In this morning’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest: Carlos Betancur wins Paris-Nice; Alberto Contador takes control at Tirreno-Adriatico; Lizzie Armitstead wins Ronde van Drenthe World Cup; Spanish nationals to be held on worlds course; Cyclists hit by a car in Sydney; Marcel Kittel makes up with his bike; Track cyclist hits starting gate in spectacular crash; Riders reveal their biggest mistakes as a neo-pro.
Carlos Betancur wins Paris-Nice
Carlos Betancur (Ag2r) has held on to the overall lead he took on stage 6 to win the 2014 edition of the eight-stage Paris-Nice.
Betancur won stages five and six, both from a small, elite lead group, to take an eight second lead into stage 7. That penultimate stage was claimed by Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), in his second stage win for the race, while Betancur extended his overall lead to 14 seconds ahead of road race world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and 26 seconds clear of cyclocross world champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega-Pharma QuickStep).
The final stage, a 128km day that started and finished in Nice and featured five categorised climbs, was won by French national champion Arthur Vichot (FDJ) who outsprinted Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and Cyril Gautier (Europcar) at the head of a 22-rider lead group.
Betancur and his Ag2r team faced several attacks on the Col d’Eze, the final climb just 14km from the finish, including a move from Frank Schleck (Trek) and Simon Spilack (Katusha). But Ag2r had help at the front from Movistar and others and the pair was caught inside the final kilometre.
A crash near the finish took out second-placed Rui Costa but his overall time was not affected given the crash occured inside the final 3km. Carlos Betancur, meanwhile, finished safely in eighth to become the first Colombian to win Paris-Nice.
Follow the link for results from stage 8 and the final overall classification at the 2014 Paris-Nice. Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly. Click here to read a piece at VeloNews about what the future might hold for Carlos Betancur.
Alberto Contador takes control at Tirreno-Adriatico
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has taken his second consecutive stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico to put himself more than two minutes clear of his nearest rivals with two stages remaining in the race.
The day after winning on the summit finish to stage 4, Contador launched a decisive attack with 32km to go on stage 5, leaving behind overall leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Nairo Quintana. Contador caught Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), who’d been in an earlier break, before the pair caught the two leaders further up the road: Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano) and Ben King (Garmin-Sharp).
An impressive solo move from Ben King with 2km to go on the final climb looked threatening but Contador reeled the American back in as the riders hit the infamous Muro di Guardiagrele, which has a maximum gradient of 30%.
Contador would go on to win the stage by six seconds ahead of Geschke and 45 seconds ahead of King. The Spaniard now leads the overall classification by 2:08 ahead of Nairo Quintana and 2:15 ahead of his teammate Roman Kreuziger.
Two stages remain in this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico: a 189km mainly-flat stage 6 and a 9.1km ITT to finish the race.
Lizzie Armitstead wins Ronde van Drenthe World Cup
Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) has taken out the opening round of the UCI Women’s World Cup over the weekend, outsprinting Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) to win Ronde van Drenthe.
The British national champion attacked from a chase group before bridging to the lone leader in van der Breggen who had escaped earlier with her teammate Iris Slappendel and built up a lead of roughly one minute.
Van der Breggen moved clear of Slappendel on the final climb and by the top Armitstead had passed Slappendel. Armitstead caught van der Breggen inside the final 10km and the pair worked together, until the final 500m where the Dutchwoman was caught at the front and Armitstead kicked to take the sprint.
“I finally got my big victory here,” Armitstead said. “I was quite happy with how I started the season, with third places in Het Nieuwsblad and the Drentse 8 and a victory in the Omloop van het Hageland. But here was that big win.”
Spanish nationals to be held on worlds course
Spanish riders will get a first-hand look at this year’s world championships road race course in Ponferrada when the Spanish national championships are held on the same circuit in June.
President of the Spanish Cycling Federation José Luis López Cerrón said over the weekend that hosting the Spanish nationals on the same course will give organisers valuable experience as well as the riders.
“It will be a test for Spanish riders ahead of their participation in the Worlds, as well as to gauge the organisational details Ponferrada in a previous competition, such as road closures and other aspects,” he explained.
The 254.8km course that the men will face in this year’s worlds road race features only two small climbs.
While Spanish riders will get the best chance to see how the worlds road race might unfold, other national selectors will also likely be watching the Spanish nationals with interest to aid selection ahead of the world championships on September 28.
Click here to read more at Cycling News.
Cyclists hit by a car in Sydney
Six cyclists were injured, five seriously, when they were hit by a car in Sydney’s southeast on Sunday morning.
The riders were part of a regular bunch ride on Southern Cross Drive at Eastlakes at roughly 8.30am. It is not known how the incident occurred and police are appealing to witnesses to come forward with any information they might have.
See below for a news report of the incident from Channel 7 in Sydney.
Click here to read more at Cycling Central.
Marcel Kittel makes up with his bike
You might have seen the footage over the weekend of Marcel Kittel throwing his Giant Propel in disgust after a crash in Tirreno-Adriatico. (Here it is in case you missed it).
The day after the incident Kittel took to Twitter to apologise to his “sweetheart”:
— Marcel Kittel (@marcelkittel) March 14, 2014
It’s clearly a move to placate the sponsors (notice the vehicles in the background) but it’s entertaining nonetheless.
Track cyclist hits starting gate in spectacular crash
A Chilean cyclist has had surgery on a fractured kneecap after colliding with a starting gate at the South American Games.
The starting gate appears to have been left in position on the track after a false start in a race which saw Chile up against Brazil.
The Chilean rider on the front saw the official waving a red flag to warn of the obstacle, but the rider behind, Irene Aravena, didn’t, and collided spectacularly with the gate.
Click here to read more at road.cc.
Riders reveal their biggest mistakes as a neo-pro
This is a great little video from the team at CyclingNews in which they interview a handful of riders and ask “what was the biggest mistake you made as a neo-pro?” Check out how the likes of Brad Wiggins, Tyler Farrar and Chris Horner respond.
The Rocacorba Recap
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed: