Australia’s Eric Sheppard wins Tour de Filipinas opener

We mightn’t normally cover the UCI2.2-ranked Le Tour de Filipinas (Tour of the Philippines) but we thought it was worth a mention given that Australia’s Eric Sheppard (OCBC Singapore) won the opening stage of the race yesterday.

The 22-year-old was in a small breakaway with five riders on the 160km stage and despite falling off the pace he was able to catch back on with the leaders before attacking solo in the final 15km.

Sheppard finished nearly three minutes clear of his former breakaway companions and takes a handy lead into stage 2 of the four-stage race.

Stage 1: Clark > Subic - Stage Result

Monday 21st April 2014

1. au
OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team
2. ae
3. kr
KWON Soon Young

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Joaquim Rodriguez to return from injury at Fleche Wallonne

After crashing out of Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has confirmed that he will line up at Fleche Wallonne on Wednesday — a race he won in 2012 — but he is likely to do so in support of defending champion Daniel Moreno.

Amstel Gold Race 2014

Rodriguez believes he is in good enough shape to assist Moreno but might suffer on the tougher climbs, including the Mur de Huy which will likely decide the race.

“Our osteopath treated me very well, that’s why I decided to do this [two-hour ride] test,” Rodriguez said. “The first 30 minutes were very painful, but afterwards it went better. The major problem remains the efforts on the climbs. I am a bit afraid of the Mur de Huy, but we will see,” Rodríguez added.

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly and here to read more at Cycling News.

Philippe Gilbert chasing Ardennes triple crown

After winning last week’s semi-classic Brabantse Pijl and Sunday’s Amstel Gold, former world champion Philippe Gilbert has his sights set on a second Ardennes treble: Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Kramon_AmstelGoldRace2014_DSC5783 - Version 2-2

Gilbert managed the feat in 2011 and now believes that his slimmer physique and the strength of his BMC squad could help him make history.

“Three years ago I was a bit stronger than now because I had already won at the beginning of the season,” said Gilbert, who won 18 races in 2011. “But I was in a different situation. Now, in stage races I have to work for team-mates such as (Australian Cadel) Evans, (American Teejay) van Garderen and now (Spaniard Samuel) Sanchez, so I have to put an X (to rule out) often next to my stage wins.”

Gilbert had a luckless year in 2013, managing only one victory for the season, but the Belgian believes his preparation for this season was better.

“I had a good winter after a disappointing last season for me and all those close to me,” he said. “I really withdrew into myself and refused all requests from the outside. I just trained and looked after myself more than before.

“Those sacrifices paid off. I could start the season with less weight and now my weight is also interesting. We know that weight is a cyclist’s worst enemy and I’ve beaten my worst enemy.”

Click here to read more via AFP at Cycling Central.

Cadel Evans looking to test himself at the Giro del Trentino

After a great start to his season at the Australian national championships and the Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans (BMC) has been relatively quiet. But the 2011 Tour de France winner believes he is on the right track for the Giro d’Italia.

Giro d'Italia 2013 - Settima Tappa

Evans is looking to test his form, including his climbing ability, at the Giro del Trentino this week.

“I’m here to work for my first big goal of the season: the Giro d’Italia. The Giro del Trentino is always a good way to test your form for the Giro thanks to the mountains and the TTT. It’s a dress rehearsal for BMC this year,” Evans said.

This will be a test of my climbing in the big mountains. I’ll be looking for results. I’m sure Scarpa (Michele Scarponi) will be a favourite but so will the others.”

The four-stage Giro del Trentino starts tonight with a 13.4km TTT. All three of the remaining stages feature summit finishes.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Women’s Tour of Britain finds a title sponsor and makes race manual available

The inaugural Women’s Tour (of Britain) is less than three weeks away and the event finally has a sponsor: insurer Friends Life.

Kramon_TOB13_stage1_KRA8805 - Version 2-2

Announcing the partnership last week, Hugh Roberts, chief executive of race organiser SweetSpot, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Friends Life for The Women’s Tour this May and we are looking forward to working with them to ensure that women’s cycling gains the platform it deserves and hope this partnership grows ever stronger in the future.”

Meanwhile the race organisers have also made the full race manual available to download, making it easy than ever for fans to watch the race and plan where they’ll watch it from. You can download the manual here.

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The real ‘rules’ of cycling

Chances are you’re probably familiar with Velominati’s “The Rules”, a series of instructions about what you should and shouldn’t do as a cyclist. Some of them are funny, some of them are unnecessarily restrictive and others are just silly.

In an attempt to rework the rules into something more helpful and more streamlined, kolo.t.c put together this post. Here are the first five:

1. Don’t be a dick.
2. Ride whatever the hell you want.
3. No one gives a shit if your bar tape matches your seat.
4. The bike comes first, right behind family and friends and making a living.
5. Riding in bad weather makes you better. But don’t be stupid about it.

What do you reckon?

Click here to read the post in full. And click here for some further discussion on Reddit.

Beer and cycling

Here’s a nice little piece from The Inner Ring about the relationship between bike races and beer, off the back of Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. Here’s an excerpt:

Beer and wine companies may sponsor a bike race or team but a spirits brand cannot. Hidden in the UCI rulebook is a paragraph stating:

“no brand of tobacco, spirits, pornographic products bis or any other products that might damage the image of the UCI or the sport of cycling in general shall be associated directly or indirectly with a licence-holder, a UCI team or a national or international cycling competition. As defined in the present article, a spirit is a beverage with a content in alcohol of 15% or more.”

Click here to read the full article at The Inner Ring.

A big welcome to Shane Stokes

Some of you might have seen the news last week but in case you didn’t, former VeloNation editor Shane Stokes has joined CyclingTips in the role of News Editor/Journalist.

Shane’s appointment will help us to expand our coverage of the sport — into news and other areas — while still remaining true to what the site’s always been about: helping you to improve your riding and showcasing the beauty of this great sport.

Check out the article that Shane wrote for us about his journey so far.

Orica-GreenEDGE Backstage Pass: Amstel Gold Race

Here’s another great Backstage Pass from Dan Jones and the Orica-GreenEDGE crew, this time covering Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race:

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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Today’s feature image comes from Cor Vos and shows Philippe Gilbert attacking on the Mur de Huy in last year’s Fleche Wallone while Peter Sagan and eventual winner Dani Moreno try to follow. Will Gilbert be strong enough to win this year’s race?