Pieter Weening wins stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia, Evans retains overall lead

The second big mountain stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia saw a breakaway make it all the way to the line, with Pieter Weening continuing Orica-GreenEDGE’s strong showing in the race with a victory over Davide Malacarne (Europcar). Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) retained the Maglia Rosa of race leader.

Giro-D'Itaia 2014 stage 9

Weening was part of the day’s big break and attacked just inside the final 20km, being joined by Malacarne and working with him towards the finish. They rode together up the final climb to Sestola and, after some cat-and-mouse tactics, the Dutchman was strong enough to take the sprint to the line.

Italian rider Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) raced in third, 42 seconds back, while Saturday’s stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) led in the Evans group one minute and eight seconds behind Weening.

“There’s a good atmosphere in the team. Everything we do now is something extra,” said Weening. “The pressure is completely off, and you often see that, after a good start in a Grand Tour, there’s no pressure and it works out perfect.

“Yesterday we knew that we couldn’t defend the Maglia Rosa any more, so we let it go and I tried to lose some time. If you’re only two minutes off the Maglia Rosa, they won’t let you go. So yesterday I backed off and tried to lose time so that I could get into breakaways. I got into my first breakaway today, and bingo!”

Cadel Evans now holds a 57-second advantage over Uran and is one minute and ten seconds ahead of third-placed rider Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Evans said that time will tell who his big rivals will be. “After the first two days in the mountains, it’s too early to say who’ll be strongest at the end of the Giro d’Italia. I can only judge Quintana on the Tour de France last year, and his Giro so far.

“He hasn’t been going as strong as we expected, but I think he’ll get there. Pozzovivo and his team look very strong, and Aru, too, looks good.”

Stage 9: Lugo > Sestola - Stage Result

Sunday 18th May 2014

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Orica GreenEDGE
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Team Europcar
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AG2R La Mondiale

Click here for the full stage report at CyclingTips.

Bradley Wiggins wins the Tour of California, Mark Cavendish takes the final stage

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) has won the Tour of California, defending the race lead he took when he won the stage 2 ITT. Wiggins closed out the eight-stage race 30 seconds ahead of Australia’s Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) while Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) was third overall.

Amgen Tour of California 2014 stage 8

“As strong as my performance was in time trial, the team have taken the strain all week. They’ve done a fantastic job, even today they didn’t give up the chase”, Wiggins said.

“This victory is right up there, the reception we’ve had from the US public… it’s been a real honour. At 34, it’s nice to still be winning at this age.”

The final stage was taken out by Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in a sprint finish ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and stage 7 winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale). Cavendish and his team had to work hard to rejoin the peloton after being distanced on the final climb but as soon as he rejoined the main field he made his way to the front to prepare for the sprint.

Stage 8: Thousand Oaks > Thousand Oaks - Stage Result

Sunday 18th May 2014

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Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
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Team Giant-Shimano
3. sk

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Kirsten Wild wins Chongming Island World Cup

Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) has won the Chongming Island World Cup, sprinting to victory ahead of Elena Cecchini (Estado de Mexico-Faren) and former two-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda).

Image: Anne Wu

Image: Anne Wu

“It’s been a while since I last won a big race like this. It makes me very happy”, said Wild, who also won the three-day Tour of Chongming Island stage race in the lead-up to the World Cup.

A bunch of attacks animated the closing kilometres of the race, including from the Wiggle-Honda squad and Australian National Team, but Giant-Shimano was able to control proceedings for Wild who delivered in the final sprint.

“I had a strong team so it wasn’t that hard for me but it’s been a very hard race to control for my team-mates”, Wild explained. “Just before the sprint started, one of my team-mates crashed, so I followed Wiggle Honda. They forced me to sprint from 250 metres. It was a long sprint.”

After five rounds of the UCI Women’s World Cup we have had five different race winners. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans), who won the first race in the series, leads the overall ranking.

The next race is the Sparkassen Giro on August 3.

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WILD Kirsten
Team Giant-Shimano
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Estado de México-Faren Kuota
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Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling

Will Clarke takes victory in Tour of Japan prologue

Drapac has started the Tour of Japan in perfect fashion, taking the top two spots on the podium in the prologue ITT with Will Clarke and Jordan Kerby.

Clarke was the fastest man around the challenging 2.65km circuit, winning in a time of 03:14.09 to repeat his 2012 victory, averaging a time of just over 49km/h. Two seconds off the pace was Australian Under-23 individual time trial champion, Jordan Kerby. Lampre-Merida’s Filippo Pozzato rounded out the podium three-seconds in arrears of Kerby.

“It’s great to win here in Sakai,” Clarke said. “I had been looking forward to coming back to this stage for a while now and definitely focused on it,” Clarke continued. “I am a lot stronger now than I was when I won here two years ago.

Clarke will now wear the green leader’s jersey when the Tour of Japan continues with a 160.7km stage in Mino, which is likely to be decided by the sprinters.

Prologue: Sakai > Sakai - Stage Result

Sunday 18th May 2014

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CLARKE William
Drapac Professional Cycling
2. au
KERBY Jordan
Drapac Professional Cycling
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Text adapted from a Drapac press release.

Joe Cooper leads Avanti Racing Team clean-sweep at the Battle on the Border

Avanti Racing has made it a clean sweep of the general classification podium in the men’s Battle on the Border over the weekend with Joe Cooper claiming the overall Tour by 12 seconds to stage one winner Mark O’Brien and a further 17 seconds ahead of teammate Jack Haig.

“I’m pretty wrapped to take this title,” said Cooper. “Last year I came into the race leading the NRS after [Tour de] Perth but I didn’t have the best time up Mt. Warning. This year I’ve worked on my climbing a bit and managed to get myself up Mt. Warning within a stone’s throw of the overall title before the time trial yesterday.

Cooper (39 points) retains the overall Subaru National Road Series lead ahead of Tim Roe (Budget Forklifts, 26 points) and Jack Haig (Avanti Racing, 17 points).

“I have got to thank the guys, they rode all day for me and they probably would have ridden all night too if they had to,” said Cooper. “They absolutely turned themselves inside out to make sure I was always in the perfect place.”

Brisbane’s Fraser Gough (Data#3) stole final stage honours after a daring solo attack inside the final 10km. Budget Forklifts’ Myron Simpson claimed the sprint for second place ahead of James Mowatt (African Wildlife Safaries).

“It’s my first NRS win so I’m buzzing,” exclaimed Gough. “It was a Budget and Avanti battle and that left an opportunity for the smaller teams to get away and that’s what I capitalised on in the final 10 kilometres.

“The bunch sat up and I rolled off the front, I got about 30 seconds which was quite a gap because the bunch was charging me down like raging bulls,” explained Gough.

The men’s Subaru National Road Series continues this week with the FKG Tour of Toowoomba beginning May 22 – May 25.

Follow the link for final results in the 2014 men’s Battle on the Border. Text adapted from a Cycling Australia press release.

Tessa Fabry wins her maiden NRS tour at the Battle on the Border

Tessa Fabry (VIS) has had a week to remember with the Victorian claiming her maiden NRS stage victory in the Battle on the Border ITT before holding on to clinch the race overall, her first NRS Tour victory.

Despite only having one teammate, Fabry held on to the leader’s jersey by nine seconds to Specialized Securitor’s Lizzie Williams. Modanville’s Anna-Leeza Hull (Racing Kangaroos) rounded out the podium to finish third, over one minute down on Fabry.

“It’s fantastic,” said Fabry. “It probably hasn’t really sunk in yet, I wasn’t really expecting this Tour to be one that I would do well at.

“Kendelle [Hodges] is worth three teammates, she did incredibly well today and yesterday and the day before that as well and I can’t thank her enough.”

In the day’s final road stage, it was Rebecca Heath (Bicycle Superstore) who earned line honours, sprinting to victory ahead of duel stage winner Williams and teammate Kristy Glover.

“I’m thrilled, this is my first National Road Series win, it’s just so exciting,” exclaimed Heath. “It was quite a technical finish and I attacked the girls from about one kilometre to go, I backed myself like my teammates and DS are always encouraging me to do.”

Queensland’s Ruth Corset (Holden Women’s Cycling, 39 points) retains the overall Subaru NRS lead. Williams (37 points) is second while Fabry moves into third position (35 points).

Follow the link for final results in the 2014 women’s Battle on the Border. Text adapted from a Cycling Australia press release.

Cancellara puts hour record attempt on hold following UCI rule change

Following on from last week’s announcement that the UCI will shelve the requirement for hour record attempts to be set on bikes similar to those ridden by Eddy Merckx when he broke the mark in 1972, Fabian Cancellara and the Trek Factory Racing team have suspended the Swiss rider’s own attempt on the record.

Fabian Cancellara

Cancellara had said trying to break the current record was a goal he was likely to aim for this year, and in recent days there was speculation that he could was on the verge of announcing the date he will go for the hour.

However today saw a very different sort of announcement, with the team citing the new UCI decision as being the reason why the attempt was on hold for now. That new UCI rule states that bikes will be deemed legal as long as they satisfy the current regulations for track endurance machines.

“At this point we need to assess the situation,” said general manager Luca Guercilena today. “We’ve invested many resources, both human and financial, to prepare for an attempt and we need to evaluate in which way, if any, we proceed.

“We are satisfied that the UCI has now stipulated clear regulations about the Hour Record, as there was already some speculation about it, but we need to examine what it means for our project, which so far has been focused on breaking the Merckx record.”

“The whole appeal of the hour record for me is that you are competing against riders from the past. I would have loved to race Eddy (Merckx) in the Classics, or in a time trial, but it’s not possible,” Cancellara said in the statement.

Click here to read the full story at CyclingTips.

Bradley Wiggins interested in the hour record

Meanwhile Tour of California winner Bradley Wiggins has express his interested in attempting the hour record now that the UCI has changed the rules and allowed track bikes to be used.

Tour de France  2012 stage - 19

“It kind of begs the question: Why did they change it in the first place?,” Wiggins asked Saturday following stage 7 at the Tour of California. “We’ve lost a decade now of the hour record. It’s a shame that they changed it.

“We can all blame Chris Boardman for that with his superman position,” Wiggins joked. “It’s a shame, really, that we’ve missed maybe [Fabian] Cancellara doing it five or six years ago. So it’s good I guess that they’ve gone back now.”

Wiggins has said that while he never really considered attempting the record, the rule change has piqued his interest.

“I’d like to do it,” he said. “For me, the last person to do it in that position was Tony Rominger and [Miguel] Indurain. And I’ve always said that I’d love to go for it just to compare myself to Indurain purely over an hour. So I would consider it now, actually.”.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

“Today I saved a cyclist’s life, not that he cares”

We’ll almost certainly get criticised for sharing this piece — “why give it more oxygen?” — and in some ways that’s a fair criticism. It’s yet another piece of cyclist-bashing click-bait that editors of the mainstream online papers seem to love so much. So, if you don’t want to give the Daily Telegraph the satisfaction of another page view, skip on to the next item in the Rocacorba and don’t click on the link below.

On the other hand, if you feel like getting a little fired up on this Monday morning then this piece is worth your time. The premise seems to be that we cyclists should be grateful that motorists don’t run us down. Here’s a choice quote:

A lot of cyclists are, basically, ungrateful dickheads. They have absolutely no idea – and no desire to educate themselves – that all day, every day, motorists are actively saving them from appalling deaths.

Again, if you don’t want to click on the link, don’t. If you do, here it is.

Culture wars on the roads

Here’s a rather more sensible piece from the Sydney Morning Herald about why NSW roads minister Duncan Gay should “expedite measures for making cycling safer” rather than pushing for cyclists to be removed from certain roads.

Here’s a quote:

Bike-hate is not principally about delay. Motorists show remarkable patience for other cars. They’ll sit comfortably behind stoppers, parkers, turners and incompetents of all kinds. But sitting behind a bike makes many people mad. Really mad. Why? Because bikes represent cultural change. Cultural change is threatening.

This is ironic, since the bike easily predates the car. But the bike is also the form of the future. That makes it dangerous.

Click here to read the full article at the SMH.

200th episode of Backstage Pass

It really doesn’t seem that long ago that Dan Jones started up his Backstage Pass videos over at Orica-GreenEDGE. But already he’s reached episode #200 which takes a look back at the series so far. Congrats to Dan and the team.

How to embarrass yourself

Scrub through to 2:17 in the video below to see one of the most embarrassing things you can possible do as a bike racer.

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.