Teams prepare for team time trial in Ponferrada
Riders and teams are already in Ponferrada for the UCI Road World Championships, with the leading professional teams busy preparing for the opening team time trial events for Elite men and women on Sunday.
Several teams stayed in Spain after the Vuelta a España and headed to Ponferrada to study the course, select equipment and work on their riding order.
The Belkin team invited riders' family and friends to Spain to celebrate the end of the Vuelta before the riders began to focus on Sunday's 57.1km race. Orica-GreenEdge has been holding a special training camp in Girona, Spain, and have named Luke Durbridge, Svein Tuft, Michael Hepburn, Brett Lancaster, Jens Mouris and Damien Howson as their starting six. Omega Pharma-QuickStep is expected to be the biggest threat to Orica-GreenEdge's success. The Belgian team won by less than a second in Florence last year and can again count on the horsepower of individual world time trial champion Tony Martin.
Alex Dowsett revealed on Twitter that seven riders are fighting for the six places in the Movistar team. Dowsett is expected to make the cut along with Adriano Malori, making Movistar an outsider for at least a medal.
Trentin looking to 2015 World Championships in Richmond
Matteo Trentin was praised by Italian national coach Davide Cassani for admitting he did not have the form to deserve a place in the Squadra Azzurra for Ponferrada.
"I think this year's Worlds course suits the riders who do well at the Ardennes Classic the most," Trentin said. "I had a good season this year but there is always space to improve. Next year, I will try to continue to improve."
The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider was off the pace at the recent Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and failed to finish the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. He called Cassani to say he did not have the form to target the World Championship in Ponferrada but is already thinking about the 2015 Worlds in Richmond.
"I would like to do well at the Worlds next year in Richmond," he said. "I am already looking ahead to next year's World Championship."
Swift extends with Team Sky
Ben Swift has agreed to extend his contract with Team Sky until the end of 2016 as he prepares to lead the Great Britain team at next week's World Championships road race.
The 26 year-old Yorkshireman has been part of Team Sky since it was created in 2010 and has won 11 races since then. He finished third in this year's Milan-San Remo and is expected to share the role of protected sprinter with Italy' Elia Viviani for the 2015 season.
“I’ve been with Team Sky since the start and five years on it really does feel like home. To keep that relationship going was really important so I’m delighted to be staying for another two years. I already have one eye on next season and with this team I know I can deliver some good results,” Swift said in a statement from Team Sky.
“I really do feel part of the foundations of this team, having grown up with so many of the riders and staff. I’ve known many of them since the start of my career and have been guided by the likes of Sir Dave Brailsford and Rod Ellingworth for years, which has made me the rider I am today.
“With the team’s support I’ve been able to grow and develop as a rider and by staying here I know that will continue.”
Schleck opts out of Luxembourg team
Luxembourg is struggling to field a team for the Elite men's road race, with Fränk Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) confirming that he will not ride.
Bob Jungels has pulled out the time trial and road race due to a saddle sore, while Andy Schleck is still recovering from his operation after rupturing his knee ligaments on the London stage of the Tour de France.
Luxembourg national coach Bernhard Baldinger needs to find two riders to complete the three-rider squad with Ben Gastauer.
Tony Martin, confessions of a world champion
Tony Martin is looking for a fourth consecutive title in Spain. The German powerhouse is also targeting a third team time trial title on Sunday. Since his first gold in the Copenhagen in 2011, Martin has been almost untouchable.
“For a long time, Cancellara was a lofty goal, a point far away. He always won time trials in front of me, by one or even two minutes. In 2011 everything changed,” Martin told the official championship website Mundialciclismoponferrada.com.
How does a three-time world champion prepare for such a big even? He explained, “I normally have breakfast at about 10am and then I preview the course for one hour. On the bus, three hours before the race, we eat some pasta and rice. I warm up an hour before the race starts, and fifteen minutes before I get dressed and head to the starting area.”
Martin is known for his dinner-plate-sized gears in the time trial. The huge gears mean that Martin is able to push higher speeds then most and his average speed of 51.9kph would have put him sixth in the team event.
“I think the max speed I have ever reached is 100kph. I have done it a few times, but it depends on the parcours,” he said. “The (biggest) top gear I have ever used is 58x11. Bert Grabsch started with these great gears. I also wanted to try it, and I found I loved it. I do not often use it, but when you need it, it is always there.”