Degenkolb wins second consecutive Vuelta stage, Matthews retains overall lead

by Shane Stokes

Repeating his victory of one day earlier, John Degenkolb tightened his grip on the green jersey when he sped to his second stage win of this year’s Vuelta a España on Wednesday.

The Giant-Shimano rider shrugged off the slightly uphill gradient to the line in Ronda, sweeping past former world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) and hurtling over the line. French stage two winner Nacer Bouhanni tried to pass Degenkolb on the inside, choosing to go on the right instead of to the left, and found himself hemmed between the German and the barriers.

Tour of Spain 2014 - stage - 5

Overnight leader Michael Matthews wasn’t to the fore in the sprint, crossing the line in 11th place, but he tightened his grip on the red jersey. He is now 13 seconds clear of Nairo Quintana, who – along with all those from 13 seconds back – was caught on the wrong side of a five-second split.

The stage featured a long distance break by Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Lotto-Belisol’s Pim Ligthart. Martin had a mechanical issue and dropped out of the move, but Ligthart persisted until he was eventually reeled in inside the final 30 kilometres.

His chances of staying clear were ruined when the peloton behind split under the pressure of the Tinkoff-Saxo team. Most of the general classification favourites made it into the first group, but Dan Martin had a tough chase to get across.

The Vuelta continues tomorrow with the first mountainous stage of the race from Benalmádena to La Zubia. The stage ends with a climb of a little more than 4km.

Stage 5: Priego de Córdoba > Ronda - Stage Result

Wednesday 27th August 2014

1. de
Team Giant-Shimano
2. fr
3. nl
Belkin-Pro Cycling Team

Click here to read a full stage report at CyclingTips.

Ilya Davidenok wins stage 4 of the Tour de l’Avenir, Miguel Lopez moves into the overall lead

Kazhakstan’s Ilya Davidenok has won the first uphill finish of this year’s Tour de l’Avenir, winning stage 4 from the day’s breakaway.

A group of five riders, including Davidenok, got clear 15km into the stage from Saint-Vulbas to Plateau de Solaison and had 6:15 over the main field at one stage. The break disintegrated on the 12km ascent to the finish with just Davidenok and Sam Oomen (Netherlands) remaining. Davidenok took the win in a two-up sprint ahead of Oomen, while Miguel Lopez (Colombia) made his way across from the main field to take third and nab the overall lead.

After finishing eighth on the stage, Australia’s Robert Power moves into third overall, just 27 seconds behind Lopez. The race continues today with 102km from Bons-en-Chablais to Les Carroz d’Arraches, including a long, step-wise climb to the finish.

Stage 4: Saint-Vulbas > Plateau de Solaison - Stage Result

Wednesday 27th August 2014

1. kz
Continental Team Astana
2. nl
Rabobank Development Team
3. co
LOPEZ Miguel Angel

Click here to read more at Le Matin.

Elisa Longo Borghini wins Trophee d’Or Feminin

Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) has taken out the six-stage Trophee d’Or Feminin in France off the back of a victory on stage 4.

Reports from the race have been scarce all week (including from the race organisers), but we know Longo Borghini took her stage 4 victory ahead of Elena Berlato (Ale Cipollini), the pair finishing more than 90 seconds clear of the rest of the field. That result put the Italian into the overall lead, 32 seconds ahead of Berlato, and 1:08 ahead of stage 2 ITT winner Ann-sophie Duyck, with two stages remaining.

Pascale Jeuland (Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86) won a bunch sprint on stage 5 with Longo Borghini eighth to maintain her overall lead, and on stage 6 Kelly Druyts (Topsport) won ahead of stage 3 victor Barbara Guarischi (Ale Cipollini). Longo Borghini maintained her overall lead through the final stage to take her sixth victory of the year, including the Italian national ITT championships in June.

Final placings and other information from the final stage are still yet to be released. Going into the final stage, however, Australia’s Lizzie Williams was fourth overall after coming second in the ITT and third on stage 5. Rachel Neylan was fifth overall after a fourth place in the ITT.

Final Classification: > - Stage Result

Wednesday 27th August 2014

1. it
Hitec Products

Click here to

Back-to-back stage wins for Mark Cavendish at Tour du Poitou-Charentes

Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Mark Cavendish has won his second straight sprint stage at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes on Wednesday, capitalising on another impressive lead-out to win the 183.6km second stage ahead of Enrique Sanz (Movistar) and Lorrenzo Manzin (

The race came back together after several breakaways throughout the stage before OPQS took control and delivered Cavendish to the line.

“Once again the team was great,” Cavendish said. “They controlled the breakaway and they always stayed with me in the final kilometres. The last kilometre had wide roads with two roundabouts. We took the lead and went through it perfectly. There was a little bit of headwind in the sprint.

“Mark Renshaw was in the lead, but I let Sebastien Chavanel ( in the middle between me and Renshaw, because I didn’t want to start too early. Then, when Renshaw finished the job, I launched and got the victory. I have to thank my teammates for the effort once again. Today we probably executed even better than yesterday, which is pretty impressive considering how brilliant they were in the first stage.”

Cavendish will wear the leader’s jersey once again on today’s 111km third stage.

Stage 2: Marans > Niort - Stage Result

Wednesday 27th August 2014

1. gb
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
2. es
SANZ Enrique
Movistar Team
3. fr
MANZIN Lorrenzo

Degenkolb shakes off Bouhanni’s criticism about stage 5 Vuelta finish

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) had to fend off criticisms after his stage 5 victory at the Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday after second-placed Nacer Bouhanni complained that the German had pushed him into the barriers.

Bouhanni launched an official complaint but the commissaires determined Degenkolb had done nothing wrong.

“I was on the right and I stayed on the right,” Degenkolb said just after the finish. “There wasn’t any space there, I kept my line, if he wanted to do something he should have come round to the left.”

“I haven’t seen the sprint again, so I can’t really say,” Degenkolb said. “I tried to stay on the right side and on the barrier, so nobody could overtake me on the right side. Nacer tried to overtake me there but there was no space. I didn’t do anything wrong, I just tried to stay on the right.”

Click here to read more at Cyclingnews.

Edvald Boasson Hagen signs with MTN-Qhubeka

by Shane Stokes

MTN-Qhubeka’s push to ride the Tour de France appears to have received a boost, with Norwegian rider Edvald Boasson Hagen joining the squad in 2015.

Image: Kristof Ramon

Image: Kristof Ramon

On Tuesday stated that Boasson Hagen has agreed to a two year contract with a new team, a suggestion confirmed later in the day by the team. Although the Norwegian is 27 years of age, he is regarded as one who hasn’t yet neared his potential, with the powerful rider seen as having stagnated in the last two seasons of his five-year deal with Team Sky.

Boasson Hagen was linked to a possible move to Tinkoff Saxo but, after signs of tension with its owner Oleg Tinkov, he has opted for the African squad.

“It´s been five great seasons with Team Sky, but the time has come to seek new challenges,” said Boasson Hagen on Wednesday. “MTN-Qhubeka has a very good platform and a framework that fits me very well, so I´m sure this is a very good choice for the next seasons.”

“For next year they are targeting the Tour. So I feel safe about the race program, and I really look forward to focus on new goals in the MTN-Qhubeka jersey.”

Team Principal Doug Ryder knows that adding a rider of Boasson Hagen’s reputation and promise to the squad makes it more likely to secure the Tour invite it is chasing. The team already includes 2013 Milan-Sanremo winner Gerald Ciolek plus some very exciting young riders; with other high-profile signings expected, he can see the squad making a big move forward.

Click here and here to read more at CyclingTips.

Sagan and Pinot struggling for form at the Vuelta

by Shane Stokes

The teams of Thibaut Pinot and Peter Sagan have commented on the disappointing performances of both riders thus far in the Vuelta a España, with each squad confirming that neither rider is in the same kind of form that they showed in this year’s Tour de France.

TDFR 2014 - stage -21

Pinot had a career-best performance in the Tour, netting third overall in Paris and also taking the white jersey of best young rider. His overall classification position starting Wednesday’s Vuelta stage five, by comparison, was a lowly 177th out of 198 overall; after four days of racing, he was already 24 minutes and 15 seconds back.

“He’s not performing at the same level as in the Tour de France because he took it easy after the Tour,” explained his FDJ directeur sportif Franck Pineau. “He got a bit sick before the Vuelta and he suffers the heat here.”

As for Sagan, he has also been anonymous. While his Cannondale squad was second in the opening day team time trial in the Vuelta, Sagan was just 46th in the bunch gallop which settled stage two and has placed 129th and 138th on the two stages since then.

“Peter Sagan is not in good form,” conceded his directeur sportif Dario Mariuzzo. “He has stopped cycling after the Tour. Why would he try to shine here? He’s already got his contract for next year.”

Click here to read more at CyclingTips.

Kreuziger case to be heard on September 11, verdict due September 22

by Shane Stokes

The biological passport case involving Roman Kreuziger will go before a panel in just over two weeks’ time, with the Czech Cycling Federation confirming today that a date has been set for September 11 and that a ruling will follow.

winner: Roman Kreuzinger (CZE)

The Tinkoff-Saxo rider is facing a possible lengthy ban due to irregularities in his biological passport; if he is deemed guilty of blood doping, the 2013 Amstel Gold Race winner would face a suspension of at least two years.

The Czech Cycling Federation today announced that the Arbitration Commission of the Czech Olympic Committee will discuss the case on September 11 and will announce its verdict 11 days later on September 22. The latter will come before the world road race championships, which Kreuziger will hope to ride.

The arbitration panel will comprise three judges. Kreuziger’s lawyer Jan Štovícek intends trying to convince them that the rider did not do anything untoward.

Whatever the decision, the ruling can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Click here to read more at CyclingTips.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep signs Maxime Bouet

Omega Pharma-QuickStep has announced the signing of Maxime Bouet for a two-year deal that will see the Frenchman with the Belgian squad through 2016.

Santos Tour Down Under stage-3

The 27-year-old rode has ridden with AG2R – La Mondiale since 2010, netting career highlights such as a second place on stage 2 of the 2010 edition of the Tour de France and third on GC in the Giro del Trentino in 2013.

“I’m happy about this deal,” Bouet said. “Since I was young I looked at teams of Patrick Lefevere and dreamed of being part of his teams in the future, during my pro career. Now I will join the team in a time of professional maturity, when I can do the best things in my career.

“In the next year my goal is to improve as a rider and also to try to be important in the strategy of the team, with riders like Rigoberto Uran and Michal Kwiatkowski. I will try and give my contribution to their success in the climbs.”

“With Bouet we have a rider who can be useful for the Grand Tours,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “He has shown he can support his teammates, while also having the possibility to take his own chances when the opportunity is present. He’s a French rider who I believe has yet to reach the pinnacle of his pro career, and think he can be a good fit for the team and what we want to do in the next years.”

Text adapted from an OPQS press release.

Celebrating the uncelebrated: the long career of Australia’s Ben Day

We’re all familiar with the big names of Australian cycling — Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans, Richie Porte etc. — but there are a whole host of other Australian riders plying their trade around the world that you mightn’ve heard of. One such rider is Ben Day, a 35-year-old Queenslander who brought the curtain down on a long career this week at the USA Pro Challenge.

Former Cyclingnews Australia editor Jane Aubrey (who’s also the Chief Communications Officer for Drapac Professional Cycling) caught up with Ben over in Colorado and put together a great feature article about his career. It’s a great read about one of the real stalwarts of Aussie cycling and a guy that has received far less attention than he probably deserved.

Click here to read the full article at CyclingTips.

BMC’s new concept bike – what do you think?

Today at Eurobike BMC announced their proof-of-concept design for an aerobike that they say could be feasible five to seven years from now. According to the press release, BMC wants to explore what a high-end aero road bike could possibly look like if you ignore industry standards, current construction methods and UCI rules.


Here’s a glimpse at a few of the proposed features and how BMC describes them:

– A completely new approach to frame design: relatively simple structure with high modularity and integration through external add-ons that serve rider-specific needs (endoskeleton instead of exoskeleton)
– A new modular concept involves the choice of internal gearbox or electric motor, and the down- and seattube fairings would double as batteries.
– Add-ons and Fairings serve two purposes: 1) Aerodynamics 2) Integration of cables, tools, pump, water bottle etc.
– Aero (single-sided to reduce frontal area, inspired by the Lotus Bike, which Chris Boardman won Olympic track gold on in the 1992 Olympics)
– New twin stem concept (because a traditional stem would lack stiffness and steering precision if you give it a narrow, aerodynamic shape)
– New handlebar concept (for improved integration and aerodynamics)

What do you reckon?

Strava launches effort comparison tool

Strava has just launched a new Effort Comparison tool which, the company claims, is “an improved way to compare athletes on a segment – one that can help highlight that finishing kick that won the race, or the brick wall that lost it.”

The tool can be used to compare a recent effort on a segment against a personal best, say, or your own time against the KOM/QOM holder. Hit play and you’ll be able to see the action unfold.

For Strava Premium members, up to five athletes can be shown on a given segment, perfect for comparing your effort against your mates’ on your Saturday group ride.

For more information, head to the Strava blog.

Elements of Style: a collaboration with The Sufferfest

You might remember a piece we published back in April about Wade’s cycling trip to New Zealand. Here it is if you haven’t seen it already (or if you want some late-week inspiration). In addition to making a great Roadtripping piece, Wade was over there working with Dave McQuillen from The Sufferfest to pull together a collaborative video called the Elements of Style. Check out the trailer below:

The full video will be available in early September. Click here to read more about the Elements of Style.

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 is another from Jered Gruber, taken at an undisclosed location in Japan.