News shorts: Valls came close to quitting, D'Hoore targeting 2015 World Cup win

Van Houweling to attempt Hour Record again, on-board at the Track Worlds

Valls considering quitting cycling

Tour of Oman winner Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) admits that he nearly called an end to his career after illness and injury plagued career. Valls beat Tejay van Garderen (BMC) by nine seconds after taking victory on the Queen stage, his first in five years.

“It has been five years that I've badly suffered with crashes and injuries and could never prove my worth. Finally this year I could make a longer winter than normal and the team has also given me more peace,” Valls told the Marca sports daily.

Valls broke onto the scene in his debut race with Footon-Servetto when he won the opening stage of San Luis and went on to ride his first Tour de France that July. He was also due to ride the Vuelta a España but mononucleosis forced him to call and end to the season. In 2012 he suffered with pneumothorax (trapped air in the lung) and after a promising start to last year’s Tour Down Under he fell and broke his humerus.

“I got to thinking even that victory that got in the Tour de San Luis in 2010 was only by luck, I had low self-esteem because when I was well I could never perform at their best for one or another problem,” said Valls. “As when I was well positioned in the Giro 2013 and I fell and broke two ribs. These things affect you mainly because nowadays it is very difficult to stay in the WorldTour. More than justice, I think with this I take the thorn I've always had and confidence that I could give more.”

Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) and van Garderen fought it out on the final slopes of the climb

Image © Tim de Waele

D'hoore targeting World Cup win in 2015

Two-time Belgian road race champion Jolien d'Hoore is hoping her move to Wiggle-Honda will see her claim a debut World Cup win this season. The 24-year-old told Het nieuwsblad it's easier said than done considering her rivals.

"I would love to win a World Cup race. Only I currently do not have the faintest idea of my condition as I just came from the track," D'hoore said. "[Not counting] Marianne Vos and world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, there are still top riders, Armitstead, Emma Johansson, Ellen Van Dijk ... they have just ridden the Tour of Qatar. [If you do] Then you're in shape."

D'hoore will line up with her teammates at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite Women this weekend. 

Van Houweling to attempt women’s Hour Record again

Molly Van Houweling has announced that she will attempt the women’s US Hour Record for the third time, according to L’Équipe. A university law professor at the University of California by trade, Van Houweling set out to beat her previous record of 44.173km, which she set back in December. Not long after Thomas Dekker made his own attempt on the men's elite record on the same Aguascalientes track, Van Houweling bettered her previous performance by almost 1.5 kilometres and set a new Pan American record.

The distance of 45.637 kilometres was just over 400 metres down on the benchmark of 46.065 set by Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorse in 2003 but Van Houweling believes she can still go better.

"Although I came up short of van Moorsel’s mark (by the equivalent of about 34 seconds), I see room for improvement in my performance," wrote Van Houweling. "I wonder in retrospect whether I went out too hard. It’s so easy to diagnose that mistake when others make it—as Jack Bobridge seemed to in his recent failed attempt. But it’s still so difficult to resist doing the same thing yourself on race day! I was probably too far ahead of schedule for the first 20 minutes or so.

"I could also still improve my track skills," she added. "Riding the black line still isn’t effortless for me. I paid the price for my imprecision yesterday by running over lots of sponges that mark the edge of the track. That probably cost me meters and energy I would like to have back!"

The 41-year-old American plans to make her next attack on the record in July, again at the Aguascalientes track in Mexico.

Paralympic champion Sarah Storey will try to beat Ziljard-Van Moorsel’s record this Saturday, during the Revolution Series at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.

On-board with Pervis at the Worlds

François Pervis helped his native France towards a dominating performance at the track World Championships in Paris last weekend. The home nation took home five gold medals and seven in total. Pervis claimed two of those gold medals with victory in the kilo and the kerin.

During the event, the UCI experimented with live on-board footage and you can watch from a camera on the seat post of Perivs’ bike as he beats Eddie Dawkins (New Zealand) and Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia) to the second of those two golds.

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