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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 3, 2014

Date published:
May 03, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Martin and Vandewalle critical of race organisation

    World Champion Tony Martin had a slow start to the time trial
    Article published:
    May 02, 2014, 9:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Time trial world champion criticises Romandie finish

    Tony Martin and Kristof Vandewalle have both criticized organizers for races held Thursday. World time trial champion Martin was critical of the course for the finale in the second stage of the Tour de Romandie, whilst Vandewalle said that the Belgian national time trial championship needs a change of date.

    Vandewalle (Trek Factory Racing) won the title for the third consecutive year, and while he was pleased with that, he said that "The federation must urgently look for a more suitable date." The time trial championship had been held in August in recent years but were moved to the May 1 holiday this season.

    "This is not such a good date, so soon after the Classics and while the Tours of Romandie and Turkey are on. It is unfortunate that riders such as Julien Vermote and Thomas De Gendt don't start," he told Nieuwsblad.be.

    Fellow Belgians Philippe Gilbert and Stijn Devolder, who finished respectively fourth and fifth, were also displeased. "You cannot recover from Liège-Bastogne-Liège in four days. If the Belgian championships were held four days after Paris-Roubaix, you wouldn't have many top riders," said Gilbert (BMC Racing Team).

    "It is time for the federation to take responsibility," said Devolder (Trek Factory Racing). "A decent date search can't be that difficult."  

    Bad planning

    Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep, at the Tour de Romandie, had criticism in another direction. "After I praised the organizers yesterday for their quick reaction in shortening the race due to the weather conditions, today I must criticize them," he wrote on his personal website. 

    ...
  • Sky wary of Kwiatkowski at the Tour de France

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in yellow
    Article published:
    May 02, 2014, 11:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Froome believes Polish rider can finish top five

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) remains within touching distance of overall victory at the Tour de Romandie, heading into Friday’s queen stage.

    The Polish rider has been at the top of the general classification since winning the prologue, but lost his leader’s jersey yesterday, after Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) won his second stage. Kwiatkowski is up against a strong field in Switzerland, including defending champion Chris Froome (Sky).

    Froome - who currently sits 14 seconds behind Kwiatkowski in ninth place - has been left impressed by the 23-year-old and believes that he will be a tough competitor come July and the Tour de France. “He can target a top 5,” Froome told L’Équipe.

    “He showed that when he had a jersey, it was hard to take him. Repeated efforts over three weeks can pose a problem, but he is only very young. I have a lot of respect for him.”

    Kwiatkowski finished 11th in last year’s Tour de France. He looked to be on for a top 10 finish but suffered in the final week. However, Kwiatkowski has come of age this year with victories at the Volta ao Algarve and Strade Bianche. Last week, he took an impressive podium finish at Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The 23-year-old is also a potential contender for the young rider’s competition at the Tour de France too.

    Froome’s directeur sportif Nicolas Portal believes that Kwiatkowski is one to watch this July. “He is really complete (as a rider). He can climb, he rides very strong and he even has a bit of speed,” he explained. “If Omega decided to build his team around Cav, he's so strong and intelligent and he can fend for himself, using the work of others. In any case, we will have to monitor...

  • Meintjes eyes up the Vuelta a España

    Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) was second on Monte Bondone and 5th overall at the Giro del Trentino.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2014, 14:28 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    South African looking for first European victory

    Louis Meintjes has emerged as a new star for MTN-Qhubeka this season. The 22-year-old South African has proven himself to be amongst the best climbers in the peloton, taking second on the difficult fifth stage of the Giro del Trentino, where he finished fifth overall. He now has his eye on taking his first pro win in Europe and riding the Vuelta a España. 

    He surprised even himself with his fifth-place finish overall, up amongst the top names. “I honestly did not expect to be so close to them,” he told biciciclismo.com. “And indeed it is a result that has given me a lot of confidence for the future.”

    On the race's penultimate stage, he put in a solo attack with only five km to go on the difficult mountaintop finish, “and when I was three kilometres from the finish, yes, I started thinking I could win. So when Landa caught and passed me, I was very disappointed. But now, a few days later, that disappointment has already become motivation. I really want to fight to get my first win as a professional in Europe.”

    His next races include the Bayern Rundfahrt and the Tour de Suisse, and he has been pre-selected for the Vuelta a España, the grand tour debut for the African Professional Continental team. It would of course also be his first three-week race, “the most important thing will be to wait and see how I am. But I feel confident and I think I can do well. For our team it is incredible. This is a great opportunity for us and a great opportunity to show what Africa can do in major competitions on the global...

  • Watch the Dana Point Grand Prix live on Cyclingnews

    Hernandez (Predator), Alzate and Menzies (Unitedhealthcare) on the podium at Sunny King
    Article published:
    May 02, 2014, 17:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    John Johnson Pro NCC Classic begins at 4:00 pm PDT (7pm EDT) on Sunday

    USA Cycling’s National Criterium Calendar (NCC) will continue with the fourth round at the Dana Point Grand Prix held on Sunday, May 4 in California. Watch the men’s John Johnson Pro NCC Classic criterium with live streaming video on Cyclingnews.

    The pro men will be competing for more than $17,000 in cash, primes and prizes. More importantly, they will be competing for points toward a higher ranking in the NCC series.

    UnitedHealthcare’s Carlos Alzate is currently leading the overall series after the first three rounds; Sunny King Criterium, Charlotte-Belmont Omnium and Winston-Salem Classic Criterium. Isaac Howe (Champion System-Stan’s NoTube) is sitting in second place and Alzate’s teammate, Hilton Clarke, is in third.

    UnitedHealthcare is also leading the overall team competition ahead of Team SmartStop, Hincapie Sportswear Development, Astellas Cycling and Champion System-Stan’s NoTube.

    The six-turn L-shaped criterium course will wind through neighborhoods overlooking Dana Point Harbor and will finish at Town Center. The event’s executive director, Russell Ames said, “DPGP is American criterium racing at its finest because of the countless hours of dedicated community volunteers and organizations, the Dana Point City Staff and the support of great sponsors and participants. We’ll have huge crowds, plenty of free kids activities, exciting racing action, and most importantly -- a chance to give-back to the community by contributing to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley and the 5th Marine Regiment Support Group."

    Cyclingnews will stream live the...

  • Garate waiting to race with Belkin

    Juan Manuel Garate
    Article published:
    May 02, 2014, 21:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard not on team roster despite signing contract

    On paper, Juan Manuel Garate is once again a professional cyclist after finally signing with Belkin last month. However, the Spaniard is in limbo as he still awaits a race programme.

    “I am officially registered and Belkin rider,” he told Biciciclismo. “I am available and waiting for a program of training and competition. We have made progress, we have spoken, but the issue is not completed.”

    Cyclingnews spoke to Belkin who confirmed that they are still yet to decide on Garate’s role within the team and he is not currently on any race roster.

    Garate’s contract dealings with Belkin have been troublesome and protracted. He has been with the team since 2009, when it was Rabobank. His current contract ran out at the end of last season, but the 37-year-old had a verbal contract with the team for another year. However, it was revealed in February that he had reneged on it, citing personal reasons. Garate later sued Belkin for two year’s salary and the two went into mediation. However, Belkin won the case and Garate was forced to sign the original contract offered.

    The long battle between the two has left him feeling tired, but he believes his reasons were just. "I'm the only one who has fought for this, I lost time, money and even health,” said Garate. “But I think it is something I must do for the sport and for the future. I don’t want be no Bosman.”

    Bosman refers to the case of Belgian footballer Jean Marc-Bosman, who’s failed move to Dunkerque football team saw Liège refuse to release him and lower his contract. In...

  • Spilak nets first yellow jersey in rainy Tour de Romandie stage

    Simon Špilak (Katusha) in the race lead
    Article published:
    May 02, 2014, 22:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Slovenian aiming at second overall victory

    The third and queen stage of the Tour de Romandie played out in a way that was remarkably similar to the penultimate stage of last year's race, with Slovenian Simon Spilak out-sprinting Chris Froome (Sky) to win the stage on a cold and rainy day. What was different was that the Katusha rider seized the race leadership, thanks to the time bonuses on the line, rather than Froome.

    "It was a very difficult stage today with the rain, but I like it when it rains, and the cold doesn't bother me either," Spilak said. "In the beginning of the stage I did not feel very well, because it was a high pace and the mountains were really hard. But in the second part of the stage I felt much better."

    The duo counter-attacked a move by Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who was expected to be the main protagonist on the stage, but who instead was caught and distanced by the two, not even able to make up ground on a tricky, wet descent.

    "I saw the moment when Chris Froome attacked and I knew I had to follow him because it was the right moment. I didn't force it, and took my own pace to reach Nibali and then Froome. I had a good collaboration with Chris on the climb and after on the dangerous descent."

    Although Spilak was on his way to earning the race leadership - something he has not yet achieved in the course of his WorldTour career, he only kept his mind on the race rather than the necessity to win and gain the critical time bonus.

    "Of course, I thought about the victory, but Chris Froome is a strong rival and I'm happy I took the stage victory in the sprint."

    Spilak now leads the race by a margin of a single second ahead of Froome. Rui...

  • No Colombia national team at Tour de l'Avenir

    Fans of Nairo Quintana by the Movistar bus
    Article published:
    May 02, 2014, 22:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    National federation and trade teams disagree on selection criteria

    The Colombian national team will not be sending riders to compete in the Tour de l’Avenir held from August 23-30 in France. The decision, made by the federation’s president Ramiro Valencia Cossio, comes as a shock considering the nation’s past success at the popular Under 23 stage race.

    “This year we will not participate,” Valencia Cossio said in an interview with the La Ruta Del Escarabajo blog, where he noted that the federation, trade teams; professional continental team Colombia and continental team 4-72 Colombia, and other stakeholders in the sport were unable to agree on a fair selection process for the team in time for the registration deadline.

    “It is one of the principles that the executive committee of the Federation defends,” Valencia Cossio added with regard to creating a fair selection process. “Participation on a national team should follow performance criteria, and not require belonging to a [trade] team, because that would automatically close the door on guys from other teams."

    “If the Federation allows a [trade] team to take on the role of the national team, it would open a gap through which any [trade] team could aspire to do the same."

    “With a serious federation, the racers will understand that we are treating them all equally.”

    The eight-day Tour de l'Avenir is organized by the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), is held on some of the same roads as the Tour de France and was specifically created for developing riders. It is thought to be the precursor for the next generation of Tour contenders, such as Colombia’s own Nairo Quintana, who won the 2010 edition of the race.

    Colombia’s national team participated in last year’s event, won by Spain’s Ruben Fernandez Andujar, and has had winning results during previous editions with Esteban Chaves securing...

  • Froome sets up overall victory at the Tour de Romandie

    Chris Froome (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    May 03, 2014, 10:13 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    "I'm going to try to win the race"

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) set up overall victory and proved a point to his Tour de France rivals with an aggressive but calculated ride on the key mountain stage of the Tour de Romandie.

    Froome is now just one second behind race leader Simon Spilak (Katusha) after breaking away with the Slovenian rider on the mountain stage to Aigle but knows he can take overall victory in Sunday's decisive 18.5km time trial around Neuchatel.

    The Team Sky leader lost a close sprint to Spilak but landed a knock-out blow on his rivals, finishing 57 seconds ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), with other stage race riders even further back.

    Nibali had hoped to dominate the stage, attacking alone on the final climb in the rain and cold but Froome responded, passed the Italy and then carved out his lead in the company of Spilak.

    Following his early season setbacks and injuries, including missing Liege-Bastogne-Liege due to a mild chest infection, Froome showed he still riding well and on course to be at his best for the Tour de France.

    "It was a good test," Froome told Gazzetta dello Sport, explaining his race tactics.

    "I knew that the climb eased before the King of the Mountain sprint and so I attacked on the hardest part. Before Lopez and Nieve did a fantastic job."

    Froome and Spilak sprinted shoulder to shoulder for the stage victory but Froome lost by a few inches.

    "I wanted to win the stage but sprinting isn’t my forte. But now I'll try to win the race," Froome said.

    Froome caught and past his Tour de France rival Vincenzo Nibali on the climb, dropping him with an out of the saddle effort that cracked the Italian. It was also a...