Cavendish blasts home for second straight Tour of Turkey win

by Shane Stokes

After outpacing the field to win Sunday’s opening stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey, Mark Cavendish made it two from two on Monday’s second leg, powering home first into the town of Kemer.

50th Tour of Turkey 2014/ Stage 2 Mark CAVENDISH (Gbr) Blue Leader Jersey Alanya-Kemer (174.2Km)

The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider beat Francesco Chicchi (Yellow Fluo) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) to the line, profiting from a strong lead-out from his team.

Although there was a headwind and a slightly uphill drag to the line, Cavendish hit the front a long way out and was strong enough to hold off the other sprinters. He crossed the line arms aloft, displaying his turquoise leader’s jersey and taking what was his fourth victory this season.

“It was really nice to get a second stage in as many days,” he enthused afterwards, looking content in the post stage press conference. “Today, it was a hard sprint, with a head wind on big roads. But Omega Pharma-QuickStep did an incredible job, a textbook job to keep me from the wind, to keep the break down.”

The flat 175km stage began with a huge thunderstorm but the skies soon cleared and the end of the stage was very warm.

Early on five riders went clear, namely the break’s initiator Ahmet Orken (Torku Sekerspor), as well as Martijn Verschoor (Novo Nordisk), Mattia Pozzo (Neri-Sottoli), Pawel Charucki (CCC Polsat Polkowice) and Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF).

They shared the various sprints between them and worked hard, but were within catching distance of the bunch with 45km to go. The peloton backed off the gas then in order to give them some rope, but the move finally concluded with just over 15km remaining.

Cavendish’s team took control and kept things together until the final sprint, where the Manxman repaid their trust and their effort with his second consecutive sprint win.

The victory saw him retain his leader’s jersey, with Bonfazio and Viviani second and third overall. All will change today when the riders tackle the first big mountain stage of the race, the 185km race from Finike to Elmal.

Stage 2: Alanya > Kemer - Stage Result

Monday 28th April 2014

1. gb
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
2. it
CHICCHI Francesco
Neri Sottoli
3. it

Andy Schleck out of the Tour of Romandie with a knee injury

It’s hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Andy Schleck. He’s been in the cycling wilderness for two years now, he’s had a forgettable start to the year, and now he’s out of the Tour of Romandie thanks to a knee injury.

“Ask me how my week was because it was just shit,” Schleck told Cycling News at the finish of Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

“I crashed in Amstel and since then I’ve constantly had pain in my knee.”

“I had a scan and they told me to rest but can’t really rest because I was really motivated for today. I was supposed to do Romandie but about half an hour ago we decided that it makes no sense. I need to stop now for four or five days and then I hope I feel good.”

Schleck is still keen to race the Tour de France but knows he has a lot of work to do between now and then.

“I know that I need to prove something to the team because who would send someone to the Tour who rides a bike like I do at the moment? No-one, and no-one will want to ride for me so I want to show something in [the Tour de] Suisse. I know that. I want to.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Tom-Jelte Slagter to skip the Giro for Tour de France debut

Garmin-Sharp rider Tom-Jelte Slagter will forego his original plans to race the Giro d’Italia, instead focusing on making his Tour de France debut in a few months’ time.

100 th  Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2014

Garmin-Sharp management has reportedly been impressed with Slagter’s performance and decided to include him in the Tour de France team.

“We won’t put any pressure on him, but I think he can go for a stage win there,”said Johnny Weltz, directeur sportif of Garmin-Sharp.

The Dutchman’s season has started well, winning two stages at Paris-Nice and taking a fifth place at Fleche Wallonne and sixth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Click here to read more.

’We’ve used Tramadol in the past’ – former Sky rider Michael Barry

Former Team Sky rider Michael Barry, who retired in 2012 after admitting to using EPO while racing for US Postal, says he and others at Team Sky often used the powerful painkiller Tramadol during races.

Tour de Luxembourg stage-3

In his book Shadows on the Road Barry writes that “some riders took Tramadol every time they raced” and that the substance is “as performance-enhancing as any banned drug I had taken”.

In an interview with The Times, Barry said “The effects [of tramadol are] noticeable very quickly. Tramadol made me feel euphoric, but it’s also very hard to focus. It kills the pain in your legs and you can push really hard.

“Tramadol packaging warns against driving or operating machinery, so I can’t see how racing down narrow cobbled lanes at 50km an hour on tramadol can ever be a good thing.”

Tramadol isn’t banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Click here to read more at The Times (article is behind a paywall).

‘We don’t use Tramadol’ – Team Sky

In response to Michael Barry’s interview with The Times, Team Sky has issued a statement suggesting that Tramadol isn’t administered to its riders.

“None of our riders should ride whilst using Tramadol — that’s the policy of this team,” said Sky in a statement. “Team Sky do not give it to riders whilst racing or training, either as a pre-emptive measure or to manage existing pain.

“We believe that its side effects, such as dizziness and drowsiness, could cause issues for the safety of all riders. We also feel that if a rider has the level of severe pain for its appropriate use they should not be riding.”

The team also called for a ban on Tramadol.

“Tramadol is not prohibited by WADA, but this has been our firm position for the last two seasons and all medical staff and riders are aware of this. Our view is that it should be on the WADA list and any appropriate clinical use could be managed through the regulated TUE, or Therapeutic Use Exemption, system.”

Moto driver involved in crash at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in intensive care

A crash involving a moto photographer from La Gazzetta dello Sport at Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday has left the moto pilot, Koen Hadens, in intensive care with a cerebral haemorrhage.

The incident occured with about 100km to go in the race when a van ferrying VIP guests allegedly braked suddenly, causing the moto to hit the van from behind. The photographer, Luca Bettini, suffered only bruising but Hadens’ condition is far more serious.

Luca Bettini wrote the following of the incident (which has been translated via Google Translate):

It was a stretch of straight road, and braking of the truck was really inexplicable, because we were going up. I saw the whole scene and I put my hands in front of the face to protect me, before I felt thrown from the bike.

Koen has remained on the tarmac for too many minutes before the ambulance arrived, because we were in front of the race. It’s almost before the helicopter ambulance: the group is paraded around us and Koen was always there at the roadside Pray with me that my friend Koen will recover.

Click here to

How the race was won: Liege-Bastogne-Liege

This is another entertaining video from Cosmo Catalano, this time showing how Liege-Bastogne-Liege was won on Sunday.

Orica-GreenEDGE Backstage Pass: Liege-Bastogne-Liege

We see a lot of Backstage Pass videos when things don’t quite turn out right for the guys at Orica-GreenEDGE but at Liege-Bastogne-Liege everything went perfectly. Worth a look, if only for the footage of Matt White and Neil Stephens celebrating when Gerrans won the race.

The Forever Lock

Here’s a video of a product called the Forever Lock which, the creators claim, is unpickable. How? The keyhole isn’t accessible if you don’t have the key that was made for it. Check out the video — it will all make sense.

While the creators acknowledge there’s nothing stopping someone breaking the lock (as with other locks), it’s still a very impressive design.

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 the sprint for stage 2 at the Tour of Turkey.