Cavendish to lead well-rounded Dimension Data team at Tirreno-Adriatico
Dimension Data will field a well-rounded team at the seven-day Tirreno-Adriatico from March 9-15 in Italy. With a mix of terrain, the team will rely on newly crowned Madison world champion Mark Cavendish in the sprints and Natnael Berhane in the hills.
Dimension Data will have a strong team at Tirreno-Adriatico that also includes Edvald Boasson Hagen, who will look to continue to build on his form ahead of the Spring Classics, and Steve Cummings, who finished sixth overall at last year's edition of the race.
"I am looking forward to getting my season going at Tirreno-Adriatico. It was a good race for me last season," Cummings said in a team press release. "Hopefully, the team can continue racing at Tirreno in the same manner as what we have already started this season. We have a strong team for Tirreno so it should be a great race."
The team will also bring Tour de Langkawi champion Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Berhane, Kristian Sbaragli, Mark Renshaw and Kanstantsin Siutsou.
"I'm really looking forward to this week," said team director Roger Hammond. "We have a very strong and versatile team that can be competitive on the varied terrain that Tirreno-Adriatico presents each day. In Edvald and Steve we will have two riders testing their stage race form, while Mark will be making his transition back to the road after a successful track campaign. It is going to be an exciting week for the team."
Five riders to watch at Tirreno-Adriatico
Italian WorldTour race Tirreno-Adriatico begins Wednesday with a team time trial in Lido di Camaiore with a 22.7km team time trial and concludes March concludes March 15 with a 10.1km individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. In between, there are five stages road stages that offer equal opportunities for sprinters, climbers and rouleurs.
Multiple GC contenders will contest the race, including BMC's Tejay van Garderen, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale), Joaqium Rodriguez (Katusha), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale), among others.
Cyclingnews has put together a vide of five riders to watch at the race.
To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, please click here.
Nacer Bouhanni laments Paris-Nice result
15 days into the 2016 season, Nacer Bouhanni has finished top-five in a race on seven occasions but has tasted success just once. The Cofidis sprinter was again close to victory on stage 1 of Paris-Nice but could only look on as former teammate and rival Arnaud Demare (FDJ) claimed the win.
"It was a very difficult race," Bouhanni told Eurosport of the stage which featured snow and gravel sectors that had largely turned to mud. "There was a lot of movement but I was always at the front. It’s a shame not to win in the end because the sprinters were not all there and it was a good opportunity to win today. Unfortunately, it did not work out.
"I was clearly boxed in. When I wanted to start my sprint, Arnaud passed me on the right. I was sandwiched, and it was over. I tried to get back. I got back to [Ben] Swift [Sky] but it was over. It was too later when I launched my sprint."
With the stage better suited to the classics men, Bouhanni is still hopeful of claiming his first win on French soil since the GP d'Isbergues - Pas de Calais in the coming days.
"It was not a pure sprint today. We rode hard to be in a good position for the gravel," he added. "The condition is here, that's what I remember. It was an opportunity to win, but I did not succeed, it's like that, that's racing. Now I will focus on the next stages that should really be decided in a bunch sprint."
Jesus Herrada time loss at Paris-Nice fault of Mavic neutral vehicle says Movistar
It was a mixed day of racing for Movistar at Paris-Nice as Ion Izagirre moved into the KOM lead but Jesús Herrada saw his GC ambitions disappear due to a puncture on the the first of two gravel sectors. Herrada placed fourth in the prologue but his 118th finish on stage 1 saw him drop down the standings to 99th overall. As well as leading the KOM classification, Ion Izagirre also moved up to fourth overall.
Sports director José Luis Arrieta explained post-stage that having the Izagirre brothers and Rubén Fernández in the front group was pleasing but he was disappointed with the actions of the Mavic neutral spares vehicle
"Jesús punctured at the very start of the first dirt section, and the Mavic car between the two groups didn't see him," Arrieta said. "He had to stay still until the second Mavic car went through, which was behind the second peloton, and ultimately, he lost sight of that group, too.
"Should that first Mavic car help him, it'd have gone just like with Gorka, who also punctured but could get into the second group. All in all, we must remain hopeful and look forward to what's to come; let's hope our guys recover well, with such a cold day and even some snow on the route today."
The 25-year-old Herrada started his season with 13th overall at the Tour Down Under, then placed eighth overall at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana before finishing second overall at Tour de Haut-Var.
Jon Izaguirre in the polka dot KOM jersey with the Movistar logo printed in reverse (ASO)