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by Shane Stokes
June 18, 2014
In this morning’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest: Cavendish victorious in Tour de Suisse, Martin keeps yellow; Clarke second in opening stage of Tour of Iran; Betancur could face penalty from Ag2r; Belkin company announces withdrawal at end of season, team searching for new backer; Tour de Suisse injuries affect Monfort, Vanendert and Ratto, Wiggins falls but continues; Fifteen teams confirmed for Tour of Alberta
Mark Cavendish showed he is in strong form in advance of the Tour de France when he blasted to victory on stage four of the Tour de Suisse on Tuesday. The Omega Pharma Quick Step rider had a strong leadout from Mark Renshaw, who jumped on the Giant Shimano train inside the final kilometre, then sped across the line in Ossingen lengths ahead of Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar Team), Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and Milan-Sanremo winner Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha).
“It was a headwind finish, and very chaotic in the peloton,” said Cavendish. “A lot of teams were trying to get it right. My team worked really hard to chase down the breakaway and stay in the front the entire day to protect me, they were really committed. Then, I followed Mark Renshaw in the final and Mark was incredible. He led me through the peloton, and put me in the position to lead it out.
“It was a headwind and uphill finish, so it was really about timing your sprint perfectly. I knew I had to go between 200 meters and 150 meters to go. So, I waited, and even though the others jumped before I still went at the right time. I was able to hold on until the finish.”
Cavendish pointed out that many of his sprint rivals for the Tour de France were not present, with the exception of Sagan. He noted that the Cannondale rider isn’t a pure sprinter. “But still, a win like this gives me confidence,” he said.
Team-mate Tony Martin finished in the peloton and ended the day six seconds clear of Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Shimano). Sagan is a further eight seconds back in third.
Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) and Laurens De Vreese (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) comprised the day’s break and established a lead of almost four minutes. They were finally caught with ten kilometres to go and, after a solo break by Vladimir Isaychev (Katusha) was hauled back, the bunch sprint played out and Cavendish notched up his eighth sprint win of the year.
The 29th edition of Tour of Azarbaijan which is named Tour of Iran since 2013 is being held in western provinces of Iran this week. Eighteen teams including five Iranian continental teams and thirteen foreign ones will compete in six stages of this event.
Australian rider Will Clarke took his ninth podium finish of the season on Tuesday when he finished second on the opening stage of the Tour of Iran.
The 29 year old Tasmanian was runner-up to Fabian Schnaidt (Team Vorarlberg) at the conclusion of the 144.4km stage in Urmia, while Team Ukyo’s Kazushige Kuboi was third.
He said he mistimed his finishing effort and lost out as a result. “I was beaten pretty easily because I started my sprint a bit late.”
The stage was run off in hot conditions and after 70 kilometres of flat-out racing, the bunch split. Clarke and all of his Drapac team-mates made it into the front, but Robbie Hucker and Malcolm Rudolph were stranded when a second split formed.
This selection saw approximately 60 riders sprinting it out at the end. Clarke said that his team-mate Bernard Sulzberger helped him a lot in the finale, thus paving the way for his strong finish.
“Bernie did a great job for me in the final and kept me out of the wind for a long time,” he said.
Time bonuses mean that he is now four seconds behind Schnaidt heading into Wednesday’s second stage. It is 210.3 kilometres and is the longest of the 2.1-ranked race.
You can view the official Tour of Iran website here.
Carlos Betancur’s decision not to travel to Europe and tardiness in explaining the situation to the Ag2r La Mondiale team could lead to the climber being handed a penalty by the squad, according to L’Equipe.
Carlos Betancur at Amstel Gold Race.
The Colombian rider was absent Tuesday from the list of riders announced for the Tour de France by the team.
He had been expected to compete in the Tour de Suisse but didn’t take his scheduled flight to Europe. His team was left in the dark but it was later communicated to it that he had contracted a virus and would not be available for the Tour squad.
Ag2r la Mondiale manager Vincent Lavenu said that Betancur will face a penalty, although he didn’t specify what that would be.
“I have asked him to return to Savoy, where he must renew his residence permit from the Prefecture, around July 15th or 20th,” stated Lavenu.
“There will of course be a sanction, but it will not be financial in nature – the labour law prohibits it. A procedure is in place, it may be a reprimand, a warning, or a layoff.”
He added that the team didn’t want to split with him, but it is necessary for the rider to respect his racing programme.
The team will be led by Romain Bardet, Jean-Christophe Péraud and Christophe Riblon. Five others have been named thus far, namely the Frenchmen Mikael Cherel, Sébastien Minard, Samuel Dumoulin and Blel Kadri, plus the Luxembourg rider Ben Gastauer.
Slightly under a year after Belkin was confirmed as taking over the sponsorship of the Dutch Blanco Pro Cycling team, the electronics company has announced that it doesn’t plan to continue past the end of the current season.
As a result the former Rabobank squad has said that it will immediately begin searching for a new backer to step in for 2015.
“The team is disappointed by the exit, since it got a lot of positive feedback on the sponsorship,” stated the Dutch squad.
The Belkin company explained the decision by saying that a shift in aims had taken place and as a result, the strategy was being changed. “Belkin entered into cycling last year with the aim to increase brand awareness and subsequently sales revenue,” it said in a statement.
“While initial brand awareness results increased for the Belkin brand throughout Europe, the company strategy is to be more globally focused for all of the Belkin International brands: Belkin, WeMo and Linksys.”
The team’s managing director Richard Plugge said that he considered the news ‘unfortunate.’
“With the motto #ridethefuture we have generated a lot of goodwill the past year, in an environment that is still critically observed. Our innovative method and forward-looking team philosophy has brought the sport back where it belongs, with fans and stakeholders. Our performance, battle mode, transparency and accessibility have not gone unnoticed by the public and industry.”
He said that he was confident that a new backer would be found, pointing out that some negotiations had already taken place for co-sponsors.
The news comes at a time when fellow Dutch squad Giant Shimano is also searching for a title sponsor for 2015.
The Tour de Suisse is one of the key preparation races for the Tour de France but, like any stage race, carries a certain amount of risk. The dice rolled against Lotto Belisol riders Maxime Monfort and Jelle Vanendert, both of whom were forced to quit the race after being inured in crashes. Daniele Ratto also withdrew from the race due to a broken collarbone.
Monfort fell during Sunday’s second stage and today underwent tests in the hospital of Herentals. Those examinations showed that he suffered a heavy bruise to the acromion, the area of the shoulder which attaches to the collarbone.
He was instructed to rest several days but, providing things go well, could return to riding on the rollers later this week. His team states that he has a 50% chance of taking part in Sunday’s Belgian championships.
Vanendert came a cropper on Tuesday’s fourth stage and suffered bruises to his left knee and elbow. Although he didn’t incur any fractures, he was forced to quit the race.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins was a little more fortunate, being able to continue on after crashing on the final lap of the finishing circuit.
He lost almost twelve minutes and slipped down the general classification to 99th overall. Wiggins had already conceded two minutes 25 seconds on Monday’s third stage.
Team Sky directeur sportif Dan Frost explained the damages he sustained in his crash and also gave information about his time loss on Monday.
“He sustained grazing and bruising to the muscles on his right leg, which will be treated overnight and the team doctor will be reviewing his injury in the morning,” he stated.
“Bradley has been carrying a mild chest infection from the weekend so he has been taking antibiotics and his condition has improved. Racing with this illness has affected him a bit, but he’s shown his commitment and has worked really well for the team.”
The Briton had hoped to be selected for Team Sky’s Tour de France squad, and was initially told that he wouldn’t take part. Team principal Dave Brailsford subsequently said the final decision would be made after the Tour de Suisse, but Wiggins’ two difficult stages will do little to advance his chances.
A total of five WorldTour teams have been named as competing in this year’s Tour of Alberta, with the 2.1 ranked race announcing the full line-up on Tuesday.
Typical rolling prairie landscapes of the Tour of Alberta
Cannondale, Orica GreenEdge and Giant Shimano will take part, joining previously-announced WorldTour squads Belkin Pro Cycling and Garmin-Sharp, plus the Pro Continental UnitedHealthcare team.
Eight Continental teams will also compete, namely the Canadian squads Garneau-Quebecor and Silber Pro Cycling, Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, SmartStop, 5 Hour Energy and the Bissell Development Team.
Rohan Dennis, the winner of the 2013 Tour of Alberta
It will also include a Canadian National Team, with national team director Gord Fraser laying out the goals.
“I look forward to bringing the national team to Alberta again for 2014,” he stated. “Last year’s inaugural edition was a tremendous success not only for the development of my Canadian riders, but also showcasing professional cycling to media and business leaders in western Canada and across the globe.
“Last year my rider Antoine Duchesne had a fantastic race that helped him secure a place on a WorldTour team and I’m hoping someone from this year’s team has a similar opportunity.”
• September 2 / Tuesday / Prologue / Calgary, time trial
• September 3 / Wednesday / Stage 1 / Lethbridge, circuit race
• September 4 / Thursday / Stage 2 / Innisfail to Red Deer, road race
• September 5 / Friday / Stage 3 / Wetaskiwin to Edmonton, road race
• September 6 / Saturday / Stage 4 / Edmonton to Strathcona County, road race
• September 7 / Sunday / Stage 5 / Edmonton, circuit race
Click here to read more at the Tour of Alberta official website.
Mauro Santambrogio admitted to his positive EPO sample from last year’s Giro d’Italia to the UCI’s Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), according to Gazzetta dello Sport. It is not clear what information Santambrogio gave to the CIRC, but Gazzetta dello Sport suggests he explained who, how and where he obtained EPO from. Until now, Santambrogio had always maintained his innocence.
To our knowledge Santambrogio the first cyclist to admit doping to the UCI’s CIRC which was set up in response to the saga surrounding Lance Armstrong’s doping case.
Santambrogio tested positive for EPO last year in May during the last week of the Giro, where he won a stage. A few days earlier, his teammate Danilo Di Luca already caught.
According to la Gazzetta, the 29-year-old Santambrogio will get a retroactive suspension of 18 months. In November of this year, the Italian can race again.
Santambrogio currently works part-time as a baker and is looking for a team that can help his comeback.
Read the original story on la Gazzetta.
Jens Voigt shares his beer of choice, even if he gets criticised for it.
Samsung has launched a prototype bike in conjunction with Maestros Academy that combines traditional cycling design with modern safety features. Samsung co-founded the academy earlier this year with designer Leo Burnett’s Milan office, with the goal of “preserving Italian craftsmanship in the digital age.” For the smart bike in particular, the design team wanted to help reduce the number of cyclists involved in accidents each year
The Samsung ‘Smart Bike’ comes complete with GPS, rear-view camera (to keep tabs on what’s behind you), a curved frame, a live video feed and even four laser beams to project lines on a road and stop motorists getting too close. Front and center on the bike is a magnetic smartphone mount. Attach your Galaxy phone and start up the app to control the bike’s systems.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: