World champion Kwiatkowski recons Milan San Remo
Michal Kwiatkowski and his Etixx-QuickStep teammate Michal Golas rode 70km of the 293km Milan-San Remo course. Kwiatkowski has ridden the last two editions of the first monument of the season, failing to finish on both occasions.
The Polish duo rode the key climbs in the final third of the race, ascending the Capo Mele, Capo Cervo, Capo Berta, the Cipressa, and the selective Poggio on two occasions. Golas and Kwiatkowski also rode the finale on Via Roma which returns to the race after a seven year absence.
"It was a really nice experience," Kwiatkowski said. "I participated twice in Milan-San Remo, but due to different circumstances I was unable to finish the race, including extreme weather conditions in the last couple years. I am happy I was able to take profit of the fact I was already in the area after my 2nd place overall finish at Paris-Nice. This kind of recon is important not only to memorise the parcours, but to also understand the atmosphere of the race to be fully motivated. I like to be completely involved emotionally in these kinds of races, and breathe the history of the race. This is a race with big tradition for more than 100 years and it is so important to be prepared with all the details, and check everything."
"At the team level we will of course do our best to earn the first race monument of the season for Etixx – Quick-Step," Kwiatkowski added. "Our team is strong. Cavendish is a guy who won this race in his very first participation. He is a guy who has a great feeling for this race and the experience that is useful for all of us. On a personal level I want to discover this finale, considering I didn't finish my first two attempts. I want to honour the race by finishing it, first and foremost."
Wiggins skips Paris-Nice time trial for training
According to his team, Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) decided to skip the final time trial at Paris-Nice in order to return to training.
The British rider pulled out of Paris-Nice on the eve of the final Col d'Éze stage after riding as a super-domestique throughout the week for Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas, with the Australian winning the race outright.
“Bradley has big races and big challenges coming up and, with our support, he wanted to get back to his training program quickly so he can be in the best possible shape for them,’’ Team Sky told Cyclingnews.
The time trial would have been a rare opportunity for Wiggins to ride in his rainbow jersey as world time trial champion but with Paris-Roubaix less than a month away the former Tour de France winner chose to focus on training.
“Bradley was excellent for the team all week and played a key role for Richie and Geraint which helped get a win for the team.”
Cancellara on hand to save Mollema
Sitting in second place overall, Bauke Mollema's hopes of retaining his high GC position at Tirreno-Adratico almost disappeared when the Dutchman punctured on the sixth stage just as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) upped to pace to force a selection. Teammate Fabian Cancellara bridged the gap to the front group, offering his front wheel to save Mollema from any significant time losses.
"I was in the second group and Bauke was alone up front but at least we had Stijn as a safety net in the front, and then suddenly Bauke punctures! No car there, nobody, so I gave up my wheel," Cancellara said. "Then the neutral service came, so I got a wheel at the same time I was changing his wheel."
There were no time losses for Mollema after the Trek team worked to bring him back to the front group, and he finished on the same time as all his major rivals ahead of the the final 10km time trial.
"I had a flat tire in a bad moment when Tinkoff-Saxo was going full gas on the climb," Mollema said. "Thankfully, Fabian was there and he did a great TT to come back for maybe 20km. Popovych came to help, Stijn, Julián …and we had to catch back around a minute. We spent a lot of energy there but the guys did such a great job!”
Confirmed broken collarbone for Emma Johansson
Swedish national champion Emma Johansson will miss the remainder of the classics season after it was confirmed she had broken a collarbone from a crash in the final sprint of the Novilon Eurocup. Orica-AIS sport director Martin Barras described the moment of impact that brought down Johansson
"Unfortunately for Emma and the team, as she was contesting the sprint she hit the sidewalk..." Barras said. "It's obviously a very, very unfortunate finish to a day where we saw a lot of spirit."
Johansson is yet to win a race in 2015 with her best result third place at Le Samyn des Dames.
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