Van der Poel takes long and windy road home after Koksijde cancellation
Mathieu van der Poel missed out on the chance to make up ground in the Cyclo-cross World Cup standings due to the cancellation of Sunday's race in Koksijde but he salvaged a day's training by defying an extreme weather warning to ride the 208 kilometres back to his home in Kapellen on the Belgian-Dutch border.
With the North Sea coast battered by storms and high winds, the organisers in Koksijde took the wise decision to cancel all racing on Sunday out of concern for the safety of the riders and spectators. Indeed, there was a general weather warning in place across the country. However Van der Poel was undeterred and rode home in the company of his brother and Beobank-Corendon teammate David.
"It was actually my brother David's idea. Neither of us wanted to return home by car so we decided to cycle. It was just the two of us, there was no one else," Van der Poel told Sporza. "We had the wind at our backs. In the beginning, there was still a lot of wind, which was very nice, although there were some parts where we had headwind.
"We left Koksijde at around 11:30, when it was still bright. By the time we got to Antwerp, it was getting dark. From Antwerp, we rode to Kapellen along bike paths."
Van der Poel spent most of last week training in Spain, and after Sunday's unexpected block of work on the long road home, he envisaged a more relaxed build-up to next weekend’s World Cup race in Zeven.
"In the end it was a pleasant trip. I had good legs, which always makes it better," Van der Poel said. "It's the first time I've put in such a long ride during the cyclo-cross season, but with the wind at your back it’s different. After a good week in Spain and this training, I can take it easier this week so I'll be refreshed for next weekend."
Ewan and Renshaw team up in search of Australian Madison title
Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange) and Mark Renshaw both started their careers on the track before turning their attention to the road and the Australian duo will return to boards next month as they pair up for the national Madison titles. The championships will be held on December 17 at Melbourne's Hisense Arena.
Renshaw, 34, is a world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the team pursuit but has been fully committed to a road career since 2004. Ewan, 22, last rode the track competitively in 2013 at the Australian national championships, finishing second in the team pursuit with NSW, and winning medals in the points and scratch races. Ewan was also a junior track world champion in the omnium.
Previous winners of the national Madison title include Glenn O'Shea, Jack Bobridge, Leigh Howard, and Cameron Meyer.
Volta a Catalunya to feature summit finish at Lo Port de Tortosa
The steep climb of Lo Port de Tortosa will feature as the summit finish on stage five of the 2017 Volta a Catalunya. The race has visited the climb on two previous occasions, with a Colombian rider emerging victorious each time. Alirio Chizabas took the honours in 1985, while Luis Herrera triumphed in 1991.
Lo Port de Tortosa is ten kilometres in length and climbs to an altitude of 1,000 metres with an average gradient of 9.7% and slopes of up to 15%. The ascent will come at the end of the 182-kilometre-long stage 5. The race organisers also announced on Monday that stage 6 will begin from Tortosa.
The full route of the Volta a Catalunya is yet to be unveiled, but the organisers have now confirmed two of the seven stages. Stage 2 of the 2017 Volta a Catalunya will be a 41-kilometre team time trial in Pla de d'Estany.
Froome and his clone back in Norwegian wind tunnel
Chris Froome (Team Sky) has tested material in the wind tunnel at the Norwegian University of Science of Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim in recent days, or at least his clone has.
Froome tweeted a photo of a clone in the NTNU wind tunnel on Sunday, suggesting he had been working hard during his off season. It seems that the clone was used in work done by Simon Jones, the head of innovation at Team Sky in the wind tunnel, while Froome actually enjoyed his final break of the off season. Clones have often been used during wind tunnel tests to maximise time and testing.
Team Sky and Froome began their collaboration with the Norwegian facility last winter, working with Professor Luca Oggiano, who explained that he had been contacted by Jones.
"Five years ago I completed my doctoral thesis on aerodynamics. Since then I've worked with top Norwegian Olympic athletes and Adidas, among others. Last summer, an email from Team Sky landed in my inbox. They had read my thesis and asked if it would be possible to work together," Oggiano said in January.