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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 6, 2014

Date published:
March 06, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Guardini: Langkawi finish was too dangerous

    Andrea Guardini (Astana)
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 10:39 GMT
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Italian sprinter says Bos was too strong

    After the high speed crash that marred the end of stage 8 of the Tour de Langkawi, Astana sprinter Andrea Guardini said that the finish was too dangerous.

    Several riders came down in the final kilometre of the stage when the road took a sharp turn to the left, around 300 metres before the finish line. Race leader Mirsamad Pourseyedi Golakhour was one of the riders caught up in it, although he was unhurt. The Iranian didn’t lose any time, as the crash happened in the final three kilometres and he remains in the overall lead.

    Guardini was involved in the crash on stage two that left him with a hole in his left foot, but he managed to avoid a tumble on stage eight, as he was at the front. The Astana rider said that he expected something to happen. “I don’t know (about the crash), because I was in front, but it is normal. It is a really, really dangerous finish. I talked with the organisation to check this, because 200km straight and one curve at 300 metres is too dangerous,” Guardini said to Cyclingnews at the finish.

    The Italian would like to see the finish gone from the race completely, but thinks a change to it may be a more viable option. “I want to see this (finish removed), but maybe 3 or 400 metres after is better.” This is the first time that the Marang finish has featured at the Tour de Langkawi and if Guardini had his way, it would not return in 2015. The finishes of the remaining two stages should prove a little less complicated to negotiate with a straight run-in of around a kilometre on each day.

    Guardini finished second in the sprint finish on stage 8 behind Belkin’s Theo Bos, who...

  • Gerrans back in action in Europe

    Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 12:51 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Orica-GreenEdge leader building for the Ardennes Classics

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) is back in action in Europe after his Santos Tour Down Under victory, riding the GP di Camaiore in Tuscany as his first step to building for the Ardennes Classics.

    The Australian national champion will also ride Paris-Nice and then is almost certain to return to Milan-San Remo, which he won in 2012, despite the route no longer including the Pompeiana climb. A taste of the Flanders classics at the E3 Harelbeke is on the cards before targeting the Amstel Gold Race, Fleche-Wallonne and especially Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

    Gerrans lined up at the GP di Camaiore with Orica-GreenEdge teammates Michael Albasini, Simon Clarke, Christian Meier, Italian national champion Ivan Santaromita, Simon and Adam Yates and Jens Keukeleire.

    "This is my first race of the year over here. I'm looking forward to getting back into the racing rhythm and getting things started in Europe," Gerrans told Cyclingnews before heading to the start line, wrapped up in a Australian champion's gilet and arm warmers against the chill of the Italian spring.

    "It's good to be back in action. My morale is still high after winning the Tour Down Under. It was a perfect way to start the year and paid me back for the hard work I did leading into those races. We put a big effort into going well there and so it was really pleasing to get the result we were looking for."

    Rebuilding for the Ardennes

    Gerrans was on peak form in January and then played a vital role in helping teammate Simon Clarke with the Herald Sun Tour. He then took a break before traveling to Europe.

    "I shut it right down after finishing the Herald Sun Tour and had a proper rest. I then...

  • Wiggins wants to play key role for Froome at Tour de France

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) wasn't very happy about getting a shared selfie with a fan.
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 13:10 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    "I've still got unfinished business with the Tour"

    Bradley Wiggins has said that he still has “unfinished business” with the Tour de France but reiterated that he is happy to play a supporting role for defending champion Chris Froome in the Sky team at this year’s race.

    Wiggins, who won the Tour in 2012, missed last year’s race due to an injury sustained during his unsuccessful bid to add the Giro d’Italia to his palmarès. The Englishman has accepted that Froome has since overtaken him the Sky hierarchy, but he remains determined to perform well in July and enjoy the Grand Départ on home roads in Leeds.

    "Froome's got the mantle [of leadership] now which is good but I've still got unfinished business with the Tour," Wiggins told The Independent. "I want to do something else at the Tour, whether it's a great ride for Chris or the chance to win another time trial there. With it starting in the UK, too, it's going to be a celebration of where British cycling has come from and I want to be part of that."

    Although they endured an uneasy coexistence in the Sky team at the 2012 Tour – Wiggins allegedly threatened to leave the race when Froome briefly dropped him at La Toussuire, and took over a year to pay Froome his share of the prize money – Wiggins maintains that he can perform an important role in Froome’s Tour defence this summer.

    "In the case of the Tour, I see myself in that train with Richie [Porte] and whoever else it is, being one of the last guys there and to be there when it matters. There were a couple of times last year when Chris was really isolated and I want to be in a position that I can be there when that happens,"...

  • Nibali: I'm not worried about what other riders do

    Vincenzo Nibali and his younger brother Antonio before the start of the GP di Camaiore.
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 13:56 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian prepares for Paris-Nice at the GP di Camaiore

    Vincenzo Nibali's paternity leave has come to an end and the Astana team leader is back racing as he gradually prepares to take on Chris Froome at the Tour de France.

    Nibali's wife Rachele gave birth to Emma on February 28, with the 2013 Giro d’Italia winner was present at the birth after returning home from the Tour of Oman and a get-together of the Italian national team. Despite some sleepless nights at home in Lugano, Nibali travelled to Tuscany for today's GP di Camaiore to line-up alongside his younger brother Antonio before heading to France for Paris-Nice.

    Both the Nibali brothers left the family home in Messina, Sicily to race in Tuscany as juniors. Antonio is only 21 and is riding for the Marchiol Emisfero Continental team.

    "It's hard to leave home and your newly-born daughter to go to a race but I wanted to ride the GP di Camaiore for lot of reasons," Nibali told Cyclingnews and Gazzetta dello Sport before the start of the race.

    "I've won in it the past and it's the very first race that I'm able to ride with my brother Antonio. My parents are also here after being in Lugano to see the baby. It's special for them to see their sons racing together.

    “It's also nice that we're racing together in Tuscany, where we both began our careers as juniors after leaving home."

    Nibali talked emotionally about his newly-born daughter, even if the birth had affected his training and his sleep.

    "It's been a busy few days, it hasn't been easy but becoming a father is an immense feeling of joy and happiness," Nibali said.

    "I was at the birth. It was a lot harder for my wife than for me but it was a special moment and fortunately both of them are fine. Emma weighed 3.35kg and was 50.5cm long, that's pretty big.

    "The birth has meant I haven't...

  • Romain Bardet a protected rider for Paris-Nice

    Carlos Betancur, Domenico Pozzovivo, Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet with AG2R-La Mondiale's new kit
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 15:25 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman ready to assume leadership role at AG2R

    Romain Bardet started 2014 strongly with the best young rider and 13th overall at the Tour of Oman and backed up his Persian Gulf result with victory at La Drôme Classic on Sunday. The 23-year-old AG2R-La Mondiale rider will share the leadership responsibilities at the 72nd Paris-Nice with Carlos Betancur, who already has an overall win to his name this season, the Haut-var.

    Defending champion Richie Porte (Team Sky), 2013 Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and 2013 Tour of California champion Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) all enter the "Race to the Sun" as favourites although Bardet has a chance to cause an upset.

    "Everything is going as I expected. I chose not to race in January and to begin my season quite late, at the Tour of Oman. It all went smoothly, with the opportunity to tweak my form and, most importantly, to ride at a high pace in the stage to Green Mountain [stage 8]," Bardet told ASO.

    "Last weekend I went back to a different style of racing at the Classic Sud Ardèche and the Drôme Classic. Everything turned out great at these nervous races, in both of which I had to step to the fore, and I was able to pick up my first professional win in a one-day race. It is crucial for me to build confidence ahead of my objective, Paris-Nice."

    Depending on how the race plays out, Bardet is happy to share the responsibility of leader with Betancur.

    "On paper, we'll both be protected riders. However, the course will later force us to be proactive, reactive, and pragmatic. We'll adapt to the results and race circumstances throughout the week.

    "We'll have to be on the hunt for top places and seconds every single day"

    As a climber, Bardet’s chances for a high overall result...

  • GP Miguel Indurain cancelled for 2014

    The podium at the 2011 GP Miguel Indurain (L-R): Fabian Wegmann (Leopard Trek), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) are joined on stage by Miguel Indurain himself
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 17:00 GMT
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    One-day Classic latest Spanish race to fold

    Yet another Spanish race has been cancelled. The Diario de Navarra newspaper reported on Thursday that the GP Miguel Indurain organisers, the CC Estella cycling club, will not be able to hold their race this year.

    The newspaper says that a lack of sponsorship funds and a subsidy promised the local government that has yet to materialize have combined to sink the race.

    First run in 1951 and re-named GP Miguel Indurain in 1999, in recent years the one-day race was used as a curtain-raiser on a week of cycling in the Basque Country, preceding the Vuelta al País Vasco and the GP Amorebieta on the following Sunday. It has had a host of top name winners including Alex Zülle, Miguel Indurain, Pedro Delgado, Samuel Sanchez and Joaquim Rodriguez. Won last year by Simon Spilak, and currently classified 1.1 in the UCI calendar, the next edition was due to take place on April 5th.

    The list of Spanish races that have either been shortened or cancelled in recent years continues to grow at a alarming rate. In the last decade the Tour of Valencia, Tour of Aragon, Tour of Galicia, Subida a Montjuic and Setmana Catalana have all disappeared and Mallorca and Andalusia have been cut back by a day.

    Following the cancellation of the GP Miguel Indurain, there are now just eight one day races in Spain: the Clasica San Sebastian, GP Ordizia, GP Getxo, GP Amorebieta, the Vuelta a Murcia - previously a five day stage race - the Vuelta a la Rioja - previously three days long - the Vuelta a Madrid, and the GP Almeria. Many of the stage races, including the WorldTour Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta al País Vasco events, have experienced economic difficulties in the last few years because of the Spanish sponsorship crisis.

  • Oram looking to land WorldTour contract through success with Bissell

    James Oram (Bissell Devo) is aiming for the WorldTour
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 20:00 GMT
    By:
    Pat Malach

    New Zealander aiming high in 2014

    As the Bissell Development Team made its way back to Santa Rosa recently following a difficult day of training in the hills of Sonoma County, California, James Oram drifted back to the follow car to grab some bottles and bananas for his teammates.

    The 20-year-old Kiwi, who will turn 21 in June, distributed the food, and then, as if to emphasize his new role as one of the team's senior riders, he peeled a banana for 18-year-old newcomer Nathan Van Hooydonck and hand fed the top Belgian prospect as the pair shared a laugh.

    After two years of riding with Axel Merckx's U23 program and seeing six of his teammates graduate to the WorldTour, Oram is ready to assume his spot at the head of the class, and he hopes to follow that same path to cycling's top division.

    "Ideally, I'd want to move up to the Pro Tour at the end of this year," Oram said. "It would take a lot of pressure off that last year as a U23. You can still make it up to the Pro Tour when you are 25 or 26, but I've definitely watched last year a few of the guys who were in their final year of U23, and they'd go to a race and they'd instantly put too much pressure on themselves to perform because they want to make the step up. So if I can move up this year, it would mean I wouldn't have to stress next year."

    As a highly touted junior, Oram won the prestigious Nations Cup Tour de L'Abitibi in 2011 after taking fourth overall there the previous year. His performances earned him a spot with the New Zealand Continental team Pure Black Racing, but when the team folded before the 2012 season started, he was left scrambling for a ride.

    "I was left in no-man's land, seriously just sending out CVs left, right and center," Oram said this week from the Bissell team camp. "I had one or two teams...

  • Sagan's agent denies Tinkoff-Saxo deal

    Race director Giovanni Lombardi and Peter Sagan
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 21:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    No agreement reached according to Lombardi

    Peter Sagan’s agent Giovanni Lombardi has denied that the Slovak has reached an agreement to ride for Tinkoff-Saxo in 2015 and said that negotiations regarding his future have been postponed until after the Spring Classics.

    On Thursday, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Sagan, who is in the final year of his contract with Cannondale Pro Cycling, had agreed a deal with Tinkoff-Saxo for next season. It was also reported that Cannondale could follow Sagan to Oleg Tinkov’s team as bike supplier and possibly as a replacement sub-sponsor for Saxo Bank.

    In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, however, Lombardi insisted that no decision has yet been taken regarding Sagan’s team for 2015 and said that all talks have been suspended until after Paris-Roubaix.

    "Regarding the news that appeared on some organs of the press recently involving my client Peter Sagan, I find it necessary to point out that no agreement has been reached," Lombardi said in the statement, which was published on TuttoBici.

    "I have frozen all negotiations until after the Classics so that Peter can remain concentrated on his very important objectives in these races. Though understanding of the great media attention that this subject arouses, I am certain that journalists will understand my position."

    Reports in Italy have suggested that Lombardi and Sagan are seeking a contract in excess of €3 million per annum, and Thursday’s Gazzetta claimed that Astana had muted its interest because it was "unwilling to put an offer of €4 million on the plate."

    Sagan has also been heavily...