Viviani breaks Cavendish’s spell at the Tour of Turkey

by Shane Stokes

Taking what he said was a very significant career success on stage five of the Tour of Turkey on Thursday, Elia Viviani broke the hypnotic spell Mark Cavendish appeared to have cast over the other sprinters in the race and defeated the Briton.

Cavendish had won stages one, two and four but Viviani wasn’t deterred, sitting on his wheel in the closing minutes of the stage and then blasting past inside the final 150 metres.

50th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey stage 5

He finished ahead of Cavendish and third-placed Kristian Sbaragli (MTN – Qhubeka), notching up his second victory of the year after also netting stage three of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali at the end of March.

Race leader Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) finished safely in the bunch at the finish in Turgutreis, thus maintaining his overall lead ahead of Friday’s crucial climbing stage to Selcuk.

The day’s 183km stage saw nine riders go clear early on: Lachlan Norris (Drapac), Dennis Van Niekerk (MTN-Qhubeka), Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare), Matthias Krizek (Cannondale), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural), Nico Sijmens (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), plus the Neri Sottoli pair of Mirko Tedeschi and Matthia Pozzo.

They tried to stay clear but the bunch rode hard and eventually hauled them back inside the final half hour. Torku’s Mirac Kal then attacked with seven kilometres to go. He was joined by Marco Canola (Bardiani CSF), and then the rider who was fourth overall, Merhawi Kudus, jumped across. The MTN Qhubeka rider made it three out front and, more significantly, put pressure on the overall leader Rein Taaramae.

The trio dug in and opened a lead, but behind the sprinters’ teams plus Taaramae’s Cofidis squad were chasing hard. They were caught with five kilometres to go.

Cavendish’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep team hit the front and tried to set things up for the three time stage winner. Caja Rural drove past and stretched things out on the rolling roads, but Omega, Belkin and Topsport Vlaanderen then took over heading on to the last of the drags.

Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) tried to get clear but was contained; however his team-mate Elia Viviani was poised and came off Cavendish’s wheel to grab the win. It was, he said, something that gave him a huge amount of satisfaction, particularly as he beat Cavendish to the line.

Stage 5: Marmaris > Turgutreis - Stage Result

Thursday 1st May 2014

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2. gb
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
3. it
MTN - Qhubeka

Michael Albasini wins back-to-back stages at the Tour de Romandie

Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) has powered to a second consecutive stage victory in the Tour de Romandie, winning the bunch sprint at the end of the 166km stage into Sion. Tony Hurel (Europcar) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) rounded out the podium.

The win gives Albasini the overall lead in the race, due to time bonuses.

“It’s always special to wear a yellow jersey and winning two stages in a row is fantastic,” said Albasini. “I’m really happy I could pay off my teammates, who worked really hard today. It’s been a great day for us.”

The day’s breakaway featured Martin Kohler (BMC) and Pirmin Lang (IAM), the pair holding on to an advantage until just 2km remaining. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) had lead out GC leader Michal Kwiatkowski but in the end it was Albasini who was able to take out the sprint.

The Tour de Romandie continues today with a 180km stage which features four category 1 climbs.

Stage 2: Sion > Montreux - Stage Result

Thursday 1st May 2014

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Orica GreenEDGE
2. fr
Team Europcar
3. it
Trek Factory Racing

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Alexander Kristoff wins Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) has returned to the winners list, beating race-favourite John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and all others in the Eschborn-Frankfurt one-day race. Belgium’s Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) was third, a couple bike lengths behind.

Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn Frankfurt 2014

“I never expected this before the race,” Kristoff said. “I have to be honest, after Paris-Roubaix I took a well-deserved break and these past few days I just did long distance training, and I had a travel day yesterday. On the bike, I didn’t feel good in the beginning but then when you see your teammates doing a perfect job, the only thing I had to do was to follow.”

A 10-man breakaway was caught in the dying stages of the race before Kristoff’s teammate, Alexandr Kolobnev attacked solo. He was caught inside the final 10km.

Kristoff eventually launched his sprint with 300 metres to go but was able to hold on for victory.

“Most likely Degenkolb was a bit more tired,” Kristoff said. “He was the local favorite and everybody was watching him. In the end, he had to work himself too, thanks to the perfect job of Kolobnev who attacked earlier.”

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KRISTOFF Alexander
Team Katusha
2. de
Team Giant-Shimano
3. be
Wanty - Groupe Gobert

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Aussie women go 1-2 in Gracia Orlova prologue

The Australian duo of Rebecca Wiasiak and Felicity Wardlaw has taken out the top two steps on the podium in the prologue of Gracia Orlova, a four-day race in the Czech Republic.

Coverage of the race is scarce but we do know that Wiasiak completed the 2.2km prologue ITT in 2:47 (47.4km/h) while Wardlaw was just a second behind.

Both Wiasiak and Wardlaw were riding for the Jayco-AIS team and in addition to the podium places, the team also took fifth place thanks to Katrin Garfoot.

The remaining three stages of the race are all road races between 100km and 110km in length. Wiasiak goes into stage 1 today with the leader’s jersey.

Prologue: Havířov > Havířov - Stage Result

Thursday 1st May 2014

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WIASAK Rebecca
2. au
WARDLAW Felicity
3. pl
BUJAK Eugenia
BTC City Ljubljana

Click here to read more at (via Google Translate).

’I was in the wrong place at the wrong time’ – Riccardo Ricco

Yesterday we brought you the news that disgraced former pro Riccardo Ricco was caught by police in Italy, allegedly trying to buy EPO and testosterone.

trainingstage Vacansoleil - DCM Benidorm

Now Ricco has claimed that the doping products police seized were not for him and that he was merely “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Ricco’s lawyer claimed that his client was not in the carpark to purchase EPO.

“No doping product was seized from Riccardo. He’s making a statement in order to clear up the matter with magistrates,” Alessi told ANSA, emphasising that more than 1000 euros found on Ricco “wasn’t his; it was his friend’s.”

Click here to read more at Gazzetta dello Sport.

Rein Taaramae considered quitting cycling

He may be leading the Tour of Turkey at the moment, courtesy of a great climbing effort on stage 3, but Estonian national champion Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) previously considered quitting the sport after being hampered by injury and ill health for two years.

Rein Taaramäe wins the queen stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey

Rein Taaramäe wins the queen stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey

“Sometimes I felt the questions they asked of me: ‘are you training ok?’ ‘are you eating ok?’” he said. “It wasn’t just the team but my friends and my old trainers too – the guys who were helping me before. My head was completely messed up,” he admitted.

“After two years like that. I started to think I couldn’t do anything this year and maybe I would finish in cycling. Maybe not this year, but I hoped to do one more year to try and get it back and if it didn’t come…”

Taaramae had a larynx operation a month ago to remove an obstruction that was inhibiting his breathing. And while, he says, it’s too early to tell whether the operation has been a success, he’s starting to feel better on the bike again.

“[After the operation] I did three one-day races, Paris-Camembert, Tour du Finistère, and La Flèche Wallonne just before and I was really bad.”

“But then I came here and I passed two flat stages and I felt so good – the old sensations of before – and I started to think, to dream, I could do something really good on the hard stage.”

And so he did, attacking the favourites with about 3km to go on stage 3 and holding off his companion Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) to win the race by six seconds.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

The Mersey Valley Tour begins today

The Subaru National Road Series (NRS) women’s leaders jersey is set to change shoulders after this weekend’s Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania.

The event features three stages across three days including a 16km individual time trial at Ulverstone, a hilltop finish at Sheffield and a gruelling road race through Gunns Plains.

With round one winner and current NRS leader Felicity Wardlaw (Bicycle Superstore) racing with the Jayco-AIS women’s endurance squad in Europe, the winner of round two will almost certainly clinch the series lead.

Queensland’s Ruth Corset (Holden Women’s Cycling) currently sits on equal points to Wardlaw (15 points) and only has to find the podium overall or on any of the three stages to overtake the 2014 national time trial champion in the rankings.

However things won’t be all smooth sailing for the 2012 NRS champion, with Victoria’s Lizzie Williams (Specialized Securitor) just five points off the top spot (10 points) and West Australian Kendelle Hodges (Jayco/Apollo VIS) four points in arrears (11 points).

Click here to read more at the National Road Series website. Text via Cycling Australia press release.

‘Name that Cyclist’ project

Here’s a simple but nifty project from the gang at Speed Metal Cycling who are attempting to help people with the pronunciation of foreign riders’ names and the names of foreign races. Click here to take a look and a listen. It’s well worth a couple minutes of your time.

The aftermath of a big crash at the Tour of the Gila

There was a massive crash in the Tour of the Gila stage race in the US yesterday with more than half the professional men’s field being involved. There was dozens of injuries and at least one rider airlifted to hospital.

We never like to hear about crashes, particularly when serious injuries are involved, but the following video provides quite an interesting perspective. It doesn’t show the crash itself, but it does show how everyone springs into action when a crash like that occurs, from team mechanics offering new wheels to riders with simple mechanicals, to the medical staff treating those who are injured.

Click here to read more about the incident.

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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Today’s feature image comes from Kristof Ramon and was shot at the Tour of Turkey.