Rocacorba Daily: Tuesday March 19

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In this morning’s Rocacorba we’ve got the results from the opening stage of the Tour of Catalonia, the latest WorldTour rankings, a handful of other news stories, details of a bizarre world record attempt and a video that you might find entertaining. Remember, if you’ve got something interesting, informative, newsworthy or entertaining you think we should add to the Rocacorba, let us know:

Meersman takes stage 1 of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

The Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (Tour of Catalonia) got underway last night with
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider Gianni Meersman taking the 159km opening stage from an elite breakaway of 13 riders.

The lead group — which featured Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Robert Gesink (Blanco), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky) — got away on the descent of the Alt de Collsacreau inside the final 20km after the peloton had reeled in a duo that attacked early in the stage.

Meersman sat near the back of the group as the 13 riders opened up a gap that grew to a maximum of 28 seconds, before launching from the group’s right side and powering away to victory.

Valerio Agnoli (Astana) finished second in the sprint and Alejandro Valverde came in third. Wiggins sits in sixth position overall and will be the one to watch as the seven-stage race unfolds.

Tomorrow’s second stage is 161km long and takes riders from Girona to Banyoles.

Click here to see full results from stage 1 of the 2013 of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

Chavanel tops WorldTour rankings, Porte second

A fourth-placed finish in Sunday’s brutal Milan-San Remo helped Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider Sylvain Chavanel to the top of the UCI WorldTour rankings ahead of Sky’s Richie Porte. Chavanel was awarded 40 points for his fourth place, elevating him from 13th place to first on the leaderboard.

Porte received 100 points for his victory in the Paris-Nice general classification and 6 points for each of his stage wins.

Porte's victory at Paris-Nice catapulted him into second on the WorldTour rankings.

The top-five riders are as follows:

1. Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep): 120pts
2. Richie Porte (Sky): 113pts
3. Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco): 111pts
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana): 106pts
5. Peter Sagan (Cannondale): 92pts

Spain leads the WorldTour-Nations leaderboard ahead of the USA and Great Britain, and Team Sky leads the teams competition ahead of Omega Pharma-QuickStep and RadioShack – Leopard Trek.

Click here to read more on Cycling News and to see the full rankings so far. Click here to see how WorldTour points are distributed.

Behind-the-scenes at Milan-San Remo with Orica-GreenEDGE

Dan Jones and the folks at Orica-GreenEDGE do some amazing work with their behind-the-scenes videos and this one of Milan-San Remo is no exception. Some amazing shots in their that really capture just how brutal the day was. Click here to watch the video.

Phinney flying for cobbled classics

Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) has yet to collect an individual win this year, but has marked himself out as one of the riders to watch in the cobbled classics Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. Phinney road bravely in both Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, catching the attention of many.

He was one of many riders covered with ice and snow when the race stopped at the foot of the Turchino Pass in Milan-San Remo. When the race resumed, Phinney still had enough in the tank to bridge solo off the foot of the Poggio to the lead group of six.

Taylor Phinney looks to be in great form ahead of the cobbled classics. (Image: Kristof Ramon)

The American told VeloNews, “I just went for it. I almost caught them with 400 meters to go but then they started their sprint and it was too late. It’s a good result for me considering the conditions but it was a crazy day.”

Click here to read more on VeloNews.

Boasson Hagen KOed by food poisoning in San Remo

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) suffered from food poisoning during his Milan-San Remo build-up and Sky almost started the race without him.

“I felt fine [before the race], but I think that it took more energy out of me than I expected. I had a hard time eating over two days, which took some of my strength”, Boasson Hogan told “Of course, the weather didn’t help.”

Boasson Hagen believes he got sick while training in Tenerife with the rest of the Sky squad.

Click here to

RadioShack boss upset with Schleck

RadioShack-Leopard team boss, Flavio Becca is upset with star rider Andy Schleck over reports that he was drunk following his Tirreno-Adriatico abandon.

“It wasn’t nice to hear that,” Becca told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve already told Andy several times that I’m not happy with his behaviour. I’d hope he would have the courage to clarify his actions and start to be a serious athlete that tries to win.”

It's been a very tough 12 months for Andy Schleck. (Image: Kristof Ramon)

Schleck, according to French politician Pierre-Yves Leborgn, was drunk in a Munich hotel last week. It is not the first such incident. Former team Saxo Bank sent him home from the 2010 Vuelta a España with Stuart O’Grady for staying out late drinking.

Click here to read more on inrng.

Specialized debuts new helmet at Milan-San Remo

Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed that a handful of riders in Sunday’s Milan-San Remo, including Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen and Vincenzo Nibali, were sporting a new aero road helmet from Specialized.

The new helmet appears to be designed to smooth the airflow over it’s surface, but at the cost of ventilation. Specialized hasn’t yet announced details of the helmet, but it’s certainly not the first time new products have been debuted in a race. Fabian Cancellara debuted Trek’s new Domane in Strade Bianche last year.

Click here to

Turchino missed in Milan-San Remo

Milan-San Remo skipped an important part of its story on Sunday when the Turchino Pass was bypassed due to inclement weather. The 25.8km climb was featured in the first edition of the race in 1907 and has appeared almost every year since.

Only a landslide forced a re-routing over the Bric Berton in 2001. Organisers were unhappy with the temporary road in 2002 and used the Bric Berton again. In 2003, Milan-San Remo returned to the Turchino.

Cyclist “rides” up 2,754 steps in world-record attempt

Polish cyclist Krystian Herba has climbed his way to the top of the world’s fifth-tallest building, the Pudong Tower in Shanghai, leaping up the skyscraper’s 2,754 steps on a trials bike. The existing record for the most number of steps climbed by bike (without touching the stairs with feet or hands) belongs to Herba as well and sits at 2,040 steps. Herba is awaiting verification for this record attempt which was filmed by a member of his support team.

Click here to watch the video and

Are non-circular chainrings more effective than regular chainrings?

There’s been a bit of a buzz around non-circular chainrings in recent years and here at CyclingTips we’ve weighed in to the debate as well.

Although this conference paper is from last year we thought it might still be worth sharing. To quote from the abstract:

“Non-circular chainrings do not evidently seem to enhance performance, but facilitated conditions for muscle activation as well as a reduction of knee joint moments can occur.”

Click here to read the abstract and full conference paper.

Video: Did I win?

And finally, it’s never nice to see a fellow cyclist hit the deck, but judging by the smile on this guy’s face, he was probably OK. Even though this video is from 2009, it’s the first time we’ve seen it, and, I suspect, it won’t be the last … if only to hear the horrendous yet hilarious sound his bike makes as it scrapes and tumbles its way to the finish line.


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