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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 27, 2014

Date published:
January 27, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • 10 conclusions from the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under

    Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) on the podium
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 7:21 GMT
    Jono Lovelock

    Gerrans on song, Evans and Porte on track for Giro

    The Santos Tour Down Under (TDU) was a nail-biting affair that brought the fans out in their thousands. Now the race has been run and won and the dust has settled, Cyclingnews looks back at the top ten talking points from the race.

    Gerrans lived up to the hype
    Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) came into the TDU as the overwhelming favourite, and he delivered. “This race is going to be won or lost by seconds,” Gerrans stated in a forthright fashion, and how right he was. Gerrans later said that his competitors were in disbelief when he went full-gas after a one second time bonus during the opening stage. But that one second proved crucial.

    Matt White said that this is the best Simon Gerrans he has seen and this bodes well for Orica GreenEdge’s attempt at winning a second Milan San Remo. The addition of the Pompeiana climb for San Remo suits Gerrans but it also suits Peter Sagan. Will we see a rematch of the third stage of last year’s Tour de France where Gerrans bested Sagan in a photo finish?

    Next on the menu for Gerrans is the Jayco Herald Sun Tour starting February 5th. Gerrans has won the Sun Tour twice before, and his aims for this year’s edition? "We’ll be there, we'll be trying to win it."

    Porte and Evans set for Giro showdown, but what about Quintana?

    The stage wins by Cadel Evans (BMC) and Porte (Team Sky) were utterly perfect. A script writer could not have done a better job. Evans slowly ground his way up the corkscrew; head kinked and elbows bent, grunting away in his trademark agonising fashion, and he put on a thrilling...

  • Sagan eyes Milan-San Remo after San Luis outing

    Peter Sagan
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 9:43 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Cannondale rider uses Argentina to build form

    For the second straight year Peter Sagan (Cannondale) kicked off his season in Argentina's Tour de San Luis, and also for the second straight year the 24-year-old Slovakian fell just short of winning a stage. In both the 2013 and 2014 editions Sagan saved the best for last as his best results were second place finishes both years in the final stage.

    In 2013 Sagan was outkicked by Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) in a blazing fast finale, while in Sunday's conclusion to the 2014 edition Sagan came up short against Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) on a technical finale seemingly more suited to the Slovakian's skill set.

    Nonetheless, Sagan didn't seem forlorn at the seven-day Tour de San Luis, the biggest stage race in all of South America, as his major goals for the season are still months away.

    "My team did very good work and I had the best position for the finale, but I'm not in condition now," Sagan told Cyclingnews moments after the stage finished. "I'm happy for second place. The team worked and it was very good."

    Oscar Gatto, new to Cannondale for 2014, provided the lead-out for Sagan into the finish at Terrazas del Portezuelo.

    Sagan wasn't involved in the Tour de San Luis's first sprint finale, won by Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing), as he rolled in 44 seconds down. Sagan did prove rather adept in the flat, 19.2km time trial on stage five, placing 10th.

    "I'm leaving San Luis with improving condition and that is good," said Sagan. "January is an important step in preparing for the Classics season, my first goal of the season."

    When asked to identify what first big goal of the season was, Sagan provided a two-word response: "San Remo".  

  • Voeckler aims for Volta ao Algarve return

    Thomas Voeckler put in an impressive performance at Dwars Door Vlaanderen but was caught on the line
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 12:07 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman recovering from broken collarbone

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) is hopeful that he can return to competition in time for the Volta ao Algarve in late February. The Frenchman was due to begin his season at the Santos Tour Down Under but suffered a broken collarbone in a training crash within hours of landing in Australia.

    Voeckler has since returned to France and undergone successful surgery on his right collarbone, which he had already fractured at Amstel Gold Race last April. The 34-year-old plans to be back in the peloton before the end of next month. The Volta ao Algarve gets underway on February 19.

    “I’m recovering well,” Voeckler told L’Équipe. “I still have to talk about it with the team doctors and management, but I don’t imagine that I’ll return to competition any later than at the Volta ao Algarve.”

    If Voeckler does recover in time for the Portuguese stage race, he warned that he does not expect to be at the front end of the peloton immediately.

    “I’ll need to be patient, considering the delay I’ll have on the rest of the competition,” he said. Before the season began, Voeckler had named Paris-Nice as his primary target for the early part of 2014.

    In any case, as Voeckler told Cyclingnews before leaving Australia, he does not feel an obligation to return to action as quickly as he did after his crash at Amstel Gold Race last year, when he was building towards the Tour de France. “I'm certainly not in the same situation as last year after the accident at the Amstel Gold Race,” he said.


  • Nibali keen to face Froome at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) raced the final stage despite a cracked rib
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 12:59 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian satisfied with Tour de San Luis showing

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) bruised a rib in a tumble during the penultimate stage of the Tour de San Luis but quietly completed the Argentinean stage race on Sunday.

    The 2013 Giro d'Italia winner finished 44th overall, 22:58 behind overall winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar), opting not to fight for an overall placing. However he insisted he was satisfied with his season debut, while also conceding he is a little behind where he had hoped to be due to a busy winter.

    "I'm in line with where I want to be. I've lost a kilo or two and I'm pedaling better. It's been a good start to the season," Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "I've spoken to (my team coach) Paolo Slongo and he's not worried about anything. In the time trial I was able to push 10 extra watts. Lots of riders came here with better form than me, which means they've worked hard during the winter, whereas I had a pretty relaxed winter."

    Nibali denied suggestions that he was a little nervous about his form after struggling to train consistently during the winter. The Sicilian will become a father in February, is the leader and figurehead of the Astana team and will go up against Chris Froome at the Tour de France.

    "It's normal to get a bit stressed out when you travel a lot and you can't train as you want. I'm a bit behind but it's okay," he said.

    Tirreno-Adriatico or Paris-Nice?

    Nibali and Astana team manager Alexandre Vinokourov have confirmed that they will target the Tour de France. Nibali is set to clash with Froome at the Tour of Oman in February but would also like to go head-to-head with his Tour rival at Tirreno-Adriatico, rather than ride Paris-Nice to get a...

  • Modolo wins for Lampre-Merida in WorldTour team debut

    Sacha Modolo won after a perfect lead out from Lampre-Merida)
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 14:37 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Italian sprinter claims final Tour de San Luis stage

    Sacha Modolo wasted no time in delivering a victory for Lampre-Merida as the 26-year-old Italian spoiled Peter Sagan's (Cannondale) 24th birthday with a rousing field sprint win at the final stage of the Tour de San Luis.

    As Phil Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp) and Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) already accomplished in Argentina, Modolo became the third rider at the Tour de San Luis to take a win in his first outing for a WorldTour team. After spending four years, and earning 25 wins, for the Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox team (formerly Colnago-CSF Inox), Modolo made the jump to WorldTour level this season. And with a stronger supporting cast than he's ever had, this may be the beginning of the Italian sprinter's best year yet.

    Even with an untested lead-out formulation, Lampre-Merida took control of the final three kilometres in a stellar display of teamwork with Filippo Pozzato pulling for an entire kilometre by himself to kick things off in the finale. Modolo's final lead-out man, Argentinian Maximiliano Ariel Richeze, kept the pace so high that after pulling off he still placed third on the stage.

    "It was the first time we tried this lead-out train, we never tried it before in training camp," said Modolo. "My teammates are very professional. I'm coming from a smaller team and now I'm on a big team and my teammates have a lot of skills."

    New teammate Pozzato provided the experience and leadership to keep Modolo in position. "Pozzato told me 'don't worry, if you follow me everything will go well.'"

    For Modolo, the stage victory was his second in as many years at Terrazas del Portezuelo, which features a technical, uphill finale, but the manner in which it...

  • Report: Sagan heading to Team Alonso for 2015

    Peter Sagan with Fernando Alonso
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 16:41 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Tuttobiciweb suggests Slovakian will earn 3.3 million Euro a season

    The 2014 season has only just begun but Peter Sagan is already at the centre of transfer talk, with the Italian website Tuttobiciweb claiming the Slovak rider has apparently already reached an agreement to join the nascent Team Alonso and will earn 3.3 million Euro a season for 2015 and 2016.

    Sagan, who turned 24 on Sunday, is under contract with Cannondale for 2014 but his contract ends this season.

    His success in recent years and his huge potential arguably make Sagan the most desirable rider in the peloton and it is no surprise that Alonso's team is keen to sign him. The Formula One driver took Sagan for a test drive at the Ferrari factory in Maranello at the end of last season and seems keen to build his Classics squad around him.

    When contacted by Cyclingnews, several people linked to the Alonso team refused to make any official comment.

    Sagan admitted that he has had an offer from Alonso's team in an interview with Slovak newspaper Pravda but he and his agent Giovanni Lombardi are wise enough to know that almost every team in the peloton is interested in his signature for 2015.

    “Not only from him [Alonso]. I have several offers, even from Dukla Trencin [a Slovakian continental team]," Sagan joked.

    “I am still contracted for a year. Everything is open and we'll discuss it. I'm not saying that I will go, maybe I'll stay. I'll see how it develops.”

    Sagan won Gent-Wevelgem, Brabantse Pijl and the GP Cycliste de Montréal in 2013 and was second in Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders. He won 20 races, including stages at the Tour de France, the USA Pro Challenge, the Amgen Tour of California, Tour of Alberta, Tour of Oman, Tour de Suisse, The Three Days of De...

  • Bosmans takes final slot on Belgian cyclo-cross Worlds team

    Wietse Bosmans (BKCP Powerplus) rides through the mud to a 7th place finish.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 18:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Wellens misses out

    Wietse Bosmans (BKCP-Powerplus) has been handed the final slot on the Belgian team for next weekend’s cyclo-cross world championships ahead of two-time former rainbow jersey Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea).

    National coach Rudy De Bie had already named six of the seven-man team last week, but decided to delay deciding on the last berth until after Sunday’s final round of the World Cup in Nommay.

    The 22-year-old Bosmans’ seventh place finish in Nommay was enough to secure his ticket for Hoogerheide next weekend, as Wellens could only manage 20th, while the other contender, Bart Aernouts (AA Drink), finished in ninth place.

    “I put in a huge amount of work to get this result,” Bosmans said on learning of his selection for the Belgian Worlds team, according to RTBF.

    The veteran Wellens was disappointed that his third-place finish at the Belgian championships in Waregem was not enough to secure a place on the Worlds team, although he accepted that he had not performed well enough in Nommay.

    “Very disappointed! Nommay was not good enough, sorry,” Wellens wrote on Twitter, later adding: “Above all I’m disappointed with myself, not the selection. I fell short at an important moment.”

    Nommay World Cup winner Tom Meeusen was among the six riders already named to Rudy De Bie’s Belgian team last week. The line-up also includes Niels Albert, Kevin Pauwels, Klaas Vantornout, Rob Peeters and reigning world champion, Sven Nys.

    Van der Haar leads Dutch challenge

    The Dutch squad...

  • Moreno happy with dual role at Katusha

    Daniel Moreno (Katusha)
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 19:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    More leadership opportunities for Spaniard in 2014

    Daniel Moreno has said that he is ready to take on more responsibility at Katusha in 2014 but stressed that he is happy to continue playing a key supporting role for Joaquim Rodriguez, who will target the Giro d’Italia this season.

    Although he followed an almost identical race programme to Rodriguez last year, Moreno was still able to help himself to victory at Flèche Wallonne and two stages of the Vuelta a España, and as well as third place overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Katusha general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov has spoken of the possibility of separating the two Spaniards more often this season, in order to hand Moreno an opportunity to lead at certain races.

    “It sounds good but at the same time, there aren’t too many separate races – Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, if I ride it, and the Dauphiné,” Moreno told Biciciclismo. “With a good team around me, everything is possible. I’m ready. Last year, for example, I only raced [as leader] at the Dauphiné. I like to take responsibility.”

    That said, Moreno is mindful of his place in the Katusha hierarchy, and he will spend the month of May riding in the service of Rodriguez at the Giro. He believes that they are more valuable riding together than apart.

    “I feel comfortable. Why change it, when I can help Purito get big wins and have my own chances too?” Moreno said. “I don’t want us to separate too much. To get rid of this duo would be unwise. Besides, I get bored without him…”

    The 32-year-old added that he has no desire to leave the...