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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 17, 2014

Date published:
August 17, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Van Avermaet happy with first win in over a year

    Greg van Avermaet (BMC)
    Article published:
    August 16, 2014, 10:47 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC rider claims victory atop Geraardsbergen

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was thrilled to finally take his first win in over a year at Friday’s fifth stage of the Eneco Tour. "It was really frustrating to constantly get second or third place. I always had to settle for podium places but the real victory stayed away. Till today. You can not imagine how good I feel here.”

    The Belgian won atop the Muur van Geraardsbergen, in what was called a little “Tour of Flanders”. The peloton had shattered as it hit the closing climb, but Van Avermaet waited and made his move, flying past Pavel Brutt (Katusha) with 500 meters to go.

    "I think that the course of this Geraardsbergen stage was designed specifically for me. I came to the Eneco Tour for this stage,” he said, according to the Belgian news agency Belga.

    Van Avermaet was determined to win, “it was that or nothing. I continued to sprint to the finish, without looking back. I only saw after the finish that I actually had a good lead but I wanted to take no chances.”

    The 29-year-old had come close to the top step of the podium many times this season, but never reached it. His second-place finishes all came in high-powered races: stage two of the Tour de France, as well as the Tour of Flanders and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

    "I started in this race with the goal of winning a stage and now I've done that,” he said. “Actually I'm the type of rider who likes to close out each season having five major victories, but that is not the case with me (this year).”

    His last win was the opening stage of the Tour of Utah in early August 2013. “I hope that the spell is finally...

  • Boonen aims for second Worlds title

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
    Article published:
    August 16, 2014, 12:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Eneco Tour and Vuelta a Espana as preparation for Ponferrada

    Tom Boonen would like to win a second road world championship title next month in Ponferrada, Spain, admitting that the Worlds "keep me on the bike."

    The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider won the title in 2005 in Madrid. "I will have to be super but it's not impossible," he told Het Letste Nieuws. "However, I will not be top favorite. In 2005 in Madrid. I was not and I took it anyway."

    While he would like to go for the victory, he is also willing to "help guys like Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert to go for the world title."

    He has already missed several Worlds in his career due to illnesses or injuries. "That hurt every time."

    Becoming world champion again is not his only career goal, though. "It would be nice, but unlike Fabian Cancellara, I already have one jersey. A fourth Tour of Flanders or a fifth Paris-Roubaix keeps me on the bike. Those are the reasons you do it."

    Meanwhile, he is riding the Eneco Tour and will take on the Vuelta a Espana, where he won two stages in 2008. The 33-year-old will look to be active in the sprints there, but realizes he will be pretty much on his own.

    "I was hoping for some guys to support me, but I think the team will aim fully for Rigoberto Uran in GC," he said.

    "I will have to see what I can do myself in the sprints. I will be there to put in the kilometers and build my condition, but I also hope for a stage win."

  • North American wrap: Domestic teams captivate at Tour of Utah

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) struggles on the first Pyrenean stage
    Article published:
    August 16, 2014, 16:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Rivera wins inaugural Tour of Utah Women’s Edition

    An international field assembled at the Tour of Utah where Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) won the overall title on Sunday in Park City. Earlier in the week, Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) triumphed at the first-ever Tour of Utah Women’s Edition. Many of North America’s teams and riders were also participating at events overseas in Denmark, Poland, Belgium and France. Check out a few of the highlights from the peloton last week and a peek at the upcoming USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.

    Rivera wins inaugural Tour of Utah Women’s Edition

    UnitedHealthcare’s Coryn Rivera won the inaugural Tour of Utah Women’s Edition held on August 6 in conjunction with stage 3 of the pro men’s Tour of Utah. Her victory happened just days after her teammate Alison Powers won the Cedar City Grand Prix, a women’s criterium held in conjunction with stage 1 of the men’s race and organized by Nicky Wangsgard.

    The women completed 15 laps of a 3.5km circuit for a total of 53km. It was the first official women’s race in the 10-year history of the Tour of Utah. Rivera out-sprinted Many Heintz (Guru Cycles p/b Haute Wheels Racing) and Meredith Miller (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling).

    Domestic teams captivate at Tour of Utah

    American rider Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) won the Tour of Utah in its high-altitude ascents ahead of fellow countryman Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) but it was the performances form the Professional Continental and Continental domestic teams during the seven-day race that stood out among the world-class field.

    US-based Continental team SmartStop opened the...

  • Hushovd sees end of career approaching

    Thor Hushovd is making his last appearance in Norway
    Article published:
    August 16, 2014, 18:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Norwegian says decision was difficult but inevitable

    Thor Hushovd is getting ready to say goodbye to pro cycling, admitting that "it was difficult to accept that it was time for me". The BMC rider still hopes to be named in the Norwegian world championships team to top off the end of his career.

    On Friday, he placed second on stage 2 of the Arctic Race of Norway, a race which he won last year. He is still thronged by fans seeking his autograph. "They see me as a person who made cycling big in this country. I am proud to be that role model," he told De Telegraaf.

    The Norwegian's career has been very up and down the last few years. 2010, riding for the Cervelo Test Team, was his really big year, when he won stages at both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana before going on to claim the Worlds road title.

    Cervelo merged with Garmin for the 2011 season, and Hushovd won two individual stages at the Tour and wore the leader’s yellow jersey for over a week.

    From there, however, things went south. He moved to BMC and his health suffered. "It was difficult year. I felt weak. I felt that the human body had a battery that could be drained and that I had come to that point." It was later found that he was suffering from a virus that caused inflammation of the muscles.

    He bounced back in 2011, taking nine wins, but was unable to come even close to that level this season. In 2014 he can only look back on second places in stages at three various races.

    After hearing that his contract with BMC would not be renewed, he first planned to look around for a new team, but finally decided it was time to call it quits. "I love this life as a cyclist, you just do not give up. When...

  • Kevin Ledanois makes his pro debut in in Arctic Race of Norway

    Kevin and Yvon Ledanois at the Arctic Race
    Article published:
    August 16, 2014, 21:10 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Teams on the hunt for the son of BMC’s directeur sportif

    While Norwegian super talents Oskar Svendsen, Odd Christian Eiking, Sven-Erik Bystrøm and Sindre Lunke were expected to shine at the Arctic Race of Norway ahead of next week's Tour de l’Avenir, it's been the young Frenchman Kevin Ledanois who's drawn the most attention.

    Ledanois is taking part in his first pro race as a stagiare with Bretagne-Séché Environnement. He was eighth in stage 1 and was also the only rider to make it back up to the peloton in stage 2 after crashing with 8km to go.

    Ledanois joined the pro ranks with ambitions. "We’re here to show that if we’ve been picked as stagiares, it’s because we have the fitness," Ledanois told Cyclingnews before lining up in Hammerfest with the French pro continental team. "My pleasure in racing here is even bigger because my dad is also here as a directeur sportif in the convoy."

    After directing Thor Hushovd to a win in the inaugural Arctic Race of Norway, Yvon Ledanois came back at the helm of the BMC Racing Team. In the same stage where Kevin Ledanois was eighth, his dad's best rider, Loic Vliegen, who is also a stagiare, was ninth.

    "I knew Kevin had skills for cycling but on this occasion, he amazed me," the elder Ledanois said. "He’s had a consistent season as an amateur, his first one as a full-time cyclist. He was sixth at the Tour de Normandie, and he played an important role in Anthony Turgis’ win at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He quit football for cycling at his own initiative, and I discovered the fear as a father. Cycling is a dangerous sport, but I wouldn’t prevent him from doing what he wanted, just like my parents let me cycle when I was young."

    Yvon Ledanois rode for Castorama, WordPerfect, Gan and Française des...

  • Ten riders to watch at the USA Pro Challenge

    Best climber for 2014, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    Article published:
    August 16, 2014, 22:00 BST
    Pat Malach

    Meet the favorites

    The 2014 USA Pro Challenge fires up Monday in Colorado with a circuit race around Aspen and nearby Snowmass Village. Five WorldTour teams are set to compete against four Pro Continental squads and seven Continental outfits over the seven-day race, which concludes next Sunday with a stage from Boulder to Denver. Cyclingnews has compiled this brief list of 10 riders to watch this week as the peloton deals with the elevation and climbs of the Rocky Mountain state.

    Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) - The 24-year-old rider from Poland was a revelation in this year's Tour de France, where he won the mountains classification on the strength of two stage wins and two second-place finishes. Majka was 44th overall in the French Grand Tour, and he followed that up by winning the Tour of Poland last week. He won another two stages on his way to the win in Poland. Majka was clearly one of the best climbers in the Tour de France, but he lost more than six minutes during the individual time trial, finishing 58th. It will be interesting to see of the long, highway-grade climbs at Colorado's elevated altitude will provide him with another chance to shine.

    Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) - Another Tour de France stage winner for Tinkoff, the 34-year-old Aussie was clearly on form for the three-week race. After the Tour, however, Rogers was unable to finish the Classica San Sebastian at the beginning of August. The 2010 Amgen Tour of California winner finished 26th overall at the French race after a disappointing time trial, but if he's on form and can put in a good performance in Vail, he could challenge defending champion Tejay van Garderen for the overall.

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) - The 2013 USA Pro Challenge winner has been resting up since finishing this year's Tour de France, where he matched his top result of fifth...

  • Trek announces Vuelta a España team

    Fabian Cancellara (Trek) enjoys himself at the Eneco Tour
    Article published:
    August 17, 2014, 1:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Team focused on youth for final grand tour of 2014

    Trek Factory Racing has announced its nine rider team for the Vuelta a España which starts on August 23 in Jerez. The team for the third and final grand tour of 2014 contains a mix of several young riders alongside experienced teammates.

    Fabian Cancellara will racing his 17th career grand tour although he has not finished the last four that he has started. The Swiss rider is aiming for the gold medal in the road world championships after the Vuelta and will be hoping to post some good results ahead of the Ponferrada race on September 28.

    Having ridden to eighth place overall at the Tour de France, Haimar Zubeldia will also start the Vuelta which will be his 24th grand tour appearance. The third experienced rider for the team is 34-year-old Yaroslav Popovych who has ridden 16 grand tours in his career.

    Julián Arredondo has been named in the team and the Colombian climber will look to build on his Giro d'Italia successes in May which saw him claim a stage win and the climbers classification. The 26-year-old made his return to racing at the Tour of Poland last week.

    Jasper Stuyven and Bob Jungels will both make their grand tour debuts in Spain.

    Trek Factory Racing for the 2014 Vuelta a España: Fabian Cancellara, Julián Arredondo, Haimar Zubeldia, Kristof Vandewalle, Bob Jungels, Jasper Stuyven, Yaroslav Popovych, Jesse Sergent and Fabio Felline.

  • First win in three years for Mondory in Villarcayo

    Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r) wearing the green jersey as leader of the Points classification
    Article published:
    August 17, 2014, 2:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman dedicates win to Goddaert

    Having last won a race in February of 2011, Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r-La Mondiale)  broke his winning drought as he claimed victory on stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos. Having marked this stage as one for the win, a perfect leadout from his teammate Sébastien Turgot in the final 300 meters of the stage dropped off Mondrory in the prime position for the 32-year-old to finish the job.

    "The stage win was today clearly announced as the team’s goal," Mondory said after his win. "We knew that in the case of a final sprint I will be able to win in view of my results for twenty days. A breakaway could also be successful and Axel Domont did done a good job from the start in order to be present in the day's breakaway. Some dangerous riders for the overall standings were present in this group and the pack decided to keep in place a steady tempo to maintain the gap."

    With the team riding for the win, Mondrory explained the tactics of the later part of the race with all riders fulfilling their specific roles.

     "The possibility of seeing a small group competing for the stage win was starting to become a reality, especially with a difficult climb twenty kilometers from the finish and some riders could try to make a difference on this climb," he said of the race. "The team rode perfectly and we caught Axel at the foot of the bump. Blel [Kadri], Rinaldo [Nocentini], Seb Minard and Seb Turgot has worked well. Blel attacked in the climb to speed the pace up and leave behind some more riders. A small group arrived at the summit before tackling the descent. Blel was caught five kilometers from the finish.

    With Rinaldo...