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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, March 10, 2013

Date published:
March 10, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Nibali critical of Contador's lack of support during Tirreno-Adriatico attack

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) leads Alberto Contador and Santambrogio
    Article published:
    March 09, 2013, 16:41 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Astana rider now third overall but behind Froome

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) looked strong enough to take a second consecutive stage victory at Prato di Tivo at Tirreno-Adriatico on Saturday, but a lack of conviction when he attacked and a lack of support from Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) left him third on the stage behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) and puts him in third place overall behind Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

    As he quickly pulled on a warm jersey and wrapped up to descend from the finish to the Astana team bus, Nibali praised Froome for his well-timed stage winning attack but complained about Contador failing to work when they had a gap on the Kenyan-born Briton.

    "When Froome went, I waited for Contador to go after him but he didn’t have having the legs," Nibali said in frustration.

    "I said, 'C'mon, do a bit' but he just stayed on my wheel. It's a pity because we could have fought out for the win and stopped Froome from getting back up to us.

    "Froome won it well. His team worked well for him. He went at the right moment and then in the finale it was all about what you had left.”

    Nibali finished 11 seconds behind Froome and the Team Sky leader also gained six more seconds thanks to the difference in the time bonuses. Nibali is 16 seconds behind Kwiatkowski and 12 seconds behind Froome.

    The ten, six and four second time bonuses awarded to the first three riders on road stages will be vital, especially those on Sunday's uphill finish in Chieti. Tuesday’s 9.3km will then decide the final overall winner of the race.

    Last year, Nibali snatched victory from Chris Horner but seemed to hint that he knows he has little chance of victory this year.

    "I'm happy with my ride, the team was great. On a...

  • Chris Froome: There are no secrets at Team Sky

    Chris Froome (Sky) wins stage 4 of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico at Prati di Tivo.
    Article published:
    March 09, 2013, 18:13 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Briton confident after winning the Tirreno-Adriatico mountain stage

    Chris Froome insisted there were no secrets to Team Sky's success as he won stage four at Tirreno-Adriatico and his teammate and training partner Ritchie Porte continued to lead Paris-Nice.

    Froome finished off a superb display of team riding on the 14.5km climb to the finish at Prato di Tivo. His teammates set a high pace for most of the climb and then chased down Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) and Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia).

    Froome saved his strength for a final surge to the line, powering past the trio to win the stage by six seconds. He failed to snatch the race leader's blue jersey from Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) but is only four second behind the young Polish rider. Importantly, Froome leads Nibali by 12 seconds, with Contador at 26 seconds.

    "The guys did a fantastic job to get me to the last kilometre with as fresh legs as possible," Froome explained.

    "It's always hard to race against opposition like Contador, Nibali and Rodriguez. They're also in good form now and that makes for exiting racing. But me and the team have our style of racing that is probably very different to other teams. We just try to concentrate on our race and do the best we can like that."

    When asked the secret of Team Sky's success, Froome said: "There's no secret. It's just continuing to work the way we worked in the last few years: training, measuring the training and going back and doing it again. There's not too much to it. It's about getting the basics right," he said, citing Team Sky's group training camps at altitude as just one example of the extra work they do as a team.

    "Every team has its ways of doing things and maybe we're a little bit more...

  • Kwiatkowski fights back to take Tirreno-Adriatico race lead

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in the blue jersey atop Prati di Tivo.
    Article published:
    March 09, 2013, 20:00 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Young Pole confirms his talent for stage races

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) emerged as the surprise race leader after the key mountain stage at Tirreno-Adriatico on Saturday, but the 22-year-old Polish rider insisted he's ready to fight to defend the blue jersey and did not seem scared of the big-name riders behind him in the overall classification.

    Kwiatkowski was second in the Volta ao Algarve and was second in the 2012 Tour of Poland behind Moreno Moser, just five seconds down on the equally talented and prodigious Italian. He also won the seven kilometre prologue time trial at the 2012 Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen last March, proving he can perform against the clock.

    He was one of the key riders when Omega Pharma-Quick Step won the opening team time trial last Wednesday and had worn the best young rider's white jersey since then. He proved his credentials for overall success by staying with the leaders until close to the finish, even managing to find something extra to finish two seconds ahead of Alberto Contador.

    "This was one of my main goals for the beginning of the season but I didn’t expect to take jersey today," he said timidly but clearly not afraid of taking on his much bigger-name and more experienced rivals.

    "There are a lot of big champions like Contador and Nibali and I didn’t think I'd be able to stay with them but the team did a great job in the early stages of the race and that made me believe in myself and do my best. It worked and I kept the jersey.

    "It's always good to be good in something. I've done some good time trials but my climbing was a weakness. But I've worked on it during the winter and it's paid off. I can now be good for the GC in races."

    Kwiatkowski leads...

  • Horner uses his experience at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) rode a smart race
    Article published:
    March 09, 2013, 22:40 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Radioshack veteran impressed by Team Sky

    Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) made his season debut at Tirreno-Adriatico but used his years of experience to make up for his lack of racing and so limited his losses on the climb to the Prati di Tivo and stayed in overall contention.

    While Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) consumed vital energy by going on the attack in the final three kilometres, Horner kept his powder dry and did everything he could to stay with eventual stage winner Chris Froome (Team Sky).

    He finished fifth on the stage and is now sixth overall, 40 seconds behind new leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

    "I'm 41 now, so if you don't have it figured out by now then you should've probably retired a long time ago," Horner said laconically as he pulled on some clothing for the descent to the Radioshack team bus.

    "I aimed here to be good. This race is the best quality field beside the Tour de France that I've ever seen put together. Paris-Nice: there's nobody there. Everybody's here: the best sprinters, the best GC guys in the world, this is a Tour de France quality field.

    "You always want to win and I thought I could get the win but when I saw Froome go I realised that wasn't a possibility.

    "I'd be happy with a top 10 in a field of this quality. I'd like to be on the podium now but there's only tomorrow to Chieti that is sharp and steep, I think that this and the TT will decide it, though. My days of the GC were made here."

    Admiration for Team Sky

    Horner was full of...

  • Bouhanni to miss Milan-San Remo

    Race leader Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) crashed during stage 2 and abandoned the race.
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 10:44 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Offredo abandons Paris-Nice on final road stage

    Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) has confirmed that he will not take part in Milan-San Remo next weekend due to the effects of the crash that forced him to abandon Paris-Nice while wearing the yellow jersey.

    The French sprinter had seized the overall lead after taking an impressive victory on stage 1 of Paris-Nice in Nemours but he crashed heavily the following day, falling on his face. Bouhanni damaged teeth in the fall and also required stitches to his lip.

    “I got back on the bike on Friday because I really wanted to know where I was, but I could see after two hours that it wasn’t going well,” Bouhanni told L’Èquipe. “I was suffering like a dog on the climbs and I couldn’t ride above 25kph. I didn’t really want to admit it because I absolutely wanted to ride Milan-San Remo.”

    Bouhanni has thus opted to forgo La Classicissima, and he is likely to make his return to racing the following weekend at Critérium International. “With Marc Madiot, we decided to put a line through it. It’s wiser to take a few days of rest and start training again on Tuesday,” Bouhanni said.

    One man who will be at Milan-San Remo for FDJ is Yoann Offredo, although the Frenchman opted to abandon Paris-Nice at the feed zone on Saturday’s penultimate stage. After spending a year away from racing as he served a suspension for violations of the whereabouts system, Offredo admitted that he needed to rest ahead of the classics.

    “I had worked pretty hard during the days before and this was my first real stage race after a year without competition,” Offredo said. “I didn’t want to jump the gun.”

    ...
  • Day of reckoning for Porte on Col d’Èze

    Race leader Richie Porte (Sky) awaits the start of stage 6.
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 10:49 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian on the brink of overall victory at Paris-Nice

    The 9.6 kilometres of the Col d’Èze separate Richie Porte from final overall victory at Paris-Nice, and as well as carrying a 32-second buffer into Sunday afternoon’s final stage, the Sky rider also the advantage of racing on home roads, given that he lives in Monaco and trains regularly on the climb.

    “I don’t have a reference time from training, but there are days where I climb the Col d’Èze three or four times,” Porte said on Saturday, according to L’Èquipe.

    Porte enters Sunday’s time trial 32 seconds ahead of Andrew Talanksy (Garmin-Sharp) and 42 clear of both Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM).

    Last year, Porte could only finish 28th in the Col d’Èze time trial, 1:44 down on teammate and winner Bradley Wiggins (and 1:42 behind Westra), but he is confident that there is quite a difference between riding a time trial after a week of working for a team leader and racing it in the yellow jersey.

    “I was pretty bad last year,” Porte admitted, but pointed to his winning ride at Montagne de Lure on Friday as a firmer indication of his form. “I’ve already shown that I’ve got the best climbing legs at this Paris-Nice. I’m in a good position.”

    While Porte acknowledged Westra’s previous on the Col d’Èze – “he showed last year that he can go very well on these slopes” – the Tasmanian identified Talansky as the principal danger man.

    Talanksy beat Porte by 16 seconds at the Crans Montana time trial at the Tour of Romandie last year, but Porte appeared unfazed by that defeat. “He beat me, but he gained time on me on the...

  • Bernaudeau looking to increase Europcar budget in 2014

    Jean Rene Bernaudeau (Europcar)
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 11:37 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Current deal expires at the end of this season

    After reaching a dramatic eleventh-hour agreement with Europcar in October 2010, Jean-René Bernaudeau is hoping to find a sponsor for his team with a little more time to spare this time around. The current agreement with the car rental company expires at the end of this season, and Bernaudeau has already begun talks to secure his team’s future.

    Bernaudeau told RMC radio that Europcar is in pole position to continue its involvement with the team, but he also noted that he is aiming to increase its budget significantly.

    “We’re in negotiations and the team is ambitious,” Bernaudeau said, according to rmc.fr. “With the arrival of Bryan Coquard, the team is expanding and so it costs more. Discussions are ongoing with several companies, including Europcar, who obviously has the priority.”

    Europcar is currently a Pro Continental team, and Bernaudeau wants to increase his budget by some 25% in order to compete at the highest level.

    “We owe an enormous amount to Europcar, who stepped in two years ago. We’re functioning with a budget 25-30% inferior to those of our competitors, even though we have all the personnel necessary to work well. But we need a budget to match the level of our team, and so we want to increase it by 20-25%.”

    Bernaudeau refused to rule out the possibility that Europcar will continue as lead sponsor but with a significant co-sponsor brought on board to bolster the team’s budget. In particular, he highlighted the importance of keeping talented neo-professional Bryan Coquard at the squad.

    “However it happens, we need to increase the budget so that we can continue to grow,” Bernaudeau said. “Particularly with Bryan Coquard, who has just...

  • Contador refuses to concede defeat at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) attacks on Prati di Tivo.
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 12:06 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Saxo-Tinkoff look to Tuesday's final time trial

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) lost some precious seconds to his main rivals at Tirreno-Adriatico on stage 4 but refused to accept defeat, telling Cyclingnews that he believes he still has a chance of overall victory.

    The Spaniard lost 15 seconds to Chris Froome (Team Sky) in the final kilometre of the climb to Prati di Tivo after making a lone attack with 2.7km to go and then going with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) when the Italian surged clear two kilometres from the finish.

    Team Sky swept up their attack with a controlled effort and then Froome powered away to victory, while Contador did not seem at his best, pushing a slightly heavy gear sat in the saddle, rather than his usual en danseuse, out of the saddle style. His face betrayed that he was hurting and he was passed by Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Chris Horner (Radioshack-Leopard).

    "It was a difficult day's racing," Contador told Cyclingnews before the start of stage five. "There was a lot of wind on the final part of the climb, a headwind. We tried to gain time on Froome but it wasn't easy. I'm happy. My numbers were good."

    Contador had jumped clear to win the three-second time bonus with six kilometres to go but is 30 seconds behind Kwiatkowski in the overall classification. He is 14 seconds behind Nibali and 24 seconds behind Froome.

    Time bonuses of ten, six and four seconds are up for grabs at the finishes in Chieti and in Porto Sant'Elpidio but the final podium of this year's Tirreno-Adriatico will be decided in Tuesday's final 9.2km individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.

    It is a flat and fast time trial course along the sea front, with little chance of riders producing big time gaps. However,...