Colbrelli salvages third in Tour of Oman sprint after puncture
Sonny Colbrelli didn't expect to be sprinting for the win on the opening stage of the Tour of Oman, having punctured with 8km to go. But thanks to some teamwork and a tailwind, the Bahrain-Merida rider finished third, just behind stage winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Colbrelli is now fourth overall at six seconds.
The peloton had just caught the five-rider breakaway that swept up the two intermediate sprints, and was preparing for a fast run-in to the finish at Nassem Park when Colbrelli suffered a flat tyre.
Chun Kai Feng stopped and swapped wheels with the Italian, and then Valerio Agnoli and Grega Bole waited and helped to haul Colbrelli back to the bunch.
"It was crazy race, but we worked so hard," Agnoli said.
It wasn't the team's only puncture of the day, sports director Phillipe Mauduit explained. "It was a strange day, 30 km to go our car got flat tire, so we had to change the wheel of the car, and then to put a cherry on the cake, our leader had flat tire as well, so we panicked, but that is cycling, [it] didn't work this time for us. At the end of the day Sonny got the third place just because our guys were focused and have a really strong team spirit. They all help each other, they stick together, and they were able to do something most of the people think it's impossible."
Colbrelli sprints onto the podium at the end of stage 1.
2017 An Post Rás returns to Donegal
The 2017 An Post Rás will return to Donegal for the first time in five years, organisers of the race announced today. The race is expected to be as challenging as usual as it travels clockwise around Ireland with stages that include Mamore Gap and Glengesh Pass.
The race runs from May 21-28, starting in near the historic Dublin Castle and covering almost 1200km before the finish in Skerries.
"Overall, the race is hillier than it has been in these past couple of years but you can expect that when it is in Donegal," Race Director, Tony Campbell said. "I think that it will be very fast in the first three days and I think the Irish boys will be well prepared for the speed. After that, it is in the lap of the Gods for the climbing."
The race is not, however, exclusively the domain of the climbers, Campbell said. "I always say you can design all the circuits you want but it is up to the riders to race it. They make the race, really, and there are some top quality domestic riders out there... So while a big chunk in the middle of the race is certainly mountainous, there are roads throughout where speed will play a big part."
An Post Rás 2017 (Total: 1199.8 kilometres):
Stage 1, Sunday, May 21: Dublin to Longford, 146.1km
Stage 2, Monday, May 22: Longford to Newport, 142.9km
Stage 3, Tuesday, May 23: Newport to Bundoran, 149km
Stage 4, Wednesday, May 24: Bundoran to Buncrana, 151.8km
Stage 5, Thursday, May 25: Buncrana to Dungloe, 181.2km
Stage 6, Friday, May 26: Dungloe to Donegal, 132.1km
Stage 7, Saturday, May 27: Donegal to Ardee, 167.3km
Stage 8, Sunday, May 28: Ardee to Skerries, 129.4km
Eddie Dunbar (Ireland) wins stage 7 of the 2016 An Post Ras
Cycling Academy will make WorldTour debut at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
The Israeli Cycling Academy team will make its WorldTour debut February 25 at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first Belgium cobbled Classic of the new season. The team also confirmed an invitation to Dwars Door Vlaanderen on March 22.
"We see this as a great demonstration of trust, and we don’t take that for granted," said team General Manager Ran Margaliot. "These races are simply brutal. We are jumping into some very deep water here, and we know that it is going to be a bit like David and Goliath - racing against the likes of Boonen and Sagan in some of the world’s most prestigious classics.
"But that doesn’t scare us," Margaliot said. "We have a very talented team who can pull out some amazing things with our will, a bit of luck, and some Israeli Chutzpah. That’s what our project is all about."
The cobbled classics are the team’s main focus for 2017, it’s first year at the Pro Continental level, and Cycling Aacdemy brought in riders like Zak Dempster from Bora-Argon 18 and Dennis Van Winden from LottoNL-Jumbo to improve its Classics firepower.
"We are well aware that it is a long-shot, but we believe that it is in races such as Flanders and Roubaix that we can really leave our mark, and we hope to get an invitation for them as well," Margaliot said.
Cycling Academy's Roy Goldstein on the attack in Trofeo Laigueglia