The weekend was one of the busiest moments on the international calendar, with some spectacular racing in Europe and around the world.
There were huge crowds in Yorkshire to see Bradley Wiggins in action with his new WIGGINS team, while his former Team Sky stable-mate Chris Froome was in action at the Tour de Romandie against his Tour de France rivals. Other riders were in action under the Turkish sun at the Presidential Tour of Turkey and in New Mexico in the USA at the Tour of the Gila.
Alex Dowsett (Movistar) also grabbed the headlines with a superbly controlled ride on the track in Manchester to set a new Hour Record.
Tour de Yorkshire
The inaugural three-day Tour de Yorkshire took place with Lars Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky) winning the event outright and leading from start to finish.
Team Sky were forced to deal with the loss of pre-race favourite Ben Swift after the local rider crashed during stage one to Bridlington. Nordhaug and teammate Philip Deignan rallied and helped form the winning break before the Norwegian won the sprint and pulled on the first leader’s jersey of the race.
On stage two Moreno Hofland finally kick-started LottoNL-Jumbo’s season with their first win of the year in a close fought sprint into York, while Ben Herrans (BMC Racing) claimed the final stage in Leeds on Sunday. Nordhaug was careful marshalled through the final day’s action and marked his closest rivals Samuel Sanchez and Thomas Voeckler, to seal the overall win.
Catch up on the all the action from race here.
Dowsett's Hour Record
Across the Pennines, Alex Dowsett set a new UCI Hour Record at the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday with a distance of 52.937 kilometres, beating Rohan Dennis’ previous record of 52.491. Dowsett looked like he still had more to give as he lifted his bike over his head in triumph after completing his hour.
“The first 30 minutes I’m not going to lie were easy. Easier compared to what I expected. Every time I’ve got on the bike I’ve got faster. This is the first time I’ve done it with the higher temperature. I knew it was going to be easier early on but I wasn’t expecting that. I just had to stay disciplined because the last 10 minutes were a little grippy,’’ The Movistar rider said after his effort.
The new record sets up Bradley Wiggins’ attempt, which will take place in June at the London Olympic velodrome. He called Dowsett’s ride ‘fantastic’ while speaking at the Tour de Yorkshire. Click here to ses Wiggins talk about the Hour Record.
Tour de Romandie
The weekend may have had a British feel to it but over in the Tour de Romandie many of the Grand Tour contenders for the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France were locking horns.
Going into the weekend Michael Albasini (Orica GreenEdge) held a slim lead on GC thanks to his previous two stage wins but that all changed on Saturday’s stage from Fribourg to Champex-Lac when Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) soloed clear on the last climb to take his first win of the season.
The talented young Frenchman attacked inside the closing kilometres with a perfectly-timed move after Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Rafal Majka briefly let the pace drop. Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha) finished second on the stage and moved into second overall.
On the final stage time trial the Russian overcame a mechanical problem to win the overall classification, while Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) claimed the stage win. Zakarin was forced to change bikes during his time trial effort but only lost 13 seconds to Martin to hold onto his race lead. Simon Spilak made it a Katusha one-two as he managed to jump from fourth to second in the overall standings, with an impressive ride to second on the stage. Team Sky’s Chris Froome complete the podium.
Tour of Turkey
The Tour of Turkey wrapped up on Sunday with a sprint finish in the capital Istanbul. Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) was looking for a fourth stage win but he and the other sprinters were surprised by a late attack by Lluis Mas Bonet (Caja Rural), who managed to stay away and take the biggest win of his career.
The eight-day race again produced some great racing and proved to be ideal Giro d’Italia preparation, with the sprinters enjoying the stages along the coast, as the overall contenders fought for the leader’s blue jersey in the hills.
Rebellin won stage three to set up his shot at overall victory. However he faltered on stage six to Selçuk, where Durasek gained enough time to take the race lead. His Lampre-Merida team then helped control the racing on the final two stages.
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While many riders were busy in Europe preparing for the Giro d’Italia, US-based riders raced the Tour of the Gila as their final race before the Tour of California.
Rob Britton (Team SmartStop) and Michael Woods (Optum Pro Cycling) were the big winners on the final stage in Pinos Altos.
Britton snatched the overall title from the overnight leader Rafael Montiel (Orgullo Antioqueno) after he ran into trouble on the final climb and dropped off the overall podium. Woods helped to drive a select group of contenders and then out-sprinted best young rider Daniel Jaramillo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) to take the stage victory.
Mara Abbott, leading the composite Amy D Foundation team, soloed to her fifth career Tour of the Gila victory, and her third edition in a row, while Unitedhealthcare's Katie Hall leapfrogged Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB) and Jasmin Glaesser (Optum), taking second on the stage and overall classification.
Click here for our full coverage of the Tour of the Gila by US Editor Laura Weislo.