Juan Jose Lobato wins stage 3 of the Tour de Wallonie

Spanish sprinter Juan Lose Lobato (Movistar) has won stage 3 of the Tour de Wallonie in Belgium, claiming the bunch kick into Neufchâteau for his first victory of the season.

Image: Movistar

Image: Movistar

Lobato had previously finished second on six occasions this season, but yesterday took his first win in Movistar colours on the 174km stage which featured seven categorised climbs and cold, wet conditions.

“It was an incredible finish”, Lobato said. “It might seem looking at the gap against my rivals that it was easy, but not at all. It was really beautiful: we came into the last descent at more than 70 kph, with lots of attacks, but thanks to my team-mates, I could keep myself calm, come into good position and make my sprint.”

Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) picked up his third second-place finish in three stages and now leads overall by 11 seconds over Lobato. Zico Waeytens (TopSport-Vlaanderen) is third, another eight seconds behind Lobato, ahead of the fourth of five stages today.

Stage 3: Somme-Leuze > Neufchâteau - Stage Result

Monday 28th July 2014

1. es
LOBATO Juan José
Movistar Team
2. be
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
3. ch
BMC Racing Team

Cookson: Riis and Vinokourov should talk to the CIRC

In an interview after the final stage of the Tour de France, UCI president Brian Cookson has called for Bjarne Riis and Alexander Vinokourov to testify to CIRC, Cycling’s Independent Reform Commission, in order to help the sport move on.

TDFR 2014 - stage -19

“I would like both of them to come to the commission,” Cookson told The Guardian. “The commission doesn’t have powers of subpoena, but there is a court of public opinion here which is really important; those two people and others as well need to bear that in mind if they want to continue to operate in our world, opinion in the world of cycling would be much more favourable towards them if they came forward.”

Both Vinokourov and Riis are still heavily involved in professional cycling — the former as general manager of Tour de France-winning team Astana, the latter as director sportif of Tinkoff-Saxo — and both have been associated with doping in the past.

Vinokourov served a two-year ban for blood doping in 2007 and in the same year Riis confessed to having doped throughout his career; a career that included victory at the 1996 Tour de France.

“We’ve got a rule that says if you’ve got a major anti-doping violation you can’t be involved with a team, but our advice is that it’s difficult to employ that retroactively,” Cookson said.

“So what I want to try to do is find ways in which we can reassure people that the people who are involved in the sport, who may have had a history, have renounced that and given a commitment to work with us in a way that respects the rules, and is clean.”

CIRC was established to “investigate the problems cycling has faced in recent years” and, despite being funded by the UCI, operates independently of the governing body.

Click here to read more at The Guardian.

Ji Cheng becomes the first Chinese rider to finish the Tour de France

Ji Cheng (Giant-Shimano) has become the first Chinese rider to finish the Tour de France, after crossing the finish line on the Champs-Elysees a lap behind the main field on Sunday.

TDFR 2014 - stage -18

Ji finished last overall (the “lanterne rouge”), more than six hours behind winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), after spending much of the three weeks on the front of the peloton, controlling the tempo and reeling in breakaways. He suffered in the mountains, but always made the time cut, despite suffering from a knee injury.

“The hardest moments were just the first week and the last week,” he said. “The first week had more sprint stages and we had more chances for victories so I was working hard to control the group and working hard on the front. That was a hard week.”

“And the last week because I was injured in the left knee. Already I wasn’t looking forward to the mountains because of my injury which was so painful.”

Ji is now looking forward to a break from cycling as he recovers from Le Tour.

“I will try to relax because I got married but 20 days later I came back to Europe for a training camp and then racing and it’s been eight months now since I’ve been home. That’s really long, I will try to relax and not think any more about cycling.”

Click here to read more at CyclingTips, and here to read more at VeloNews/AFP.

Geraint Thomas re-signs with Sky for two years

Geraint Thomas has signed a new deal which will keep the British rider at Team Sky until the end of 2016. The 28-year-old Welshman has been with Team Sky from the start in 2010 and is one of eight British riders currently on the roster.

TDFR - 2014 - second restday

On renewing his Team Sky contract, Geraint Thomas said: “I’m really happy to be staying with Team Sky for another two years. I’ve been here since the start and I firmly believe it is the best place for me to fulfil my potential as a bike rider. I feel very supported here and I’m excited about what the future holds. I’ll look forward to challenging myself both on and off the bike and striving to become the very best at what I do.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “We’re delighted that Geraint has re-signed for another two years. He’s been with Team Sky since we began and has been essential to the success that we’ve had. Team Sky has always been built around a strong British core – developing and nurturing home-grown talent to be the best they can be – and Geraint has been at the heart of that.”

Click here to read more at the Team Sky website. Text adapted from a Team Sky press release.

Sky keen to develop a women’s team?

Meanwhile Dave Brailsford has suggested that Team Sky is interested in setting up a women’s team in order to support “great parity” between men’s and women’s cycling.

“We’ve got some brilliant female cyclists,” Brailsford told BBC Sport. “We all are very aware that there needs to be a greater parity, not just in road cycling but across all disciplines, both at Olympic and professional level.”

Brailsfords comments come just days after the first ever edition of La Course, an 89km circuit race on Paris’ Champs-Elysees on the final day of the Tour de France.

While there’s little more detail about what a women’s Team Sky might look like, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about its possible formation. There was similar talk in early 2013 following Sky and Brailsford’s involvement in the British Wiggle-Honda squad.

Click here to read more at the BBC website.

Kazhakstan keen for a Tour de France Grand Depart

The President of Kazakh Cycling, Kairat Kelimbetov, has told AFP that the Central Asian nation wants to host a Tour de France Grand Depart, his comments coming just days after the Kazakh Astana squad won the Tour with Vincenzo Nibali.

The skyline of Astana.

The skyline of Astana.

Kelimbetov, who also heads up Kazakhstan’s central bank, said the country is negotiating for a chance to host the race before 2020.

“It’s like a joke now, but this Yorkshire experience is very interesting for us,” said Kelimbetov. “The Tour de France has become global and cycling has become global and everyone was absolutely excited when five million people came onto the streets” in England.

“The idea is to one day bring it to Kazakhstan,” he said. “It took three years for Yorkshire to be prepared and I think we could deliver it also.”

It’s nearly 5,000km from Astana (the country’s capital) to Paris, but the western tip of Kazakhstan is part of Europe, Kelimbetov said, “so why not?”

Click here to read more via Bicycling/AFP.

Taylor Phinney’s leg scars from USA National Championships crash

Taylor Phinney (BMC) was having a great season before his crash at the US National Champions in May: he’d won the Tour of Dubai, the US national time trial and a thrilling stage win at the Tour of California. But ever since the crash, Phinney has been undergoing rehabilitation after breaking his leg in two places.

The American posted a photo to Twitter yesterday showing the extent of the surgery required to repair his leg.

It isn’t yet known when Phinney will return to racing.

On-board footage of Marianne Vos winning La Course

In the weeks leading up to La Course by Le Tour de France, the women’s race on the Champs-Elysees before the final stage of the Tour de France, there were reports that the live broadcast would feature footage from on-board cameras. Sadly we didn’t see any of that footage during the race, but we do now have on-board footage from Marianne Vos’s bike as she won the final sprint at 68km/h.

Check it out below:

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 the final stage of the Tour de France. Click here for a full gallery from the stage.