A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Katusha leader says "hardest part of Vuelta is behind us now"
With his lead now up to 28 seconds on Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and the hardest part of the Vuelta a España behind him, Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) sounded more confident than ever about his chances of netting his first ever Grand Tour.
Second in the 2012 Giro and fourth in the 2010 Vuelta, Rodríguez made crucial progress towards securing the final overall on Monday. In each of the two previous mountain stages Contador has failed to shake Rodriguez, and today it was the same old story.
After sticking to Contador's back wheel like a limpet for most of the final five kilometres, Purito then darted ahead to claim third on stage 16, a four second time bonus and to strike a huge psychological blow in his battle with the Madrileño. Contador had repeatedly claimed that the mountains were "his terrain" - but in the 2012 Vuelta, the double Tour winner has had no option but to share them with Rodriguez.
"It's a very big step forward," the 33-year-old from Barcelona, - also leader of the points competition, the ‘combined' jersey as well as running Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Clarke a very close second in the King of the Mountains - said.
"It's true there are some very hard finishes left like Fuente Dé and the Bola del Mundo, and the stages to Valladolid and Segovia [La Lastrilla] are not easy either but the toughest ones are behind us now.
"I didn't get much of an advantage today on Contador, but I got a few seconds and that gives me a little bit more margin,...
Wiggins, Froome, Cavendish, Armitstead, Pooley highlight selections
British Cycling has today announced the long list of riders from which the final team will be selected to represent Great Britain at the 2012 UCI road world championships taking place in Limburg, The Netherlands from September 16-23. The Elite men's and women's squads will field the maximum rosters in the road races, at nine and seven respectively.
"Once again we find ourselves in a very fortunate position of having a strong pool of riders across the board from which we can select the final team nearer the time," said Performance Director Dave Brailsford. "Brad [Wiggins] has opted out of riding the time trial at the Worlds; this year's focus for him has been fully on the Tour de France and the Olympics, so to expect him to hold form going into the Worlds is a big ask."
Great Britain enjoyed a remarkably successful road word championships in 2011, winning six medals, highlighted by Mark Cavendish's gold medal in the elite men's road race. Cavendish has made the British team's long list for this year's event, but the Manxman isn't expected to vie for repeat victory on a parcours much tougher than last year's route in Denmark.
Other medalists from 2011 making the long-list include Lucy Garner (Junior women's road world champion), Elinor Barker (Junior women's time trial silver medalist) and Emma Pooley (Elite women's time trial bronze medalist and former world time trial champion). Bradley Wiggins won the silver medal in the Elite men's time trial in 2011 but will only contest the road race in The Netherlands while Andrew...
New Zealand Continental team loses backer after eight years
Subway Restaurants has announced it will not be continuing its sponsorship of UCI Contintental team, Subway Pro Cycling.
The New Zealand-registered outfit has been sponsored by the company for the last eight years and general manager, Hayden Godfrey said that he is searching for a replacement and has already been in contact with a number of potential suitors.
"The concept of a professional cycling team has proven a very good vehicle for lifting brand profiles and we are excited by the prospect of working with a new major sponsor," he said in a press release. "We have a fantastic group of existing sub sponsors which are committed to the continuation of the team."
Godfrey said that without the support of Subway over the last eight years, the team would not have been able to run a program both in New Zealand and overseas.
"We have been fortunate to have had the Subway brand as our major naming rights sponsor for so long," he said. "Their support helped grow the team's profile as we established New Zealand's most successful and longest running professional cycling team. While we're disappointed to see the sponsorship come to an end, it does open up new opportunities."
The team has had various successes in 2012, starting with Paul Odlin's win in the New Zealand national time trial championship. In March, Sam Horgan won the Tour of Canterbury and most recently, track specialist Westley Gough won the prologue of the Tour des Pays de Savoie, in France.
Sky leader loses more time on final climb to Cuitu Nigru
It may be that Chris Froome (Sky) is finally showing signs of a long season, after again losing time to the top three contenders during stage 16 at the Vueltla a España. Froome was clearly struggling on the final climb of the day, the 23.5km Cuitu Negru that has sections over 25%. The Sky leader lost contact with race leader Joaquim Rodríquez (Katusha), coming across the line in 14th place and now lies in 4th overall, 4:52 behind Rodríquez.
"That was such a hard climb," said Froome on TeamSky.com. "I’m struggling to think about what I can compare it to. There are not many stages that you do which finish up a climb that is 20km long and the last 4km is an average of almost 20%. I don’t think the screen or TV can do that justice. It really is a gruelling climb.
"There was a stage with about 150 metres to go where I looked at the ramp ahead of me and thought ‘I might have to walk up there’!
"It’s tough to look at other guys and think about trying to stay on the wheel. I just tried to ride my own speed up there and survive as best I could.
"We have a rest day coming up tomorrow and we’re ready for the last week. The hardest part of the race is probably behind us now I think and it’s just day by day now [to] Madrid. I'm giving it everything and we'll see where that puts me after three weeks," said Froome.
After winning a stage and finishing second overall at the Tour de France, it seems that fatigue may be getting the better of...
Relentless attacker hopes for a fourth time lucky
Giro d'Italia podium finisher Thomas De Gendt may have been beaten by Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma) on top of the Cuitu Nigru climb in yesterday's stage 16 of the Vuelta a España, but the Vacansoleil-DCM rider has already stated that this wasn't his last bid for a victory at the race. Despite having been part of three decisive breakaways so far in the race, De Gendt announced that his Vuelta wasn't over yet.
"I think that my Vuelta is already a reasonable success," he told Sporza. "But there are still five stages to go, and two mountain stages. I want to show myself at least one more time."
Last Friday, De Gendt had already made the break of the day on stage 13, finishing sixth behind stage winner Steve Cummings (BMC). And on stage six earlier in the race, taken by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), the Belgian was part of an escape group that was passed by the GC riders on the way to the mountaintop finish.
Yesterday's second place was therefore a solid improvement, and even though the 25-year-old was disappointed not to have scored the victory, he handled his defeat well. "I felt really good and would have liked to win, but Cataldo was just a little bit better than me," he admitted. "When someone is stronger than yourself, you have to come to peace with it at one point.
"We agreed not to attack each other to death so that we'd certainly get first and second respectively. The last kilometres were particularly steep. I looked at my computer the whole time, and it never showed more than 10 km/h."
The ascent of the Cuitu Negru triggered many reactions amongst the riders. "Look, 24 per cent is of course terribly...
Briton jaded by talking about "Twitter, doping and suspicion"
The Briton was never outside the top two overall for the duration of the Tour and wore the yellow jersey for two weeks, facing a daily press conference after each stage. He reacted angrily to questions about the climate of suspicion on Twitter after stage 8 to Porrentruy, and he later complained about the negativity surrounding his tenure in yellow after stage 17 to Peyragudes.
“I didn’t have fun on the Tour,” Wiggins said, according to La Dernière Heure. “At the Tour everything is so stressful. Everybody was only talking about Twitter, doping and suspicion. After the Tour, I felt relieved and I showed that when I crossed the finish line at the end of the time trial. But for the rest of the time, I didn’t enjoy myself at the Tour.”
“The Tour is so stressful,” he said. “Everyone is only interested in Twitter or other doping suspicions. The Tour was mentally an ordeal.
"But the Olympics is more about the sport itself. There is no doping or other nonsense talk. If you win, everyone is happy for you."
Wiggins was speaking in Wetteren,...
Sastre: "It's Hamilton's fault, not Bjarne's"
Kurt-Asle Arvesen has conceded that he is beginning to harbour some doubts about his former CSC manager Bjarne Riis following allegations printed in Tyler Hamilton’s newly-published autobiography.
In “The Secret Race”, Hamilton alleges that Riis introduced him to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes when he signed for his CSC team in 2002. Hamilton admits to blood doping under the supervision of Fuentes, who was at the centre of the Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation in 2006. Riis has denied the allegation.
“I got an eerie feeling when I read about this. If it’s true, then it’s tragic,” Arvesen told VG Nett. “I had Bjarne as a manager for many years, but I noticed nothing myself.”
Asked if he was beginning to doubt Riis in the wake of Hamilton’s allegations, Arvesen said, “Of course, when something like this comes out,” before adding, “That’s not the impression I have of Bjarne personally, he was always fair with me.”
However, Arvesen, who rode for CSC (later Saxo Bank) from 2004 to 2009, said that it was difficult to imagine that his former teammate Hamilton had fabricated the story.
“I have the impression that he has taken issue with his past,” Arvesen said. “He was not honest a few years ago, but now I feel he has put everything on the table. I don’t know why he would say all this if it was not true.”
The man who replaced Hamilton as leader of CSC, Ivan Basso, was suspended for two years after he confessed to having his blood withdrawn and stored by Fuentes. Another CSC rider, Fränk Schleck, admitted in 2008 that he...
Comparisons to Angliru and Zoncolan abound
All 181 riders who made it atop the Cuitu Negru summit finish in Monday's stage 16 of the Vuelta a España had one thing in common: they had just climbed one of the steepest climbs in recent Grand Tour history, and they certainly didn't enjoy it. The new ascent, an additional three kilometre-stretch to the Col de Pajares which is already 16 kilometres long, features some of the steepest sections of pro cycling, increasing its gradient from 12 to 15 percent in the beginning to 17 and finally 22 percent at the top. No wonder some riders were barely able to remain on their bikes in the final kilometre.
Eritrean rider Daniel Teklehaymanot (Orica-GreenEdge) was seen vomiting as he crossed the finish line, some 35 minutes behind stage winner Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma). "I think he has never known anything that hard," an assistant of the Australian team told L'Equipe. Of course, depending on each athlete's race experience and climbing abilities, the impression the Cuitu Negru left on the riders slightly differed.
Italian Cataldo, who finished 12th on GC in both this and last year's Giro d'Italia, was not overly impressed by the dreaded ascent. "It was very hard, so much is ture, especially in the last three kilometres, but there was nothing exaggerrated about it, either," he commented. "Most of all, it was the repetition of climbs that made the race hard. Personnaly, I find the Zoncolan in Italy much more difficult. It has the same percentages but it's ten kilometres long. On a Grand Tour, it's normal to get a climb like this one, we're used to it."
Race leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) and even non-climber Pablo Lastras (Movistar)...