North America's top pro men have welcomed the first rest day at the Tour de France on Tuesday, after a challenging first 10 stages. Check out a few of the highs and lows from the French Grand Tour and the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, along with events held in the US and Canada. In addition, there’s some exciting racing still to come at the National Racing Calendar (NRC) Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend and the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) Intelligentsia Cup Prairie States Cycling Series in Lake Bluff.
Tour de France: Van Garderen moves up to seventh overall
BMC’s Tejay van Garderen has had his share of bad luck during the first week of the Tour de France including a crash during the eighth stage that saw him lose over a minute to other GC contenders. Despite multiple crashes, and losing precious places in the overall classification, he managed to move up into seventh place after a strong finish during stage 10 on Monday. The American rider is currently sitting 3:56 minutes behind the overall race leader, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) as the race heads into the high mountains.
His fellow countryman Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) was also involved in a series of crashes but hasn’t been able to bounce back quite as well. He crashed close to the stage 7 finish line in Nancy during the bunch sprint and the three-kilometer rule protected him from losing time in the overall classification. He crashed again on a descent during stage 8 and lost nearly two minutes to his rivals. After stage 10, and before the first rest day, Talansky slipped to 26th place in the overall, 14:44 minutes behind Nibali, but a terrible day on stage 11 saw Talansky narrowly make the time cut after riding 90km solo. He is now 44th at 46:49.
Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) finished 18th on the stage 10 final climb in La Planche des Belles Filles. It was strong result considering that he was hospitalized with serious injuries after an accident with a car while training in Italy in April. He is now 17th overall, 7:33 back.
After being time cut from the Tour de France during the team time trial last year, Ted King was happy to return to the race and was hoping to make it all the way to the finish line on the Champs-Élysees in Paris. Unfortunately, the Cannondale domestique didn’t finish stage 10 and is no longer in the race.
Other North Americans in the race are Peter Stetina (BMC) placed 61st, Ben King (Garmin-Sharp) 95th and his teammate Alex Howes 134th, Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge) 140th and his teammate Svein Tuft 135th, Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) 144th and Danny Pate (Team Sky) 162nd overall.
Americans top 10 at Giro Rosa; Rabo-Liv accused of negative tactics in finale
UnitedHealthcare’s Mara Abbott went to the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile with the goal of defending her 2013 title, and although she gave it her best effort, she ended the 10-day race in fourth place overall behind a dominant Rabo-Liv Woman Cycling Team; overall winner Marianne Vos, Pauline Ferrand Prevot in second and Anna van der Breggen in third. The race concluded with stage 9 on Sunday on the Madonna del Ghisallo.
Emma Pooley (Lotto Belisol Ladies) attacked and went on to win the final stage alone, while Abbott was part of a four-rider chase group that also included Rabo-Liv trio Vos, Ferrand Prevot and Van der Breggen. A video of the final stage provoked speculation on social media that suggested the Rabo-Liv Woman Cycling teammates used unprofessional tactics to try and block Abbott from attacking during the last five kilometers of the climb.
For video footage of the events, see race video between 35:40 and 38:00. (Min 35:40 and 38:00).
In addition to Abbott’s fourth place, her fellow countrymen Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) put forth a strong seventh-place performance, while Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) finished in 15th overall.
Stevens races back-to-back Giro Rosa and Thüringen
Stevens crossed the finish line of the Giro Rosa on Sunday and headed straight for the start line of the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen 2014 on Monday, a stage race held from July 14-20 in Germany. She placed 15th in the prologue in Gotha on Monday and secured a third place on the podium during stage 1 in Erfurt on Tuesday, behind stage winner Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) and her Specialized-lululemon teammate Lisa Brennauer. Brennauer is currently leading the overall classification.
Bookwalter 18th overall in Austria
BMC’s Brent Bookwalter finished the UCI 2.HC Tour of Austria in 18th place overall, the top-placed American rider. A series of American riders also competed at the tour including his teammate Larry Warbasse, Nathan Brown for Garmin - Sharp, and Joseph Dombrowski and Ian Boswell for Team Sky, who were working for their teammate and overall race winner Peter Kennaugh. The race ended with stage 8 on Sunday in Vienna.
5-Hour Energy secures top 10s at Tour of Qinghai Lake
American continental team 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda placed two riders in the top five during stages at the UCI 2.HC Tour of Qinghai Lake this weekend. James Stemper took fifth place during stage 7 in Hualong on Saturday and his teammate Gavin Mannion took fifth place during stage 8 in Linzhao on Sunday. Their teammate Chad Beyer is also positioned in eighth place overall after eight of the 13 days of racing.
5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda sent its full roster of North American riders that also included Taylor Sheldon, Sam Basseitti, John Hornbeck and Robert Sweeting along with Canadians Bruno Langlois and newly signed Michael Woods. Other Americans in the race are UnitedHealthcare’s Danny Summerhill, Chris Jones and John Murphy.
Tour of Qinghai Lake is held from July 6-19 in China
Hanson and Allar win NCC’s Andersen-Banducci Twilight Criterium
Criterium specialists were at the Andersen-Banducci Twilight Criterium on Saturday, where Ken Hanson (UnitedHealthcare) and Erica Allar (Colavita-Fine Cooking) won the elite races. It was the 12th stop on the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) series and the eighth stop on the USA Crits Series. Hanson’s teammate Luke Keough, who placed second in the men’s race, is leading the NCC men’s standings ahead of Hanson and Daniel Holloway (Athlete Octane). Allar is leading the women’s NCC standings ahead of Tina Pic (Fearless Femme) and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom).
NCC resumes at the Intelligentsia Cup Prairie States Cycling Series
The Intelligentsia Cup Prairie States Cycling Series will host the next NCC round for the elite men and women on July 19 in Lake Bluff, IL. The Northwestern Medicine Lake Bluff Criterium offers a 90-minute criterium for the men and a 60-minute criterium for the women. In addition to the NCC events, Intelligentsia Cup Prairie States Cycling Series offers eight days of back-to-back racing from July 18-27.
The series will conclude with the Downers Grove Criterium, an historical criterium circuit that was used for 23 years as the USPRO championships course, held in the Village of Downers Grove, outside of Chicago.
"We are currently working with our partners in Downers Grove to include them in our series and to bring back one of the hallmarks of American criterium racing," said Prairie State Cycling Series partner Tom Schuler. "For those cyclists that were lucky enough to race the course previously they will remember it as one of the most exhilarating and challenging criterium courses that exists in the whole country. And this will make for a fitting conclusion to eight days of challenging racing."
NRC heads to Cascade Cycling Classic; Wildfires force organizers to change stage 1
After a month-long break, USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) starts up again at the Cascade Cycling Classic held from July 15-20 in Bend, Oregon. It will be the sixth round for the men’s field, and the seventh and final round for the women’s field.
The event was to feature a new stage 1 at the Warms Springs Road Race on Wednesday, however, race organizers were forced to cancel that route and plan for a new race because of wildfires in Central Oregon.
Travis McCabe (Team SmartStop) is leading the men’s NCC standings ahead of Ian Crane (Jamis-Hagens Berman) and Ryan Anderson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies). Lauren Stephens (Tibco) is leading the women’s standings ahead of Mara Abbott (UnitedHealthcare) and Carmen Small (Specialized-lululemon).
The men’s series will conclude at the Bucks County Classic on September 13 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
Argon 18 to partner with a team competing at the Tour de France
Canadian bike manufacturer Argon 18 announced that it will partner with a new cycling team, one that is currently competing in the Tour de France. The company has signed a three-year agreement with the team, however, it will not release the name of the team until the conclusion of the Grand Tour.
"This is a historic announcement for our brand and for our team! The Tour de France is the undisputed benchmark. It’s an important step for us, since it secures Argon 18’s position among the world’s top brands," explains Gervais Rioux, the company’s founder. "We were excited to announce that we had reached an agreement with a team that is currently participating in the Tour de France. Unfortunately, we can’t disclose which team it is at this point because of contractual questions. We’ll have to wait until the end of the Tour to do so, but I can assure you that we’ll be following the team closely until then!" adds Martin Rioux, co-owner and president of Argon 18.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews next Tuesday for our next weekly edition of race recaps and previews of what’s ahead in the North American road racing scene.