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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, February 7, 2014

Date published:
February 07, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Rohan Dennis riding for the team at Herald Sun Tour

    Rohan Dennis powers to the line
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 5:53 GMT
    Zeb Woodpower

    Australian forgoing personal ambition to help out Haas

    For Rohan Dennis (Garmin Sharp) the 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour is an opportunity to repay his teammates and play the domestique role for the week. Having told the team he was more than happy to do so after Wednesday's prologue, Dennis did his job to help secure the Stage 1 win and the yellow jersey for teammate Nathan Haas.

    "My job this week just being a workhorse. I put my hand up after the prologue and pretty well before that I just said 'look, I'm here to help whoever is motivated to win.' Not that I'm not motivated for this race but it was never on my to-do list to target this race," Dennis told Cyclingnews.

    The hot conditions on the road were exacerbated by the strong winds on the course during Stage 1 as Dennis explained, it made for a tough day at the office.

    "Very windy, it was one the windiest days I've had on the bike. One second you're on 24,26 [km/h] into a headwind on the flat so it was pretty tough."

    With a cat 1 climb to contend with on Stage 1, it was the day's main ascent that saw the race come alive. "I was right at the front and GreenEdge hit it right over the top. I was in the front group but I was just in the gutter and I turned right at the start of the second echelon and then that's when it hit the fan and it was two bunches from there.

    "It was pretty rough over the top. The hill actually wasn't too hard, we just cruised up it but it was the cross wind section that really split it apart."

    At the Australian road nationals Dennis was on his way to a potential medal winning ride in the time trial when a gust of wind swept him off...

  • Lefevere analyses Omega Pharma-Quick Step train failure in Dubai

    Marcel Kittel (Giant Shimano) beat Sagan and Phinney
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 8:10 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    "I think they got a little bit excited in the finale"

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere watched the stage two sprint finish of the Dubai Tour in the media tent close to the finish. He could only hold his breath and then shrug in slight disappointment as the team became derailed in the hectic final as riders fought a stiff cross wind and fought even more for position.

    The experienced Belgian team manager has seen his riders win and lose hundreds of races over the years and did not appear worried to see Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) win the stage, while Mark Cavendish eased up after being left too far back in the final five hundred metres.

    "This is the first sprint that these guys have done together and I think they got a little bit excited in the finale because they were already leading the peloton with 11km to go," Lefevere told Cyclingnews.

    "In the meeting before the stage, I think I understood that we'd pull as late as possible. We maybe got too nervous and excited and did too much too early."

    Lefevere confirmed that Mark Renshaw was due to lead out Cavendish, with Alessandro Petacchi and Tony Martin doing a vital turn before Renshaw.

    "There was a little confusion after the turn but Tony [Martin] went to pull. However Sagan was already in front of Mark [Cavendish], I think on Renshaw's wheel and that affected things. But we didn’t see the sprint from the helicopter on television. That's the only way you can really understand what happened."

    Lefevere said Omega Pharma-Quick Step would debrief after the sprint, even without helicopter images. He dismissed the side winds coming of the sea could have affected his riders more than...

  • Report: 2017 Vuelta to start in France

    Vuelta winner: Chris Horner (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 10:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Third foreign start for Vuelta

    According to reports in France, the Vuelta a España will start in Nîmes in 2017. Jean-Paul Fournier, the candidate-mayor of the French city made the announcement on Thursday when the second stage of the Etoile de Bessèges started from his town.

    According to Vuelta director Javier Guillén it's a real possibility. "It's a wish to start here." Guillén told Le Figaro when visiting Nîmes. "The city is culturally very close to Spain." The Roman arena in Nîmes is still used for bullfighting. "If the mayor says yes, it's no problem."

    If the Vuelta starts in the southern French city in 2017, it will only be the third time the race starts outside of Spain. Unlike the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France with 19 foreign starts [plus starts in 2014 and 2015] and nine departures abroad [plus a start in Belfast in 2014] the Vuelta waited until 1997 to leave Spain.

    In 2009 the Vuelta started in the city of Assen, in the north of the Netherlands. Despite the distance, this start was considered a success both by the Netherlands as by Unipublic. The Vuelta organizers wanted to repeat this event 2015. However, due to financial reasons the plan was cancelled.

    The 2014 Vuelta a España starts on August 23 in Jerez de la Frontera with a 12,6 kilometre team time trial and finished in Santiago de Compostela three weeks later.


  • Cookson: Sports that believe they don't have doping problems are in denial

    UCI president Brian Cookson
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 13:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Still hopes Armstrong will come forward

    In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald the UCI president Brian Cookson has spoken out against sports that have failed to address issues over doping. "There's sports that have a doping problem and are trying to do something about it. Then there are sports that have a doping problem and are in denial about it."

    Cookson thinks that the UCI are the leaders amongst sports that have a doping problem but are trying to do something about it. "There is doping, there is cheating, in every sport. If you're in sport and you say you don't have a doping problem, well, you're in denial, I'm afraid, my friend.''

    Cookson was elected president of the UCI in September, taking over that role from Pat McQuaid. Since September the UCI Management Committee has allocated 3 million euro for the Cycling Independent Reform Commission.

    The Briton feels that other sports will have to follow the same path cycling has now taken. "The kind of trouble that we're going through now, other sports are going to have to go through. They might not think it, but they are,"

    The investigation into its own past may have serious ramifications, Cookson admits. "If they [the allegations of cheating and fraud by UCI] prove to be true, the ramifications for those involved are potentially quite serious. We will pass it on to the relevant authorities if there's been fraud, and if there's been collusion that's illegal in terms of criminal law or civil law."

    One of the CIRC's goals is to make full cooperation in the investigation by (former) riders easier. Just after last year's Tour de France Stuart O'Grady announced his retirement. He was retroactively tested and flagged a positive test in the 1998 Tour de France. O'Grady was adamant that he only using banned substances once. 

    "I acknowledge what he's done and I understand the difficulties that...

  • Video: Phinney one stage away from Dubai Tour victory

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) steps onto the podium
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 14:28 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    American praises his BMC teammates after queen stage

    Taylor Phinney made a point of praising each and every one of his BMC teammates after defending his overall lead at the Dubai Tour on stage 3.

    The young American's teammates protected him throughout the stage and he responded to all the attacks in the rolling finale to set himself up for overall victory in the four-day stage race. Phinney leads teammate Steve Cummings by 15 seconds with just Saturday's 123km circuit stage on the flat Dubai seafront left to race.

    "For sure this was the biggest day, the queen stage if you will, of this Dubai Tour. I couldn't have asked any more from the team today," Phinney told Cyclingnews in an exclusive post-stage video interview.

    Phinney spun a low gear on the climbs and then showed his strength and determination by following attacks and showing himself at the front.

    "If I wasn't leading, I'd be one of those guys who would be attacking. It was more out of defence that I was bridging up to some guys up the road. I like a finish like this and think it was also really exciting for the viewers. I like that as well, to keep things entertaining. That's what it's all about."

    One last stage

    Phinney and BMC face just one stage of racing in Dubai before they can celebrate overall victory. Phinney has won time trials and road stages in his professional career with BMC but has not won a stage race since taking the Olympic Tour while riding as an Under 23 rider with Trek-Livestrong.

    "There's just one stage to go but nothing's given. It's an unpredictable sport. We'll try to stay out of trouble tomorrow. That's the main thing," he warned.

    "For sure people are going to want to sprint. It's not meant to be super windy and it's almost all pretty much covered because it's in town."

  • Van Baarle highlights Garmin-Sharp's next generation of young talent

    Young rider Dylvan Van Baarle (Garmin-Sharp) had a strong showing
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 15:45 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Dutchman tries to take on Kittel in the Dubai Tour sprint

    The next generation of Garmin-Sharp riders continued to show their talent and potential at the Dubai Tour with Dylan van Baarle taking fourth in the sprint in Hatta behind Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), Joan Jose Lobato (Movistar) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

    Jonathan Vaughters decided to shake up his roster for 2014, bringing in a dozen riders to support stage racers Dan Martin, Andrew Talansky and Ryder Hesjedal. The new signings include some of the most talented young riders in the peloton: Nathan Brown (Bontrager), Ben King (RadioShack-Leopard), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Belkin), Lasse Norman Hanson (Blue Water Cycling), Andre Fernando Cardoso (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) and van Baarle.

    Nathan Haas and Jack Bauer have shown their talents by winning stages at the Santos Tour Down Under and the Herald Sun Tour in Australia, while Phil Gaimon made his big-time debut with a stage win and a dogged defense of the leader's jersey at the Tour de San Luis.

    On stage one of the Dubai Tour, Hansen – who won gold in the Omnium on the track at the 012 London Olympic Games – showed his speed and bike skills by taking third. He was beaten by early starters Taylor Phinney and Steve Cummings (BMC), but was faster than both Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing).

    Tyler Farrar had a go in the stage two sprint but was blocked in the hectic finish and finished twelfth behind teammates Raymond Kreder and Hansen.

    Van Baarle was the 2013 Dutch Under 23 road race and time trial champion and came through the ranks of the Rabobank Development team. He also won the prestigious Thüringen Rundfahrt stage race in 2013 and was third in the Tour de Normandie. He seems to...

  • Costa goes on the attack in Dubai

    Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Lampre - Merida)
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 16:42 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    World champion shows off rainbow jersey

    Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) showed off his world champion's rainbow jersey during stage three of the Dubai Tour to Hatta, going on the attack in sight of the final kilometre in a brave attempt to win alone.

    The Portuguese rider was openly enthusiastic about racing in the inaugural edition of the four-day race but had been unable to show his rainbow stripes in the opening time trial, where he raced in his Portuguese national champion's jersey, and in the hectic sprint finish on stage two.

    The rolling hills in the finale of stage three suited Costa's aggressive racing style much better. He made and joined several attacks on the climbs. And when they failed to get away, he had another go, attacking alone.

    He got a gap but the persistent chasing of Steve Cummings (BMC) for teammate and race leader Taylor Phinney brought him to heel and ended his hopes of success.

    "I wanted to show off the rainbow jersey a little bit," Costa told Cyclingnews immediately after finishing the stage in 34th place, near the back of he front group that formed during the aggressive finale.

    "I think it's important to do that in Dubai. It's good to be up there and I was looking to win. I thought I had a chance for a while and felt good but they pulled me back."

    Costa's career and his life has changed massively since he won the world title in Florence in September. Before that day in the rain he had won the Tour de Suisse and two stages at the Tour de France with displays of class. However his superb performance to outwit Alejandro Valverde,...

  • Tour of Qatar record holder Boonen back for more

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) reports for duty at the Tour de San Luis.
    Article published:
    February 07, 2014, 19:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Katusha, UnitedHealthcare name teams

    The Tour of Qatar may not be the first race to come to mind when one thinks of the hard men of the Belgian Classics, but its fierce winds and aggressive racing have favoured Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Tom Boonen to such an extent that he holds the record for stage wins (20) and has won the race four times in his career. Boonen will be seeking to add to his tally when the race kicks off in Al Wakrah on February 9.

    "I really like the Tour of Qatar, it's a race that is perfectly suited to my strengths," Boonen said. "The wind is a fundamental factor in this competition; whether you want to or not, it forces you to always try to stay out in front and never underestimate any racing situation. Luckily, pedalling in the wind is one of the things OPQS excels in. I'm really looking forward to this race."

    Boonen will also look to turn around a less than satisfactory record in 2013, a year in which he was plagued by illness and injury, ending the season early due to a troublesome saddle sore. He showed improving form at the Tour de San Luis in January, falling shy of a sprint win on stage 3.

    "After the Tour de San Luis, in which I did some good work, the Tour of Qatar will be another important step in the first part of my season," Boonen said.

    By his side for the Tour of Qatar will be lead-out man Gert Steegmans, Niki Terpstra, Stijn Vandenbergh, Andrew Fenn, Nikolas Maes, Iljo Keisse and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck. While the new 10.8km individual time trial at the Lusail MotoGP circuit may not normally be suited to Boonen's strengths, he was 7th at the time trial in San Luis, which bodes well for his aspirations for the GC in Qatar. It also opens up...