Nibali still in red, Kiryienka wins Vuelta 18th stage

Italian Vincenzo Nibali clung on to his narrow lead of the Tour of Spain after a grueling 18th stage on Thursday.

Sky’s Belarusian rider Vasil Kiryienka (a.k.a. the Belaruisian Tank) won the stage after breaking away at the end of the 186.5km ride from Burgos to Pena Cabarga that featured five categorised climbs, including a tricky final ascent.

stage-18 of the Vuelta a EspaÒa 2013

Kiriyenka’s breakaway to the summit of Pena Cabarga almost cost Nibali his lead atop the general classification, now cut to just three seconds.

The Sicilian, who rides for Astana, couldn’t respond to a push by the Katusha team in the final ascent, and then the attack by RadioShack’s 41-year-old American rider Chris Horner, who was sixth across the finish line.

Nibali, who finished 10th 25sec off Horner, also gave away time to Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), now third in the overall standings at 1:10, and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), fourth at 2:24.

stage-18 of the Vuelta a EspaÒa 2013

“Horner is very strong, it’s incredible what he’s doing at almost 42 years of age,” Nibali told Spanish television at the end of the race.

“Horner showed he’s one of the great pretenders for this Vuelta.” [editor: I think he meant “contenders”]

Horner said: “I can’t stress on three seconds right now. I made up a lot of time today and the gap is smaller; that’s what is important to me.

“Three seconds. I guess it won’t matter either way if I get dropped on one of the next two stages. We’ll have to see how things go.

“The team is fantastic, I just can’t thank them enough.”

Kiryienka, who bowed out of the Tour de France in July after missing the time cut on stage nine in the Pyrenees, was one of an initial 15-strong group to break away from the main peloton, and attacked in Alto del Caracol, 45km from the finish.

stage-18 of the Vuelta a EspaÒa 2013

The 32-year-old arrived at the foot of the Pena Cabarga with 1:30 on his rivals and managed his ride-in to perfection.

“I woke up this morning thinking it could be a stage for me,” said Kiryienka.

“I chanced my arm and there’s the result.”

Friday’s 19th stage sees the riders tackle 181km with the finish again at altitude, demanding a first-category climb to Alto del Naranco before tackling the infamous Alto de l’Angliru on Saturday’s stage.

stage-18 of the Vuelta a EspaÒa 2013

“Saturday’s climb is the better day for me, but when you are going against the best guys in the world, you have to pay attention on every stage,” said Horner.

“Tomorrow could be a game of tactics. I thought I could take the jersey today but I was three seconds off.

“I just need to keep my form for another few days to get the red jersey and take it to Madrid.”

Text via AFP

Click here for full results of stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Giorgia Bronzini Wins Stage One Of The Giro Della Toscana

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini showed that she is more than a sprinter as she won the first stage of the Giro della Toscana, between Bottegone and Massa e Cozzile, in a sprint from a select 13-rider group.

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The former two-time World champion beat Italian compatriot Rossella Ratto (Hitec Products) in the sprint for the line; current rainbow jersey Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) was third, as Bronzini took a morale-boosting victory over her big Dutch rival ahead of the World championships in nearby Florence.

Yates releases tell-all autobiography

sean-yatesSean Yates released his autobiography ‘It’s All About the Bike’ today. In his book, he talks about his years racing and as a team director and tells how Bradley Wiggins nearly quit the Tour de France last year.

Speaking to The Times, Yates revealed that he is not impressed with Sky’s current management and that the only member of the team set-up he is still close to is sports director Nicolas Portal. “To be brutally honest, there is no one at Sky who knows much about bike riding”.

Yates’s departure from Team Sky in October last year coincided with the fallout from the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s publication of its Reasoned Decision in the Lance Armstrong case which saw fellow sports director Stephen De Jongh and race coach Bobby Julich also depart the British WorldTour team.

Read more here.

Bob Jungels resigns with Trek for two years

jungles_bob_0Trek announced today that ten-time Luxembourg National Champion Bob Jungels (LUX) has secured a two-year contract with Trek’s 2014 WorldTour team.

“I had some offers from other teams, but I think it’s very important to be surrounded by people that have the same approach,” Jungels said in a team statement. “In particular [General Manager] Luca Guercilena has been essential in my development and I really want to keep on working with him and the other performance staff. They are the most professional people I know.”

During his first year as a pro, Jungels finished 5th overall in the 2013 Tour de Luxembourg, taking 1st in stage four. He then continued his dominance on home soil by taking both the road race and time trial national championship titles. Add that to his six national titles as a junior and U23 rider, and it’s clear the young Luxembourger is destined to spend time on the podium. Jungels has also proven to be a consistent and dependable rider in only a year of professional competition riding in support of teammate Fabian Cancellara’s win at Paris Roubaix.

Armstrong says medal headed back to IOC

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has handed over his 2000 Olympic bronze medal to US Olympic officials, nine months after the International Olympic Committee demanded it back, he said on Thursday.

USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky confirmed on Twitter that the American body had the medal.

McQuaid calls on Cookson to explain ploy to run UCI from UK home

In another front footed press release sent out by the office of Pat McQuaid, he has called on Brian Cookson to “stop pretending that his commitment to separate governance from the management of the UCI is anything other than a ploy to run the UCI from his UK home”.

McQuaid claimed that Cookson was willing to become a ceremonial President who was detached from the reality of running the sport.

McQuaid stated that the day-to-day function of the UCI President dictates as a matter of fact that the position is a fulltime job based in Switzerland.

“I appreciate that Brian has retired but the UCI can not reform its governance and management to accommodate his retirement plans or to facilitate being remunerated while keeping his feet up at home in Lancashire,” he added.

“Brian Cookson has been President of British Cycling for 16 years. Let no one be fooled that he has the credentials to transform the UCI – even if he gave up retirement, moved to Switzerland and had a full 16 years to do it,” he added.

Garmin-Sharp signs Ben King

Team Garmin-Sharp today announced it has signed American Ben King, former U23 National Road Race and Criterum Champion and Professional National Road Race Champion. King will join the team in 2014.

“I’m really excited to join Team Garmin-Sharp next year. I have a lot of respect for the team and I’m looking forward to becoming a part of what Jonathan Vaughters has put together,” said King in a team statement.

“I was teammates on the U.S. National team with Andrew Talansky and Alex Howes, so we work well together, and I will consider myself lucky to race alongside all the guys on the team. I began my international racing career on Cervélo with the HotTubes Junior Development team, so it’s nice to come full circle with them.”

King’s Palmares include:

• Best Young Rider, Tour of Beijing (2011)
• 9th National TT Championships (2011)
• 1st, National Professional Road Race Championships (2010)
• 1st, National U23 Road Race Championships (2010)
• 1st, National U23 Criterium Championships (2010)
• 1st Panamerican Road Championships (2010)
• 1st Panamerican Time Trial Championships (2010)
• 3rd overall at the Coupe des Nations (2010)

Team Sojasun’s future in jepordy

After their 2013 Tour de France success, team Sojasun lacks a sponsor and money to continue into 2014. The pro continental team has until October 1 to find a sponsor.

Team manager Stéphane Heulot told Cyclism’Actu: “Since the beginning of the Tour, I’m 200% invested in the search for sponsors. Our beautiful Tour de France in 2013, I feel that companies are interested but the economic situation is still delicate, the decisions on these investments take time. And time, there is less … Specifically, there are tracks but nothing is signed yet. I’m open to everything! ”

Read more here

Henk Vogels and Jane Aubrey Join Drapac Professional Cycling

Drapac Pro Cycling has announced that Henk Vogels has joined Drapac Professional Cycling as directeur sportif in 2014. The team, which is set to re-join the Professional Continental ranks, welcomes Vogels’ wealth of knowledge and experience in guiding and motivating athletes.

Photo courtesy Jarrod Partridge.

Photo courtesy Jarrod Partridge.

“I’m extremely motivated and really excited about the bolstered roster. We’re working incredibly hard to take this Australian team to the world. I’ve watched the way that Drapac has grown over the past decade to be not only one of the best teams that Australia’s ever produced, but also make their mark in Asia. They won’t disappoint.”
In 2009 after his professional racing career, Vogels moved behind the wheel, becoming a directeur sportif for the Fly V Australian Continental team and more recently, Vogels was a directeur sportif with RusVelo.

Also expanding the team is sports media professional Jane Aubrey, who was most recently the Australian editor at cyclingnews.

Drapac expect to make announcements regarding their new recruits in coming weeks.

Don’t try this at home kids…

Final weekend for the Vuelta Skelta Strava Challenge

If you haven’t joined our Eurosport Vuelta Skelta Strava Challenge, it’s not too late to rack up 7,135 metres of climbing this weekend. It’ll be two big days on the bike, but far from being impossible.

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Hashtag your Twitter or Instagram photos with #VueltaSkelta and sign up here for your chance to win a Bianchi Impulso road bike.

Good luck, have fun, and ride safe! We’ll share the full results, photos, and leaderboards with you on Monday.

And in cased you’ve missed the past few days, here are a few things that you’ll find interesting:

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