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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Date published:
June 03, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Kelderman aims for Tour de France 2015

    Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) finishes stage 19 time trial in 16th place
    Article published:
    June 02, 2014, 22:57 BST
    By:
    José Been

    Next year's start a logical progression

    Wilco Kelderman is aiming for the Tour de France in 2015.

    "It seems logical that I will start there," the number 7 from this year's Giro d'Italia said. Team Belkin sports director Frans Maassen agrees with his young protégé. "If you look at his development, it's probable that he will make his Tour debut next year." 

    The 23-year-old Dutch rider started his second Grand Tour in Belfast three and a half weeks ago. In 2013 he rode in support of Robert Gesink but nonetheless finished 17th. This year Team Belkin presented him as their team captain and Kelderman did what was expected. "My goal is a top ten position," he said before the start. 

    Kelderman is a solid climber and a good time trial rider. It's the DNA of a Grand Tour rider. In the Giro it resulted in a seventh place in Triëste yesterday. But he has his mind on 2015 already. 

    "The Tour de France is the biggest race of them all," he tells Algemeen Dagblad today. "That's where I want to be". The Grand Départ in Utrecht in 2015 is a mere 30 kilometres from his home in Barneveld. 

    "I don't need to be at the Tour every year," Kelderman said. "But it seems logical to me that I will take that step up after finishing two Giro's. Especially since the start of the Tour is so close to home next year." 

    Team Belkin has a wide range of Grand Tour riders to choose from. Bauke Mollema finished 12th in his first Giro in 2010, fourth in the Vuelta in 2011 and sixth in the Tour de France last year. Robert Gesink has four top ten places in Grand Tours on his palmares including a fifth place in the 2010 Tour de France. Laurens ten Dam finished 8th in the Vuelta in 2012 and 13th in the Tour de France last year.

  • Quintana moves into WorldTour lead after Giro d'Italia victory

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) celebrates his victory
    Article published:
    June 03, 2014, 1:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Spain hold onto team and nation rankings

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has moved to the top of the individual WorldTour rankings with two stage wins, six days in the maglia rosa and overall victory at the Giro d'Italia. The Colombian, who has with 345 points, disposed Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) from top spot with the Spaniard dropping to second place on 308 points while Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) occupies third place on 264 points.

    Spain retains it lead in the nation rankings with 805 points although with Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) finishing runner-up to his compatriot Quintana, Colombia now sit second on the nation rankings on 684 points. Australia sits in third place in 611 points after Cadel Evans' (BMC) eigth place overall and stage wins to Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo)

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step remains the top ranked team on 789 points although Movistar was a big mover after the Giro and are just 13 points behind on 776. Ag2r.

    There are two WorldTour races in June, the Critérium du Dauphiné (8-15 June) and Tour de Suisse (14-22 June), before the Tour de France starts...

  • Split racing schedules for Froome and Wiggins ahead of the Tour de France

    Chris Froome leads Richie Porte
    Article published:
    June 03, 2014, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team Sky sending last two winners of the Tour to Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse

    Team Sky have announced that in the build up to the Tour de France, 2012 winner, Bradley Wiggins, and the 2013 winner, Chris Froome, have again been designated separate racing schedules.

    The last race the duo rode together was the World Championships in Firenze last September while the last race they rode together for Sky was the 2013 Tour of Oman.

    Froome will look to defend his Critérium du Dauphiné title — a race that Wiggins won in 2012 — after a block of training at altitude in Tenerife and a reconnaissance of the cobbles that will feature on stage 5 of this year's Tour. Sky's team for the Dauphiné includes several climbers who will ride in support of Froome, including last year's runner-up Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas who just secured a second overall Bayern Rundhart victory.

    Having secured overall victory at the Tour of California, Wiggins' next race will be the Tour de Suisse where he will be joined by the majority of riders who helped to success in America. Also on the start line for Sky are three riders who have just completed the Giro...

  • Oliver Kent-Spark shines in Toowoomba

    Oliver Kent-Spark (health.com.au-search2retain) wins stage 4
    Article published:
    June 03, 2014, 4:30 BST
    By:
    Zeb Woodpower

    Young Australian hitting his straps in the NRS with an eye on Europe

    For Oliver Kent-Spark (health.com.au-search2retain), the 2014 Tour of Toowoomba will be a watershed moment in his cycling career. The young Australian claimed a maiden National Road Series (NRS) win having instigated the winning breakaway on the chaotic stage 4 which saw cross-winds wreak havoc on the bunch and overall NRS leader Joe Cooper (Avanti) fracture his pelvis.

    A stage win was just reward for persevering in Toowoomba for the win, but it wasn't the only podium visit that Kent-Spark enjoyed during the four day race.

    In five stages, Kent-Spark was the most aggressive rider three times — one of the stages was a team time trial — which secured him the most aggressive overall prize while he also managed to take home the points and mountain classification jerseys for good measure. His only blemish was winning the stage in the most aggressive jersey and not his team kit.

    The stage win was the culmination of several years of hard work as the Victorian explained to Cyclingnews.

    "It was a wonderful tour both personally and also for the team," said Kent-Spark who made his NRS debut back in 2009. "I can't really believe it with everything just falling into place and it's something I've been working towards, putting a consistent tour together and it's great to finally to see the fruits of my labour."

    In 2012 Kent-Spark spent the European season racing Belgian Kermesses with an amateur team, an experience that "accelerated my learning" and led him to "discover things I didn't think I could do physically and race tactically … [it was] a great experience."

    Having spent...

  • Cavendish excited for the Tour de France's cobbled excursion

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in a black version of his national champion kit
    Article published:
    June 03, 2014, 6:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    British national champion not fazed by lack of experience

    With the Grand Depart of the 101st Tour de France just a month away, Omega Pharma-Quick Step are one of the 22-teams who will be competing in the race who are busy preparing for the July 5 start. With stage 5 of the Tour  visiting several sectors of pave more accustomed to being pounded by the peloton in April, riders are equally excited and anguished by their return as the sight of Chris Froome (Team Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) studying and previewing the pave suggests.

    Mark Cavendish, who has ridden Paris-Roubaix on one previous occasion, was one of nine Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders who reconned nine sections of pave. With a strong cobbled classics team that would normally see him watching the action from the couch, Cavendish is excited by the opportunity to join his teammates for the exploration over the pave.

    "I've only ridden one Paris-Roubaix, I'd love to do it again," Cavendish said. "But, we're the strongest cobbled classics team in the world and we can win every one. For me to just want to ride, just for an indulgence when there are stronger guys to do the job, it's better to watch my team smashing it while I'm at home. But I'm excited the cobbles are in the Tour again. We've got a strong team for it, and I'm excited for the race. 

    "For me I like expectation from the team. We're the most powerful team in the world across all races. To go in it, with the expectation to perform. It's a good pressure to have. For sure we're going...

  • Peraud set to ride for two more years

    Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) celebrates his overall victory at Critérium International
    Article published:
    June 03, 2014, 9:42 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Criterium International winner close to a new deal at 37

    Beijing Olympic silver medallist for mountain biking Jean-Christophe Peraud is set to pencil a new two-year deal as a professional road rider, very likely with his current team AG2R-La Mondiale.

    "At the end of last year I've had some doubts about my will to continue racing beyond 2014 but I've realised that I'm still mentally fresh", he told Cyclingnews on the start line of the Boucles de l'Aulne on Sunday.

    The week before, on May 22, he thanked "everyone who thought of reminding me that time flies" as he celebrated his 37th birthday. "We've had a very good training camp in Briançon in the Alps", he said as he resumed racing in Brittany after a break following the Tour de Romandie.

    "Everything has gone well at AG2R-La Mondiale this year", he noted even before Alexis Gougeard won the Boucles de l'Aulne in an impressive manner. After the race, he called out to his road captain Samuel Dumoulin: "Hey Sam, we have a champion here, don't we?"

    Peraud was in the top ten of the Tour de France overall ranking when he crashed on two occasions on July 17 last year, before and during the individual time trial from Embrun to Chorges in the Hautes-Alpes. He left the race saying that it was not the end of the world but "just a broken collarbone" when French fans and media reported about the accident as a tragedy.

    Since he switched to road cycling in 2010 as a replacement for late departing star Cadel Evans at Lotto, he has often put strong performances on both climbs and time trials, to score an important number of top 10 finishes but has only won one race – stage 4 of the 2013 Tour of the Mediterranean atop the Mont Faron – in his first three seasons with AG2R-La Mondiale. He has really stepped up this year as he won on the Mont Faron again but also succeeded Chris Froome as the champion at the Criterium International in March. He added to...

  • Quintana focussing on the Vuelta a España

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) blows kisses to the crowd
    Article published:
    June 03, 2014, 11:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Giro winner hopes to win the Tour de France in 2015

    Two days after arriving in Trieste, the dust has finally settled on Nairo Quintana’s (Movistar) Giro d’Italia victory. As Quintana returns home for some well-deserved rest, the Colombian confirmed that he was not tempted to return for the Tour de France, in July.

    Quintana finished second in last year’s Tour de France and immediately announced his intentions to go for gold – or yellow – this time around. However, his busy schedule has taken its toll.

    “Not this year. It has been very demanding since January when I won San Luis, after that I was very consistent, second at Tirreno-Adriatico, fifth at Catalunya and the Giro. Now I need a little bit of rest,” Quintana told Biciciclismo.

    Quintana’s next big target will be the Vuelta a España, where we will see him face-off against Joaquim Rodríguez. It is likely to be a two-pronged attack from his Movistar team with 2009 winner Alejandro Valverde pencilled in on the team’s roster.

    Despite missing the Tour this year, Quintana is hopeful that he can take victory in 2015. “It is a dream to win the Tour de France. We have a strong team and I hope that we can continue like this, getting better and stronger, to be able to fight for the Tour next year.”

    Colombian success

    Aside from Quintana’s demonstration of power in the final week, one of the big things to come out of this year’s Giro d’Italia was the rise of the Colombians. The result was a huge surge in Colombian fans lining the roads in the final week.

    “It was crazy to see so many Colombian flags, you can even say that it overshadowed the other countries. It all gave me strength,” said...

  • Voeckler hunting for stage wins at the Critérium du Dauphiné

    Thoams Voeckler sans tongue
    Article published:
    June 03, 2014, 15:29 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman looking for sensations not motivation

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) hasn’t won a race yet this year – his best results being second in stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie and third in stage 7 of the Volta Catalunya. However, his sixth place at the GP Plumelec on Saturday and his offensive spirit at the Boucles de l’Aulne on Sunday warned his adversaries that a win is around the corner.

    Voeckler will tackle the Critérium du Dauphiné, which runs from, June 8-15, where he won stage 6 to Grenoble, beating two Astana riders (Kevin Seeldrayers and Egor Silin) in a four-man breakaway, last year. After a disrupted early season, Voeckler is raring to go.

    "I'm not looking for motivation, I'm looking for good sensations," the Frenchman told Cyclingnews in Châteaulin. "I don't need to motivate myself for one-week races like Paris-Nice or the Dauphiné. They are my favourites. The first part of my season was clearly frustrating. I broke a collarbone in Australia before it even started and that delayed my coming into form but since April, I can't hide myself behind that. I'm not totally serene about my condition ahead of the Dauphiné, but there's also no reason why I wouldn't do well."

    The king of the mountains of the 2012 Tour de France returned from a training camp in Savoy where he went to recon some of the Alpine courses of the Dauphiné, including the unprecedented uphill finish at Finhaut-Emosson, Switzerland, scheduled the day before the grand finale in Courchevel.

    "This coming Dauphiné might not feature any of the very famous climbs in the Alps, but some of them are truly hard", the Europcar leader said. "On paper, the middle mountain stages suit me well. Considering the level of the big...