Carpenter wins stage 2 of USA Pro Challenge amidst dramatic stage

Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) won today’s rain soaked stage 2 of the USA Pro Challenge from Aspen to Crested Butte, over several major mountain passes.

Carpenter spent the day in a variety of breakaway groups, but his efforts on the climb up Kebler Pass earned him the victory.

Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) came in second place today ahead of Tejay van Garderen (BMC) which earned Howes the overall race lead.

The race was upset by pouring rain and muddy roads on the unpaved climb before Crested Butte. Race officials neutralised the descent and stopped Carpenter and the rest of the field before restarting them all on the paved section of the descent. The restart was based on the time gaps at the top of the second last climb.

Read the full race report at Velonews

Stage 2: Aspen > Crested Butte - Stage Result

Tuesday 19th August 2014

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Hincapie Sportswear Development Team
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Garmin Sharp
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BMC Racing Team

Leukemans solos to stage one victory in Tour du Limousin

Returning to form after the illness which stopped him from riding the Eneco Tour, Bjorn Leukemans (Wanty-Groupe Goubert) took a fine solo victory on the opening stage of the Tour du Limousin in France.

The Belgian was part of a select 19 man group in the finale and then surged clear, reaching the line in Brive five seconds ahead of Stéphane Rossetto (Bigmat – Auber 93), Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli), Christophe Kern (Team Europcar) and Rémy Di Gregorio (Team La Pomme Marseille 13).

Europcar’s Cyril Gautier led in a large chase group fourteen seconds behind, while all the riders from 20th place back were almost seven minutes behind and are out of the overall reckoning.

The opening stage was an undulating 176.3 kilometre race from Limoges and included three categorised climbs. The last of those was the Cote de Lissac and topped out inside the final ten kilometres. It was a route which could have suited Tomas Voeckler (Europcar), but the Frenchman was hit by a car before the start and fractured his left collarbone.

He was unable to take the start and faces surgery on Thursday. As a result he will miss the world road race championships, one of his major goals for the remainder of the season.

The day’s break was sparked off by Flavien Dassonville (BigMat), who was joined by Frederik Backaert (Wanty), Florian Guillou (Bretagne) and Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural). These built a lead of five minutes and after the bunch reduced the lead to just 20 seconds, Madrazo dropped back and Anthony Geslin (FDJ), Jerome Pineau (IAM) and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) each soloed across. Axel Domont (Ag2r) also managed to do so, but the whole group was reeled in after 82 kilometres of racing.

A new 18 man group then went clear, including Leukemans, and while some of these later dropped back and others got across, shuffling things up somewhat, the basis of the day’s successful move was made.

The Belgian clipped away inside the final five kilometres and held on to the line, winning the stage and taking the first leader’s jersey in the four day, 2.1-ranked race.

Stage 1: Limoges > Brive - Stage Result

Tuesday 19th August 2014

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Wanty - Groupe Gobert
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BigMat - Auber 93
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Neri Sottoli

Dan Martin ready for Vuelta: “I am probably in the best shape I have been in”

By Shane Stokes

Second and third on stages and third overall in the Tour de l’Ain, Dan Martin believes he is in the perfect position heading into a major objective, the Vuelta a España.

The Irish pro has had a complicated year, falling in the finale of Liège-Bastogne-Liège while in a position to win and then crashing out on the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia. He missed the Tour de France, due partially to a lack of racing after fracturing his collarbone in the Giro crash, then started to rebuild his form.

His sensations in the Tour de l’Ain ensure that he was upbeat when he spoke to CyclingTips after the French event.

“Mentally, I am in probably in the best shape I have been,” he said, sounding psyched. “In the Tour last year I went in in top form. This year I really think I am getting better every day towards the race, and that is a really exciting prospect, as far as being able to build form as the race goes on.

“The third week is going to be really difficult so it is going to be really important to go in really fresh. I think I have got that advantage over everybody after obviously not having raced much this year.”

Martin’s strong overall position in the Tour de l’Ain was based largely on two stages. He was third on stage three to Lelex-Monts Jura and then placed second on the final stage to Arbent.

Encouragingly, he said that a clear pattern emerged during the four day 2.1 ranked event.

“I knew from training I would be going okay. I trained really hard last week. Then I rested a lot a couple of days before the race. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it. It was a hard course, obviously, but this race is all about thinking about the Vuelta.

“I am really happy with how things ended up. Every day I was getting better and better.”

Click here to read more at CyclingTips.

Basso signs for Tinkoff Saxo, Castroviejo and Visconti extend with Movistar Team

The long-rumoured deal between Ivan Basso and the Tinkoff Saxo team has been finalised Tuesday, with the squad making it official that he will be part of the setup for two years.

The two-time Giro d’Italia winner is reuniting with Bjarne Riis, many years after he left in 2006 due to his involvement in Operacion Puerto.

“I’ve signed a two-year contract with Tinkoff-Saxo,” said Basso, the Giro winner in 2006 and 2010. “I’m really impressed by Oleg Tinkov’s project. It’s the best team in the world, and I’m proud to be a part of that.

“I will start from scratch with the determination and desire of a new professional, but with the head and experience of a veteran.”

Basso has been part of the Cannondale setup for the past seven seasons. He’s 36 years of age and while high performances have dwindled with age, he’s hoping that a change in team and surroundings will give a boost to his career as it nears a close.

Team owner Oleg Tinkov sees Basso as a big addition, and explains that his signing will advance one of the team’s big goals.

“With Alberto [Contador], Peter [Sagan], Rafal [Majka] and now Ivan we will become the number one team,” he predicted. “I have always liked Ivan; he was at lunch with me in 2007 as I would have liked him to be with my team already then. Now I’m happy to have him in our team because I know how serious and dedicated he is.

“I believe that he can be an important asset for conquering the Pink Jersey at the Giro.”

Meanwhile Spanish team Movistar has announced that it has extended the current contracts of the Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo and the Italian Giovanni Visconti.

Click here to read more at CyclingTips.

BMC Racing Team specifies targets for Evans, Sanchez, Gilbert in Vuelta a España

As the days tick down until Saturday’s start of the Vuelta a España in Jerez de la Frontera, the BMC Racing Team has confirmed that three of its strongest riders will take the start, each holding different ambitions for the event.

Former Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez is thought likely to lead the team, with general manager Jim Ochowicz telling CyclingTips during the Tour de France that the Spaniard would be the number one rider in th event.

Ochowicz said that an agreement had been reached with 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans to support Sanchez after the latter supported him in the Giro d’Italia. The 2009 runner-up showed solid form lately when he finished twelfth overall in the Tour de Pologne, and he will have aimed his training to be in peak form for the Spanish race.

However Evans’ strong form and two stage wins in the recent Tour of Utah gives the team another option for the overall and if things play out tactically and physically to put him in a better overall position, the team will row in behind him.

“Our ambition is to get the best possible overall result with either Cadel or Samuel,” said directeur sportif Yvon Ledanois. “Both have recovered well from the Giro. They aren’t the favourites for the Vuelta since three riders look stronger on paper: Chris Froome, Joaquim Rodriguez who came out of the Tour de France with a great condition, and Nairo Quintana, who has to do well in what is Movistar’s main goal of the year.

“If the three of them are at 100% of their capacities, they’ll have to handle the responsibilities in the race. But at the Vuelta, experience prevails. Cadel and Samuel are classy riders and they have that kind of experience likely to make a difference in special circumstances. Samuel knows all the roads in Spain, even the most hidden ones.”

Click here to read more at CyclingTips.

Horner’s backup revealed for Vuelta a España

The Lampre Merida team has revealed the full lineup to support defending champion Chris Horner in the Vuelta a España, confirming the eight riders who will don the squad’s distinctive colours in the race.

The 42 year old rider will wear dossard number one as the 2013 winner and is fully focussed on trying to take a second consecutive title.

He recently showed improving form in the Tour of Utah and hopes to be at one hundred percent in the race, which begins in Jerez de la Frontera this Saturday.

He will be backed by four climbers, namely the Colombians Winner Anacona Gomez and Jose Serpa plus the Italians Damiano Cunego and Elia Favilli, the sprinters Roberto Ferrari (Italy) and Maximiliano Richeze (Argentina) plus Italian attacker Filippo Pozzato and Poland’s Przemyslaw Niemiec.

“One of the main characteristics of the team will be the experience,” said Lampre-Merida, “considering the average age of 32 years old and the average years as pro of the selected riders (ten).”

The 2014 Vuelta has one of the strongest line-ups ever assembled, with the list of contenders including Horner, past Tour de France champions Chris Froome (Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), past winner Alejandro Valverde and 2014 Giro d’Italia champion Nairo Quintana (both Movistar), past world number one Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and 2014 Tour podium finisher Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).

Others who could fight for high overall finishes include 2013 double stage victor Warren Barguill (Giant Shimano), Critérium du Dauphiné champion Andrew Talansky, Ryder Hesjedal and Dan Martin (all Garmin Sharp), climbing specialists Mikel Nieve (Sky), Samuel Sa?nchez (BMC Racing Team), Rigoberto Ura?n (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Fabio Aru (Astana), Haimar Zubeldia (Trek Factory Racing), Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) and Robert Gesink (Belkin Pro Cycling Team).

Fractured collarbone rules Voeckler out of worlds

Ending up on the sidelines for the second time this season, Thomas Voeckler has been forced to give up on his aims for the world road race championships on September 28 in Ponferrada, Spain.

The Frenchman was riding his bike Tuesday prior to the start of the Tour du Limousin and was hit by a car. The incident was similar to the circumstances of his crash on January 15th in Australia. On that occasion he went out training after his flight, seeking to loosen his legs and get through jetlag prior to the start of the Santos Tour Down Under, and rode into a vehicle.

He fractured his right collarbone then; this time round, his left suffered the same sort of injury.

“It is clear that it’s not worth thinking about the world championships, where I hoped to be selected,” he said, according to France Bleu Loire Océan.

The tough course in Ponferrada, Spain, is one which could have suited his abilities, but instead he will have to use his injury to get over the latest setback.

“Hit by a car just before the first stage of the Tour du Limousin,” he said on Twitter. “Fourth fracture of the clavicle, the first to the left. It’s necessary to start over again.

“Surgical operation Thursday in Nantes. Thanks to all for your messages of support.”

Despite Tinkov twitter attack, Boasson Hagen offered contract by Tinkoff Saxo team

Although a recent Twitter rant by Oleg Tinkov appeared to rule out the rumoured signing of Edvald Boasson Hagen by the Tinkoff Saxo team, it appears that the deal could yet take place. General manager Stefano Feltrin confirmed on Tuesday that the rider had actually been offered a contract for 2015, thus raising the possibility that both Peter Sagan and Boasson Hagen could become team-mates and collaborators on the same team.

If so, the prospect is a very promising one for the team’s Classic ambitions, with both riders regarded as powerful and punchy. While Boasson Hagen has stagnated somewhat at Sky, he clearly has a lot of talent and will hope that his move to a new setup will enable him to get back on track and to deliver on his potential.

According to Feltrin, the offer has yet to be accepted. “At the moment it’s up to the rider and agent. We’ve made our intentions very clear and that’s where we are. I don’t work off gut feelings, but we think he would make a nice addition.”

It is thought that several other teams are also interested in Boasson Hagen, and so it is not yet clear if he will take up the offer.

His considerations will likely take Tinkov’s recent tweets into account. The Russian millionaire appeared to be referring directly to Boasson Hagen in a series of tweets. “Although I adore Norwegian music, I don’t like some of the Norwegian “pro”-cyclists – they are messy and behave like girls. Shame,” he stated.

“Not sure if ahilles [sic] inflammation, luck of professionalism or bio passport data, what cause the person behave such unprofessional, image gone.”

Boasson Hagen has suffered from Achilles tendon problems during his time with Sky, and so the rant appeared to be directed at him.

Click here to read more at Cyclingnews

Craddock, Haga to Vuelta for total of six Americans, two Canadians

A solid contingent of North American riders is heading to the Vuelta a España this weekend, including WorldTour rookies Chad Haga and Lawson Craddock, who both were tipped Tuesday by Giant-Shimano to make their respective grand tour debuts.

Lawson Craddock

Lawson Craddock

Haga, 25, rode well in the final time trial at the Vuelta a Burgos on Sunday, stopping the clock for a season-best fourth place, while Craddock, 22, was third overall at the Amgen Tour of California in May. Both have been consistent all season, and have earned a spot on the Giant-Shimano lineup for the Vuelta.

“If I were to be selected, I will try to finish the thing,” Craddock said in a telephone interview earlier this month. “We’ll be going with a strong team, with [Warren] Barguil for the GC, and [John] Degenkolb for the sprints. So if I am selected, I will be going there to help Warren out in the GC, and help John in the sprints.”

As Craddock mentioned, leading Giant-Shimano will be Warren Barguil, the promising young French rider who won two Vuelta stages last year, and who will be making a push for the GC. John Degenkolb returns to the Vuelta, in part to prepare for the world championships in Ponferrada in northwest Spain. Degenkolb returns to the Vuelta for the first time since 2012, when he won five stages.

Though the start list has yet to be finalised, the inclusion of Haga and Craddock brings the American tally for the Vuelta to six.

Click here to read more at Velonews.

Armstrong Still Believes He Won 7 Tours De France, no longer wears Livestrong bracelet

Lance Armstrong believes he’s still the winner of the Tour de France, he said in an interview on “The Dan Patrick Show.”

Patrick asked, “Do you believe you are?”

Armstrong replied, “I do, I do, And I don’t like arguing and fighting about it. But if you ask me if I feel that way, I say yes. But I know very well that there are many, many people that don’t agree with that. I respect that, and I understand that.”

Armstrong said he no longer wears a yellow Livestrong bracelet after Livestrong severed all ties with Armstrong in 2012.

Read the full story at Business Insider

Silca launches $450 floor pump, the SuperPista Ultimate

pumpSilca, the Italian pump company now owned by American Joshua Poertner (formerly Zipp’s head engineer) , has now launched its first pump since Poertner took over the company last year.

The SuperPista Ultimate has a number of features to justify its $450 pricing.

At 3.2kg (7 lbs) the Ultimate is claimed to be the heaviest and most stable floor pump ever made. It’s only 5mm thick, has a base weight of 800 grams, and designed for standing on every type of cycling shoe imaginable. The pump guage has an accuracy of +/-1% as opposed to the typical +/-5% reading that most pumps have.

Magnetic chuck docking allows the 17-4 Stainless Steel presta attachment to be stored using only the hose with no bending or reaching.

The pump hose is a type used by Indy race cars and is rated at 12,000 psi. It is over-braided with stainless steel and protected with a polyurethane jacket.

See and Bicycle Retailer for more information.

Sky’s Vuelta selection gone wrong

You’re probably as tired of the Hitler memes (from the film Der Untergang) as we are, but this version featuring David Brailsford is worth a watch:

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips:

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