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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 14, 2014

Date published:
March 14, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Kittel left battered and bruised after late crash at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Simano).
    Article published:
    March 14, 2014, 7:18 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Giant-Shimano sprinter apologises after smashing his bike

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) was in no mood to talk after the finish of stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico. The powerful German sprinter had been hoping to win the sprint in Cascina ahead of rivals Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel but was left dumped on the ground with two kilometres to go after his handlebars broke apparently after hitting a hole in the road.

    Kittel is usually one of the most polite and gentile riders in the peloton but he vented his anger by raising his bike above his head and then smashed on the ground. He then lay down on the grass and held his left shoulder in pain.

    He eventually got a new bike and finished the stage in 162nd place. He was given the same time as stage winner Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) but that was of little consolation.

    The back of his jersey was shredded and he had landed on his left side to soften his crash.

    "I broke the right side of my handlebar and I crashed. That's the story, there's no more to say," he said despondently.

    "I was good, the team was good and we we're confident. But that's sport."

    Kittel later apologised via Twitter for smashing his bike in a moment of anger.

    "I'm VERY sorry for throwing my beloved Giant Propel on the ground. I still love it! We're just having an intense relationship. #deepemotions," he wrote.

    Fortunately his injuries are not serious and the Giant-Shimano team is confident he will be able to continue in Tirreno-Adriatico.

    "The good thing is that he is ok and he was feeling good. There will be more opportunities for him here," said coach Aike Visbeek on the team's website.

    "It wasn't our day today as the train was already a man down as Roy Curvers punctured with less than 10km to go and didn't get back to the...

  • Bennett gets close in Tirreno-Adriatico stage 2 sprint

    Sam Bennett (NetApp)
    Article published:
    March 14, 2014, 9:30 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Irish NetApp-Endura rider finishes fourth in Cascina

    Ireland's Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) continues to impress in the early season sprints, finishing fourth in the chaotic finish at the end of stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico in Cascina despite being blocked in sight of the line.

    Bennett won the recent Clasica de Almeria in Spain and was third in the final sprint at the Tour of Oman, earning respect from the best sprinters in the world.

    A WorldTour race like Tirreno-Adriatico is another step up, but Bennett was not afraid to use his speed and bike skills in the fight for victory.

    He appeared on the left of the road during the sprint and seemed to have a clear run to the line, only to be slowed by Sacha Modolo.

    Bennett slumped against a parked car after the sprint, tired from his effort and stunned that he had gone so close to victory.

    "I was coming up quick and could see the finish, I thought I was going to do better," he told Cyclingnews.

    "It was a really, really messy and dangerous sprint. The guys in the team did a great job again for me. Voss and Zak Dempster did everything they could to put me in the right position. I have to thank them.

    "I went a bit early but unfortunately the Lampre rider pushed in over the top of me and didn't keep his line. I had to go over the metal part of the road and it cost me a lot of speed."

    Bennett was happy to secure another good result but disappointed not to win. He seems to have the hunger for success that drives every natural born sprinter.

    "I'm really, really, happy. Perhaps I shouldn’t be greedy but you always want to do better," he said.

  • Spanish nationals to take place on Worlds course

    Jesus Herrada (Movistar) shows his red and yellow maillot and his medal.
    Article published:
    March 14, 2014, 10:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Nationals to prove a test for riders and organisers

    Spanish riders will get an opportunity to test their legs on the World Championship course ahead of the event in September.

    Spanish Federation (RFEC) president José Luis López Cerrón and Ponferrada Mayor Samuel Folgueral announced yesterday that the Spanish National Road Race Championships would be held over the same course as the Worlds.

    López Cerrón said that it will prove just as vital for the organisers as it will the riders. “It will be a test for Spanish riders ahead of their participation in the World , as well as to gauge the organizational details Ponferrada in a previous competition, such as road closures and other aspects," he explained.

    The courses for all the events at the World Championships were announced last December. The 254.8km course that the men will tackle features only two small climbs, leading many to predict that a classics type sprinter will be the one to win.

    Spain’s big hope is likely to be Alejandro Valverde, who has finished on the podium five times. Three-time world champion Oscar Freire rode the course after it was announced, saying that is was a course that would have suited him in his heyday.

    The decision told hold the national championships here will no doubt attract a strong field. A good performance here could prove vital for selection for some riders. Spain sit fourth on the medal table in terms of total medal haul at the world championships, with 22. They finished with two riders on the podium last year, but haven’t taken gold since Freire in 2004.

    It won’t just be the Spanish that could benefit, with other national selectors being able to see if their predictions are true and which riders come to the fore on this type of...

  • Froome returns to training after back injury

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) won the Green Mountain stage in the Tour of Oman
    Article published:
    March 14, 2014, 11:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sky rider takes aim at Volta a Catalunya

    Chris Froome has returned to training after he was forced to withdraw on the eve of Tirreno-Adriatico due to a back injury and has confirmed that he will return to action in time for the Volta a Catalunya.

    Earlier this week, Sky manager Dave Brailsford denied reports that the Tour de France winner would require surgery on the injury, which the team has described as “a slight inflammation to the sacroiliac joint in the lower back.”

    “A few days' rest let the inflammation go down and everything’s been going really well since then. I’m now mid-way through a good, solid block of training which is taking in a lot of the mountains near the Cote d’Azur,” Froome told his team’s website. "I’ve been on my own for a lot of it because most riders are racing at the moment, but that’s allowed me to focus fully on my recovery.”

    Froome’s withdrawal from Tirreno-Adriatico was only announced last Friday evening, and saw a late reshuffle of Sky’s rosters for this week’s stage races. Richie Porte was drafted in to replace Froome in Italy, while Geraint Thomas stepped up to a leadership role at Paris-Nice in Porte’s absence, and currently leads the race overall.

    Froome showcased his early-season form by winning the Tour of Oman last month, but Tirreno-Adriatico would have seen him face Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) for the first time this year, as well as race alongside Bradley Wiggins.

    “It’s definitely been disappointing to miss out on Tirreno. It was an important race for me and offered me a good...

  • Bennati predicts a riot in Arezzo

    Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    Article published:
    March 14, 2014, 11:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tinkoff-Saxo sprinter out to win in his home town

    Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) knows the finish of stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico better than anyone else and the Tuscan is hopeful that his local knowledge can put him in the shake-up for victory in his hometown of Arezzo on Friday afternoon.

    "I go past there every day to take my son to nursery,” Bennati told Cyclingnews of the finish at Piazza della Libertà. “It's a great finish. I've got to say I like it because it finishes in my home town but it's going to a spectacular finale.”

    The Tirreno-Adriatico peloton will tackle three laps of an 11-kilometre finishing circuit around Arezzo and pass the line four times in total before the finish. That extended reconnaissance could prove very useful given the technical nature of the finale and the uphill drag to the line.

    “It won’t be easy, it's a complicated finale,” Bennati explained. “The route goes through a medieval arch and then turns immediately right. There are 200 metres that are quite steep and then after that, there are cobbles on a 5% slope until the finish.”

    The 210 kilometre stage from Cascina features two categorised climbs, at San Casciano Val di Pesa and Poggio alla Croce, but the peloton should be largely intact by the time it reaches Arezzo.

    Controlling the race on the finishing circuit could prove more difficult, however, and positioning will be crucial once in the city streets. While overall leader Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) will both be keen for a win after failing to contest the sprint in Cascina on Thursday, Bennati warned that it is not a finale that suits out and out...

  • Video: Riders reveal their biggest mistakes as a neo-pro

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
    Article published:
    March 14, 2014, 13:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    When Bradley Wiggins met Mario Cipollini

    You’ve been putting in the hard miles and getting the results, and finally a team recognises your talent and you land your first professional contract. That’s it, you’ve finally made it, but no matter how good you are and how much promise you have, there is still a lot to learn when you take the step to becoming a neo-pro.

    Bradley Wiggins, Chris Horner, Tyler Farrar and Ben Swift have all been through the trials and tribulations of the new professional. From Farrar training too hard to Wiggins having a run-in with Mario Cipollini, they tell Cyclingnews their biggest mistakes in their first years as professionals.

    With a collective 45 seasons and counting in the profession peloton, the four have had their fair share of experiences and give their advice to this year’s crop of neo-pros.

    “Keep your eyes open,” Farrar tells Cyclingnews. “You learn so much in your first years as a pro that it changes you as a rider if you learn all the lessons from it.”

    Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel.


  • Sagan gives a master class on winning in Arezzo

    Peter Sagan celebrates his stage win
    Article published:
    March 14, 2014, 19:14 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Cannondale star shows his class at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) let out a Hulk-like roar as he crossed the finish line in Arezzo - relieved to have shown he won, relieved to have shown he is on form for the Classics but also a moving gesture for his mum, who he revealed is unwell.

    Sagan made a point of dedicating his victory in stage 3 at Tirreno-Adriatico to her. She will no doubt be happy to see he is back to doing what he does best: making the hardest race finishes look easy to win.

    "It's an important win because now I know that my condition is improving," Sagan explained.

    "This finish was not everybody, maybe for five riders in the group, but I won it. That's why I'm happy and happy about how I feel.

    "It was very complicated and dangerous in the last seven kilometres. I was up front, then behind, then up front, then behind again. In the last three kilometres I found a teammate who put me on the front but then after two corners I lost my position and I think I was tenth. Fortunately that's when I found Bennati who was moving up before the climb. I got on his wheel and that helped me to get up into position. Then on the climb, it was very hard and we went fast but it was good for me."

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) tried to attack early to distance Sagan but that only helped the Cannondale rider in the finale after he moved back to the front.

    "I saw he was on good form but he attacked too early. But it was good for me because he lead-out the sprint," Sagan said with brutal honesty, castigating his rival's tactics.

    "When I feel good, I don't worry about what other riders are doing but you have to understand who is strong so you can decide who to follow in the sprint."

    Milan-San Remo favourite

    Sagan's victory...