Hincapie Racing's Ty Magner and UnitedHealthcare's Hannah Barnes lead the men's and women's rankings of USA Cycling's National Criterium Calendar after winning last weekend's series-opening Sunny King Criterium in Alabama.
Magner upset the UnitedHealthcare apple cart in the men's race, beating Luke Keough and Hilton Clarke after 90 minutes of racing. Hincapie Racing put three riders in the top 10, including Magner's win, collecting 210 points and the team lead after the first event. UnitedHealthcare used podium finishes by Keough and Clarke to earn 162 points and second place in the team rankings, while Astellas Cycling chalked two top-10 finishes for 102 points and third-place.
Barnes beat teammate Coryn Rivera to take the women's win and early series lead. Rivera now trails her teammate by 30 points after finishing with the same time. Erica Allar (Colavita-Bianchi) finished third. UnitedHealthcare earned 252 points and the lead in the team standings, while ISCorp-SmartChoice MRI had a pair of top-five finishes by Skylar Schneider and Yussely Soto to collect 180 points and second place. Colavita-Bianchi rode Allar’s podium result to third place with 129 points in the team standings.
Ty Magner (Hincapie) takes the win in Alabama. Photo: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us
Archbold shows form ahead of Tour of Flanders
Bora-Argon 18 sprinter Shane Archbold showed his early season form again on Wednesday with a third-place during stage 2 of Driedaagse de Panne behind Team Katusha's Alexander Kristoff and Team Sky's Elia Viviani. The 26-year-old Kiwi was second at the Classica Corsica last week behind Team Europcar's Thomas Boudat.
"When Kristoff wins, Viviani is second and we sprint to the podium, we haven’t done anything wrong," Sport Director Enrico Poitschke said after the stage. "Given the competition here, scoring a third place is a great result. We definitely wanted to be part of a larger breakaway group, so our sprinters could save some energy in the field."
Bora-Argon 18's Christoph Pfingsten infiltrated the day's breakaway and then made several attacks on the closing circuits to help set up the team's sprinters.
"The guys back in the peloton tried to keep a good position and to protect our sprinters, like Shane and Michael," Poitschke said. "On the final kilometres, the guys found quickly each other and thus they could prepare the sprint optimally. That was a top performance from the whole team."
LottoNL-Jumbo looking for first win of 2015 at Volta Limburg Classic title
Alongwith FDJ, LottoNL-Jumbo is the only WorldTour team not to have won a race in 2015 but will look to reverse that trend at the UCI 1.1 Volta Limburg Classic. A race the team won last year via Moreno Hofland who won't be defending his title but sport director Frans Maassen is confident in the team that has been selected.
"I would have liked to have Moreno Hofland at the start again, but he isn’t fit enough," said Maassen. "We have Barry Markus, who’s quick, but he is obviously a different type of sprinter. It would be great if he survives the final, but that’s a difficult and exciting challenge."
Saturday's 198km race from Eijsden to Eijsden features several sharp climbs, fast descents and unpredictable weather to make it a tough day in the saddle, exactly what Martijn Keizer is expecting.
"I expect an elimination race on Saturday if the weather remains stormy like the last few days," he said.
Keizer has 25 race days in his legs already this season and is looking forward to how the new parcours, with the final climb closer to the finish, will change the dynamics of the race.
"In the past, the several groups came together in the final. Thanks to the adjustments, a break now stands a bigger chance, which doesn’t has to be a disadvantage for us," he said. "But on the local laps, the sprinters came back. The new course is an advantage for me, though. I’m one-hundred per cent fit at the moment. I rode Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Catalonia, two tough WorldTour races, so my racing level should be all right."
LottoNL-Jumbo for Volta Limburg Classic: Brian Bulgac, Martijn Keizer, Wilco Kelderman Steven Kruijswijk, Bert-Jan Lindeman and Barry Markus.
IAM Cycling at altitude in Sierra Nevada
Swiss WorldTour team IAM Cycling will embark on a 12-20 day training camp in the Sierra Nevada in anticipation of the Ardennes Classics and the Tour of the Basque Country. The team has selected eight riders for the camp, Stef Clement, Thomas Degand, Mathias Frank, Sondre Holst Enger, Jarlinson Pantano, Simon Pellaud, Matteo Pelucchi and Marcel Wyss.
Sports director Rik Verbrugghe explained the rationale behind the training camp.
"Regarding the racing calendar, at this time of year, but also at a couple other periods in the season, there are little blanks in terms of races that could help riders prepare for the major three week tours like the Giro and the Tour," Verbrugghe said. "That’s why we have to fit in three special camps this season. It is therefore no coincidence that Mathias Frank, our leader for the Tour de France, will also participate in all three. But they also give all our guys the chance to progress and improve with future races in mind."
The riders will face several different training techniques over the length of the camp as Marcello Albasini explained.
"The guys will stay between 12 and 20 days at an altitude of around 2300 meters. We will drive down the mountain in cars to do training rides through the plains and flat lands, but still with challenges along the way to overcome before we return to the top of the Sierra Nevada," Albasini said. "The goal will be to work on endurance by using intervals in order to improve the anaerobic threshold. For instance, if I devise a 15 minute period, the rider will have to be 75% of the time just under threshold and 25% of the time just over."