Hepburn wins Qatar time trial, Terpstra tightens grip
Australia’s double world pursuit champion Michael Hepburn (Orica) won the Tour of Qatar’s third stage, a 10km time trial at the Losail motor circuit, ahead of Dutch rider Lars Boom and Italy’s Danielle Benati, on Tuesday.
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma) of the Netherlands came in fifth to stretch his lead in the overall standings.
Going into the final two days’ racing, Terpstra is 21 seconds up on Belgium’s Jurgen Roelandts with Boom at 24sec and Tom Boonen, his main rival, 28sec behind.
“It’s a good scenario for Niki, he’s in a favourable position and all the more so as our team is in good form and is doing well at defending the jersey,” said Omega Pharma sporting director Wilfried Peeters.
In Tuesday’s race against the clock, Hepburn set off 12th of the 150 riders and posted a time of 13 minutes 28 seconds, which was never bettered.
The gold medallist in individual and team pursuit at the world track championships in Minsk last year denied Boom by one second with Benati a further five seconds back.
“This Tour of Qatar didn’t start well for me with two punctures and a fall. But this morning I was feeling really good,” said the rider from Brisbane.
“I controlled my effort well to put a lot of power into the second part.”
Favourite to prevail at the circuit which is home to the Qatar motorcycling Grand Prix was Fabian Cancellara, who had to settle for fourth.
The Swiss Trek team rider said: “The last three kilometres were very hard, clearly I was missing some strength.
“But I’m not worried, this is my seventh day of racing on the trot and it’s normal when you’re in the middle of preparing to have off days.
“It’s in April that you have to be ready.”
Results of the Tour of Qatar stage 3
1. Michael Hepburn (AUS/Orica) 13min 28sec, 2. Lars Boom (NED) at 1sec, 3. Daniele Bennati (ITA) 6s, 4. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) 6, 5. Niki Terpstra (NED) 8, 6. Martin Elmiger (SUI) 10, 7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL) 13, 8. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) 15, 9. Jens Mouris (NED) 16, 10. Gert Steegmans (BEL) 17
1. Niki Tersptra (NED/Omega Pharma) at 6hr 57min 06sec, 2. Jurgen Roelnadts (BEL) at 21s, 3. Lars Boom (NED) 24, 4. Tom Boonen (BEL) 28, 5. Ian Stannard (GBR) 35, 6. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL) 45, 7. Michael Morkov (DEN) 49, 8. Marcel Sieberg (GER) 49, 9. Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL) 58, 10. Andrew Fenn (GBR) 1:06
text via AFP
Serra de Traumuntana Trophy: Kwiatkowski wins on third day in Mallorca
Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski claimed the Serra de Tramuntana trophy on the third day of the Mallorca Challenge on Tuesday.
Kwiatkowski made a decisive break on the descent to the finish at Monasterio de Lluc to claim the 152.9km stage ahead of Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen and Italy’s Francesco Gavazzi.
There is no general classification for the event with each stage consisting of a separate race.
Italian Sacha Modolo won the Palma and Campos Trophies on the opening two days with the fourth and final race, the 160km long Alcudia Trophy, taking place on Wednesday.
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) 3h 50min 51secs
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/Sky) at 27 secs
3. Francesco Gavazzi (ITA/Astana) s.t.
4. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) s.t.
5. Petr Vakoc (CZE/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) s.t.
6. Pieter Serry (BEL/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) s.t.
7. Jesus del Pino (ESP/Burgos-BH) s.t.
8. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/Caja Rural) s.t.
9. Tanel Kangert (EST/Astana) s.t.
10. Sergio Henao (COL/Sky) s.t.
text via AFP
Horner on his first race for Lampre-Merida
Chris Horner raced his first race with his Lampre-Merida team on day two of the Mallorca Challenge. Here’s what he had to say to Cyclingnews before the stage:
Inquiry offers reduced sanctions for doping confessions
An inquiry commission set up by cycling’s global governing body the UCI on Tuesday appealed to riders who were doped in the past to come forward in exchange for reduced punishment.
“The primary purpose of our investigation is not to punish doping offenders but to learn from the past so we can help ensure a better future for cycling,” commission chief Dick Marty said in a statement.
“We will treat all witnesses fairly and so I urge anyone in the cycling community with information that can help our investigation to come forward,” he added.
The three-member Cycling Independent Reform Commission was set up in January to investigate historic doping in cycling and allegations that the UCI had been involved in previous wrongdoing.
The commission said its main goal is to determine how a culture of doping was perpetuated between 1998 and 2013, and to establish who was to blame.
It has the power to propose reduced sanctions to any rider, official, agent, race organiser or team staff member who admits to an anti-doping offence.
It can reduce the sanction further if the individual provides valuable information concerning doping practices, and is also empowered to let those who confess keep past prize money.
And it also has the power to propose case-by-case reductions for anyone currently suspended from the sport and who reveals more details — though any such softening will have to be approved by the original sanctioning body, the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Its probe is to conducted on a strictly confidential basis, it underlined.
The commissioned was created after the UCI leadership contest of September 2013, which saw Briton Brian Cookson oust Irishman Pat McQuaid.
McQuaid was in charge for eight years, succeeding Dutchman Hein Verbruggen, in the saddle from 1991 to 2005.
They have rejected claims that while they were in power, the UCI did too little to stem doping and beat the cheats, notably disgraced US rider Lance Armstrong.
“The Cycling Independent Reform Commission will not only help us learn from the past, but will also play an important role in shaping our future processes and practices,” Cookson said on Tuesday.
Swiss member of parliament and former prosecutor Marty was a heavyweight choice to head the commission.
He has also headed a Council of Europe probe into US “rendition” flights and secret prisons for al-Qaeda suspects, and an inquiry into human organ trafficking in Kosovo involving serving politicians.
The other members of the commission are German anti-doping and legal expert Ulrich Haas, and Australian Peter Nicholson, a former United Nations criminal investigator.
text via AFP
Olivier Kaisen quits cycling due to heart problems
Lotto-Belisol regretfully announces the end of the career of one Olivier Kaisen who is forced to permanently put racing aside due to cardiac problems. The 30-year-old has been a valued helper for the various leaders in the team for eight years and had been the longest serving rider on Lotto.
Kaisen said in a team press statement, “After the UCI-tests half of November I was actually surprised when I heard an aberration was found, because I had never felt anything before, but luckily I got the permission to continue with cycling. At training camp in December I was able to train in perfect circumstances without any problem. Now I think my moderate season in 2013 might be caused by it.”
“After the second stage at the Tour Down Under I didn’t feel well. It had been a very tiring and extremely hot day and I had ridden much at the head of the bunch for André Greipel. I did start the next stage, but immediately after the start of the third stage I felt something was wrong. I was scared and together with sports director Herman Frison I decided to quit. He said I couldn’t take any risk.”
“Back home in Belgium the doctors decided to monitor me for four days. And on the third day I indeed felt again the same arrhythmia. When screening the electrocardiogram the doctors were able to clearly locate the time and type of the arrhythmia; unfortunately with drastic consequences…”
“I had loved to race a few more years, but I have to listen to my body and respect the conclusion of the doctors, even though this is very hard. I had never thought that someone else would decide about the end of my career. At the moment I’m a lot at home with my wife and son Jussi. I get lots of support from the team, friends and family, but still feel a bit lost. There are worse things in life, but cycling has been part of my life for more than 20 years. I have no idea yet how my future looks like, I only got the news a few days ago and want to let it all sink in.”
You can read more articles relating to the topic of heart arrhythmias in endurance athletes that we’ve published previously: Exercise is good for the heart, but is there a limit? and a follow-up Q&A.
Team Raleigh unveil classic kit
Team Raleigh has released images of its 2014 kit ahead of its official team launch next week.
The team gives a nod to the classic TI-Raleigh kits of the 1970s and 80s with an eye-catching red and black design, commissioned originally by Peter Post, highly successful manager of TI-Raleigh between 1974 and 1983.
The original kit was manufactured by MOA Sport’s founder Claudio Montovani. The Italian manufacturer still makes Raleigh’s kit as well as race and replica kit for a host of other racing teams.
The team will be in action in their new kit this weekend (13th to 16th Feb) at the Tour of the Mediterranean, which starts in Argeles Sur Mer, France. Following that the team will be officially presented at La Londe-les-Maures on Wednesday 19th February.
Replica kit will be available from Raleigh UK’s website in March 2014.
Qatar Wheel Change
Ride along in the team car during stage 2 at the 2014 Tour of Qatar when Chris Jones signals for a wheel change. With director Roberto Damiani driving, team mechanic Nick Vandecauter jumps to the rescue ands gets Chris rolling again. The work isn’t done however, as Jones needs to be brought back safely to the bunch.
Blast from the past: 1985 Coors Classic – Greg Lemond & Andy Hampsten
Cycling coverage hasn’t changed much except for the Simpsons styled stage maps.
Nothing to see here…
If you’re not following Sochi, you can find out what’s going on in this picture here.