Oman and Paris-Nice are like night and day, says Bardet
Romain Bardet will line up at this year’s Paris-Nice as the man most likely to end the 19-year drought without a French winner, though the Ag2r-La Mondiale rider has warned that the Race to the Sun is a very different event to the Tour of Oman, where he placed an impressive second last month.
To that end, Bardet lined out at the Classic Sud Ardèche and the Drôme Classic last weekend, and was in contention for the win in each of the hilly races, placing 5th and 8th, respectively.
“Oman and Paris–Nice are like night and day, so it was very important for me to readjust to the usual pace in French races,” Bardet said. “Racing in Drôme and Ardèche has that element of stress and a flurry of activity in the peloton. In this respect, Paris–Nice is a mini-Tour de France —you can't say the same for Oman.”
Bardet declared himself pleased with his showing in Oman, where he was the last man to stay with Vincenzo Nibali on Green Mountain – “This wasn't the first time I went head-to-head with the best, but it provided some validation” – and said that at 25 years of age, he is eager to push himself. “I'm no longer eligible for the white jersey competition, you know. You can't keep playing the youth card forever!”
Bardet will face stiff competition from a strong field at Paris-Nice, with Alberto Contador, Richie Porte, Tom Dumoulin, Geraint Thomas and Andrew Talansky among the contenders on a course that includes the summit finish at La Madone d'Utelle on the penultimate day.
“It’s a nice a nice one, but it's not particularly tailored to climbers. Although it's long, I think good classics riders won't be stopped by this climb,” Bardet said. “However, it'll be the decisive finish, even though Mont Brouilly [on stage 3 – ed.] can also shake things up.”
Terpstra opens his 2016 account at Le Samyn
Niki Terpstra became the ninth Etixx-QuickStep rider to claim a victory in season 2016 as the Dutch national road race champion rode the final 14km of the Belgian race solo in miserable conditions. Just 28 riders finished the race with 160 recording a DNF against their name with the weather offering up cold rain and winds that coupled with a parcours featuring sectors of pave, ensured a tough day in the saddle.
"The weather conditions made the race beautiful in a strange way. I am happy with this victory, as it gives me confidence and comes as a confirmation that my condition is good for the upcoming Classics," Terpstra said after the race having held off solo chaser Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18), who finished 19 seconds in arrears.
Etixx-QuickStep have now won 16 races this season with multiple victories for Fernando Gaviria, Marcel Kittel and Petr Vakoc, and single wins for Gianluca Brambilla, Bob Jungels, Dan Martin, Davide Martinelli and Stijn Vandenbergh along with its team time trial success at the Tour de San Luis.
Terpstra's last victory was the 2015 Tour de Wallonie where his stage 1 win set up overall success. Having become the first Dutch rider to win Le Samyn in 13 years, Terpstra will turn his attention to the cobbled classics where he will be a key rider for the Belgian WorldTour team.
Gilbert still feeling effects of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad crash
Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was one of the numerous withdrawals at Le Samyn with the Belgian explaining he is still feeling the effects of his crash at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last Saturday. Gilbert was one of several BMC riders to heavily fall at the semi-classic and is yet to fully recover.
"Yesterday and this morning I had much pain from my crash in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but I could still do a nice day on the bike,” Gilbert told Het Nieuwsblad. "It was the plan to do some kilometres. I did 180. That's important in view of Paris-Nice."
Gilbert added that while the majority of the course caused him neither pain nor discomfort, the pave was his undoing.
"On flat roads it was no problem, but the cobbles gave me too much pain. I could not be at my best level. I just could not pull on my handlebars and was not fast enough. The cobblestones were really bad. It was dangerous, especially when it started to rain. I didn’t want to take any risks for the rest of the season," Gilbert added.
The former world champion will join teammates Marcus Burghardt, Rohan Dennis, Ben Hermans, Amaël Moinard, Richie Porte, Michael Schär and Danilo Wyss at Paris-Nice from March 6-13.
Trofeo Alfredo Binda announced teams for 2016 Women's WorldTour event
Organisers of Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio have announced the 28 teams that will participate in their one-day classic in Cittigio, Italy on March 20. The hilly challenge is the third race on the inaugural Women’s WorldTour.
Organisers of one-day events on the Women’s WorldTour are obliged to invite the top 20 teams in the UCI world ranking. As such, the top teams in attendance will include number one ranked Wiggle High5, Rabo-Liv, Boels Dolmans, Canyon-SRAM, Cervelo Bigla and Orica-AIS.
Last year, the race was one of 10 events on the women’s World Cup. This year, it is one of 17 combined one-day races and stage race on the new Women’s WorldTour.
Last year, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) won the race in a sprint ahead of Rabo Liv teammates Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Anna van der Breggen.
2016 Trofeo Alfredo Binda teams
|2||Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team|
|3||Boels Dolmans Cycling Team|
|4||Canyon Sram Racing|
|5||Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team|
|6||Orica - AIS|
|8||Cylance Pro Cycling|
|9||Team Tibco - Silicon Valley Bank|
|11||UnitedHealthcare Professional Women's Cycling Team|
|13||BTC City Ljubljana|
|15||Astana Women's Team|
|17||Lotto Soudal Ladies|
|18||Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team|
|20||Topsport Vlaanderen - Etixx|
|21||Servetto Footon Wild Card|
|22||Inpa - Bianchi|
|23||Twenty16 - Ridebiker Wild Card|
|24||S.C. Michela Fanini|
|25||Aromitalia Vaiano Wild Card|
|26||Top Girls Fassa Bortolo|