2014 Giro d’ITalia route unveiled

The route for next year’s Giro d’Italia was officially unveiled last night in Milan’s Palazzo del Ghiaccio with the first Grand Tour of next season to run from May 9 to June 1.

The 21-stage race starts with a team time trial in Belfast and with the opening three stages taking place in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. A rest day after just three days of racing will be used to transfer the riders and the Giro caravan to the south of Italy.

The course features nine uphill finishes, five of which are summit finishes in the high mountains. There are eight stages that look to be suited to the sprinters, one team time trial, a standard individual time trial and an uphill ITT as well.

Among the five summit finishes is the Monte Zoncolan climb on the penultimate stage of the race. This infamous climb is 10km at about 12% with several pinches in excess of 20%. If the race hasn’t been decided by this point, it will be the climb to Monte Zoncolan that will determine who rolls into Trieste the following day as winner of the 2014 Giro d’Italia.

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly. And click here for some great analysis from The Inner Ring about the route and how it’s likely to shape the race.

Nibali likely to miss the 2014 Giro

While this year’s Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali was one of the riders invited along to the 2014 Giro route presentation, the Sicilian is unlikely to take the startline for next year’s race.

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Nibali’s team manager at Astana, Alexandre Vinokourov has announced that Nibali will focus on the Tour de France in 2014 and suggested that a Giro/Tour double would be risky. Nibali seemed less decisive when asked whether he would be defending his title.

“I can’t say if I’ll ride or not at the moment because we haven’t decided my race programme for next season,” Nibali told the media after the official presentation.

“Things will be decided during the first team get together, so that I know the early season races I’ll riding. After that we’ll decide things for the Grand Tours.”

Nibali did say that he wouldn’t ride the Giro as preparation for the Tour.

“As an Italian it’d be difficult to consider riding like that. It’s not right. If I decide to ride the Giro, I’d go for the general classification,” he said.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Evans unlikely to ride the 2014 Tour de France

Former Tour de France champion Cadel Evans said he is unlikely to compete at the 2014 edition of the Tour as he concentrates on targeting a win in the Giro d’Italia.

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“It’s unlikely that I’ll start the Tour de France,” Evans told reporters after the presentation of next year’s Giro d’Italia route.

Evans, who was among the Tour de France’s oldest champions when he won the fabled yellow jersey at the age of 34 in 2011, produced an impressive performance in this year’s Giro d’Italia. Despite having only several weeks of preparation following a late call-up by his BMC team, the 36-year-old was only pipped for a runner-up place by Rigoberto Uran in the final stages when Italian Vincenzo Nibali triumphed.

Evans went on to double up at the Tour de France barely a month later, but finished far off the podium as Britain’s Chris Froome won his maiden yellow jersey.

Evans, who came to the cycling world’s attention in 2002 when he almost won the Giro d’Italia on his debut, admits he has unfinished business at the race. His absence from the Tour de France is a move he feels would boost his chances at finally claiming the race’s pink jersey.

“It’s not 100 percent confirmed, but at this point it looks like I’ll probably do the Giro,” Evans added.

“It’s unlikely that I’ll start in the Tour de France, and that leaves me with a lot of time and energy to concentrate on the Giro.”

Text via AFP.

Chris Froome ends his season after back trouble

Tour de France winner Chris Froome has brought his season to a close after suffering from lingering back pain in the latter part of the season.

Chris Froome (GBR) Tour de France 2013 stage 17: ITT Embrun - Chorges 32km

Froome withdrew from the worlds road race as a result of the back pain, and chose not to take the start line at Il Lombardia on Sunday for the same reason. Froome has also ruled out starting the Tour of Beijing, thereby ending his 2013 season.

In a statement on Saturday, Team Sky doctor Alan Farrell said: “A scan this week revealed that Chris is suffering from an inflamed sacroiliac joint. We are monitoring him as a team but unfortunately the injury means he will not be able to take part in the race this weekend.”

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Ellen van Dijk signs with Boels-Dolmans

World ITT champion Ellen van Dijk has signed a three-year deal with the Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team in a move that could help the Dutchwoman prepare for the 2016 Olympics.

GP Samyn cycling race 2013 women

“The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are a big goal for me so a three-year contract is great. This team gives me all the possibilities to prepare for that important event,” the 26 year old said.

Ellen van Dijk started her pro career with the Dutch team Vrienden van het Platteland before making the move to Columbia-HTC, which later became Specialized-lululemon. Now, with the move to Boels-Dolmans, van Dijk is back on a Dutch team for the first time in five years.

“[Boels-Dolmans] approached me back in 2012 but I declined. They kept following my results throughout the year but I said I only wanted to talk after the world championships. They respected that.”

Click here to read more at CyclingNews.

Philippe Gilbert vs the postman

The people in this video might be speaking French but it’s still pretty easy to understand what’s going on: Philippe Gilbert swaps bikes with a postman and the two of them have a short race. Entertaining stuff.

The effects of bicycle helmet laws on children’s injuries

In a new paper published in the Health Economics journal, US researchers have estimated the effects of helmet laws on injuries requiring emergency department treatment. They found that helmet laws are associated with reductions in bicycle-related head injuries among children.

The researchers also found that helmet laws are associated with decreases in non-head cycling injuries and increases in head injuries from other wheeled sports.

The researchers conclude, therefore, that “the observed reduction in bicycle-related head injuries may be due to reductions in bicycle riding induced by the laws.”

Click here to read more and to download the full paper.

Forty Plus Three: Hawthorn criteriums

Daylight savings is here for another year and with it comes the start of the Melbourne crit season. Widely regarded as the hardest of Melbourne’s criteriums, the Hawthorn Cycling Club crit at the Yarra Boulevard “teardrop” starts up this Wednesday and here’s a great little video to get you in the mood.

If you’re not from Melbourne but you still recognise the track, that could be because it’s the course used in The Bike Lane’s Hot Lap segment.

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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