- Article published:
- May 11, 2014, 5:25 BST
- Cycling News
2014 race already better than last year for Belkin
Thanks to Maarten Tjallingii's efforts in the four-man break on stage two, Belkin enjoyed its first podium visit of the 2014 Giro d'Italia. Tjallingii was first over both category four climbs during the stage which ensured that upon finishing, he would be awarded the blue climbers jersey after the 219km stage from Belfast to Belfast. It also made him the first Dutch rider to wear the Giro’s mountains jersey since 2005.
"There are not many chances to be in breakaways in this Giro, so I wanted to try today," Tjallingii said. "I felt I was in control of the group, and when I won the first points sprint, I wanted to go for the second one. I got the jersey, and I am satisfied because I think I got the most out of the day's effort.
"Tomorrow there will be another chance for a breakaway, so maybe I can get in the group and defend the jersey."
10km into the stage, Tjallingii along Team Colombia’s Jeffry Johan Romero Corredor, Lotto-Belisol’s Sander Armee and Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo) escaped from the peloton and created a lead that averaged between five and six minutes until the chase begin in earnest in the final 10km.
Tjallingii tried to stay away while his breakaway companions were swallowed up and he lasted until 3km to go before he too succumbed to the pace being set by the likes of Giant-Shimano, Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge.
"It was a good performance today by Maarten," Sports Director Frans Maassen said of Tjallingii's ride. "He wanted to try for the breakaway. We knew it would be difficult to win, but he won the climber's jersey, and was caught with only three kilometers to go, so we are happy with that.
"We had no problems with the other boys. We don't have a true...
- Article published:
- May 11, 2014, 11:00 BST
- Pat Malach
Cavendish, Degenkolb will make winning more difficult
A funny thing happened on the way to Peter Sagan's next stage win at the Tour of California. Over the past five years, the 24-year-old Cannondale rider has notched a record 10 stage wins in the UCI 2.HC race on his way to winning the green points jersey four times. But this year Sagan will face his toughest competition yet if he wants to add to his palmares in the Golden State.
The 2014 start list includes previous Tour of California stage winners Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and Juan Jose Haedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman), along with potential sprint winners John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Danny Van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing).
Possible contenders from the Pro Continental and Continental teams include Eric Young (Optum Pro Cycling), Ken Hanson (UnitedHealthcare), Nicholai Brochner (Bissell Development Team) and US pro champion Freddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly-Maxxis).
"I came here for the first time five years ago and won two stages," Sagan said at the pre-race press conference Friday afternoon. "And then every year I found more victories. Maybe it was a little bit easy last year and maybe before because we were missing Mark [Cavendish] and we were missing Goss. We will see this year, but I don't know. This year is going to be harder."
The opening stage in Sacramento will be the sprinters' first opportunity for a stage win and the early overall lead. Cavendish won the Sacramento stage in 2011, his last appearance at the race, and briefly wore yellow. He has a total of three stage wins in California, while Goss has one and Haedo has five.
Cavendish said Omega Pharma-Quickstep definitely brought the firepower...
- Article published:
- May 11, 2014, 12:44 BST
- Daniel Benson
French sprinter on the market for 2015
Nacer Bouhanni’s agent has confirmed reports in L’Equipe that the sprinter has a number of potential suitors for next season with the rider’s contract at FDJ set to expire at the end of the year.
Paul De Geyter told Cyclingnews that there are up to seven top teams interested in signing the French sprinter but that no concrete talks have taken place with rider’s current team.
“It’s true that there’s a broad interest in Nacer but that’s logical as he’s one of only a couple of top sprinters who are free for next year. Kittel, Cavendish, Greipel, they’re all blocked for next year,” De Geyter told Cyclingnews.
“The only decision for Nacer at the moment is whether he will stay with his current team or not because he’ll have to talk with them in the coming days. We’ll know more then but the only thing that’s true is that there’s a broad interest in him. There are six or seven teams interested. They’re top teams.”
With the majority of the world’s top sprinters locked in contracts for 2015 – Peter Sagan aside – Bouhanni is undoubtedly one of the most sought after rider’s on the market. The 23-year-old turned professional with Marc Madiot’s outfit in 2010 and has developed into one of the best sprinters on the circuit. He has already taken five wins this season, and finished second in Saturday’s Giro d’Italia stage in Belfast.
“He’s happy and he’s had a lot of opportunities on the team. He’s not looking for a move but what he is looking for is a chance to develop as a rider in the next few years. Let’s not forget that he’s still a very young rider. His main need is to be on team where he can develop his potential. Of course that can still be FDJ.” ...
- Article published:
- May 11, 2014, 15:59 BST
- Kirsten Frattini
Mount Hamilton, Diablo and Mountain High all targets
Janier Acevedo, Garmin-Sharp's newest signing, is aiming to show is strength during three decisive climbs at the Tour of California: Mount Hamilton, Mount Diablo and Mountain High. The Colombian hopes to show his value as an overall contender as he heads into his debut Tour de France.
"Our team has a lot of ambitions to win a lot of races," Acevedo told Cyclingnews. "I haven't done too much racing yet but I want to do well here and then I'll be racing the Tour de France, my first Tour, and my role again will be to do well during the climbing stages."
The climbing begins at the Tour of California during Stage 3's 177km race that starts in San Jose, ascends Mount Hamilton and finishes on the summit of Mount Diablo, gaining nearly 11,000ft of elevation. Although the stages in between will be challenging, the true climbing continues during Stage 6 with nearly 12,000ft of elevation and the summit on Mountain High North.
Last year, Acevedo surprised the overall contenders with Stage 3 win on the summit finish at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. He reached the summit ahead of the BMC Racing's Tejay van Garderen, who eventually won the overall title. The performance moved him into the overall race lead, one of the biggest podium appearances for his then US domestic team Jamis-Hagens Berman.
He remained in the race lead for the following three days until Stage 5, when he missed the decisive split in crosswinds and was knocked into third place in the overall. He continued to slip into fifth place after the time trial but another strong performance during Stage 7 on Mount Diablo, where he finished second...
- Article published:
- May 11, 2014, 19:39 BST
- Alasdair Fotheringham
Norwegian showing rising form in first Giro since 2009
Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen delivered an impressive performance in stage three of the Giro d’Italia, delivering a near faultless leadout for Ben Swift before finishing sixth himself in Dublin.
Riding his first Giro d'Italia since 2009 when he won stage seven for his previous team, HTC, Boasson Hagen made a powerful drive through the front ranks of the peloton with Swift in his wake even though the Norwegian had crashed during the stage. But despite his left shoulder taking a heavy blow, 'Eddie' was still able to fulfill his team role in the final bunch sprint.
“I was always supposed to do the leadout but I wasn’t expecting to crash,” the 26-year-old said with a slightly wry grin as he warmed down on the rollers outside the Sky team bus.
“The bunch wasn’t going so fast, so I could get back on, and then the pain in my shoulder eased a bit and I managed to do the leadout.”
After Cannondale had upped the pace in the last kilometre, Boasson Hagen made no errors when he tackled a chicane that arguably represented the biggest challenge for the strung-out pack.
“I was first man through the S-bend [in the final kilometre]” - with Swift in third place, close behind - “and gave it full gas to the finish. Swifty got second, it was a pity he didn’t make it but he was close.”
“The team gave it everything they had, it was very difficult with all the headwind, and we were almost there. My job was to get through the S-bend in first place. Swift was really close. We just have to keep trying. There are still many stages to go for Sky.”
As for the crash, Boasson recounted he was “at a roundabout and someone crashed in front of me. I was ok” - initially staying upright - “I could brake all right,...
- Article published:
- May 11, 2014, 20:48 BST
- Barry Ryan
German wins second successive sprint stage
If Marcel Kittel’s victory in Belfast the previous day had been a case of painting by numbers, his win in Dublin at the end of stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia was something of a masterpiece, as he made up a huge deficit in the finishing straight to overhaul Ben Swift (Sky) at the death.
When the peloton swung onto Merrion Square and past the National Gallery of Ireland, the German found himself lying ten places off the front and seemingly out of the picture for the sprint. Even with 200 metres remaining, Kittel was still very much in the background, but somehow he summoned the strength to drag himself back into contention. Although his Giant-Shimano team had taken care to prepare the canvas ahead of the finale, mindful of the technical run-in to Dublin, Kittel found himself squeezed out of position just after the bunch had crossed over the Liffey.
“With 1.3 kilometres to go, I lost the wheel of Tom Veelers because I was sandwiched between two riders and I had to let go of the wheel or I’d crash,” Kittel explained in his post-race press conference.
“Afterwards, I was in maybe 12th or 13th positon for the sprint, really far back, but fortunately I was on the wheel of [Nacer] Bouhanni, who was probably in the same situation and trying to close gaps in front. Then I saw the finish, I knew how far it was and I just tried everything.”
Kittel only passed Swift inside the final 50 metres, yet his turn of pace was such that he had almost an entire bike length in hand by the finish. Not that the win had come easily to the German – rather than celebrate for the television cameras, his first act on crossing the line was to dismount and sit on the tarmac, stricken from his effort on that final false flat.
“I sprinted as hard as I could and I sprinted for much longer...