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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, February 8, 2014

Date published:
February 08, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Video: Kittel coy on winning Tour de France points jersey

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) on the podium after winning stage 3 at the Dubai Tour
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 21:28 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Giant-Shimano sprinter ‘super happy’ after his second sprint victory in Dubai

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) quickly played down his chances of being a contender for the green points jersey at the Tour de France after surviving on the climbs and winning the third stage at the Dubai Tour, claiming that going for the points jersey in July is 'another league.

    Kittel won four stages at the 2013 Tour de France, including on the Champs Elysees in Paris but was fourth in the points classification, almost 200 hundred points down on winner Peter Sagan. He is almost two metres tall and weighs close to 85kg but proved he can handle some climbing and go on to win sprints in Hatta. He has now set up a possible hat-trick of stage victories in Dubai.

    "I think today was the personal limit of what I can do on the climbs. I'm just happy I could make it and achieve the win I wanted. Now I'm looking to the last stage," Kittle told Cyclingnews in an exclusive video interview.

    He insisted it is far too early to start thinking of July

    "Ha… First of all it's the beginning of January (sic). What happens in July I have no idea, it's still very far away for me. I think this is (challenging for the green jersey) another league."

    Kittel crossed the summit of the final climb with several other sprinters but took some huge risks on the descent to get back to the front of the race before the finish.

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was the natural favourite for victory on the rising finish after his teammates had split the peloton on the final climb. However the Slovakian did not have the speed to stop Kittel from taking a second consecutive victory.

    "I'm super happy. My legs are very good. I knew that after the time trial and so I just wanted to have a go today and see how far I could go on the climb," Kittel said.

    "The team brought me to a super good position and kept me out of...

  • African Wildlife Safaris enjoying Continental life at Herald Sun Tour

    Gillett tnjoying a chat with Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 22:09 GMT
    Zeb Woodpower

    Australian team adjusting to life racing with WorldTour outfits

    For the Melbourne-based African Wildlife Safaris team, February 2014 was marked on the calendar as the most special month of the year. Having successfully applied for a UCI Continental licence, the team could race the Jayco Herald Sun Tour which had also been elevated up a level in the UCI hierarchy.

    At the Australian road national champions in Ballarat during early January, the team was seen animating both the U23 and men's road races and young talent Rhys Gillett capped off the week by taking home the elite KOM jersey.

    On Stage 1 at the Herald Sun Tour the team was quick to make itself visible as Nathan Elliot made it into the day's break. The day's main climb was Elliot's undoing as he lost contact with his two companions but his move was a sign of intent and what to expect from the team.

    "We didn't have a specific rider that we wanted to get into the break away, every guy had the job of being aggressive and just trying animate the race seeing if we could make something out of our situation," sports director Joel Pearson told Cyclingnews.

    "Rhys [Gillett] and Shaun [O'Callaghan] both had a go before Nathan but it was just Nathan's move that struck so it's the luck of draw sometimes."

    The team let the peloton know once again on Stage 2 that they aren't going to be awestruck and sit back to enjoy the high quality racing as Gillett made his way into the break and picked up second place on the first KOM of the day. Pearson said prior to the stage that the goal for the day was to target the break again and for consecutive days, they pulled it off.

    "It's a bit intimidating for them racing along alongside...

  • Luke Davison back on the road at Herald Sun Tour

    Luke Davison and Alex Edmonson win their gold medals
    Article published:
    February 08, 2014, 0:46 GMT
    Zeb Woodpower

    Track World Championships next up for Australian

    Having just won a handful of national track titles in the madison and team pursuit, first in Melbourne then Adelaide, after he also claimed the omnium at the track world cup in Mexico, Luke Davison (Synergy Baku) returned to the road at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour before becoming to the heat and retiring from the race on Stage 3.

    With his track legs firing, Davison was hoping to get back to his best at the race where we won stage last year but the going proved too hard. "It's been tough, obviously I've got some different objectives this year but the road form isn't exactly where I'd like it to be and this time last year I was going a little bit better but it's all stepping stones for later in the year and the track season as well," Davison told Cyclingnews.

    Talking prior to the stage of the stage at Mitchelton Winery, Davison explained how his longer track season over the summer meant there was little time spent on the road bike.

    "It's taking a little bit more time than I thought, obviously the base and all the training around the road season versus track season is very different so it's hard having the track season extended from almost October through to January-February, possibly even Commonwealth Games in June/July.

    "Normally your track season might be two-three months maximum so it's been a bit longer than usual and most people are doing their base km's around Christmas time when we're still doing efforts, it does alter your year a little bit."

    With the UCI Track world championships coming up later this month, Davison will turn his attention back to the velodrome after his brief foray on the road.

    "In three weeks we fly out for Colombia where hopefully I'll take the omnium and...

  • Bronzini builds for Track Worlds at Ladies Tour of Qatar

    Former world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda)
    Article published:
    February 08, 2014, 9:42 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Italian sprinter keen to shine on Champs-Élysées in July

    After a winning start to her year at the Bay Crits in Australia and an at times ill-starred outing at the Ladies Tour of Qatar, Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) will now swap the road for the boards as she prepares for the track world championships in Cali, Colombia at the end of the month.

    Bronzini's back-to-back world titles on the road may be the signature victories of her career, but her roots are on the track, and indeed her first rainbow jerseys came on the velodrome. In 2001, she was junior world champion in the points race in Trexlertown, while she claimed gold in the same event as a senior rider in Pruszków eight years later. A bronze medallist in Minsk in 2013, the Italian is hopeful of landing another world title in the points race in Colombia.

    "Racing on the road has been different, obviously, but I've seen that my condition is already good and I still have around a month or so to get into form for the Track Worlds," Bronzini told Cyclingnews. "Whatever I'm missing now, I'll hope to work on it in the next twenty days or so, and then we'll see."

    Bronzini has scarcely raced on the track this winter, lining up in just the opening round of the World Cup in Manchester in November, but skipping the next two legs in Mexico, at Aguascalientes and Guadalajara, for logistical reasons.

    "The other points race was in the second round in Mexico, and that would have been an extra long-haul trip to take on just before I went to Australia for the Bay Crits, so I decided to skip it," she said. "It would have been too much, I wasn't up for it. I'm going to Colombia without a lot of track in my legs, but I've done plenty of racing on the road and I hope that will serve me well."

    Bronzini will...

  • SRM opt to reduce pro peloton sponsorship in 2014

    SRM's big-selling crank, the Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
    Article published:
    February 08, 2014, 10:49 GMT
    Sam Dansie

    Power meter also to offer user-changeable battery in FSA crank

    This article originally published on BikeRadar

    German power specialist SRM said the loss of contracts to supply Team Sky and Movistar with its meters was part of a strategy to reduce its profile in the professional peloton and work on product expansion plans.

    Last month, Stages Cycling was announced as the new power meter provider to Team Sky. Spanish team Movistar opted for rival German brand Power2Max.

    However Mike Hall, SRM's USA product manager, told BikeRadar: "SRM chose to reduce our support to many of the pro teams for this year. It was a conscious decision because we felt we were spreading ourselves a little bit too thin – we decided on this at the Tour de France last year."

    Asked if the departure of Sky – which has dominated stage racing and, particularly, the Tour de France for the past two seasons – was a conscious decision, he replied: "It's my understanding that the teams we decided to remove from our sponsorship allotment are the same teams that have picked up other power meters."

    Hall was also bullish about the SRM's favour in the pro peloton. "If we have this conversation a year from now and look at what teams will continue to use brand new products that haven't been ProTour tested, I think it will be an interesting conversation in January 2015."

    There have been rumours that SRM has lost favour with teams because of the high level of technical support needed to keep a squad of up to 30 riders' bikes capturing and managing power data – especially when other rivals offer plug and play systems and user-changeable batteries.

  • Nine years on, Greipel returns to the Tour of Qatar

    A good second place for german rider Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol)
    Article published:
    February 08, 2014, 14:01 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    German looks forward to Lotto's classics campaign

    While Marcel Kittel was completing his domination of the Dubai Tour on Saturday afternoon, 400 kilometres further west in Doha, his fellow countryman André Greipel was putting the finishing touches to his preparations for the next race in the Gulf, the Tour of Qatar.

    Neither Kittel nor defending champion Mark Cavendish will be on hand in Qatar this year, making Greipel the marquee sprint attraction and a favourite to secure multiple stage victories, particularly given his brace of wins at the Tour Down Under last month.

    As the German champion set out on a short training ride with his Lotto-Belisol teammates on the eve of the race, however, he told Cyclingnews that he would not be a contender for the overall title, mindful, perhaps, of the short individual time trial on stage 3.

    "I won't push myself in any risk here. For sure we're going to try and win a stage but I don't think we're aiming for GC or something like that. At least, I'm not," Greipel said.

    Remarkably, Greipel is making his first appearance at the Tour of Qatar in almost a decade. Indeed, his 2005 appearance with Team Wiesenhof marked his professional debut, and in a sprint peloton that still featured Mario Cipollini and Robbie McEwen, 8th place on the final stage to Doha's Corniche was his best result.

    A variety of factors have kept Greipel away from Qatar ever since – at Highroad, he and Mark Cavendish raced separate programmes, while Lotto have not always been invited to the race in his time at the team. "Two years ago, I should have been here alright, but I was sick," he explained. "So I skipped Qatar and just did Oman. But I'm here this year, and it's just a case of trying something different."


  • Video: Phinney ready for more success after Dubai Tour victory

    Taylor Phinney has some fun with his new trophy
    Article published:
    February 08, 2014, 15:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    "We can have a really special Classics season as a team"

    Taylor Phinney's overall victory at the Dubai Tour has the left American and his BMC team confident for the rest of the early season races and especially the spring Classics.

    Steve Cummings finished second overall and BMC also won the team prize, with only Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) sharing in the success thanks to his three stage victories.

    Phinney celebrated his first stage race as a professional in Dubai on
    Sunday night but was already thinking ahead to his next goal: the time trial at the Tour de Méditeranéen and then the cobbled Classics.

    He and the team has suffered on the cobbles and struggled to live up to expectations. However Allan Peiper incisive management strategy and Phinney's victory in Dubai have left the team full of confident.

    "I think we can have a really special Classics season as a team. We need to have that year now. We've been close in the past but due for a big Classics season. I hope I can play my part in that," Phinney told Cyclingnews in an exclusive video interview.

    Phinney won the opening time trial and then rode a perfect race and was perfectly protected by his teammates in the other stages.

    "I felt like it was my race to lose after day one but the team did an amazing ride in these past three days and just kept everything as seamless as possible for me. I have them to thank for this overall victory," he said.

    "I'm super relieved we were able to make it here (to the finish) safe and sound after the final stage."

    Next stop the Tour de Méditeranéen

    Phinney will head to his new European home in Nice and then travel down the French coast for the opening 223km road stage on Thursday.

    "I'm going to the Tour du Med and there's a 20km time trial there. It's a bit hilly but I'm going to go for that. Then we dive into the Classics, with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Paris-Nice and then the big ones. They're not too far...

  • Video: Kittel celebrates three stage wins at the Dubai Tour

    Marcel Kittel takes victory on stage 4 of the Duabi Tour
    Article published:
    February 08, 2014, 17:30 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Giant-Shimano rider thanks his team

    Marcel Kittel told Cyclingnews that he would celebrate his three stage victories at the Dubai Tour with a beer with his Giant-Shimano teammates before returning to Europe.  He thanked them for their excellent lead outs and celebrate an excellent start to the 2014 season.

    The German dominated the sprints, with a local newspaper dubbing him the "Giant of Dubai". Kittel won stage 2 after cross winds caused havoc, survived some late climbs and attacks before winning stage 3 and then benefited from a perfect lead out on stage four in downtown Dubai to complete his hat trick in stage 4 and win the points jersey.

    "It's incredible. I didn't expect it. The Tour of Dubai was a first goal for me in 2014 and I'm super proud of how we rode here," said Kittel. "However, we really worked for our goal. I have to say a big, big thank you to the team. They did an amazing job and I'm very happy I could give them back three wins."

    The sprint was fast and furious. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was taken out of the action after being hit from behind, while Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) hit a bollard with his hand and rear gear, lost his chain and so was unable to fight for victory. Kittel revealed that he also had problems before trusted lead out man Tom Veelers got him back on board the Giant-Shimano express.

    "It was difficult for us, too. Two and half kilometres before the finish, I lost my lead-out train," Kittel revealed to Cyclingnews in an exclusive video interview.

    "I only had (Tom) Veelers. He did an incredible job. he brought me back to the front and to Fabian Cancellara's wheel. Then just before the final right corner, I was back with my boys and they did a really good lead out again."