BMC sports director Max Sciandri has praised Taylor Phinney after his victory in the opening time trial at the Dubai Tour and made it clear that the team will back the prodigious American and do everything possible to win overall.
"The next step, the next plan, is to win the overall. I want that and he wants that. We need to come together as a team. We're good at doing that, we've shown that we can do it and so we're ready to defend Taylor's lead," Sciandri told Cyclingnews.
"There are time bonuses of three, two, and one second at the finish and two one-second time bonuses at the intermediate sprints. But Taylor tested his sprinting at the Tour de San Luis and showed he can do it with some results."
BMC perfectly executed a well made race strategy in the time trial. Phinney won in a time of 12:03, covering the 9.9km course at an average of 50.29 km/h. He revealed he set a personal power record, producing 490 watts for the 12 minutes.
That effort allowed him to beat teammate Steve Cummings by 14 seconds, with Lasse Norman Hansen (Garmin-Sharp) third at 16 seconds. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was only fourth, at 22 seconds, with a convalescent and behind-on-form Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) fifth at 25 seconds.
"The plan was to come here and do well: to win. We have both Taylor and Thor for that. Taylor is the better time trialist but Thor is fast in the sprints and there are time bonuses," Sciandri explained.
"Steve Cummings is on form, too, and I put him off first so we could see what the conditions are like from a guy who could have won too. The...
Anna Meares off to her twelfth World Championships
With the 2014 2014 UCI World Track Championships to take place later this month in Cali, Columbia the Australian team set to challenge for the rainbow jersey's on offer has been announced. The team contains a balance of experienced and up and coming riders who are proven at the highest level.
The final five-member sprint team will be led by ten-time world champion Anna Meares (SA) who will contest her twelfth World Championships, and dual world champion Shane Perkins (VIC) who will line up for the eighth time.
2012 team sprint world champion Matthew Glaetzer (SA) and 2013 keirin national champion Steph Morton (SA) have also been are confirmed to take part while while 2008 Olympian Daniel Ellis (SA) continues his rapid return to the sport with selection.
Two six-rider 'long teams' have been selected for both the men's and women's endurance events, with riders to participate in a pre-Worlds camp in Adelaide before final selections are made.
Three of Australia's reigning world champion team pursuit quartet in Glenn O'Shea (SA), Alexander Edmondson (SA) and Alexander Morgan (VIC) have all been nominated, in addition to 2013 World Championship bronze medallist Luke Davison (SA) who is currently racing the Jayco Herald Sun Tour..
The women's endurance squad nominations include triple 2013 World Championship medallist Annette Edmondson (SA), who was the rider of the recent national championships in Adelaide, plus fellow medallists Amy Cure (TAS), Melissa Hoskins (WA) and Ashlee Ankudinoff (NSW).
"We will assemble a really solid team with genuine podium ambitions in Columbia for the World Championships," said Kevin Tabotta who is the National Performance Director of the High Performance Unit (HPU), Cycling Australia.
"We have a great mix of experienced and emerging talent and preparations have gone well.
"It is exciting to see both Anna Meares and Shane Perkins back and ready to race for their first World...
Young Rapha Condor rider on racing the Herald Sun Tour
21-year-old Brighton born Felix English (Rapha-Condor JTL) announced on stage at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour team presentation that he was targeting the white jersey and top five at the race. He duly delivered on the tight technical prologue course as he finished fourth, just 1.7 seconds off victor Jack Bauer (Garmin Sharp), and collected the white jersey. Mission accomplished.
"I loved it, it was a great course. I've never done a race like that before with the crowd. It had a bit of everything, corners, straights, which was good," English told Cyclingnews before today's stage.
Having spent the summer in Australia racing and training, English had already tasted success in 2014 as he took out the sprinters green jersey at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic and came into the Herald Sun Tour knowing he could back up his words.
"I thought I could do it. I've been training hard for the last few weeks and I knew the numbers were good. Obviously I haven't really done this kind of event before or raced with this standard of field before but I'm really happy," he said.
One the cycling hotspots in Australia is the Victorian town of Bendigo where English has been training with past and present professionals in preparation for the race.
"I came out here on November 20th and was in Bendigo for five weeks and then I rode the bay crit series. I went back to Bendigo for four weeks to get ready for this.
"I've been training with Darren Lapthorne and Robbie Hucker from Drapac and Zac Dempster and Scott McGrory as well actually," he said.
English lost the young riders jersey on Stage 1 of the Herald Sun Tour as the race picked up on the Cat 1 climb, forcing a selection which saw the peloton cut in half. However English...
"Peter has to stay focused on racing and winning," says manager
Peter Sagan's agent Giovanni Lombardi has denied that the Slovakian rider has reached an agreement to ride for Fernando Alonso's new team, telling Cyclingnews that it is far too early to even discuss which team he will ride for in 2015.
Reports in Italy suggested that Sagan is set to earn 3.3. million Euro a season for 2015 and 2016 but Lombardi denied that a deal had been reached.
Lombardi was spotted talking to managers from the Cannondale, Trek and Tinkoff-Saxo teams before the start of stage two of the Dubai Tour but insisted he is in Dubai because he likes the Emirate and was interested to see the race.
"I also talked to Patrick Lefevere at Omega Pharma but I've got several riders and I'm always talking to teams," he told Cyclingnews.
"I'm here because I like Dubai. I didn’t even know that Fernando Alonso was here. I'll be happy to say hello to him, just like I've done with lots of other team owners and management."
Asked about the reports on Sagan's future and links to Alonso’s team that is under construction for 2015, Lombardi was adamant that nothing had been decided and that Sagan has to stay focused on his racing.
"My answer to any questions about Peter's future is that there's zero, zero, zero news. Nothing has been decided. At all."
"Nothing is true about him reaching a deal and I'm not going to even talk about Peter's future. It's not right. It's not right for the Cannondale team, who discovered and developed him and who he is riding for this season. I'm going to sit down with Cannondale at the start of March for talks but before Paris-Roubaix there's not going to be any news."
"It's also not right for Peter. Now the most important thing for Peter is his racing. Peter's got to stay cool and stay focused on racing and winning. The...
World Champion denies rise of Quintana provoked his exit from Movistar
World Champion Rui Costa has said that he is delighted with the last-minute signing of 2013 Vuelta winner Chris Horner for his Lampre-Merida team, describing the American as a “very important factor” within the squad.
“They were looking for a rider to lead the squad in the Giro and the Vuelta, and I think they’ve got it right [signing Horner] even if I don’t think our race programs will overlap,” Costa, who is focussing on the Tour, told Spanish sports daily MARCA on Thursday.
“We have to applaud him for racing at the level he does at the age he is. I’ve got a long way to go before I get to that age!”
Currently in the Tour of Dubai, Costa also denied to MARCA that he had quit Movistar because of Nairo Quintana’s sudden improvement in the Grand Tours, which could have reduced Costa’s room for manouvre in the team.
“My decision to go was a personal one, and had nothing to do with them, both he and [Movistar co-leader Alejandro] Valverde are good friends and good team-mates,” Costa said. But he admitted that Lampre “had offered me everything I wanted, mainly leading the team in the Tour, which is what I wanted when I left Movistar.”
He added that he has only signed for a year with the Italian team “because it is to see if this is the team I really need, and at the moment I’m very happy with what I’ve found, it’s what I’ve been looking for. The team is well-structured and I’m sure they’ll look after me well in my build-up to the Tour, where I want to do as well as possible overall.”
As for a repeat win in the World Championships, Costa says he has not yet looked at the Ponferrada route in detail, “but they have told me it’s...
Despite a disappointing showing in the time trial at the Dubai Tour on Wednesday, Movistar’s Alex Dowsett remains focused on riding this year’s Tour de France.
The Giro d’Italia stage winner came into the Dubai Tour looking to test his legs for the first time this season but came up short, finishing 51st, 1:04 down on stage one winner Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) over the 9.9km course.
Although disappointed with his ride, Dowsett took time to talk with Cyclingnews about his season opening race, the Tour de France and how he must earn a spot within Movistar’s nine-man team, and his second season objective of riding the Commonwealth Games.
The British rider is aware that just because the Tour starts in the United Kingdom he is not guaranteed an automatic slot and that he must “get his head down and work hard.”
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Australian aiming for Flanders with Specialized-Lululemon
How do you solve a problem like Marianne Vos? The women’s peloton has had to grapple with that particular conundrum over the past eight seasons and Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-Lululemon) will be among those hoping to come up with an answer at the Tour of Flanders this spring.
Buoyed by a breakthrough victory in freezing conditions at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last season, Cromwell has made De Ronde her principal target for the early part of the 2014 campaign, but she is keenly aware that the road to victory in Oudenaarde runs through the redoubtable Vos, who won the race for the first time last year.
Though mindful of the difficulties in going head to head against the Dutchwoman, winner of the past two world championships and the past two World Cups, Cromwell maintains that a team with a strong collective can reap a dividend against Vos.
"She is a very talented athlete and she’s so strong whether she has teammates around her or not, but it is about isolating her," Cromwell told Cyclingnews. "We saw a few times last year that when we had her isolated and teams just attacked and attacked, we did manage to get some changes in the results.
"With Vos, you need to try to break her by attacking in turn and then hope that she’s the one who has to chase, rather than her teammates. Isolating her and forcing her to chase is key, but it’s still a question we’re always asking – how do you beat Vos?"
Cromwell followed her manifesto the letter at the world championships in Florence last September, igniting the race by attacking every time the road went downhill in a bid to put Vos under pressure. A strong Italian team and Emma Johansson eventually followed suit, but Vos was able to repel the attacks before launching her own winning move on the final climb, thanks in no small part to the support of Anna van der Breggen – who, incidentally, joins Vos at the Rabo-Liv team in 2014.
Formula 1 driver reveals little about his cycling team
After posting photos of the Dubai skyline on Twitter while out training, Fernando Alonso turned up at the start of stage two of the Dubai Tour and then jumped in a VIP car to follow the racing.
Speaking briefly in the start village, the Spanish Formula One driver confirmed that he is creating a major team for 2015 but refused to give any details.
"It's stunning here in Dubai and the finale of today's stage is amazing. It'll be interesting to follow in a car," he told Ciro Scognamiglio of Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Our project? We're working on it but for the moment we can't say anything. We're just at the start and when we can announce something, you'll be the first to know."
Alonso said he is in Dubai to prepare for the new Formula One season. He will again drive for Ferrari and uses cycling to get fit for the efforts of driving an F1 car.
"I'm training to get ready for the F1 championships. There's five weeks to the start of the season and so I'm working hard. It's warm and sunny here and so they're ideal conditions to go riding. Cycling is my favourite sport but it' hard work. Driving is definitely a lot easier…" he said before jumping in a VIP car to watch the racing first hand.