Barguil wins stage 16 of the Vuelta, Nibali’s lead cut

Frenchman Warren Barguil clinched his second stage win in four days as race leader Vincenzo Nibali’s advantage was substantially reduced in the Tour of Spain overnight.

stage-16 of the Vuelta a EspaÒa 2013

Barguil somehow held on to win a photo finish with Colombian Rigoberto Uran as Poland’s Bartosz Huzarski took third on the 146.8km 16th stage from Graus to Sallent de Gallego.

Italian Nibali, meanwhile, struggled mightily on the climb to the finish as he was dropped by American Chris Horner with around 3km to go, losing 22 seconds on the RadioShack rider and seeing his overall lead trimmed to just 28 seconds with five stages remaining.

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde remains in third place overall but he also gained time on Nibali and is now just 1:14 behind the Giro d’Italia winner.

“I wasn’t at my best, but it wasn’t too big of a scare,” said Nibali afterwards. “It was a very difficult finish, above all for the headwind and I thought I would be better in the final kilometres but as you saw I lacked the strength.

“After three very hard days it is normal to feel a bit tired, but at least we have a rest day tomorrow and I can recuperate.”

After two brutal stages through the Pyrenees over the weekend, the pack was split for the majority of the day with a large leading group of over 20 riders being held in check by the chasing peloton. The excitement didn’t truly start therefore until around 10km to go when, after a series of failed attempts, Barguil eventually pulled clear at the front and quickly opened up a 30-second gap.

However, unlike his break to victory on Friday, the 21-year-old didn’t have enough in the tank to maintain his lead all the way to the finish and was caught by Uran about a kilometre from home.

The Sky rider then seemed certain for a first stage victory in the Tour of Spain but Barguil somehow surged past him in the final sprint to the line to take the win.

stage-16 of the Vuelta a EspaÒa 2013

“It has been a great tour for me. When I attacked I had very good legs but I saw Uran was coming and I thought it best to wait a little and go for the sprint,” said Barguil. “To beat such a great rider and win gives me great confidence.”

Further back Valverde, the 2009 winner, and Joaquim Rodriguez, who in July finished third in the Tour de France, were attempting to break away from Nibali on the final climb, but unlike in the previous two days the 2010 champion wasn’t able to stay with them as the Spanish duo both gained 28 seconds on the leader.

And Horner was also able to escape the clutches of Nibali in the final stages to put himself very much in contention to win his first Tour of Spain come Madrid on Sunday.

Nibali will at least have a day to recover, though, with Tuesday being a rest day before the 189km ride from Calahorra to Burgos on Wednesday.

Follow the link for results from stage 16 of the 2013 Vuelta a Espana. Text via AFP.

Tony Martin abandons the Vuelta to focus on the worlds

Reigning world ITT champion Tony Martin has abandoned the Vuelta a Espana on stage 15 to prepare for a defense of his title at the world championships later this month.

Tour de France 2013 stage-11

After seeing a number of riders, including podium threat Ivan Basso, withdraw due to hypothermia Martin decided to leave the race, not wanting to jeopardise his preparations for the worlds ITT.

“After the extremely cold temperatures yesterday [Saturday] and with rain again in the first hour today [Sunday], I have decided in consultation with my team to abandon the Vuelta,” Martin said on his website. “The stage on Saturday had a drop in temperature from about 30 degrees to around 4 degrees and it was one of the most unusual I have ever ridden.”

Martin came to the Vuelta primarily in preparation for his tilt at a third consecutive World ITT championship.

Click here to read more at CyclingNews.

Contador will stay with Team Saxo in 2014

Rumours had been circulating that Alberto Contador would leave Team Saxo to ride with Euskaltel-Euskadi in 2014, after the Basque team was saved by former F1 driver and friend of Contador’s Fernando Alonso.

Alberto Contador (ESP) after the finishline

But days Saxo director Bjarne Riis played down such rumours, he has come out and confirmed that he had spoken to Contador and that the Spaniard would be staying at Saxo next year.

“He’ll stay with us next year. He’s got a contract and he doesn’t want to leave,” he said.

Team Saxo itself is in financial difficulty after Oleg Tinkoff pulled his sponsorship of the team ahead of the 2014 season.

Click here to read more at VeloNation.

Cycling confirmed as core Olympic sport

At a meeting in Buenos Aires, members of the International Olympic Commitee (IOC) have voted to confirm cycling as one of 25 core sports in the Olympic program.

Roadrace men Olympic Games 2012 in London

UCI president Pat McQuaid, who is a member of the IOC, has welcome the decision.

“Each and every national cycling federation around the world depends on cycling’s position as a ‘core sport’ in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in order to receive funding from their respective governments. Preserving cycling’s position as a core Olympic sport is therefore critical to the development of our sport worldwide,” said McQuaid.

McQuaid has also welcomed the announcement of Tokyo as host of the 2020 Olympics.

“Tokyo 2020 will be very good for cycling. Obviously, hosting the Games in Japan will be a great boost for the globalisation of cycling, in particular all across Asia. Japan has a strong history of cycling, in particular track cycling and the Keirin which originated in Japan and is one of the most spectacular Olympic Track disciplines.

Click here to read more at Cycling Central.

IOC awaiting return of Armstrong’s medal

The IOC is awaiting the return of disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong’s Olympic bronze medal from the 2000 Games in Sydney nine months after they asked for it back, the head of the IOC’s judicial commission, Thomas Bach, revealed on Monday.


The IOC had written to Armstrong — who was third in the time-trial event in Sydney — in January to ask him hand back the medal, but Bach admitted that while the cyclist had accepted the punishment he had yet to honour his promise to return the medal.

“We declared his result null and void and decided not to bump up anyone into the bronze medal position (Spaniard Abraham Olano finished fourth),” said Bach, who is the favourite to succeed outgoing IOC President Jacques Rogge in Tuesday’s election in Buenos Aires.

“This has not been challenged but we are sadly lacking the medal. We are working with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to get it back as we requested.”

The IOC had had to wait to punish the American until world cycling’s governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned Armstrong, which it did on December 6 last year, and the following three weeks in which the Texan had recourse to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life in October, 2012, after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) produced evidence of widespread doping by him and his former team-mates.

Text via AFP.

Obree makes the final of the World Speed Challenge in “The Beastie”

Graeme Obree’s dreams of breaking the human-powered land-speed record are still alive after making it through to the finals of the World Speed Challenge in the US.

Obree put in an impressive performance, hitting more than 88km/h on a short course at Battle Mountain in Nevada, in what was the first ride on “The Beastie” since he modified the home-built machine last month.

Obree has the rest of the week to try to beat the record of 133km/h set in 2009 by Canadian Sam Whittingham. The course is longer than that used for qualifying, giving Obree time and space to increase his speed well above 88km/h.

Click here to read more.

Cyclist hit by a car challenges police over fine

The video of Craig Cowled getting side-swiped by a car is horrible. You can hear his screams of agony after he hits the road, his femur shattered. The driver involved was fined for “following too closely” and no further action was taken.

But as Michael O’Reilly wrote in the Fairfax papers yesterday, Cowled has since approached the Queensland Police to show them the footage of the incident and to submit a statement. In the process he learned that a statement had been filled in on his behalf, written in first person, with inaccuracies throughout.

Click here to read the full, troubling story over at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Will Prime Minister Abbott be a champion for cycling?

Here’s another piece in the Fairfax papers by Michael O’Reilly about the Prime Minister Elect Tony Abbott and what impact he will have on cycling-related policy once he takes the helm.

O’Reilly suggests that conservative politicians are normally opposed to cycling, largely for political gain, but with Abbott soon to be in the top job, that could potentially change.

Click here to read the article at the Sydney Morning Herald.

”The Armstrong Lie” press conference

“The Armstrong Lie” is the name of a documentary film about, as you might have guessed, the Lance Armstrong Saga and it was recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. To coincide with that screening, a handful of people associated with the film took part in a panel discussion about the film.


That panel discussion starts 12 minutes into the video at this link.

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:

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