VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Tue, 28 Apr 2015 18:16:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Spotted: Merida road prototype http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/bikes-and-tech/spotted-merida-road-prototype_368156 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/bikes-and-tech/spotted-merida-road-prototype_368156#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 18:16:06 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368156

The new Merida frame, spotted in Liège, has a large, square downtube. Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com

Raphael Valls was spotted riding a new frame from Merida at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic on Sunday

The post Spotted: Merida road prototype appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

The new Merida frame, spotted in Liège, has a large, square downtube. Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com

Merida Cycles, the Taiwan-based bike brand, appears to be testing a new road bike on the hills of the Ardennes classics. Little is known about the new bike, which was ridden to 65th place by Lampre-Merida rider Raphael Valls at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Sunday.

The new bike is sporting graphics intended to disguise the lines of the frame, but we are able to take a few things away from the two photos of the prototype. It uses a rear brake mounted at the bottom-bracket. Likely a direct-mount brake, like the Dura-Ace BR-9010. The down tube is also squared off, so it could be a Kamm-Tail shape, but without a shot of the front, it’s hard to tell. In either case, the large diameter of the down tube does not lend itself to being very slippery in the wind.

This bike will not likely be replacing the Reacto aero road bike, despite the bottom bracket-mounted brake, as this prototype lacks the dramatic tube shapes of a modern aero road bike.

This model could be replacing the Scultura road bike, which currently uses a classic, round seatpost as seen with this prototype. The Reacto, on the other hand, uses a sculpted post designed specifically to match the frame’s aero shapes.

Merida did not immediately respond with comment when contacted about the prototype.

Spencer Powlison contributed to this report from Liège, Belgium.

The post Spotted: Merida road prototype appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/bikes-and-tech/spotted-merida-road-prototype_368156/feed 0
Results: 2015 Tour de Romandie, stage 1 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/race-results/results-2015-tour-de-romandie-stage-1_368154 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/race-results/results-2015-tour-de-romandie-stage-1_368154#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:57:58 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368154 Sky ekes out a win ahead of Orica-GreenEdge to move Thomas into the overall lead and set up Froome for another run at the title

The post Results: 2015 Tour de Romandie, stage 1 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

  • 1. Team Sky, in 21:19
  • 2. Orica Greenedge, at :
  • 3. Team Katusha, in :
  • 4. Etixx – Quick Step, at :04
  • 5. Astana Pro Team, at :07
  • 6. Bmc Racing Team, at :09
  • 7. Fdj, at :02
  • 8. Iam Cycling, at :04
  • 9. Team Cannondale – Garmin, at :00
  • 10. Movistar Team, at :00
  • 11. Lampre – Merida, at :01
  • 12. Trek Factory Racing, at :02
  • 13. Team Giant – Alpecin, at :00
  • 14. Tinkoff – Saxo, at :05
  • 15. Team Lotto Nl – Jumbo, at :05
  • 16. Team Europcar, at 1:07
  • 17. Lotto Soudal, at 1:12
  • 18. Ag2r La Mondiale, at 1:22

The post Results: 2015 Tour de Romandie, stage 1 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/race-results/results-2015-tour-de-romandie-stage-1_368154/feed 0
Froome’s Team Sky edges Romandie time trial http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/road/froomes-team-sky-edges-romandie-time-trial_368148 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/road/froomes-team-sky-edges-romandie-time-trial_368148#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:14:54 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368148

Two-time defending Tour de Romandie champ Chris Froome and his Sky team rode the fastest time in the stage 1 team time trial. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Geraint Thomas will wear Romandie's first leader's jersey as Team Sky beats Orica-GreenEdge by less than one second

The post Froome’s Team Sky edges Romandie time trial appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Two-time defending Tour de Romandie champ Chris Froome and his Sky team rode the fastest time in the stage 1 team time trial. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AFP) — Chris Froome’s ambitions for a third-straight win at the Tour de Romandie are alive and well as his Sky team won Tuesday’s opening-stage team time trial by less than one second.

The British squad, last to start, stopped the clock on the 19.2km stage from Vallee de Joux to Jurapac in 21 minutes, 19 seconds, narrowly ahead of Australian team Orica-GreenEdge and five seconds quicker than Katusha.

Sky’s Geraint Thomas will wear the leader’s yellow jersey on Wednesday’s 168.1km, hilly, second stage from Apples to Saint-Imier.

The Welsh rider, who won the E3 Harelbeke in Belgium last month, wore Romandie’s yellow jersey in 2012 after his victory in the prologue.

“We usually come second by a narrow margin so it was great to get the win today,” said Thomas.

“The team time trial is something the team wants to target a bit more. We’ve always been up there but we’ve never really had much focus on it. We’re looking to keep improving in that area so it’s great to win.

“We wanted to go as fast as possible and do the best ride to try and win the stage, for us all, not just to get the yellow. It’s great for morale and to come away with the win is really nice.”

Vincenzo Nibali’s Astana finished 16 seconds behind while Nairo Quintana is already trailing by 40 seconds after a disappointing showing from Movistar.

The first team time trial on the Tour de Romandie since 2009 served as an ideal warm-up for the peloton ahead of the Tour de France’s ninth stage, also a TTT, on July 9, in Brittany.

The post Froome’s Team Sky edges Romandie time trial appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/road/froomes-team-sky-edges-romandie-time-trial_368148/feed 0
Ted King will retire from pro cycling after 2015 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/ted-king-will-retire-from-pro-cycling-after-2015_368143 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/ted-king-will-retire-from-pro-cycling-after-2015_368143#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:12:53 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368143

American Ted King will wrap up his seven-year stint in the European pro peloton at the end of the 2015 season. Photo: Courtesy of Cannondale-Garmin | Jake Hamm

The 32-year-old American will close out seven-year stint in European pro peloton at the end of this season, will remain involved in sport

The post Ted King will retire from pro cycling after 2015 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

American Ted King will wrap up his seven-year stint in the European pro peloton at the end of the 2015 season. Photo: Courtesy of Cannondale-Garmin | Jake Hamm

Ted King announced that this season will be his final as a professional cyclist on Tuesday. The 32-year old Cannondale-Garmin rider started his European career in 2009, and this year, his seventh European professional season, will be his last.

“I’ll forever love this sport and consider myself grateful to have earned such an international career,” King said. After racing domestically for three years with Bissell, King made the leap to Europe with the Cervélo Test Team in 2009 before joining Cannondale-Liquigas in 2011.

During his professional career, Ted raced in the sport’s biggest events including the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, UCI world championships, and monuments such as Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.

King says he will forever cherish experiences like his first time on the Roubaix velodrome, his first grand tour, his first victory, and his first world championships representing the United States. “I can picture each of these vividly, and that’s something I’ll value forever,” he added

“And I’m grateful to spend my last pro season on an American team with Cannondale-Garmin. Across the board I’m extremely happy here — my teammates, the directors, sponsors, camaraderie, and obviously the fans are all greater than I could have expected. It may seem like an odd contrast to decide to retire now when things are at such a high, but I’m ready to tackle a new phase. That being said, I’m more inspired to thrive in the peloton than ever before and finish the season in the greatest way possible.”

While leaving the professional ranks at the end of the current season, King plans to remain actively involved in cycling.

“Though I’m stepping away from pro racing at the end of the season, I still love riding my bike and will continue to do plenty of that.” said King. “Where early season meant the spring classics I’ll now look for a classic adventure with the bike very much at its center. Additionally, I’ll be even more involved with the Krempels King of the Road Challenge and similar social, environmental, health, and causes related to the bike.”

King will also turn his attention to UnTapped, the maple syrup sports nutrition company he co-founded in 2014.

The post Ted King will retire from pro cycling after 2015 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/ted-king-will-retire-from-pro-cycling-after-2015_368143/feed 0
Pro Bike Gallery: Daniel Holloway’s Felt AR1 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/gallery/pro-bike-gallery-daniel-holloways-felt-ar1_368121 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/gallery/pro-bike-gallery-daniel-holloways-felt-ar1_368121#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:02:21 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368121

Elite national criterium champion Holloway's custom ride used to dominate the Athens Twilight criterium

The post Pro Bike Gallery: Daniel Holloway’s Felt AR1 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

The post Pro Bike Gallery: Daniel Holloway’s Felt AR1 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/gallery/pro-bike-gallery-daniel-holloways-felt-ar1_368121/feed 0
Rebellin wins stage 3 in Turkey, takes over GC lead http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/road/rebellin-wins-stage-3-in-turkey-takes-over-gc-lead_368115 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/road/rebellin-wins-stage-3-in-turkey-takes-over-gc-lead_368115#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 15:17:29 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368115

Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice) won stage 3 at the Presidential Tour of Turkey and claimed the overall lead on a summit finish. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Davide Rebellin attacks on the final category-one climb to seize a seven-second lead in the overall at Tour of Turkey

The post Rebellin wins stage 3 in Turkey, takes over GC lead appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice) won stage 3 at the Presidential Tour of Turkey and claimed the overall lead on a summit finish. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Italian veteran Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice) won the queen stage of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Tuesday and assumed the overall race lead on a summit finish.

“The emotion is always the same,” Rebellin said in a team press statement. “I’m motivated for every race. I put my heart into it and give the best of myself, especially on a finish like this that suits me. I’d say that my condition is better than last year, and I have the advantage that I knew the climb and I know the Tour of Turkey.

“I came here convinced that I could finish on the podium. Today was the hardest stage, although anything can still happen of course.”

After 25km of racing in the 163km stage, a group of five went clear and built up a lead of four minutes. When they reached the first of two category-one climbs, Songezo Jim (MTN-Qhubeka), Juan Valencia (Colombia), and Jose Goncalves (Caja-Rural Seguros RGA) went clear of the break.

As the gap to the peloton fell on the climb, seven riders jumped across to the three leaders.

Another MTN rider, Youcef Reguigui was one of the seven riders who bridged to the lead with just 35km to go. He soon rode away from the front group with Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) while the peloton caught the remnants of the break.

The lead trio held onto a 30-second lead for the next 20 kilometers as Astana and CCC Sprandi-Polkowice were forced to chase.

The race came back together at the base of the day’s final, 10-kilometer categorized climb.

An early surge in the pace saw the main group whittled down to just a handful of riders. Rebellin followed an attack by Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) with 7km to go, and the two rode off to contest the stage.

Behind them, the front group blew to pieces on the final climb. Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) finished third, behind Durasek.

Heading into Wednesday’s 132km stage 4, the 43-year-old Italian holds a slim seven-second advantage on GC over Durasek. Sepulveda is 50 seconds behind in third.

The post Rebellin wins stage 3 in Turkey, takes over GC lead appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/road/rebellin-wins-stage-3-in-turkey-takes-over-gc-lead_368115/feed 0
USA Pro Challenge route unveiled for 2015 race http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/usa-pro-challenge-route-unveiled-for-2015-race_368107 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/usa-pro-challenge-route-unveiled-for-2015-race_368107#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368107

The USA Pro Challenge will make its way from Aspen to Breckenridge in stage 4. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The 605-mile race begins in Steamboat Springs and concludes with a ride from Golden to Denver with many difficult climbs along the way

The post USA Pro Challenge route unveiled for 2015 race appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

The USA Pro Challenge will make its way from Aspen to Breckenridge in stage 4. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

DENVER — Organizers unveiled details of a mountaintop finish and a high-altitude time trial, plus the rest of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge route, on Tuesday, for the fifth edition of the race, August 17-23.

“Each of our 2015 host cities offers something unique and special to the fifth anniversary of the Pro Challenge,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “We’re confident that this year’s route will provide the most exciting week of racing yet. We have added new cities and a dramatic mountaintop finish that will prove to be a fierce battleground for riders eager to show they have what it takes to compete on a new climb up Loveland Pass.”

The fan-friendly route, which stretches 605 miles over seven days of racing, will include at least one circuit in each start town — with the exception of the stage 5 time trial — to give the crowds a longer glimpse of some of the world’s top riders.

The event begins with the Steamboat Springs Circuit race before pointing toward the sky for the next few stages. More than half of stage 3 from Copper Mountain to Aspen, for example, takes place over 10,000 feet above sea level.

The stage 5 time trial in Breckenridge is new this year and offers a 8.5-mile test that goes from flat to steep in a hurry. The route climbs Moonstone Road before a quick descent down Boreas Pass toward the finish.

The race will conclude August 23 with a ride from Golden to Denver, the same route used for the 2011 race’s finale.

2015 USA Pro Challenge, August 17-23

Stage 1: Steamboat Springs circuit. This two-lap, 49-mile circuit will likely offer a sprint finish.
Stage 2: Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin. Right away, the race heads to the climbs, offering a five-mile ascent up Loveland Pass to Arapahoe Basin for a mountaintop finish.
Stage 3: Copper Mountain to Aspen. Copper will host its first-ever Pro Challenge stage and send the peloton off to climb Freemont Pass then Independence Pass before reaching Aspen.
Stage 4: Aspen to Breckenridge. The race heads back up Independence Pass and then continues over Trout Creek Pass and Hoosier Pass before one final, steep hill over Moonstone road before finishing in Breckenridge.
Stage 5: Breckenridge time trial. The 8.5-mile TT will take riders back up Moonstone then down Boreas Pass.
Stage 6: Loveland to Ft. Collins. The penultimate stage starts in the plains but soon heads up the north side of Carter Lake, then Rist Canyon before riding a lumpy route around Horsetooth Reservoir to the finish in Fort Collins.
Stage 7: Golden to Denver. The same route as the final stage of the 2011 race, this day will offer a climb up Lookout Mountain then four laps around the well-known Denver circuit.

Looking to travel to Colorado for the USA Pro Challenge? Come ride with VeloNews and Cognoscenti on a special, six-day trip that includes two days of spectating at the race, August 21-26.

The post USA Pro Challenge route unveiled for 2015 race appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/usa-pro-challenge-route-unveiled-for-2015-race_368107/feed 0
Giro d’Italia: Aru rides into the unknown http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/giro-ditalia-aru-rides-into-the-unknown_368097 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/giro-ditalia-aru-rides-into-the-unknown_368097#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:37:24 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368097

Fabio Aru enters the Giro d'Italia with a question mark on his back. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Aru is due to lead Astana's GC hopes at the Italian grand tour, but a virus has kept him out of races

The post Giro d’Italia: Aru rides into the unknown appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Fabio Aru enters the Giro d'Italia with a question mark on his back. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Italy’s most promising general classification rider Fabio Aru is now in a race simply to be on form for the Giro d’Italia. The Italian grand tour starts in just over a week in Liguria, but Aru (Astana), who placed third in 2014, has not pinned a racing number on his back in a month.

Knocked out by a stomach virus , the 24-year-old called off the Giro del Trentino last week and a chance to face rival Richie Porte (Sky). He considered racing the Tour de Romandie this week, but is skipping that one too.

The Giro d’Italia will be Aru’s first race since placing sixth behind Porte in Spain’s Volta a Catalunya stage race March 29. His only other race this year was Paris-Nice, in which Porte was on top again and Aru took 39th.

While Porte won the Giro del Trentino in northern Italy, Aru took antibiotics. He is now training again, but it is clear he suffered a setback.

The Giro favorites as it stands now are, in order: Porte, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-Quick-Step), and Aru.

Astana won the Tour de France in 2014 with Vincenzo Nibali. It gave the green light to Aru to lead its Giro team and to Nibali to defend the Tour title in this summer.

For a moment, perhaps in panic over Aru’s condition or its UCI WorldTour license battle, it appeared Nibali would be called in to pick up the pieces for Aru. The Sicilian won the Giro in 2013 before turning his focus to France’s grand tour.

“At this moment, it’s not in my plans” Nibali told La Gazzetta dello Sport last week. “But in 2010, I found out three days before that I’d race, and I’d been off the bike for 10 days.”

Nibali just completed the Ardennes classics. On Tuesday, he began Switzerland’s Tour de Romandie against Briton Chris Froome (Sky) and Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar). With the Tour de France in July and Astana’s WorldTour license secured as of last Thursday, it appears unlikely he will race the Giro d’Italia.

Aru will lead the turquoise team from Sanremo to Milano from May 9-31.

The cyclist from the southwest corner of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea has racked up impressive results both as an amateur and a professional.

He placed second in the Baby Giro behind American Joe Dombrowski in 2012 and won the Giro della Val d’Aosta twice. Along with the Tour de L’Avenir, those were the two most prestigious stage races during Aru’s amateur days.

It quickly came together for him in his third year in the professional ranks in 2014. He won the Giro’s summit finish to Montecampione and placed third overall behind Quintana, and later grabbed two Vuelta a España stage wins.

Aru is now trying to save his 2015 season before it quickly comes undone.

“I did everything to plan. I trained a lot, a lot of it at altitude, and I raced little,” Aru told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It was more or less in line with what I did in 2014.”

As planned, Aru joined his Giro teammates (Diego Rosa, Dario Cataldo, Paolo Tiralongo, and others) at 2,000 meters above sea level in the Sestriere ski resort, where on Monday he had to train in the gym due to snow and rain.

The ski resort hosts the finish of the Giro’s final mountain stage on May 30, but it is largely unknown how Aru will fare through the race.

The post Giro d’Italia: Aru rides into the unknown appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/giro-ditalia-aru-rides-into-the-unknown_368097/feed 0
In the News: MPCC president Legeay defends organization’s mission http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/in-the-news-mpcc-president-legeay-defends-organizations-mission_368085 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/in-the-news-mpcc-president-legeay-defends-organizations-mission_368085#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:00:20 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368085

The Movement Pour Cyclisme Crédible is lobbying for change in the peloton. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

In a lengthy interview, Roger Legeay defends MPCC as a voice of change within the peloton

The post In the News: MPCC president Legeay defends organization’s mission appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

The Movement Pour Cyclisme Crédible is lobbying for change in the peloton. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Roger Legeay has staunchly defended his organization, insisting the group MPCC (Movement Pour Cyclisme Crédible) remains a legitimate voice for change despite recent hurdles.

The departure of Lampre-Merida from the group earlier this year as well as the continued presence of beleaguered Astana has raised questions about the group’s legitimacy as a voice of change within the peloton. Legeay, who started the volunteer group eight years ago to bolster ethical conduct within the peloton, said the group remains committed to its principles.

In a lengthy interview posted on its website Tuesday, Legeay said the departure of Lampre only reconfirmed the group’s commitment to a tough, anti-doping line.

“Our rules have not changed since 2007. Among MPCC affiliated teams, no rider who has been suspended more than six months may be retained by his team. These rules were established by all the managers, and to this day they have always applied them,” Legeay said. “In order to avoid having to comply with this rule, the Lampre team chose to leave our organization. They alleged some labor law issues in Italy. And I want to make it clear that if they had not, we would have considered excluding them.”

Read the full interview >>

The post In the News: MPCC president Legeay defends organization’s mission appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/in-the-news-mpcc-president-legeay-defends-organizations-mission_368085/feed 0
Analysis: The curious case of Alejandro Valverde http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/analysis-the-curious-case-of-alejandro-valverde_368078 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/analysis-the-curious-case-of-alejandro-valverde_368078#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 12:39:30 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368078

Alejandro Valverde won his third Liège-Bastogne-Liège title over the weekend. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

He seems to be getting better with age, but Valverde's Liege win, writes Andrew Hood, brings back talk of his dark history

The post Analysis: The curious case of Alejandro Valverde appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Alejandro Valverde won his third Liège-Bastogne-Liège title over the weekend. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

While they’re celebrating Alejandro Valverde’s victory south of the Pyrénées — Spain’s MARCA headline read, “Liège-Valverde-Liège” — it seems others in the cycling community are having a hard time warming up to his Ardennes dominance.

A third career Liège crown, by any standard of the sport, should be cheered as a mark of excellence and should represent a confirmation of talent and mastery on the bike. And especially the way the Movistar captain pulled it off: first by controlling a searing late attack by Dani Moreno (Katusha), and then sprinting away from the elite of the peloton, who were all marking his wheel. It was a work of art.

Like many of his generation — Valverde turned 35 on Saturday — the Spaniard has one leg stuck in the past, and one in today’s peloton. And that makes it very difficult to stand up and cheer for victories that are otherwise Merckxian in scale.

Unanswered questions about Puerto

Fairly or unfairly, Valverde continues to be dogged by unanswered questions about his role in the Operación Puerto doping scandal that erupted in Spain nearly a decade ago. In 2006, cycling was brought to its knees after Spain’s Guardia Civil uncovered the international doping ring masterminded by Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. Fuentes was the Spanish counterpart to Italy’s Michele Ferrari, and served as one-stop shopping for riders such as Ivan Basso, Jorg Jaksche, Tyler Hamilton, and Michele Scarponi, all who served bans. More than 60 names were linked to Fuentes, but police could only clearly identify a handful, meaning there were dozens of major riders, some who could still be racing today, who got away with it.

Valverde looked to have dodged the bullet, until the 2008 Tour dipped into Italian soil for stage 15, when Italian authorities were eagerly awaiting to draw Valverde’s blood samples. They cleverly matched it to one of the 200 bags of blood and plasma stored in Fuentes’s infamous refrigerators, and Valverde was nailed. After a lengthy legal battle over questions of jurisdiction, Valverde was handed a two-year racing ban, erasing his results midway through the 2010 season to 2011.

He quietly and discretely served his ban, and when he came back to the peloton in 2012, Movistar welcomed him with open arms. It quickly became obvious that Valverde was not going to become a Spanish version of David Millar, the repentant ex-doper who was determined to help steer the sport in a new direction. Instead, Valverde kept his mouth shut, never provided any telling information about his relationship with Fuentes, and got back to the business of racing his bike.

Return to winning ways

What Valverde was determined to do, however, was to win again. Nicknamed “BalaVerde” by the Spanish media, Spain’s “Green Bullet” was obsessed with winning upon his return from his ban. He did just that, winning the hardest stage at the Santos Tour Down Under — his first race back — at Old Willunga Hill. His comeback 2012 season was solid, with stage wins at Paris-Nice and the Tour de France. He rounded out his season with second overall behind Alberto Contador at the Vuelta a España, and took bronze at the world championships. Since then, Valverde hasn’t missed a beat; 27 of his career 63 wins came after his Puerto comeback.

Valverde’s palmares are impressive by any measure, but is it fair or even correct to assume that because Valverde won two editions of Liège before his two-year Puerto ban that his victory Sunday should somehow include an asterisk? Just as it’s always been, that’s an impossible question to answer.

And just how clean is the peloton right now? There is an uneasy feeling among some observers and insiders that the peloton might be slipping back into some of its bad habits. There is no question that racing today is cleaner and more credible than it’s been since men started racing bikes to earn money. The sport has been rife with cheating and doping since its inception, and everyone admits that now. The combination of the biological passport on top of an endless stream of doping scandals from 1998 through 2007 brought the sport to a tipping point. Cycling would either have to clean up its act, or the sport was in danger of collapsing.

By 2009, there were clear signs that real change was happening. The style of racing evolved. Gone were the big-ring attacks with 50km and two cols to go. In this new-look peloton, attacks were more measured and often came inside the red kite. The overall pace of the peloton increased, and rather than seeing aggression off the front, cycling became a war of attrition. Scared off by the biological passport, and perhaps due to an unwritten gentleman’s agreement among the teams to truly try to change their ways, the years between 2010 to 2013 delivered some of the cleanest, most believable results in the sport’s history.

How clean is the peloton?

Some voices suggest the peloton has gotten its head around the passport, and that the passport can be controlled, managed, and even manipulated. The situation today is certainly a far cry from the go-go days of 1990s, when there wasn’t even an EPO test and riders were pushing their hematocrits above 60 percent, but there are rumors that riders are micro-dosing, even transfusing, as well as abusing TUEs and doing anything that is not banned, pushing things to the absolute legal limit.

On the other side of the coin, there is a never-seen-before parity within the peloton right now. The winning differences are fractions of percentage point, often made in one, well-timed, all-or-nothing surge. The notion of marginal gains has taken over the peloton. What teams like Garmin and High Road started around 2008-09 was perfected by the big-budgeted Sky outfit, which, after a rough birthing year in 2010, dominated the 2011-2013 seasons. Since then, nearly every major team has started to catch up, and things like gluten-free diets, skin suits in long road races, altitude camps, and the idea of “train hard, race easy” have been adopted by much of the peloton.

The way this year’s classics season manifested itself confirmed this new equality. All the moves came late, and despite the rigors of the cobbles, which provoke a natural selection via crashes, punctures and bad luck, there were no major, eyebrow-raising attacks. And the Ardennes, which used to see long-distance bombs from peloton, saw nearly bunch sprints. Coupled with largely mild weather across the spring classics, the racing was tense, equal, and, as some even suggested, boring.

So in that context, where does Valverde fit in? Like many top pros, he’s been good on the bike since he was a teenager. He earned the nickname “El Imbatido,” which loosely translates to “the unbeaten one,” after ripping through Spain’s amateur ranks. His first pro season in 2002 didn’t deliver any wins, but he quickly became a force to reckon with in reduced bunch sprints as well as punchy, uphill finales. In 2003, he won the first of his record six world championship medals. By 2009, Valverde won the Vuelta a España and was a complete rider.

Since his 2012 comeback, he’s been just as good, and perhaps even better than when he was before. He’s racing smarter, avoiding some of the tactical blunders that used to drive the Movistar brass crazy, and has scored quality wins. His performance Sunday to win Liège confirmed his growing acumen.

Strongest in the Ardennes

That brings us back to Valverde’s tremendous run across the Ardennes. He was second at Amstel Gold, a race he’s never won, and then defended his title at Flèche Wallonne, when he dominated the Mur de Huy, before winning his third Liège by marking the late moves and saving a final shot for his sprint to the victory. Without question, he was the strongest of the field.

Would Valverde risk doping again? Logic would say no. Not only would he face a lifetime ban and public humiliation, he recently signed a three-year contract to keep him in a Movistar jersey through 2017. Yet others grumble that old habits die hard.

Maybe Valverde is simply very good at racing his bike. He won in the 2000s, and he’s winning now. There’s no doubting his class, but what people doubt is if he’s pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes one more time.

Despite the huge advances cycling has made, it seems almost any big win immediately comes under suspicion, especially when it comes from cycling’s old guard. That much, it seems, will never change.

The post Analysis: The curious case of Alejandro Valverde appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/analysis-the-curious-case-of-alejandro-valverde_368078/feed 0
Greipel struggles to crack podium in Tour of Turkey http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/greipel-struggles-to-crack-podium-in-tour-of-turkey_368075 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/greipel-struggles-to-crack-podium-in-tour-of-turkey_368075#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:50:34 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368075

Andre Greipel (far right) finished eighth in Sunday's Tour of Turkey opener. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The "Gorilla" comes up short in the first two stages, both of which end in mass gallups

The post Greipel struggles to crack podium in Tour of Turkey appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Andre Greipel (far right) finished eighth in Sunday's Tour of Turkey opener. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

ANTALYA, Turkey — The “Gorilla” has been caged for the first two sprint stages of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. Not only has Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) failed to crack the podium, a day after finishing fifth on stage 1, the reigning two-time German national road race champion fell short of the top 20 on stage 2 with heated rival Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick-Step) claiming both in dominant fashion.

Greipel recorded 16 wins last season — the most of any international male professional cyclist — but has just two in 2015, compared to the six he had at this time last year.

However, those six wins — two from the Santos Tour Down Under, one from the Tour of Qatar, and three from the Tour of Oman — were recorded in early-season races that Greipel skipped this year in order to start later in the season to ensure better form for the classics in March and April.

After the 32-year-old from Rostock took a stage win at Volta ao Algarve, he took his second (and last) win of the season on stage 2 at Paris-Nice — a race he failed to finish four days later.

From there, Greipel finished 47th at Milano-Sanremo, 15th at the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), and 28th at Paris-Roubaix, with a DNF at Gent-Wevelgem in between.

In Turkey, following an eighth-place finish on stage 1 and a 21st on stage 2, Greipel could be feeling the pressure — but he insists he is not.

“For me, it’s just a race to build up for the Giro d’Italia,” Greipel told VeloNews. “I’m not in top condition yet, but it’s not the aim now to be in top condition.

“The condition cannot be all gone from the classics, we have a good team here for the sprints, so sprinting is always possible with whatever condition you have.”

The 12-time grand tour stage winner has registered multiple wins in each, including two stage wins at the Giro, four at the Vuelta a España, and six at the Tour de France.

“What can I say, we had another target this year, so we tried to prepare the season a bit differently and that forced me to miss Australia,” said the all-time leader in Tour Down Under stage wins (16), who missed the race for the first time in eight years in January. “We tried to do good in the classics and the team worked quite well.

“Now we want a stage at the Giro and a stage at the Tour.”

While Greipel contends that the Lotto train’s timetable is right on schedule, he showed visible frustration following the bunch sprint finale on Sunday, and apparently had words for Cavendish afterwards.

“He said, ‘hold your line’ … but I don’t think I did anything,” Cavendish told media in the post-race presser. “I know from first-hand experience that your emotions can get to you after a race — especially this tense and dangerous in the final — and you want to take your frustrations out on someone.”

Greipel confirmed there was no friction between he and Cavendish prior to stage 2, and even sent a congratulatory tweet to both the former world champion and his Etixx-Quick-Step teammates.

“At the end it’s sprinting and I was just boxed in,” said Greipel. “I was just about to pass [Sacha] Modolo and I found myself on the fence, which is why I was a bit frustrated.

“I think I was still in a good spot and was about to get a good result, but it just didn’t work out — but we still have a lot of racing left and I’m confident in myself and my team we will reach our goals.”

Aaron S. Lee is a cycling and triathlon columnist for Eurosport and a guest contributor to VeloNews.

The post Greipel struggles to crack podium in Tour of Turkey appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/greipel-struggles-to-crack-podium-in-tour-of-turkey_368075/feed 0
Froome seeks third straight Tour de Romandie title http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/froome-seeks-third-straight-tour-de-romandie-title_368069 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/froome-seeks-third-straight-tour-de-romandie-title_368069#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:15:32 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368069

Chris Froome has won the last two editions of the Tour de Romandie. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The 2013 Tour de France champion and his Sky teammates will kick off the six-day Swiss race with Tuesday's team time trial

The post Froome seeks third straight Tour de Romandie title appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Chris Froome has won the last two editions of the Tour de Romandie. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AFP) — Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana will be looking to prevent Chris Froome from making it three wins in a row at the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland, which begins Tuesday.

Sky’s Froome, who won the last two years after his teammate Bradley Wiggins won in 2012, is hoping a victory in the six-stage race will set him up for a crack at the Tour de France. Froome won the 2013 Tour de France.

Nibali (Astana), the reigning Tour de France champion, appears as a dangerous threat to Froome, who must shake off the effects of a crash late in last week’s La Fleche-Wallonne in Belgium in time for the opening 19.2-kilometer team time trial.

Nibali is wary of the threat posed by Quintana (Movistar) and Froome.

“Quintana raced the Ardennes classics in support of [Alejandro] Valverde, but he’s here in Romandie with a fresh team and we know he can be a protagonist in the mountains,” Nibali said.

“Froome had some bad luck at Fleche Wallonne with the crashes, so his strength may not be among the top this week — but you know he is a great champion who has won here before, so let’s not say he won’t be any less than last year.”

Sky and the other competing teams will see stage 1 as something of a rehearsal for the ninth stage of this year’s Tour de France, a 28km team time trial in Brittany on July 12.

The decisive stage in the Tour de Romandie, and one which could suit Nibali or Quintana, could come on Saturday, when the ride of more than 160km from Fribourg to Champex-Lac features three climbs and a mountaintop finish.

Tour de Romandie, April 28-May 3

Stage 1: Valle de Joux to Juraparc, 19.2km TTT
Stage 2: Apples to Morges, 168.1km
Stage 3: Moutier to Porrentruy, 172.5km
Stage 4: La Neuveville to Fribourg, 169.8km
Stage 5: Fribourg to Champex-Lac, 162.7km
Stage 6: Lausanne, 17.3km TT

Leading riders

Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step), Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin), Chris Froome (Sky), Geraint Thomas (Sky).

The post Froome seeks third straight Tour de Romandie title appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/froome-seeks-third-straight-tour-de-romandie-title_368069/feed 0
New sponsors keep North Star Grand Prix alive for 2015 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/new-sponsors-keep-north-star-grand-prix-alive-for-2015_368063 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/new-sponsors-keep-north-star-grand-prix-alive-for-2015_368063#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 15:41:56 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368063

The North Star Grand Prix closes out with a challenging criterium in Stillwater Minnesota. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

North Memorial Health Care partnering with PreferredOne to sponsor the 17th Annual North Star Bicycle Festival

The post New sponsors keep North Star Grand Prix alive for 2015 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

The North Star Grand Prix closes out with a challenging criterium in Stillwater Minnesota. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

The future of the North Star Grand Prix looked bleak until two new major sponsors stepped forward to keep the event afloat for 2015. North Memorial Health Care will partner with PreferredOne to sponsor the 17th Annual North Star Bicycle Festival, which includes the five-day pro stage race that will run from June 17 to June 21.

“We are so grateful to North Memorial Health Care and PreferredOne for stepping up to the plate and saving this important cycling event,” said Festival Director David LaPorte. “The festival has been a crucial part of the Midwest cycling community and USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar for 17 years and it would be a real shame to lose it. Thanks to the generosity of these two companies, fans will be able to enjoy the North Star Bicycle Festival in 2015.”

The penultimate event on the men’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) and the final event for the women, the North Star Grand Prix opens on Wednesday, June 17 with a morning time trial in Saint Paul, Minnesota along East River Parkway before moving to Saint Paul’s Lowertown area that evening for a criterium. The next day, the race heads to Cannon Falls for a rural road stage, with a criterium in Minneapolis to follow on Friday. Saturday’s stage in Menomonie, Wisconsin takes the race through rolling farmland in dairy country before Sunday’s finale, a criterium in Stillwater, Minnesota that will test racers’ legs with the challenging Chilkoot Hill climb.

The post New sponsors keep North Star Grand Prix alive for 2015 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/new-sponsors-keep-north-star-grand-prix-alive-for-2015_368063/feed 0
Leadville adds three-day stage race http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/leadville-adds-three-day-stage-race_368029 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/leadville-adds-three-day-stage-race_368029#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:43:35 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368029

The three-day stage race will cover the same course as the single-day event

The post Leadville adds three-day stage race appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Owners of the Leadville 100 mountain bike race have announced the addition of a three-day stage race, to take place three weeks prior to the 100-mile event over the same course.

The stage race, slated for July 24-26, will cover the same high-altitude terrain as the Leadville 100, but split the distance over three consecutive stages.

“We are thrilled to offer the new Leadville Stage Race as an opportunity for athletes to come and test their limits on the famed The Leadville 100 MTB course,” said Josh Colley, Leadville race director.

Leadville’s altitude has always been part of the race’s draw — the low point of the course is 9,200 feet, and the high point is over 12,400 feet. The 100-mile event is so popular that entries are dolled out in a lottery or via qualification races.

The new Leadville stage race will be one of those qualification races. The stage race will have 25 Leadville 100 slots available for top age-group finishers. Racers can also gain entry by riding any of the three stages faster than Leadville 100 course record holder Alban Lakata rode the same section of course.

“The benefit of this event is athletes of all levels can participate in the Stage Race and go as fast as they possibly can over three days on one of the world’s greatest courses,” said Colley.

Registration for the Leadville stage race is open now.

The post Leadville adds three-day stage race appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/leadville-adds-three-day-stage-race_368029/feed 0
Wiggins to race against Sky at upcoming Tour de Yorkshire http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/wiggins-to-race-against-sky-at-upcoming-tour-de-yorkshire_368055 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/wiggins-to-race-against-sky-at-upcoming-tour-de-yorkshire_368055#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:25:03 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368055

Bradley Wiggins ended his career in a Sky kit at Paris-Roubaix earlier this month. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The 2012 Tour de France winner is slated to ride with his new squad, Wiggins, at the three-day race

The post Wiggins to race against Sky at upcoming Tour de Yorkshire appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Bradley Wiggins ended his career in a Sky kit at Paris-Roubaix earlier this month. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Bradley Wiggins will line up against his former Sky team for the first time in the Tour de Yorkshire on Friday. The Englishman is set to make his debut in the blue and red team Wiggins colors as he transitions from the road to the track with an attempt at breaking the hour record on the horizon.

Wiggins, who celebrates his 35th birthday Tuesday, has never raced against Sky before. He left Garmin after he finished fourth in the 2009 Tour de France and joined Sky for its debut year in 2010. He stayed with the British squad for five and a half years, winning the 2012 Tour de France and the time trial at the 2014 UCI worlds, and left after Paris-Roubaix two weeks ago.

“I would not have had any of the success that I’ve had if I hadn’t been in this team,” Wiggins said during a talk with members of the media during the classics.

“In years to come, I’ll look back on these times with affection. It’s just a shame it has to come to an end.”

Wiggins is taking aim at the hour record June 7 and working toward riding in the team pursuit with Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics. To prepare, he will race selected road events with team Wiggins.

He launched the British Continental team in January, which already started rolling in France’s Tour de Normandie last week. Its next stop is the first ever Tour de Yorkshire (May 1-3) where Wiggins will form part of his team’s eight-man roster.

Tour de France organizer ASO launched the three-day English race in January. It came on the heels of a successful 2014 Tour de France start in Yorkshire, where fans lined every inch of the road during the first two stages.

Sky and four other WorldTeams — BMC Racing, LottoNL-Jumbo, Giant-Alpecin, and IAM Cycling — will take part, along with 14 teams from the Pro Continental and Continental levels. Sky’s team includes many of the same riders who helped Wiggins to his wins.

Sky has yet to confirm its lineup, but Ben Swift, Ian Boswell, Nathan Earle, Andy Fenn, Sebastián Henao, Salvatore Puccio, and Chris Sutton are due to race.

“Bradley is one of the most professional guys out there, and to have witnessed his commitment to a goal he sets is inspiring,” the 27-year-old Swift told VeloNews.

“It will be quite strange lining up against him after being a teammate with him for most of my career.”

Added American Ian Boswell, “I still have a lot of respect for Bradley.

“It changes the dynamic racing against him rather than with him. It was only a couple of moths ago when we were still together.

“It’s a time of change for team Sky. This was his team, built to win the Tour, and with Bradley. Now there’s a change in the hierarchy.

“Who’s going to be the next face of Sky? Chris Froome is already here, and riders like Luke Rowe, Pete Kennaugh, and Geraint Thomas are coming up quickly.”

Austrian Bernie Eisel, who was due to race in Yorkshire, helped Wiggins to an 18th-place finish in Paris-Roubaix April 13 and to the 2012 Tour win.

“I wish his new teammates all the best,” Eisel said, “to keep him at the front and out of trouble.”

The race includes three stages of around 170 kilometers each. The final one ends in Leeds, where the 2014 Tour de France began. The stage will be Wiggins’ last road race before attempting to break the hour record June 7 in London.

Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC) holds the record at 52.491 kilometers. That could change as Brit Alex Dowsett (Movistar) will attempt to break the mark May 2 in Manchester, England.

Wiggins, besides riding on the road, is training on the track in Manchester to prepare for the hour record.

The post Wiggins to race against Sky at upcoming Tour de Yorkshire appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/wiggins-to-race-against-sky-at-upcoming-tour-de-yorkshire_368055/feed 0
Kittel to make racing return at Tour de Yorkshire http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/kittel-to-make-racing-return-at-tour-de-yorkshire_368039 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/kittel-to-make-racing-return-at-tour-de-yorkshire_368039#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:52:09 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368039

Marcel Kittel's only win this year came in January's People's Choice Classic. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The German sprinter has been sidelined since March with an illness

The post Kittel to make racing return at Tour de Yorkshire appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Marcel Kittel's only win this year came in January's People's Choice Classic. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) will return to racing at the Tour de Yorkshire on Friday following an extended period away from racing due to sickness.

The German sprinter’s recovery from a virus was slower than expected, resulting in a quiet, nearly race-free start to his season. Kittel was forced to pull out of Tirreno-Adriatico in early March and has not raced since. He missed the chance to add a fourth Scheldeprijs victory to his palmares as team doctors kept him sidelined during his recovery.

Kittel’s only win this year came at the People’s Choice Classic, a 51-kilometer warmup race for the Santos Tour Down Under. He notched 13 wins in 2014, including four Tour de France stages.

The three-day Tour de Yorkshire will cover much of the same terrain used by the Tour de France when it visited the region last summer. Kittel raced well there, taking victory and the yellow jersey in the first stage. He also won the third stage into London.

“It will be Kittel’s first race back, so we need to give him the opportunity to find his race rhythm again,” Giant coach Marc Reef said.

Giant will have a diverse squad for the race. Bert De Backer, Tom Stamsnijder, and Ramon Sinkeldam will take care of Kittel in the sprints, while Americans Caleb Fairly and Lawson Craddock, both fresh off the Ardennes classics, will be given room to test their climbing legs.

It will be the first UCI WorldTour stage race for Giant’s cyclocross star Lars van de Haar, who has been testing his legs on the road this season.

The team is not bringing along Kittel’s usual sprint train, suggesting that though he may try to contest in the sprints, the primary goal is to get him accustomed to race pace.

“At first glance the stages seem relatively flat, but from last year’s Tour we know that they include some difficult categorized as well as uncategorized hills. We will start with a diverse team and aim for good stage results,” Reef said.

The post Kittel to make racing return at Tour de Yorkshire appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/kittel-to-make-racing-return-at-tour-de-yorkshire_368039/feed 0
Cavendish wins Tour of Turkey stage 2 to keep overall lead http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/road/cavendish-wins-tour-of-turkey-stage-2-to-keep-overall-lead_368049 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/road/cavendish-wins-tour-of-turkey-stage-2-to-keep-overall-lead_368049#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:33:00 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368049

Mark Cavendish sprinted to another victory on the second stage of the Tour of Turkey. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Cavendish stays perfect in the Tour of Turkey by winning another bunch sprint

The post Cavendish wins Tour of Turkey stage 2 to keep overall lead appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Mark Cavendish sprinted to another victory on the second stage of the Tour of Turkey. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) — Mark Cavendish won the second stage of the Tour of Turkey at Antalya on Monday, retaining the overall lead he took after Sunday’s opening run.

The British speedster covered the 180 kilometers from Alanya in 4:21:32, once again relying on his finishing skills to edge the field in a sprint finish.

Cavendish, who won four stages in last year’s race, leads the overall standings ahead of Italians Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and Nicola Ruffoni (Bardiani-CSF).

The post Cavendish wins Tour of Turkey stage 2 to keep overall lead appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/road/cavendish-wins-tour-of-turkey-stage-2-to-keep-overall-lead_368049/feed 0
Ewan nearly beats ‘idol’ Cavendish in Tour of Turkey opener http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/ewan-nearly-beats-idol-cavendish-in-tour-of-turkey-opener_368045 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/ewan-nearly-beats-idol-cavendish-in-tour-of-turkey-opener_368045#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 13:17:13 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368045

The opening stage at the Tour of Turkey ended in a mass gallop to the line. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Orica-GreenEdge rider comes a few inches short of beating Mark Cavendish in the first stage at the Tour of Turkey

The post Ewan nearly beats ‘idol’ Cavendish in Tour of Turkey opener appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

The opening stage at the Tour of Turkey ended in a mass gallop to the line. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

ALANYA, Turkey (VN) — It was a near miss for Australian Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge), who finished less than half a wheel from upsetting his childhood hero Mark Cavendish in their debut duel on the 145-kilometer opening stage of the Tour of Turkey in Alanya Sunday.

The 20-year-old neo-pro told VeloNews prior to the start that racing his long-time idol was a bit surreal.

“I’ve raced guys like [André] Greipel and [Marcel] Kittel before, but this is my first time to race Cav,” said Ewan, who finished third to the pair at the People’s Choice Classic prior to the Santos Tour Down Under last year. “He was like an idol for me growing up, so to be here racing against him is pretty exciting, but obviously I’m here to try to beat him.”

And nearly beat him he did, coming within inches of crossing the line first.

After a five-man break launched an attack within the first 10km and extended its lead to more than 3:35, the peloton led by Lotto-Soudal, Etixx-Quick-Step, and Torku SekerSpor closed the gap before Ewan found himself joined by teammates Jens Mouris, Magnus Cort, and Adam Blythe on the front with 4km to go.

Unfortunately for Ewan, that’s when things began to unravel a bit.

“Just before we turned onto the main road we were a bit back and it was really hectic with lots of close calls,” Ewan told VeloNews after the stage. “I just said to the guys we will go to the front and if we run out of guys, Adam knows what he’s doing so he can drop back and slot in somewhere, as I felt it was better to be there than lost throughout the bunch.

“But we ended up losing each other anyway.”

According to the 2014 UCI under-23 road worlds silver medalist, the finish was a mad scramble with riders recklessly jockeying for position with 2km to go.

“It was just really hectic with lots of people doing silly stuff and risking it all to get Cav’s and Greipel’s wheel,” Ewan said. “It wasn’t a great finish and it wasn’t very safe — it’s not good to race like that.”

Cavendish picked up his fourth stage win (seventh overall) of the season and incurred a scolding from Greipel afterward, who finished eighth to “hold his line.” The “Manx Missile” believes Ewan has a bright career ahead of him, but he questions Orica’s support for its future franchise player.

“I don’t know if Orica-GreenEdge has so much faith in him,” Cavendish said at the post-race press conference when asked by VeloNews about his thoughts on Ewan. “They don’t ride for a sprint. They didn’t put anybody in to have a pull, which is a bit of a shame because he came close.

“Hopefully they’ll put some more faith in him and ride him to the sprint, as I’m sure he will deliver in the future.”

When pressed further by the media regarding the potential rivalry between the two sprinters, the 29-year-old Cavendish responded humorously.

“I’m not sure, there’s been many, many people in my career that beat me once and then they get a big contract,” he said with a grin. “Usually Lampre picks up everybody that beats me once in a season.”

Ewan’s teammates Blythe and Cort were quick to give their perspective on how the closing kilometers unfolded.

“We lost each other, sadly,” Blythe told VeloNews. “Caleb was slowing for me with 2k to go. I think if I would have went back I would’ve been useless, so I thought I would just try and hold my position and hopefully he would ride a few wheels up to me, but he didn’t.

“Magnus did a super turn for me, but we just lost each other.”

The 22-year-old Cort, a three-time Tour of Denmark stage winner, admits both he and the team have a lot to learn in terms of delivering Ewan to the finish.

“This was my first time in a leadout,” admitted Cort. “I’m not used to working for others in a sprint, but it’s good experience and it’s something I have to learn.

“I think the whole team still has to work on it.”

Blythe believes nerves may have gotten the better of Ewan and had he held his wheel a bit longer, perhaps he could have rolled past Cavendish.

“This was Caleb’s first time sprinting with a leadout against the big guys and I think he was just a bit nervous going into it,” said Blythe. “I think if he rode with the team a bit more it might have been a bit easier for him.

“This is definitely a learning experience, but it’s good that’s he up there and he’s kicking around and I think that’s the main thing.

Ewan agreed.

“Obviously, I take a great deal of confidence going forward from here,” concluded Ewan, who has already recorded five wins in his first full professional season. “Now I actually know I can be competitive against these guys, and hopefully there’s a little bit more respect in the bunch come tomorrow.”

Aaron S. Lee is a cycling and triathlon columnist for Eurosport and a guest contributor to VeloNews.

The post Ewan nearly beats ‘idol’ Cavendish in Tour of Turkey opener appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/ewan-nearly-beats-idol-cavendish-in-tour-of-turkey-opener_368045/feed 0
After Liege runner-up, Alaphilippe happy to work for others http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/after-liege-runner-up-alaphilippe-happy-to-work-for-others_368032 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/after-liege-runner-up-alaphilippe-happy-to-work-for-others_368032#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:37:10 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=368032

Julian Alaphilippe (left) finished a close second in Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The 22-year-old Frenchman insists he will continue to work for his teammates despite a strong Ardennes run

The post After Liege runner-up, Alaphilippe happy to work for others appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Julian Alaphilippe (left) finished a close second in Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

ANS, Belgium (AFP) — French revelation Julian Alaphilippe admitted he was frustrated at missing out on a prestigious victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege but claimed he was happy with his support role for world champion Michal Kwiatkowski.

The 22-year-old was beaten only by Alejandro Valverde in sprint finishes at Liege on Sunday and four days before that at Fleche-Wallonne after Kwiatkowski had cracked in the final kilometers.

And having already finished seventh at Amstel Gold a week before Liege, where 25-year-old Kwiatkowski triumphed, Alaphilippe was arguably his Etixx-Quick-Step team’s star performer in the Ardennes.

But the humble rider refused to demand an improved status within the team, saying he will bide his time for the chance to lead.

“I assure you my status hasn’t changed, I’ll keep working for my team,” insisted Alaphilippe.

“I was very happy to finish second at Fleche but Kwiatkowski was the leader [at Liege], he’d prepared for that.

“It’s the situation that changed at the end and you have to adapt.

“Maybe I’ll be leader someday but for the moment I do what team asks me to do, until that changes.”

Despite riding both Fleche and Liege for the first time, Alaphilippe proved inexperience was no barrier, but he admitted it was still frustrating to come so close at both without winning.

“I don’t know if you can say I’m a perfectionist but I’m someone who likes to win every race I’m in,” he said.

“When I start a race, I want to win it, so I can’t be happy with second and when you get so close, it’s frustrating.”

But the youngster admitted there was little he could do to deny an on-form Valverde.

“Yes, I could have won but it’s still satisfying to come second in your first Liege-Bastogne-Liege,” he said, somewhat contradicting himself.

“I was a bit behind in the last kilometer. Everyone was looking at Alejandro Valverde, he was the big favorite.

“We knew he was the strongest, at 400m to go he chased down the escapee.

“There was a slight gap and I put in a big effort to close it before the last bend.

“Everyone was a bit tired there, I was blocked a bit by Rui Costa but that didn’t impede me much.

“Valverde was too strong.”

Nonetheless, Alaphilippe believes his time will come.

“I’m happy with my form, these are courses I trained for. I did everything to arrive in form.

“I know that hard work pays off, it’s satisfying to get results like this in big races.

“In the future it doesn’t change much for me, but I’m calm in my ability to progress. I’m not getting worked up, I’m happy with the way things are going and I’m in a good team.”

The post After Liege runner-up, Alaphilippe happy to work for others appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/after-liege-runner-up-alaphilippe-happy-to-work-for-others_368032/feed 0
Gallery: Liege-Bastogne-Liege http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/gallery-liege-bastogne-liege-2_367959 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/gallery-liege-bastogne-liege-2_367959#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 20:36:46 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=367959

Across the line first for the third time. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Tim De Waele is on hand with his shutter snapping as Alejandro Valverde wins his third Liège-Bastogne-Liège

The post Gallery: Liege-Bastogne-Liege appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>

Across the line first for the third time. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The post Gallery: Liege-Bastogne-Liege appeared first on VeloNews.com.

]]>
http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/04/news/gallery-liege-bastogne-liege-2_367959/feed 0