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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 12, 2014

Date published:
June 12, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • inCycle video: Sam Bennett rider profile

    Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) celebrates his Rund um Köln win
    Article published:
    June 12, 2014, 4:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Irish sprinter used to the pressure of winning

    Irish neo-pro Sam Bennett has had an impressive start to 2014 with his new NetApp-Endura team with three wins to his name but the 23-year-old is still hungry for more success and wants fans to expect him to be mixing it up in bunch sprints.

    "As a sprinter you have to believe in yourself and you have to really want to win and if I win by half a bike length, I'm not happy," Bennett said. "If I win by a bike length, I'm not happy because I didn't win by two bike lengths. I am always aiming to get the best performance out myself.

    Bennett announced himself to the cycling world with victory on stage 5 of the 2013 Tour of Britain along with two second place finishes which led to him signing for NetApp-Endura a month later after three years with An Post ChainReaction.

    Bennett wants to be "one of the top sprinters in the world" and a "household name" mixing it with the likes of Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and his move to NetApp-Endura is another step in achieving that goal.

    Bennett has a taken a while to adapt to his new surroundings but with "fantastic" and "welcoming" teammates, he is feeling more settled in the team and confident in his decision.

    Despite being tipped as one of the nine-riders who will line up in Leeds for the Tour de France for July 5, Bennett is relaxed under the pressure.

    "I always had pressure as a kid coming from Sean Kelly's hometown but then you get one or two results and everybody is building up pressure saying you're...

  • Vos leads Dutch recon of Ponferrada world championships course

    Marianne Vos recorded the recon of the course with a camera on her handlebars
    Article published:
    June 12, 2014, 6:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Defending champion looking for fourth rainbow jersey

    Defending road world champion Marianne Vos took advantage of a break in the midst of a block of racing in Spain to inspect the world championships course in Ponferrada with her Rabobank liv team and three other Dutch teammates.

    With a camera on her handlebars, Vos ensured that she will be familiar with the 127.4km course before road race on 27 September which she said will be challenging.

    "After a couple of laps, it is possible to make the difference on the climbs but the final descent is interesting as well," said Vos of the seven-lap course.

    Dutch female cycling is the most successful category in the history of World Championships with 26 medals of which nine are gold. Rabobank team manager Koos Moerenhout, who accompanied the riders during the recon, said this statistic meant that the Dutch cycling federation offers help to continue its success.

    "Dutch women have always competed at a high level," Moerenhout said. "Just think about Leontien Van Moorsel and Marianne Vos. Stars like them are an inspiration for others. Furthermore we have some well-structured teams in the Netherlands.

    "They work together with the Dutch Federation which takes the women category very seriously."

    Vos won her first road title in 2006 and from 2007 until 2011 was the silver medallist in the women's road race. She won the 2012 title in Valkenburg and defended her rainbow jersey in Florence last September. Victory in Spain would make her equal second with Yvonne Reynders as the most successful woman at the world championships with four titles and one shy of Jeannie Longo.

    Moerenhout believes it will be a tough day of racing that may produce a surprise winner.

    "The course is not as hard as last year one in Florence but if riders make the race hard, the circuit will be felt in the legs,” Moerenhout said of the road course. "It can be a tough circuit giving options to different types of riders."

    Moerenhout is...

  • inCycle: Giro d'Italia 2014 complete race highlights

    Nairo Quintana was ultimately declared a worthy Giro d'Italia champion, despite the controversial Stelvio stage.
    Article published:
    June 12, 2014, 7:10 BST
    Cycling News

    All the action from Nairo Quintana's debut grand tour win

    The 2014 Giro d'Italia will be remembered for the success of Colombians and the polemics of stage 16 along with sub-plots and several standout performances by an emerging young generation.

    The Giro witnesses a a celebration of  Colombian cycling with Nairo Quintana winning the maglia rosa, Rigoberto Uran's second place overall and Julian Arredondo's victory in the mountain classification in his first grand tour. The first week of the race belonged to Orica-GreenEdge and Australia after the Irish Grand Partenza but following Uran's Stage 12 win, it was the Giro d'Colombia.

    There was the polemica of the Stelvio on stage 16 and the mass crash on stage 6 to Montecassino that ended overall aspirations for numerous riders but when the race arrived in Trieste on June 1, Quintana had proved he was the strongest rider across an entertaining three-weeks of racing.

    Irishman Dan Martin and Garmin Sharp had a horror start to the Giro with a crash during the team time trial resulting in broken collarbones for Martin and Koldo Fernandez, immediately ending the race for both riders.

    Several other riders would also crash out of the Giro but with the exception of stage 16, the adverse weather of last year's Giro was thankfully absent.

    Despite that fact that no European's wore the maglia rosa, there was still six stage wins for Italy, three for...

  • Ag2r-La Mondiale come close to stage win and Dauphiné's yellow jersey

    Romain Bardet (Ag2r) during stage 4
    Article published:
    June 12, 2014, 8:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Bardet and Bouet active on stage 4

    Having seen breakaway companion Yuri Trofimov (Katusha) take the spoils into Gap on the Critérium du Dauphiné's fourth stage, Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) also missed the opportunity to relieve Chris Froome's shoulders from the yellow jersey.

    After the stage, Froome told reporters that; "It was our intention to let the yellow jersey go and another team take it before the weekend of racing but in the end, the race was just so fast that we reached the finishing line quickly after the breakaway riders."

    Starting the day 2:43 minutes behind Froome on GC, Bouet was the virtual leader on the road for the majority of the stage having made his way into the breakaway but ended the day with only a minor improvement on his overall placing after the peloton decided to make an unsuccessful late catch.

    "From the start this morning I have felt that this stage could suit me and of course I'm a bit disappointed this evening," Bouet said after finishing sixth. "The best rider won today because Trofimov was really the strongest in the col de Manse. I could have been able to get the second place but I'm not satisfied with the way I rode in the final.

    With a different race schedule in 2014 that sees him miss the Tour de France for the first time in five years, Bouet had targeted stage four with the hope of his first win since last year's Giro del Trentino.

    "Of course, I'm well positioned overall tonight and it's a great satisfaction but the goal today was the stage...

  • Bakelants hoping to ride the Tour de France with Omega Pharma-QuickStep

    Jan Bakelants is a new arrival at Omega Pharma-QuickStep for 2014.
    Article published:
    June 12, 2014, 8:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Doubts remain about how he can help Cavendish or Kwiatkowski

    Jan Bakelants is still fighting for a chance to ride the Tour de France. Despite winning the stage to Ajaccio and wearing the yellow jersey for two days, he knows that he faces very tough competition for a spot on the Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad because it will be built around helping Mark Cavendish in the sprints and Michal Kwiatkowski for the general classification.

    “I want certainty about the Tour as quickly as possible: yes or no,” he told, but without making direct demands for a place.

    The Belgian rider was one of the revelations of the 2013 Tour de France while riding for Radioshack and impressed with his stage victory. However he made little impact in the Ardennes Classics this year after joining OPQS. He was in the break of the day in Wednesday’s fourth stage of the Criterium Dauphine, but he finished a disappointed seventh. "A victory would have helped me," he admitted.

    "There are two clearly defined goals with the team and maybe I do not fit in there," Bakelants admitted to "I am willing to work for the team, but also want a few chances to play my own cards. I don’t think that conflicts with the plans of the team."

    He admitted to Nieuwsblad that "If I'm not there, I will be very disappointed." However, "If the answer is yes, then I have another three weeks after the Dauphine to fine tune my condition."

    He is realistic, though. "I have to keep in mind that there is a real chance that I won’t be there."

  • Bouhanni considering three offers for 2015

    Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) wins his third stage of the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    June 12, 2014, 12:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman could ride Le Tour if he stays with

    Nacer Bouhanni is considering three identical offers as he narrows down his options for his 2015 contract.

    "I had ten offers, now I'm going to choose between three teams," he told L'Equipe. The three teams are believed to be his current team, French rival Cofidis and an unnamed "foreign team."

    "The conditions are identical for all three, a two-year contract and the same pay. So you have to look at the sporting aspects," he said.

    Bouhanni does not expect to make his decision until after the national championships on June 29, but "If I sign with FDJ, I would do the Tour," he said. And Bouhanni made it clear that sharing sprint duties at the Tour with teammate and fellow French sprinter Arnaud Demare would "not be a problem for me."

    Bouhanni landed his first Grand Tour victories last month at the Giro d'Italia, where he won three stages and the points jersey. Madiot is eager to keep his young star, "but it is a question of means, I have to discuss it with my sponsor, and also find a co-sponsor," he admitted.

    Madiot also questions whether Bouhanni will be ready for the Tour this year.

    "First, has he recovered from the Giro? We understand each other. If Thibaut Pinot wins the Tour de Suisse, he can say, 'Marc! I deserve to have a partner with me.' Why not get a rider who can help on the mountain instead of two sprinters? That may be an option."

  • Terpstra extends with Omega Pharma-QuickStep for three years

    Niki Terpstra with his Paris-Roubaix trophy
    Article published:
    June 12, 2014, 14:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Paris Roubaix winner to stay with Belgian team through 2017

    2014 Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra has been rewarded with a three-year contract extension at Omega Pharma-QuickStep. The Dutch rider will now stay with Omega Pharma-QuickStep another three years, through the 2017 season.

    "I'm happy the team has confidence in me," Terpstra said on the team’s website, where the announcement was made. “I'm happy to stay with the team because it is not only one of the best teams in the world, but there is a special atmosphere within the team. You can feel it with the morale. We are friends, and racing together is a joy."

    “Four years ago I chose this team to learn and grow as a rider in the big races I love like the Classics. Now, I can see my effort and my decision to join OPQS has paid off. I'd like to continue this process of development and become even more important within the team. I'd like us to reach our beautiful goals together."

    Team manager Patrick Lefevere said: “We have faith in him (Terpstra) and think he can develop much more as a rider. He is a strong guy who is also an intelligent racer. He has good relationships with his teammates and one of the guys who can really build a future with us at the Classics."

    Terpstra, 30, joined OPQS in 2011, after having ridden for Team Milram for four years. He first turned heads when he won Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2012, and has twice won the Dutch national road title. 2014 has been his breakthrough year, as he won Paris-Roubaix, and also Dwars door Vlaanderen again, plus a stage and the overall title at the Tour of Qatar.

  • Report: Betancur to miss the Tour de France due to virus

    Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) wins at Fayence.
    Article published:
    June 12, 2014, 17:15 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Ag2r-La Mondiale rider opts to stays in Colombia

    Carlos Betancur is suffering with the citalomegavirus and so will not return to Europe in time to compete in this year's Tour de France according to his mentor and Colombian national coach Franco Gini.

    In a interview with the Italian Velobike website, Gini said that Betancur is currently unable to travel due to the virus but is expected to return to his European base in Tuscany in two weeks time, where he will prepare for the Vuelta a Espana and world road race championships. Gini returned on Wednesday from Colombia where he spent time with Betancur.

    Betancur was a surprise winner of Paris-Nice in March but last raced at Flèche Wallonne in April and returned to Colombia after skipping Liège-Bastogne-Liège because of bronchitis. The 24-year-old was due to return to France on June 3 and his Ag2r-La Mondiale team had made plans for him to renew his working visa in Chambéry two days later. A member of the team's staff was duly delegated to collect Betancur from Lyon airport on June 3 but the rider never showed up. When contacted by directeur sportif Laurent Biondi, Betancur reportedly said that he was tired and would not line up at the Tour de Suisse as originally planned.

    Gini played down reports of a tension between Betancur and the French team but confirmed that Betancur will not ride the Tour de France.

    "I saw and him and spoke to him in Colombia. He's got the cytomegalovirus," Gini told Velobike in an audio interview in Italian.

    "He's working to resolve the problem and has recently spent four days in hospital. But he's not in the condition to race at the moment. He doesn’t want to race with the virus because he doesn't perform poorly. It sparks a temperature three or four times and day and leaves him tired." 

    Gini said that...