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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Date published:
April 30, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Weekly wrap: North American road races, teams and riders

    Winner of the UCI sanctioned Winston-Salem Classic the day before; Travis McCabe takes a pull on the front.
    Article published:
    April 29, 2014, 23:13 BST
    Cycling News

    McCabe and Stephens lead National Racing Calendar after Joe Martin Stage Race

    North American pros continued to celebrate strong performances in both the US and overseas events last week. The USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) was updated following round three at the Joe Martin Stage Race. In addition, many of the continent’s top-level riders are racing in the Spring Classics and overseas stage races. Check out a few of the highlights from the peloton.

    Athens Twilight kicks off the USA Crits Speed Week

    Daniel Holloway (Athlete Octane Cycling) and Tina Pic (Fearless Femme) won the elite men’s and women’s Athens Twilight Criterium on Saturday. The popular high-speed criterium kicked off the USA Crits Speed Week, a five-event series held throughout Georgia and South Carolina. The series continued on Sunday at the Historic Roswell criterium where Holloway and Pic took their second consecutive victories. The series continues at the Downtown Walterboro criterium on April 30 and Spartanburg Regional Classic on May 2, both in South Carolina. The racing concludes and the Speed Week winners will be crowned at the Gaffney Criterium on May 3 in South Carolina.

    McCabe and Stephens lead the NRC after round three

    Travis McCabe (Team SmartStop) and Lauren Stephens (Tibco-To The Top) are leading the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) following their performances at the Joe Martin Stage Race held from April 24-27 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

    McCabe, who went into the event as the NRC leader, finished the Joe Martin Stage Race in fifth, behind overall winner Ian Crane (Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home), Ryan Roth (Jet Fuel Coffee-Norco Bicycles), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home) and Emerson Orante (Horizon Organic/Einstein Bros.).

    Stephens’s overall win pushed her into the NRC lead, ahead of Redlands Bicycle Classic...

  • Degenkolb begins Tour build-up at Frankfurt

    Thumbs up for John Degenkolb (Giant Shimano)
    Article published:
    April 30, 2014, 0:30 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Roubaix runner-up will ride California and Switzerland before Tour’s UK start

    John Degenkolb will return to action at the GP Frankfurt on Thursday having had a break from racing since he finished as runner-up at Paris-Roubaix. Speaking to Cyclingnews, the Giant-Shimano sprinter admitted to being extremely fatigued at the end of a busy Classics season during which he also won Gent-Wevelgem and finished 15th in Flanders, but says he is now refreshed as he begins his build-up towards the Tour de France.

    Frankfurt is one of the biggest races of the year for Degenkolb, partly as it's on home turf but mainly because it’s organised by his wife of eight months, Laura. "After that I'm going to California and then I'l do a long three-week altitude training camp at Sierra Nevada, then return at the Tour of Switzerland, the national championships and then the Tour," said Degenkolb. "We're heading into our Tour preparations. Everything is focused on July now."

    The 25-year-old German confessed that he still can't quite believe he finished second at Roubaix, a performance that he says backed up his conviction that he can win any one of the first three Monuments of the season.

    "It makes me really proud to talk about it and watch the coverage back again. It's a great feeling to see myself not only in the race, but also in the important moves. When the really strong guys attacked I was able to follow," he said.

    "In fact, we rode really well as a team. It was a great effort. Bert de Backer rode a very smart race and he was able to help me in the final when there were just the strong...

  • Adam Yates continuing to impress in debut season

    Rein Taaramae (Cofidis, Solutions Credits) and Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) battle up the final climb during Stage 3 Tour of Turkey
    Article published:
    April 30, 2014, 2:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica-GreenEdge rider sitting second overall at Tour of Turkey

    When Orica-GreenEdge signed the Yates twins — Adam and Simon — there was little expectation placed on their results for the 2014 season although both riders have impressed on the world stage. Adam Yates started his season by claiming the best young rider's jersey at the Tour de San Luis and has continued his good form at the Tour of Turkey as he now sits just six seconds behind race leader Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) on the general classification after placing second on the queen stage of the race.

    "Our plan for the day was to save Simon [Yates] and Adam for the climb," said Assistant Sport Director Julian Dean. "We wanted to see what they were capable of at the finish."

    Unfortunately, Simon Yates crashed before final ascent of the day and immediately the team suspected he'd broken his collarbone. Post-race, the team confirmed that Simon Yates had broken his left clavicle and is out of competition for several weeks.

    The team's plan of a one-two attack with the Yates brothers did not eventuate but Adam Yates, who was the only rider capable of going with Taaramäe when he attacked on the 11.5km Elmali climb, almost held on to claim a maiden win for the Australian WorldTour outfit.

    With just 200 metres to go, Taaramäe put the hammer down to distance Yates and claim the win by six seconds. It was...

  • La Course by Le Tour de France route revealed

    Marianne Vos was on hand to present the route of La Course
    Article published:
    April 30, 2014, 3:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Women's race to include 13 laps of the Champs-Élysées and podium boys

    Following the announcement in February of a women’s one day race to coincide with the final day of the Tour de France, Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) have revealed the parcours for La Course by Le Tour de France.

    Multi-discipline world champion and Olympic champion Marianne Vos was in Paris to present the route and is looking forward to the July 27 race. "It's a historic day. I'm delighted to see ASO understands the importance of promoting women's cycling and throws its weight behind it: we needed a stage and they've given it to us. We've now got the chance to make our dream come true," Vos said.
    The women's peloton will race on a 90km course which includes 13 laps of the Tour's final circuit on the Champs-Élysées and is likely to end in a sprint finish. Prizes on offer besides line honours will include intermediate sprints for the best sprinter's classification on each of the first 11 laps and a prize for the best young rider under 25-years-of-age.

    In addition to the 100 cyclists in the peloton, policewomen from the Paris Police Prefecture will be responsible for watching over La Course, which will also have a 100% female jury. The winner of La Course will collect a prize of €22,500, the same sum awarded to Tour stage winners.

    The race will differ slightly from normal Tour procedures though with the blackboard official to be a man, while rider who make it onto the podium will receive kisses from podium boys instead.

    In the attempt to further grow women's cycling, La Course by Le Tour de France will be broadcast in 147 countries, with 12 channels covering it live...

  • Tour de Romandie stage shortened due to snow

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), race leader
    Article published:
    April 30, 2014, 10:06 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Stage cut to 88km

    The first road stage of the Tour de Romandie has been shortened to just 88km after heavy snow on the Simplon Pass forced the race organisers to avoid the 2000m high climb.

    The revised stage will start in Brigerbad at 3:15pm local time and end as scheduled in Sion at 5:00pm.

    The riders are due to travel from Ascona to Sion by train, with other race vehicles traveling via the Gothard or St. Bernard passes.

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) leads the Tour de Romandie after winning Tuesday's prologue time trial.

    The Polish national champion went off early and set a time of 6:22 for the hilly course. Australia's Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) showed his stage race credentials by finishing second, four seconds slower than Kwiatkowski. Sprinter Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) was third, also at four seconds. World champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) finished fifth at five seconds.

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) was the last rider to start as the 2013 winner and finished 13th, nine seconds slower than Kwiatkowski. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) crashed during his ride and lost close to three minutes.

    Kwiatkowski will wear the race leader's yellow jersey during the shortened stage but played down his chances of overall victory.

    "It's hard to say if I can win overall. I'll look at the GC day by day," said Kwiatkowski. "It depends on how I recover from the Ardennes Classics. This is the last race of my spring season. We've got good riders with Tony Martin and Rigoberto Uran, so we're looking forward to the next few stages."


  • Froome racing Romandie with eye on July

    Chris Froome (Sky)
    Article published:
    April 30, 2014, 12:00 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky leader upbeat despite a difficult spring

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) returned to racing at the Tour de Romandie after what he described as a 'bumpy ride' in the early part of the season due to his back problems and chest infection that forced him to miss Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    Froome was the last rider to start as the 2013 winner and finished 13th, nine seconds slower than stage winner and overall rival Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) but was two seconds faster than Tour de France rival Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

    The Kenyan-born Briton dominated the Tour of Romandie last year on the way to winning the Tour de France but remained up beat about his form, his training and his chances of a second Tour de France victory despite his early season set backs.

    "It's definitely been a bumpy ride in the sense I've had the back issues and I've had the chest infection this week. But if I look back to last year, I did have a chest infection around about the same time. It's never a smooth progression up to the Tour, so it's inevitable there are going to be some different hurdles in the way," Froome told Sky Sports in a video interview.

    Speaking to L'Equipe, Froome revealed he needed to take antibiotics to fight his chest infection but said he is now pain free thanks to lots of physio work and exercises for his back.

    "I'm very happy because I don't have any more pain and I can't remember when it last hurt," the French newspaper quoted him as saying.

    "When it returns, I always feel a bit unbalanced, with a little weakness on the left side, but it does not bother me. I did a lot of gym work during training in Tenerife with forty-five minutes spent with the physio every morning," Froome said.

    Training on Mount Teide

  • Hoste denies selling 2006 Tour of Flanders to Boonen

    On the podium of Flanders with teammate Hoste and Tom Boonen in 2005
    Article published:
    April 30, 2014, 12:23 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Allegation published in Michael Barry's latest book

    Leif Hoste has refuted Michael Barry’s allegation that he sold the 2006 Tour of Flanders to Tom Boonen. Barry was a teammate of Hoste’s at Discovery Channel at the time and makes the thinly-veiled accusation in a passage of his recently published autobiography.

    Hoste said that while he had he had taken turns on the front with Boonen when they found themselves in the winning break, the pair did not discuss money. Boonen duly disposed of Hoste in the two-man sprint in Meerbeke to claim his second Tour of Flanders victory.

    In Shadows on the Road, Barry claims that when Hoste attacked with Boonen in the finale of the 2006 Ronde, they reached a financial agreement that also ensured that another Discovery Channel teammate, George Hincapie, was removed from contention. Hincapie won the sprint for third place, 1:17 down, although the result has since been disqualified after he confessed to doping in 2012.

    “Immediately they [Hoste and Boonen] cooperated, forging a gap ahead of George and the others. As I watch the scenario unfold, the riders spoke for a few moments together and then with our directeur, who followed in the team car. It was apparent that a deal had been made, with George left out, his legs strong enough to win but his hands tied by shady racing tactics and backroom deals,” Barry wrote. “Money had determined the outcome, as it does in far too many races, merely adding to the corruption of the sport.”

    The passage was published in Belgium’s Het Nieuwsblad newspaper on Wednesday morning and the chain of events was immediately disputed by Hoste in Het Laatste Nieuws.

    “I think that it’s...

  • Kittel to lead Giant-Shimano at the Giro d'Italia

    Marcel Kittel answers questions from the press
    Article published:
    April 30, 2014, 15:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Mezgec also on the hunt for stage victories

    Marcel Kittel will lead the Giant-Shimano team at the Giro d’Italia, as the Dutch team target the sprints.

    Kittel has marked himself as one of the top sprinters in the world, and has taken five victories already this season. This will be the first time that he has taken on the Giro d’Italia. “Our first goal for the Giro d’Italia is to go for a stage and there are plenty of early opportunities for this with several flat days,” said Kittel.

    “I got the Tour de Romandie off to a strong start yesterday in the prologue and hope to have a good week of preparation here with some hard racing kilometres to get me ready for the start of the Giro next week.”

    The German finished third in the prologue in Ascona and will be the hot favourite when the race flattens out on the final two days. At the Giro, Kittel will be supported Luka Mezgec, who is also a contender for the hillier sprint stages. Mezgec is not far behind his teammate in the winning stakes, with three stages of the Volta a Catalunya and one at the Handzame Classic.

    Outside of the sprints Giant-Shimano don’t have any real general classification and will look to go on the attack with the likes of Tobias Ludvigsson, Georg Preidler and Simon Geschke - who finished second to Alberto Contador on stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico.

    “Opportunities like these are great for learning and development, as being out...