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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 30, 2014

Date published:
June 30, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Second consecutive Austrian road race win for Riccardo Zoidl

    Riccardo Zoidl (Trek)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 8:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Trek rider launched winning move on final ascent

    Despite being the only Trek Factory Racing rider in the peloton, Riccardo Zoidl defending his Austrian national road race title in Igls, 1:29 minutes ahead of Team Sky's Bernie Eisel on the 169km undulating course with Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) finishing in third place.

    Zoidl was forced to chase a breakaway of 15 riders ahead of him on the road for 70km which had been whittled down to six when he made the catch with 15km left to race. On the final 4km ascent to Igls, Zoidl made his move and soloed to victory to ensure back-to-back wins.

    "It was a full-gas race," Zoidl explained. "There were 15 guys in the front and I was four-five minutes behind. For the last 70km I was chasing alone because it was always up, down, up down and I got back to the front with one and half circuits remaining."

    It was on the final lap of the three circuits that Zoidl made contact with the remnants of the breakaway and having twice ridden up the final climb, he knew just where to launch the killer blow.

    "I attacked and then we were three - [Bernhard] Eisel was there," he said. "On the final time up the climb, I went full gas and I think I won by one minute. I am super happy to be national champion again! It means a lot for me, and for the team."

    With no allies in the peloton, Zoidl explained that his anger at being forced to do all the work proved to work to his advantage.

    "In the end I was a little bit angry because everyone was looking at me and no one wanted to ride with me, and so I said to myself, 'okay I am going to go until I am empty.' On the last climb I went hard from the bottom....

  • Elmiger surprised by fourth Swiss national title

    Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 9:20 BST
    Cycling News

    IAM Cycling rider happy to reward his teammates' efforts

    Martin Elmiger's fourth national Swiss road race title was the first for his IAM Cycling team, which makes its Tour de France debut on Saturday. Elmiger, who had previously won in 2001, 2005 and 2010, proved too fast against Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) and Steve Morabito (BMC) in a three man sprint finish, after 198km of racing.

    It was the first win of 2014 for Elmiger and his first victory since he won the overall of the  Tour du Limousin in 2013. With team founder and CEO of IAMFUNDS on the sidelines, Michel Thétaz, Elmiger capped a team effort by taking the win.

    "I am the first to be surprised to have won this title," Elmiger said after the race. "But it really was a reward for the constant work all the guys did throughout the day. We were present in every escape with Reto Hollenstein, Pirmin Lang and Sébastien Reichenbach. We all had to hang in there since the course was very hard. On the last lap, I was still with Marcel Wyss. And when Morabito and Albasini attacked, I went with them.

    "I stayed on the right wheel so during the sprint up the false flat for the finish, I still managed to pass Michaël at the last minute. I am really happy for IAM Cycling and this will allow us to start the Tour de France with the maximum of confidence," said Elmiger.

    The Swiss rider only returned to racing at the star of this month after fracturing his left scaphoid at the Tour of Flanders in April. He is due to ride the...

  • Voeckler and Rolland lead Europcar at Tour de France

    Thoams Voeckler sans tongue
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 10:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Coquard makes his debut

    Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland will once again lead the Europcar team at the Tour de France. In recent years, the team has had to rely on wildcard entries to the Tour de France, but this season is the first time Jean-René Bernaudeau has gained automatic entry as a WorldTour team since 2009.

    Voeckler has been the team’s most successful Tour de France rider with four stage wins, the 2012 mountains classification and two 10-day stints in the yellow jersey. His highest overall finish was fourth in 2011, the best for a French rider since Christophe Moreau in 2000.

    The 35-year-old has proved to be something of a talismanic figure for the Vendée based-team. His attacking style has also made him a favourite with most fans – even if that isn’t alway reciprocated within the peloton. Voeckler is still searching for his first victory this season, after breaking his collarbone back in January. He will be hunting for stage victories again, while Rolland is set to lead Europcar's general classification challenge.

    Rolland has had a very strong start to the season, taking fourth in the general classification at the Giro d’Italia. Like Voeckler, it was his equally aggressive riding style that moved him up the standings in the final week. He was part of the group of riders who escaped on the descent of the Stelvio in contentious circumstances on stage 16. Rolland has won two stages of the Tour de France, including the 2011 summit finish at Alpe d’Huez.

    Joining him from the Giro d’Italia squad Yukio Arashiro and...

  • Bouhanni "95% likely" to leave

    Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) wins stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 12:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Trainer says French sprinter has opted for Cofidis

    Nacer Bouhanni has said that he is “95 percent likely” to leave at the end of this season, with Cofidis reportedly his most likely destination. Last week it was announced that Bouhanni had missed out on selection for FDJ’s Tour de France team to Arnaud Démare, who beat him into second place in the French national championships on Sunday.

    “Let’s say that I’m 95% likely to leave the team at the end of the year. We’ll know more next week. I still have a choice between Cofidis and a foreign team. I’ll decide quite soon but the legal date [to announce a transfer] is still August 1,” Bouhanni said afterwards, according to L’Équipe.

    Bouhanni’s trainer Jacques Decrion, told L’Équipe that the sprinter would sign for Cofidis, and the newspaper reports that Geoffrey Soupe will also make the move, although Bouhanni’s lead-out man Sébastien Chavanel will stay put at FDJ.

    As well as missing out on Tour selection to Démare, Bouhanni was also overlooked for Milan-San Remo, and a desire to test himself in the spring classics is one of his reasons for leaving FDJ.

    “In four years, I haven’t done a single classic and I really want to get to know them,” Bouhanni said. “Yes, there’s a strong chance that I’m leaving the team.”

    Although he was named as co-leader of FDJ at Sunday’s road race at Futuroscope, Bouhanni said that his status within the team has changed in recent weeks as a consequence of the high-profile nature of his impending departure.

    “On arriving at these championships, I felt that I wasn’t part of the team in the minds of my teammates. The saga...

  • Tinkoff-Saxo confirms Tour de France line-up

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 12:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Majka replaces Kreuziger in support of Contador

    Tinkoff-Saxo has announced its team for the Tour de France and confirmed that Rafal Majka will take the spot vacated by Roman Kreuziger in the nine-man roster, which is led by Alberto Contador.

    Kreuziger was pulled from the team at the weekend after it was revealed that the UCI is set to open disciplinary proceedings against him, as a result of anomalies detected in his biological passport in 2011 and 2012. Although Kreuziger is not formally suspended, the team has announced that he will not race again until more information on the case is forthcoming.

    Despite initial misgivings, Majka, who finished 6th at the recent Giro d’Italia, accepted the invitation to replace Kreuziger in the team and the Pole is the sole Tour debutant in an experienced Tinkoff-Saxo squad.

    Contador is seeking to win his first Tour since 2009 – he was stripped of the 2010 title after testing positive for clenbuterol – and he is backed by one of the strongest teams in the race.

    Michael Rogers, who won two stages at the Giro, Route du Sud winner Nicolas Roche and Jesus Hernandez will join Majka as Contador’s key men in the mountains, while the well-balanced roster also includes Sergio Paulinho, Daniele Bennati, Matteo Tosatto and Michael Mørkøv.

    “It has been very difficult to select this year’s line-up,” manager Bjarne Riis said. “This year, we’ve had a very strong group of candidates, who have all been showing impressive spirit. We have selected a team of high quality both in relations to individual strength and their compatibility to support...

  • Movistar name team to support Valverde at Tour de France

    Alejandro Valverde and Jon Izagirre (Movistar), showcasing their medals
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 14:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Dowsett misses out on selection

    Movistar has named the eight men that will support Alejandro Valverde at the Tour de France, which begins this Saturday. Valverde will be aiming to make the Tour podium for the first time in his career.

    "The goal is fighting for a podium place in Paris with Alejandro, that's clear. He's coming into the race really strong, confident about his chances of achieving that objective, in a route I think suits him pretty well," said team manager Eusebio Unzué.

    "We know there will be lots of traps he'll have to get over - the stress in this race increases all risks. Still, we hope to get through the first week in good shape and start with the first weekend of mountains in the best possible condition. He will have a balanced team by his side, with riders suited for all terrains and in perfect form."

    Valverde chose not to ride either the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse this June, opting instead to ride the Route du Sud. He recently won the Spanish national time trial championships, beating Ion Izagirre by 56 seconds. Izagirre would go onto win the road race title on Sunday, making it eight in a row for the Movistar team.

    Beñat Intxausti returns to the race after missing out on the past two editions and will be one of Valverde’s key lieutenants. He has only ridden the Tour de France once before, when he abandoned in the first week. Intxausti crashed out and injured his shoulder at the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month, but the team believe that he has recovered sufficiently to support Valverde.

    Alex Dowsett has missed out on a spot in the nine-man team, however. The Englishman was primed for his first Tour, but illness impacted on his form and the team opted to keep him off...

  • Chris Horner named in Lampre-Merida's Tour de France team

    Chris Horner talks about his accident
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 16:07 BST
    Cycling News

    No place for Pozzato as Costa and Modolo lead the line

    Chris Horner has been named as part of the Lampre-Merida team for the Tour de France, which gets underway in Leeds on Saturday. The team’s general classification challenge will be led by world champion Rui Costa, who showcased his form by winning the Tour de Suisse last week, while Sacha Modolo will chase stage victories in bunch finishes.

    Horner signed for Lampre in January of this year and was originally slated to ride the Giro d’Italia as team leader. The veteran suffered a punctured lung and four fractured ribs in a training crash near Lake Como in April, however, and spent the next two months on the sidelines.

    The American returned to action at the Tour of Slovenia last week, and his 14th place finish was enough to book him his ticket to the Tour. Horner will turn 43 in October, and he became the oldest ever Grand Tour winner last autumn when he surprisingly claimed victory at the Vuelta a España ahead of Vincenzo Nibali.

    Horner’s last Tour appearance came in 2012, when he finished in 13th place, while his best overall finish was his ninth place in the 2010 edition.

    Costa, meanwhile, will look to break into the top 10 of the Tour for the first time in his career as he makes his debut as the outright leader for a three-week race. The Portuguese rider won two stages and finished 27th overall last season while riding in the service of Alejandro Valverde at Movistar.

    As well as Horner, Costa will be able to rely on the support of Rafael Valls Ferri, Kristijan Durasek and José Serpa in the mountains, and there is also a place for his fellow countryman Nelson Oliveira, who captured the Portuguese national road and time trial titles...

  • Millar left out of Garmin-Sharp's Tour de France team

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) wins the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 16:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Squad built around Talansky's overall ambitions

    The Garmin-Sharp team announced the team which will support American Andrew Talansky in his bid for the overall classification of the Tour de France. One rider missing was David Millar, who dropped out of the British national championships with a cold.

    Millar has not missed a Tour de France since his ban for admitted EPO use ended just prior to the 2006 Tour.

    "In years past we have approached the Tour with multiple leaders, and multiple goals," team CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. "This year, we approach it with one clear leader, Andrew Talansky, and our roster is designed to give him the best support possible. We are very sorry to leave David Millar home due to illness. His experience is unparallelled and his contributions to the sport and our team are undeniable. We wish things were different for David, but as we look ahead to the Tour, we believe we have selected a strong team and we are committed to helping Andrew build on last year's success."

    Talansky's increased his odds for the Tour de France after putting in a strong performance in a breakaway to snatch the Critérium du Dauphiné from favorites Alberto Contador and Chris Froome. He is hoping to imrove upon a 10th place overall in his Tour debut last year.

    He will be joined by fellow Americans Ben King and Alex Howes, both Tour de France debutants. Tom-Jelte Slagter, new Dutch champion Sebastian Langeveld, Johan Vansummeren, Lithuanian time trial champion Ramunas Navardauskas, Jack Bauer and Colombian climber Janier Acevedo are also included in the squad.

    Team Garmin-Sharp for the Tour de France: Janier Acevedo, Jack Bauer, Alex Howes, Ben King, Sebastian Langeveld, Ramunas Navardauskas, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Andrew Talansky, Johan Vansummeren