Simon Gerrans wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) has added a second Monument victory to his palmares, sprinting to victory in Ans to become the first Australian winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday. The ever-consistent Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) completed the podium.

100 th  Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2014

A large group of riders reached the final uphill drag together, chasing Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) who had escaped on the day’s final categorised climb.

Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) attacked, setting off in pursuit of back-to-back wins, but just as he was about to reach the leaders, he turned left and promptly crashed, his race over.

Gerrans, Valverde and Kwiatkowski weren’t far behind and in one swift move Gerrans jumped on to the wheel of Caruso, then out of his slipstream in a dash for the line. Valverde couldn’t come around the Australian national champion who adds Liege-Bastogne-Liege to the Milan-San Remo win from 2012.

The day’s main escape formed 12km into the race and got as much as 16 minutes ahead of the peloton. But as the 263km and 10 categorised climbs unfolded the deficit was reduced and the finale was set to be a battle of the big names.

1. au
Orica GreenEDGE
2. es
VALVERDE Alejandro
Movistar Team
3. pl
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Mark Cavendish wins Presidential Tour of Turkey opener

by Shane Stokes

Mark Cavendish didn’t wait long to clock up success at the Presidential Tour of Turkey. At the end of the opening 141km leg in Alanya on Sunday, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider blazed in ahead of Elia Viviani (Cannondale), Theo Bos (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) and the rest of the main field.

Cycling: 50th Tour of Turkey 2014/ Stage 1 1st Mark Cavendish

Cavendish profited from the good work of his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team, who limited the gains of an early breakaway containing Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport-Vlaanderen), Martin Wesemann (MTN-Qhubeka), Marc de Maar (United Healthcare) and Mirac Kal (Torku Sekerspor).

The break was finally caught with two laps of the finishing circuit remaining while Mirko Tedeschi (Neri Sottoli) clipped away alone and made a brave but ultimately unsuccessful bid for a solo win.

Once the peloton hauled him back, Cavendish swung into action and sprinted in to nab his third victory of the season plus the Tour of Turkey race leader’s jersey.

“I’m really excited to come here for the first time in the Tour of Turkey and win,” he beamed after the finish. “I wasn’t sure of my condition, I didn’t know whether I’d be okay or bad after more than one month off.

“It’s a great feeling. My team did an incredible job to keep me out of the wind and put me in good position.”

Monday’s stage will take the riders 175km from Alanya to Kemer and is once again expected to finish in a big sprint. Cavendish will aim to defend his race leader’s jersey in style, chasing another win, while King of the Mountains Marc de Maar (Unitedhealthcare) doesn’t have any primes to contest.

Stage 1: Alanya > Alanya - Stage Result

Sunday 27th April 2014

1. gb
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
2. it
3. nl
BOS Theo
Belkin-Pro Cycling Team

Cadel Evans wins Giro del Trentino

Cadel Evans (BMC) showed over the weekend that he’s in promising form ahead of the Giro d’Italia, winning the four-stage Giro del Trentino after taking the lead on stage 2. It is Evans’ first overall stage race victory since the Criterium Internationale in 2012.

Giro del Trentino 2014

Evans took a slender nine-second win into stage 3 after finishing fourth on stage 2. The Australian was able to defend his lead in the best way possible, winning the stage ahead of Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) and Mikel Landa (Astana).

Evans went into the final stage with a 45-second lead on second-placed Pozzovivo and was able to extend his advantage by a further five seconds. The final stage was won by Mikel Landa ahead of MTN-Qhubeka’s Louis Meintjes and Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli).

Evans now goes into the Giro d’Italia (which starts on May 10) as one of the overall favourites.

“In the Giro there are more days of racing, more uphill days and a stronger field, I’ll have to be better to win the Giro”, Evans said after the race. “But I’ve got margin to improve and so I’ll work towards that.”

Evans named Joaquim Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana as his biggest rival in the Italian Grand Tour.

Final Classification: > - Stage Result

Friday 25th April 2014

1. au
BMC Racing Team
2. it
AG2R La Mondiale
3. pl
NIEMIEC Przemyslaw

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

Chloe Hosking wins Omloop van Borsele

Australian sprinter Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products) has taken her first UCI-categorised victory of the year, sprinting to victory at the EPZ Omloop van Borsele in the Netherlands over the weekend.

Hosking outsprinted the likes of Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) and Ellen van Dijk (Boels Dolmans) at the head of a 12-rider lead group.

We have a report from within the race coming up soon, but in the meantime check out the highlights video below, including the final sprint from 5:27.

Race results:

1. au
Hitec Products
2. nl
WILD Kirsten
Team Giant-Shimano
3. nl
Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team

Last-kilometre crash scuppers Dan Martin’s chance of back-to-back Liege-Bastogne-Liege titles

There’s little doubt that Dan Martin was the unluckiest rider in yesterday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The defending champion had broken away from the peloton on the final climb to the line and looked to be in with a chance of becoming just the ninth rider to win consecutive editions of the race.

100 th  Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2014

Speaking to VeloNews 45 minutes after the race, Martin wasn’t exactly what happened.

“It’s one thing, if you make a mistake, or you know what you’ve done. But I just fell out of a tree, basically,” Martin said. “You look at the road, I think there’s a batch of oil or something. Yeah, I think I pretty much had tears in my eyes before I hit the floor.

“It’s hard — there’s not really words. To race seven hours like that and just for it to happen on the last corner? Yeah. It’s poetry.”

We’ll never know if Martin would have been caught by Gerrans and others in the dash to the line but the Irishman certainly appeared to be riding strongly.

“I didn’t know what was going on behind, I didn’t know how close the group was. All I know is that I was feeling pretty good still and I was very relaxed. I was 250 meters. Podium was definitely on the cards. I don’t know if maybe Gerro would have caught me.”

“Obviously we’ve still got Tom [Jelte Slagter] sixth. It’s not a bad day for the team, and on another day … we would have been pretty happy with the result. But yeah, it’s a bit hard to take.”

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Greipel recovered from injury but unsure of sprinting form

by Shane Stokes

Mark Cavendish has started the Presidential Tour of Turkey in perfect fashion and it appears that his path to achieving stage victories might be a little less complicated due to his main rival having a question mark about his form.

Speaking to CyclingTips at the team presentation in Alanya, Andre Greipel accepted that he is facing a very difficult task to add to his fine career total of nine stages in the race. The big German crashed during last month’s Gent Wevelgem race and dislocated his collarbone. He has worked hard to get back to competition and while he is ahead of schedule, he is clear that the accident has cost him in terms of condition.

“I can ride my bike, but not like I would like to,” he said. “However normally it takes longer to return from an injury like this, so I am already quite happy that I can do a proper bike ride. The crash was disappointing but I can’t change it. Sometimes it is part of our job.

“I have no set expectations here. I will just take it day by day. I am now on the bike ten days, so I cannot have expectations of winning a stage. There is no pressure.”

Guardini regrets non-selection for Giro d’Italia

by Shane Stokes

Another former stage winner who is in action in the Presidential Tour of Turkey is the Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini. The Astana rider took two stages in 2011 and will do what he can to repeat that feat, but he had disrupted preparation in the build-up to the event and feels some uncertainty.

Tour de Langkawi 2014 - stage 10

“I don’t know how good my condition is because I had some problem with a tooth in the last few days,” he told CyclingTips at the team presentation in Alanya. “I lost some days of training before I came here.

“I hope to do a good sprint in the last stages and also to try in the first and second stage, but I don’t know how it will go.”

Now 24 years of age, Guardini hasn’t made the progress that was first predicted for him. He clocked up an excellent 11 wins in his first pro season in 2011 and beat Mark Cavendish to win a stage in the 2012 Giro d’Italia. His momentum has faltered since then, and he confirmed that he hasn’t gained selection for this year’s Italian Tour.

“For the moment I am not on the team for the Giro d’Italia,” he said, looking disappointed not to get the nod. “It is normal [to want to do it – ed.] as the Giro is the best race for an Italian. Okay, I know my condition is not really perfect. The team will also work for the general classification.”

It looks like any Grand Tour stage win ambitions will have to be centered around the Vuelta a España, as he won’t be doing the Tour de France in July.

“I think being on the Tour squad is really hard because the team is building for Vincenzo Nibali and the general classification,” he accepted.

Howard: Orica-GreenEDGE will back Yates brothers for overall in Turkey and Kruopis for sprints

by Shane Stokes

They may both be first-year professionals but the Yates brothers, Simon and Adam, have the full backing of their Orica-GreenEDGE team when it comes to the general classification at the Presidential Tour of Turkey. Team-mate Leigh Howard confirmed that the identical twins are the best option for the overall in the eight-day, 2.HC-ranked race.

Speaking to CyclingTips at the team presentation, Howard detailed the team’s likely approach in the days ahead.

“Basically we have Aidis [Kruopis] here for the sprints. He won a stage last year. It is going to be our goal to try to win another stage with him, although it is going to be difficult with a lot of good sprinters here,” he said.

“Then for the hilltops we have both of the Yates brothers, who are probably our best hopes in the mountains.”

Howard has won stages in races such as the Tours of Oman and Britain. He’s got a lot of ability, but accepts that his condition is not quite where he would like it to be.

“At the moment it is not 100 percent. I came off the Tour of Catalunya and then I went to Belgium and got quite sick for eight or nine days,” he said. “My form is not 100% but it is more of a building block for me towards Bayern Rundfarht and the Dauphine.”

He intends to work hard in the months ahead but has already accepted that he is unlikely to do the Tour de France this July.

Lance Armstrong interview

In what they’re claiming is his first public appearance since his Oprah confession, Outside Online has published an interview with Lance Armstrong in which the Texan takes about his revoked Tour de France titles and how things have changed for him since being banned from the sport.

Check out the video below:

Click here to read more at Outside Online.

Videos from the MTB World Cup in Cairns

The MTB World Cup was held in Cairns over the weekend with muddy conditions defining the early racing. Replay videos are available over at the Red Bull website if you’re keen to catch up on who won and how:

men’s cross country
women’s cross country
downhill finals
cross country Eliminator (XCE)

Spectator crash at the MTB World Cup in Cairns

Here’s another video from the MTB World Cup, this one of a spectator coming unstuck in a most spectacular fashion. Rider Adam Brayton had crashed and broken his leg and so the spectator in this video offered to take Brayton’s bike down the run for him.

Apparently he started walking it, but soon jumped on and started riding, sans helmet. Here’s what happened (and here’s another angle):

In an email to Adam Brayton wrote of the downed fan:

“I think he’s ok though he was in my ambulance on a spine board and was pretty k’od but that’s all I know. I’m going to pop down to hospital tomorrow and see how he’s doing.”

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 John Pierce at PhotoSport International and shows Simon Gerrans winning yesterday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege.