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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Date published:
March 26, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • San Dimas Stage Race gets US season into full swing

    JJ Haedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) gets to the front to be ready for the sprint.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2014, 15:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Warm-up for National Racing Calendar start in Redlands

    The start of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar is just over a week away, and as usual, the San Dimas Stage Race will serve as an important tune-up for series opener, the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

    Most of the top teams will be present for the race in the small Southern California town of San Dimas. The event favors the climbers with a 4.25 mile uphill time trial on Glendora Mountain Road on Friday, followed by the undulating Bonelli Park road race on Saturday. The fast and flat downtown San Dimas criterium completes the three-day race.

    The race will have new champions this year, with last year's men's winner, Janier Acevedo graduating to the World Tour, and women's champion Mara Abbott moving over to UnitedHealthcare, who will not be participating in the race.

    There are a number of riders on the start list: the race will be the first test for new Jamis-Hagens Berman recruit Daniel Jaramillo, a promising young Colombian climber, and veteran Spanish rider Eloy Teruel. Last year's criterium winner Juan Jose Haedo will also be back in action with the team.

    It will also be Jake Keough's nascent outing with his new 5 Hour Energy/Kenda team. Expect Keough to target the road stages, while another new acquisition, Chad Beyer, will be a threat for the general classification.

    Jelly Belly-Maxxis will have a strong team comprising former Garmin rider Jacob Rathe, Serghei Tvetcov and Mexican champion Luis Lemus.

    On the women's side, former San Dimas champion Amber Neben will make her return with the FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Mr. Restore team. Neben has spent nearly a year rehabilitating injuries sustained in a dramatic crash at the Tour of California women's time trial in San Jose last May.

    Neben's former team, Specialized-lululemon, will line up with a strong squad behind former US champion Robin Farina, climber Taylor Wiles, and Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies will be formidable with current US champion Jade...

  • Richie Porte quits Catalunya

    Sky's hopes at Catalunya took a hit as Richie Porte abandoned during stage 2
    Article published:
    March 25, 2014, 15:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Sky rider climbs off on stage 2

    Richie Porte (Team Sky) abandoned the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya during stage 2 from Mataró to Girona on Tuesday. The Australian had lost over two minutes on the opening stage due to illness but started the next stage.

    However mid-way through the 168km stage Porte climbed off the bike. It marked the second stage race he has abandoned in consecutive weeks after he also climbed off at Tirreno-Adriatico after another bout of sickness.

    "Grim conditions today at #VoltaCatalunya. Sadly @richie_porte has withdrawn from the race. The #SkyTrain remains at the front of the peloton," Team Sky confirmed. 

    Porte had planned on using Catalunya as preparation for May's Giro d’Italia where he will lead Team Sky’s overall challenge. It is the second race ina row that Porte has abanded due to illness having withdrawn from Tirreno-Adriatico last week.

  • Thomas and Eisel out of Dwars door Vlaanderen

    A dejected Geraint Thomas finishes the stage
    Article published:
    March 25, 2014, 19:15 GMT
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Sky rests riders after tough Milan-San Remo

    Sky will take to the start line at Wednesday's Dwars door Vlaanderen with only six of the eight riders that they are allowed. The team has chosen to rest Geraint Thomas and Bernhard Eisel so that they are at their best for E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem later this week. Sky is not the only team resting Milan-San Remo riders with BMC starting with seven and MTN-Qhubeka only starting with five riders.

    "They've done a lot of racing before and they want to be ready for Harelbeke and Wevelgem, so we made the choice to give them more rest so they can be ready," Sky directeur sportif Servais Knaven told Cyclingnews. "It's always a hard call, but after the hard San Remo on Sunday they needed a little time to recover."

    Thomas is recovering from a crash that he suffered at Paris-Nice 10 days ago. The Welshman had been riding well and was sitting in second place in the general classification when he crashed on the final descent of the penultimate stage. Thomas was able to finish the stage, but decided to abandon the race. He rode San Remo this past Sunday, but abandoned before the finish.

    Knaven says that Thomas is still feeling the after effects of the big crash, but is confident that he will be ready for the weekend. "Of course he still feels it a little bit, but he was going very well in San Remo. He got really cold and stopped in the second feed zone. He didn't lose a lot of his condition and now he has a few more days to recover. He should be ready for Friday."

    Sky has...

  • Phinney in line to return to action at E3 Harelbeke

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) just failed to catch the attackers, finishing seventh
    Article published:
    March 25, 2014, 20:04 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    American missed Milan-San Remo due to illness

    Forced out of Milan-San Remo after falling ill 48 hours before the race, Taylor Phinney will also miss Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday but is in line to return to competitive action at E3 Harelbeke at the end of the week.

    "There's no point in coming when you're 90 percent or 70 percent, and we just want to make sure he's fully recovered," BMC directeur sportif Max Sciandri told Cyclingnews in Waregem on the eve of Dwars door Vlaanderen. "He didn't have the ok from the doctor so he'll have one more day at home and then he'll be up here tomorrow evening for the weekend and the rest of the Classics."

    Phinney's illness developed quickly - as late as Friday lunchtime, he was still slated to appear at the team's pre-Milan-San Remo press conference that afternoon - but Sciandri believes it had its genesis at the previous week's Paris-Nice.

    "Steve Cummings didn't start on the last day - a little bit of flu - and I think Taylor got it after that, as they were sharing a room," Sciandri said. "It was a shame for him that he didn't do San Remo, but we just want to make sure he's 100 percent for the Classics."

    Phinney had made no secret of his desire to line up in this year's Milan-San Remo, which ought to be the last on the "classic" parcours due to the planned addition of the Pompeiana to the finale in 2015, particularly given his battling seventh place finish 12 months ago. The wet and cold conditions on Sunday can only have added to his frustration at missing out on La Classicissima.

    "Yeah, I texted him a little bit while he was watching it on TV," Sciandri said. "He was a bit disappointed, of course, especially because he likes those gritty, dirty days, those cold days, but unfortunately that's bike riding. You prepare a lot for the...

  • UCI provides further detail regarding revamped WorldTour

    The peloton gets a view of the road ahead
    Article published:
    March 25, 2014, 20:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Proposed reforms to begin in 2015, conclude in 2020

    The UCI first unveiled its plans last fall regarding the re-structuring of road racing at the WorldTour level, and cycling's governing body has provided further insight into its vision for top-tier racing via a new newsletter, Reform, published this month.

    "The reform of road cycling, our most popular discipline, is a flagship project for our sport as a whole and requires specific, targeted and sustained communication," wrote UCI Sport and Technical Director Philippe Chevallier in the newsletter's introduction. "Our aim is to provide an overview of the reform. It is essential that all members of the family of cycling are aware of how our sport will look in the future and what processes will be required to achieve this."

    At the core of road cycling's reform at the highest level is the creation of a new two-tier First Division, with the top level (1A) comprised of 16 teams and 120 days of racing (including the Grand Tours, major stage races and Classics) plus a second level (1B) comprised of eight teams and 50 days of racing (yet to be specified).

    The UCI revealed new information regarding the size of the First Division teams, as both the 1A and 1B squads will be capped at 22 riders maximum, with the longer term goal that each of these 24 teams also run their own development squads comprised of 8-10 riders.

    The Second and Third Divisions will remain unchanged from the current structure, with the second division comprised of Pro Continental teams and the lowest division populated with Continental teams.

    The newsletter described new UCI universal rankings relating to both individual riders as well as nations.

    "The riders of the 16 1A teams, the 8 1B teams, UCI...

  • Cannondale ready for the cobbles

    Peter Sagan celebrates his stage win
    Article published:
    March 25, 2014, 23:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team for Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali also announced

    Cannondale kicks-off the first of three Belgium races at Dwars Door Vlaanderen, followed by E3 Harelbeke on Friday and Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, March 30 with Peter Sagan the protected rider as he prepares for his assault on the cobbles of the Tour Flanders.

    The team's goal of the Classics, Ronde Van Vlaanderen, which takes place on Sunday, April 6 with Sagan as leaders and lead with the exception of  Dwars Door Vlaanderen, the Slovakian champion will attend all the races leading up to Paris-Roubaix.

    Italian Oscar Gatto will lead the team as captain at Dwars Door Vlaanderen as the defending champion having nipped Thomas Voeckler on the line last year. The 29-year-old will also play a key role beside Sagan during the Classics campaign but will have his own chances at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

    "Last year's win was a quality step in my career, and it was such an important and great experience," said Gatto. "The Belgium Classics are some of the most epic races of the season, and the ones in which I feel I can showcase my strengths most. I know that I must support Peter during this campaign. Helping him win is my goal, and I will be ready to do what the team needs of me."

    "In Dwars Door Vlaanderen, I'll have a different role, and it will be big chance to show that I can achieve high results. I want to make up for that with a strong performance and an important result."

    Also on the startline at Dwars Door Vlaanderen will be Maciej Bodnar, American Ted King, Slovenian Kristijan Koren, Austrian Matthias Krizek and Italians, Paolo Borghini and Alan Marangoni who are also racing at...

  • Kristoff back to racing at Dwars Door Vlaanderen

    Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) takes the biggest win of his life
    Article published:
    March 26, 2014, 3:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Milan-San Remo victor looking for more wins

    Fresh from his breakthrough Milan-San Remo victory on Sunday, Norwegian Alex Kristoff returns to racing with Katusha at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

    Kristoff was 20th last year at the semi-classic behind Oscar Gatto. The race is traditionally the start of the Flemish cycling week.

    The startlist for the race includes Gatto, who returns to the race as the leader of the Cannondale team, while Omega Pharma-Quick Step have two former winners,Tom Boonen and Niki Terpstra, in their their squad for Wednesday's race.  

    Katusha for Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Alexander Kristoff, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Aleksandr Porsev, Alexander Rybakov, Rudiger Selig, Gatis Smukulis and Alexey Tsatevich.

  • Jean-Christophe Péraud to lead Ag2r at Critérium International

    Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) attacks the final climb
    Article published:
    March 26, 2014, 5:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    French team enjoying the winning feeling

    Having impressed already this season with second overall at the Tour Méditerranéen and fourth overall at Tirreno–Adriatico, Jean-Christophe Péraud enters the Critérium International as a favourite for the win. The Ag2r-La Mondiale leader was fifth at the three-stage, two-day race in 2013 and sixth in 2011).

    I'm often in the mix in the Critérium International, but I've never actually won it. On paper, it looks like my kind of race, and it's true that I love this event," Péraud told ASO. "So I'm obviously going for glory on Corsica this year. I'll play my hand, hoping everything turns out for the best and I can take the top spot."

    While Alberto Contador was unstoppable in Italy, Péraud quietly went about his riding. Ag2r already have eight wins this season which is in stark contrast to last year when the French WorldTour team won just nine races in total.

    "I absolutely felt great in Tirreno–Adriatico and I've been flying ever since. I spent a few days recovering and my training rides went very well. Now it's up to me to ride the wave. My team's also racking up good performances, we're on a roll. Seeing the others riding strong pushes us into a virtuous cycle.

    Péraud is down playing chances of victory and suggested that the rider to watch will be Astana's Vincenzo Nibali. "I don't think I'm the favourite for this weekend: Nibali's palmarès is more impressive than mine, and he's even managed to beat me in all the time trials in which we've gone head-to-head.

    The ol de l'Ospedale looks like deciding the overall once again and Péraud admitted the ascent doesn't suit strengths although may just try something to keep...