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The weekend is nearly upon us and so too is Paris-Roubaix. In this morning’s Rocacorba we’ve got a couple of previews of the Hell of the North as well as a handful of results from races that were held in Europe overnight. We’ve also got the usual mix of cycling news and other items to help you see out the working week. Enjoy!
Quintana wins stage 4 of Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
Colombian climber Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has taken his second victory of the year, winning a cold and wet fourth stage of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) overnight.
Quintana’s Movistar squad went to work on the penultimate climb of the day — the second category San Miguel — chasing down a five-man breakaway that had four minutes on the main field at the start of the climb.
The break was eventually shut down and on the last climb of the day — the first category Alto de Usartza — the high tempo shelled much of the peloton, leaving only an elite group to battle it out for the win. On the wet and slippery descent to the finish Quintana proved the most willing to take risks, and it paid off.
The Colombian finished two seconds clear of the other six riders in the select group, which included Richie Porte (Sky), Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) and overall leader of the race Sergio Hanao (Sky).
After four stages, and with two remaining, Henao clings to the overall lead by six seconds from Quintana and by 10 seconds from Porte who’s in third place.
Click here to see the full results and a highlights video from stage 4 of the 2013 Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco.
Kirsten Wild goes back-to-back at the Energiewacht Tour
Argos-Shimano rider Kirsten Wild has taken her second consecutive stage win at the Energiewacht Tour in the Netherlands, cementing her position at the top of the general classification.
A group of 13 riders got away after about 30km and managed to work together to finish nearly two minutes ahead of the peloton. This blog post from Gracie Elvin, who finished in the lead bunch, gives you a sense of how the race unfolded.
With four stages remaining in the race, the top five positions on the general classification are all taken up by Dutch riders. Loes Gunnewijk is the best-placed Orica-AIS rider in fifth place with Gracie Elvin currently sitting in 10th place overall.
Rolland takes Circuit Cycliste Sarthe lead from Durbridge
Pierre Rolland (Europcar) has claimed his first victory of the season, winning stage 4 of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe and propelling himself into the overall lead.
Rolland attacked solo from a breakaway with 7km to go and held on to win atop the Mont des Avaloirs at Pré-en-Pail. Australia’s Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) went into the stage wearing the leader’s yellow jersey but he was unable to go with the leaders up the climb and finished the stage 4 minutes 37 seconds behind Rolland.
With one stage left in the race, Rolland leads by 10 seconds overall from Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura) in second and Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano) in third.
Click here to read more on Cycling News.
Cancellara crashes again
Since winning the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, Fabian Cancellara’s (RadioShack-Leopard) luck appears to have deserted him. He crashed about 50km into Scheldeprijs on Wednesday and yesterday, while on a reconnaissance ride ahead of Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, Cancellara crashed on the Waindignies-Hamage cobbled sector. The sector is just one of 27 that are peppered throughout the epic 254km race.
Fortunately, the accident doesn’t appear to have been too serious and Cancellara was back on his bike a short time later.
Click here to read more on Cycling Weekly.
X-ray reveals broken rib for Boonen
It’s fair to say that this year hasn’t really gone Tom Boonen’s way. He had a serious elbow infection earlier in the year, he came into the cobbled classics a little underdone and then crashed out of Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders.
The Flanders crash left Boonen with a gash on his knee, a bruised hip and an injured elbow but it now appears that Boonen also fractured a rib in the crash.
In a statement, Boonen’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep team said:
“Tom Boonen was diagnosed with a fracture to the 10th rib of the left hemitorax, in addition to the injuries already known after his unfortunate crash at the Ronde on Sunday. He felt pain in the area since Tuesday and this morning X-rays at Herentals underlined a fracture. “
Click here to read more on VeloNews.
Stuart O’Grady previews Paris-Roubaix
If there’s one Australian rider who knows a thing or two about Paris-Roubaix it’s Stuey O’Grady. He’s ridden the race more times than he can count, he won it in 2007, and in this Q&A for Orica-GreenEDGE Stuey gives a great insight into just how hard the race is, what his role will be come Sunday’s race and what the appeal of riding a race this hard even is.
Click here to read the Q&A on the Orica-GreenEDGE website.
The psychogeography of Paris-Roubaix
Elsewhere on the interwebs the Inner Ring has also published a Paris-Roubaix preview, looking at the race in terms of its “psychogeography”. To quote from the Inner Ring:
“Paris-Roubaix is one of the best examples of a race whose myth redefines the landscape, imposes artificial names on places and even manages to turn a crumbling shower block into an sporting Elysium reserved for an elite.”
It’s all about the altered identity that the roads of Paris-Roubaix take on when they’re part of the race and how that myth and legend of the race is related to that altered identity. An interesting read and well worth checking out.
Click here to read the full article at inrng.com.
Andy Schleck: “I cannot dream of winning the Tour this year”
It’s hardly a secret that Andy Schleck’s been off the boil in the last year or so but for the first time since crashing in the Critérium du Dauphiné last summer the Luxembourg rider has acknowledged that his chances of winning the 2013 Tour de France are almost zero.
Schleck told reporters that he won’t go into the Tour as leader of the RadioShack-Leopard squad:
“There are others who have the weight on their shoulders now. For me, it’s important that I have the full support of the team. We’ll see how it goes in July.”
Schleck was also uncertain of the impact he’ll be able to have in the Ardennes:
“I don’t know if I am going to be able to compete for the best,” Schleck said. “I take it day-by-day to get the best possible shape for the classics and we’ll see how far I can go.”
Click here to read more on VeloNews.
Energiewacht Tour organisers apologise for chaotic first stage
The organisers of the Energiewacht Tour have publicly apologised for a shambolic start to the six-stage race after a number of incidents led to a rider protest. The riders had to contend with a raised bridge, a passing train, unauthorised trucks and other vehicles on the course, not to mention incorrect directions.
The official statement explains the cause behind each of the incidents before issuing an apology to the riders.
Click here to read the full statement from the race organisers (using Google Translate).
The Bike Lane – Spring Classics, episode 3
Have you seen episode three of The Bike Lane’s Spring Classics season yet? No? Why not check it out now?
Click here to get to the video.
Armstrong’s swimming comeback cancelled
Yesterday we reported that Lance Armstrong was returning to racing, with plans to take part in a masters swimming event over the weekend. The argument made by Armstrong and others was that masters swimming doesn’t come under the jurisdiction of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which banned Armstrong from competition for life. Apparently that’s not the case.
Upon hearing about Armstrong’s entry into the competition, USADA reportedly contacted US Swimming to ensure the ban was upheld. Armstrong subsequently cancelled his entry.
Click here to read more at bicycling.com.
Video: “The Inverted Bike Shop”
And finally, here’s a cracking video to ease you into the final day of the working week. It’s about a bike shop in Brooklyn that takes a rather different approach to building bikes and working with customers. We won’t say any more than that so make sure you check out the video for yourself.