Zenovich wins stage 3 of the Tour of Southland, Oram stays in yellow

Matt Zenovich became the first Southlander in 10 years to win a stage in the SBS Bank Tour of Southland yesterday, when he stormed home to win the 140km stage 3 from Riverton to Te Anau. James Oram will stay in yellow for today’s highly anticipated fourth stage.

Zenovich, part of a locally-based H&Js Outdoor World Avanti Plus team, did a huge amount of work as part of a group of seven riders that broke away early in the stage. The break, which also featured Brad Evans (PowerNet) and Kieran Hambrook (Ascot Park Hotel Kia Southland) who finished the stage second and third respectively, had a lead of 3:40 by the time it reached the Blackmount Hill climb. While that was whittled down to less than a minute, Zenovich was never about to relinquish his chance at a stage victory.

With about 10km to go, Evans and Zenovich went off the front and Zenovich won the sprint finish down Te Anau’s Lakefront Drive.

“I knew he (Evans) could sprint better than me so I had to sit on him… I played dumb and told him I couldn’t do anything and sort of fed it to him at the end really,” he said.

“It’s kind of mean, but it’s the sport, so you’ve got to do it. I’m stoked, this is a pretty big win and I’m pretty happy.”

While Zenovich now goes to 13th in the general classification, Oram and his Kiwi Velo-Armstrong Prestige teammates did enough today to retain the yellow jersey and an 11 second lead over Joe Cooper (Huon Salmon Genesys Wealth Advisors) and Liam Aitcheson (H&Js Outdoor World Avanti Plus) going into tomorrow’s potentially Tour defining stage – a 179km ride from Te Anau to Queenstown, finishing with an 8km climb up Coronet Peak.

Follow the link for full results from stage 3 of the 2013 Tour of Southland.

2014 Tour of California route announced

The Amgen Tour of California will return to Sacramento, the Capital of California, for the start of the ninth edition of America’s largest cycling race in 2014. The eight day stage race will return to a route travelling north-to-south from May 11-18, 2014 along more than 700 miles (1,200km) of scenic roads through some of California’s most picturesque backdrops.

Amgen Tour of California

Considered America’s largest and most prestigious cycling event, the overall start of the Amgen Tour of California will begin in front of the state’s Capital Building and travel through 11 host cities during the eight day event including Folsom (first time host city), San Jose, Mt. Diablo, Monterey, Cambria (first time host city), Pismo Beach (first time host city), Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Mountain High (first time host city), Pasadena and Thousand Oaks.

The first day of racing will begin and finish in the state’s Capital of Sacramento, which previously hosted 2009’s spectacular prologue as well as the stage finishes in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.

The following day, the Individual Time Trial (Stage 2) will see racers competing against the clock in the former gold rush city of Folsom, which makes its race debut this year. For Stage 3, the peloton will return to California’s third largest city, San Jose (the only city to have participated in all nine editions of the race), for a stage start before travelling more than 50 miles north, gaining altitude as the route winds up Mt. Diablo for mountaintop finish at the famed summit for the second consecutive race.

The arts community of Monterey, which last hosted the race in 2006, will be the setting for the Stage 4 start. From there, the race will traverse approximately 100 miles south to finish the day in the seaside village of Cambria, which also makes its race debut in 2014.

Stage 5 will kick off in the “Clam Capital of the World,” Pismo Beach, where riders will be treated to sights of the city’s famous sand dunes for the first time this year. Additionally, sweeping ocean views will provide the perfect backdrop for racers and spectators alike as the route continues south to the American Riviera-like town of Santa Barbara for the Stage 5 finish.

Santa Clarita, which is home to a number of athletic champions such as swimmer Anthony Ervin and track star Allyson Felix, will host the Stage 6 start, before riders head to Mountain High for another mountaintop finish. The peloton will return to Santa Clarita for the Stage 7 start and will finish that day in the historic town of Pasadena.

The eighth and final stage of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California will start and finish in the title sponsor’s home of Thousand Oaks, which played host to the official race finish in 2010 and 2011.

Click here for a detailed rundown of the race’s eight stages. Click here for analysis of the route at VeloNews. Text via Amgen Tour of California press release.

Tom Boonen could race next year’s Tour de France

Tom Boonen has confirmed that he might make a return to the Tour de France in 2014, citing the inclusion of Paris-Roubaix cobbles in the 2014 parcours as an enticing prospect.

110th Paris Roubaix Cycling Race

“Success is contagious and my heart bled,” Boonen said. “I started to really miss the Tour. Or rather the team, the internal atmosphere, the fight together for the same goal.

“Now take that team time trial [which Omega Pharma-Quick Step lost to Orica-GreenEdge by less than a second]. To lose by so narrow a margin really hurts,” Boonen added. “Everyone sat in sackcloth and ashes. In such a difficult time I can help the team. Why shouldn’t I go?”

If Boonen does go to Le Tour, he’ll likely find himself riding in support of Mark Cavendish on the flat stages and for Rigoberto Uran in the general classification.

“The media will also not ask me how many stages I am going to win and if I’m going the Green Jersey, because we will have Mark Cavendish there for that,” Boonen said. “But that cobbled stage to Arenberg would might be something for me. I really like the look of it.”

Boonen has a mixed history with the Tour de France, having won six individuals stages since 2004 and the points classification in 2007, and having crashed out several times since 2007.

Click here to read more at VeloNation.

Daryl Impey re-signs with Orica-GreenEDGE

Orica-GreenEDGE has announced that Daryl Impey will rejoin the team in 2014 on a new three-year contract.

Tour de France 2013 stage-7

Earlier this year Impey became the first South African ever to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France after his teammate Simon Gerrans purposely drifted back in the bunch in a stage finish to ensure Impey would pass him on the general classification.

“Everything about these past two years has been incredible,” Impey said. “The riders, the staff and the management are all so supportive. The way we lift each other up to lift the whole level of the team has made this team what it is today. We started from scratch with the attitude that this team isn’t just about one or two individuals. One rider is just as important as the next. We’ve stayed true to that idea, and look at what we’ve accomplished.”

While Impey has clearly made huge strides over the last two years, Sport Director Matt White is convinced that the best is yet to come from the South African.

“Daryl is an invaluable member of our team,” said White. “He has gone to another level since he joined us two years ago. He has proven that he’s a super teammate and that he is critical to the team’s overall success. We’ve seen that repeatedly over the past two years. He’s been a part of most of our biggest wins – Gossy’s win at the Giro, Gerro’s win at the Tour, the team time trial at the Tour and second place at Worlds. He’s a very versatile rider that we can use in a lot of different ways.”

Text adapted from an Orica-GreenEDGE press release. Click here to read more.

Movistar tried to sign Chris Froome in 2011

A report on Spanish website biciclismo.com quotes Movistar directors Eusebio Unzue and Jose Luis Arrieta who were reportedly trying to sign Chris Froome in 2011 when Froome finished second at the Vuelta.

Tour de France 2013 stage-8

It was Froome’s best result in a Grand Tour thus far and prompted Sky to hurry contract negotations. According to Unzue:

“The problem was that he started getting some big results during the negotiations. We were talking with him at the start of the Vuelta, but what looked promising suddenly became reality. He got on the podium and there was no way Team Sky were going to let him go after that. And time has proved them right.”

Click here to read more at CyclingNews.

Where have all the Euskaltel riders gone?

The closure of teams like Euskaltel-Euskadi and Vacansoleil-DCM has been one of the biggest stories of the latter part of this year and many riders still find themselves scrambling to get a ride for next year.

Jose Been has crunched the numbers and worked out that only six of the 29 Euskaltel riders from 2013 will be returning to the WorldTour next year while the vast majority are still without teams.

Check out the blog post here.

US man pleads guilty to issuing death threats to Travis Tygart

A US man has pleaded guilty to threatening the head of the US anti-doping agency USADA over the probe which brought down cycling legend Lance Armstrong, prosecutors said earlier this week.

Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) head Travis Tygart took the threat, which warned he should wear a bullet-proof best, so seriously that he hired private security and moved his family to a protected location while the FBI investigated.

Robert Hutchins, who admitted guilt as part of a plea deal the terms of which were not disclosed, faces up to five years in jail for the offense.

The 60-year-old wrote a series of emails to Tygart, who received a “barrage of negative public comment” in the run-up to and after USADA announced a ban on Armstrong last year.

“Among the members of the public who were angry over USADA’s methods and conclusions was the defendant, Mr. Hutchins,” said a statement by the US Attorney for the District of Colorado, John F. Walsh.

Hutchins’ initial emails, starting in July last year, simply voiced his displeasure, but “while scathing in tone and full of invective, were not threatening,” it said.

But on August 23, he “crossed the line and made threats to Travis Tygart, with an email sent to one of USADA’s email addresses with the subject line “Travis Tygert (sic) Hope you have body guards and bullet proof vest.”

“Travis Tygert (sic), Hope you have body guards and bullet proof vest, your (sic) a dead man,” it said, using expletives and adding “You just don’t know what you’ve done!!!”

Hutchins, whom investigators traced to his home in Utah, faces up to five years in jail and up to as $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on February 10 next year.

Text via AFP.

Delaware drops ‘Share the Road’ signs

The US state of Delaware has agreed to stop using ‘share the road’ signs after a push from local cyclists, instead opting for ‘less ambiguous’ messages, including ‘cyclist may use full lane’.

Image: Tom Cochrane/Flickr

Image: Tom Cochrane/Flickr

Bike Delaware has been lobbying the state for this policy change for several months and in a letter to the state’s department of transport in August, Bike Delaware’s James Wilson wrote:

Many motorists believe that “sharing” means giving up part of something they believe is rightfully theirs while cyclists tend to think of sharing as referring to a commonly owned asset that belongs to them just as much as it does to motorists. This confusion causes motorists and cyclists to trade pointless and time-wasting accusations back and forth.

So what’s your take on this? Do ‘share the road’ signs give motorists the wrong idea? Or is this a case of cyclists being a little too sensitive?

Click here to read more at streetsblog.net.

Improving cyclist safety with ‘car mode’ for phones?

When you’re riding through traffic it’s not uncommon to look around and see motorists using their smartphones, whether at the lights or while moving. Now, the folks at fastcodesign.com are proposing a mode for all smartphones similar to ‘flight mode’: ‘car mode’.

This mode would activate automatically when a phone is paired with a car’s Bluetooth system and would prevent any distracting alerts, beeps or pop-ups while the car is in motion. When you get out of the car or turn off the ignition you’d get a summary of whatever alerts you might have missed.

It’s an interesting concept but one that has a few potential flaws. For one, not everyone has a Bluetooth system in their car. But what’s your take?

Check out Sweet Ride USA and this article on fastcodesign.com for more information.

World Full of You music video

Released in January this year, the following is the official music video for the song World Full of You by the band The Legendary Lightness. What’s it got to do with cycling? Take a look.

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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