What we can learn from Froome’s win at the Tour of Oman

It might only be February and Chris Froome might be downplaying the importance of his win at the Tour of Oman over the weekend, but there’s no doubt the result bodes well for Team Sky and Froome’s chances in 2014.

Tour of Oman 2014 - stage 5

In an article for VeloNews, Matthew Beaudin writes that Chris Froome’s time up the steep Green Mountain climb on stage 5 was the fastest on record, considerably faster than his time last year, when he climbed into the overall lead.

While we shouldn’t read too much into Froome’s time — he might have had a slight tailwind — it’s clear that he’s hit 2014 in great form and that his preparation for a Tour de France title defence is on track.

As Beaudin writes:

All this raises the early season question, one that’s haunted the peloton for two seasons now — how does one beat Sky in stage races?

Click here to read Matthew Beaudin’s article at VeloNews. And click here to read a similar article by Tim Renowden over at The Roar.

Porte encouraged by Ruta del Sol podium

While Chris Froome was winning the Tour of Oman, Richie Porte was wrapping up second place in the Ruta del Sol, behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Porte says he’s not yet at his best but is buoyed by a good result.

“The uphill finishes suited [Valverde] down to the ground and hats off to him he’s in great shape. For us it’s good to see where we’re at. I know where I’m at and I’m nowhere near at 100 percent. So to come away with second this week is a nice indication of what I can do this season.”

Porte finished third at the national championships and fourth at the Tour Down Under after winning the queen stage on Willunga Hill. He goes into next month’s Paris-Nice as the defending champion.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Patrik Sinkewitz banned for eight years

German cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz has had an eight-year ban from the sport reinstated after an appeal by the German anti-doping agency (NADA) was upheld by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

Settimana Lombarda Bergamasca 2013 Stage-2

Sinkewitz tested positive for recombinant growth hormone back in February 2011 and after initially being suspended, the German Arbitral Tribunal overturned the ban, calling into question the testing procedures used at the laboratory in question. Sinkewitz returned to racing the following year after which NADA appealed.

Sinkewitz’s was given an eight-year ban because it’s his second offence — he previously tested positive to enhanced levels of testosterone in 2007 while riding for T-Mobile.

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Tom Boonen on target for 2014 Spring Classics

The Spring Classics weren’t quite the same last year with Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) either absent or underperforming due to injury. But the early signs in 2014 suggest the Belgian is back on track and set for a solid Classics campaign.

Boonen won two stages at the Tour of Qatar and finished second overall in a block of racing that also included the Dubai Tour and the Tour of Oman.

“I’m very satisfied how the two weeks in the Middle East have gone,” Boonen told Cycling News. “I’ve already raced 19 days this season and it’s a great way to get ready for the rest of the season. We’ve almost got a Grand Tour in our legs.”

Boonen will likely go into next Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad — the opening race of the European calendar — as one of the hot favourites, but the former world champion is more focused on the Tour of Flanders.

“Of course I’ve always tried to win it, every time I’ve ridden Omloop … but it’s not a race I ‘have’ to win to prove myself”, he told Cycling News.

“I think the most important races are a few weeks later but even then, I try to give 100% from the start and if a result comes and if I even manage to win, then I’ll be happy. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone anymore and that makes it all more enjoyable and possible.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Matti Breschel avoids serious injury after bizarre crash

Tinkoff-Saxo rider Matti Breschel has escaped serious injury following a bizarre crash just after the final stage of the Tour of Oman.

Stage 3 of the Eneco Tour 2013

“After the stage, we were riding back to our hotel and on a descent when I was going 70 kilometers an hour, a mattress flew into my front wheel and brought the bike to a standstill,” Breschel said via a team press release.

Breschel lost a lot of skin on his legs and face but is confident the incident won’t influence his preparations for his Classics campaign.

The team did not reveal where the mattress came from.

Click here to read more at the Tinkoff-Saxo website.

Behind the scenes at the SMS Santini factory

Here’s a video from the guys at GCN that takes you behind the scenes of one of the world’s biggest cycling clothing manufacturers: SMS Santini.

Check out our behind the scenes piece from the Champion System factory here.

The importance of a solid bike lock

We came across this video through the folks at road.cc and it shows a bike thief making off with a previously-locked bike in just a few seconds. All it takes to remove the lock is a couple of sharp tugs on the bike.

It’s obvious, but if you’re going to lock your bike up in public, make sure the lock is nice and sturdy. Here are some tips from road.cc and from GCN.

Click here to read more at road.cc.

The Armstrong Lie – tickets selling fast!

On March 13 and March 14 we’re hosting the Melbourne and Sydney premieres of the film The Armstrong Lie. Sadly, the Melbourne screening on March 13 is sold out, but there are still a handful of tickets available for the Sydney screening on Friday March 14.

For more information and to book your ticket, head here.

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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Today’s feature image was taken by Jered Gruber during the 2012 Spring Classics. The 2014 Spring Classics aren’t far away!