Michael Vink wins stage 1 of the New Zealand Cycle Classic

Michael Vink (Budget Forklifts) has won the opening stage of the New Zealand Cycle Classic, completing the 5.1km ITT in a time of 6:13, an average speed of nearly 50km/h.

Vink was four seconds faster than Brenton Jones (Avanti), the overall winner at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic earlier this month, and six seconds faster than Jones’ third-placed teammate Aaron Donnelly.

Budget Forklifts will now have the task of defending Vink’s lead for the remainder of the five-stage race.

“The boys are all strong – we have a good team here and they’re up for defending the jersey for the whole week”, Vink said. “I have full confidence in it.”

Today’s second stage sees the riders cover 143km, starting and finishing in Palmerston North with a long, gradual climb in the first half of the race.

Follow the link for results from stage 1 of the 2014 New Zealand Cycle Classic. Click here to read more at SBS Cycling Central.

Anna Meares wins 30th national track title

Two-time world champion Anna Meares has headlined the opening night of the Australian National Track championships, winning the 500m TT and claiming her 30th career national title.

Meares’ back wheel slipped as she left the starting gates but the reigning world record holder recovered to cover the 500m in 34.682 and take out the gold medal ahead of Caitlin Ward and Catherine Culvenor.

The other events contested on the first day of competition were:

Men’s kilometre time trial: won by Matthew Glaetzer in an Australian Championship record time of 1:01.175, eclipsing Shane Perkins’ record from 2009.
Women’s team sprint: taken out by Steph Morton and Rikki Belder in 35.262 seconds.
Men 4000m Individual Pursuit: Won by Alex Edmondson in a time of 4:20.340, three seconds ahead of Alex Morgan.
Men’s Team Sprint: won by NSW trio Mitch Bullen, Andrew Taylor and Timothy Green in a time of 44.902 seconds.
Men U19 3000m Individual Pursuit: won by Daniel Fitter with a time of 3:19.337 ahead of Callum Scotson (3:20.259).
Women U19 2000m Individual Pursuit: won by Alex Manly in 2:25.666 ahead of Lauren Perry (2:28.435)
Women U19 7.5km Scratch Race: won by Josie Talbot ahead of Lauren Perry and Macey Stewart.
Under 19 kilometre time trial: won by Braden Dean in 1:04.170 ahead of Alexander Porter (1:05.003) and Bradley Heffernan (1:06.652).

The 2014 Subaru Cycling Australia Track National Championships are being held at the Adelaide Super-drome and run through until Saturday February 1.

UCI warns national federations about clenbuterol risk in China and Mexico

In the wake of positive clenbuterol tests from Michael Rogers (Tinkoff Saxo) and Jonathan Breyne (Crelan-Euphony), the UCI has sent a warning to all of cycling’s national federations about the risks of accidental clebuterol positives in China and Mexico.

Amgen Tour of California

“It is widely acknowledged that there is a risk of meat contaminated with clenbuterol leading to a positive sample in an athlete. WADA has specifically drawn attention to this problem in China and Mexico,” UCI president Brian Cookson wrote.

“As a consequence the athletes who are under our care at the World Cycling Centre in Switzerland have been told that they should not eat meat in these countries. We believe that as a matter of caution you should consider giving this advice to all your athletes.”

Rogers and Breyne have both insisted that they never knowingly took clenbuterol.

Click here to read more at VeloNation.

16 teams announced for inaugural Dubai Tour

The first edition of the Dubai Tour gets underway on February 5 and the race’s organiser, RCS Sport, has revealed the list of teams that will take part.

Of the 16 teams, 11 are WorldTeam teams — Lampre-Merida, Astana, BMC, Cannondale, Garmin-Sharp, Movistar, Omega Pharma-Quickstep, Giant-Shimano, Katusha, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing. Four Continental teams will also be in attendance: Banco Bic-Carmim from Portugal, Vini Fantini-Nippo De Rosa from Japan, RTS-Santic Racing Team from Taipei, Skydive Dubai. A United Arab Emirates national team will also take part in the race.

The inaugurual Dubai Tour is set to attract some big names including reigning road race world champion Rui Costa, time trial heavyweights Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara and Alex Dowsett and sprinters Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushvod, Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel.

Vincenzo Nibali and Joaquim Rodriguez are also listed to start but with only one stage for the climbers — stage 3 which features two short ascents — there won’t be opportunity for such riders to gain much time.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Sammy Sanchez says he’ll retire if he can’t find a team in two weeks

The 2008 Olympic Road Race champion Sammy Sanchez is still looking for a team after the Euskaltel-Euskadi team folded last season and now the Spaniard has said he will retire if he can’t find a team soon.

2013 Giro d'Italia.stage 10..Samuel Sanchez (ESP) climbing at 20% gradient.

While Sanchez has been training and is in good shape, he is reportedly running out of patience.

“I will not drag it out over time. If I cannot find a place in ten or fifteen days, I will say a final goodbye [to cycling]. I hope not to have to announce that and to [instead] continue racing,” he said, according to AS.

“I think these ten or fifteen days are crucial. If I am to get something, it must be now. In February, the races begin in Europe. It would be virtually impossible [to wait longer].”

Click here to read more at VeloNation.

Thor Hushovd open to offers in last season of contract

The 2010 world road race champion Thor Hushovd knows he needs to have a good year if he wants to land a new contract at the end of this season. He has spent the past three years riding for BMC but his contract expires at the end of this year.

Thor Hushovd leading the way

“If I ride well, I will show that I am still one of the big guys, and I need to do that to get another contract offer,” Hushovd told Norwegian website VG. “I’m happy at BMC and might well stay here longer, but at the same time I am open to offers.”

Hushovd’s goals for the season are varied.

“The main goal is the classics, but if I can win a nice race at the beginning of the year, that’s good. It’s better to take what you can than to go all-in for Roubaix and miss out there,” Hushovd said. “If you can win Het Nieuwsblad, it’s not the biggest win, but it’s a nice win and I’ll try to win there. If I can win a stage at the Tour of Dubai, also, that’s a win.”

The Dubai Tour is Hushovd’s first race of the 2014 season.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Chloe Hosking on anti-doping and cycling

Here’s an interesting blog post from Australian sprinter Chloe Hosking (Hitec-Products) about the differences between anti-doping procedures in cycling and other sports and her perspective on the issue. It’s well worth a read, particularly for the section about the whereabouts program and how that works.

Click here to read the blog post.

Bianchi announces Team Belkin Infinito CV

Bianchi has revealed its Team Belkin Infinito CV model for the 2014 season which features “Countervail vibration cancelling technology”, reportedly to “reduce muscle fatigue and increase bike control”.

Infinito CV Belkin small

Here’s a quote from a Bianchi/Belkin press release about the new bike:

“Proven in the extreme conditions of NASA aerospace operations, Countervail® carbon material – with its patented carbon fiber architecture and viscoelastic material – is embedded within Bianchi’s unique Infinito CV carbon layup.

“It cancels vibration while increasing the stiffness and strength of the entire frame.

“Scientific studies prove that long term exposure to vibration, typically absorbed by the rider, causes muscle fatigue and discomfort, resulting in a reduced performance. Bianchi’s patented Countervail® vibration cancelling technology reduces muscle fatigue and increases energy savings in distance rides to specifically support Team Belkin in its innovation performance strategy.”

Text via Team Belkin press release.

Cycling Scotland ad banned due to rider with no helmet

A TV advert promoting safe cycling has been banned in Scotland for showing a rider without a helmet, despite the fact helmets are not legally required in Scotland.

The campaign encourages drivers to give cyclists as much space on the road as they would a horse but the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has canned the ad, saying that not wearing a helmet was “socially irresponsible”.

The offending scene comes at the very end of the video (see above) and shows a woman riding without a helmet as a car passes her by. That particular scene has also attracted criticism for showing the cyclist riding too far from the curb.

What’s your take?

Click here to read more at the BBC.

Student ‘stealing’ bike ignored for minutes

Here’s a social experiment in which a guy pretends to cut bike locks with a hacksaw in broad daylight and only stops when he’s confronted by a member of the public. On average it took more than two minutes for someone to say something.

Here’s a video from a few years ago that’s in the same vein.

Click here to read more at road.cc.

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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Today’s feature image comes from Jered Gruber and was taken near Monte Grappa in the Veneto region of Italy.