National championships round-up
Over the past week riders from around the world have been heading home to contest their national championships, to fight for the chance to wear their national colours for the next 12 months. In this post we round-up brief reports from some of the biggest time trials and road races.
Belgium – Jens Debusschere
After two long breakaways, the last of which was shutdown in the final kilometre, the Belgian road race title came down to sprint. Jürgen Roelandts lead-out his Lotto-Belisol teammate Jens Debusschere, who sprinted to the victory. Roy Jans was second and Tom Boonen third (see feature image above).
“I peaked to this period. After my victories at the end of last season I thought it would continue that way. I started this season well in the Tour Down Under where I replaced the injured Greg Henderson”, Debusschere said.
“Afterwards I struggled a bit with myself because I didn’t set new strong results. But the people in the team helped me to keep calm and eventually I’m standing here today on place one, that’s fantastic.”
National Championships Belgium - Road Race (NC) Wielsbeke → Wielsbeke
Canada – Svein Tuft
Svein Tuft put his time trial skills to work en route to his road title. After attacking on the second lap of the Mont-Morne circuit, Tuft spent 120 kilometres in a solo breakaway before taking a decisive victory by one minute.
“When I won in 2011, we had some good odds with SpiderTech,” said Tuft. “We had numbers, and we could take control of the race. Today, with two guys, we had to race the perfect race. Right from the beginning, Christian [Meier] and I were always in the moves and making sure that we wouldn’t be racing from behind. I’d have to say I’m proud of this one.”
National Championships Canada - Road Race (NC) Lac-Mégantic → Lac-Mégantic
Czech Republic – Zdenek Stybar / Slovakia – Peter Sagan (raced together)
Omega Pharma-QuickStep Cycling Team riders Zdenek Stybar and Petr Vakoc took home gold and silver at the 192km Czech National Road Championship on Sunday with Jan Barta third.
“I’m super happy about this result,” Stybar said. “To me it’s the first national title on the road and I’m really proud to wear this jersey. It will be fantastic to ride with it for an entire year.
“In the final lap we went on the first climb, me and Peter Sagan. As you know, the Czech and the Slovak championships are united in one race. At that point, to me, it was easier to control and in the final sprint I was able to beat Sagan. I’m really happy that I could finish off with an overall victory.”
National Championships Czech Republic - Road Race (NC) Slavkov u Brna → Slavkov u Brna
National Championships Slovakia - Road Race (NC) Slavkov u Brna → Slavkov u Brna
France – Arnaud Demare
In the French road race championships, Arnaud Démare kept the blue, white and red jersey for FDJ.fr when he outsprinted his teammate Nacer Bouhanni. Europcar’s Kevin Reza was third.
“It’s really exceptional,” Démare said. “Two years ago, Nacer and I finished first and second in the opposite order. We’ve raced for a bunch sprint finish. We were two sprinters in the team with the same desire of being French champion.”
“Nacer’s victories at the Giro d’Italia have boosted me. I understand what he feels now. Two years ago, I was also disappointed to come second but I only had six months of being a pro behind me.”
National Championships France - Road Race (NC) Futuroscope → Futuroscope
France – Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
In the French women’s race, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot continued her dominance, breaking away in the final kilometres, putting her time trialling skills to good use and winning by more than a minute.
National Championships France WE - Road Race (NC) Futuroscope → Futuroscope
Germany – Andre Greipel
For the second year in a row André Greipel took the German national road title, proving fastest in a group sprint of about 50 riders. John Degenkolb and Phil Bauhaus rounded out the podium.
“There were three small climbs on the lap, so it wasn’t exactly flat. It rained a few times, but luckily mostly the roads were dry. Marcel Sieberg and I didn’t need to do anything. We were only with two, but still we felt we had control of the situation,” Greipel said.
“Sieberg set me up and I started to sprint in the last 250 meters. I’m happy I could hold off John Degenkolb. It was perfect again, just like last year. It was a special moment.”
National Championships Germany - Road Race (NC) Baunatal-Edermünde → Baunatal-Edermünde
Great Britain – Peter Kennaugh
As you might expect, Team Sky dominated the Great Britain road race with Peter Kennaugh taking a close sprint victory from teammate Ben Swift. The pair were the remnants of a 10-man escape group that got clear after 50km of the 180km race.
“I left it really late, and as it opened up I couldn’t believe I was coming round him,” Kennaugh said.
National Championships Great Britain - Road Race (NC) Mounmouthshire → Mounmouthshire
Great Britain – Laura Trott
Laura Trott finished at the head of a Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling one-two in the Great Britain Championships, as she and Dani King outsprinted Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) in the centre of Abergavenny.
The leading trio had been part of an eight-rider selection that had broken clear of the peloton on the course’s 72km loop. Defending champion Armitstead attacked alone during the second of four 7.2km finishing circuits, but was prevented from opening a decisive lead and caught on the final lap.
“I was just over the moon when I crossed the line,” said Trott. “I was so disappointed after the time trial, I thought I had good form, but the time didn’t really reflect the form I thought I had, so to come here and win this, I’m just so pleased.”
National Championships Great Britain WE - Road Race (NC) Abergavenny → Abergavenny
Ireland – Ryan Mullen
by Shane Stokes
Three days after setting the fastest overall time in the national time trial championships but learning that the rules meant he could only be crowned Under 23 champion, 19 year old Ryan Mullen took the Irish Elite road race title on Sunday.
Mullen was part of a group which went clear on the first of nine 19-kilometre laps of a rolling course. The break contained Mullen and two of his An Post-Chain Reaction teammates, Sean Downey and Jack Wilson, as well as seven other riders.
Mullen attacked on the penultimate lap, and, with his rivals closely marked by his teammates, he used his time trial power to pull steadily clear. He hit he finish line one minute 14 seconds ahead of Downey and Paídi O’Brien (Team Osbourne Meats/The Edge), netting both the Elite title and the under 23 gold.
“It is going to be so good to wear this jersey for the next year. I can’t wait to get racing again in it,” he said afterwards.
National Championships Ireland - Road Race (NC) Multyfarnham → Multyfarnham
Italy – Vincenzo Nibali
Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team proved too strong in the Italian championships, with riders of the Kazakh squad chasing the breakaway then setting Nibali up for his first win of the season.
Nibali’s Astana teammate Michele Scarponi forced the day’s selection before Nibali rode clear with Davide Formolo (Cannondale) on his wheel. But it was Nibali who took the win.
“I really wanted to win this for many reasons,” Nibali told Tutto Bici. “I like the idea of wearing the national jersey in the Tour. … This victory is like a liberation. It will be easier for the tifosi to see me in the peloton. I will not disappoint … I always give the maximum, head and legs, heart and soul.”
National Championships Italy - Road Race (NC) Male → Fondo
Italy – Elena Cecchini
In the Italian women’s race, a race shortened due to poor weather, 22-year-old Elena Cecchini put in a very late attack that saw her manage to hold off Valentina Scandolara, Maria Giulia Confalonieri and Rossella Ratto.
National Championships Italy WE - Road Race (NC) Varese → Varese
Japan – Mayuko Hagiwara
A hilly circuit in Japan saw the field in the women’s road race quickly reduced to just the big names in the race, with Mayuko Hagiwara eventually breaking clear with defending champion Eri Yonamine (Saxo Bank FX securities). The Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider was too strong on the final climb to the line, however, and finished 13 seconds ahead of Yonamine to reclaim her “Hinomaru” jersey.
“Fortunately I was able to win the road race today too,” Hagiwara said. “I’m very happy that I’m able to bring the Japanese national champion’s jersey back to the team.
National Championships Japan WE - Road Race (NC) Iwate → Iwate
Luxembourg – Frank Schleck
Fränk Schleck has won his first national championship since 2011, his fifth in all, as he soloed to a last lap win in Luxembourg on Sunday. Trek Factory Racing claimed four of the top five spots with Andy Schleck finishing in third, Bob Jungels fourth, and Laurent Didier fifth.
“The four of us were really strong today; it was a full gas race until the end. Only Ben Gastauser was capable of staying with us. Andy was really strong today; he’s ready for the Tour [de France]. For me, after all what happened last year, and to be able to return to the WorldTour, this is just great!”
National Championships Luxembourg - Road Race (NC) Mamer → Mamer
Netherlands – Sebastian Langeveld
Garmin-Sharp rider Sebastian Langeveld claimed his first elite national championship on Sunday in Ootmarsum. The 243km road race was won after Tom Slagter and Dylan van Baarle helped to keep the main breakaway in check.
With the gap falling, Langeveld bridged across to the breakaway and ultimately soloed on to victory.
National Championships Netherlands - Road Race (NC) Ootmarsum → Ootmarsum
Netherlands – Iris Slappendel
In the Dutch women’s road race championships, Rabo-Liv went in with a predictably strong group of riders and walked away with the win courtesy of Iris Slappendel.
Lucinda Brand attacked with 30km to go and got a gap of 55 seconds and then the chase group fell apart. Slappendel bridges across in the closing kilometres and was strong enough to take the final sprint. Marianne Vos was third.
National Championships Netherlands WE - Road Race (NC) Ootmarsum → Ootmarsum
Spain – Ion Izagirre
As expected, Movistar dominated the Spanish road race championships and it was Ion Izagirre who completed the performance by taking the title. Having been off on his own in the finale, his team leader Alejandro Valverde bridged across and helped him stay away before allowing the Basque to cross the line as the new champion.
National Championships Spain - Road Race (NC) Ponferrada → Ponferrada
Sweden – Emma Johansson
Johansson took an aggressive approach en route to her fourth road title. By lap two of nine of the 13.5 kilometre circuit, Johansson was up the road with Malin Rydlund. The stronger of the pair, Johansson dropped Rydlund on lap six and steadily built up her advantage over the remaining laps.
“It could not have gone any more perfectly for me,” said Johansson. “It felt really long when I left Malin and was all alone. The weather was miserable – cold and ten degrees. That made it harder mentally.”
“It might not seem like a big deal compared to some of my other results, but it is to me,” said Johansson. “I’m really happy. It was a hard course, and I could show them who is the strongest rider. Blue and yellow again! I’m very happy.”
National Championships Sweden WE - Road Race (NC) Götene → Kinnekulle
Canada – Svein Tuft
Late last week Svein Tuft was dominant in the Canadian ITT championship, winning his ninth title. He posted the fastest splits from start to finish, ultimately stopping the clock at 53:25 over the 40.4 kilometre course.
The time was 2:03 faster than Hugo Houle (Ag2r-La Mondiale) in second place. The overwhelming favourite in the event, Tuft has won nine time trial titles out of ten starts at Canadian Road National Championships.
“It’s never in the bag,” said Tuft. “You never know what you’re going to get on the day. I came here really motivated. Coming out of the Giro, I had a good little rest and worked hard coming back. I’m extremely happy to come out here strong.”
National Championships Canada - ITT (NC) Val-Racine → Val-Racine
Germany – Tony Martin
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tony Martin took home his third straight gold medal at the 44.4km German TT Championship on Friday, and his fourth victory overall.
The three-time UCI World TT Champion won by 57 seconds with a finishing time of 56 minutes and 22 seconds (47.262 km/h). Nikias Arndt earned silver, and Lars Teutenberg bronze (+1:14).
“I’m happy I won after a thrilling race,” Martin said. “The parcours was a circuit with three laps, and the last lap was the only time we had to take a left to pass the area of the finish line. My radio wasn’t working so well at the time I was on course and the visibility was also not so good due to the rain and darkness. So I was focused on the split time.
“I didn’t realize I had to go right on the first lap and not pass the finish line. I heard the speaker shouting and saw the fences at the end of the road and thought ‘oh, I probably did a mistake.’ So, I turned around and I lost about 200 or 300 meters to come back. But I immediately found my tempo again and after the second lap I already had the best time again.
“It wasn’t an easy race. The weather conditions weren’t so good, which made the roads slippery. But, I got the result I was hoping for and I am happy with my fourth German TT gold medal. For me, this brings me a bit of good luck before the Tour de France. My condition is there and I’m excited that the Tour is coming.”
National Championships Germany - ITT (NC) Baunatal-Edermünde → Baunatal-Edermünde
Great Britain – Brad Wiggins
Olympic time trial champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) added a third national TT victory to his palmares late last week, besting his teammate Geraint Thomas by more than a minute in Wales. Wiggins completed the 42 kilometre race in 53:56.
“This is probably my last British TT champs so to win it and perhaps never come back again is a nice way to end it,” Wiggins told British Cycling.
National Championships Great Britain - ITT (NC) Celtic Manor → Celtic Manor
Great Britain – Emma Pooley
In the Great Britain women’s ITT, Emma Pooley won her third national ITT title as well, completing the 20.4-kilometre course in 30 minutes 18 seconds. Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International duo Katie Archibald and Sarah Storey completed the podium.
“It’s special because it’s been a while since I won I race,” Pooley said. “It’s been a few years since I’ve ridden the Championships – actually I think every time I’ve ridden it I’ve won it.
“I really liked the course. It was pretty technical, it was interesting, and there was never more than a few kilometres without a corner or a hill. That tests more than just the power of a rider.”
National Championships Great Britain WE - ITT (NC) Celtic Manor → Celtic Manor
Italy – Adriano Malori
Adriano Malori proved his mettle as a time triallist with victory in the Italian ITT championship, held on Sunday over 40km of demanding roads.
“I’m really happy that I won – it was one of my main goals of the season. The route wasn’t one that really suited me, but I think I made a nice effort.
National Championships Italy - ITT (NC) Molard → Malé
Japan – Fumiyuki Beppu
Fumiyuki Beppu took the national time trial title in Japan, stopping the clock after 53:02, having covered the three laps of the 40km event 30 seconds faster than his runner-up Nasu Blazen (Team Jyunya Sano). Genki Yamamoto (Vini Fantini-Nippo) was third.
“There were three laps, so I decided to go quite hard in the first lap and then try to control, trying to save some energy for the road race on Sunday. My split time after lap 1 was the fastest by 15 seconds, so I could shift down a gear. But after the second lap, my gap was only 8 seconds, so I had to do lap three quite deep anyway. At the finish, I had a 30 seconds lead.”
National Championships Japan - ITT (NC) Hachimantai → Hachimantai
Japan – Mayuko Hagiwara
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mayuko Hagiwara retook her title in the Japanese National Time Trial Championships, in Hachimantai, in the northeast of Honshu Island, to claim her sixth victory in the race against the clock.
The 27-year-old completed the 26.8km course in a time of 39 minutes and four seconds, to beat 2013 champion Eri Yonamine (Saxo Bank FX securities) by 51 seconds. Minami Uwano (Kanoya Sporting) finished another two minutes and two seconds back to take the bronze medal.
“I am very happy to win the national time trial,” Hagiwara said. “I could ride a good tempo in the race, so I was able to enjoy it.
National Championships Japan WE - ITT (NC) Iwate → Iwate
Latvia – Gatis Smukulis
Gatis Smulkulis won the gold medal in the individual time trial of the Latvian National Road Championships held in Smiltene late last week.
“I am really happy with today’s victory. It is a pleasure for me to become the National Champion again, especially right ahead of my participation in the Tour de France. The profile of the race was much harder than in previous years, all the time up and down”, Smulkulis said.
“In addition, it was raining and windy in the morning, so the road was pretty slippery in the first part of the race. But I managed to pass the distance in a good rhythm, which helped me to win.”
National Championships Latvia - ITT (NC) Rauna → Rauna
Luxembourg – Laurent Didier
Trek Factory Racing’s Laurent Didier won his first elite National Time Trial Championship stopping the clock at 27:31 for the 21-kilometre course. Bob Jungels, last year’s victor, raced to a close second place five seconds behind, giving Trek Factory Racing a one-two finish in the Luxembourg National Time Trial Championships on Thursday. Ben Gastauer (AG2R-La Mondiale) rounded out the podium, a further 37 seconds in arrears.
“It was quite a hard circuit, it had a little bit of everything with technical corners, false-flats and up and downs, before finishing on a flat road. We had to do two laps and I was trailing Bob after the first lap. I tried to hold my pace, and in the end it went really well. I didn’t expect that I could beat him! I am happy! At the intermediate I was told I was behind Bob around 10 seconds.”
National Championships Luxembourg - ITT (NC) Mamer → Mamer
Netherlands – Tom Dumoulin
Tom Dumoulin claimed his first national title when he won the Dutch national time trial championship by 52 seconds ahead of Garmin-Sharp’s Sebastian Langeveld.
Dumoulin was in good form, twice finishing runner-up to Tony Martin at the Tour de Suisse’s time trials.
“I am so happy with this result,” Dumoulin said. “Red, white and blue for the coming year it is. I had my eye on this race for a little while and following the Tour de Suisse and with two second places there, I knew that I was in good form.”
National Championships Netherlands - ITT (NC) Zaltbommel → Zaltbommel
Netherlands – Annemiek van Vleuten
Going into Wednesday’s Dutch women’s ITT national championship Ellen van Dijk (Boels Dolmans), reigning world champion, was the favourite. But on the day it was Annemiek van Vleuten who narrowly defeated van Dijk to take the title.
The Rabo-Liv rider won the 23.7km race by 0.26 seconds over van Dijk, with Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) in third, five seconds behind. It is the first time Van Vleuten has won the national ITT championship, but she won the road race back in 2012.
“Secretly I had hopes here,” van Vleuten said to De Telegraaf. “This winter I had surgery on a kinked iliac artery, and have just returned from some good altitude training. This week I was hitting power numbers on the road that I’d never achieved before.
National Championships Netherlands WE - ITT (NC) Zaltbommel → Zaltbommel
Poland – Michal Kwiatkowski
Omega Pharma Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski has won the 40km-long Polish national ITT championship, with a time of 48:33 (49.434 km/h) ahead of Maciej Bodnar (0:27) and Mateusz Taciak (2:01).
“I’m really happy about this victory,” Kwiatkowski said. “The parcours was quite simple. It wasn’t really technical, it was just about pushing the really big gear, so I used a 58×11. The parcours was really fast, but I have to say also I was feeling good since the beginning.”
National Championships Poland - ITT (NC) Sobótka → Sobótka
Portugal – Nelson Oliveira
The Portuguese national time trial title was won by Nelson Oliveira, who covered the course in 42:08, 38 seconds less than the former champion and teammate Rui Costa.
“I’m so happy, it’s such a joy to win again the national title in time trial”, Oliveira said. “The course was demanding, it required good legs. In addition, Rui was strong today, but I was feeling very good, so I could realize a top performance. I’m also happy for the compliments I received from Rui: he was happy for me, even if I preceded him at the end of a intense fight”.
National Championships Portugal - ITT (NC) Souto → Souto
Slovakia – Peter Velits
BMC Racing Team’s Peter Velits won his third straight Slovakian national time trial championship in dominating fashion Thursday.
Velits completed the 40-kilometre course in 56:09, 2:12 better than runner-up Maros Kovac and 4:30 faster than third-placed Patrik Tybor.
“It feels very good to have another victory, but it would have been a big disappointment if I did not win,” Velits said.
National Championships Slovakia - ITT (NC) Slavkov u Brna → Slavkov u Brna
Spain – Alejandro Valverde
Movistar utterly dominated the Spanish time trial championships late last week, taking the top places in the race, led by Alejandro Valverde, who claimed his first TT national championship by stopping the clock in 58 minutes flat, 56 ahead of Ion Izagirre and 1:04 quicker than Jonathan Castroviejo.
“I’m surprised by this victory. We can’t forget that Ion does really well on time trials, Castro is a huge specialist and shows it every day, and there were other riders, such as Eloy Teruel, Luis León Sánchez … who had prepared this TT well. I felt really strong at the Route du Sud after two months without racing, and I think those days gave me an extra level of fitness in view of July.”
National Championships Spain - ITT (NC) Ponferrada → Ponferrada
Sweden – Emma Johansson
Despite inclement weather, Emma Johansson handily won the Swedish time trial with a healthy margin. Her time of 39:09 over the 28-kilometre course was 40 seconds faster than Eva Nystrom in second place.
“The course was a big road out to the turning point at almost eight kilometres,” Johansson said. “From there we went into this rolling road in the forest. When we came back, it was the same road we took out. Coming into the turning point, I felt like I was really strong and had found a good pace. I didn’t feel like I had the same kind of rhythm coming back. It was more just about survival.”
National Championships Sweden WE - ITT (NC) Götene → Götene
Switzerland – Fabian Cancellara
Despite still suffering from an allergic reaction to a bee sting he suffered at the Tour de Suisse, Fabian Cancellara decided to take part in the Swiss national ITT championships late last week.
He duly won his ninth title and third in a row, completing the 44.6km technical, hilly course in 57:55 with an average speed of 46.3km/h, ahead of Stefan Küng (BMC Development) (0:49) and Silvain Dillier (BMC) third (+1:07).
“I felt okay, but not really special. After my bee sting and the hard Tour de Suisse I still did not feel 100% recovered. But that is also normal – when you are allergic to bee venom, you have to take care and rest. I felt pretty tired the last few days. I tried to push like I knew I had to for a time trial. Forty-five kilometres is always a long effort and you have to fight from the beginning to the end.”
National Championships Switzerland - ITT (NC) Roggliswil → Roggliswil