Luka Mezgec confirms talent on stage 2 of Catalunya

Luka Mezgec has taken his second consecutive stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in a bunch sprint. Winner on yesterday’s opening stage, Luka had to come from a long way back in a frantic finish, choosing to sprint on the opposite side of the road to the pack and coming across the line with bike length to spare.

With Luka in the leader’s jersey, Team Giant-Shimano were once in the driving seat during today’s stage. They took up the chase behind the day’s breakaway of six riders and keep their advantage in check as the weather conditions deteriorated.

The race came back together just five kilometres from the finish line in Girona.

As the peloton dived down the left hand side of the road, Luka popped out of the line, headed over to the right and powered past everyone, leaving the rest to fight for second place. Luka’s win that sees him keep the overall lead as the race heads to the mountains tomorrow.

Luka, said: “My sprint has really come on after working hard over the winter with the team coaches and experts and it’s great to feel the hard work paying off now.

“I have to thank my teammates for their hard work again today. It is never easy when it is wet and cold but they were great.

“The hills we fine today, much easier than on paper. We had to push hard to get Voeckler back in the end but after that it wasn’t too hectic as the race was strung out and the guys had put me in position.

“I was freezing on the bike on the downhill at the end and was a bit unsure of how the legs would react in the sprint. At 500m to go I was not in perfect position but when I jumped my legs were good.”

Click here for full results of stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya.

Text adapted from Shimano-Giant press release.

Weather takes devastating toll on second stage of Absa Cape Epic

The weather took a devastating toll on Absa Cape Epic competitors for the second day in a row Tuesday, with stage winner Robert Mennen of Germany describing it as “survival of the fittest”.

Mennen and his Czech partner Kristian Hynek (Team Topeak-Ergon) took stage two in 4h12m17s, but four-times Absa Cape Epic winner Karl Platt of Germany and his Swiss teammate Urs Huber (Team Bulls) overcame a crash and the weather to snatch the yellow zebra-striped leaders’ jersey by finishing second.

Platt’s great rival Christoph Sauser, also bidding for a fifth win and riding this year with Czech partner Frantisek Rabon, fell back by nearly 12 minutes on the day after a broken part in his brakes started binding on the rear wheel.

But the biggest losers on the stage were overnight yellow jersey holders Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess (Centurion Vaude), both of Germany, when the latter’s frame broke. They had to make running repairs using a spare tube and cable ties, eventually finishing 1h50m behind the winners in 112th position – and out of contention for the podium when the race finishes at Lourensford wine estate on Sunday.

Today’s (Wednesday) 134km Stage 3 takes the riders from Robertson to Greyton. On Tuesday night the weatherman was predicting some light drizzle for Wednesday – not ideal, but still a welcome change after two brutal days.

Read the full report of stage 2 here.

View the Absa Cape Epic full results here.

Richie Porte abandons Catalunya

Richie Porte withdrew from the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya midway through stage 2 from Mataró to Girona (168km) yesterday. Porte was sitting in 173rd position and was over three minutes down on the GC after the opening stage but started stage 2. A disappointed Porte admitted in a press release, “I’m obviously not 100 percent. After my illness at Tirreno I went home and just haven’t quite been able to get over it. Training is one thing, but when you come to the race there’s nowhere to hide. Unfortunately today I had to stop but I think long-term I’ll be able to go back, get healthy, recover and re-start my season.”

This was the second consecutive race Porte has abandoned due to illness which he continued to feel the effects of the illness that forced him out of Tirreno-Adriatico.

Porte has been building his form to the Giro d’Italia in May where he will be Sky’s team leader.

UCI WorldTour Reforms

Not much gets by the INRNG and he’s noticed a newsletter sitting quietly on the UCI’s website outlining reforms to the WorldTour calendar which were announced by the UCI last autumn claiming to make some radical changes.


The three elements to the reforms are: the calendar, the teams and the timing. The changes aren’t drastic, but for a detailed look head over to the Inner Ring for more.

Cookson: Switch track cycling to Winter Olympics

UCI president Brian Cookson has urged the IOC to consider switching a number of indoor events – including track cycling – to the Winter Olympic programme.


Cookson believes the radical change would ease the congestion of events at the Summer Games and increase the event quotas for many sports.

“Let’s think about the Winter Olympics, why does it have to be snow and ice?” said Cookson, who has campaigned for cyclo-cross to be added to the Winter Olympics in the past.

“The reality these days is that the base for the winter Olympics the last few times has been two or three hours drive away from the mountains.

“If you have a problem with summer Olympics where the whole thing is perceived as over-heated with too many facilities, too many sports, too many competitors and so on, why not look at moving some of the other sports indoors that traditionally take place in the northern hemisphere winter?

“Why not look at combat sports like judo, or other indoor sports like badminton? You could even say what about putting track cycling in the Winter Olympics?”

Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, has announced a review of the entire Olympic programme with the results being presented in Monaco at the end of 2014.

Text via AFP

Ballan lodges appeal with CAS against doping sanction: “I believe in justice”

Alessandro Ballan has lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the two-year suspension he was handed in January for a blood doping violation.


“I underwent ozone therapy at the time, but I was ill and I had been withheld from racing for 45 days by my team doctor,” Ballan told Tuttobici, confirming his appeal to CAS. “I’ll only say that the penalty inflicted on me is an enormity. I know that right is on my side and above all, I still believe in sporting justice.”

Read more on cyclingnews.

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 shot during Sunday’s 105th edition of Milan-San Remo.