Within just a few hours of stepping off the final podium in the maillot jaune, Talansky was on the road again, this time in a team car and heading off for a Monday morning recon of the Tour de France’s individual time trial, a 54km course from Bergerac to Périgueux. No rest for the weary.
Talansky had just pulled off the biggest win of his career too. Starting the final stage of the Dauphiné in third position, 39 seconds down on overnight leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo), the American all-rounder attacked as part of a large group on the opening climb of the race.
While Contador and second placed rider Chris Froome (Team Sky) watched each other, Talansky’s group built up an advantage of over three minutes. By the foot of the penultimate climb, Talansky still remained the virtual leader of the race, prompting Contador to take matters into his own hands and attack.
The battle was set for an epic duel with Talansky pulling the remnants of the break up the last two climbs while Contador looked to reel in the young American and his accomplices. It looked as though the Spaniard would pull it off when he reduced the gap to 56 seconds on the lower slopes of the final ascent but the race leader began to suffer, coughing up a handful of second to leave Talansky with the biggest win of his career.
Ukrainian team secures double wins at Tour de Beauce
So far this week at Tour de Beauce in Québec, Amore & Vita-Selle SMP has rewarded its Canadian director Phil Cortes with two wins in four stages. The Italian-based, Ukrainian-registered team won the first stage with Luca Benedetti in a bunch sprint, while Leonardo Pinizzotto soloed to victory during Saturday's stage 4 Québec City circuit race after being off the front in a five-rider breakaway for most of the day.
The most recent success is the culmination of a two-week North American jaunt that started with the Philadelphia Cycling Classic at the beginning of the month. Pinizzotto took fourth-place at that one-day race before the team headed north for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay and this week's race in Beauce.
“We came into this block of racing knowing that it was very important to the team, knowing that we had the legs, we had the firepower,” Cortes said Saturday after watching his rider take the stage win. “We saw that the level of these races was very well adapted to us. We've been showing it the past two weeks – even in Philadelphia. A fourth place in Philadelphia for our team is something that hasn't happened for a lot of years, so it's unbelievable. We're on a high, and I think it's something that we have to build on.”
The team's first US trip this year to the Winston-Salem Classic in April didn't bear any fruit, so Amore & Vita raised expectations this time around.
“[Winston-Salem] didn't go as well as we'd hoped,” Cortes said. “But hey, you have to go into certain races expecting more, and this block was...
Confidence boost for Belgian ahead of the Tour de France
Having started the eighth and final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in fifth place, Jurgen Van den Broeck's (Lotto-Belisol) final day performance saw him finish the Tour de France warm up race in third place overall. The Belgian had started the day with the intention of maintaining his GC position but his strong ride to fifth place elevated him two overall places to his first stage-race podium finish this year.
During the stage Van den Broeck and teammate Tony Gallopin made their way into the decisive 23-man breakaway which also included stage winner Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) and overall winner Andrew Talansky (Garmin- Sharp). Behind them in the peloton on the penultimate climb of the day, race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) attacked and dropped Chris Froome (Team Sky) but couldn;t bridge across to the leaders
Ahead of Contador on the road remained just eight riders of the breakaway with one final 5.9km climb of the day to Courchevel.
Nieve attacked from the group to solo to the win while Talansky and Van den Broeck finished fourth and fifth to seal the overall win and a podium place.
"Before the start of the Dauphiné I had hoped I could show I was competitive," Van den Broeck said. "That I'm on the podium is a marvellous result. I was fifth this morning. The goal was first of all to maintain that place and gain one place if possible. The race was hectic today and I was in the perfect position when the breakaway was formed. I decided to jump along.
Australian claims second Tour de Suisse career victory
Having won stage 1 of the 2013 Tour de Suisse, Cam Meyer's (Orica-GreenEdge) fast finish from a three-man breakaway netted him stage 2 of the 2014 edition of the race. The Australian timed his sprint to perfection from third wheel to beat Philip Deignan (Team Sky) and Lawrence Warbasse (BMC) for line honours in Sernen and record Orica-GreenEdge's 23rd win of 2014.
"This is a significant win for me," said Meyer who was forced to withdraw from the Giro d'italia. "The Giro was a big personal goal for the first half of the season. It was great to win the team time trial with the guys, but things went downhill for me personally from there. I got sick. I crashed. Eventually, I pulled out. I really wanted to bounce back and come back strong in the second part of the season. This is a great way to start that."
GreenEdge's sport director Neil Stephens explained that the plan for the stage was to get Meyer into the break and it was a plan well executed.
"It might be hard to believe but the plan today was always to put Cam in the break," said Stephens. "We knew we wanted someone in the move, and given our options, he was the best one for the job. We were all committed to helping Cam, and obviously the results of the plan were in our favour."
Despite losing contact with break twice in the final hour of racing, Meyer fought back to regain contact with the leaders on the road but Stephens had radioed the team to let them know they were free to attack back in the peloton.
"At the front, the group got into a bit of rhythm and reduced the break to three or four riders," Stephens said. "Cam lost contact with the front group on the last climb. At that point, there were two guys in...
Pinarello is proven name on the road with victory at the last two editions of the Tour de France through Sky's Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Chris Froome in 2013.
The Italian brand launched the Dogma F8, a successor to the top-of-the-line Dogma 65.1 that will be ridden at this year’s Tour de France by defending champion, Chris Froome, and the rest of his Sky teammates.
"The 65.1 Dogma was the best bike in the world for the last 10 years and we tried to make a new one but it's not so easy," Pinarello's CEO, Fausto Pinarello, explained. "We started from the same geometry, it's for important for rideability, and make it a completely different bike."
The bike, designed in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover’s aerodynamics team, sticks to the precise geometry and handling of the supple and responsive Dogma 65.1, but introduces a number of aero enhancements, such as a fork that is akin to the Bolide, the brand’s TT machine.
The F8 also features a concave, rather than convex, seatstay cluster and truncated aerofoil-shaped tubes, which have been dubbed FlatBack.
The development process from initial concept to final product was 15-months with the aim of Pinarello to make the "best product" possible for the "best team."
"Taking it around a few corners, you can feel the rigidity when you push on the pedals, the power goes straight through the pedals," Chris Froome said of the bike. "It doesn't flex, it doesn't move, whatever power you put through the pedals goes onto the road."
Fränk Schleck and Rast crash while Devolder withdraws with illness
Stage 2 of the Tour de Suisse was a day to forget to Trek Factory Racing with Stijn Devolder withdrawing from the race after the first feedzone while Fränk Schleck and Gregory Rast both crashed on the descent of the Grimselpass. Fränk Schleck was not able to regain contact with the peloton after the crash and finished the stage over 16 minutes down on Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) and is a doubt for the start of stage 3.
The fog on the Grimselpass made the descent treacherous and as a Rast explained, it was was one of the "scariest" he has ever done.
"On the Grimsel there was a lot of fog and I said to Andy and Fränk they should go in the front for the descent," Rast said. "And they did. I think first Andy was hit from behind because everyone had a hard time to control their bikes, and you could not see more then 10 meters. And for me, I came from the back and I could not stop in time and rode full gas into a Europcar guy – sorry for that but I could do nothing.
"The problem was that you could not see anything and the wet roads made it more dangerous; it was one of the worst descents that I ever did. It was so scary."
The weather conditions meant that Rast didn't realise Fränk Schleck had crashed and by the time he heard, it was too late to stop.
"Fränk was in the same crash - he was on the right side and I had just passed him and I crashed 20 meters below him. I didn't see him. I jumped on my bike, and I was looking back and I saw another guy, but I did not know who it was. So I continued. Then Kim [Andersen, director] came on the radio and said it was Fränk, but he was so far back it made no sense to wait for him."
The peloton rolled into Sernen 14 seconds behind the successful breakaway with Andy Schleck, Laurent Didier, and Matthew Busche all present. For Andy Schleck, it was a long wet and stressful day with nothing to be gained after the 182km...
Effects of stage 5 crash ended hopes of title defence
Despite slipping from second to 12th overall on the final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné following the effects of a crash on stage 5, Chris Froome (Team Sky) was bouyed by his two stage wins, six days in the leaders jersey and victory in the points classification. Mikel Nieve's stage win saved the day with his first stage win for Sky in Courchevel but it was the performance by Froome that attracted equal attention.
30-year-old Neive was given the freedom to attack from the breakaway while in the peloton the GC contenders starting to test each others legs. Race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) had distanced Froome on the penultimate ascent of the day but he was unable to haul in Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) who rode away for a surprise overall win.
Froome was unable to match the efforts of Contador but explained after the stage that we was still happy with his performance during the race.
"I've felt completely blocked up through my front of quads since the crash and I've not been able to engage the same types of muscles that I used in the earlier stages," Froome said.
"That definitely affected me today, and while it's frustrating, we can take a lot of things away from this race. We've had three stage wins, taken the points jersey, and produced a dominant team performance."
After winning the Dauphiné last year, Froome went on to win the Tour de France and knows that defending his yellow jersey will be a difficult feat come July.
"Tinkoff-Saxo only held the jersey for one day but we defended it for six stages until Alberto took it yesterday. He's shown he's in great form ahead of the Tour...
The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team is expected to be built around sprinter Mark Cavendish, who is targeting the opening stage to Harrogate, while Michal Kwiatkowski will target a good overall placing and Tony Martin the time trial.
"I won't be at the Tour. The team doesn't need me for the Tour and I hope to have a good end of season," Boonen told several Belgian media outlets at the Tour de Suisse.
"My love for the Tour hasn't faded but if I ride the Tour de France, I can say goodbye to the rest of the season."
Boonen will target the Belgian national championships and then take a break in July before riding the Eneco Tour (August 11-17), the Vuelta a Espana (August 23-September 14) and the world road race championships in Ponferrada, Spain (September 28).