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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 1, 2013

Date published:
September 01, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Weening extends contract with Orica-GreenEDGE

    Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEdge) leads the way up the climb
    Article published:
    August 31, 2013, 10:52 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch climber signs on for two more years

    Pieter Weening has signed a two-year contract extension with Orica-GreenEDGE. The Dutch rider will race for the Australian WorldTour team until the end of the 2015 season.

    "It's great news that we can announce Pieter Weening is staying with the team for a couple more years," said Matt White.

    "He's been consistent this whole year with good form from the first race until now. He's earned a place in the top 20 in the World Tour rankings as a result of his strong results throughout the entire season."

    Weening signed for GreenEDGE in their maiden race season in 2012 and was singled out as one of their few climbing talents. He struggled for results in his first season with the team but in 2013 he has been far more consistent.

    At the start of the season he finished second overall at the Tour de Langkawi and then backed that result up with sixth in Pais Vasco and eighth in Amstel Gold. His improving form netted him the biggest overall result of his career with a victory in the Tour of Poland in July.

    "I have a lot of freedom to do my own thing and to do the races I like," said Weening. "I have been really good where I wanted to be good this season so far. Doing my own thing helps me feel valued in this team."

    Weening also praised the atmosphere within the team as one of the key reasons for his decision to stay with the squad.

    "This is a really good team for me," said Weening. "Honestly, I just really like it here. The team spirit is the most important thing for me. It's a team full of fighters. We don't have a lot of riders on paper who can win big races, but we're always there. In the team's first year, people didn't think we'd get results because we didn't have a lot of big names, but we did. That's because of the team spirit."

     

  • Eurobike 2013: The best road shoes for 2014

    The Northwave Extreme Tech Plus road shoe. It comes in black and white/black, too
    Article published:
    August 31, 2013, 11:21 BST
    By:
    Sam Dansie

    Sidi, Gaerne, Bont and more

    This article first appeared on Bikeradar.com

    Road shoe specialists Bont, Sidi, Northwave, Giro and Gaerne – among others (see our image gallery, right) – have been working on new platforms and transformative updates to existing models for 2014, and the results are on show at Eurobike 2013. BikeRadar toured a selection of stands to see what footwear is going to be hot next year.

    Sidi

    The Wire is Sidi’s top-end road shoe for 2014, ridden to great effect in this year’s Tour de France by green, polka dot, white and yellow jersey winners. The redesigned uppers feature the Techno 3 adjuster, which Sidi were keen to point out isn’t related to Boa. Sidi first used Techno-type fittings in 1965, on their motorbike boots.

    All the ground contact points on the Wire are replaceable, and the front tread can be slid back to reveal a mesh covered vent for warmer rides. This feature is common to all shoes with the Sidi Vent Carbon Sole.

    Gaerne

    Italian shoe specialists Gaerne, used by riders on the RadioShack Leopard Trek pro cycling team, have introduced a new model that sits just below their top-of-the-range G.Chrono. Dubbed the G-Speed, the 272g shoe uses a single Boa L5 reel located fairly centrally on the upper. That means the stainless steel cable should tighten across a broad area of the foot.

    Giro

    Giro’s road shoe range has had a substantial refresh for next year. The popular Factor makes use of a refined, flatter buckle that tightens in 2mm increments (the old buckle made adjustments in 3mm steps) and can now be loosened one degree at a time – useful for making minor tweaks during a ride.

    ...
  • Dan Martin abandons Vuelta

    Stage 9 winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) on the podium
    Article published:
    August 31, 2013, 13:10 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Fernandez: “He took a knock on the head and you don’t muck around with those”

    Volta a Catalunya, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tour de France stage winner Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) did not start stage eight of the Vuelta a España on Saturday as a result of his injuries from the crash on Friday’s stage.

    A stage winner at the Covatilla climb in the 2011 Vuelta, where he also led the King of the Mountains competition, Martin was able to complete stage seven after losing over a minute as a result of the crash. He is the first big favourite to have to quit the race.

    Taken to hospital on Friday evening and with more tests on Saturday morning, Garmin’s team doctor eventually opted for a non-start for the Irishman.

    “We’re disappointed he’s had to go, but there wasn’t any other choice,” sports director Bingen Fernandez told Cyclingnews. “We’ve seen that he can’t continue and that’s it.”

    “He’s beaten up all down the right hand side, got a very big knock on his hip, but it was the knock on the head that was the most important factor. You don’t muck around with knocks on the head.”

    Martin’s crash came when he hit a reflector light or rut in the road - it is not clear. The impact wrenched his hands away from the bars and he went flying. In a fraught day for Garmin-Sharp, Martin’s accident came shortly after Tyler Farrar had punctured - “that had one good side, which was that the team car had already stopped to sort that out and we were heading back to the peloton when we saw Dan in the middle of the road” - and was unable to take part in the bunch sprint for third. Doctors reports that Nick Nuyens had also crashed were, fortunately, not true.

    “This isn’t the end of his season by a long shot,” Fernandez said, “he’s still looking...

  • Phinney and Hushovd headline for BMC at Plouay

    Thor Hushovd (BMC) counts his stage wins
    Article published:
    August 31, 2013, 15:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hushovd looking to carry form into WorldTour race

    Taylor Phinney and Thor Hushovd will line up as part of BMC’s strong team for Sunday’s GP Ouest France Plouay.

    The American team also includes Mathias Frank, who leaves for IAM Cycling at the end of the year, and Greg Van Avermaet.

    The team’s sports director Fabio Baldato believes that the course suits Hushovd. The Norwegian was second in the race in 2007 – albeit on a different course – and has enjoyed a mini-renaissance in his career with wins this year.

    "For sure, Thor is our captain for the final. But depending on the situation, we can play many other cards. We have a very strong team around him," Baldato said.

    The race consists of nine laps of a 27km circuit and is one that Hushovd believes will be a war of attrition.

    "This is a strongmen's race," he said. "There's two hard climbs on every lap and people are getting dropped on every lap. The last two or three laps, it's just hard racing between hard attacks and strong riders and strong teams."

    BMC roster for GP Ouest France Plouay:
    Adam Blythe, Mathias Frank, Thor Hushovd, Daniel Oss, Taylor Phinney, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär and Greg Van Avermaet

  • Roche: I'm the happiest man on earth

    Nicolas Roche (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) keeps his team in the frame
    Article published:
    August 31, 2013, 18:45 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Irishman in red at Vuelta for first Grand Tour lead

    Nicolas Roche became Ireland's first leader of the Vuelta a España in 25 years on Saturday, more than two and a half decades since a certain Sean Kelly took the race outright way back in 1988.

    And although the Saxo-Tinkoff rider insisted that "defending the jersey all the way to Madrid would be optimistic", taking his first ever Grand Tour lead in the same week that he won his first ever Grand Tour stage makes Roche, as he said afterwards, "the happiest man on earth."

    "I had to play my card," the 29-year-old, third on the stage said, "I benefited from an opening when there was a bit of a stall in the pack with two kilometres to go.

    "I have never had a Grand Tour lead before and with just eight seconds difference [before Saturday's stage on Vincenzo NIbai] I really wanted to try for it.

    "I was so close in the Tour de France on the overall lead, just eight seconds back, and I had to give it everything here. I was a bit on the limit at one point when I accelerated, but I really wanted to try and get the lead."

    Roche's best overall finishes in Grand Tours are twelfth in the Tour de France last year, twelfth in last year's Vuelta and seventh in the 2010 Vuelta. And he recognised that he is "not the strongest rider here fighting for GC. It would be extremely optimistic to say I'll defend the lead all the way to Madrid.

    "But this has been an incredible week for me, and all I can think of right now is trying to get through these three days in the mountains. The team has done a great job keeping me in position and tomorrow I want to try and defend it as best as I possibly can."

    It...

  • Astana unfazed by Nibali losing Vuelta lead

    Vuelta leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) climbs to the finish of stage 8 on the Peñas Blancas climb
    Article published:
    August 31, 2013, 19:56 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Sports director "neither disappointed or relieved"

    Astana sports director Alexandre Shefer said Vincenzo Nibali's relinquishing of the top spot overall to Ireland's Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) had little effect overall on their plans for the Vuelta a España.

    Nibali had held the jersey since stage four's uphill finish at Fisterra and is considered the top favourite for overall victory in a race he already won back in 2010.

    Nibali responded strongly to attacks by American Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard), previously the closest challenger overall, but then lost contact with Roche and several other top favourites when the lead group disintegrated under repeated attacks by Ivan Basso (Cannondale) close to the summit finish of stage eight. The Italian finally finished sixteenth on the stage, 27 seconds behind NetApp-Endura's Leopold Konig, and has now slid to fourth overall, 18 seconds down on Roche.

    Shefer played down the importance of Nibali ceding time to almost all his top rivals, albeit seconds rather than minutes, saying, "We are neither disappointed nor relieved at losing the red jersey on stage eight. This is a long Vuelta, with plenty of time left out on the road.

    "The lack of the jersey tomorrow is made up for by the change in the calculus of tactics in the days to come, and the one liberating factor it will have on our team's obligation to defend outright against the whole peloton instead of choose our method and place to attack," Shefer added in the team statement.

    If the second half of the statement is put into rather plainer English, it arguably means that Astana has gone from being the target for all the other teams to beat...

  • Valverde rues missed opportunity for Vuelta stage win

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) puts in an effort
    Article published:
    August 31, 2013, 21:49 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard waited too long on Alto de Peñas Blancas

    It's probably one of the worst kept secrets of this year's Vuelta a España that Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is itching to take a stage win. But after Valverde missed out on the Alto do Monte da Groba on stage two, the 2012 runner-up on GC and 2009 outright winner of the Vuelta once again miscalculated on the next stage that suited him, too - at the Alto de Peñas Blancas - with Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura) winning instead.

    "I missed out, when I wanted to make my move at 400 metres to go it was too late," Valverde said afterwards. "My congratulations to the winner.

    "I'm pleased because I've got good form, which is good when guys like [Bauke] Mollema [Belkin] and Roman Kreuziger [Saxo-Tinkoff], important riders" - who like Valverde rode the Tour full-on - "weren't able to handle the pace." (Mollema finished 35th at 2:33, Kreuziger 47th at 5:27).

    "Maybe Nibali wanted to lose the jersey today, but in any case it's Monday's stage that really counts. That's the hardest of the three. But I would have liked a stage win today."

    Valverde and Rodriguez finished in exactly the same time on the stage, 19 seconds back in eighth and ninth place respectively, and appear more concerned with marking each other than the rest of the field.

    "It's true that me, Nibali and Rodriguez are watching each other closely," Valverde admitted. "But it's Monday that really matters."

    Valverde is still very much in the Vuelta general classification picture as well as he holds 7th overall at 31 seconds after today's eighth stage.

  • König, NetApp-Endura make history at Vuelta

    Leopold König (NetApp-Endura) won stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana on the Peñas Blancas summit finish
    Article published:
    September 01, 2013, 9:48 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Pro Conti team earns first Grand Tour stage victory

    Leopold König's stage win on Saturday at the Vuelta a España made history on two fronts as it marked the Czech's as well as his NetApp-Endura team's first victory in a Grand Tour stage. Similar to his victory in the queen stage to Mt. Diablo at the Amgen Tour of California earlier this season, König stayed well positioned up the finishing climb of Alto Peñas Blancas before striking out on his own in the finale.

    "This is for sure incredible and I am more than happy," said König. "I told the team this morning that I want to win this stage and asked for the support of the whole team. The guys were amazing. They had to stand up against the whole peloton and we did it. I am proud that we realized the victory together."

    The Pro Continental squad made their Grand Tour debut last season at the Giro d'Italia and after just two missed opportunities for victory in Italy they wanted to make the most of their second wildcard Grand Tour invite.

    "That was so important for us. Now everyone realizes that we are able to play our cards," said König. "Leaving today's victory behind me, I will focus on this tough stage tomorrow because it is a new opportunity and we are here to take all opportunities.

    "I want to repay the team for its great work and of course the Vuelta organization for trusting us with a wildcard."

    Team manager Ralph Dek was naturally ecstatic with the win, noting that all of their pre-Vuelta paid huge dividends on Saturday.

    "We seriously prepared for this highlight of the season and invested in training camps and inspections of the climbs....