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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Date published:
April 15, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Tech gallery: Paris-Roubaix 2014

    Davide Frattini’s (United Healthcare) Wilier Cento 1 standing outside the team bus, bedecked in K-Edge components
    Article published:
    April 14, 2014, 17:36 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Fatter tyres, grip tape and mechanics' innovations

    This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

    Paris-Roubaix is arguably the race of the year where setup from team to team, rider to rider diverges the most. As well as using the full armoury of kit at their disposal, teams often come up with their own unique fixes for irritating problems like bouncing water bottles and fingers slipping off brake levers, and do what they can to cushion riders from the bone shaking vibrations of pavé sections totaling more than 50km.

    This year FMB tyres once again came to the fore and in a range of widths, too. The French specialist – a long-time provider of tyres to the top contenders - appear to have gone mainstream. They're fitted to a large number of riders' bikes this year and set up a partnership with Specialized, too.

    In general, we saw widths ranging from standard 25mm to monstrously chunky 30mm tubulars on Sep Vanmarcke and other riders at the Belkin and Europcar squads.

    Mechanics trying to find ways to stop bottles bouncing out ranged from United Healthcare's quirky use of cable ties to Team Sky's more sophisticated use of grip tape.

    Check out our tech gallery of bikes from Compiègne.

  • 10 conclusions from Paris-Roubaix

    Niki Terpstra with his Paris-Roubaix trophy
    Article published:
    April 14, 2014, 18:35 BST
    Barry Ryan & Daniel Benson

    Terpstra, an individualist in a team role

    When Sylvain Chavanel left Omega Pharma-QuickStep for IAM Cycling during the off-season, it brought an end to a tacit internal rivalry with Niki Terpstra. Each man was deployed in a very similar role as a foil to Tom Boonen, but Terpstra, it seemed, was endowed with a streak of selfishness that the Frenchman simply didn't possess, the selfishness necessary to land a big Classic.

    Yet even after winning Paris-Roubaix, Terpstra insists that he has no designs on being a team leader and with good reason: unlike Chavanel, he has had the cunning necessary to carve out winning opportunities for himself even while working for a team leader. It was hardly by chance, for instance, that it was Terpstra, not Chavanel, who managed to get up the road to win Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2012.

    When Boonen launched his own attack with 60 kilometres remaining on Sunday, he had apparently asked Terpstra to join him, but the Dutchman downplayed the incident during his winner's press conference. "In the space of a second, Tom was already gone. He's a lot more explosive than me," said Terpstra, who instead saved his powder for the finale. "A lot of riders can be in the finale of a classic but not many can finish it off," Patrick Lefevere said admiringly of Terpstra's nous on Sunday.

    Terpstra's single-mindedness has not always been to everyone's taste, and even the affable Boonen joked that he was not a fan before he joined QuickStep. "When he was at Milram, he was always on my wheel. Even when I stopped for a piss, he was there," Boonen told L'Équipe. "But now that he's with us, I've got to know and like him."

  • Gallery: The best of the cobbled Classics

    Belgian flags over the finale of Gent-Wevelgem
    Article published:
    April 14, 2014, 19:56 BST
    Cycling News

    From a frigid Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to sunny Paris-Roubaix

    Aside from the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the 2014 Spring Classics were raced in some of the most pleasant weather of recent years, and the balmy temperatures in Europe over the winter produced a peloton brimming with form.

    Yet form alone doesn't win Classics, and luck is just as important as any sort of preparation. Just ask Ian Stannard, who gave Team Sky it's first Classic of 2014, but then suffered a number of crashes, the last of which in Gent-Wevelgem left him out for weeks with a fractured vertebrae.

    Tom Boonen gave Omega Pharma-Quickstep the victory in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but was nearly overtaken by Belkin's Moreno Hofland in the sprint. Few would have guessed this would be Boonen's last win of the cobbled Classics.

    Niki Terpstra's Dwars door Vlaanderen solo victory was only a foreshadowing of what would come at the end of the team's campaign. The Dutch rider was the team's most consistent performer, and while he was not the odds on favourite for Paris-Roubaix, Terpstra was only too willing and extremely able to finish off the Classics with the cobble trophy.

    In between, E3 Harelbeke proved to be the only success for Peter Sagan (Cannondale), but not for lack of trying. Sagan attacked relentlessly throughout the spring, and perhaps with better timing he will add a Monument to his palmares.

    John Degenkolb proved he's more than just a pure sprinter by surviving the rapid-fire attacks on the hellingen from the cobble masters, and then dusting the 30-strong peloton in the sprint. He followed up with pure class with the second place finish in Paris-Roubaix.

    The Tour of...

  • Démare extends with FDJ through 2016

    Arnaud Démare wins stage 6
    Article published:
    April 14, 2014, 21:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman happy with team's support

    Ever since the 2011 U23 World Champion Arnaud Démare burst onto the pro scene with a victory in the final Tour of Qatar stage in 2012, he has become a force to be reckoned with. After a repeat in Doha this year and a fine second place in Gent-Wevelgem, the 22-year old has extended his contract with the squad through the end of 2016.

    Even with his recent performances, which include a 12th place at Paris-Roubaix after surviving a crash and two punctures, Démare said he didn't expect any other teams to make him offers, and decided that he would stick with the team which has fully supported him since he turned pro.

    "I am very happy in the team, very proud of the confidence they have shown me, and very happy to continue in this beautiful blue jersey," Démare said.

    Although Démare emerged from the espoir ranks as a pure sprinter, he has also shown he can time trial with a 12th place in the 9.1km time trial in Tirreno-Adriatico, as well as rub shoulders with the best on the cobbles and bergs of the Classics. It has been a quick but natural evolution.

    "The first year I did the Giro, it was impossible to overtake the rider in front of me in the sprints," he said. "Now I do not even question myself, and it goes much better. I'm suddenly a lot more fun during the race. At first, I was criticized for not fighting, but I could not, I was flat out. Now, being more lucid, I can see where to put the wheel... In Het Nieuwsblad I was enormously pleased to make the front of the race. In Gent-Wevelgem, on the two passages of Kemmel all went well. It was obvious that I have progressed."

    That progression has resulted in a rider who calls himself a sprinteur-rouleur, one who can win races in a sprint, but also attack and ride away...

  • Contador previews pavé ahead of Tour de France

    Contador at the Pont-Thibaut sector of pavé
    Article published:
    April 14, 2014, 22:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Tinkoff-Saxo leader already testing on cobbles

    The dust has scarcely settled from Paris-Roubaix, but already riders are turning their attention to stage 5 of the 2014 Tour de France, when the race will cover nine of the pavé sectors which were used in the just-completed Monument. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) tested out the cobbled sectors today, scouting the conditions as well as trying out equipment all under the supervision of his new coach Steven de Jongh.

    The 156km stage from Ypres to Arenberg will be a critical stage for the Tour contenders, who must traverse the ancient roads which they normally eschew.

    "It has gone well, I've seen the first part of the stage in the car and last 75 km by bike," Contador said. "I have especially studied the equipment, which is most important here."

    The Tour de France covered some of the same sectors in the 2010 edition, where the race covered seven sectors at a total of 13km. This year, the tally rises to 15.4km, including the 2400m long sector at Sars-et-Rosières which took out Frank Schleck and Janez Brajkovic in 2010, the 3700m sector at Hornaing and the dreaded Carrefour de l'Arbre, which is the first the riders will encounter at kilometer 87 in the stage.

    "Clearly the most critical will be the first sections, because there the group will still be very large and there will be more fighting to get into in front of the group," Contador said. "After there will be more selections.

    "I think it will be a more difficult stage than in 2010 because first sections are more complicated."

    The Tour de France stage will travel in the reverse of the direction which Paris-Roubaix uses, first hitting the Carrefour de l'Arbre, a five star sector in...

  • Lampre-Merida's Roubaix: crashes, punctures and mechanicals

    Pozzato followed by Terpstra
    Article published:
    April 14, 2014, 23:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Only two finishers for the Italian team on the pavé

    For Lampre-Merida, the pavé of Paris-Roubaix brought only pain and suffering compounded by bad luck. While Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was busy at the head of the racing soloing away for his first Monument win, the Italian team could only watch on, unable to overcome several handicaps.

    While all the teams face the same parcours and the almost unavoidable crashes, punctures, mechanical problems that the Queen of the Classics serves up, Lampre will be hoping that future participations at the race bring more luck than Sunday did. The team only had two finishers in Pippo Pozzato and Andrea Palini.

    Pozzato was the best finisher for the team in 50th place, 6:44 down on Terpstra, rendering him unable for force a selection on the cobbles at any point, while Palini was a further three-and-a-bit minutes back in 80th. 

    "When you have to face two punctures and another rider hits your derailleur, it's very difficult to still be competitive, despite any efforts or quite good form,"  Pozzato said. "I was happy because I could exit from the [Arenberg] forest in the head positions, but then I had two punctures."

    "At 40km to go, when Cancellara attacked, the problem with my derailleur, accidentally hit by an opponent, stopped all my aims. It's a pity, my legs were good".

    For the rest of the Lampre team, there was an abundance of bad luck as well with Davide Cimolai abandoning after a puncture with 80km to go on the cobblestone sector from...

  • One week to go before 38th Giro del Trentino

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 2:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Key pre-Giro d'Italia race route revealed in Trento

    With the May 9 grand partenza of the 2014 Giro d'Italia getting ever closer, general classification aspirants for the grand tour will be lining up in Northern Italy for the 38th edition of the Giro del Trentino as the final preparatory race before the Italian grand tour.

    Last year's winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) won't be defending his title having changed his focus to the Tour de France rather than the Giro although a high-class field including previous grand tour winners Cadel Evans (BMC), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Ivan Basso (Cannondale) and Michele Scarponi (Astana) are all expected to assemble for the start of the four-day 2.HC race.

    The unveiling of the percorso for this year's edition in Trento revealed, that in keeping with recent tradition, the race will begin with a short team time trial.

    In a change from previous editions of the race, organisers have decided to embrace eco-friendly goals with "green" areas set up at any feed zone to safeguard the area's beautiful landscapes in the Trentino-South Tyrol region.

    New Italian national team manager Davide Cassani, who will be honoured with "Ciclismo Vita Mia" yearly award by GS Alto Garda organisers, will be keeping a close eye on the Trentino roads as the race has been won by Italians in all but eight years. Julio Alberto Pérez was the overall victor in 2005 while the last foreign winner was Alexandre Vinokourov in 2010.

  • Contador still top of WorldTour rankings

    Alberto Contador on the podium
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 5:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step with commanding lead in team ranking

    With the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco stage-race over and Paris-Roubaix fiercely competed, as both races offered 100 points to the winner, the WorldTour rankings have again undergone significant change.

    A overall victory to Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in the Basque country sees him retain his individual lead over Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) while it was Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) who was the big mover in the individual rankings with victory on the pavé.

    Thanks to three riders placing in the top-ten at Roubaix, Omega Pharma-Quick Step have established a large lead over the 17 other WorldTour teams with 543 points. Katusha is the next best with 382. Former leader of the team rankings, Ag2r-La Mondiale, are third on 380, just one point ahead of Tinkoff-Saxo.

    Spain hold onto top spot in the nations ranking with 605 points with Belgium in second place on 454 points while France round out the podium on 381 points.

    The next WorldTour race is Amstel Gold Race on April 20 which is the first of the three Ardennes Classics. On April 23 it is La Flèche Wallonne...