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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 17, 2014

Date published:
April 17, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Movistar names long list for Giro d'Italia

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was second overall in Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 20:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Quintana to lead in Italian tour

    The Spanish Movistar team has named a list of 10 riders who will be in the running to support Colombian climber Nairo Quintana as he aims for victory in the Giro d'Italia.

    The Giro begins in Belfast on May 9, but will focus the bulk of the big climbing stages in the second half of the race. With five mountain-top finishes on the Oropa, Plan di Montecampione, Val Martello, Rifugio Pamarotta and Monte Zoncolan, Quintana will need a strong team.

    The squad will choose eight riders from Italians Adriano Malori and Eros Capecchi, Polish climber Sylwester Szmyd, Costa Rica's Andrey Amador and Spaniards Fran Ventoso, Pablo Lastras, Igor Antón, Jonathan Castroviejo, Gorka Izagirre and José Herrada.

    Selection will need to be balanced between climbers and roulers, as the 22km team time trial that serves as the opening stage will be one of three stages against the clock which will be important for the general classification. The other two are a longer, flatter individual test in Barolo (42km on stage 12), and an uphill time trial on Monte Grappa (stage 19) of 27 kilometers.

  • Tour of Alberta funded through 2016

    This week's race winner got to take home the Tour of Alberta cup.
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 22:02 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Calgary to host prologue, more cities to be announced

    Organizers of the Tour of Alberta have secured funding for three more years, allowing the race to run through 2016. Executive director Duane Vienneau is expected to announce the financial backers.

    The additional financial commitment will help organizers plan future editions of the race and begin the process of approving cities that will host the starts and finishes of each stage.

    "Getting the three-year commitment is huge," Vienneau told the Calgary Sun. "This year has been all hurry up and wait. It won’t be like that next year and the year after. All the budgeting and financial commitments can be arranged this year. We can even plan our next year’s routes this year."

    Cities interested in hosting a stage include Jasper, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Canmore, Banff, Lethbridge and Lake Louise, locations in and around the Canadian Rockies. Canmore was supposed to host the finish of Stage 4 last year but damage to the route caused by flooding forced race organizers to redirect the course.

    Now in its second year, the UCI 2.1 Tour of Alberta is scheduled to start on September 2 with a prologue in Calgary and finish on September 7 in Edmonton, running about 850 km from south to north, in the opposite direction to last year’s inaugural race.

    Calgary hosted the final circuits of the race last year where Cannondale's Peter Sagan won the stage and Garmin-Sharp's Rohan Dennis secured the overall title.

  • Kwiatkowski given Amstel Gold Race leadership

    Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) came close but finished third
    Article published:
    April 17, 2014, 1:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider chasing the podium

    Having conquered Paris-Roubaix last Sunday thanks to a solo ride by Niki Terpstra, Omega Pharma-Quick Step now turn their attention to cotes of  Amstel Gold Race with last year's fourth place finisher Michal Kwiatkowski looking to step onto the podium in 2014.

     The Polish road champion has started the season in great form with overall victory at the Volta ao Algarve, second overall at Tour of the Basque Country as well as victory at two one-day races: Strade Bianche and Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana.

    Sport director Wilfried Peeters explained that the team is looking to continue its winnings ways at the 251km race having also tasted success in the Basque country.

    "After the success of Sunday at the biggest monument of cycling, we have selected a team once again structured to do well," Peeters said.

    "Kwiatkowski was fourth last year and is in a good moment of his season. With Kwiatkowski the team can also count on a guy like Wout Poels, the queen stage winner of Pais Vasco. We did really well at Pais Vasco as a team last week, and therefore it is good for the cohesion of the unit that we also selected Jan Bakelants and Tony Martin, who is returning to the Classics after a few years away, as well as Pieter Serry and Michal Golas.

    "These are all consistent riders who know to perform well in a one-day race like this, and their recent performances give us much...

  • Gilbert opens 2014 account early

    Another trophy for the Gilbert cabinet
    Article published:
    April 17, 2014, 2:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian wins his second De Brabantse Pijl

    In the last two seasons Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) had to wait until the Vuelta a España to claim his first win the year. He broke with recent tradition at Brabantse Pijl by besting Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) in a two-up sprint to claim victory.

    The win was Gilbert's second at the warm up race for the Ardennes Classics having also claimed line honours in 2011 as well as finishing runner-up in 2013 and 2008.

    In 2011, Gilbert went on to win all three of the Ardennes races - Amstel Gold RaceLa Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège- becoming the  second rider after Davide Rebelin in 2004 to do so.

    "Matthews was the fastest, but I played it well because he had to close the gap to (Bjorn) Leukemans and (Wouter) Poels in the descent and that cost him power," Gilbert said. "I also saw he was closed in in the last corner, but I waited, because I knew from the last times (up the climb), I didn't want to make the same mistake. It was perfect."

    Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) rounded out the podium in third place.

    With 21km left in the 203km race, Gilbert attacked the peloton to bridge a 15-second gap that a small breakaway had created in a move that lasted 9km which eventually closed down by a chasing peloton.

    "I had to choose between waiting or trying and I tried," Gilbert said.

    "Alone against seven riders is not easy with a headwind. And when I came back, the peloton came also back. Eventually it was a performance for nothing; but you never...

  • Horner released from hospital after crash

    Chris Horner and world champion Rui Costa during a Lampre-Merida camp on Mallorca
    Article published:
    April 17, 2014, 3:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Brent Copeland suggests American may ride Tour de France

    2013 Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) has left the Italian hospital in Lecco where had had been since Friday after being hit by a car while out training.

    "Happy to have my shoes on for the first time in a week and be walking out of the hospital! Thanks for all of the support, " Horner wrote on Twitter.

    He added in later tweet: "And a HUGE thanks to @lampre_merida, the Lecco hospital doctors and nurses, and everyone in the area who helped me out after the crash!"

    The 42-year-old is highly unlikely to start the Giro d'Italia on May 9 in Northern Ireland as he suffered a punctured lung in the accident along with broken ribs and a cut to his head which required stitches.

    In an interview on Tuttibici, Lampre team manger Brent Copeland, who is also 42-years-old, said that Horner was certain to miss the Giro and suggested that Horner would instead ride the Tour de France in support of world champion Rui Costa.

    However, Copeland added that team's immediate priority was the health of the American rather than planning his racing schedule.

    Horner signed for Lampre on a one-year deal after his newly signed agent Baden Cooke made contact with the Italian team with the plan to ride the Giro and then defend his Vuelta a España title.

     

  • Belkin to back Mollema at Amstel Gold Race

    Bauke Mollema (Belkin)
    Article published:
    April 17, 2014, 5:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutchman tenth in last two editions

    Team Belkin starts its assault on the Ardennes classics this Sunday in front of home fans at the 49th Amstel Gold Race. The Dutch team will enter the 251km race which includes 34 climbs and four ascents of the Cauberg, with Bauke Mollema as its leader.

    For Mollema, it is the "best race of the year" and having proven that he can mix it at the pointy end of the race with two consecutive tenth placings, the 27-year-old has stated his aim is to crack the top five in 2014.

    "The Amstel is perhaps the best race of the year for a Dutchman. The fans show up in large numbers and they are very enthusiastic," said Mollema.

    "If I finish tenth again, I won’t be in a jubilant mood. Last year, I often finished between the fifth and tenth place in the Walloon classics. It would be nice to get a top five this year.

    "After Niki Terpstra's victory in Paris-Roubaix, I think things will be extra special. After our success in last year’s Tour de France, people will be excited to see us race as well. It could become a wonderful edition. As a team, we hope to provide the people with a good result."

    Mollema has been preparing for the three Ardennes Classics - Amstel Gold Race,  La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, by racing several stage races. The latest being the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, which included fifth place on stage 5, where he improved as the race went on

    "During the final stages, I gained a lot of confidence. I finished fifth in a...

  • Amstel Gold Race: A passion for Nathan Haas

    Nathan Haas was looking strong
    Article published:
    April 17, 2014, 8:50 BST
    By:
    Aaron S. Lee

    Australian looking to emulate Phil Anderson and win Ardennes Classic

     It has been 31 years since an Australian last won the Amstel Gold Race. In fact, Phil Anderson's win in 1983 would serve as the first and last win for an Australian at the Dutch classic, and Garmin-Sharp's Nathan Haas is chomping at the bit to change that on Sunday, April 20.

    The 25-year-old Canberra-native has been enthralled with the first of three Ardennes Classics since he first fell in love with cycling during his mountain biking days.

    "Before I was a rider, I was a cycling fan," Haas told Cyclingnews. "I just love cycling, even when I was watching the Amstel Gold Race as a mountain biker, I just appreciated it because it was tough and it just seemed to me a bit more honest than a lot of the other races."

    The Ardennes Classics consist of a trio of races including the aforementioned Amstel Gold Race, plus La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. The races are brutal in profile and participation, with all three hilly courses held within a eight-day window.

    Haas says that while cycling as a sport focuses a lot on teamwork, a course like the Amstel Gold Race, which features 34 exhausting climbs over its 251.8km course from Maastricht to the Cauberg, ultimately comes down to who is the world's best rider on the day.

    "Last year's winner Roman Kreuziger just had bigger balls than anyone else" Haas said referring to Roman Kreuziger's (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) solo effort to victory.

    Fellow countryman Simon Gerrans (

  • Horner reveals he could have been killed in Italian accident

    Chris Horner talks about his accident
    Article published:
    April 17, 2014, 10:44 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    "In a moment of bad luck, I was very lucky"

    Chris Horner has revealed he could have been killed in the recent training accident that left him with a punctured lung, four fractured ribs and a series of scars on his head and body.

    Horner was apparently hit by a Range Rover in a dark tunnel near Lecco in northern Italy while training on Friday. The driver, a 70-year-old from Milan, has been identified thanks to the mirror found at the accident and video evidence. The driver didn't stop to help Horner, claiming he didn’t realise he had hit the American.

    Horner has told Gazzetta dello Sport that he wants to believe the driver but fortunately doesn't remember the details of what happened.

    "I believe him, I want to believe him. It was just a moment of bad luck," he said after leaving the Lecco hospital with his wife Megan on Wednesday afternoon.

    "I was training and went into a dark, narrow tunnel. But I don’t remember anything about the crash, I only remember when I came around, I was at the other end of the tunnel."

    "If another car or a truck had gone through the tunnel when I crashed, I'd be dead. I was lucky. In a moment of bad luck, I was very lucky."

    No Giro d'Italia

    Horner confirmed there is no chance for him to recover in time to ride the Giro d'Italia. He now hopes to ride the Tour de France with fellow Lampre-Merida team leader Rui Costa and focus on defending his victory at the 2013 Vuelta a Espana.

    "I'll be off the bike for a couple of weeks, then I'll ride the rollers and then I'll get back on the road. I won’t ride the Giro but perhaps I'll ride the Tour and then the Vuelta, to defend my title. But we've still got to decide everything."

    "It's a real pity to miss the Giro d'Italia because I was starting to feel good and feel...