Two-day event features men's/women's UCI road races, NCC criteriums
Entering its second year, the 2014 edition of the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic has dramatically upped the ante regarding the stature of the event as the two-day race now features UCI 1.2-rated road races (also part of USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar) for both men and women on Friday, April 18 followed by National Criterium Calendar/USA Crits events for both the men and women in the early evening on Saturday, April 19.
Interspersed between those events are USA Cycling-sanctioned criteriums, a gran fondo and plans for live, online streaming of select races.
"We heard a lot of feedback from participants last year who said these races were some of the toughest in America," said Race Director Ray Boden. "They loved the intense competition of our races and the downtown courses. Our goal this time is to make everything bigger and better."
Friday's road races, featuring one of only two UCI-sanctioned events for women in the United States this season (the other being the one-day Philadelphia Cycling Classic in June), will take place on an 11.4km circuit in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The 91km women's race, starting at 9:30am, features eight laps of the circuit and an $11,000 purse while the 171km men's event, following at 12:30pm, will be contested over 15 laps with a $13,000 purse up for grabs.
The road circuit consists of rolling terrain over the 11.4km parcours with the steepest climb on the route featuring a gradient of 10 percent. The women face 1,456m of climbing for their 91km race while the men's 171km event features 2,730m of climbing. The road circuit pays homage to the long-running Hanes Park Criterium as part of that race's route is included in the latter portion of the 11.4km course.
The event's Competition Director Kurt Stockton, who raced professionally and has directed several men's and women's pro teams, said the goal in the event's second year was to attract top talent and make the UCI 1.2...
Gerrans won the 2012 edition of the race, ahead of Fabian Cancellara and Vincenzo Nibali, and will be the team leader. While Matthews will provide them with a suitable alternative if it comes to a bunch sprint. The Australian outfit believe that they have all eventualities covered.
"If a scenario does come about that big moves go on the Poggio, we've got Simon Gerrans for that and Michael showed that he's in very good condition at Paris-Nice to handle the sprint, if that's what the scenario involves," team directeur sportif Matt White told Cyclingnews.
Matthews has never ridden Milan-San Remo and will be making his debut on Sunday. He was on good form at Paris-Nice last week, sticking with the climbers on some of the trickier finishes. The 23-year-old was forced to quit after the penultimate stage due to saddle sores.
Gerrans also took an early flight home from Paris-Nice. The former San Remo winner was suffering with his allergies and took a tactical decision to abandon the race. White believes that the two riders are close to their best ahead of the year's first monument. "They're both pretty close to being at 100%," he says. "Simon had some allergy issues at Paris-Nice and Michael had a pretty big saddle sore, so we thought one extra day recovery would do it the world of good for Sunday.
"I think that they are going to be very competitive. I don't think it’s going to do us any favours going back to the old Milan-San Remo course. I would have liked le Manie or...
At the Tackling Doping in Sport conference at Wembley Stadium, London the chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, reiterated his commitment to cleaning up professional cycling.
Tygart stated that time was running out for cycling to clean itself up as the "honeymoon period" of new UCI president Brian Cookson, who was elected in September, comes to a close and consequently, has offered the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) the unredacted dossier which exposed the extent that Lance Armstrong and US Postal were implicated in doping with the hope his actions will help to "clean out the system."
There has been much speculation over who the redacted names are in the dossier, known as the reasoned decision, and Tygart suggested that by revealing the riders, who are only identified by a number, will help ensure cyclists come to the table.
"There are redacted names in our reasoned decision, close to 37 I think," said Tygart at the London conference. "Our hope is, and we've had communication with the CIRC, that we are going to present this all to them because there is a whole lot of information out there that would be helpful in cleaning out the system that is there."
When asked if he expected disciplinary cases as a result, Tygart responded: "Certainly where there is evidence of violations we will bring cases and I'm assured by other NADOs [National Anti-Doping Organisations] that they will."
Having initially been known as a 'truth and reconciliation commission,' CIRC is empowered to offer reduced sanctions to people coming forward and can recommend reductions in the cases of...
New women's team launched in time for 2014 Australian National Road Series
The newest Australian women’s National Road Series team, BikeBug-NextGen Racing, was launched in Melbourne on Thursday.
NextGen Cycling owners Chris Stevens, Stuart McKenzie and Claire Homsey also announced its relationship with sponsors BikeBug.com, as well as CartGiS Pty Ltd, Project Clothing and Carroll O'Dea Lawyers.
While only seven riders were introduced, the Victorian-based team will be comprised of eight contracted elite female cyclists, who along with managers, coaches and mechanics, are not paid but ride strictly for the "love of cycling" according to Homsey, who also serves as both a communications manager and team rider.
"Our sponsors have been very generous in their efforts to support our team this year, but more than this, they understand our commitment and want to be a part of setting a new benchmark in women’s cycling," said Homsey, a full time management consultant who trains in the morning before work and performs team administration after work.
"A lot of riders would not be able to ride without sponsorship," Homsey told Cyclingnews. "The expense of training, travel and racing is immense, and 100 per cent of our budget is allocated to helping our team reach their goals of racing in both the Victorian and National Road Series."
Aside from the five-race Victorian Road Series starting with the Mt Buller Road Race in March 23 and the seven-race women’s NRS schedule starting at the Adelaide Tour on April 3, BikeBug-NextGen will also be targeting the national time trial, road race and criterium championships in January 2015, as well as approximately 100 cycling races in between.
Tour de France organisers extend their race ownership
According to Spanish new sources, Tour de France organiser, Amuary Sports Organisation (ASO), has completed a take over of Unipublic, the Spanish company that organises the Vuelta a Espana.
When the deal was first rumoured in February of 2008, then UCI president Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews that he believed ASO had plans to create a "rival international federation." As well as the Tour, ASO controls, among others, the Paris-Nice and Paris-Roubaix, Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne, as well as the Dakar Rally and owns the Le Parisien and L'Equipe newspapers.
There has been no formal announcement by ASO on their acquisition of the shares.
In February of this year, rumours began to circulate that ASO was considering buying the Giro d'Italia from RCS Sport, the owners of the Giro, to take complete control of all three grand tours although both parties have denied this is a possibility.
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First up for this season is a preview of the year's first Monument: Milan-San Remo. Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish and Filippo Pozzato, all former winners of La Classicissima, weigh in on the 2014 edition while the race's technical director, Mauro Vegni, provides insight regarding the future of the iconic route, specifically the inclusion of the Pompeiana climb between the Cipressa and Poggio in the race's finale.
Giant-Shimano confirms German sprinter as team leader
Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara and Mark Cavendish are the much talked about favourites for Milan-San Remo but John Degenkolb is arguably the most dangerous underdog and perfectly suited to this year's traditional route.
The 25-year-old has the climbing ability to handle the Cipressa and Poggio and the finishing speed and sprinting skills to beat Sagan in a charge to the line. He also has the experience of finishing fifth in 2012 and 18th last year, and proved he is on form by winning a stage and the green points jersey at Paris-Nice.
"I couldn't hope to be in better form. That doesn’t mean I'll win but I'm hopeful," Degenkolb told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I live for days like this. I haven’t let all the talk about the course bother me, the race will be hard anyway, with the best riders emerging."
Degenkolb is often the sprinting bridesmaid at Giant-Shimano because Marcel Kittel is slightly faster in flat stage race sprints. However Degenkolb is far more complete as a rider. Kittel is always likely to struggle on the Cipressa and the Poggio. Degenkolb is more like fellow German Erik Zabel or Oscar Freire: the perfect rider for 'La Primavera'.
"These long races really suit me. I had a good week's preparation in Paris - Nice and am happy with my form. Winning a stage and taking the green jersey there was good for the confidence, and I am really looking forward to Sunday," Degenkolb said on the Giant-Shimano website.
The Giant-Shimano team will be at Degenkolb's total service, protecting him early in the race, helping to fight for the best position before the climbs and perhaps leading any chase in the final, before Degenkolb uses his sprinting speed on the San Remo...
The Belgian was set to lead the team, along with Mark Cavendish this Sunday. However, on Wednesday, the team announced that he wouldn’t take part in the race due to personal reasons. Lefevere says that Boonen’s knowledge and experience would be missed as much as anything.
“This Milan-San Remo we miss not only the charisma of the man Tom Boonen, but also his leadership. Tom is our steering wheel. He is the man who can make decisions during the race and take responsibility for the whole team,” Lefevere said to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. “Not to participate in Milan-San Remo was a joint decision and also backed up by the sponsors."
“In normal circumstances, for such an event, there is a day’s family leave, but with an athlete the rule does not apply. To achieve top performance the legs and body follow the head. To force him is useless."
With the alteration of the route leaning things towards the sprinters and his early season form as it was, Boonen was one of the favourites for the victory. As recently as last weekend, he was talking up his prospects for Sunday.
The Belgian decided to put his ambitions aside to stay by his partner, after she suffered a miscarriage of their first child. The team were aware fairly early on that this was a possibility. "The problems with Lore’s pregnancy began Tuesday. First was the contact through sports director Wilfried Peeters, who gave me the updates. Given...