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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, April 21, 2013

Date published:
April 21, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Sea Otter 2013: HED's new wide, tubeless Ardennes Plus

    HED has updated its popular Ardennes wide-format aluminum clinchers with an even-wider rim to create the new Ardennes Plus range.
    Article published:
    April 21, 2013, 8:58 BST
    James Huang

    Three wheels in the Ardennes Plus line

     Following on the heels of its very well received Ardennes wide-format aluminum road clincher wheels, HED has now released the next evolution called Ardennes Plus with an even wider profile plus tubeless compatibility.

    HED's new Ardennes Plus grows 2mm to 25mm across (external width) while the depth is nearly identical at 24.5mm. Internal width is roughly 20mm – 5mm wider than Mavic's Open Pro. The aluminum extrusion is now tubeless-ready, too, with a deep center channel to ease installation and pronounced 3mm-wide shelves to help securely lock the bead in place. Airtight rim tape is included and, as always, users are free to use traditional tube-type tires as well.

    Despite the increased width and depth, claimed weight climbs just 15g to 465g thanks to more finely tuned wall thicknesses. Moreover, the more rounded shape is supposedly more aerodynamic than before with HED saying the new 'Plus' rim beats the old C2 extrusion at yaw angles over 15 degrees when using 23mm or 24mm-wide tires (which also suggests improved handling in crosswinds). The 25mm width also closely mimics the latest top-end aero carbon wheels, too, so there's less brake adjustment required when swapping between racing and training wheels.

    For all our Sea Otter 2013 coverage, click here.

  • Jelle Vanendert leads Lotto Belisol Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol)
    Article published:
    April 21, 2013, 11:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Lotto leader looking for top ten result

    Jelle Vanendert will lead Lotto Belisol in today’s 99th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and has aspirations of a top ten ride in the final spring classic of the season.

    Vanendert finished tenth twelve months ago when Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) soloed clear in the final stages to take the win but Vanendert is confident his form is good enough to see him contest the finish this year.

    The 28-year-old finished second in Amstel Gold and fourth in Fleche Wallonne last year but this year he has missed out on several attacks, with bad luck certainly a factor. A crash in Wallonne on Wednesday ended his chances, while at Amstel he could only manage 13th.

    “There aren’t any consequences of my crash in the Flèche Wallonne after 85 kilometers; also in the race that wasn’t decisive for my result. The puncture I had at 45 kilometers from the end did, I had to chase hard to get back into the peloton before the penultimate climb of the Mur de Huy,” he told the press on Friday afternoon.

    “When turning up the final climb I was in the top fifteen, but you miss the acceleration to make the difference. Such bad luck is annoying, but there is a new chance this Sunday.”

    While Fleche Wallonne can be described as a drag race to the top of the Mur de Huy, Liege-Bastogne-Liege offers a far less predictable encounter with several key climbs positioned within the second half of the race, and a far more selective parcours in general.

    Even with key changes to this year’s route due to roadworks, Vanendert believes that Liege offers far more opportunities to win than Fleche Wallonne.

    “Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a different race. In the Flèche Wallonne the Mur de Huy is almost always decisive, Liège is more of a tactical...

  • Blanco sprint train ready for Tour of Turkey

    Theo Bos (Blanco) was too quick for Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) and Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    April 21, 2013, 13:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Bos and Renshaw both start

    Team Blanco head into the Tour of Turkey with aspirations of emulating their performance from 2012 when they bagged three stages.

    Last year Theo Bos won two stages with Mark Renshaw picking up a third win and with another sprint-heavy race set to start Sunday, Blanco have prepared for the race accordingly.

    The team held a training camp in Girona, Spain, last week with both Renshaw and Bos testing their sprint legs. How the team will split duties between the two fastmen is yet to be seen, however. Bos has already picked up four wins this season, while Renshaw, who has had a slow start to the campaign, has already stated his desire for more opportunities.

    Former sprinter, and Blanco Sports Director, Jeroen Blijlevens, explained that the team have expectations after their success last year.

    “The bar is set high,” Blijlevens said. “But after the training camp I have the feeling that we are ready. We had the chance to train under favourable circumstances whereas earlier this year that was not the case. We made video analyses and could evaluate our sprinting. Of course, training is different than competition but the Tour of Turkey should be a good test. There is a strong field that is also ready so it’s going to be a stiff challenge."

    This year’s Tour of Turkey follows a similar profile to last year but with Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka), Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano), Andrea Guardini (Astana), Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini), Bryan Coquard (Europcar), Leigh Howard and Aidis Kruopis (Orica GreenEdge), and Andre Greipel all taking part, Blanco will be competing against some of the best sprinters in the world.

    “We were...

  • Dan Martin takes breakthrough Classics win in Liege-Bastogne-Liege

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) on La Redoute
    Article published:
    April 21, 2013, 18:26 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Garmin rider praises team's anti-doping stance

    Victory for Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) in Liege-Bastogne-Liege is a breakthrough Classics win in what continues to be a breakthrough year.

    After victory in the Volta a Catalunya, a race the 26-year-old had twice taken a podium in the past, a fifth in Liege last year, a near-miss in Lombardy last autumn and fourth in the Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday, Martin could finally nail his first major Monument - and Ireland’s first in La Doyenne since 1989.

    “I woke up this morning and called my father and said this is one of eight more chances I’ve got to win this race,” Martin - now 26 and who is, he says, contemplating retirement at around 34. “But I’ve come up a level this year, it's a golden year for me, and I was ready to try and go for it today.”

    “At the same time, this year Garmin-Sharp have got a lot of confidence in me now, there's been a great atmosphere in the team, the guys have been telling me all week that I’ve got a good chance of winning today and that extra belief I have from them helps give me an extra edge.”

    Martin could not heap enough praise on his team-mates shoulders for their work supporting him. But it was no surprise that he highlighted the contribution by Ryder Hesjedal, the 2012 Giro winner. Instrumental in his Volta a Catalunya win, Hesjedal was once again a key player in the Garmin-Sharp game at Liege, attacking over the top of the Cote de Colonster and staying clear right until the foot of Saint-Nicolas. As if that was not enough, Hesjdal’s hard work in the final break of six meant Martin was that little bit more rested when it came to getting across to Rodriguez and then going clear.

    “The whole team rode amazing, I was protected all day. We’d agreed this morning that we would both be...

  • Hesjedal: We salvaged the Classics season

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) helped to set Dan Martin up for the win
    Article published:
    April 21, 2013, 18:49 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Giro champion plays pivotal role in Martin's Liège win

    Garmin-Sharp's cobbled Classics were ravaged by illness and injury but the promise showed by Dan Martin in Fleche Wallonne, and finally capitalised on in his win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, was neatly summed up by teammate Ryder Hesjedal.

    "I think you could say we salvaged the Classics season," the Canadian said with a wry grin as he rolled to the team bus at the race finish in Ans.

    Garmin's victory on Sunday came down to the attack by Hesjedal on the Côte de Colonster, the penultimate climb of the 261.5km Ardennes Classic. It was the spot that Peter Stetina had suggested to Cyclingnews earlier in the day that would see the strong names come to the fore, making clear that the team had come to Liège to deliver Martin to victory.

    "It makes it more tactical but that makes it harder," Stetina had said. The teamwork in the final kilometres of the race made it look anything but.

    Bypassing Rigoberto Uran (Sky), Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Hesjedal went for broke on the Colonster, time trialling his way to a maximum 21-second lead on the various chase groups.

    "When the gap's growing you always believe [you can stay away] but just to get a head start, that's my style. Stay on it," Hesjedal said.

    The next and final climb of Côte de Saint-Nicolas, a little over five kilometres from the finish, saw Hesjedal's lead cut by over nine seconds. Eventually caught by the group containing Martin, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Carlos Betancur (Ag2R La Mondiale), Hesjedal showed little signs of...

  • Contador stronger than expected at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    April 21, 2013, 19:26 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    On attack on Colonster and in dangerous late breakaway

    Whilst Amstel Gold Race winner Roman Kreuziger was nowhere near as strong in Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège, finishing nearly ten minutes down on winner Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), his Saxo-Tinkoff teammate and co-leader Alberto Contador turned in a far better performance than he had perhaps expected at the end of a long first half of the 2013 season and a relatively lacklustre Fleche Wallonne.

    Always near the front at La Redoute, Contador was very active on the Cote de Colonster, helping create a move which then saw Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) go clear. Contador then formed part of a six-rider attack behind Hesjedal that might, with a little more collaboration, have stayed away at least as far as Saint-Nicolas. All in all, a much better performance than he had expected, which his 57th place on the results sheet in no way reflected.

    "I was feeling a lot better than I thought and I'm pleased I've finished the first part of the season with a good performance," Contador said afterwards. Saxo-Tinkoff started driving hard for part of the Col du Rosier, "although my teammates weren't just working for me, it was to set things up for any of the riders in the squad who were feeling good."

    "I thought that the Cote de Colonster was a good opportunity for me, I tried making a move but it didn't quite work out. When nobody else wanted to collaborate with me chasing down Hesjedal, it wasn't up to me to do all the work."

    "Still, it's been a good way to end this part of the season, I'm pleased that I managed to do what I could." Contador will now take a break, before returning to racing at the Criterium du Dauphine. After that, it's onto his big goal of 2013,...

  • Team Sky left empty handed at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Team Sky stays together on La Redoute in training
    Article published:
    April 21, 2013, 20:26 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Brailsford picks up the pieces after poor Classics

    Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Sergio Henao, Rigoberto Urán - Sky had an embarrassment of riches heading into the finale Ardennes Classic, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but failed to live up to any expectation of delivering a podium. It was enough for Sky team principal Sir David Brailsford to admit that he was "disappointed with the final result," but he was unprepared to draw any firm conclusions for the spring Classics season.

    "It would be nice to get a win for sure but it's not for want of trying," Brailsford told Cyclingnews. "If they were easy things to win, the five or six Classics, then it wouldn't be such a big deal. But they're not. So we'll keep trying.

    "The thing is you can't lose heart, you learn, you go away, you dust yourself down and come back and fight again."

    Of the Classics, Sky walks away from 2013 with two podiums, Sergio Henao's second place at Flèche Wallonne and Mathew Hayman's third place at Dwars door Vlaanderen. At Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Sky had been active at the front of the peloton to bring back the six-man breakaway that had been up ahead for the majority of the 261km race. Lopez and Urán were among the attacks that came with 35km of racing remaining but their best result across the line was Henao in 16th, 18 seconds back on winner Dan Martin.

    "We wanted Froomie and Serg and Rigo in the final and that's where they were," said Brailsford. "And the way it played out, from La Redoute we tried to ride an offensive race with Lopez and then Rigo attacking and that's how it goes and that's racing, isn't it.

    "What we wanted to do today was actually be on the front foot rather than just wait and I think that's what the guys tried to do but it didn't come off. Fair play to Dan Martin. Rather than see what other people...

  • Gilbert: "I was lacking a few percentage points"

    World champion Philippe Gilbert (Team (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 21, 2013, 22:00 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    BMC strong but World Champion takes seventh

    After a race in which BMC had played an enormous role in chasing down dangerous breakaways, including Ryder Hesjedal’s lone charge towards the Cote de Saint Nicolas, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) failed to make as big an impact in Liege-Bastogne-Liege as he had done in the previous Ardennes Classics. In Amstel, he perhaps attacked too late and in Fleche Wallonne, a little too early. At Liege, barring a brief dig on the Redoute and again on the Saint-Nicolas, he was never really in the thick of the action.

    “I was lacking a few percentage points in what was a really tough race,” Gilbert, finally seventh, said afterwards. “And it’s those few percentage points that always make the big difference.”

    Up until Saint Nicolas, he said, “The race was a bit closed down, it wasn’t so obvious that we had to try something. But we had a great job with the team, there were a lot of us up there in the crucial moments on the Cote de Colonster. It was a good day for us in that sense. It was just I lacked that little bit extra.”

    Egged on by thousands of Gilbert supporters on the Redoute, Gilbert said it was “great to be able to race in front of them wearing the rainbow jersey. A really nice feeling.” As for becoming the sixth World Champion to take Liege-Bastogne-Liege, though, whilst wearing the rainbow jersey, it was not to be.

    “Other people were stronger than us and they had better legs,” added BMC team manager Jean Lelangue. “Phil was missing just that little bit and perhaps another support rider at the end.”

    “As for the race, we’ve seen that the Colonster can be important, it does have a role to play in Liege.”

    Belgium has now had its...