Fabian Cancellara wins men’s Tour of Flanders

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) sprinted to victory in the men’s Tour of Flanders overnight to become one of just six men to have won the Belgian “Monument” three times.

Ronde van Vlaanderen  2014

Cancellara proved strongest in an elite group of four riders, outsprinting Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Sep Vanmarke (Belkin) and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) to the finish in Oudenaarde after 259km crash-filled kilometres.

Van Avermaet and Vandenbergh had escaped from a reduced peloton with less than 30km to go and despite the best efforts of the BMC rider (who was doing all of the work), the pair was caught by Cancellara and Vanmarke just after the final climb of the day, the Paterberg.

Cancellara had attacked on the Oude Kwaremont, the day’s penultimate climb, and only Vanmarcke was able to follow. The quartet came together with roughly 10km to go and while it looked as if Milan-San Remo winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) might bridge across with Niki Terpstra (OPQS), the chase soon faltered and the winner was set to come from the four leaders.

A game of cat and mouse ensued and with less than 300m to go it was Cancellara who leapt first, getting a gap on his rivals and taking a second consecutive Flanders win.

The day’s main break, which took nearly 40km to establish, featured Stig Broeckx (Lotto Belisol), Davide Appolonio (AG2R), Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge), Raymond Kreder (Garmin-Sharp), Wesley Kreder (Wanty Group), Alexander Kuchynski (Katusha), Andrea Palini (Lampre Merida), Taylor Phinney (BMC), James Vanlandschoot (Wanty Group), Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Romain Zingle (Cofidis).

They built a lead of more than six minutes and after losing riders throughout the day, the last of the escapees — Daryl Impey — was caught with less than 50km to go.

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Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Ellen van Dijk wins women’s Tour of Flanders

Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) has taken a memorable victory in the women’s Tour of Flanders overnight, soloing to victory after an attack on the Kruisberg 27km from the finish.

Ronde van Vlaanderen  2014 women

Van Dijk was able to establish a lead of 40 seconds over a reduced peloton and while Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-Lululemon) and Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) were able to escape the main field in pursuit of Van Dijk, they weren’t able to catch the Dutch time trial specialist.

Van Dijk held on to her lead to win by more than a minute over a chasing group of nine riders, which was led home by van Dijk’s teammate Lizzie Armitstead, ahead of the ever-consistent Emma Johannson (Orica-AIS).

The Tour of Flanders was the third round in the nine-round women’s World Cup for 2014. Armitstead’s second place ensures she holds on to the overall lead which she took after winning Ronde van Drenthe a few weeks ago.

The next round of the Women’s World Cup will be la Fleche Wallonne on April 23.

Follow the link for results from the 2014 women’s Tour of Flanders. Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Michael Matthews wins Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja

Michael Matthews has taken Orica-GreenEDGE’s first win in Europe for 2014, with a bunch sprint victory at the UCI 1.1 Vuelta a La Rioja in Basque Country overnight.

Matthews bettered his second place position at last year’s edition of the race, finishing off a solid lead-out to win ahead of Francesco Lasca (Caja Rural- Seguros RGA) in second and Carlos Barbero (Euskadi) in third.

“It’s obviously nice to win at any time, but the first win of the year is always hard to get,” said Matthews.

“Once you get the first one they usually keep coming. The lead-out was perfect today, probably the best lead-out I’ve experienced with any team. Hopefully the win today gives the team confidence that I can win and if we can keep these lead-outs going there should be more wins to come.”

The team went into the 164.7 kilometre warm up race for this week’s six-day Vuelta al Pais Vasco firmly focused on getting Matthews to the line for the win.

Follow the link for results from the 2014 Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja. Text adapted from an Orica-GreenEDGE press release.

Brodie Talbot wins men’s Adelaide Tour

Budget Forklifts’ Brodie Talbot has claimed his maiden tour victory, winning the Jarvis Subaru Adelaide Tour, the second event in the men’s Subaru National Road Series (NRS).

Talbot boldly ripped the leader’s jersey from stage one victor Wesley Sulzberger’s (Drapac Pro Cycling) shoulders following his efforts in stage two’s Woodside Road Race which saw Talbot establish a 24-second lead. Talbot maintained his lead for the remaining two stages of the Tour, despite the best efforts of Sulzberger and the Drapac team.

Talbot finished the Tour 24 seconds ahead of Sulzberger and a further 44 seconds in front of Keagan Girdlestone (Lightsview).

In the final stage, a 82km criterium in Newton, Avanti Racing’s Jack Beckinsale claimed stage honours ahead of Ryan Thomas (GPM) and Joe Cooper (Avanti Racing).

Earlier in the race, a breakaway group of five formed six laps into the 22-lap race, including Sulzberger who began the day only 24 seconds behind Tour leader Talbot.

Sulzberger, his brother and teammate Bernard Sulzberger and Beckinsale bridged a 10-second gap to the five riders of Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Racing), Mark O’Brien (Avanti Racing), Matthew Jackson and Thomasand Angus Tobin (Search2Retain).

With three Drapac riders in the break, the gap grew to 26 seconds with the Tour lead in limbo between Sulzberger and Talbot.

However with Budget Forklifts looking in control, Drapac’s Lachlan Norris and Cooper attempted to bridge the now, 11 second gap with just four laps remaining.

With the bell ringing to signal the final lap of the race, the gap had been reduced to nine seconds with the break left to fight it out amongst themselves for line honours.

Follow the link for results from the 2014 men’s Adelaide Tour.

Flick Wardlaw wins women’s Adelaide Tour

Benalla’s Felicity Wardlaw (Bicycle Superstore) has taken out the Jarvis Subaru Adelaide Tour, the opening event in the women’s Subaru National Road Series (NRS).

Wardlaw, 36, rode herself into the Tour lead following her solo victory in Friday’s Woodside road race and maintained a 25-second lead to stage one victor Ruth Corset (Holden Women’s Cycling) throughout Saturday and Sunday’s 42km criterium and 60km kermesse.

Victoria’s Kendelle Hodges (Jayco/Apollo/VIS) finished in third place overall, 54 seconds in arrears.

The win is Wardlaw’s maiden for her NRS career, following a strong start to the 2014 season which began with winning the 2014 time trial national championship in January.

The final day’s line honors went to Adelaide’s Jessica Mundy (SASI), after breaking free from the fast-paced peloton in Campbelltown with just three of 16 laps left to race.

Mundy’s teammate Annette Edmondson took out the bunch sprint for second place, ahead of Lizzie Williams(Specialized Securitor).

Follow the link for results from the 2014 women’s Adelaide Tour.

Spectator in a critical condition after collision with Johan Vansummeren

The 2014 men’s Tour of Flanders will likely be remembered for its crashes as much as the exploits of its eventual winner, and few crashes last night were as horrible as the one between Garmin-Sharp’s Johan Vansummeren and a female spectator.

The crash happened after 60km of racing when Vansummeren collided, at high speed, with a woman who was standing on a traffic island in the middle of the road.

The woman is believed to be in a critical condition and reports from Sporza suggest she has undergone brain surgery.

Vansummeren was hospitalised briefly but appears to be OK.

“I’m alright despite a few stitches and a black eye. That’s really not important now. I got a massive scare,” Vansummeren said. “I feel really bad that other people are affected. The fact that this lady got hurt bothers me much more than the crash.”

“I don’t think I’ll find sleep tonight. It had to become a beautiful Sunday but it’s anything but that,” Vansummeren concluded.

Click here to read more at Cycling News. Click here to watch the crash if you really want to. Warning: it is quite confronting.

Lizzie Armitstead renews contract with Boels Dolmans

A few days before finishing second in the Tour of Flanders and consolidating her World Cup series lead, Lizzie Armitstead renewed her contract with the Boels-Dolmans team until the end of 2016.

“I feel right at home with the Boels-Dolmans team and I know that this is the best place for me in the next years.”

“I am very happy that I am going to stay with this team. The decision was made easier for me because Danny Stam and Ellen van Dijk will be staying on for the same period. I like to continue working with these ambitious people. I think that, as a team, we have the potential to become the best in the world and I would like to contribute to that.”

This is Armitstead’s second season with Boels-Dolmans and she is arguably in career-best form.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Stay fit in your 20s to be sharper later on

A new study published in the online edition of the journal Neurology suggests that keeping fit in your 20s — through activities such as cycling, running and swimming — could help preserve your memory and cognitive skills into middle age (defined as between 43 and 55).

“Many studies show the benefits to the brain of good heart health,” said study author David R. Jacobs, Jr, PhD, with the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “This is one more important study that should remind young adults of the brain health benefits of cardio fitness activities such as running, swimming, biking or cardio fitness classes.”

Test subjects were recruited from a long-term study into coronary artery risk in young adults from the mid-1980s. For the study nearly 3,000 healthy people with an average age of 25 underwent treadmill tests and then again 20 years later, plus memory and “psychomotor tests”.

The study found a link between people’s performance in the first test in the 1980s, and their ability in the memory and psychomotor tests 20 years on.

Click here to read more at road.cc.

Introducing The Radavist

John Prolly is a bit of an icon in the online cycling world, thanks to his Prolly is Not Probably website, which features, among other things, great image galleries of bikes and other cycling paraphernalia. Now John has taken PiNP in a different direction and launched The Radavist, a site which will be less about him and more about the cycling community apparently.

“I want more people’s voices, photography and experiences on the site. In order to do that, it can no longer be my own voice, it has to be a community.”

We look forward to watching the site’s progress.

Click here to read more at The Radavist.

Half-hour highlights package from Trofeo Alfredo Binda World Cup

If you want to catch up on all the action from last weekend’s Trofeo Alfredo Binda (the second round in the women’s World Cup) and the short highlights video published last week wasn’t enough, check out this half-hour highlights package from the UCI. A similar package from Tour of Flanders will be out later this week.

The crashes of Flanders

As mentioned earlier, this year’s Tour of Flanders will be remember for its many crashes and the folks at CyclingHub have put together a compilation of the major spills. Not pleasant viewing, but a timely reminder of how brutal the sport is and what the pros put themselves through as part of their job.

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 the final sprint at last night’s Tour of Flanders.