Off the back of his strong start to the 2014 season Tinkoff-Saxo believe that Alberto Contador should be looking to at least another podium place in next week’s Vuelta Pais Vasco.
Contador’s form has been transformed so far this season with two stage wins and the overall in Tirreno Adriatico, a stage and second place in the Volta ao Algarve and second overall in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. It’s a stark contrast to last season in which the Spaniard’s only win came via a stage in the Tour de San Luis.
“Alberto has been showing good form this season and it wouldn’t be natural if I didn’t expect him to deliver another podium performance here in this race,” Philippe Mauduit, the team’s sport director said.
“But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. I think stage one, the uphill finish on stage four and the time trial will be the key stages. The initial stage looks pretty hard and the first mountain stage will always show surprises and we have to stay alert. Not just during this stage but throughout the race because every slope is a cunningly designed launching pads for attacks,” added Mauduit.
Contador has won the race twice before – in 2008 and 2009 – but will face stiff competition from the likes of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Michael Kwiatkowski (Omega-Pharma Quick Step and the AG2R double act of Carlos Betancur and Jean-Christophe Peraud.
The Tinkoff leader will however be supported by a strong line-up which includes Roman Kreuziger, Bruno Pires, Jesper Hansen, Jesus Hernandez, Michael Mørkøv, Rory Sutherland and Sergio Paulinho.
The Razor Carbon jersey and bibs are part of a new top-end summer line from custom clothing specialist Champion System; a result of working with sponsored WorldTour team Lampre-Merida and world champion Rui Costa.
Most noticeable with the new jersey and bibs is the variety of fabrics used throughout. Our World Champion replica sample uses four fabrics in the jersey and three in the shorts – not including the chamois.
The Razor Carbon jersey features CS Carbon Lycra fabric sleeves. “This fabric is highly breathable and offers slight compression for a tight-fit ‘euro’ look,” Champ-Sys' marketing and communications representative Alison Lovat told BikeRadar.
The Razor Carbon jersey uses a range of technical fabrics in its construction
Extremely lightweight CS Dimple material on the front panel of the jersey is quite stretchy, and looks as if it will provide excellent ventilation. Heavily ventilated CS TechMesh is used under the arms, while the back is made from CS AirLite – which provides a claimed SPF 50+ sun protection.
The use of rigid fabric for the back of the jersey means it should resist sagging or bouncing, even with the pockets heavily loaded. At the end of the sleeves and underneath the pockets, silicone grippers are used to help prevent the jersey from bunching.
Champ-Sys has completely redesigned its leg grippers, now using a more comfortable laser-cut leg band
At the legs, Champ-Sys has done away with traditional elastic grippers, and replaced them with separate laser-cut CS Carbon fabric leg bands. A small mesh panel on the front of the shorts may make for an interesting tan line, but will provide additional...
This Sunday Peter Sagan (Cannondale) will line up for the Tour of Flanders as one of the main contenders. A win in E3-Harelbeke, followed up with third in his title defence of Gent-Wevelgem show that he is clearly a man in form.
Last year he finished second behind Fabian Cancellara in Flanders and while he’ll be pushing for the top step this time around, he’ll be doing so with the trusted backing of his Cannondale mechanics.
Often unsung, mainly drawn into the firing line when there’s a mechanical problem, the mechanics at Cannondale have been in Belgium just as long as the riders. Constantly working on the riders’ machines, often well into their night, their work is vital for any rider’s success, especially in the cauldron of the Spring Classics.
Once again Sagan will ride his trusted Synapse Evo Hi-Mod in Flanders. It’s more rigid bike with longer wheel base and the chain states are a bit further apart to allow Sagan to ride with 25mm tyres on the brutal pave.
In this exclusive video, Cyclingnews talks to one of Sagans’ Cannondale mechanics, Nazzareno Berto, about the rider’s set-up, not just for Flanders but also for Paris-Roubaix.
QuickStep rider takes overall victory ahead of Durbridge
When Guillaume Van Keirsbulck sat down for his press conference after taking overall victory at the Three Days of De Panne, a member of the race organisation placed a beer on the table in front of him only for Omega Pharma-QuickStep press officer Alessandro Tegner to discreetly move it to one side.
A hint, perhaps, that Van Keirsbulck will feature in the QuickStep team for the Tour of Flanders this weekend, but even after sealing victory in De Panne, the Belgian was reluctant to count his chickens before they hatch. “I’m in good shape but tomorrow we’ll know the selection,” Van Keirsbulck said cagily when asked about Sunday’s race.
Now in his fourth year with QuickStep, Van Keirsbulck’s lone appearance in De Ronde came as a raw 20-year-old neo-professional in 2011. His failure to make the line-up in the subsequent two years perhaps owes as much to the team’s increased strength in depth as to his own development, although Van Keirsbulck appears to have made a leap in quality this season. Best young rider at the Tour of Qatar, he impressed in support of Tom Boonen at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and finished second overall at the Three Days of West Flanders.
“Well, in the winter I had some back problems, a hernia, and I was a little bit scared I would miss the start of the season,” Van Keirsbulck said. “But after the Tour de San Luis, I went to Milan for a procedure and that made a big difference. That changed a lot because it meant that I had power in my right leg again.”
Van Keirsbulck is the grandson of 1963 world champion Benoni Beheyt, who controversially beat his fellow countryman Rik Van Looy to win that title in Ronse. Like his grandfather, Van Keirsbulck’s victory in De Panne did not follow the preordained script, but through no fault of his own.
QuickStep’s Gert Steegmans led the race into the 14km concluding time trial, while Niki Terpstra had...
The post-mortem began shortly after Niki Terpstra wheeled to a halt outside the Hotel Fox, one street back from De Panne's sea front promenade. While the disappointed Dutchman quickly ducked inside the lobby, Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere and his staff took charge of his time trial bike outside and assessed the damaged pedal that had cost him overall victory at the Three Days of De Panne.
Terpstra had been poised for overall victory before the afternoon's concluding time trial, but his chances were dashed almost as soon as his effort began, when his foot came out of his pedal as he rolled down the start ramp. Terpstra he lost over 10 seconds simply trying to clip back in and with them went all hopes of overall victory, which instead fell to his surprised teammate Guillaume Van Keirsbulck.
"It was a good day for the team in the end, but unfortunately Niki had some bad luck," Lefevere told Cyclingnews after checking over Terpstra's bike with a mechanic. "He broke his pedal on the start podium probably when he pushed off to go down the ramp. So he did the time trial on one leg."
For a man riding at limited capacity, then, Tersptra's time trial was still rather remarkable, as he fought gamely to limit his losses over the 14.3km course. He had to settle for 19th place on the stage, 30 seconds down on winner Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale) and he finished the race in fourth place overall, 15 seconds off Van Keirsbulck, while QuickStep's Gert Steegmans finished in third place.
"Niki still rode well, but if you have this already on the start then in your head you are already gone," Lefevere said. "He came here to perform, and after that, if you're there in a position to...
Karel Van Wijnendaele is hailed as race’s founding father, but his partner’s role was just as critical
As with many of the other great events on the cycling calendar, the Tour of Flanders emerged from a desire to promote a newspaper, in this case Sportwereld. The race’s official history describes how the key moment in the race’s foundation came in the summer of 1912, just a few days after Odile Defraye had become the first Belgian rider to win the Tour de France. In early August, print company owner August de Maeght met with young sports journalist Karel Van Wijnendaele, then working for a publication called Sportvriend, to gauge his interest in working for Sportwereld, which was about to be launched.
Van Wijnendaele, a passionate cycling fan who had started off as a racer but turned to writing when he realised he didn’t have the talent to amount to anything in the saddle, hesitated initially, but soon signed up and enlisted several of his colleagues to work on the new title. Perhaps not auspiciously, Sportwereld’s yellow-papered first edition appeared on Friday, 13 September, 1912, the day before the Championship of Flanders race.
As well as the race’s official history, every reputed history account of the Ronde’s early years relates the story of this meeting and, subsequently, goes on to outline the predominant role Van Wijnendaele played in establishing and widening the appeal of the race. However, in May 2013, little more than a month after the Ronde’s centenary edition, historian Stijn Knuts and Pascal Deleye, a professor of sports history at the University of Leuven, revealed that there was a third man at that meeting in August 1912, and he played a much more fundamental role in establishing the race.
Leon – or, according to his birth certificate, Leo – Van den Haute was the son of a notary born in Hemiksem, just south of Antwerp in October 1887. Sent to a Jesuit college in Etterbeek for the best French education, he...
With three wins in Paris-Roubaix and two in the Tour of Flanders there little doubt as to the impact Fabian Cancellara has had on the spring classics. Add in his Milan-San Remo win and the countless other successes he’s had on the road and it’s not hard to arrive at the belief that he’s the most complete rider of his generation.
This weekend Cancellara will line up for another edition of Flanders and once again he will have the full support of his team. At 33 he shows few signs of slowing down – at least on the one-day race front – and in this inCycle video it’s clear that the Swiss rider is still has hungry as ever.
He talks about the sacrifices he had made in order to reach the pinnacle of the sport and how wining is the most important thing within the sport of professional cycling.
There may be other riders coming through the ranks, snapping at Cancellara’s heels, and his long-standing rivalry with Tom Boonen looks set to continue into the next few seasons but this interview with Cancellara gives a unique insight into what makes the man tick.
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Former Tour of Flanders winner Nick Nuyens has been ruled out of this year’s race due to flu. The 2011 winner has struggled for form and results in recent years but Garmin-Sharp come into Sunday’s race with Sebastian Langeveld and Johan Vansummeren as their main cards to play.
"I have been suffering from the flu for the past few days I am still not 100 percent on the bike. I did some tests on the parcours and I don't have all of my power back yet, so I believe the best decision for me and the team is to give my spot to Steele [Von Hoff],” Nuyens said in a team press release.
“I know he is 100 percent ready. It's difficult because this race holds a special place in my heart but I have confidence this is the right decision and I have worked closely with the team to determine it. For now I will recover and focus on the next set of races. The Flanders team is strong and while I am upset not to be there with them, I am confident they will do a great race."
The loss of Nuyens has been somewhat off-set by the Steele Von Hoff linking up with the team but the squad as a whole have been short of results so far this spring, with only Farrar picking up a podium spot in the main one-day races. The American was second in Dwars door Vlaanderen.
"We have a strong team lined up for Flanders – guys like Johan, Sebastian, David [Millar] and Tyler [Farrar] have many years of experience and have done great things in this race," said Andreas Klier.
"We are excited for Sunday and look forward to a strong team performance."