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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 31, 2014

Date published:
March 31, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Wippert sets his sights on Tour of Turkey after Singapore victory

    Wouter Wippert is interviewed after the stage
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 5:00 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Dutchman on the verge of impressing Pro Teams

    Two weeks after claiming his first victory in a UCI category 1 race (stage 3 of the Tour de Taiwan), Dutchman Wouter Wippert of Drapac continued his show in Asia as he won the OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional criterium on Friday at the F1 Pit Building ahead of Rico Rogers of local team OCBC Singapore and Graham Briggs from Rapha Condor JLT.

    The numbers made the difference between the two Australian teams as Orica-GreenEdge was only represented by Aidis Kruopis who rode Dwars door Vlaanderen in Belgium on Wednesday, flew back to South East Asia twenty days after winning the points classification of Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia but remained in Singapore for twelve hours only prior to heading back to Europe. Drapac was fully committed to winning on the Asia scene again.

    Floris Goesinnen, Bernard Sulzberger and Jonathan Cantwell delivered Wippert in perfect position.

    "To win, it was necessary to be in the top three at the last corner", Wippert told Cyclingnews. "According to our plan, Johnny (Cantwell) started the sprint with 450 metres to go, so I could start mine only 200 metres before the line. It was a great effort. I really enjoyed this kind of racing at night. All we do is usually racing with day light. I grew up in Holland with doing crits since I was six years old." Wippert and his Aussie mates were happy to return Down Under with the 12.000 USD of the winner's price.

    "Cantwell and I form a good combination", Wippert noticed, "so we'll bring that with us to the Tour of Turkey in one month. Our goal is to be there with the big guns and put myself in the first part...

  • Kristoff goes too early in Wevelgem

    Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) on the cobbles
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 6:00 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Milan-San Remo winner still present in final sprint

    One week after his splendid win at Milan-San Remo there seemed to be another good chance for Alexandre Kristoff (Katusha) to add a big win to his palmarès in Gent-Wevelgem. This time, the 26-year-old Norwegian started his sprint too early and faded to eleventh place.

    After his win in San Remo the Katusha-rider raced Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday (13th) and took part in a lucrative Sprint Challenge in Harelbeke on Friday. Nevertheless the strong Norwegian survived the hill zone in Gent-Wevelgem and featured in the large group of eighty riders that headed into the final kilometre.

    Kristoff was already riding near the front of the pack at 450 metres when several riders crashed behind him. Kristoff didn't have the kick he had in San Remo and started his sprint way too early. A lot of riders including eventual winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) passed him and Kristoff went on to finish eleventh.

    "I tried but I failed. I came too fast, a little bit too early," Kristoff told Cyclingnews shortly after crossing the finish line in sunny Wevelgem, Belgium.

    Also surprising was the appearance of team-mate Alexey Tsatevitch who suddenly popped up ahead of him in the final metres. Kristoff mainly pointed to his timing but also the lack of support in the final kilometre.

    "Maybe it was timing but I thought I could hold it but I couldn't. At the end I was a little bit alone. Actually I had one team-mate in front of me but I don't know where he was," Kristoff said. Kristoff's team-mate Alexey Tsatevitch finished in seventh place, Kristoff...

  • 2014 Tour of Britain selects Liverpool for Grand Depart

    Tour of Britain leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky) on the second category climb of Mamhead
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 7:08 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    HC status set to boost September stage race

    The 2014 Tour of Britain will begin in Liverpool on September 7, with a 130km circuit race finishing in the city centre, race organisers have announced, a few hours before the full route is revealed.

    The Tour of Britain last visited Liverpool in 2008, when Alessandro Petacchi won the sprint finish and Geoffroy Lequatre sealed overall victory ahead of Stephen Cummings. It is the first time the race will start in the Port city made famous by the Beatles.

    Liverpool opted to host the Grand Depart of the Tour of Britain to help launch its cycle hire system.

    "There's a real momentum building for cycling in this city. The latest figures show more people than ever are using bikes here and there's a real appetite for it at the moment. And with the launch of our cycle hire scheme - the biggest in the UK outside of London - there has never been a better time for Liverpool to host this high profile event," Liverpool's Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member responsible for sport, Councillor Wendy Simon, said in a press release.

    Thanks to the growth of cycling in Britain in recent years and the success of British riders and the Tour of Britain, the UCI gave the weeklong stage race Hors Category status during the winter, offering more ranking point to riders and so making the race attractive to WorldTour teams This should attract an even better field and with the race scheduled for between September 7-14, it falls perfectly before the road race world championships and no longer clashing with the team time trial event.

    However the Tour of Britain will end on the same day as the Vuelta a Espana, meaning that 2013 winner Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is unlikely to defend his victory. He plans to use the...

  • Contador top of WorldTour rankings

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) on the podium for finishing 2nd overall at the 2014 Volta a Catalunya
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 9:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Ag2r back in team ranking lead, Spain number one country

    Of the 99 riders who have now scored UCI WorldTour points, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) sits atop the individual rankings with a total of 198 points, followed by Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) with 143 and 137 points respectively.

    Due to Contador's second place at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, behind Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Spain now also lead the national rankings while Ag2r-La Mondiale is back on top in the team rankings.

    With two races offering points over the weekend with the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in Spain and Gent-Wevelgem in Belgium, a shake up of the UCI WorldTour classifications was always on the cards. Rodriguez, who was victorious in his home race for the second time in his career, moved up to sixth in the individual rankings and is the defending champion of the season-long ranking.

    "This was a lot harder than in when I won in 2010," Rodríguez said of the race he won overall. "This time, with so many rivals so close to me overall, it all stayed undecided right the way through to the last metre of the last stage. The smallest piece of bad luck could have changed everything."

    In Gent-Wevelgem, Giant-Shimano's John...

  • Peraud gets his calculations right at Criterium International

    The final GC podium at Critérium International (L-R): Mathias Frank, Jean-Christophe Peraud and Tiago Machado
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 11:11 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Frenchman admits final stage was psychologically tough

    The final stage of Criterium International tested the contenders' mathematical skills almost as much as it did their physical ability, with Jean-Christophe Peraud did (Ag2r-La Mondiale) getting his calculations just right to seal overall success.

    Going into the decisive the finish at the summit of the Col de l’Ospedale on Sunday afternoon, Giant-Shimano’s Tom Dumoulin held the leader’s yellow jersey but it was likely that the winner would emerge from the riders behind the Dutchman and that the bonus seconds available on the line might prove crucial.

    In the end, by finishing right on the wheel of stage-winner Mathias Frank, Peraud did exactly what he needed to take his first ever stage race.

    The 36-year-old Frenchman had started the stage 11 seconds down on Dumoulin, but a vital five ahead of Frank. Victory for the IAM Cycling rider earned him 10 bonus seconds, but Peraud claimed six, giving him victory by a single second.

    "It was simple really. If Frank had won the stage and taken the 10-second bonus for it and I had finished third, it would have been curtains for me," Peraud told L’Équipe. "So I knew that the stage was going to be tactical, that I would have to ride tactically, and that I would have to keep an eye on the seconds and the time bonuses."

    Peraud admitted Frank was the biggest danger to his hopes, but other riders could also have nipped in to claim the title in the right circumstances. "I couldn't allow myself to be surprised by [Rafal] Majka, Fränk Schleck, [Tiago] Machado or even [Eduardo] Sepulveda. It was much more psychologically taxing than it was physically," Peraud confessed.

    The French veteran revealed he had even encouraged Schleck and...

  • Greipel undergoes surgery after Gent-Wevelgem crash

    Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 14:15 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    German to miss the rest of the spring races

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) has undergone surgery on his right shoulder to reattach two ligaments and insert a plate on his collarbone following his high-speed crash in the finale at Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem.

    The German rider was preparing for the expected sprint finish when he was brought down at the same time as fellow sprinter Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp).

    Television images showed Greipel sitting on the side of the road, holding his right shoulder. Then in-car video footage revealed the pain and disappointment on his face as he traveled to the finish in the front seat of the Lotto Belisol team car. At one point he angrily shouted: "It's not normal. F**k," as he watched John Degenkolb win the sprint.

    The Lotto-Belisol team confirmed that Greipel underwent surgery late on Sunday evening after undergoing a rapid examination.

    "A third degree AC [dislocation] of the collarbone was the conclusion after the examination. Because of the crash the collarbone was dislocated and both ligaments between collarbone and shoulder have been completely pulled off," the Lotto Belisol team said on its website.

    "The torn ligaments will be replaced and a little plate will be fixed to strengthen it. Of course Greipel will spend the night in hospital. The diagnosis immediately puts an end to the participation of Greipel in the spring races. In the selection of the Three Days of De Panne he won't be replaced."

    Greipel reassured everyone that he was okay after his operation via Twitter, posting a photo of several cakes and writing: "Thx 4 all the good wishes for a recovery. I m fine + have good company with me in the hospital for a nice breakfast!"

    Before undergoing...

  • UCI decision on legalizing road disc brakes expected in six months

    Thanks to its partnership with Formula, Colnago was the first brand to market with a disc-brake road bike
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 15:55 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Industry prepares for paradigm shift

    This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

    The UCI is expected to make a decision on approving disc brakes on road bikes for use in professional races within the next six months.

    Respected bike engineer Dimitris Katsanis, who was brought on as a UCI technical consultant at the start of the year, said he had invited manufacturers such as SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo to suggest when they would have systems ready for use by the pros – and he's expecting answers in the next couple of weeks.

    He told BikeRadar: "I'm waiting from some responses from the manufacturers. Because with any introduction of new technology we need to make sure we can do it in a nice and smooth way and we're not going to have any big problems.

    "Number one on this is availability of the equipment. We should have these responses within the next two weeks. Depending on what the response is, the UCI will work with manufacturers to [discuss] when would be a good time to introduce the disc brakes."

    He declined to specify a date when disc brakes could be first seen in competitions such as the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia.

    Currently Shimano is leading the way with a race-ready system, SRAM has promised a reworked version of its hydraulic discs in mid-April and Campagnolo is thought to be working on a system, too. Campagnolo declined to comment on the status of any internal project, however.

    Katsanis also emphasised that the whole bike industry needed to be ready: "It's not just brakes – you need to have appropriate frames, forks wheels… we need to make sure that there is a package available for pretty much everybody who wants to use them."

    In a separate conversation, a UCI spokesman said the governing body expected a decision to be reached within six...

  • Contador content after Volta a Catalunya

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in good mood at the start of stage 6
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 17:21 BST
    Cycling News

    All around good race for Spanish star

    Alberto Contador was content with his second place overall finish at this weekend's Volta a Catalunya this weekend, which came after he tried to surprise his rivals on a somewhat wet and dangerous final circuit of Monjuic in Barcelona on Sunday.

    After seven days of racing, the Tinkoff-Saxo leader said, "I feel good all around. Maybe I missed getting a different finish in a stage or two, and it's a pity that I didn't take better advantage of the mountain stages, like on the Vallter 2000, but I'm happy, especially with how I recovered day by day."

    "Although I've done some hard work in different races already this year, I feel good, both physically and mentally, and I'm rested for my next target, the Basque Country," he said.

    Contador admitted he regretted not attacking further out on the Vallter 2000 finish, where he opened up a small gap on eventual overall winner Joaquim Rodriguez in the finale, but missed the stage victory and an opportunity to overturn the narrow five-second deficit to Rodriguez. "Maybe I could have pushed more. I think that I had the legs for the stage and could have tried something more for the overall, but tactically, there are times you play one way and the others when you play another."

    Had there been a time trial, Contador thinks it wouldn't have made any difference in the overall. "You never know, there are times that a time trial benefits me and times when it benefits others. With Joaquim [Rodriguez], it could have benefited me, but not with [Tejay] van Garderen."

    Contador tried up until the very end of the final stage, with a move as late as two laps to go, but heavy rains and an adjustment to the finishing circuits that removed 1.1km and some elevation changes made it...