Niki Terpstra wins stage 1 of the Tour of Qatar

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has won the first stage of the Tour of Qatar overnight, sprinting to victory at the head of a five-rider breakaway at the end of the 135km stage from Al Wakra to Dukhan Beach.

Tour de Qatar 2014 - stage 1

The group of five made their escape with 22km to go and with Terpstra’s teammate Guillaume Van Keirsbulck also in the break, Terpstra had a significant advantage.

Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) took second place ahead of Michael Schar (BMC) while Terpstra teammate Tom Boonen finished sixth, at the head of the peloton.

Tonight’s second stage of the six-stage UCI 2.HC race takes the riders 160.5km from the Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche.

Follow the link for results from stage 1 of the 2014 Tour of Qatar.

Taylor Phinney wins inaugural Dubai Tour

Taylor Phinney (BMC) has led from start to finish at the inaugural Dubai Tour, taking out the four-stage race by 15 seconds over his teammate Stephen Cummings and a further two seconds over Garmin-Sharp’s Lasse Norman Hansen.

Stage-1  of the Dubai Tour 2014

Phinney won the prologue ITT over Cummings and Norman Hansen and finished safely in the bunch on the remaining three stages to seal the overall win.

While the opening stage and the overall win belonged to Phinney, stages 2 to 4 were all about Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano). The German won all three road stages in convincing fashion while Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) had a race he’d rather forget, his best placed finish a 30th on stage 2.

Follow the link for results from the 2014 Dubai Tour.

Simon Clarke wins Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Simon Clarke has been crowned 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour champion, continuing Orica GreenEDGE’s dominance of the Australian summer of cycling.

Herald Sun Tour 2014 - Final presentations (09.02.14) 061

Clarke was awarded the victory as the leader going into the final stage after consultations between Victoria Police and race organisers concluded that the final stage at Arthurs Seat could not proceed due to extreme weather conditions.

Whilst there was no immediate threat on Arthurs Seat emergency services, including police and fire brigade had been diverted to other areas under threat across the state.

Former Olympic rower Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) and up-and-coming MTBer-turned-roadie Jack Haig (Avanti Cycling Team) rounded out the podium.

Clarke reflected on the disappointment of the race cancellation at the presentations.

“Obviously it’s unfortunate, I was keen to race, I think all the riders were, but obviously safety is a priority,” Clarke said.

“I think we all heard that there’s quite a high fire danger today and the important thing is everyone’s safety and the fact that there’s some fires in rural Victoria and services were required there they had to make the call.”

Clarke moved into the overall race lead with a win on Friday’s second stage to Bendigo, after being in a breakaway with podium companions Cameron Wurf and Jack Haig. Stage 3 of the race was won by Robert-Jon McCarthy from the Jayco U23 National Team.

Follow the link for results from the 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour. Text adapted from a Jayco Herald Sun Tour press release.

Kirsten Wild wins the Ladies Tour of Qatar

The Ladies Tour of Qatar drew to a close over the weekend with Kirsten Wild wrapping up a near-faultless performance from her Giant-Shimano team.

Women's edition of the Tour de Qatar stage - 3

Wild sprinted to victory on the final stage of the race — her third stage win in four stages — and took out the general classification in the process, the fourth time she’s won the race overall.

The only stage that Wild didn’t win was taken by her teammate Amy Pieters who wore the leader’s jersey on stage 3.

In addition to all four stage wins and the overall classification, Kirsten Wild won the points classification (with more than double the points of her nearest rival, Chloe Hosking) and Amy Pieters won the best young rider classification.

The dominance of Wild and the Giant-Shimano team was underscored by the Dutchwoman’s win on stage 4 when she launched her sprint early with Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) in her slipstream.

Bronzini was in a perfect position but when she leapt out of Wild’s slipstream the dual world champion and world-beating sprinter simply couldn’t come around Wild.

Follow the link for results from the 2014 Ladies Tour of Qatar. Click here to read a great blog post about the race from Chloe Hosking. Click here to read more about how the race unfolded. And check out Gracie Elvin’s blog from the race here.

Fernando Alonso to join forces with Cannondale in 2015?

According to an article on Spanish cycling website Biciciclismo F1 star Fernando Alonso is looking to join forces with the Cannondale team next season rather than setting up his own WorldTour team from scratch.

Stage-2  of the Dubai Tour 2014

Peter Sagan’s contract with Cannondale ends this year and the Slovak has been heavily linked with Alonso for 2015. The potential loss of Sagan, according to Biciciclismo, is one of the key factors behind the rumoured merger.

A handful of big-name Spanish riders have been linked with Fernando Alonso, including Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez and Samuel Sanchez.

Click here to read the original article at Biciciclismo and click here to read more at Cycling News.

Cavendish and Kittel’s twitter exchange

We didn’t really get to see Mark Cavendish vs Marcel Kittel at this year’s Dubai Tour but we did get to witness this humorous exchange between the two sprinters on Twitter on Saturday:

The Inner Ring on Forbidden Races

Last week the UCI quietly confirmed that controversial rule 1.2.019 — about races that UCI license holders are forbidden to take part in — has been suspended through 2014.

Here’s what the rule itself says:

1.2.019 No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI.
A national federation may grant special exceptions for races or particular events run in its own country.

The rule has existed for years but last year the UCI started asking national federations to police it. That directive wasn’t popular and the pushback saw the UCI suspend the rule.

Now The Inner Ring has written a piece that puts the whole thing into some kind of context and explains why it all matters. Check the piece out here.

Xenon: the next big thing in (possibly legal) doping?

You might remember xenon from high school chemistry — it’s one of those inert or “noble” gases, found on the far right of the periodic table of elements, that does its very best not to react with any other elements.

So what does this have to do with cycling? According to an article in The Economist, inhaling xenon can stimulate the production of EPO which, as we all know, can have performance-enhancing effects for cyclists.

While injecting or otherwise artificially increasing the amount of EPO in the body is banned by the World Anti Doping Agency, other methods of boosting an athlete’s EPO are admissible.

The Economist reports that the gas has been used by athletes preparing for past Olympic games and that several academic studies have shown the efficacy of the gas in increasing levels of EPO in the body.

Click here to read the article at The Economist. And click here to read more at

2014 Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy Team Announced

This morning Cycling Australia (CA), the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and JAYCO announced the nine riders who will form the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy Team in 2014:

Image provided by Cycling Australia

Image provided by Cycling Australia

Harry Carpenter, 20, Norwood CC, Torrens Park, SA
Alex Clements, 20, Launceston CC, Norwood, TAS
Alex Edmondson, 20, Central Dist. CC, Bridgewater, SA
Caleb Ewan, 19, Southern Highlands CC, Bowral, NSW
Campbell Flakemore, 21 Hobart Wheelers CC, Howrah, TAS
Bradley Linfield, 19, South West CC, South Bunbury, WA
Alex Morgan, 19, Blackburn CC, Mitcham, VIC
Robert Power, 18, Midland CC, Kalamundra, WA
Miles Scotson, 20, Port Adelaide CC, Evanston Park, SA

The 2014 Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy Team provides a pathway for Australia’s most talented Under 23 riders into the World Championship, Olympic and Commonwealth Games and professional ranks.

The team is highlighted by Caleb Ewan (NSW) who finished fourth in the under 23 men’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships last September, and claimed the U23 road race and criterium national titles in January.

Also returning in 2014 are Campbell Flakemore (TAS), Bradley Linfield (WA) and Alex Clements (SA), while reigning team pursuit world champions Alex Edmondson (SA) and Alex Morgan (VIC) represent the track endurance element.

New to the team in 2014 is former junior track world champion Miles Scotson (SA) and national time trial silver medalist Harry Carpenter (SA). 18-year-old Robert Power (WA), the youngest member of the squad, joins the team after winning a silver medal in the road race at the national championships.

Video: A day at the Tour Down Under

Here’s a video from the team at The Roar showing that there’s far more to a stage of the Tour Down Under than the riders just rocking up and riding their bikes to the finish.

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 Cor Vos and shows Marcel Kittel winning stage 3 of the inaugural Dubai Tour.