A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Crash in training not a factor, Johansson says
The Australian Orica-AIS women's team had to settle for the bronze medal at the UCI road world championship team time trial in Florence, Italy on Sunday. The runner-up in last year's inaugural event, Orica was in contention at the first check at kilometer 9.7, just 1.87 seconds down on eventual winners Specialized-lululemon, but over the next 18km they had conceded 50 seconds, and in the technical final kilometers in Florence, they dropped behind the Rabo-LivGiant team.
Did a crash in training during the previous day, on one of the corners in that section impact their race? Sweden's Emma Johansson didn't think it was the main factor.
"We had a small crash in training yesterday in the technical part. Shara [Gillow] went down and took a couple of other girls down. Luckily nobody got hurt since it wasn't at high speed. It can get into your head, but it wasn't because of that that we didn't get first or second today."
Gillow admitted the team took that turn with a bit more caution on race day, "But every corner is a risk. We did the best with what we could on the corner."
Johansson said that the team hasn't put as much focus into the team time trial this year. "We didn't have any specific camps or anything. Literally it's the first time we've had the team put together. We've done some team time trials, but we've never been the six of us that were here today."
"We had the strongest ride today - we opened up really strongly and had a really awesome start, we did blow up a bit but I prefer to do it that way and have a crack for the win, then if you can't manage all the way you had a go. It makes you stronger for next year. I'm sure all the girls did everything they could.
"We just have to congratulate the other two teams who were stronger today. I know...
Women break 50kph average
A second consecutive world title in the team time trial was a special experience for the USA-registered Specialized-lululemon women's team, but it was also a remarkable day for women's cycling in general, as Evelyn Stevens, Ellen van Dijk, Lisa Brennauer, Katie Colclough, Trixi Worrack and Carmen Small broke through the 50 kilometer per hour mark en route to a resounding victory over the Rabo-LivGiant team.
"It's so special - there's no other event in cycling where all six teammates can go on the podium together," Stevens said. "You really feel like a unit. Last year was special, and having had that experience, knowing how amazing it is made us want it even more. I'm so happy to have it in the world championships."
Team director Ronny Lauke said that defending the title was never going to be simple. "Everyone had us as the big favorites, until earlier in the week when the other teams got louder and were saying they could win. It can affect the team, but we decided not to listen to that, only focus on our strengths and have a clear plan.
"It's difficult to win but it is even harder to defend. The team came in very well prepared and confident. There is always a last little bit you need, and that's luck, but everything went perfectly today."
Overcoming a night of nerves, the women awoke early to a crystal clear, fresh Tuscan sunrise to start the 42.8km test from Pistoia. The RusVelo team had the quickest early time, but the Rabo-LivGiant team came through 50 seconds faster. Orica was next across the line to edge the Russian squad down a peg but Specialized-lululemon had led at both intermediate checks with increasing gaps, and were hot on the heels of the Australians to come through with the victory 1:11 ahead of the Dutch team and 1:33 on Orica.
Stevens explained that while en route, they were never sure of...
American admits the whole team had a bad day
Taylor Phinney had hoped to lead BMC to victory in the team time trial world championship after finishing a close second in 2012. However, the American was left hurting with disappointment as much as fatigue at the finish after BMC finished an unexpected fourth, 1:02 behind repeat winners Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
Phinney lives close to the time trial course during his European season and had prepared meticulously for the event with his teammates. He admitted he whole team had a bad day.
BMC was fourth fastest at the first intermediate time check after 7.3km and the climb to Serravalle Pistoiese, 12 seconds slower than Omega Pharma-Quick Step. There was little chance for them to overturn such a significant deficit in the rest of the race and while they held fourth place at the other time gaps, they quickly lost any hope of victory or even a medal.
"We came in quite confident but we were just disappointing as a team," Phinney told Cyclingnews as the UCI fretted to control his bike after the race.
"I didn't feel I was on my best day. I tried to carry the team as well as I could in the end. Tejay was really strong too, but we just didn't perform."
"Sometimes you have it and sometimes you don't. We definitely worked really hard for it, so it's quite disappointing to come here and finish so far down after being so close last year. But that's the way life is I guess."
Phinney will be hoping to bounce back and have a better day on Wednesday when he targets the individual time trial, riding for the USA. He can be encouraged by his strong individual effort in last year's world championships, when he finished second to Tony Martin but only five seconds away from victory.
Belgian team retain title
Tony Martin anchored Omega Pharma-Quick Step to a second consecutive team time trial world title nd punched the air in celebration when team staff confirmed that the squad had snatched victory from Orica-GreenEdge.
The usually self controlled German was overjoyed to have won again and proved they are the best team time trial squad in professional cycling.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step were 14 seconds ahead of the Australian team at the second time split after 24km but slipped to 1.45 seconds behind with 15km, and the final technical section I the centre of Florence, left to ride. Thanks to a huge effort from the four riders left up front, including Martin, Omega Pharma-Quick Step pulled back enough time to win by 0.81 of a second. The 57km race was decided by a tiny margin.
"Some times to win this way, with a tiny gap, is better to win it by a big gap, especially for the spectators. I bet it was exciting to watch but we had to go really deep to win," Martin said after collecting his gold medal on the podium.
"For me and for all the riders, it's hard when you have to pull time back but Tom Steels boosted our moral via the radio. We took some risk in the last 10km but we knew we would win it or blow up. It's great to see that we won it. The time gaps were like a wake up call in the finale. We tried to up the speed. It hurt but it has to hurt a lot."
"We came into the finale (in central Florence) with the four freshest guys and it's easier with four instead of six. Kristoff Vande Walle brought us into the finale and then we gave it everything right to the line."
Revenge for Tour de France defeat
Omega Pharma-Quick Step lost the team time trial stage at this year's Tour de France to Orica-GreenEdge by just 0.75 of a second. They took revenge and snatched the world title as the...
Canadian reflects on a big season, his future
Canadian Svein Tuft came just a hair's breadth from taking his first world title at the UCI road world championships in Florence on Sunday. He and his Orica-GreenEdge teammates were only 0.81 seconds shy of the victory after a grueling 57.2km team time trial, losing out to the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team.
Tuft was disappointed with the result, but at the same time happy for his team, which moved up a step on the podium compared with last year.
"It's one of those things where we rode with everything we had," Tuft told Cyclingnews. "It's disappointing to lose by 0.8 seconds but we did everything we could. What's strange is that, in [Eneco Tour] we beat them by 0.8 [last year], and in the Tour we beat them by 0.8s and they beat us today. We've had a few close calls with them.
"We've really worked hard for this race. It's disappointing, but at the same time we were committed to the effort and worked well together. We had a good day for what we had."
Orica went into the first check 12 seconds down on Omega Pharma, by the next check at kilometer 24.1 they had lost another two seconds, but over the course of the subsequent 18.2km they overturned that deficit and added another two seconds, heading into the final 15km with the lead.
"It's such a long day, with the nature of the course - it's flat and supposedly fast, but it was a block headwind or crosswind the majority of the time. We went out at a decent pace, but then we really hung on. I think that's a good strategy. If you go too hard over the climb [near the start] you can put guys over their limit and not get them back. We had a good strategy and...
Froome suffers early on but finishes in final quartet
Chris Froome headed to Monaco for a few days at home before the world championship road race with a bronze medal around his neck and a smile on his face after an impressive performance by Team Sky in the team time trial world championships.
While some teams had held training camps, carefully selected riders and studied every inch in minute detail, Team Sky used their experience and combination of riders to finish third behind Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Orica-GreenEdge but ahead of BMC, Radioshack-Leopard and Astana.
Froome, Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, Vasil Kiryienka and Edvald Boasson Hagen and Kanstantsin Siutsou set a time of 1:04:39. They were 22 seconds slower than Omega Pharma-Quick Step but a significant 1:02
faster than BMC.
What Team Sky lacked in fitness, freshness and power, they made up with experience, intelligence and a cycling sixth sense gained from this year's Tour de France. All six riders in the team time trial world championship sextet were part of the winning team at this year's Tour de France and so could call on the intuition a Grand Tour victory instills in riders' minds.
Thomas contributed his time trial and team pursuit skills, while Kiryienka put down the metronomic rhythm he acquired at the Vuelta and used to win a stage. Froome opted to miss a few turns after going into the red early on but that ensured he could still play a part all the way until the finish.
"I think we possibly started a little fast and I think I personally spent a little but too much too early. I was struggling in the middle section of the race but felt better towards the end," he explained to several media at the finish, including Cyclingnews.
"We worked well together. The six of us have spent a lot of time together this season and were learning to read each other...
"I'm so happy in hindsight with how my career evolved"
Christian Vande Velde got a special, emotional goodbye hug from Garmin Sharp teammate Tyler Farrar as the two sat on the road recovering from the intense effort of the world team time trial championships in Tuscany.
For Vande Velde it marked the end of his 15-year professional career. He made his European debut back in 1998 with the US Postal Service team at the Criterium International and the 57km world championship TTT was his last ever race with Garmin-Sharp.
Vande Velde will no doubt look back at his long career in more detail, with more hindsight and with more emotion in the weeks and months to come. In the immediate, he preferred to enjoy the last emotions of his career.
"It's a great moment. It's fun to go out in a discipline that really made this team in the first place and with a lot of the founding members of this team. Those are the kind of memories I'll take with me when I retire," Vande Velde told Cyclingnews in an exclusive interview before heading back to the Garmin-Sharp team bus to no-doubt begin retirement celebration with fellow veterans David Millar, Farrar and David Zabriskie.
"There's a lot of different emotions going on but I think it'll take some time for me to reflect on it all," he said, happy and able to appreciate the way his career played out.
"I'm so happy in hindsight with how my career evolved. I had the most success at the end of my career with Slipstream, a team that I really call my home." He explained.
"That's kind of lop sided for many people but for me that meant I never took a lot of things for granted. If I'd had a lot of the same success when I as young, I wouldn't have appreciated it in the same way."
Helping the sport
His career was inspired by that of his father John Vande Velde, who was one of the...
FDJ.fr rack up 30th win for the season
Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) won the GP d'Isbergues - Pas de Calais in a sprint finish ahead of John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (Accent Jobs-Wanty) on Sunday in the north of France. Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd rounded out the top 5 for BMC as they continued their fine tuning heading into the UCI Road World Championship Road Race on Sunday.
Degenkolb was visibly upset as he crossed the line, raising a hand towards Démare in protest. As the Frenchman explained, however, he believed Degenkolb was trying to go through a gap that wasn't there.
"Frankly, I wasn't at fault," exclaimed Démare. "Mika [Mickael Delage] lead me right along the right barriers and no doubt Degenkolb is a bit quicker than me, but he wanted to pass between the barriers and myself. I didn't open the door, I do not have to. This is the sprint."
The race jury agreed with Démare and his win stood. Démare hit form mid-way through the current season when he won three stages in a row, as well as bagging the general classification, the young rider classification and the points classification at the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque. The neo-pro then continued his strong second half of the season by taking sprint wins at the Eneco Tour, the Ride London Classic and the Tour de Suisse.
For Démare, his most recent victory came as a surprise given that he struggled for the latter part of the race
"There was one year," Démare explained. "I planned to finish my season at Isbergues, and I won. I tend to do well in the north [of France].
"However, I must say that [today] I was not well. I spent the last 50 km way back in the peloton […] my teammates did not ask me any questions. They...