minnesota’s only velodrome, located in Blaine, will be shuttered, in the face of an estimated $75,000 required for temporary repairs.

A resolution to save Minnesota’s only velodrome was rejected Thursday by the board in charge of the Blaine’s track.

During its board meeting, the National Sports Center Foundation (NSCF), which operates the velodrome and several other facilities on its sports campus, debated a plan that set financing goals for the Friends of Velodrome Racing in Minnesota, a group that has been fundraising to keep the velodrome up and running, according to a news release.

The sharply banked, Olympic-caliber racing track, built in 1990, already has survived beyond its expected 20-year life span. The outdoor 250-meter wooden track has gotten by with volunteers making minor repairs each racing season, but checks on the velodrome this year revealed more serious problems.

Read more >>

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Scheduling conflict could torpedo Vuelta’s women’s ‘La Course’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/conflict-torpedo-vueltas-womens-la-course_356529 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/conflict-torpedo-vueltas-womens-la-course_356529#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:53:30 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356529

Marianne Vos won the inaugural edition of La Course in 2014. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Facing scheduling conflicts with three other European UCI women's events, plans to hold a women's Vuelta criterium in Madrid may be spoiled

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Marianne Vos won the inaugural edition of La Course in 2014. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Too many women’s events on the same weekend could torpedo plans by the Vuelta a España to hold a one-day race to coincide with the finale of the 2015 Spanish grand tour.

The Spanish daily AS reported that the UCI has put the kibosh on plans to hold the so-called “La Course by the Vuelta” on September 13 due to a conflict with three other women’s events across Europe on the same weekend.

There was no official confirmation by the UCI, and Vuelta officials could not be reached Friday, but the Spanish daily reported that the UCI has told the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) that it would not approve the planned event on the streets of Madrid to coincide with the finale of the men’s Vuelta a España.

The date conflicts with three events across Europe, among them the Giro de Toscana in Italy, from September 11-13; the Tour of Belgium, September 10-14; and the Chrono Champenois in France, on September 13.

Vuelta officials are looking for alternatives, and could lean on Spanish government officials to help make their case, AS reported.

The Vuelta is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Tour de France, which successfully held a women’s criterium on the Champs-Élysées hours ahead of the arrival of the men’s race.

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North American Cyclocross Man of the Year: Jeremy Powers http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/north-american-cyclocross-man-year-jeremy-powers_354321 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/north-american-cyclocross-man-year-jeremy-powers_354321#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:45:40 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=354321

Jeremy Powers won the first day of the 2013 Providence Cyclocross Festival. Photo: Wil Matthews | www. wilmatthewsphoto.com

After countless podiums at domestic races, Jeremy Powers is Velo's 2014 North American Cyclocross Man of the Year

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Jeremy Powers won the first day of the 2013 Providence Cyclocross Festival. Photo: Wil Matthews | www. wilmatthewsphoto.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Velo magazine, the annual awards issue.

Pick a number between one and three. That’s where Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) finished 99 percent of the races he contested in the U.S. in the 2013-14 season.

Drop a chain in the first corner? No problem. Patiently slice through the entire field on the dusty track of Boulder’s reservoir course at the Colorado Cross Classic and finish up with a tidy second place.

Win New England worlds? Sure thing. Then win again, then again. He took all three races he started during “Holy Week” in New England, winning both days at the Gran Prix of Gloucester, then hitting day 2 at the Providence Cyclocross Festival and stamping his authority.

In all, Powers claimed 12 wins in 22 starts between StarCrossed in September and the North Carolina Grand Prix in December.

The cherry on top was a second national title at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder at the beginning of 2014, in convincing fashion.

But it only got better.

He was beaten to the line at CrossVegas 2014 by only two men — the god himself, Sven Nys, and the current World Cup champion, Lars van der Haar — in what proved to be a tactical battle, with one lethal attack on the final lap. It bodes well for Powers’ intention of focusing on World Cup races this season.

After racing in the desert, Powers set his sights on the domestic UCI races in the more traditional ’cross locales of New England. Before heading to Europe, he won eight straight races, including sweeping three of the four races at New England Holy Week, again.

At the World Cup opener, Powers cracked the top 10 for the second time in his career. If he keeps improving, we’ll soon be calling him the Katie Compton of men’s cyclocross. And there isn’t any higher accolade than that.

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Milano-Sanremo brings back Via Roma finish, favoring attackers http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/milano-sanremo-brings-back-via-roma-finish-favoring-attackers_356520 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/milano-sanremo-brings-back-via-roma-finish-favoring-attackers_356520#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:48:26 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356520

Oscar Freire won on Via Roma in the 2007 Milano-Sanremo. The race will return to the iconic finish straight after a seven-year absence. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Race director Vegni is happy to return to the classic, city-center finish for "La Primavera," which may encourage bold, late-race attacks

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Oscar Freire won on Via Roma in the 2007 Milano-Sanremo. The race will return to the iconic finish straight after a seven-year absence. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Milano-Sanremo will return to its roots and open itself to attackers on March 22, 2015, when it concludes between the beige- and grey-colored buildings of Via Roma in Sanremo, Italy.

“The Milano-Sanremo race in its 105 years had only two classic finishes: Corso Cavallotti and Via Roma,” RCS Sport cycling director Mauro Vegni told VeloNews.

“Via Roma is a part of cycling’s story with wins like Eddy Merckx’s. It gives a different style and charm to the race than the seaside finish.”

Organizer RCS Sport, which runs the Giro d’Italia, presented its Tirreno-Adriatico race route Thursday in Tuscany. On the drive back to Milan, Vegni heard about Italian cyclist Mauro Santambrogio’s positive test for testosterone. However, he was not concerned with the Tirreno route or the testosterone test, but with the 106th Milano-Sanremo.

He presented the “new” Milano-Sanremo route three weeks ago, November 28. After being pushed a few blocks south, closer to the Italian Riviera for the last seven years, he announced that the 293-kilometer race would end on familiar ground: Via Roma.

From 1907, through World War I and II, Milano-Sanremo finished on Corso Cavallotti on the edge of the seaside town. In 1949, when Italian great Fausto Coppi won, it began reaching the heart of Sanremo on Via Roma. It stayed there, welcomed Eddy Merckx’s wins — a record of seven — and moved only in 2008 when road work forced it seaside on Italo Calvino.

“RCS never wanted to leave Via Roma. We were forced to move to the seaside,” Vegni added.

“Now they are doing other work, where we normally pass through the S-bend at 400 to 500 meters to go, so it’s no longer possible to finish on the seaside. The city proposed that we return to the city center on Via Roma, and I’m more than happy to do so. It’s the classic finish and more prestigious than the seaside one.”

The change means that from the descent of the Poggio climb, the cyclists will have one kilometer less to race to the finish line. The move could open the door for attackers.

“The finish changes the shape of the race and opens it up to many more cyclists than it did before. Instead of three, now they only have two kilometers to race — that one kilometer makes a difference in a 300-kilometer race,” Vegni explained.

“The last five to six years, we always saw a group come together in the last 500 meters and sprint. The change could allow Peter Sagan to stay free. Or, if Vincenzo Nibali gets enough time on the Poggio, seven to eight seconds, he could win.”

Vegni recognized the problem with tweaking his monument to anything other than its traditional route. The Tour of Flanders and Giro di Lombardia — two of cycling’s other five monuments — change nearly every year, but if Vegni even adds a new right- or left-hand turn, eyebrows raise.

For 2014, he tried to take the race up the five-kilometer Pompeiana climb between the Cipressa and Poggio climbs, and the cycling world began to spin out of control. Last-minute road problems stopped him from taking the race over the Pompeiana.

“Sanremo is one of the classics that that is open to the sprinters, which is fine because they also have a right to have a classic. Sanremo has its charm and has to stay as it is. It would no longer be Sanremo if you finished in another town or begin in another city besides Milan,” Vegni said.

“We changed small things, the addition the Cipressa and the Poggio, but they are insignificant and don’t change the classic route. Returning to the Via Roma made me rethink the Pompeiana climb. Now we have the classic Sanremo, and we can see how it opens the door to the attackers.”

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Pro Bike: Tim Johnson’s Cannondale SuperX Hi-Mod http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/pro-bike-tim-johnsons-cannondale-superx_356430 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/cyclocross/pro-bike-tim-johnsons-cannondale-superx_356430#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:37:43 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356430

Former national champ Tim Johnson's Cannondale SuperX Hi-Mod cyclocross race bike is equipped with CX1, disc brakes, and Challenge tubulars

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Video: Retro bikes vs. modern bikes http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/video/video-retro-bikes-vs-modern-bikes_356511 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/video/video-retro-bikes-vs-modern-bikes_356511#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:02:28 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356511

Global Cycling Network does a side-by-side comparison of an old steel bike and a modern carbon bike

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In the News: Contador hints at retirement by 2017 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/in-the-news-contador-hints-at-retirement-by-2017_356489 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/in-the-news-contador-hints-at-retirement-by-2017_356489#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:43:15 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356489

Alberto Contador wants to go out on top, as a Tour de France champion. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Alberto Contador tells a Spanish newspaper he wants to retire with a Tour de France victory no later than 2017

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Alberto Contador wants to go out on top, as a Tour de France champion. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Don’t expect Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to hang around like Jens Voigt. The Spaniard said he wants to leave cycling at the top of his game.

Speaking to the Spanish sports daily MARCA, Contador all but confirmed he will retire by the end of the 2017 season, if not before.

Contador wants to exit through the “puerta grande,” and said he intends to retire with an exclamation point.

“Even though I am not burned out physically or mentally, my intention is to retire at the top level, winning my last race,” Contador told MARCA in Friday’s edition. “And I am not talking about some small race, but rather something much bigger. Specifically, the Tour.”

Those comments have fueled speculation in Spain that Contador could retire as soon as 2015, when he plans to try to win both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

Contador, however, said he would likely continue racing one or two more seasons beyond 2015. His contract is up at the end of next year with Tinkoff-Saxo, and he confirmed he already has a few good offers on the table.

Contador, who turned 32 on December 8, said he could not imagine racing beyond 35.

“I don’t see myself doing many more years of this,” he told MARCA. “Cycling demands a lot of sacrifices, and my friends and family are very important to me. At the maximum, I will have one more contract.”

Contador will debut his season at the Ruta del Sol in Spain in February, then likely race Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta a Catalunya before the Giro.

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Dowsett to attempt hour record in 2015 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/dowsett-attempt-hour-record-2015_356498 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/dowsett-attempt-hour-record-2015_356498#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:23:46 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356498

Alex Dowsett will bring his time trial skills to a velodrome in London next year in an hour record attempt. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The British rider will take on the record February 27 at a London velodrome

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Alex Dowsett will bring his time trial skills to a velodrome in London next year in an hour record attempt. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Alex Dowsett (Movistar) has joined a growing list of riders that will take on the hour record next year.

The 26-year-old Briton will attempt to break the mark on February 27 at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark velodrome, according to a Movistar press release.

“Everyone understands a world record, so I wanted my next target to be the hour record,” Dowsett said in the release. “The Hour is something I’ve always been interested in; the simplicity of it, mostly: no tactics, no hiding, just you and the bike.”

Dowsett said he was inspired to take on the challenge after traveling through Europe with the Miles for Haemophilia campaign in October, which raised awareness of the disease and showed young patients suffering from it that they can still live a healthy lifestyle.

Dowsett has haemophilia and was told as a child he could live his life in a wheelchair.

“We spend our childhoods being told what we can’t do, so I’m going for the record for anyone that gets told what they can’t do something and goes out to prove themselves otherwise,” Dowsett said. “I’m training a hell of a lot harder because of it.”

The hour record went unchallenged for a decade until Jens Voigt broke it in September by riding 51.110 kilometers. A month later, Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) eclipsed the mark with a ride of 51.852km.

Besides Dowsett, six other riders will attempt to break the record next year.

Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué said Dowsett’s hour record attempt is “perfect and positive,” especially in light of his riding for haemophilia patients.

“Alex’s attempt reflects the globalization of cycling and the internationalization of our team,” Unzué said. “Taking the chance with a British rider, at the Olympic velodrome in London, and adding that social drive, with Alex taking such efforts to support those ones with rare diseases, himself being an ambassador of Haemophilia … I already find this attempt perfect and positive for everyone, all circumstances put together.”

Dowsett was the British national time trial champion in 2011-2013, and this year he won the Commonwealth Games time trial.

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Caruso to fill GC gap at BMC Racing for 2015 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/caruso-to-fill-gc-gap-at-bmc-racing-for-2015_356493 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/12/news/caruso-to-fill-gc-gap-at-bmc-racing-for-2015_356493#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:45:37 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=356493

Damiano Caruso will step into a GC role on BMC Racing next season. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

With the upcoming retirement of Cadel Evans, Damiano Caruso will adopt a grand tour leadership role on BMC behind Tejay van Garderen

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Damiano Caruso will step into a GC role on BMC Racing next season. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

DENIA, Spain (VN) — BMC Racing will lean on Italian talent Damiano Caruso next season to fill a grand tour gap while the team waits for a promising crop of young riders to develop.

BMC remains committed to Tejay van Garderen as its all-out GC man for the Tour de France, but the looming retirement of Cadel Evans and the exit of Spanish veteran Samuel Sánchez means the U.S.-registered team needs warm bodies for the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

BMC sporting manager Allan Peiper believes Caruso, who joins from Cannondale for 2015, is just the man for the job, and has tapped him to lead possibly both the Giro and Vuelta.

“Losing Cadel is a void we cannot fill overnight,” Peiper said at a team camp. “Sporting-wise, we’re working on the future, so maybe we need to move some of our goals into other races, while waiting for another GC rider to come along or improve.”

The 2014 season was a year of transition for BMC, with Evans racing to seventh in the Giro and skipping the Tour in what was his final full season. Evans will retire after racing in Australia in February. Sánchez was a late-season pickup for 2014, and he helped carry team colors in the Vuelta, riding to sixth.

With both of them gone for 2015, BMC will be looking to fill in the gaps while van Garderen focuses on the Tour.

The 27-year-old Caruso might not look like the ideal candidate to step into the huge void left by Evans and Sánchez. Peiper cited some promising results, and believes with more support, the Italian could deliver more than a few surprises. Caruso rode to ninth in a highly competitive Vuelta in September, and was third overall at the Tour of Austria in July. He was also third in both the 2012 Tour of Britain and the 2013 Tour of Alberta.

BMC is hoping Caruso can step up in order to give the team more time to nurture such riders as Rohan Dennis, John Atapuma, and Silvan Dillier, among others.

“We have a top-heavy Tour team, so maybe we can tap Caruso for the Giro or the Vuelta,” Peiper said. “There is a danger of having too much youth, but to give them time to develop, we might have to sacrifice some results in some races.”

BMC trimmed its budget going into 2015, and surprisingly did not use the windfall that came with shedding big-money contracts of such riders as Evans, Thor Hushovd, and Sánchez to sign bigger names. Eight new faces join BMC for 2015, but none are established GC contenders.

Instead, the team is focusing on the classics, with Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet, supporting van Garderen in the Tour, and slow-brewing its promising crop of younger riders.

Peiper admitted the team wanted to keep Sánchez, but money became an issue. The 2008 Olympic champion will not return to BMC for 2015.

“We couldn’t find a middle point. The team wanted to keep him, and ‘Samu’ wanted to stay with the team, but the offers we made earlier in the season were not acceptable,” Peiper said. “So we found other riders to sign. That’s sometimes the game you play with managers.”

The 36-year-old Sánchez remains without a contract for 2015, and could end his career. Peiper said Sánchez provided a huge boost to the team in every race he started, whether helping Gilbert in the Ardennes or riding GC at the Vuelta.

“He’ll be sorely missed,” Peiper continued. “When he was in the race, it was like having two extra riders. I never really knew him before he came to the team, and I thought that the Olympic champion might be critical, but he was so supportive, so professional in everything he did. We all said we wished we could have worked with him 10 years ago.”

Peiper said there were discussions of having van Garderen race the Giro as well as the Tour, especially in light of longer time trials in the Giro and limited kilometers against the clock in the Tour. In the end, the lure of the Tour carried the day.

“The pinnacle for any team is the Tour de France, and Tejay is our only leader at this moment,” Peiper said. “Tejay also brought it up, and he thought maybe the Giro was better suited for him this year, so why shouldn’t he give it a shot? Sometimes it’s good to shake things up, but the risk factor of going well in two grand tours in a row is high. We’re going to go for it, and build up for the Tour as best we can with Tejay.”

With van Garderen all in for the Tour, BMC’s younger riders might get a chance to test their GC mettle in the grand tours sooner than expected.

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