Danny van Poppel wins Tour de Luxembourg prologue

Danny Van Poppel (Trek) has continued his impressive rise through the pro ranks, taking out the 2.6km prologue ITT in the Tour of Luxembourg.

The Dutchman was the only rider able to cover the course in under four minutes, with his time of 3:58 seeing him finish four seconds clear of Jean-Pierre Drucker (Wanty) and five seconds ahead of Alex Kirsch (Leopard).

Van Poppel appeared to benefit from improving weather conditions and a late start, riding the course in conditions that were better compared to the torrential rain that lashed the course earlier in the day.

The five-stage Tour de Luxembourg continues today with a rolling stage that finishes with two laps of an 18km circuit. The stage is expected to end with a bunch sprint with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) the big favourite for the stage.

Prologue: Luxembourg > Luxembourg - Stage Result

Wednesday 4th June 2014

1. nl
Trek Factory Racing
2. lu
DRUCKER Jean-Pierre
Wanty - Groupe Gobert
3. lu
Leopard Development Team

Click here to read a full stage report at Cycling Quotes.

Joaquim Rodriguez likely to return for Tour de France as prep for the Vuelta

Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez crashed out of this year’s Giro d’Italia quite early in proceedings but the Spaniard now appears set to be back in form for the Tour de France in July.

Tour de San Luis - training  2013

While a final decision hasn’t been made about Rodriguez’s calendar from here, team general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov told VeloNews a return to the Tour is likely.

“He returned to train [last] week, and we’ll decide soon,” Ekimov said. “If he does the Tour, it will be to try to win a stage, and prepare for the Vuelta a España.”

Rodriguez had previously decided to skip this year’s Tour, choosing instead to race the Giro where he’d have a greater chance at the overall. And while he’ll go to the Vuelta targeting the overall there, he’ll still have some solid competition: Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Alejandro Valverde, and Giro winner Nairo Quintana (both Movistar), Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), and defending champion Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) are all expected to be there.

“I am missing a Grand Tour and a world title on my palmares,” Rodríguez said during the Giro. “I’ve won small races and one-day races, but I want to win a Grand Tour. If I don’t win a Giro, maybe I will never win a Grand Tour, who knows?”

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

BMC confirms no Tour de France for Philippe Gilbert

He’s won stages in the past and also worn the Maillot Jaune of race leader but the BMC Racing Team of Philippe Gilbert has confirmed today that he will miss this year’s Tour de France.

Amstel Gold Race 2013

Contacted by CyclingTips after French newspaper L’Equipe said that the Belgian would not take part in the event, a spokesman confirmed that was indeed the case.

He also pointed out that while the team has not published a long list this year of the riders in the running for inclusion on the team, it had identified those who would definitely not take part.

This list includes Gilbert, Silvan Dillier, Yannick Eijssen, Martin Kohler, Sebastian Lander, Larry Warbasse, Danilo Wyss and Rick Zabel. Also set to miss the Tour is Taylor Phinney, who was originally expected to take part but who suffered leg fractures in a crash at the US national championship.

Another rider who will miss the race is Cadel Evans, who led the team in the Giro d’Italia instead.

According to L’Equipe, Gilbert’s decision not to ride the Tour is based around a preferred programme centering around the Vuelta a España and then his bid to take the world road race title for the second time in his career.

Click here to read the full article at CyclingTips.

Nathan Haas buoyed by Giro d’Italia completion

Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) didn’t have an ideal start to this year’s Giro, crashing in the same incident that saw Dan Martin leave the race with a badly fractured collarbone. But the Australian was able to overcome that initial setback and eventually made it through to the finish in Trieste.

Tour Down Under 2013 - Stage 4 - Modbury to Tanunda - 126.5KM

Haas even had time to enjoy the ride, popping a wheelie on the Zoncolan climb on stage 21 to cheers from the fans.

“I had a lot of fun going up the last kilometres [of the climb]. I was well in front of the gruppetto and I was definitely going to make the time cut so I enjoyed the climb,” Haas told Cycling News. “When I got to the top it was a pretty beautiful feeling knowing that I’d be finishing my first Grand Tour.”

As Haas descended the other side of the mountain to the team bus, he was struck by the magnitude of finishing a race that he’d crashed out of the year before.

“I had a couple of memories going back to where I started with my Genesys team in Australia. I just had a bit of a personal moment when I got to the top of that hill. It’s a long way,” Haas said. “For an Australian from a relatively small town, it seems pretty far removed from where I grew up.”

The first few days of the race were particularly tough for Haas who was caught in another crash, as well as the TTT incident.

“I had cuts opening up and I couldn’t stand up out of my saddle, I had to sit down for the first few days. That starts to take a toll. For me that was definitely the hardest thing to get through, although the mountains are just insane here.”

Click here to read the full article at Cycling News.

Interview with Alison Powers, US road race, TT and criterium champion

Last week Alison Powers became the first US cyclist in history to win the criterium, road race and ITT national title in the same year. The former pro downhill skier spoke with Bicycling for an interesting feature interview about her achievement, her career thus far and more.

Here’s an excerpt:

In the road race, you looked fearless on the descent off of Lookout Mountain. You must channel your skiing skills on the bike.

Yes, I do. The nice thing growing up as a ski racer is that you consistently go 50–70 miles an hour, so descending 40 miles an hour doesn’t feel scary at all. That can be a bad thing sometimes because I’ve crashed myself before [laughs].

I think it’s because I look at the lines through the corners a little differently than most people because of my ski background, which makes it even harder for people to stay on my wheel. They’re like, “What is she doing? Where is she going? Oh my gosh, she just got three bike lengths on me.”

Click here to read the interview at Bicycling.

An interview with the Tour de France Grand Départ’s head of safety & security

Here’s another interview that’s worth checking out, this time with Bob Brayshaw, Safety and Security Director for the Great Britain stages of this year’s Tour de France. Brayshaw, who was formerly an inspector with West Yorkshire Police and who has worked with the Tour of Britain for a decade, spoke with road.cc about the upcoming Grand Depart in the UK.

Here’s an excerpt:

We’re aware that there will be spectator restrictions on parts of the route such as at Buttertubs Pass on Stage 1 and Holme Moss in Stage 2. How will those be enforced? We haven’t seen anything about tickets or cost (unlike Box Hill at London 2012).

The Tour is the biggest free sporting event in the world so there will be no repeat of the ticketing of places like at Box Hill. We have to balance the spirit of the Tour with some sensible crowd management for the safety of the riders and the spectators, so if a location is looking too full we will advise incoming visitors to move to other less populated areas.

Click here to read the full interview at road.cc.

Personalised jerseys to help create empathy toward cyclists

In the fight to create greater awareness about cycling and make the roads safer for cyclists, one of the most effective tools is to create empathy among those who might otherwise be hostile. This is the tactic used by Cycle, who have made customised jerseys with phrases such as “I Am Someone’s Dad” or “I Am Someone’s Mum” on the back.


“The main thing about it is to promote in people’s minds that we do belong to someone,” Brisbane-based Cycle contributor Steve Mitchell said. “Cyclists are someone’s husband, wife, son, daughter, father, mother. We’re not some blob on a bicycle that doesn’t matter to anyone.”

Click here to read more at the Herald Sun. And click here for more information at Cycle’s Facebook page.

Sock Height, Simon Gerrans and the cease and desist letter

Here’s an interesting one. Sock Height, a website-building business for “those who know that sock height matters” has been issued with a cease and desist letter by Simon Gerrans’ lawyers.

The homepage of the Sock Height website featured a message about the upcoming launch of the site, with the line “Sock Height is launching this July like Gerro on a Belgium berg”. According to the cease and desist letter, “this reference to ‘Gerro’ infringes Mr Gerrans’ intellectual property”.

It’s unclear whether Gerro himself was aware of the letter being sent out or what his take on the situation is, but there’s certainly been plenty of discussion about the incident on social media. Check out the #gerrogate hashtag on Twitter, and Sock Height’s tweet stream for more info.

Lance Armstrong even got involved:

MTB rider robbed at gunpoint

This isn’t the ideal way to end a ride, but at least the victim caught the incident on film.

To quote from the video’s description on YouTube:

MTB ride on Saturday 31st May 2014 from Ongegund, last few km’s before end of session. Armed gunman and 2 others stopped myself and took cellphone, car keys, oakleys and bike.
Fortunately they did not have a clue what a GOPRO was and this is the evidence that will assist in their procecution!

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 Jered Gruber.