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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 28, 2014

Date published:
April 28, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Gilbert lacking in Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 27, 2014, 21:40 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    BMC star eighth, praises Gerrans for victory

    When Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) faded in the crucial final kilometres of Liège-Bastogne-Liège it was not by much - but just enough in a race which culminated in a near stalemate to finish out of the sprint for the very top spots.

    Instead ‘Phil', as he is widely known, had to settle for eighth at the end of a race which, as he commented with his usual clear cut analysis, "never really exploded."

    "Every leader had a lot of riders with them in the finale and that meant the course was shut down and it was harder to try to get away," Gilbert said. "We went up Ans at full tilt, and it was very fast all the way, too.

    "Then when I did try to go clear on the last climb because it seemed like everybody was on the limit, just like Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) did last year, it didn't work out. I just didn't have the legs."

    The difference between winning the Amstel Gold Race and his near miss in Liège, Gilbert said, was that "in Amstel it's more of a technical finish and I felt more comfortable there, here was more a question of raw strength, and I didn't quite have it."

    Victorious in the 2011 Liège, Gilbert praised Simon Gerrans for his triumph, saying he was a "good winner, and somebody whose palmares is getting better every year. [And] I'm happy to have been close to the win myself."

    BMC sports director Valerio Piva said that Gilbert "was lacking a little bit right at the end, and he maybe went for it a bit too early. The thing was everybody was waiting and waiting right until the finish, and then it came down to a sprint where the best riders like Gerrans and [Michal] Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) were still there, both of whom are very fast. It was very difficult in a bunch sprint...

  • Cavendish back to winning form at Tour of Turkey

    Mark Cavendish went bananas to win the sprint
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 1:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep sprinter takes the race lead after rough spring

    After missing out on his chance for victory in Milan-San Remo, Mark Cavendish fell ill and missed an entire month of competition. However, the lack of race days didn't stop the Omega Pharma-Quickstep sprinter from winning the opening stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey and donning the turquoise leader's jersey.

    "I was a bit surprised by my speed," Cavendish said, describing the sprint after the 141km stage in Alanya. "I had to go a little bit early. There was a slight headwind. I think I went at 250 meters because I was about six wheels back. When I initially kicked, I was surprised how nice I felt. So, I just kept it going and when I was ahead, I didn't know by how much, I thought someone might be closing from behind, but I won."

    Cavendish was ruled out of Gent-Wevelgem in March with a fever caused by a viral infection that was a result of the cold and wet edition of Milan-San Remo. He failed to improve sufficiently to race the Three Days of De Panne, and then was forced to alter his plan to race the Giro d'Italia and opt for Tour of California instead. The Tour of Turkey was to be his re-entry into the peloton, but he wasn't sitting on just in hopes of finishing in his first outing of the UCI 2.HC race.

    "I was in good condition before I got sick so it's not like I was in bad condition after my illness, it just went down a little bit. It's the first race after five weeks so you never really know. I didn't think I'd be dropped or struggling or anything,...

  • Bos satisfied with third on opening stage in Turkey

    Theo Bos (Belkin)
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 2:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Belkin fast man looking forward to next sprint challenge

    Having won four stages with ease in February's Tour de Langkawi, Theo Bos (Belkin) found the going a little more difficult on stage one of the Presidential Tour of Turkey up against the 'Manx Missile', Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who won the stage.

    The 30-year-old couldn't quite match the high-end speed of Cavendish and Elia Viviani (Cannondale) but explained that, nevertheless he was satisfied with the opening day of the eight-stage race.

    "I can live with this third place," said Bos. "There's no disgrace in getting beaten by Cavendish. The boys did a perfect lead-out. I feel very strong, we probably have three sprint stages left, and I hope to win at least one."

    For the Sports Director at the race, Michiel Elijzen, it was a good start to the race for the team who stated the goal in Turkey is to claim as many sprint wins as possible.

    "I'm very satisfied," said Elijzen. "Of course we'd rather win, but Cavendish is one of the best sprinters in the world. I'm very proud of the way the team pulled the sprint for Theo. He was able to begin his sprint from the best possible position. Our train is one of the fastest of the bunch and proved it's very strong and well organised."

    "We've worked on several areas of the sprint and today, we were spotless....

  • Nathan Earle the only Team Sky rider to finish Liège

    Richie Porte (Team Sky) like all but one of his teammates was a DNF
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 4:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Anonymous day in the Ardennes after Froome and Kennaugh failed to start

    On the eve of the 100th Liège-Bastogne-Liège, 2013 Tour de France Champion Chris Froome was seen by many as a favourite to claim La Doyenne and close out the last of the Ardennes races in style. Team Sky were already entering the race down on numbers and when Froome announced on the morning of the race that a mild-chest infection was forcing him out of the race, it would prove to be an innocuous day in the saddle for the 263km that the world's oldest one-day race covered.

    25-year-old Australian Nathan Earle, in his debut season with the team, was the only rider to finish for Sky in 70th place behind compatriot Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) who won his maiden Leige.

    "It was pretty tough out there but it was a really nice experience," said Earle after his first Ardennes campaign. "This has been one of my favourite races ever since I started cycling. It’s a bit of a dream come true just to ride it, let alone finish it. It was a tough day but I’m happy to be able to finish it for the team."

    Pete Kennaugh was another absentee for the race who missed out as a result of illness as Dave Brailsford explained to reporters at the start of the race that: "he's just feeling empty, you know, he's been feeling that for the last few days and when somebody's like that there's no point in pushing on. You've got to cut your losses...

  • Spain, Contador and Omega Pharma-Quick Step still top of WorldTour rankings

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 5:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Gerrans and Valverde move up to two and three after impressing in the Ardennes

    With the WorldTour Ardennes triple — Amstel Gold RaceLa Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège — all taking place within one week, there were plenty of points on offer and potential for the individual, team and nations rankings to be adjusted accordingly. The winner of Amstel Gold and La Flèche were awarded 80 points and the winner of Liège, 100 points, although all three leaders remained the same ahead of the next WorldTour race, the Tour de Romandie, beginning on Tuesday

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) moved up to second overall having collected 150 points with victory in La Doyenne and third place at Amstel while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) now sits in third place overall and Michał Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is in fifth place after the week of racing. Gerrans was the first leader of the 2014 WorldTour rankings after winning a record third Tour Down Under title in January.

    "This is an incredible victory, it's a dream come true to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège," Gerrans said after winning his second monument.

    "It's was a very, very hard race and I've got to...

  • Schleck out of Romandie with knee injury

    Andy Schleck (Trek Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 6:00 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Former Tour winner needs to "show something"

    Three DNF in his first objectives of the season were hardly what Andy Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) was looking for in the Ardennes Classics and the news that he will now miss the Tour of Romandie as he recovers from a knee injury will no doubt make this week a harder pill to swallow.

    "Ask me how my week was because it was just shit," Schleck told Cyclingnews at the finish of Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

    "I crashed in Amstel and since them I've constantly had pain in my knee."

    "I had a scan and they told me to rest but can't really rest because I was really motivated for today. I was supposed to do Romandie but about half an hour ago we decided that it makes no sense. I need to stop now for four or five days and then I hope I feel good."

    That short break from racing will offer Schleck with time to reassess his season. It's no secret that he has struggled for results in the last few seasons with illness, injuries and a lack of form combining to leave him a rather forlorn figure in comparison to the one that helped to light up a series of Tours, and of course he won Liège in 2009.

    "I need to start to training hard and well because I know this is shit," he said.

    "I know that I need to prove something to the team because who would send someone to the Tour who rides a bike like I do at the moment? No one, and no one will want to ride for me so I want to show something in Suisse. I know that. I want to."

    With Romandie off the schedule Schleck will next...

  • BMC backing van Garderen at Romandie

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) on the podium with his trophy after winning the queen stage at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 7:15 BST
    Cycling News

    American looking to continue good start to the season

    BMC Racing Team in 2014 have recorded several big one-day and stage races victories and with Tejay van Garderen leading the team, they hope to add the 2014 Tour de Romandie to that list.

    The six-day WorldTour race starts with a short 5.6km prologue around Ascona and concludes with a 18.5km time trial in Neuchâtel. In the middle of the two races against the clock are two major mountain stages which are certain to decide the overall. 

    Sport Director Yvon Ledanois is backing the 25-year-old American who recently claimed the queen stage at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya for a good performance.

    "The goal is to make the best possible result with Tejay van Garderen in the general classification, but also to continue the great team spirit," Ledanois said. "Why not try to win stages as well, especially to keep the motivation that is already present in the big races?"

    van Garderen is preparing to lead the team at the Tour de France while Cadel Evans readies himself for an assault on the Giro d'Italia. In 2012 van Garderen was fifth overall and the best young rider rider at the Tour but last year finished a lowly 45th and has targeted another top-ten result in July.

    The season has started well for van Garderen who was runner-up behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the Tour of...

  • Caruso the almost man for Katusha at Liège-Bastogne-Liege

    Giampaolo Caruso crosses the line in fourth
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 9:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian caught 100 metres from the finish

    Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) entered the final corner of the 263km Liège-Bastogne-Liège neck and neck with Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) only for the defending champion to slide out, while Caruso was overtaken on the final straight and was powerless as Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) sprinted past to claim the win. The Italian finished fourth after being just 100 metres from victory.

    "This is an emotional day for me," said a disappointed Caruso after the fourth monument of 2014. Katusha entered the race with Joaquim Rodríguez under an injury cloud. He didn't finish the race and as Caruso explained, he was the the beneficiary of last year's runner-up pulling out.

    "I think I'll experience this sadness for a very long time because chances are I won't find myself in such a position to win such a big race in the future," Caruso said. "I had good condition and when 'Purito' went out of the race, we were given the freedom to ride for ourselves and I was ready to do that."

    "I've done everything in the past few weeks to have good condition. I've been away from my family now for almost a month and a half so I dedicate this ride to my children whom I haven't seen in such a long time."

    With a late attack in the final few kilometres that was joined by Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Caruso laid all his cards on the tables and was almost...