Rocacorba Daily: Wednesday April 24

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It’s Wednesday morning which can normally mean a bit of a lull between the previous weekend’s racing and the racing that’s coming up. But not this week. In today’s Rocacorba we’ve got the overnight results from the Tour of Turkey and the Tour de Romandie, in addition to the usual mix of local and world cycling news. Enjoy!

Berhane takes historic win in Tour of Turkey stage 3

Eritrean rider Natnael Berhane (Europcar) has become the first sub-Saharan African to win in a Hors Categorie (HC) event on the UCI calendar, claiming victory in the third stage of the Tour of Turkey overnight.

The 22-year-old Asmara-born climber outclassed the rest of the field on the final climb to Gugubeli, sprinting away from Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) and Mustafa Sayar (Torku Sekerspor) in the final 200m to win the stage by six seconds and take the overall lead. Seeldraeyers is in second overall and Sayar is third overall.

A group got away roughly 30km into the 152km stage and the last of the breakaway was only reeled in with 7km to go. Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was next to attack, and he was followed by Seeldrayers and Berhane.

Stage four of the eight-stage race will tonight take the peloton 147km from Gocek to Marmaris with several sizeable climbs along the way.

Click here to see the full results and a final kilometres video from stage 3 of the 2013 Tour of Turkey.

Froome wins Tour de Romandie prologue

(AFP) Britain’s Chris Froome, the pre-race favourite, has won the Tour de Romandie prologue, a 7.4km uphill ride between Chable and Bruson, in a time of 13min 15secs.

The Sky team leader overtook Spain’s Dani Moreno – the winner of last week’s Fleche Wallonne – in a strong finish and crossed the line six seconds ahead of American rider Andrew Talansky.

Croatia’s Robert Kiserlovski, was third, 13 seconds adrift of first place, while Australia’s Richie Porte, a Sky team-mate of Froome, was fourth at 15 seconds behind.

Tonight’s first stage is a 176.4km ride from St-Maurice to Renens, just outside Lausanne, with the five-stage race concluding on Sunday.

Froome will be hoping to not only win here but go on like the winners of the past two editions, Australian Cadel Evans and Froome’s Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins, and win the Tour de France in the same year.

Click here to see the full results from the 2013 Tour de Romandie prologue.

Renshaw may re-join Cavendish train

Mark Renshaw is considering his options for 2014, including leading out Mark Cavendish once more, this time at team Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Renshaw told Cycling Weekly he is weighing up the option along with staying with Theo Bos at team Blanco.

“There’s good options for both, which is comforting,” he said.

“There’s always a lot to consider because the last decision I made was quite a big one and quite a big change. The next one will be just as big I think.”

They formed one of the best sprint trains in recent memory; could they be reuniting?

A lot of what Renshaw does will depend on Blanco’s future. After Rabobank pulled its backing, the team must find a new sponsor to continue into next season.

Click here to read more.

Alessandro “Ale-Jet” Petacchi retires

(AFP) Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi on Tuesday has announced his retirement from professional racing at the age of 39.

“Having reached the ceiling of 200 victories I feel that I need a change in my life, to find another dimension and also to commit more time to my family,” said Petacchi.

Pettachi won the sprinters’ green jersey at the Tour de France in 2010 and picked up six stage wins in the sport’s biggest stage race during a 17-year career. He won a total of 48 stages in the big three tours, including six in the 2003 Tour of Italy when he succeeded compatriot Mario Cipollini as his country’s foremost sprint star.

In that year alone he won an incredible 15 stages at the three grand tours and a year later he claimed a record nine stages during the Giro d’Italia as he also won the points classification jersey.

His other notable successes were winning the Milan-Sanremo classic in 2005 and Paris-Tours two years later.

Since 2010 Pettachi has been riding for the Italian Lampre team, although his main success came under the colours of Fassa Bortolo and Team Milram.

Liege-Bastogne-Liege: the benefits of being fresh

by Jono Lovelock

Statistics can really tell a story and this tweet by @ammattipyoraily is no exception. It highlights just how much difference a little freshness can make at the end of a race.

In the 2012 Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Maxim Iglinksy crawled home at the end of a tiresome pursuit and then passed Vicenzo Nibali. In 2013, thanks to the ‘balls to the wall’ riding of Ryder Hesjedal, Dan Martin was able to bide his time in the lead group and save all his energy for one final effort.

The numbers below show how important those tactics really were for Garmin. Martin powered through the final uphill kilometre 7km/h faster than Iglinsky the year before. It should be noted, however, that what appeared to be an overall easier race than last year certainly aided a quicker final ascent.

Vaughters questions Martin’s Grand Tour potential

Garmin-Sharp general manager, Jonathan Vaughters praised Dan Martin’s win in Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday and wondered, publicly, just how far the Irishman can go.

Vaughters told Cycling News, “He can certainly win stages in a Grand Tour and he can win the polka dot jersey, but it’s an open question as to whether he’s a GC rider. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be looking at that in the next year or two, but there’s no clear example of when he’s been able to put three weeks together at that level. … It needs to be explored.

“He’s a born winner. He’s either going to win the Tour de France or after three or four times trying he’ll concentrate on races like Liège, like Lombardia.”

Martin won the Volta a Catalunya last month. On Sunday, he became only the second Irishman to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège after Sean Kelly in 1984 and 1989.

Click here to read more on Cycling News.

UCI helps needy bike racers

The UCI is helping cyclists in disadvantaged countries to get into racing, providing equipment in collaboration with bike manufacturer Look.

The UCI said in a press statement, “Thanks to Bikes for the World, these athletes have been able to line up at continental and international competitions with equipment that will not see them disadvantaged from the outset.”

Nations including Bolivia to Zambia have received around 200 bikes and equipment.

Click here to read more at the UCI website.

Boonen back on bike, skips Worlds recon

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is back training following a crash that knocked him out of the Ronde van Vlaanderen on April 1. The Belgian banged his hip and fractured his rib, but recovered enough to ride Saturday.

He wrote on Twitter that his brief holiday felt good and, even with his hip still hurting, he planned a Saturday return. Despite the good news, he and Jelle Vanendert cancelled a trip to Florence to preview the World Championship course with the Belgian team this week.

The Belgian cycling federation told newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, “There will be no pro men during the recon.”

Click here to read more at Het Laatste Nieuws.

WADA clarifies states of new drug, AOD-9604

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has issued a clarification about the status of “anti-obesity” drug, AOD-9604, confirming that the substance is in fact banned.

In a statement WADA said:

“AOD-9604 is a substance still under pre-clinical and clinical development and has not been approved for therapeutic use by any government health authority in the world.”

The statement comes after the Australian Crime Commission’s report into doping in sport suggested AOD-9604 isn’t banned. The compound is one of those at the centre of the investigation into doping at the Essendon and Melbourne AFL clubs.

Click here to read more on the WADA website. Click here to read more on

Queensland helmet laws to allow religious exemptions

Members of the Sikh community will no longer have to wear bike helmets in Queensland after an amendment was made to the state’s bike helmet laws yesterday.

The move comes after Sikh Jasdeep Atwal fought off the fine he received in 2012 for riding a bike without a helmet. Taking the case to court, Atwal argued that as a Sikh he was required to wear a turban and that no helmet would fit over his turban.

Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson said:

“Let’s be very clear. Just because someone is going to come out there and claim they don’t want to wear a helmet for religious reasons, they have to do more than that, they have to demonstrate there is a real, long standing religious belief there.”

Click here to read more at the Brisbane Times.

When is it too windy to ride?

Most of us are pretty reluctant to head out on the bike when it’s pouring down outside, but what about when there are gale-force winds about? How windy would it have to be for you to decide to stay at home? Would you ride in this sort of wind?

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