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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 8, 2013

Date published:
September 08, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Winds cause chaos at the Tour of Alberta

    Rohan Dennis (Garmin Sharp) out-sprints Brent Bookwalter for Stage 3 of the Tour of Alberta
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 17:29 BST
    Pat Malach

    Rain expected for Saturday's stage around Black Diamond

    The sweeping winds of the southern Alberta plains finally made an appearance Friday for stage 3 of the UCI 2.1 Tour of Alberta after two relatively calm days, and literally blew the race apart. Rain is expected for Saturday's stage to Black Diamond, with Mother Nature again expected to shape the racing.

    Garmin-Sharp's Rohan Dennis benefited most from the chaos caused by the winds, taking the stage win and the yellow Jersey from Cannondale's Peter Sagan.

    The top of the general classification completely reshuffled, as first a breakaway of 18 piled up time on the peloton before another splinter group of six sneaked away to the finish.

    Following a right-hand turn just 10km into the 170km route from Strathmore to Drumheller, the peloton felt the full force of the day's gusts and immediately started splitting into echelons as riders scrambled to find relief. Dennis and a handful of general
    classification threats who were less than a minute behind Sagan made the split, but the Cannondale leader missed out.

    “There were a couple of attacks by [5-hour Energy's Francisco] Mancebo over a couple of those little rollers about 60km in,” Dennis said.

    “A couple of us jumped across, and from then it was a lot of little attacks and the group was just sort of formed. I saw a group of five or six behind, and I was worried that Peter Sagan was in there. I thought as soon as he's here the break will shut down. So I was hoping they wouldn't catch us, but when they did I saw that Peter wasn't there and it was a bit of a relief. From then on it all panned out.”

    Back in the field, Cannondale chased briefly, but with the team's Damiano Caruso up the road and Sagan and his team needing to save some bullets for the upcoming Canadian...

  • Ratto scores rare mountain victory for sprinters at Vuelta a Espana

    Just how happy is Daniele Ratto (Cannondale) after his first Grand Tour stage victory?
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 18:20 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Italian new mountains leader after day of cold and rain

    Daniele Ratto (Cannondale) is better known as a sprinter, but the 23-year-old from Piemonte managed to pull off a very impressive victory in stage 14 at the Vuelta a España on a day of intense cold and rain.

    It was Ratto's first Grand Tour stage victory, and just the second win of his career, but it is not the first time - curiously enough - that an Italian not known for his climbing had won a Vuelta stage in the Andorran Pyrenees. In 2008, just a month before he took the World Championships, Alessandro Ballan soloed to a win in the Alto de la Rabassa, more than two minutes clear of a group of overall favourites.

    Fast forward five years and Ratto's victory was arguably even more unexpected. Not only was the weather far worse - to the point where Ratto's teammate Ivan Basso abandoned - but as Ratto said, he had only got in the early break with the idea of helping Basso later on. Instead, with Basso abandoning, as a shocked Ratto discovered live on Spanish television, the Cannondale rider provided the upside to an otherwise difficult day for the Italian team.

    "It's a very important victory for me personally, because I haven't won for three years," Ratto, who scored a win in the GP Industria back in his first year as a pro, 2010, said afterwards. Even though his seven minute lead shrank to just half that by the summit of the Collado de la Gallina, though, he was still so delighted with his win he did a couple of bunny hops before crossing the line.

    "I came close in the [2013] Vuelta a Burgos, but I was disqualified," - for an irregular sprint, with Anthony Roux (

  • Nibali a big step closer to Vuelta victory after first Pyrenean stage

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) jumped away from Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) in the stage 14 finale to finish in second place
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 19:20 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Italian reinforces lead as rivals fall back

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) recognised that he took a step forward towards sealing his second Grand Tour of the 2013 season after he strengthened his overall lead over all his rivals on the first Pyrenean stage, where thanks to the very rough weather conditions, he took more of an advantage than expected.

    Nibali had said on Saturday that he was ok in poor weather and that, as anybody could have seen at the Tre Cime de Lavaredo victory at the Giro d'Italia, won in a snowstorm, was an understatement. In fact whilst Nibali seems able to maintain his strength as the temperatures plummet, others have far more difficulty in doing so: and that was arguably what made the biggest difference on Saturday.

    Prior to Saturday's hellish stage, overall there were three riders at less than a minute on Nibali. Now there is only one - American Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) - and even he was squeezed back by four seconds, to 50 seconds, as Nibali shed Horner on the last corner of the Collado de la Gallina.

    Ever cautious, Nibali refused to say he has won the race - and with Sunday's monster Pyrenean stage and the Angliru yet to come, that is logical. But the time differences are growing steadily and on Saturday Nibali both saw Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) drop from a close second to a distant sixth and two of his top rivals, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez(Katusha), lose more time.

    "It was a very hard stage with...

  • Valverde stays in third at Vuelta after tough day in Pyrenees

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) nearly succumbed to the cold during stage 14 but recovered to remain in 3rd overall on general classification
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 20:30 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard nearly fainted due to cold conditions

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) remains in third position overall at the Vuelta a España after he almost fainted in the descent of the Coll de Ordino due to the cold weather conditions but then staged a spectacular comeback on the climb of the Collado de la Gallina.

    Sixth on stage 14 after losing 50 seconds to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), and 48 to Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard), Valverde limited his time losses and remains in third overall at 1:42, whilst other top GC riders, such as Ireland's Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff), had worse days and dropped much further behind. Valverde is also the new leader of the points competition.

    The Spaniard's teammates Sylvester Szymd, Eros Capecchi and Jose Herrada guided Valverde as best they could to the foot of the Collado, the finishing ascent. Passing one dropped rider after another and clearly recovering, Valverde closed to within 15 seconds of the red jersey group before Horner and Nibali shot away.

    "That was inhuman, the hardest day I've ever had on the bike," Valverde said afterwards before predicting a day of mass abandons on Sunday's stage. "Maybe we'll just end up with 50 riders in the race," he continued, regarding the expected bad weather in the remaining Pyrenean stages.

    "I was feeling faint and suffering, it was really terrible today," the 2012 runner-up and 2009 Vuelta winner said. "I was trembling with the cold, I was even cold when I was climbing up the Envalira, it was that bad, just imagine how bad it was going down.

    "Luis [Leon Sanchez - Belkin] ended up abandoning because he was so cold he couldn't control his bike," Valverde said. "He couldn't have stopped it."

    Valverde thanked his...

  • Mass abandons in Vuelta as cold weather takes toll

    An exhausted Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) at the finish of Vuelta stage 14
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 21:20 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Overall contender Basso among 14 riders to quit

    No less than 14 riders were forced to quit on stage 14 at the Vuelta a Espana in the teeth of atrocious weather conditions as temperatures plummeted and sleet, snow and heavy rain saw several cases of hypothermia.

    The gaunt, frozen features of riders as they crossed the line on the Collada de la Gallina summit finish was testament to a hugely difficult day on the bike. And although temperatures did not reach zero, the change in the temperature was what made it so hard to handle.

    As Spain's Juan Manuel Garate (Belkin) told Spanish television, "up to today it's been very hot, suddenly it's dropped by 30 degrees. It's ok when it's cold, but you need time to adapt." And time, after two weeks of riding in heat varying from warm to baking, was what the riders did not have in the 2013 Vuelta.

    The worst of the day's conditions, by far, was on the Envalira, at 2,410 metres above sea level the ‘ceiling' of the entire Vuelta. Temperatures were four degrees at the summit and freezing rain, sleet and even snow lashed the riders on the 20 kilometre ascent. Alejandro Valverde recalled Luis Leon Sanchez (Belkin) being forced to quit because he was so cold he could not control his bike, and Spanish television said another rider in the break, Steve Chainel (Ag2R) had to stop and get in a team car to get a massage to avoid hypothermia.

    Officially race doctors recognised Sanchez and Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack) as having to quit because of the start of hypothermia, but with no riders reported injured by the Vuelta, it is likely that they were far from the only ones. And there can be no doubt that everybody suffered, with more than 100 riders finishing more than 20 minutes down and riders like...

  • Relieved Hosking takes second win of the season

    Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products UCK) celebrates as she crosses the finish line on Stage 5 of the Holland Ladies Tour
    Article published:
    September 08, 2013, 0:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian sprinter ends run of podium finishes

    Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products UCK) won Stage 5 of the Holland Ladies Tour on Saturday, the Australian's first win since January at the Tour of Qatar.

    Hosking had just enough speed to take the win over Dutchwoman Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) who has so far claimed 13 victories this season, and American Shelly Olds (Tibco to the Top).

    It was a relieved Hosking after the 120km stage and seven podiums so far in 2013.

    "It's been a long time between wins for me and I'm really so happy to get the win today," an ecstatic Hosking said after the race.

    "I've had a lot of podiums but winning is really just a different feeling.

    "The girls all rode really well today and it feels so good to pull off the win for them," she added.

    Hosking was well protected by Emilie Moberg and sat on the wheel of Wild until 150 metres to go when the 22-year-old said she put her "head down and hoped for the best."

    Saturday's stage was the last chance for the sprinters ahead of Sunday's final stage through Valkenberg, with Hitec team manager Karl Lima pleased with the result.

    "In the past two days our two sprinters Hosking and Moberg have shown they can beat anybody in a bunch sprint, alternating to lead out for each other. I'm very happy," Lima said.

    Moberg won the field sprint for third place on Friday's stage, ahead of Olds and Wild.

  • Duarte to lead Team Colombia in 2014

    Fabio Duarte (Colombia) in action at Settimana Lombarda.
    Article published:
    September 08, 2013, 2:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Corti looking to bolster roster with neo-pros

    Fabio Duarte has extended his current contract with Team Colombia through 2014 in a deal struck late last week that will see the 27-year-old from Facatativá lead the team.

    Duarte has not enjoyed the same success this season as he did in 2012 where he earned two wins – at the Coppa Sabatini and Vuelta a Colombia - plus finished fifth overall at the Tour of California, however his podium finish at the Giro d'Italia's 20th stage is seen as a real highlight.

    "Fabio is an important athlete, has got a Under 23 World title under his belt, notched several significant wins as a professional and showed good things at the Giro d'Italia this year, including a brilliant runner-up spot in the queen stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, behind an outstanding Vincenzo Nibali," team general manager Claudio Corti explained. "We are happy to have him on board for next season, despite the difficult year he has had due to several problems, because Fabio really has a huge potential. He is a real class act, we need to help him find more confidence and consistency."

    Colombian cycling is currently experiencing a boom, thanks to the efforts of Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who finished second overall at the Tour de France, Rigoberto Urán and Sergio Henao (Team Sky) with the trio all making a statement through their riding on the world stage. Corti meanwhile, is looking for the next generation and is completing the team's roster for 2014 with mostly neo-pro riders. Colombia will lose the services of Darwin Atapuma next season, having signed with BMC.

    "Colombian cycling is proving to have one of the most flourishing classes of young talents in the world at the moment," he said. "Our role, as Team Colombia, is to help these prospects to develop on the...

  • Valiant attack from Day comes up short in Black Diamond

    Ben Day (UnitedHealthcare) talks about his near-win.
    Article published:
    September 08, 2013, 5:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Effort hurts Australian's heart more than his legs

    Ben Day (UnitedHealthcare) came agonisingly close to his first win since 2011 on Saturday, chased down by eventual stage winner, Cadel Evans (BMC) in the final hundred metres at the Tour of Alberta.

    "I was able to finish in 4th place, but I wanted the win," Day said. "Congrats to Cadel on the Aussie win."

    Prior to the Tour of Alberta, the pair last went head-to-head in 2007 at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali. Day was riding for the Navigators team, Evans Predictor-Lotto.

    Day has come close to the win on the number of occasions this season specifically in time trials, only to come up just short with podiums at the Tour de Beauce and Tour of the Gila. Saturday's result was his best to date in 2013 in a road race. It has however, been a while between drinks  – 896 days in fact.

    The Australian finished fourth across the finish line, behind the former World Champion and Tour de France winner, Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano) and Ton Jelte Slagter (Belkin). The 34-year-old Australian, a multi-time winner of the San Dimas Stage Race, Tour de Beauce as well as a former winner of the national time trial championship had been part of the breakaway which formed 18 kilometres in to the 170km stage.

    Day, who for several seasons has been based in the US, attacked the five remaining members of the break with two kilometres left to race only to be caught in sight of the finish. A noted time trialist, Day's effort could not withstand the charge of his WorldTour rivals and nor was it good enough to be deemed the day's most-aggressive ride with the prize awarded to the Canadian National Team's Antoine Duchesne.

    "So close!" he said following the stage. "That finish hurt my heart more than my legs. We had a good working breakaway throughout the stage that split up over the climbs of the day and I...