Cycling News


O'Connor excited for Giro d'Italia debut after breakthrough Tour of the Alps
April 20, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Ben O'Connor headed home from the Tour of the Alps with the best young rider's white jersey and bucket loads of confidence as he prepares for his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia. The 22-year-old from Western Australia won stage 3 to Merano with an impressive solo attack after the climbs of the day. He then kept his head, finished fifth in Innsbruck and so even moved up to seventh overall, 1:33 down on overall winner Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ). "To get the reward as best young rider is brilliant," he told Cyclingnews happily, as he checked his hair in the reflection of his soigneur's sunglasses for his moment on the podium.ADVERTISEMENT "It's always great for young guys like me to aim towards goals but winning a stage at a race like the Tour of the Alps is extremely difficult if you're young like I am. Success takes time, as does GC racing. To be good every single day is bloody hard." O'Connor revealed he even overcame a late, nerve-racking puncture. "I felt really relaxed. I don't know why. Maybe because it was confidence, maybe it was just the demeanour of being generally more relaxed about how you ride things. You can read more at More...
Valverde vows to return to Fleche Wallonne fray for sixth title
April 18, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
There are plenty of cliches out there about nothing lasting forever, but five years represent an eternity in the intense world of Classics racing. So when Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) failed to triumph in La Flche Wallonne on Wednesday for the fifth April in a row, it represented a shocking defeat with a capital S. But if Valverde was disappointed, he did not show it too much, pointing out afterwards that he had been the rider that ran Alaphilippe the closest and promised to return to the fray in the years to come. At the same time, as Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Soudal), the other rider on the Flche Wallonne podium pointed out, from the moment the race had tackled the Mur for the first time, and the attacks began to rain down on Movistar, "it had felt different to other years.ADVERTISEMENT "For the first time in five years, it was as if we all realised that to beat Valverde; we had to put him under pressure well before the finish." Sitting in the press conference, where - to his immense credit - Valverde seemed as happy to answer questions after finishing second as he had done when he won, the Movistar leader recognised that it had been a higher-pressure race than other years. "Everybody raced hard against me, but it was clear that I was the man to beat, and that's normal. At the start of the race, I was the big favourite. But I'm still going away feeling pleased with how I raced because I did everything I could. You can read more at More...
Pinot takes the lead at Tour of the Alps, avoids Froome's salbutamol case
April 18, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) lost the Tour of the Alps to Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) by just six seconds in 2017 but promised not to miss out this year. The Frenchman blew the race apart with his instinctive aggression on stage 3 to Merano and pulled on the fuchsia leader's jersey. Pinot dragged an attack away on the Passo della Mendola with 50km to go with long surges of speed, exposing the weakness of both Team Sky and Astana. The attack gained a minute on the long climb as Astana and Team Sky argued about who should lead the chase. The time gradually came down as Kenny Elissonde, again, gave his all for his Team Sky leader Chris Froome. TheFrenchman's move was eventually nullified near Merano after Froome tucked and dived his way down the long descent. Pinot's descending skills again let him down, but he still had the strength to win the sprint behind lone, late-race attacker Ben O'Connor (Dimension Data), who was initially part of Pinot's move.ADVERTISEMENT Race leader Ivan Sosa (Androni Giocattoli) crashed on the descent, losing four minutes and so Pinot's name rang out across Merano as he was declared the new race leader. "It's great to take the jersey. It makes up for last year," Pinot explained after the podium ceremony. "Thomas attacked and gained time on me while I pulled back some seconds thanks to time bonuses. But he was stronger, and it wasnt enough to win." Natural aggression but no comment on Froome Only victory is beautiful, even better if in Italy You can read more at More...
Alaphilippe dethrones Valverde as King of La Fleche Wallonne
April 18, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
After four straight years of domination of La Flche Wallonne by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Julian Alaphilippe's defeat of the Spaniard on the Mur de Huy on Wednesday had a real feel of an end of an era. Not since Tom Boonen in 2004-2007 at E3 Harelbeke has a rider remained unbeaten in a major race for so long as Valverde in Flche Wallonne. And if by some twist of fate, Alaphilippe were to stop racing tomorrow, his defeat of Valverde on the Mur de Huy will be seen by many as the standout moment of his career. Victory in La Flche Wallonne is the first Classic win of Alaphilippe's career, too, as well as France's first in the race since Laurent Jalabert back in 1997. But as Alaphilippe was quick to admit afterwards, it was beating Valverde, dubbed the King of the Mur de Huy since 2014, that made it even more exceptional.ADVERTISEMENT "I've been twice on the podium here before today and the first time [in 2015] was a surprise, and the second the confirmation of my earlier result," Alaphilippe said. "But I really needed to win a big race, and to do that and get my first Flche Wallonne ahead of Valverde is something very special." Explaining his lack of celebrations as he crossed the line, Alaphilippe revealed that "I didn't think I had won. I thought [Vincenzo] Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) was still ahead after breaking away. Then my cousin, who was waiting on the line, told me I had got it." You can read more at More...
Pinot shows form for the Giro d'Italia despite limited racing days
April 17, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) had only raced for nine days before starting the Tour of the Alps but showed he is on form as his double assault on the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France nears, finishing second on stage 2's mountain finish at Alpe di Pampeago behind Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana). Pinot dug deep on the steep final kilometres to the ski resort. He made one attack after Chris Froome (Team Sky) tried an acceleration but when he realised that it was impossible to get away into the headwind, he focused on being well placed for the sprint to the line. Lopez had the extra speed to kick ahead and win the stage but Pinot was able to beat new race leader Ivan Sosa (Androni Giocattoli) and distance Froome, finishing four seconds ahead of the Briton. He also gained a six-second time bonus for second place and so is now second overall, six seconds down on the young Colombian and ten seconds the better of Froome.ADVERTISEMENT Pinot crossed the finish line with his tongue out and his jersey open. After being pushed up the steep road by his Groupama-FDJ soigneur, he stopped and emptied a bottle of fluids. "It was a small group sprint so I thought I had a good chance," Pinot said, trying to hide his disappointment. "But it was very tactical because there was a headwind in the final kilometre, so you couldn't go from too far out, and you couldn't afford to make too many efforts. I was looking for the stage win because it's always important to win, but I was beaten in the sprint." You can read more at More...
Bardet previews 'spectacular' Tour de France stage 5
April 13, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) rode 85km of stage 5 of this year's Tour de France to Quimper in Brittany in a training session on Friday. The final 37km also feature in Saturday's Tour du Finistre, where Richie Porte, Tejay van Garderen (both BMC) and Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic) will also combine racing with vital Tour de Francereconnaissance. "It'll be a spectacular stage," Bardet said of the rolling, twisting stage, which is held the day before the double ascent to Mr-de-Bretagne. Bardet first made a name for himself at WorldTour level at the 2012 Amstel Gold Race, when he attacked in the finale of the race. Instead of competing in the Dutch event again on Sunday, he has opted to line up at the French Cup race Tour du Finistre on Saturday. He will then compete at Flche Wallonne (April 18) and Lige-Bastonge-Lige (April 22).ADVERTISEMENT "I wanted a change from my routine," Bardet told Cyclingnews at the end of a training session in the charming village of Locronan. "Tour du Finistre, being on Saturday, leaves one more day to prepare for my first Monument this season. It'll give me the speed in the legs that I need to tackle Lige-Bastogne-Lige. "I would have liked to take part in the Tro Bro Leon on Sunday but I need to save some energy for the following Sunday. Instead, Ive added the Flche Wallonne, which wasn't part of my initial plans but is also part of the process. It suits me less than Lige-Bastogne-Lige but I'll do it purely for training. I intend to make efforts in the finale, but I don't want to spread my goals. I'm looking forward to Lige." You can read more at More...
Cyclingnews Films: The Holy Week - Excerpt
April 13, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Cyclingnews highly anticipated debut film " The Holy Week " will be released on Vimeo on Monday April 16 at 14:00 CET. The film captures the emotions of one of the most compelling Classics campaigns of recent years, from the tension before the Tour of Flanders to the drama and thrilling finale of the velodrome finish at Paris-Roubaix. It tells the story of Quick-Step Floors domination on home roads at the Tour Flanders and how Peter Sagan and Bora-Hansgrohe defeated them and the rest of the peloton on the pave of Paris-Roubaix.ADVERTISEMENT The Cyclingnews film crew went behind the scenes with the biggest teams and followed the major Classics contenders, including Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Niki Terpstra, Philippe Gilbert and their teammates. We were granted exclusive access to team reconnaissance rides, the intimacy of the team buses, the massage table, post-race celebration parties and rider de-briefs. We bring new light on the dynamics within teams and showcase why the cobbled Classics hold such a special place within our sport. Last week we revealed a teaser of what is to come and above is an exclusive excerpt. This time we have behind the scenes footage, featuring Peter Sagan, Daniel Oss and the Bora-Hansgrohe team as they recon the Paris-Roubaix pave. You can read more at More...
Watch Sunny King Criterium live streaming on Cyclingnews
April 07, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The Sunny King Criterium will kick off the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour on Sunday, April 8 in Anniston, Alabama. Watch the women's and men's events live streaming right here on Cyclingnews. The women's race starts 6:20 p.m. followed by the men's race at 7:30 p.m. local time. Sunny King Criterium signifies the start of criterium season. It attracts a fun crowd because it coincides with a community festival, live music and a jumbotron showcasing the races for everyone to watch.The women's and men's races are held under the streetlights of historical Anniston after sundown. Races are held on a one-kilometre rectangular circuit with all left-hand turns; a long drag uphill through the start-finish line follows with tight back-to-back corners before a long downhill stretch into the last two corners. It's a battle for position heading into turn three and straight into turn four with only 200 metres uphill to the finish line.ADVERTISEMENT Organisers offer equal prize purses across both fields is set at $12,500. The women will race for 60 minutes and the men for 60 laps. You can read more at More...
Paris-Roubaix: Dimension Data underdogs in search of luck
April 07, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Ravaged by injuries to several high-profile riders, and without a clear favourite, Dimension Data head into Paris-Roubaix hoping that fortune will be on their side. The team are missing Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, and Scott Thwaites through injury, while perennial Classics hope, Edvald Boasson Hagen, is still searching for his best from having had his spleen removed during the off-season. The Norwegian claimed fourth in Dwars door Vlaanderen before finishing 19th at the Tour of Flanders, and having finished fifth in Paris-Roubaix two seasons ago, will be looking for a strong performance. Julian Vermote dislocated his shoulder in the Tour of Flanders but is scheduled to race this Sunday.ADVERTISEMENT For directeur sportif, Rolf Aldag, the weather for Paris-Roubaix will be a significant factor. Although rain is not scheduled for Sunday the recent wet weather has left several sectors of cobbles covered in thick mud. Im not a weatherman so I cant predict what it will be like on race day but as far as our recon was concerned on Thursday, Ive never seen conditions like that before, Aldag said. Aldag was one of the few riders to race and finish the last truly wet Paris-Roubaix back in 2002, finishing 25th on a day that saw less than 45 riders make it to the velodrome. You can read more at More...
Demare carries French hopes at Paris-Roubaix
April 06, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
After completing his reconnaissance of the Paris-Roubaix cobbles on Thursday, Arnaud Dmare (Groupama-FDJ) was at least able to see the funny side of his exclusion from Scheldeprijs the previous afternoon for ignoring a closing level crossing, quipping to reporters that "all of the lights are green," for the countdown to Sunday. The long wait for a French winner of Paris-Roubaix is not quite as long as the gap since the last home Tour de France champion " 21 years as opposed to 33 " but while Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot have shared the tag of being the men most likely to emulate Bernard Hinault, Dmare is currently France's only realistic contender for victory in the Hell of the North. Dmare's entourage includes the last Frenchman to triumph in the Roubaix velodrome, Frdric Guesdon. The Groupama-FDJ directeur sportif believes that Dmare has drawn considerable confidence from his sixth place a year ago after several years of ill fortune in the race he covets above all others.ADVERTISEMENT "He hadn't got results in Paris-Roubaix before last year other than as a junior and amateur, although that gives you confidence too," Guesdon told Cyclingnews. He would know " Guesdon finished second in the amateur Paris-Roubaix in 1994, three years before his triumph as a professional. "Finishing sixth last year was a big moment for Arnaud," Guesdon continued. "It gave him a lot of motivation for this season. He's coming in with a lot of confidence this year because he went well last time around and his physical condition is very good at the moment." With an eye to the Tour de France as much as to the Classics, Dmare has raced more sparingly in the early weeks of the season than he did last year, skipping Etoile de Bessges and starting his campaign at the Volta ao Algarve. Better suited to Paris-Roubaix Remembering 1997 You can read more at More...
Pedersen to play team role at Paris-Roubaix despite Flanders podium
April 06, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
A week ago, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) had just taken his best ever result at a Classic with a commendable fifth place at Dwars door Vlaanderen. A few days later he would be standing on the podium in Oudenaarde after claiming second place at the Tour of Flanders. A week ago, Pedersen was a relative unknown, his Danish champion's jersey the easiest way of identifying the second-year Trek-Segafedo neo-pro. This Thursday, he was sat alongside John Degenkolb and Jasper Stuyven introduced by the team as a rider gunning for glory on Sunday at Paris-Roubaix. For now, Pedersen is keeping his feet firmly on the ground ahead Paris-Roubaix. Despite the breakthrough performance at last weekend's Tour of Flanders, the 22-year-old Dane says he will still play a support role for his two leaders Degenkolb and Stuyven.ADVERTISEMENT "Exactly the same as it was on Sunday morning," Pedersen said when asked what his feelings were ahead of Paris-Roubaix. "We are still here with two leaders for Sunday and my role will be exactly the same again. For sure, it gives me some more confidence for Roubaix but the feeling will be exactly the same. I know that we are doing exactly the same and the team is super strong and now I know that I can be in the final in the longer races. The feeling is really good and I'm confident that I can be in the final to help the guys. "I'm still young. I still have something to learn. We have two big guys here and they are for sure 100 per cent the leaders, like the last races also." From a sore loser to team player Stuyven ready for another good result You can read more at More...
Paris-Roubaix reconnaissance - Gallery
April 05, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Three days before the start of Paris-Roubaix, many of the riders took to the route to test their equipment, their legs and their skills on the cobblestone sections of the course. World Champion Peter Sagan was among those who went out with his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates to find several of the sectors covered in thick mud. "It's okay, it's once a year," Sagan told Wielerkrant. "A dry or wet edition makes a world of difference, it changes the style of the course."ADVERTISEMENT Sagan finished a disappointed sixth in the Tour of Flanders after taking a stellar victory in Gent-Wevelgem. He described his form as "good enough". "I'm not bad, but also not super. Good enough, I'd say." The prospect of a muddy Paris-Roubaix will thrill many fans, but with sun and warm temperatures forecast for the coming days, much of the mud will turn to dust. " BORA " hansgrohe (@BORAhansgrohe) April 5, 2018 " Dylan Groenewegen (@GroenewegenD) April 5, 2018 " Team Sky (@TeamSky) April 5, 2018 " Paris-Roubaix (@Paris_Roubaix) April 5, 2018 " Paris-Roubaix (@Paris_Roubaix) April 5, 2018 " Team COFIDIS (@TeamCOFIDIS) April 5, 2018 You can read more at More...
Australia sets new men's team pursuit world record at Commonwealth Games
April 05, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Australia dominated the opening day of Commonwealth Games competition on the track at theAnna Meares Velodromein Brisbane, winning three gold medals and a bronze. The first day consisted of the team events; the Team Sprint and Team Pursuit, for both men and women. Games or World records were set in every event. The Australian team had skipped the recent world championships, deciding to focus on the Games, and it clearly paid off. In the women's Team Pursuit, the Australian team of Alexandra Manly, Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Amy Cure, qualified first and then set a new Games record of 4:15.214 in the medal final, catching the New Zealand team on the finish line. Canada beat England for bronze. The Australian men's Team Pursuit squad went one better; breaking the world record set by Great Britain at the Rio Olympics. The Australian team of Leigh Howard, Sam Welsford, Kelland O'Brien and Alex Porter recorded a time of 3:49.804, the first ever sub-3:50 time. Canada took bronze ahead of Wales, after New Zealand had been disqualified for riding the qualifying round with handlebars that did not meet regulations.ADVERTISEMENT "This is a dream come true," said Welsford. "We've had our eye on the medal for such a long time, and to go under 3.50 - for that to happen is unreal. I'm over the moon with excitement. We're in our home country. That is what dreams are made of. This is what we strive for every day." The Australian team took their third title in the women's Team Sprint, with Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton setting a Games record of 32.488 seconds. New Zealand won silver, with England taking bronze. McCulloch said, "Really, really pumped with that tonight. Commonwealth Games champions. That time tonight would have won us the world champs. We're certainly looking strong as we head towards Tokyo (2020 Olympic Games)." You can read more at More...
Stybar: Other teams must focus on themselves, not Quick-Step Floors
April 05, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Zdenek Stybar says that other teams must focus on their own tactics and not those of Quick-Step Floors if they hope to beat them at this weekend's Paris-Roubaix. Quick-Step Floors have been, far and away, the team to beat at this year's Classics, with nine of their 24 victories so far this season coming on home soil, plus a handful of other podium places to speak of. Heading into the final cobbled Classic of the spring, the rest of the pack will be trying to prevent them from doing what they've done so often in 2018, but Stybar says that would be wrong. "I think that everyone needs to do their own races. I think if they look only at us then they are not on the right way. We are doing our own race with our tactic and I think that they need to do the same," Stybar told Cyclingnews at the start of Wednesday's Scheldeprijs.ADVERTISEMENT As has been the case so often throughout their spring campaign, Quick-Step Floors has more cards to play than they have domestiques in their line-up. It has served them well thus far, with Dwars door Vlaanderen winner Yves Lampaert telling the Belgian press recently that the departure of the teams talisman has "freed" them. There have been times when Quick-Step Floors have been the embodiment of 'too many cooks spoil the broth' but they are riding on a wave at the moment and they have no plans to change their approach to racing. "I think the morale can't be much better than right now. Everybody is in good shape, everybody is really motivated and now we are just going from race to race," explained Stybar. "I think like with any other race that we've done until today, we have again four guys who can win. I don't think that the tactic will change, but we'll see how the weather will be and the conditions and I think that we will race how we did before." You can read more at More...
Tom Boonen: Peter Sagan needs to 'keep his mouth shut' over lack of cooperation from rivals
April 05, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Peter Sagan "has to keep his mouth shut" and stop complaining about the lack of cooperation he gets from the peloton, Tom Boonen has said. The World champion always tries to benefit from the work of other teams, but does not return that help, Boonen suggested. After missing out on success at the Tour of Flanders Sagan questioned the tactics of his rivals who struggled to take on Quick-Step Floors this spring."There is no cooperation to fight against the Quick-Step block. They work against me and do not want to cooperate, so Quick-Step can do what it wants," Sagan said. During the Belgian television show Extra Time Koers" Boonen suggested that was hypocritical. Since retiring from racing last spring, Boonen has been a expert commentator on Belgian television and tipped Niki Terpstra to win the Tour of Flanders.ADVERTISEMENT "A lack of cooperation? He is always on someone's wheel," Boonen said of Sagan, unafraid to criticise the world champion. Boonen added: "I don't think Sagan really should talk about a lack of cooperation. He is the one who always starts to drag. He looks to see what is going on, and then he comes forward once and starts waving his hand. If you do that you have to keep your mouth shut. Boonen, who won the Tour of Flanders three times and Paris-Roubaix four times, added: "He always tries to benefit from the work of other teams. There is nothing wrong with that, but then you do not have to say afterwards 'they do not work with me'." You can read more at More...
Demare, Groenewegen disqualified from Scheldeprijs for ignoring level crossing
April 04, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Arnaud Dmare (Groupama-FDJ) and DylanGroenwegen(LottoNL-Jumbo), two of the pre-race favourites to win the Scheldeprijs, have been expelled from the race for violating the UCI's level crossing rules. The race had been split into several echelons when the level crossing lights began to flash after the first group went over the tracks. Dmare and Groenewegen were part of a second group that crossed over just as the gates began to descend, and were halted by the motorcycle official further down the road.ADVERTISEMENT The UCI toughened up the level crossing rules after the 2015 Paris-Roubaix, when a group of riders jumped around the closing gates and crossed the tracks just ahead of a high-speed train. Here is a list of the riders disqualified:Arnaud Demare (FDJ), Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin), Kris Boeckmans (Vital Concept Club), Dylan Groenewegen, Timo Roosen and Amund Grondahl Jansen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Christian Knees and Ian Stannard (Team Sky), Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal), Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport), Riccardo Minali and Hugo Houle (Astana), Davide Martinelli (Quick-Step Floors), Rudiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe), Roy Curvers (Team Sunweb). You can read more at More...
Bettini: Its time for Alaphilippe to win the Ardennes Classics
April 04, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Julian Alaphilippes second consecutive stage victory at the Vuelta a Pais Vasco gave Quick-Step Floorstheir 23rd win of the 2018 season and confirmed the aggressive Frenchman as a major contender for the Ardennes Classics, and especially Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The Frenchmans natural aggression, his ability to jump away on climbs and then defeat his rivals with a powerful final sprint have sparked comparisons with Paolo Bettini. Bettini - nicknamed Il Grillo - the Cricket for his aggressive style, completed his transformation from team player to team leader in 2000, when he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege while riding for Mapei-Quick-Step. He stayed with Patrick Lefeveres team for the rest of his career, going on to win a second Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2002, two world title in 2006 and 2007, Milan-San Remo in 2003 and Il Lombardia in 2005 and 2006.ADVERTISEMENT Alaphilippe rose through the Quick-Step development team and his career seems set to follow a similar trajectory to Bettinis. The ever-cheerful Frenchman turned professional in 2014 after also taking second in the junior Cyclocross World Championships. He will lead Quick-Step Floors in the Ardennes Classics later this month, in the hope of transforming his run of placings into career defining victories. Bettini believes it is Alaphilippes time. You can read more at More...
Kittel expects echelon threat at Scheldeprijs
April 04, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Despite being the overwhelming favourite to win his sixth Scheldeprijs title on Wednesday, Marcel Kittel is aware that echelons could be the biggest obstacle standing in his way. A vastly modified course sees the race start in the Netherlands with 130km of the 200km parcours run through the country before heading into Belgium. The roads through Zeeland will be of particular importance with North Sea winds holding the potential of splitting the field on the often exposed roads. Ive seen the new course. When it goes through Zeeland you know its not going to be easy. Its always windy there. I took a look at it, and its going to be on small roads, Kittel said on the eve of the race. For sure theres going to be a moment when we have echelons. You almost cant avoid it. We need to stay together as a team and see how good we can sit in the front group with as many riders as possible.ADVERTISEMENT Kittel, 29, has not raced since Milan-San Remo but has a powerful Katusha-Alpecin team backing him. The teams main engine will centre around Tony Martin, while Rick Zabel and Marco Haller will be charged with leading Kittel out in the bunch sprint. Before reaching that point, Kittel and his teammates must overcome the possibility of echelons and control their rivals. Quick-Step Floors, who have been so dominant this spring, will race with an experienced team. Elia Viviani is absent as he rests up and prepares for the Giro d'Italia with Alvaro Hodeg and Fabio Jakobsen given a chance to shine. Quick-Step Floors will be expected to try and split the race, if the wind picks up. Kittel, however, realises that his team must be on their guard. You can read more at More...
The Bell Lap Criterium Series - Riders to Watch
April 04, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
It takes a special kind of rider to succeed in a criterium. Crit specialists must be fearless, possess incredible bike handling skills, and of course, have the finishing kick to win at the end. This month marks the unofficial start of criterium season in the United States, so as part of Cyclingnews' ongoing Bell Lap Series criterium coverage, we broke down which riders we expect to see at the front of the races this year, where to see them, and who might surprise in 2018. From sprinters to breakaway experts, these are your 2018 criterium favorites. Daniel Holloway Arguably the criterium king of the United States, Daniel Holloway (Texas Roadhouse) will return as a heavy favourite as he targets the USA Crits series this year. The 2010 pro criterium national champion and three-time elite criterium national champion spent his winter racing on the track with the US National Team, where he earned a gold in the Omnium at the UCI Track World Cup in Santiago, Chile. Watch for repeats at early season races like Athens Twilight, a race that Holloway has won twice - out of a two-man breakaway in 2014 and in a chaotic field sprint in 2015 - proving his versatility in any situation. The Colorado-based sprinter is also known to target big money races, so the $25,000 prize list for the Atlantic City Resurgence Fest Criterium in September should prove enticing at the end of the season as well.ADVERTISEMENT Erica Allar Reigning criterium national champion Erica Allar returns with her Rally squad for a full season this year, with plans to start her criterium and Pro Road Tour (PRT) campaigns at the Sunny King Criterium, a race she won in 2012 and was second in last year. Allar is in a unique position on the team, as Rally, like many teams, has placed increased focus on UCI road and stage races in recent years, spending more time in Europe and less time racing in the US. But Rally has allowed Allar to maintain a fairly healthy criterium schedule, often racing by herself or with just a few teammates but still finding results. Allar is unique in the fact that she can sprint but also survive difficult races, as demonstrated during the national championships last year, which saw Allar in a two-rider break with Lauren Stephens, only to have the race neutralized and restarted with six laps to go. The two stayed away despite the short restart, and Allar outsprinted Stephens for the stars and stripes jersey. Watch for Allar at races like Tulsa Tough this year; she won the Blue Dome Criterium there in 2017 and took second in the iconic River Parks Criterium featuring Crybaby Hill. Peta Mullens Tina Pic Ryan Aitcheson John Murphy Megan Jastrab Michael Hernandez Travis McCabe Pro Continental Wildcards You can read more at More...
Hammer Series set for Hong Kong
April 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The organisers of the Hammer Series events have announced a third race for 2018, with a one-day event on Sunday October 14 to be held alongside the successful Hong Kong Cyclothon mass-participation event. The 2018 Hammer Series will include the second edition of the Hammer Limburg in the Netherlands (June 1-13) and the first edition of the Hammer Stavanger in Norway (May 25-27). The Hammer Series was created by the Velon group of major teams who are have joined forces to find addition sources of revenue, and take on the historic race organisers, who control the sport. Velon also produce in-race rider data and on-board video content and negotiates team participation for some races. Team Sky, BMC, EF Education First-Drapac, Quick-Step Floors, Team Sunweb and Trek-Segafredo are all part of the 11 Velon teams, with Dimension Data, Cofidis and Israel Cycling Academy amongst seven other teams that recently became partners. Velon agreed a ten-year partnership with sports marketing company Infront, who is organising the Hammer Series. Infront is owned by the Chinese Wanda Group that also organises the Tour of Guangxi (October 16-21).ADVERTISEMENT All the Velon teams have committed to backing the Hammer Series despite the events often clashing with other established major races. The Hammer Hong Kong event will be held 24 hours after Il Lombardia brings the curtain down on the European season. Were delighted to bring the Hammer Series to Hong Kong for a spectacular finish to the 2018 series, Velon CEO Graham Bartlett said. "We couldnt ask for better partners than the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Sun Hung Kai Properties to bring a fantastic race alive for the fans in Hong Kong and internationally. The teams are all really up for a big finish. The Hammer Series is different to traditional racing because it is based on a team-versus-team format, rather than individual riders and time, with Sprint, Climb and Chase races. The format caused some confusion amongst riders and fans last year but Team Sky managed to win the first ever Hammer Series event in the Netherlands by dominating the final team time trial. You can read more at More...
No Paris-Roubaix for Tiesj Benoot
April 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) has enjoyed a breakthrough spring Classics campaign but the Belgian has opted to stick to his original programme. He will therefore miss Paris-Roubaix and train at altitude so that he can be at his best for the Ardennes Classics. Benoot won Strade Bianche, was fifth at E3 Harelbeke, seventh at Dwars door Vlaanderen and eighth at the Tour of Flanders, making him one of the revelations of the spring. However, much like Michal Kwiatkowski, Benoots lighter physique and climbing ability also makes him an Ardennes contender, hence his decision to head to Spains Sierra Nevada instead of northern France. "I need to charge the batteries a bit and train quietly," Het Nieuwsblad report Benoot as saying. "I want to be good until Lige-Bastogne-Lige. That is why I keep my original programme and do not suddenly drive Paris-Roubaix."ADVERTISEMENT Benoots absence leaves Lotto Soudal looking for a team leader for Paris-Roubaix. Andre Greipel fractured his collarbone at Milan-San Remo and new signing Jens Keukeleire is out of action due to a respiratory infection. Lotto Soudal are hoping that Jens Debusschere and Jasper de Buyst can step up. "We will do it like Quick Step: whoever is the best, has to drive in front," team manager Marc Sergeant said trying to stay optimistic after being again overshadowed by rival Belgian team Quick-Step Floors. I do not know if that will work with us. Fortunately Tiesj Benoot has taken a big step forward this year. He has been making the races and impressed in the Flemish races. Fortunately he won the Strade Bianche." You can read more at More...
Pais Vasco: Opening stage win propels Alaphilippe into GC contention
April 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
With stage 1 victory at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Julian Alaphilippe is well placed for overall victory in the Basque Country. The Frenchman on QuickStep-Floors took the two-up sprint win in Zarautz ahead of Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) and the remnants of the peloton at 23 seconds. Alaphilippe now holds a four-second lead over Roglic with Pello Bilbao (Astana) at 29 seconds and the majority of pre-race favourites a further four seconds in arrears. The win is Alaphilippe's first on European soil since his Vuelta a Espana victory last year and the 22nd of 2018 for QuickStep-Floors. "I am very happy, especially as I got sick after Milano-Sanremo and had to rest before returning to training. I was very motivated after this small setback, so I worked hard to be back at my best," said Alaphilippe. "The plan was to take a stage here and even though we did a recon of the final climb yesterday and on paper it suited me, I didn't know how my legs would react following that break.ADVERTISEMENT "I was focused, smart and strong, I worked well together with Roglic, who too was very strong, and in the end I bided my time before powering to this nice win. A big thanks to my team for protecting me today and to the amazing crowds, who cheered for us before the start and at the finish." Alaphilippe started his season with a stage win at the Colombia Oro y Paz and then placed fourth overall at the Abu Dhabi Tour. The leader's jersey is his first of the 2018 season with a moustache also a new look. And the facial addition is here to stay as the 25-year-old explained. "Everyone in the peloton asked me what was with the moustache. After my teammates the other day, now the other riders came to me and asked if there was any reason behind this new look. To be frank, there wasn't any and I wasn't even focused on it, but now that I won, I'll keep it," he said. You can read more at More...
Caruso hits parked car in final of Pais Vasco opener
April 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
BMC Racing's GC hopes at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco took a severe hit on stage 1 of the race with Damiano Carusohitting a parked car and suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder. Richie Portefinished over seven minutes down on Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep-Floors) and is also out of contention for the overall. Caruso, off the back of his second place at Tirreno-Adriatico, came into the race as BMC's leader. A crash with a parked car in the finale of the stage leaves the Italian in 141st place overall 9:47 minutes down on Alaphilippe. "I feel good now. In the final, before the last climb, it was really chaotic. There were cars on the side of the road and I hit a side mirror of one of the cars with my shoulder," said Caruso. "It was really painful at the time but it doesn't seem to be broken or anything like that. Now I have lost the chance to go for the General Classification. Tomorrow, a new race starts. I'm still motivated and feeling good. Now we will change the goal for the remaining stages."ADVERTISEMENT BMC team doctor Giovanni Ruffini provided further explanation of Caruso's injury, explaining it is unlikely to stop him from continuing the six-stage race. "Damiano hit his shoulder when he crashed into the parked car and after examination, it looks like he may have dislocated that upon impact," said Ruffini. "However, now it is okay. He does have a contusion but the pain is going down. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation but at the moment, he will be able to continue racing." Porte hadn't raced since the Volta ao Algarve in February prior to stage 1 due to due to an upper respiratory infection with BMC announcing pre-race the Australian wouldn't be their main GC rider. Assessing the stage, Porte expressed the disappointment of losing Caruso in the battle for the GC, adding he is hoping to find better form as the race progresses. You can read more at More...
D'hoore: I came up too short on the Kwaremont
April 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Belgian champion Jolien D'hoore was sanguine after finishing 12th at last Sunday's Tour of Flanders. Having watched the race as a child, the Mitchelton-Scott rider has coveted victory at her home event for some years, but could not hold on to the front group when the race hit the final testing climbs. "I did a perfect race, I felt good, but I came up too short on the Kwaremont," the 28-year-old told Cyclingnews. "The is nothing I could do about it, I couldn't go any faster, so I can't blame myself." Wearing the distinctive purple jersey of the Women's WorldTour individual leader, D'hoore was visible near the front throughout the opening 120km and crested the Muur van Geraardsbergen in a small leading group.ADVERTISEMENT However, coming in the chaotic aftermath of a huge crash, those leaders were disorganised, and the race came back together. Though D'hoore started the Kruisberg with the leaders, when the Boels-Dolmans team of eventual winner Anna van der Breggen put pressure on the front, she slipped inexorably backwards and was unable to get back on terms over the remaining 27km. She eventually finished behind fellow sprinter Kirsten Wild (Wiggle-High5) in the bunch sprint for 11th place, 1.48 behind the winner, but enjoyed her day nonetheless. "It was fun, Flanders with a bit of rain is always a good race, and I just love it," she smiled. "Unfortunately there were a lot of crashes in the beginning, so it was a bit nervous and hectic, but I just tried to stay in front of the race the whole time, I was feeling great, and I had good legs. It's not a shame; I did a perfect race and cycling is pretty honest in the end." You can read more at More...
Niewiadoma confident ahead of Ardennes Classics despite disappointment in Oudenaarde
April 03, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) admitted to being a bit disappointed with her ninth place at the Tour of Flanders at the weekend, but the Polish rider leaves Belgium with confidence ahead of her targeted Ardennes Classics. Niewiadoma was one of the main protagonists in the final 30 kilometres, but lost out in the final sprint when she got boxed in towards the barriers. She believes that her form is where it needs to be. "For sure, I'm happy with my shape. I think that all my preparations so far are going in the right way," Niewiadoma told Cyclingnews after the finish in Oudenaarde. "I feel that I'm getting stronger and the Ardennes are definitely my favourite races so I feel more comfortable being there. Every race is a lesson for us, so I will keep in mind what happened today heading towards the Ardennes Classics." Niewiadoma's star has been ascending over the past few years, but it was the Ardennes week in 2017 that she firmly put her name on the map, finishing third in all three races. This season, with the backing of her new Canyon-SRAM squad, she has taken a step forward. She took her third consecutive runner-up spot at Strade Bianche " behind Flanders winner Anna van der Breggen " before going on to take her second-ever WorldTour success at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.ADVERTISEMENT "I'm pretty confident," she said of her form for the hilly Classics. "I hope that everything will go well and that I won't get any small sicknesses, or whatever, because there are still two weeks to go. I feel comfortable and we have a strong team so it gives me more confidence that I had before. We are having fun when we are racing together and when you have fun youre happy and you can form really well." Nevertheless, the Tour of Flanders left Niewiadoma with a sense that she could have gotten more out of it. Though she was still trying to process the disappointment and where exactly it had broken down, the 23-year-old admitted that her delayed response to Van der Breggens attack was a large contributing factor in the Boels Dolmans rider getting so far up the road. "I first went after the Kruisberg and then she followed my attack. Somehow, I thought that the other girls would be able to cover it, because I was on the edge after making the first attack," explained Niewiadoma. "I dont know. I should have reacted immediately. I saw that Ellen had attacked and I was on her wheel hoping that she could close the gap but that moment of hesitation cost us a chance at victory. "I knew that I had a few of my riders behind me so I thought that a few groups would come together and, for sure, working together we should be able to close that gap, especially as it was almost 30 kilometres to go and there were big, wide roads with a lot of headwind. I thought that being alone is not the ideal situation so I thought we could work together. We went pretty deep on the Kwaremont but the gap was still growing. She was just flying today." You can read more at More...
Moolman-Pasio edged off the podium at Tour of Flanders - Women's news shorts
April 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla) left it all out on the road Sunday's Tour of Flanders. After an aggressive race, the South African thought that she'd done enough to seal herself only her second WorldTour podium, but was edged out by Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) for the final spot. Moolman-Pasio was part of a select group up front when race winner Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) attacked soon after the Kruisberg. She tried several times to track the Dutch rider down but was eventually brought back by her chasers. "I'm happy with the race in general. Anna just surprised us all. I gave it everything on the Kwaremont, I went solo there, but it wasn't enough to pull Anna back. Then we got caught again from behind, and then Annemiek, Kasia and myself and Amy we went on the Paterberg. We were trying really hard to not let the bunch behind catch us, but unfortunately a few a came from behind for the sprint. I thought that I had third but then Annemiek got me on the line. I'm happy with the race," Moolman-Pasio told Cyclingnews, still composing herself after such a hard effort.ADVERTISEMENT "I expected something to go after the Kruisberg, something always goes there, but Kasia had launched an attack and I followed and then Anna went. It's really hard when you're on your own to try and follow everything." While there was no podium placing, the result is a good indication of Moolman-Pasio's form, particularly with her big goal of the Ardennes Classics on the horizon. "My objective was only to be good for the Ardennes Classics so I think that I'm already ahead of where I want to be, so I'm happy." Brennauer battles illness and impresses at Tour of Flanders Broken ribs and stitches for Fournier after Flanders crash Hosking bruised following crash You can read more at More...
Tour of Flanders - Race debrief
April 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Race: Tour of Flanders (WorldTour)Date: April 1, 2018Distance: 265kmWeather: Rain, turning dry in the final hour Podium:1stNiki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors). Winner's quote: "For some reason, sometimes I'm given a hard time in Flanders. Hopefully, I've stolen a few more cycling hearts in Belgium."Critical point:It would be slightly short-sighted to focus on the race-winning attack in isolation. However, Terpstra's acceleration, as he ghosted up to Vincenzo Nibali on the crest of the Kruisberg,and then soloed away from the Italian on the tarmacked surface of the Hotond, defined the race. As decisive as that moment was, it could have counted for little had the Quick-Step rider not nullified the leaders on the Kwaremont. If the capture of Pedersen, Langeveld and Van Baarle had taken place after the Kwaremont, rather than on it, then the race would have developed in very different manner. In that scenario, the trio would have sat on Terpstra for as long as possible, forcing him to set the pace until he either attacked again or was told to sit up and wait for reinforcements before the Paterberg. Terpstra had the legs and the execution, but he also had timing on his side. It was an all-around masterclass.ADVERTISEMENT Final kilometre:The long and flat run-in to the line offered a panoramic view of several groups fighting for the second and third steps of the podium. Terpstra had more than enough time to savour his win, Pedersen dug in to take second, while Gilbert out-kicked Valgren for third.Early break:After 70 kilometres of racing Filippo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates), Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida), Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data), Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo), Aim De Gendt (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Michael Goolaerts (Veranda's Willems-Crelan), Dimitri Peyskens (WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic), Pim Ligthart and Floris Gerts (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Jimmy Turgis (Cofidis) and Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin) jump clear. Unsung hero:As ever, the Tour of Flanders was littered with impressive rides. From Keisse and Declercq controlling the peloton for much of the early phases, Vanmarcke and Naesen battling back from falls and mechanicals, Nibali having the guts to at least try and attack, and Pedersen putting in a valiant ride to take second place. However, Ivan Garcia Cortina deserves special praise. The 22-year-old Spaniard bossed the early-break and was still in the fray with 200km under his belt. He may have 'only' finished 37th but it was a highly commendable ride for a second-year pro. Bahrain-Merida may be labelled " usually fairly " as an ageing team but they still have the odd young talent to keep things interesting. Most aggressive rider: Aggression can take many forms in a race. Peter Sagan made two late attacks, Mads Pedersen was part of two assaults, while Nibali and Van Avermaet all landed blows. However, successful aggression is about channelling effort in the correct manner. A number of riders attacked but only Terpstra had the power to make it stick. A dangerous-looking group containing Stybar, Nibali, Sagan and Kwiatkowski had slipped clear moments before Nibali's main assault but they were all put in the shade by Terpstra's attack. It was a similar move to his attack in the 2015 edition of the race but the telling feature this time around was that he was alone. Three years ago, Kristoff won the race by hanging onto Terpstra's coattails, but this time the Dutchman was far more clinical.Unluckiest rider: While there were a number of crashes, and untimely, mechanicals, Luke Rowe was in a league of his own when it came to a lack of good fortune. The rules surrounding riders using the pavement in the Classics has always been open to both interpretation and application. During Flanders, there were several instances of riders hopping onto the curb in order to take smoother lines and effectively save energy. If Rowe was to be punished for doing likewise, then he should not have been the sole villain. In this particular case, it wasn't just the application of the rule that caused the issue. Rowe wasn't looking to gain an advantage when he switched his line before a tight right-hand corner. He was clearly trying to avoid crashing into both static riders and a crowd of spectators. He made a split-second decision - and surely the right one " to avoid injuring himself and others, come to a standstill and then carefully make his way back into the field. Race officials have a difficult job, and as with most sporting officialdom, it's the one per cent of wrong decisions that generate outcry and rage, rather than the 99 per cent of correct calls. Disqualifying Rowe was an error and one that could have easily been avoided. Talking point:There were several relating to Quick-Step's domination and the lack of form shown by Sagan and Van Avermaet but the leading question now turns to whether anyone or anything can stop Quick-Step at Paris-Roubaix next weekend. Roubaix is a different race to Flanders; one in which it's harder to ride the opposition off your wheel. Of course, Lefevere's men remain the favourites, but if they can be isolated and miss the main break they will be forced to chase. The responsibility for such a tactic doesn't fall on the likes of a Sagan or Van Avermaet, but their second-string support, such as Bodnar and Bettiol, especially given that Schar and Oss will not be given any freedom. The weather will be important but generally, Roubaix is more open, the break can stay away, a feature that's rarely seen in Flanders. Expert says: "With those weather conditions the race panned out how I expected, with numbers in the finale the key factor. When Quick-Step went it was perfect timing and once again they had the strength to then block their rivals. The race didn't split as much as I expected but what's stood out this year is that although Quick-Step have depth there's no stand-out rider. In the past, we've seen two or three riders above the rest and the others haven't been able to follow. If you're looking for a standout rider of the year, it's Valverde, but on the cobbles, it's been more about strength in depth and then certain riders taking the initiative. Quick-Step really doesn't go into races with one leader, and that's a good tactic when you've got a team like theirs. If you set yourself up with one contender, then you risk losing out due to mechanical, the weather, or bad luck. In a sense, the Quick-Step guys are racing against each other." Matt White. You can read more at More...
Benoot's future remains unwritten at the Tour of Flanders
April 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
This wasn't the ending Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) had in mind. In 2008, as a 14-year-old schoolboy at Don Bosco college in Zwijnaarde, he was given the assignment of composing a piece of science-fiction for his Dutch class. His chosen theme was the 2018 Tour of Flanders. The winner, inevitably, was one T. Benoot. In the here and now on Sunday, however, Benoot had to settle for 8th place in the Ronde behind the lone winner Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors), who punched his way clear on the Kruisberg with 26 kilometres to go, never to be seen again. Benoot reached Oudenaarde 25 seconds down as part of an elite chasing group. His disappointment was palpable as he wheeled to a halt and wiped the grime from his face at the roadside, though he looked to draw some solace from his afternoon when a small group of reporters knotted around him.ADVERTISEMENT "I think Niki was the strongest, that was clear," Benoot said softly. "Behind him, I think I was one of the three strongest riders. You need to have a bit of luck too. Today I gave everything. I think I finished 8th, so its not the big result I wanted, but I was there with the favourites and confirmed my shape." Belgium being Belgium, the young Benoot's essay had been reproduced in full on the eve of the Ronde in Saturday's edition of Het Nieuwsblad. In the fictional version, he clipped away in the final two kilometres to defeat an aging Tom Boonen. In reality, with Tommeke already retired, Benoot lined up in Antwerp on Sunday among those tipped to assume the mantle left behind by the three-time winner of the Ronde. Heartened by his first professional victory at Strade Bianche last month, Benoot has raced on Flemish roads this spring with an assurance that belies his relative youth, placing 5th in Harelbeke and 7th at Dwars door Vlaanderen, and he entered the race with justified expectations of improving on his 5th place on his Ronde debut in 2015. Ardennes " Rob Hatch (@robhatchtv) March 31, 2018 You can read more at More...
Rivera: I didn't have the legs at Tour of Flanders
April 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Defending a title is a notoriously difficult challenge, as Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) has learned over the last few weeks. Rivera lined up in a wet Oudenaarde on Sunday morning for the start of the Tour of Flanders with the number one on her back, as she had done two weeks previously at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. Her defence didnt pan out how she might have hoped, with a 34th placed finish on Sunday. Her Sunweb teammate Ellen van Dijk finished seventh from the bunch sprint behind winner Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans). However, Rivera wouldnt cross the line for another minute after being dropped on the final run of climbs. Despite the team missing out on a podium place, Rivera was upbeat as she looked forward to the coming races.ADVERTISEMENT Ellen tried her best to be up there and the idea was that I would be up there to back her up as a sprinter but I honestly couldnt have made it. It was a hard day as usual. Thats just how it is, she said as she rode back to her team bus in Oudenaarde. For me, I think it was just a bit more of the legs. Its a long season and, like I keep saying, no two seasons can ever be the same. Ill always do my best and try to be in top shape for this part of the season but sometimes it just doesnt work out. We did our best. We put everything on the line today and sometimes there are people that are better. As long as you know that you did everything that you could have done, there is another race next weekend or in two weeks. Rivera could so easily not have finished the day at all, after scraping through a huge crash ahead of the Muur van Geraardsbergen just over 60 kilometres from the finish. With slick roads from the rain, a fall at the front of the bunch sparked a chain reaction behind. In the incident, Roxane Fournier was propelled off her bike and between a wall and a lamp post. Rivera was not too far behind the crash and her back wheel slid out as she braked. A rider next to her was taken out by a tumbling bike, but she somehow picked her way through the carnage. You can read more at More...
Pieters new Women's WorldTour leader
April 02, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Amy Pieters has replaced Jolien D'Hoore at the top of the individual Women's WorldTour rankings after her second-place finish at the Tour of Flanders. Pieters now leads Boels-Dolmans teammate and Tour of Flanders winner, Anna van der Breggen, 440 to 405 points. Pieters is the fourth leader of the rankings after six races, joining D'Hoore, van der Breggen, and Katarzyna Niewiadoma in pulling on the purple jersey. The Ronde van Drenthe winner in March, Pieters' fifth place at Gent-Wevelgem has also assisted in elevating the 26-year-old to top of the rankings. 112 riders have now scored points in the Women's WorldTour rankings. Sitting fifth on the individual standings is Marta Bastianelli (Al"Cipollini) with world champion Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) in sixth on 338 points.ADVERTISEMENT In the young rider classification, Sofia Bertizzolo (Astana) retains her lead with Elisa Balsamo (Valcar"PBM) second, four points in arrears to her tally of 14. Third of the 12 riders to have scored points is Jeanne Korevaar (WaowDeals Pro Cycling) while Susanne Andersen is fourth. In the team rankings, Boels-Dolmans has a mammoth 4,051 points after the opening six events. In second place is Mitchelton-Scott on 3,480 points while third place is currently held by Sunweb on 3,074 points. The next event on the Women's WorldTour calendar is the April 15 Amstel Gold Race to begin the Ardennes week, followed by La Flche Wallonne Fminine and Lige"Bastogne"Lige. In 2017, van der Breggen won all three Ardennes classics with teammate Lizzie Deignan taking second place. You can read more at More...
Mark Cavendish aiming to return at Tour of California after Milan-San Remo crash
April 01, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) is targeting a return to action at the Tour of California following his heavy crash in the finale of Milan-San Remo last month. The Manxman has endured an ill-starred beginning to the 2018 season, as crashes forced him out of the Abu Dhabi Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. He sustained an ankle injury and a fractured rib in the most recent incident after flipping over some traffic furniture at speed. Cavendish will hope to kick-start his build-up to the Tour de France by returning to the peloton at the Tour of California, which takes place from May 13-19. He will then seek to add to his running tally of 30 stage victories at the Tour de France.ADVERTISEMENT Id like at least to make California. Thats another six weeks away, so I should be all right, Cavendish told the Observer. I dont know how my fitness will be but I should be all right. At least if I can come back by then I should be all right for the Tour. Cavendish told the Observer that he has not yet resumed training on the road, but has been riding on the turbo trainer for up to an hour. He spent part of the last week in Belgium receiving treatment and he was among the former Quick-Step riders who attended a dinner to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the companys involvement in professional cycling on Friday evening. Im pretty happy to be back on the turbo trainer after a crash like that. Ive been riding through the pain to do it, said Cavendish, who confirmed that he will not compete in this months Commonwealth Games, his second time in succession to miss the event through injury. You can read more at More...
Uran leads ambitions EF Education First-Drapac into Vuelta al Pais Vasco
April 01, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Rigoberto Uran will lead EF Education First-Drapac's ambition for overall Vuelta al Pais Vasco victory next week. The Colombian will be supported by a strong group of climbers across the six stages in the Basque Country from 2-7 April. With former professional and Basque local Juan Manuel Garate in the car, the team is hoping home ground advantage can assist in its aims for overall victory. "The first stage passes in front of my house," said Garate. "If my family is at home watching the race, I can see them. You can imagine how special this is for me. I know 90 percent of the roads blind."ADVERTISEMENT Joining Uran in his third stage race of the year after winning a stage and placing third at the Colombia Oro y Paz before tenth at Tirreno"Adriatico are Mike Woods, Hugh Carthy, Nate Brown, Brendan Canty, Lawson Craddock and Alex Howes. "With this group, we are going to the race to try to win the general classification," said Garate. "For sure other teams have the same goal, so it will not be easy. We need to pay attention to every single meter." Across the hilly parcours and narrow twisty roads, Garate added full concentration is required at all times from his riders in the bid for overall victory. You can read more at More...
Valverde's successful 2018 continues with GP Miguel Indurain triumph
April 01, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alejandro Valverde's decision to skip the Tour of Flanders has proved fruitful with the Spaniard taking a solo win at the GP Miguel Indurain. Valverde was 11th at Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday and was on the cusp of making his debut at De Ronde. The 37-year-old though decided against racing the Belgian monument to line at Movistar's home race where he added to his 2014 triumph. Valverde was 40th on his season debut at Trofeo Campos, Porreres, Felanitx, Ses Salines, his first race after breaking his kneecap at the 2017 Tour de France, with 11th at Dwars door Vlaanderen his lowest result since. The GP Miguel Indurain is now Valverde's ninth win of the season after also tasting success with stage and overall success at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Abu Dhabi Tour, and Volta a Catalunya. "Yes, another one! I'm super happy to win this race because everything that meant for the team, with that tribute to Jos Miguel Echvarri by the event's organisers. It's always a beautiful event, but I was especially willing to come here this season and be present, because of him," Valverde said of his former team manager.ADVERTISEMENT With two kilometres to race, Valverde made his winning move with time to soak in the occasion and celebration his victory without worry of being caught by Carlos Verona and Nick Schultz who rounded out the podium. "It was a fast race, a quite windy one, yet the team kept everything under control all day, pacing themselves brilliantly," he added. "There were many teams trying to go on the attack into that final circuit -Mitchelton and Katusha were the ones making things hardest for us-, but we make the right moves and at the Eraul climb, I decided to attack and [Carlos] Verona and myself could stay away. Hats off to Carlos, because his performance today against me was excellent." Valverde won't defend his Vuelta a Pais Vasco title from Monday where Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana will lead the team, preferring instead to race the one-day Klasika Primavera next Sunday. The Spanish race his final tune-up before heading to the Ardennes where Valverde is aiming to add to his five La Flche Wallonne and four Lige-Bastogne-Lige titles and win a maiden Amstel Gold Race. You can read more at More...
Peter Sagan and Specialized launch 'Sagan Collection' - Gallery
April 01, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
This article first appeared on BikeRadar. On the eve of the Tour of Flanders,Peter Sagan, Specialized and Bora-Hansgrohe unveiled the 'Sagan Collection', which includes two bikes, a frameset, shoes and a helmet. Designed in conjunction with Sagan, the sparkly product is available for sale now. ADVERTISEMENT Peter Sagan's 'Sagan Collection' S-Works Tarmac SL6 Disc Sagan will race aboard a 'Sagan Collection'Tarmac SL6 for the Tour of Flanders before switching to an S-Works Roubaix for next week's Paris-Roubaix. Peter Sagans S-Works Tarmac SL6 gallery Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 Disc review Specialized revamps S-Works shoes and aero helmet Specialized Roubaix Comp review All of the products in the Sagan Collection line-up come with a glitter, matt and gloss finish, as well as quotes from Sagan and a nod to each of the Slovakian's three world championship titles. You can read more at More...
Peter Sagan means business at the Tour of Flanders
April 01, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Peter Sagan means business at the Tour of Flanders. As if to prove the point, after 15 minutes of listening to his thoughts on the forthcoming Ronde in Roeselare on Saturday, reporters were ushered into the room next door for the launch of a line of bikes bearing the world champion's name. The line between press conference and timeshare presentation is often blurred in a sport where teams owe their very existence to selling their naming rights to sponsors, but few riders' images have been hawked as extensively as that of Sagan over the past number of years. Seated at a top table bedecked with bottles of the alcohol-free beer he now peddles, Sagan cut a relaxed figure as he fielded questions on his build-up for the Tour of Flanders. Already the winner of the Ronde in 2016, Sagan lines out as the favourite again this time around in the wake of his victory at Gent-Wevelgem last Sunday, even if his previous travails at E3 Harelbeke " where he was a faller early on " had raised some questions about his condition.ADVERTISEMENT "Sometimes it's better not to think and just do the things. I'm not focusing on what was before but what is today or tomorrow," Sagan said when asked for an update on his form a week on. Sagan did not line out at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, although he opted to stay in Belgium for the week rather than return to his home in Monaco, and reportedly trained near Nieuwspoort on the North Sea coast as he recovered from his efforts last weekend. "It was already scheduled that I would do Harelbeke and Ghent-Wevelgem, like the years before, but for sure, the weather was bad and it was cold [at Dwars door Vlaanderen]. There were many risks," Sagan said. "I preferred not to do that race. No time to chat with Naesen You can read more at More...
Richie Porte back in action at Vuelta al Pais Vasco
April 01, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Richie Porte (BMC Racing) will race for the first time since February's Volta ao Algarve next week when he supports his BMC teammates at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Porte was unable to ride Tirreno-Adriatico due to an upper respiratory infection. He has been training since making a recovery, but will use the Basque stage race to get back on form. Damiano Caruso, who finished second overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, will lead BMC at Pais Vasco. Also in the squad are Pat Bevin, Alessandro De Marchi, Simon Gerrans, Dylan Teuns and Danilo Wyss. "I am not going in with any expectations or putting too much pressure on myself. For me, this race will be more about testing my form and getting back into the race rhythm than anything else," Porte said when BMC confirmed their line-up for the weeklong stage race.ADVERTISEMENT BMC are hoping that Caruso can once again step-up as Porte recovers, with other riders targeting stage victories. "This will be Richie's first race back and although he feels good, we don't want to give him the immediate responsibility of going for the GC. Of course, we know Richie and maybe he can do something during the week but we will take it day by day. Instead, Damiano Caruso will be our leader for the general classification," directeur sportif Valeria Piva said. "Overall, we have a strong team with the majority of our riders going onto the Ardennes Classics. This will be a good opportunity for them and everyone will get the chance to try and go for a stage win. You can read more at More...
Youthful Mitchelton-Scott squad for Vuelta al Pais Vasco
March 31, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Mitchelton-Scott has announced a youthful team for Vuelta al Pais Vasco with all bar Michael Albasini under 30 years of age. The 37-year-old Albasini will an important road captain for the team of youthful climbers and the versatile Chris Juul-Jensen. The Australian trio of Jack Haig, Lucas Hamilton and Rob Power round out the team. Carlos Veronacompletes the seven-rider roster and will be on home roads during the six-stage race starting Monday in Zarautz. Despite the team losing Adam Yates to injury, 25-year-old Verona is expecting a strong showing from Mitchelton-Scott. "I have done Pais Vasco every year since I became pro in 2013, so this will be my sixth participation and it is always a challenging race. I think it is the WorldTour race where the climbing level is higher as there's hardly any opportunities for the sprinters. The steep and short climbs, the narrow roads and one of the most enthusiastic cycling crowds, it's the Basque Country," said Verona.ADVERTISEMENT "Volta Catalunya was almost the first race of the season for me and I felt so good, after a easy week at home the form can't be so different, I am healthy and motivated so I hope to be at my best in the Basque Country." With Albasini and Daryl Impey, the Australian WorldTour has previously won stages of the race and in 2015 Simon Yates placed fifth overall. With a roster of riders suited to the parcours of the Basque Country, Verona believes the team's recent run of winning stages in European WorldTour stage races can continue. "In general we have a young and strong team. We will miss Adam Yates, he was supposed to be our team leader during the week, but with the horse power that we have and with the guidance of our team captain Michael Albasini, I think we can keep up the good work that the team is doing since the start of the season in all the stage races that we have done," he added. You can read more at More...
Oliver Naesen confirms Tour of Flanders ambitions
March 31, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) has confirmed that he will line out at the Tour of Flanders despite sustaining a knee injury in the crash that forced him to abandon Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. The Belgian champions AG2R La Mondiale team were sceptical about his prospects of riding the Ronde in the immediate aftermath of Dwars door Vlaanderen but the mood music began to change when an x-ray in hospital in Ghent that evening showed no fracture to the knee. Naesen was provisionally listed in AG2Rs Tour of Flanders team on Thursday, and after a final test in training on Friday he confirmed his participation and colourfully downplayed the idea that his injury could severely affect his performance this weekend. Its just a scratch to the bodywork. Im still strong enough to do something on Sunday, said Naesen. I tested myself more intensively this morning. Small efforts dont worry me, its more in the longer ones that Im worried for my left knee, but Im not panicking. Naesen was a faller 75 kilometres into Wednesdays Dwars door Vlaanderen, and though he was able to remount and re-join the peloton, he quickly opted to abandon the race. Directeur sportif Julien Jurdie admitted to Cyclingnews afterwards that he feared the worst for the Ronde given how rare it was to hear the normally stoical Naesen complain about feeling pain after a crash. Its true, Im not a rider who abandons easily, but it was something else on Wednesday, Naesen said. I really hurt myself and I feared the worst for Sunday. Thats why I put the brakes on straightaway. But its getting better and better. On Thursday, the pain was already less bad and today its better again. Naesen was the revelation of last seasons Spring Classics campaign, placing third at E3 Harelbeke and delivering a string of strong displays across the cobbles. He looked set to contest the podium at the Tour of Flanders, only to come down in a crash with Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and training partner Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) near the top of the Oude Kwaremont. The Belgian has been equally consistent this year, taking fourth at E3 Harelbeke and sixth two days later at Gent-Wevelgem. He told Cyclingnews in the build-up to the Classics that he would exchange a series of placings this year for one big victory, and, injury notwithstanding, he is part of an extended list of contenders for the win in Oudenaarde on Sunday. I could give you a long list of riders with a chance of winning. Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Sep Vanmarcke, Tiesj Benoot, Philippe Gilbert, Jasper Stuyven, theres an embarrassment of choice. Its maybe the first time that there are so many possibilities, Naesen said. Id put myself somewhere among them, but I have to follow the right move and be alert for the whole race. Ill set out from Antwerp with a lot of confidence.ADVERTISEMENT Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews podcast. You can read more at More...
Chris Froome describes latest reports on salbutamol case as fake news
March 31, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Chris Froome (Team Sky) described reports that his salbutamol case has been sent to the UCIs Anti-Doping Tribunal as fake news on Friday evening, only to delete the twitter message a few hours later. The French newspaper Le Monde reported on Friday that Froomes case had been transferred from the UCI Legal Anti-Doping Services (LADS) to its Anti-Doping Tribunal, suggesting that the UCI LADS had rejected Froomes explanations as to why his level of salbutamol was double the 1000ng/ml permitted level. Froome's urine sample from an anti-doping control, taken after stage 18 of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, was found to have exceeded the permitted limit of the asthma drug salbutamol. The 32-year-old has always denied any wrongdoing and says he is a long-term asthma sufferer. He insists that he knows the rules and has never taken more salbutamol than he is allowed.ADVERTISEMENT A few hours after the Le Monde story was published and reported by French news agency AFP, Froome tweeted: Fake news making the rounds again this evening. What journalists and publications wont do for a couple of clicks That tweet garnered both support and criticism but was later deleted. The latest posts on Froomes official Twitter account are now a retweet of the official Tour de France account announcing 100 days to the start of this years race and a scan image of the baby Chris and his wife Michelle are expecting in August. Case likely to be resolved after the Tour de France You can read more at More...
Elvin: We've got a few riders who can win Tour of Flanders
March 30, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
It might take place Easter Sunday, but Gracie Elvin says that Mitchelton-Scott will not be putting all their eggs in one basket with Jolien Dhoore at the Tour of Flanders this weekend. Last year's runner-up, Elvin believes that the confidence that comes with having a rider such as D'hoore in the line-up will only expand their options, not close them. Alongside Elvin and D'hoore, also a runner-up at Flanders in 2015, former champion Annemiek van Vleuten is set to be on the start line in Oudenaarde on Sunday morning. It, says Elvin, means that the pressure isn't pilled on one rider and allows her to take a more aggressive approach, as she did in Driedaagse de Panne. "We definitely want to win it and we've got a few different riders that we can win with," Elvin told Cyclingnews from her base in Belgium. "It's exciting to have that confidence and trust in each other. If one thing doesn't work then we can go to the next plan and the next plan. It's going to be pretty fun to take it to the other teams there.ADVERTISEMENT "Personally, I can be a bit more aggressive in the races, because in the last couple of years, I was trying to be a bit conservative and save something for the ends of races. "You don't want to be predictable as a team but you also don't want to be putting all of the pressure on one rider. It wouldn't be fair on that rider. It's about playing the numbers game and keeping our options open. I think that we've been doing it well so far." The Tour of Flanders is the culmination of Elvin's opening part of the season with Mitchelton-Scott before she jets off back to Australia for the Commonwealth Games. She has been doing her utmost to be at her best for both objectives, which has involved basing herself in the heart of the Classics, Belgium. Aggressive racing The Cyclists' Alliance You can read more at More...
Vanmarcke and Langeveld extend contracts with EF Education First-Drapac
March 30, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Sep Vanmarcke and Sebastian Langeveld have both extended their contracts with EF Education First-Drapac. The Classic riders have penned two-year deals with Jonathan Vaughters team with the announcement made at the squads pre-Tour of Flanders press conference. The news means that Vanmarcke and Langeveld will ride for the American team for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Vanmarcke is riding on the team for the second time after spending three years with them between 2010 and 2012. He moved to Belkin in 2013 but returned to the Slipstream organisation for the start of the 2017 season. The 29-year-old will lead the line at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. He recently finished third In Dwars door Vlaanderen. I feel good in this team. I was really happy to come back in 2017. When the team was in trouble at the end of last season, other teams showed they were interested in hiring me, but I waited because I really was hoping our team would get a new sponsor and could continue. I was so happy when it happened. I gave the team my trust. Now, the team gave me their trust by giving me a new contract until 2020. That gives me a lot of motivation, Vanmarcke said in a team press release.ADVERTISEMENT I believe I'm still making steps forward. Since I turned professional, JV believed in me, and that is really important. The whole team believes in me, and they give me a lot of support. The team has a clear focus on the classics, trying to find the best materials and building a good group of riders. Langeveld, 33, moved to the team in 2014 and has become one of their most important Classics riders, finishing third at Paris-Roubaix last year. "Ive been here since 2014, and I think its a relationship for the long, long term. Im really happy here. When JV came up with the idea to extend my contract for another two years, I was like, Yes, absolutely. And we figured it out. This whole team is like a family for me. Im grateful. Im happy. Im so glad to be part of the process for the next couple of years," said Langeveld. You can read more at More...
inCycle: Relive Gilbert's 2017 Tour of Flanders win
March 30, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Twelve months ago, Philippe Gilbert and his Quick-Step Floors squad caught the entire peloton by surprise with an early assault at the Tour of Flanders. Gilbert attacked from 55km out and soloed to a memorable win with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) completing the podium. With Sundays 2018 edition of the race on the horizon our friends at inCycle have put together this short video, looking back at last years race through the eyes of the victor and his team. ADVERTISEMENT Cyclingnews Tour of Flanders hub page Tour of Flanders start list Tour of Flanders race preview Tour of Flanders pre-race press conference Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel. You can read more at More...
Van Avermaet: It's been harder to win than last year
March 30, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
This weekend, Greg Van Avermaet vows, will be different. The BMC rider has been consistent if unspectacular on the cobbles thus far in 2018, but he maintains that the greater distance of the Tour of Flanders can tilt the balance in his favour after falling short to this point. Flanders is the race that suits me best, its the one with 260k, which makes it different to Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, Van Avermaet said at his pre-Ronde press conference in Sint-Martens-Latem on Friday morning. Harelbeke is really hard but only 200k, Gent-Wevelgem is 250k but less hard. Flanders is a really specific race, which makes it easier for me in the last 40k, because in the final there are not too many contenders anymore who can go for the victory.ADVERTISEMENT Van Avermaets credo echoes that of the American football coach Marv Levy, who would repeatedly tell his players, When its too tough for them, then its just right for them. That mantra carried Levys Buffalo Bills to four successive Super Bowls in the early 1990s, but they fell short of the biggest win of all on each occasion. Chance has not yet smiled on Van Avermaet at the Ronde, either, with crashes ruining his challenge in each of the past two seasons. He underlined his aptitude for the race with eigth place as a second-year professional in 2008, and finished on the podium three times, placing second in 2014 and 2017, and third in 2015. Now lining up for 12th participation, there will be few more experienced riders in the peloton in Antwerp on Sunday morning. Its always the main goal of the year. Ive been here several times, hopefully this weekend it all falls into place. Even with fewer results [beforehand] than this year, I have managed to get on the podium in Flanders. Im really confident about this race, said Van Avermaet, who acknowledged that his window of opportunity to win the great race is slowly yawning shut. After this year, I have maybe another two chances. Then youd have to ask me again in 2020. Ill be 35 then, but I dont know how you feel when youre getting old. Team concerns You can read more at More...
Daniel Martinez released from hospital after motorist attack
March 30, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Daniel Martinez has been released from hospital after he was attacked by a motorist during a training ride, his EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale team confirmed. Martinez spent a total of one night in hospital. Martinez suffered a concussion and short-term memory loss as a result of the attack, and the team says that in conjunction with their concussion protocol he will be withheld from competition until such time as he has fully recovered.ADVERTISEMENT The 21-year-old Colombian was out training with riders Julian Cardona and Miguel Eduardo Flores in Italy earlier this week when the incident happened. Martinez told El Tiempo that he had been remonstrating with a driver after he had overtaken the group. The driver got out of the car and punched Martinez in the jaw. Another member of the group was also punched before the driver fled the scene. Martinez was knocked out by the punch. Martinez joined EF Education First at the start of this season following a two-year spell on the Wilier Triestina team. He had a strong start to the year with second at the Colombian national championships, before taking fifth overall at the inaugural Colombia Oro y Paz. He made his European debut at the GP Industria & Artigianto before going onto the Volta a Catalunya last week where he finished seventh overall. You can read more at More...
Tom Dumoulin recons Tour de France cobbles
March 29, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
While several of his potential rivals have gone to Belgium for the pav race conditions at Dwars door Vlaanderen, Tom Dumoulin chose to go to Northern France on Wednesday to recon the Tour de Frances cobbles. Dumoulin is not yet a confirmed starter for the Tour de France this July, but the Team Sunweb rider has been out surveying the stage 9 cobbles nonetheless. Team Sunweb has told Cyclingnews that a decision has still not been made on whether he will ride the Tour de France, but the recon was done in order to be as well prepared as possible. Dumoulin was the only rider from the Sunweb team to undertake the recon and headed to France with Team Sunweb's R&D staff member Tom Davids. He rode almost all of the route, aside from the opening 10 kilometres, on a team issue Giant Defy disc. According to the team, he tested out a number of different tyres 'just in case' and enjoyed his time on the pav. The 2017 Giro dItalia champion also took the time to pose for photos with some of the junior members of the Roubaix Lille Metropole squad. A post on the teams Facebook page says that Dumoulin also paid a visit to the famous Roubaix showers.ADVERTISEMENT Dumoulin has kept his options open so far regarding riding the Tour de France. The Dutchman is currently down to defend his Giro dItalia title this May. He and his team have said that he will wait until after the Giro dItalia has finished to make the call. The ninth stage of the Tour de France is a 154-kilometre ride from Arras to Roubaix and will feature 21.7km of the stones across 15 sectors. It is the final stage ahead of the first rest day and it is expected to be a defining factor in the opening week of racing. Dumoulin raced the cobbled stage at the 2014 Tour de France, finishing more than two minutes down on the stage winner Lars Boom. He raced the following year's Tour, but crashed out the day before the cobbles. Dumoulin, who fell ill at the start of March and crashed out of Tirreno-Adriatico, has not raced since Milan-San Remo and is not scheduled to race until Liege-Bastogne-Liege on April 20. The team has told Cyclingnews that Dumoulin has fully recovered from his Tirreno crash and is due to head to altitude next week as he continues his preparations for the Giro d'Italia. You can read more at More...
Bardet: It was a hell of a day at Dwars door Vlaanderen
March 29, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Romain Bardet said it was a hell of a day as he climbed onto the AG2R La Mondiale bus at the end of Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. Caked in mud, the Frenchman looked completely spent after rolling home in the first gruppetto, nearly seven minutes down on the winner. Bardet stood out on the start line, a lightweight climber in a field of heavyweight cobbled Classics specialists. He was in Belgium to gain first-hand experience of racing on cobblestones ahead of the Paris-Roubaix-inspired stage of this years Tour de France, and the miserable conditions meant it was far from the gentlest of introductions. Blighted by mechanicals and crashes, it was a trying day for Bardet and the whole team, who lost their leader Oliver Naesen due to a crash that could rule him out of Sundays Tour of Flanders.ADVERTISEMENT It was complicated, with the wind and the rain. It was a hell of a day, Bardet told Cyclingnews and LEquipe in Waregem. I spent quite a bit of time back at the cars " I had a few mechanical problems and I even crashed near the start of the race. So I spent my race largely on the back foot, but there you go, thats how it can be in these races. It was a tough day. Oliver unfortunately had his crash, and that made it difficult for us as a team today. Bardet had said before the race that this was chiefly a learning exercise. He has done recons of the Paris-Roubaix cobbles in previous months but wanted to get a feel for pav " albeit of the Belgian variety " in a race scenario. However, his podium finish at Strade Bianche earlier this month had shown his versatility, in being able to perform in one-day races over rough terrain. You can read more at More...
Valverde skips Tour of Flanders
March 29, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has ruled out racing this weekend's Tour of Flanders. Speaking with Spanish radio programme El Larguero, Valverde confirmed that he will stick to his original plan of racing the one-day Grand Prix Miguel Indurain on Saturday. We have been evaluating it, and in the end, I wont race the Tour of Flanders, he told the radio programme. We will go to Spain and on Saturday I will be in the Grand Prix Miguel Indurain. [Flanders] is a really important, beautiful race, but we decided to return home and it wasnt to be. I would like to race, but I have taken a lot from my body with continuous, really hard, racing. Indurain is a hard race, but not like Sunday.ADVERTISEMENT Valverde was in Belgium this week, with teammate Nairo Quintana, to ride Wednesdays Dwars door Vlaanderen as a test of the cobbles ahead of the Tour de Frances cobbled test in July. In an interview with Belgian broadcaster Sporza, the Spaniard suggested that he might extend his stay in the country to incorporate its biggest race. While the weather appears to have played a factor in Valverdes decision not to remain, he held his own against many of the top Classics stars. The Movistar rider remained in the lead group for the vast majority of the race, putting forward several of his own attacks in the process. He was unable to follow when Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac) made the decisive split but came across the line in the second group to claim 11th place. I am tired and still cold, he said a long while after the race had reached its conclusion. They were 180 kilometres where it was raining all the time and two or three degrees, and we had a really hard race due to the weather. The weather was worse than the cobbles. You can read more at More...
Van Dijk tunes up for Tour of Flanders with solo Dwars door Vlaanderen win
March 29, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Ellen van Dijk and Sunweb tuned up for Sunday's Tour of Flanders with a dominant solo win atDwars door Vlaanderen. Van Dijk added to her Omloop van het Hageland victory at the mid-week race, and now has two wins on Belgian soil in 2018. Top-10 results at Strade Bianche and the Ronde van Drenthe WorldTour races earlier this month further underline her successful start to the season. The 31-year-old launched her solo movewith six kilometres to go until the finish line in Waregem, and by the time she raised her arms in triumph the winning margin was 55 seconds. Boels Dolmans' Amy Pieters finished second after winning the sprint in the chasing group withFloortje Mackaijensuring a second Team Sunweb rider on the podium.ADVERTISEMENT "Today was a great race for the team. It's really great to see how we turned things around after our bad luck this season," Van Dijk said. "Today was really a textbook race, and we did everything that we had planned to. The girls were always really well positioned and setting a hard pace on the climbs. Me and Floortje were in the seven-rider break, and with 15 kilometres to go we just attacked and attacked, maybe 10 times in total. "With six kilometres to go Floortje attacked, and I went directly after. I opened up a gap and gave it everything I had. The win is a great way to finish this perfect team work and with Floortje also finishing third, the day couldn't have gone any better. It gives us good confidence with Sunday in our minds." Prior to this year's spring campaign, Van Dijk hadn't won in Belgium since her 2014 Tour of Flanders victory. She now has two wins in the heartland of cycling. For coach Hans Timmermans, the result was the end product of a complete performance and he believed that it was the perfect tune-up for the Tour of Flanders. Particularly with defending championCoryn Rivera to be added to the squad. You can read more at More...
Bora-Hansgrohe name team to back Peter Sagan at Tour of Flanders
March 28, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Bora-Hansgrohe have named the team to support Peter Sagan at this weekends Tour of Flanders, with the world champion supported by experienced Classics men Daniel Oss and Marcus Burghardt. Sagan is aiming to win a second Tour of Flanders title after taking victory in the 2016 edition ahead of Fabian Cancellara and Sep Vanmarcke, his first and only Monument success. The 28-year-old Slovakian has had a mixed Classics campaign so far. He skipped the opening weekend in Belgium in favour of altitude training and only made his cobbled debut at E3 Harelbeke last week after taking sixth at Milan-San Remo. The race did not go to plan after he crashed and then missed out on a split, eventually finishing over three minutes behind the winner Niki Terpstra. He later said that he hadn't fell well during the race.ADVERTISEMENT He bounced back two days later to take a sprint victory a Gent-Wevelgem, beating Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) in the rush to the line. It was the third time that Sagan had won the event. While Sagan played down his chances for this weekend, his last victory at Gent-Wevelgem came in the same season that he went on to claim his Tour of Flanders title. Sagan is not in action at today's Dwars door Vlaanderen preferring to rest up for the Tour of Flanders. Burghardt and Oss have been his two key riders throughout his Classics campaign, with the former making several attacks throughout Gent-Wevelgem. Like their leader, they too have sat out the mid-week racing ahead of the Tour of Flanders, as has Andreas Schillinger, who will be a part of the squad. You can read more at More...
Valverde hints at racing Tour of Flanders
March 28, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has hinted he may stay on in Belgium after riding Wednesday'sDwars door Vlaanderen and line up in Sundays Tour of Flanders. Valverde is riding Dwars door Vlaanderen with Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana in order to get a taste of cobbled racing before this years Tour de France stage across northern France to Roubaix. He was expected to head home after todays race but is considering spending Easter Sunday at the Tour of Flanders. "It is not 100 per cent excluded. In theory, the Ronde is not on my programme, but we are close to Sunday and we are in Belgium." Valverde told Sporza.ADVERTISEMENT "I love the race route, which is very beautiful. The Ronde is a spectacular race, and I would like to be at the start even if I have never raced it before. Several Tour de France contenders have been preparing for the Roubaix stage of the Le Tour by riding cobbled Classics and other one-day races this spring. Valverde's teammate Mikel Landa rode last week's E3 Harelbeke, while Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) is also riding Dwars door Vlaanderen, and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) will ride the Tour of Flanders. Under UCI rules, a team can enter a rider for a race up to 72 hours before the start, with a final confirmation from that list obligatory on the afternoon before the race. A remarkable comeback but with fear of wet roads You can read more at More...

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