IAM Cycling looking to animate French one-day race
For IAM Cycling's Pirmin Lang the early season has been far from easy cycling as an elbow infection, which forced him to be hospitalised and put on antibiotics, halted all momentum for the 29-year-old. He is now looking to get back to best in France.
"I started at the Trophée de Majorque but was far from being ready. I piled on the work outs and went to three races in Italy where I was not really on top of things either. My morale has taken a hit after the GP de Camaiore, Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima. I started from scratch, and then, without having had an amazing day, I did start to begin to have the proper sensations in Stresa," Lang said.
In consideration of his next race, Lang is hoping that he can create some fond memories of Route Adélie de Vitré. A race at which he he is yet to experience good sensations.
"I've done this race twice and my memories are not amazing. First as an amateur elite there was an enormous amount of wind. And last year, I quit well before the finish line because the rain and the drop in temperature was astounding.
"But at the Route Adélie everyone has a chance. The course is dotted with hills and the wind can play such an important role. We have a great team there and I look forward to helping my teammates. One must be well positioned in these races in the north in order to do well."
Route Adélie de Vitré: Marcel Aregger, Jonathan Fumeaux, Reto Hollenstein, Pirmin Lang, Gustav Larsson, Matteo Pelucchi, Sébastien Reichenbach, Patrick Schelling.
Historical race footage tells the story of the Ronde
It has been 101 years since the inaugural edition of the Tour of Flanders in 1913 and since then the race has become one of cycling’s most iconic and prestigious one day races.
It’s status has a monument comes from the rich history and cycling tapestry than runs through the annals of the sport’s history with legends of the sport having made their reputations on the cobbles and climbs that make the race.
The first edition of the Tour of Flanders took place in 1913 with Belgium’s Paul Deman taking the win. Since then Achiel Buysse, Rik Van Steenbergen, Fiorenzo Magni, Tom Simpson, Eddy Merckx, Eric Leman, Roger De Vlaeminck and Johan Museeuw have won the race, on many occasions multiple times. And despite several course changes, the riders and the iconic climbs remain at the heart of cycling.
In this video, InCycle looks back at some of the legendary moments of the Tour of Flanders, with rare race footage, including the sight of Merckx walking up the Koppenberg, dating back from the first few editions to the present day duels between Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen. It’s a six-minute programme that will surely whet your appetite ahead of Sunday’s big race.
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The former Tour de France winner had opted for a spell of training instead of riding the recent Volta a Catalunya alongside Chris Froome. He was expected to ride the one-day Scheldeprijs race in Belgium on April 9 before targeting Paris-Roubaix. However after losing Ian Stannard due to his crash at Gent-Wevelgem, Team Sky has added Wiggins to its nine-rider team for the Tour of Flanders.
It is the first time Wiggins rides the Ronde since finishing 81st in 2005 while riding for Credit Agricole.
Edvald Boasson Hagen and Geraint Thomas will lead Team Sky at the Tour of Flanders with support from experienced hands Bernhard Eisel, Christian Knees and Gabriel Rasch. They will be joined by Salvatore Puccio, who performed well at Milan-San Remo, and Welshman Luke Rowe.
Team Sky also confirmed that Wiggins, Boasson Hagen, Eisel, Knees, Puccio, Rasch, Rowe and Chris Sutton will ride the Scheldeprijs race.
Kennaugh to ride the Tour of the Basque Country
Team Sky also named its squad for the Tour of the Basque Country- the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (April 7-12)
In the absence of Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Sergio Henao, the Manxman will have a leadership role. Also in the team are sprinter Ben Swift, Philip Deignan, Josh Edmondson, Vasil Kiryienka, Mikel Nieve, Danny Pate and Xabier Zandio.
MTN Qhubeka to ride first Grand Tour in team’s history
Cofidis, IAM Cycling, MTN Qhubeka and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA have received the four wildcard invites for the 2014 Vuelta a España.
IAM Cycling and Cofidis are also invited to the Tour de France this year, but none of the four Vuelta wildcard teams will be taking part in the Giro d'Italia.
Cofidis have had a regular spot at the Vuelta for years, with their former rider David Moncoutie securing four King of the Mountains titles from 2008 to 2011, whilst Caja Rural-Seguros RGA tick several boxes.
The Navarre-based squad are the only Spanish ProConti team, and also won a highly prestigious stage to the Lagos de Covadonga mountain top finish in 2012 with Antonio Piedra. Traditionally one of cycling’s most aggressively-minded squads, as of 2014 they have one of Spain’s top riders, Luis Leon Sanchez, in their line-up, who will lead the team in the Vuelta.
For MTN Qhubeka, the Vuelta is their first ever Grand Tour. 2013 Milan San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek, 2007 Tour de France leader and stage winner Linus Gerdemann and Sergio Pardilla, who took a stage of the Tour of Portugal last year, are amongst their best-known riders.
The Vuelta starts on August 23rd in Jerez de la Frontera and finishes on September 14th in Santiago de Compostela.
With 10 UCI Continental teams registered in the US this year and a full calendar of road races and criteriums lying ahead, cycling in the States appears to be moving forward at quite a nice clip.
The addition of three new men's US Continental teams has mitigated the impact somewhat of losing the longtime Bissell Pro Cycling program, while the downward pressure on the rider market caused by folding WorldTour and Pro Continental teams has created a US domestic peloton that may be deeper and more talented than it's been in years.
Even so, there should be plenty of room on the circuit for the peloton to sort things out. The absence of three-time National Race Calendar overall winner Francisco "Paco" Mancebo, along with other key off-season transfers, could lead to a style of racing that is more wide open than the domestic circuit has been used to. Overall, the US domestic circuit is shaping up to be a barn-burner this year, and things will begin to shake out this week at the NRC-opening Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Following is a brief look at the some of the men's domestic Continental teams as they head into the 2014 season.
Mancebo's former team will have to establish a new identity this season after it backed the talented Spanish all-rounder almost exclusively last year. The addition of Jake Keough from UnitedHealthcare and a returning cast of talented rouleurs could change the team's focus from runs at the general classification to setting up Keough in bunch sprints or looking for opportunistic strikes from breakaways.
Spaniard revels in luxury after 14 years with Euskaltel-Euskadi
After six weeks with the BMC Racing Team, Spanish veteran Samuel Sánchez says he regrets never knowing what he could have achieved with his new team had he signed with them aged 26 rather than 36 - and that in general, he is more than satisfied with his squad.
"Every day I'm more surprised," Sánchez, who signed with BMC in February, told Spanish sports daily MARCA. "It was a very drastic change [from Euskaltel-Euskadi, his team for 14 years since he turned pro in 2000]. I've gone from what was a family-like team, where it was all very good, to one of the biggest teams in the WorldTour with major resources."
"For example, we've got two bike riders per masseur and that means in half an hour you're almost all sorted out. That would have been inconceivable beforehand."
Although missing former teammates, he says he appreciates the change of mentality and focus in BMC. "They give you everything you need, but it's up to you to race and act like a professional."
"[Signing for BMC] has given me the same kind of motivation I felt as when I was a new pro.". However, he recognises that things at Euskaltel-Euskadi were not all bad, given, as he puts it, "I won a lot in a team with a lot fewer resources. In BMC, I've learned to value what I did [in Euskaltel]. Who knows what I would have achieved with this team if I'd signed for them 10 years earlier, at 26 instead of at 36."
"But I want to enjoy this while I can, win races, teach the younger generation and help Cadel Evans win the Giro," he said .
One of the most accomplished US cyclists actively racing, Neben, 39, took gold at the world time trial championships in 2008, is a two-time national champion in the time trial and road race and has competed in the past two Olympics. She was also part of the 2012 Specialized-lululemon squad that took gold at the world championship team time trial.
But after less than a dozen days of racing last season with the Lithuanian Pasta Zara-Cogeas team, the 13-year pro's ambitions came up against a literal wall when she clipped a rock outcropping on a tricky downhill corner of the time trial course, shattering her pelvis above the iliac crest and breaking several ribs.
Through months of rehabilitation, Neben painstakingly made her way back onto the bicycle, and beginning with sustained efforts of just 50 watts, she steadily trained her way back into racing condition. In a show of defiant determination, she set her sites on returning for one last race of the 2013 season. Not only did Neben make it to the Chronos des Nations in October, she finished sixth.
"It was big goal for me just to get back on the bike and get back into the race before the season ended, and that was like the very last opportunity on the race calendar," Neben recently told Cyclingnews.
"By August I was thinking that I could physically get myself into position to maybe win, but more so just to be in the race and not get crushed," she said. "For me and what I represent about overcoming adversity and just getting back up...
Tour of Flanders contenders on the pros and cons of cobbled stage race
Since its inception in 1977, the Three Days of De Panne has unabashedly pitched itself as a preparation race for the Tour of Flanders. The format has scarcely changed over the years, with back-to-back 200 kilometre stages followed by a short, fast run-out on the final morning, before a concluding time trial in De Panne, which – hardly by accident – was often roughly the same length as the distance from the top of the Bosberg to the finish Meerbeke on the old Tour of Flanders course.
Generations of Classics grandees have duly honed their condition at De Panne in the week leading up the Ronde: some frenetic instalments of Sean Kelly and Eric Vanderaerden's running battle took place here in the 1980s, for instance, while Johan Museeuw and Michele Bartoli both won the race in the 1990s.
Over the past decade, however, the Three Days of De Panne's pulling power has waned somewhat. Alessandro Ballan (2007) was the last man to win De Panne and Flanders in the same week, and, more painfully, the men who have dominated De Ronde in recent years have begun to ignore it. Last season, Tom Boonen made his first appearance in four years, but only because he was still chasing condition after an injury-hit start to his campaign, while Fabian Cancellara has not raced in De Panne since 2004.
BMC manager Allan Peiper finished second overall behind Vanderaerden in 1988 but while De Panne was the ideal Flanders preparation a quarter of a century ago, his team is not in the field in 2014. "I think the whole sports science element has come into that. Riders used to use races as training in a bygone era but that's not pertinent anymore," Peiper says. "They're using training as...