Tony Martin wins stage 2 of Pais Vasco

German three-time world time-trial champion Tony Martin claimed victory on the second stage of Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) on Tuesday.

The Omega Pharma–Quick-Step rider broke clear in the final stages of the 155.8km ride from Ordizia to Urdazubi to finish 30 seconds ahead of Britain’s Ben Swift (Sky) and Polish teammate Michal Kwiatowski in second and third respectively.

“I came here to try and do something good in the GC,” Martin said. “But yesterday the final was too hard for a rider like me. So after yesterday I decided to focus on the breakaways and of course the TT. This morning I was really motivated. Everybody wanted to try and go. Jan and I went, and for OPQS it was the perfect situation. We collaborated really well with the other guys in the breakaway. The final was hard. It wasn’t long climbs, but a lot of up and down like a small Amstel Gold Race.”

“When I went, to me it was kind of like a time trial until the end. I knew in the last 10 kilometers it was possible to win with a one-minute gap. I want to also thank Jan, because he let me go and he gave up his chance in my favor. This is the team spirit of OPQS and the victory is also for him and the whole team.”

Former two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) maintained his lead in the overall classification, 14 seconds ahead of compatriot Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with Kwiatowski back in third.

Stage 2: Ordizia > Dantxarinea (Urdazabi) - Stage Result

Tuesday 8th April 2014

1. de
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
2. gb
Team Sky
3. pl
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step

Kittel’s Road to the Tour passes through Scheldeprijs

German Marcel Kittel aims to win a record third straight Scheldeprijs title on Wednesday. Kittel has won four times in 2014, but all have been overseas and he has yet to win this season in Europe. A victory could come a little easier without some favourites such as Greipel and Cavendish starting in Antwerp.

Kittel winning Scheldeprijs is 2013.

Kittel winning Scheldeprijs is 2013.

Kittel told journalists he would miss those rivals. “I always say that it’s great when you win when the best guys are in the races as well,” he explained, “but it is how it is when you are sick or injured, you can’t start.”

Kittel’s eyes are on tomorrow’s Belgian mid-week classic between Flanders and Roubaix, but he also looks further ahead to the Tour de France. When the French grand tour starts in Yorkshire on July 5, Kittel wants to have the form to win the first stage and the yellow jersey.

See the startlist for the 2014 Scheldeprijs here.

Read more on Velonews

The use of tramodol in pro cycling

You’ve probably heard about the painkiller tramodol lately and it’s widespread use in pro cycling. In particular, the abuse of the drug has recently been blamed for crashes that we’ve seen in recent weeks. The Inner Ring takes some time to explain what tramodol is and why it’s used.

“One of the unwelcome side effects of following pro cycling is a passing acquaintance with medicine. In recent years it’s been haematology first with the haematocrit count then EPO and DIY blood doping. Now a quick look at analgesia thanks to Tramadol, a powerful painkiller that’s being used and abused in the peloton. It seems a ban is only a matter of time.

It works on the brain and nervous system to reduce pain and is a medium to strong pain killer, this is not what people take for a headache. Instead it’s used for chronic and acute pain relief. As an opiate it can be addictive. Indeed as well as correct use it is also abused.

Read more at the Inner Ring

Sacked Giro boss Acquarone tells all

Following the discovery of a €13 million fraud last year, Michele Acquarone was sacked as the managing director of RCS Sport and the Giro d’Italia cycling race it runs. The episode remains unexplained but, for the first time, Acquarone reveals his side of the story in an exclusive interview with SportsPro.

“We had weekly meetings about the business and he had monthly meetings with the big board; he was meeting his boss every day. We kept the financial controllers updated monthly. Everything was going good. The business was growing up.”

In the summer of 2013, one of those meetings with the main media group’s financial controllers took an alarming course. “They said, ‘There are some old credits that you have from the past that you will never get, so we need to reevaluate the business this year.’ So I had to write off €1.4 million for the year. I said, ‘Wait, what are we talking about? We have every single month our meeting and everything is always fine and now there is this – where does it come from?’

“I never had clear answers about that. It was something from 2008, 2009, 2010. I was speaking with my people, saying, ‘Come on, it’s five years we’ve been working together. Do you know about that?’” One or two of his staff, he reports, would not give him straight answers. For the first time, he began to be mistrustful.

“For the very first time in five years I had the feeling that something was not right.”

“According to the controller we should have had something like €400,000 in the bank, and the bank told us there was nothing – zero.”

Read the full interview on Sportspro

Michelle Counde takes to Twitter

Chris Froome’s girlfriend and representative Michelle Counde has taken to twitter to vent her frustrations over doping allegations:

“I wonder if @lancearmstrong is sorry for the anger & resentment he’s left behind which is now aimed at the true heroes of the sport.”

“I don’t know what the hell is wrong with people, thinking its okay to tear into innocent people. You are the scum of the earth.”

“Maybe an “ex” doper can win the tour this year, at least he would be qualified to answer all the doping questions” presumably referring to Alberto Contador who is looking to be on form to be Froome’s main rival at the Tour de France.


While Froome typically responds to the issue of doping with a smile and openness, the most controversial side of him always comes from her partner Michelle.

“Chris is a far better person than I am putting up with all of it. He is a true (and clean) hero no matter what the twitter jokers say.”

Follow Michelle Counde’s twitter timeline here.

Magnus Bäckstedt on winning Paris-Roubaix

Ten years after Magnus Bäckstedt entered the Roubaix velodrome with Tristan Hoffman, Roger Hammond and Fabian Cancellara to win a thrilling edition of Paris-Roubaix, Bäckstedt retells the story of his finest moment on a bike in this nice video below.

“I remember going across the final section in Hem,” he said. “I just managed to flick around a reasonable sized stone and I thought, ‘Oh, that was lucky’, and straight away thought if no one else clips that it’s a miracle.”

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 a cobbled sector of the 2013 Paris-Roubaix.