German ProConti team preparing for its second Grand Tour
Team NetApp-Endura is preparing for its first Vuelta a Espana with the help of former pro Inigo Cuesta, who has ridden the race 17 times, more than any other rider. He is helping the climbers from the German Professional Continental team recon the mountain stages.
Cuesta, who is also a technical director for the Vuelta, is covering such climbs as the Alto Nuranco, Pene Cabarga and the Alto de l'Anglriu in Asturien and the Coll de la Gallina and the Col de Peyresourde in the Pyrenees, with NetApp-Endura climbers Leo König, Jose Mendes, Iker Camaño and David de la Cruz.
"It’s a spectacular course that will deliver an interesting race, and the outcome will remain open until the final days,” Cuesta said. “The favorites for the general classification won't have a moment of rest. But I expect an open race, in which not only the favourites but also other riders will show something.”
This year's Vuelta features 13 mountaintop finishes, with the Angliru and its gradient up to 20% providing the finish on the penultimate stage.
"I think the stage in Andorra and the next day in the Pyrenees will deliver the decision in terms of the general classification,” team sport director Alex Sans Vega said. “But if the time margins among the upper rankings are a bit wider, we’ll see a very exciting race in Asturias. Our riders will have lots of opportunities to show their strengths in the mountains.”
The UCI announced Friday the full allotment of teams for the UCI Road World Championships in Florence, Italy. The week of racing will begin with the team time trial: 51 men's trade teams and 20 women's trade teams have qualified for the event, but it is expected that not all teams will accept the invitations. The 19 WorldTour teams, however, are required to compete. The team time trial squads will consist of six riders each who will contest a 56.8km course for men or 42.8km course for women on September 22.
For the elite men's road race, only eight countries earned the full complement of 9 riders: Spain, Colombia, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, France, Poland and Switzerland. Great Britain earned 8 starters, while Belgium, the Czech Republic and the USA have seven.
The maximum number of starters per nation for the U23 men's road race is 5: Eritrea, Colombia, the USA, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and 15 European countries earned that number.
For the elite women, the maximum is seven, with an extra place earned by defending champion Marianne Vos for the Netherlands. Italy, the USA, Sweden and Australia were the only countries to take the maximum allotment..
Jamis-Hagens Berman rider seeking third UCI podium in Colorado
In one long freefall from a mountain-top in the Tour of Utah last week, Jamis-Hagens Berman's Janier Acevedo simultaneously took over the lead in the UCI Americas Tour while proving his podium performance during May's Tour of California was no fluke. He is hoping to get a hat-trick of UCI stage race podiums at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.
Acevedo rode his way onto the final podium at the Tour of Utah on Sunday by hanging near the leaders up the Empire Pass climb on the final day of the UCI 2.1 race and then slinging himself to the front on the frenetic descent to the finish in Park City. He finished second on the stage behind Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy/Kenda) and claimed third place overall.
The 28-year-old climber from La Ceja, Colombia, now has a comfortable lead in the Americas Tour, a series of UCI races that take place in North and South America. Acevedo leads fellow Colombian Oscar Sanchez by 17 points. The Jamis team leader has earned points at the Tour of San Luis (UCI 2.1), Tour of the Gila (UCI 2.2), Tour of California (UCI 2.HC), and the Tour of Utah (UCI 2.1) so far this season. The USA Pro Challenge is a UCI 2.HC event.
With just four races remaining on the calendar, Acevedo is hoping to extend his lead in the competition and earn more UCI points in next week's USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, where he will be leading the team in the hunt for the overall general classification.
The Spanish-speaking rider told Cyclingnews through an interpreter that although his team has already surpassed its goals for the season, the squad will be looking to improve on those results next week Colorado.
American Taylor Phinney joked earlier this week that the Eneco Tour is "also known as The Russian Roulette Race of Benelux", and today both he and his BMC teammate Philippe Gilbert found the chamber with the bullet and are out of the race.
Despite stages riddled with cross-winds, roundabouts, traffic furniture and cobbles, it was a touch of wheels on a straight, flat road with 60km to go that took down the pair along with teammate Daniel Oss and several others.
Both Gilbert and Phinney suffered wounds to their left knees: Phinney left the race immediately after the crash, while Gilbert chased his way to 22nd on the stage, 1:37 behind winner David Lopez of Team Sky. The world champion later visited the hospital for a closer examination of his knee, and it was determined that the wound required stitches, and he will not start the final stage.
Phinney, who was yesterday disappointed to not have a better performance in the time trial, but still had ambitions at taking the overall classification in the Eneco Tour, now says he is just "happy to come away with nothing too serious", with the world championships just a month away.
"We had to make sure I had no fractures," he said on Saturday evening. "It was probably a bit of a bone bruise on the patella and then some road rash. I have maybe three or four days I'm meant to keep easy and be taking care of it, then hopefully I'll be good after that. ... I'm not happy to leave the race, but these things happen."
Phinney and Oss nearly avoided the melee, which according to Phinney began with a touch of wheels between new Omega Pharma-QuickStep lead-out man Alessandro Petacchi and Gabriel Rasch (Sky). The crash dropped riders like dominoes, but it was impact...
The 22-year-old came into the stage lying third overall, but with many waiting for an aggressive ride from Sylvain Chavanel it was Dumoulin who stood out and eventually claimed the race lead. He latched onto a dangerous move inside the final 30 kilometres, distancing both Chanavel and overnight race leader Lars Boom (Belkin).
With the chance of taking the race lead increasing with each kilometre Dumoulin buried himself on the run into the final climb to La Redoute.
“I had to work hard for it today,” said Dumoulin after the finish. “I crashed before La Redoute but I stayed calm and was able to come back after a long chase.
“I actually felt really good, even after all the work done, so I decided to go with the Astana guys when they went. When we joined the group with [Zdenek] Stybar (Omega Pharma – Quickstep) I came into a situation that I had to do all the work myself because there were not many riders that wanted to race.
“I had to save some energy for the final sprint as to not lose too much time to Stybar. Today was a big chance to take the race lead and I surprised myself.”
The stage was eventually won by Sky’s David Lopez with Stybar finishing fourth and picking up vital bonus seconds that leave him just eight shy of Dumoulin’s lead.
“You never know what will happen tomorrow but I am really happy to have the jersey now and we will do everything we can to keep it tomorrow.”
Nathan Earle (Huon-Genesys) returns to the Tour of Borneo this year searching for an overall victory after finishing as the runner-up and taking home two stages in 2012. And with defending champion Michael Torckler absent, the onus is now on the future Sky trainee to take another step up.
His Huon-Genesys team is not without its problems, however, and coming into the race undermanned may prove to be a deciding factor for the Australian team.
"We are a depleted team this time after Anthony Giacoppo and Aaron Donnelly had to pull out of the race before the start, so I will rely on our experienced rider Jai Crawford," said Earle.
Giacoppo remained in Australia to race the Tour of the Great South Coast but was forced to withdraw on the morning of day four due to tonsilitis. Donnelly returned to Australia to be with his family after the passing of his father.
With just a four man team coming up against strong competition, Earle is wary of talking up his chances.
"Yes, the route looks easier than last year but with just four riders, plus the presence of Iran's Tabriz Petrochemical, it will be difficult to chase the overall victory.
"But I will take it stage by stage and hope for a little luck, especially in making breakaway attempts. I hope I'll get a good result," added Earle.
The powerful Iranian team, Tabriz Petrochemical, come to Borneo off the back of a strong victory at Qinghai Lake. The team famous for powerful two-up attacks brings regular Asian veterans in Ghader Mizbani and Hossein Askari as serious...
Belkin sports director Nico Verhoeven is more than happy to welcome Markus onto his team, sighting him as a sprinter to rival their own Theo Bos.
"Barry is young, fast and a Dutchman," explained Verhoeven. "He turned professional two years ago but is still only 22 years old. He has a bright future ahead of him. We are active on multiple fronts, and therefore we'd like to have other strong sprinters beside Theo Bos."
Given the departure of Mark Renshaw to Omega Pharma-Quickstep, Markus will help to fill the fast-man void left by the Australian.
The 22-year-old rider from the Netherlands started the year strongly with two second place finishes at the Tour of Qatar and a third place finish at Scheldeprijs and will be a rider to watch at the upcoming Vuelta a España. With the support of the Belkin team, Markus is hoping to improve upon these results in the coming two seasons.
"Belkin is a very nice team, both on and off the bike they always looks well organised," explained Markus. "They have a strong sprint train, and I expect to develop myself as a sprinter on higher level at Belkin. I'm looking to learn from Theo Bos and occasionally do a sprint on my own."
Tour de France stage winner looking for more success
Tour de France stage winner Jan Bakelants (RadioShack) has put himself in a strong position for further success after finishing fifth in the penultimate stage of the Eneco Tour on Sunday. Although a respectable result, the Belgian rider was expecting more after spending time in the race defining breakaway.
"It's a pity that I didn't have good legs today. I expected so much from this stage," said Bakelants.
Radioshack director Dirk Demol, on the other hand, was satisfied with Bakelants' efforts on 'bad' legs.
"If he has bad legs and still performs so well in a short but very hard stage with three times over the Chambralles and Redoute, we are still happy with that," said Demol. "There were riders all over the course, the stage was so difficult."
Demol also believes that the team can take advantage of the expected aggression from Omega Pharma-Quickstep as the race heads into the final stage on Sunday.
"[Tom] Dumoulin was surprisingly strong on La Redoute. In theory it will be very hard to beat him, but the real question is how strong is his Argos team?" Questioned Demol. "Omega Pharma have [Zdenek] Stybar and [Sylvan] Chavanel. They will not give up so maybe we can take advantage of that."
The Eneco Tour concludes with a 'mini Flanders' stage that sees riders tackle many of the Flemish cobbles used during the spring classics. With seven riders within 50 seconds of the overall lead expect to see multiple attacks as teams compete for valuable WorldTour points.