Team Sky leader looking to the Tour of California but intends to return to Paris-Roubaix in 2015
Bradley Wiggins was first over the finish line for Team Sky at the Giro del Trentino making him the provisional race leader until the NetApp-Endura and BMC teams reached the finish and set faster times.
BMC won the 13.4km time trial in a time of 14:12, with NetApp-Endura five seconds slower and Team Sky was third with a time of 14:21. Daniel Oss was the first BMC to the finish and so pulled on the race leader's pink jersey, while Wiggins was also called to the podium to pull on the red sprints jersey.
Just over a week ago, Wiggins was fighting on the pave at Paris-Roubaix, finishing ninth after an aggressive ride. He has already switched back to stage racing mode as he prepares for the Amgen Tour of California and revealed to Cyclingnews that he arrived from Mallorca where he has been training hard and working to lose weight so he can competitive in California in May.
"I've been trying to get back in the routine for these race, for stage races, after being in Belgium and not really doing much between the big days of racing," Wiggins told Cyclingnews before climbing onto the podium and spraying the crowd with the Italian Spumante.
"I've had a tough couple of days after training hard but once I did my warm up I felt good. It's always hard to judge how you feel but I could tell that not much has changed since last Sunday."
Team Sky started the Giro del Trentino with just six riders instead of eight, making their third place even more respectable. Dario Cataldo and Kanstantsin Siutsou are expected to have leadership roles for Team Sky this week, while Wiggins continues to work for the Tour of California.
BMC rider recovers from injury to become the first race leader on home roads
Sometimes fate steps in to give a rider a moment of unexpected success and satisfaction. Daniel Oss was forced to miss all the cobbled Classics due to a knee problem. Fortunately his new race programme included his home race, the Giro del Trentino, and he lead the BMC across the finish line as they won the opening team time trial to pull on the leader pink jersey.
It was his first ever team time trial victory and his first ever leader's jersey as a professional.
"It's great to be first leader, it's an honour to do it in my home race," he said in the post stage press conference after collecting lots of pats on the back and cheers from the crowd at the finish in Arco near Lake Garda.
"It was hard to miss the Classics this year. I had a few nice afternoons on the sofa watching the races on TV, but I was nervous and wanted to be there. It would have been better to ride them for sure but this more than makes up for any disappointment."
"I'm also happy because the team worked really hard for this. We were here Saturday and Sunday to train on the course and be together. It all paid off. We were training when we heard that Gilbert had won the Amstel Gold Race. I like visual events and Gilbert's win convinced me that we'd win today. This morning we did the usual routine and I tried to keep my emotions under control but I was a tense and nervous. But it was the right kind of tension, the feeling that makes you do a good rider and have that extra bit of motivation."
Oss and the BMC team insisted that no pre-race decision had been made about him leading the team home but Cadel Evans did a huge turn on the front in the final kilometre before moving over to let Oss bring the team home.
After a disappointing result in Amstel Gold Race, Tom Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) has a chance to bounce back in Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday. The Dutchman finished outside the top 20 in last Sunday’s outing but has shown form in Fleche, having made the top 15 last year.
Garmin go into Flèche Wallonne with a number of cards to play. Dan Martin finished just off the podium last year and when fully fit is a contender for any of the Ardennes races. Currently battling a knee injury he will look to improve on his Amstel showing, after he abandoned the race.
On Tuesday, Slagter, Martin and the rest of the Garmin-Sharp team rode reconnaissance over the Fleche route, with a slightly different parcours created for this year.
In this exclusive interview for Cyclingnews, Slagter talks about his Amstel showing, his hopes for Flèche and his Ardennes campaign as a whole.
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Allan Peiper, the performance manager of BMC Racing, has dismissed talk over Philippe Gilbert wining the Ardennes treble. Gilbert famously won Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in a unmatchable period of racing in 2011.
Last week he won De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne - his first victory of the season - before completing an almost faultless BMC performance at Amstel last Sunday.
He starts Wednesday's Fleche-Wallone as a leading contender for the win although the likes of Joaquim Rodriguez, Daniel Moreno and Alejandro Valverde will all be out for revenge after suffering defeat at Amstel.
"I don't think we're involved in that triple talk," Peiper told Cyclingnews from BMC's base just outside Liege.
"We won Brabançonne and that was good because it confirmed that he was going well and Amstel somewhat took the pressure is off because we've got the Classic win that we set out to get."
Amstel marked BMC first Spring Classic win - although they tasted victory in the 2010 edition of Fleche courtesy of Cadel Evans.
"That win is the bag but Phil still very much wants to win the next two races," Peiper said.
"If they fall into our hands then that's fantastic but the talk of the triple isn't something that we can focus on."
Rodriguez and Moreno who have won the last two editions of the race come into the race as major threats, although Rodriguez will be racing just days after he crashed out of Amstel. He stated yesterday that he would ride for his teammate Moreno, who won last year.
"Katusha has a strong team for this race and it's more of a Spanish climber's climb but Phil is in fantastic shape. I wouldn't say he's the outstanding favourite but he's certainly...
The 13.4km TTT was covered at an average speed of 56.620km/h, making aerodynamics but also bike handling vitally important.
Before the riders could begin a final reconnaissance of the 13.4km course on closed roads, the UCI judges carefully measured every bike to ensure it fitted within the length limitation rules. A spirit level was also used to check that saddles were horizontal, with several mechanics forced to make rapid adjustments before the bikes were approved for competition.
Bikes are becoming more and more aerodynamic, with both front and rear hidden brakes no the norm rather than the exception. The Time Machine used by the BMC squad has an integrated front brake in the fork and a rear brake under the bottom bracket, while Team Sky's Pinarello Bolide has small cover on the front and rear brakes.
Hidden head steerers are also becoming far more common if not de-rigor, with the Colombia team's Wilier Triestina bikes having the biggest and most innovative look thanks to a split head tube design.
Click here to see the full gallery of time trial bike images.
Ninth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year - his best Ardennes result to date - and 32nd last year at La Flèche Wallonne 2013, Costa refused to be drawn on which of the two hilly Classics left to race suited him better.
"We'll see when the racing starts," he told Cyclingnews, "[Race winner Philippe] Gilbert (BMC) was very fast and very strong in Amstel Gold, so was [Alejandro] Valverde [Movistar]."
Either way, he points out, his own form is more solid than it had appeared in his last race outing, the Vuelta al País Vasco, where he finished 51st, more than half an hour down on winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).
"I've worked hard to be good in these Classics, in País Vasco I was not as good as I’d hoped, but at least on Sunday I was in relatively good shape."
At Amstel Gold, Costa crossed the line in 17th place, just 12 seconds down on Gilbert.
The reigning World Champion has yet to win a race in 2014, but he has come close on several occasions, with his best result to date a second place in Paris-Nice. The last rider to win a Flèche Wallonne with the rainbow jersey on his back was Cadel Evans — currently racing in the Giro di Trentino — back in 2010.
QuickStep have made a number of alterations to the team that will be supporting the Pole, to adapt to the hillier parcours. Directeur sportif Davide Bramati believes that the team can put in a solid result at the mid-week race.
"We changed a few elements if you compare it to Amstel where we have more climbers. Our road captain is Michal Kwiatkowski as he showed his condition with his top five finish at Amstel Gold Race. He was also fith at this race in 2013. We will try to do something good again this year and be there for the finale in the second of the three Ardennes Classics."
Kwiatkowski has had an excellent 2014 so far, with victory at Strade Bianche and the Volta ao Algarve. His form makes him one of the favourites for victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège later on in the week. The Polish rider will be supported by his fellow countryman, Michal Golas along with Jan Bakelants and Wout Poels, who recently won a stage at the Vuelta al País Vasco.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep are looking to make the most of the slightly altered Flèche Wallonne route and ride an aggressive race, in an attempt to win for the first time. "There is a change in the parcours where the race will start from...
Cyclingnews went behind the scenes with the team during the week to discover the preparation needed for every race GreenEdge that participate in and how important the soigneur is to the team.
The role of soigneurs for a team involves a variety of tasks behind the scenes so that everything runs smoothly for the team and its riders.
Watch the video below as the team soigneurs explain their job on a day-to-day basis from preparing breakfast to post-race massages and ending the day with washing the riders clothing.
A soigneur may look after food one day at breakfast and the race and the next day make sure that all the riders luggage is accounted for and ready for them at the hotel.
Find out what the GreenEdge riders have in their musettes and how long a day in the life of a soigneur is and who looks after food, bidons and ensuring that everything is ready in the team bus after the race finishes.
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