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by Matt de Neef
September 2, 2014
In this morning’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest: Kamil Gradek solos to victory on stage 3 of the Tour of China I; Contador sets sights on Vuelta victory; Vuelta race leader Quintana- ‘If I lose time in the time trial, it won’t be much’; Kirsten Wild signs with Hitec Products; David de la Cruz joins Omega Pharma-QuickStep; Lars Petter Nordhaug to return to Sky; Wout Poels to join Team Sky?; WADA pushes xenon and argon ban despite having no test; On-bike highlights from Jeremy Roy at the Tour Poitou-Charentes; “Bike Wars” – inflamatory headlined, balanced story; Mike Crotty’s Mont Blanc ride; Introducing the Cipollini Nuke.
Kamil Gradek (BDC Marcpol) has taken his team’s second stage win in three days, winning a shortened stage 3 of the Tour of China I.
The 8.5km category 1 climb that was supposed to begin the stage was neutralised due to heavy fog atop Wuguang Mountain in Sichuan with the riders having an easy ride up the mountain then down the other side. The stage then officially began at the base of a 10km HC climb after which it was all downhill and flat to the finish.
A leading group of five formed over the top of the climb before Synergy Baku pair Matthew Brammeier and Markus Eibegger escaped from the group, being joined by Kamil Gradek. Gradek attacked solo from the trio on the last lap around Nanjian Township Square, holding on to win by 38 seconds ahead of a reformed peloton. Marco Zanotti (Parkhotel Valkenburg CT) was second while Australia’s Jack Beckinsale (Avanti) was third.
With three of the race’s seven stages now complete, Kamil Gradek has taken the overall lead from his teammate and stage 1 winner Pawel Bernas. Bernas is second overall with Matt Brammeier third.
Text adapted from a 7Cycling/Tour of China I press release.
Two-time Vuelta a España winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has told journalists that he will try to win this year’s Vuelta, only a month after fracturing his leg at the Tour de France.
Contador had initially been ruled out of the Vuelta, and when the Spaniard announced he’d be riding it, he said he wouldn’t be riding for the GC. But after a week of racing, Contador has been more than impressive and currently sits second overall, just three seconds behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
“I can now confirm that I am going to try and win the Vuelta”, Contador said at a press conference on yesterday’s rest day at the Vuelta. “It is another thing whether I have the legs to do it or not.”
“So far I have been going day by day, but I have not lost time in the general classification, and that gives me a chance. We need to see how my leg continues to react and, I repeat, keep going day by day. The time trial in Borja [ed. today] will be good for my physical condition. Today I went to see it and I have to say that it perhaps suits (Chris) Froome more than me because it is quite hard.”
Froome currently sits fifth overall behind Quintana, Contador, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida).
Click here to read more via AFP/VeloNews.
by Shane Stokes
Speaking in advance of Tuesday’s important time trial, Vuelta a España general classification leader Nairo Quintana has said he doesn’t think he will give up much time – if any – to his rivals.
The Colombian is a climbing specialist rather than an expert against the clock, although he did win the uphill time trial in the Giro d’Italia en route to overall success. He believes that gains made in that discipline should help him in the undulating test, which includes a third category climb topping out at kilometre 11.2 and then a gradual descent towards the finish.
“I made slight improvements in my TT performance and I think I’ll be close to the competition tomorrow,” he said. “Should I lose any time, it’s obvious that it will be because they’re better specialists than me on time trialling. I don’t think I’ll lose much, though.
“I wasn’t really thinking about taking the lead yesterday,” Quintana said during the rest day. “I thought I would snatch the leader’s jersey during the last week, where I think I’ll be doing better and the team will perform at its best into the mountains. The opportunity to take it just came along by the race situation, but I’m not leading by a huge gap either.”
Sizing up his rivals, he believes that there was an element of bluff prior to each contenders’ cards being fully revealed.
“We knew that many things our rivals said before the race were just words, with no value. The reality was what we all could see in the last few days: every single favourite who came to this race was at 100% before starting the race.”
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild has signed a two-year deal with Hitec Products and will race with the Norwegian-based outfit through 2016.
Wild is one of the strongest sprinters in the women’s peloton and has had a successful two seasons at Giant-Shimano, including victories at the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup, the Tour of Chongming Island and the Ladies Tour of Qatar.
Click here to read more at Cyclingnews.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep has announced the signing of 25-year old David de la Cruz who will ride with the Belgian squad through 2016.
De la Cruz, who currently rides with NetApp-Endura, finished 10th overall at this year’s Amgen Tour of California and picked up a second place on stage 6 there.
De la Cruz had an interesting introduction to the sport.
“I didn’t know I had a talent for the sport until I was 18, when I started to ride my bike to the supermarket where I worked, after an injury,” De la Cruz said. “One day I asked the local team guys if I could train with them and they said yes. That is where my career started. If you would have told me, at 18 years of age, that I would be riding for one of the best teams in the world by the time I was 25 I would have told you that you’re crazy. Now I am here signing a contract with OPQS and I am proud and happy.”
“We think this guy has his best years in front of him,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “He has already shown his potential the past two years, such as when he was 2nd on the queen stage at Tour of California. We knew about him and that he could be a rider that could strengthen the group of climbers we already have on the team. When I spoke with him, we came to an agreement quickly. I think he can be a factor in the climbs next year and we’re happy to have him with us at OPQS.”
Text adapted from an Omega Pharma-QuickStep press release.
Norwegian television channel TV2 is reporting that Lars Petter Nordhaug, stage winner at the recent Arctic Race of Norway, will be leaving Belkin at the end of the year and returning to Team Sky.
Nordhaug rode for Sky between 2010 and 2012 before joining Belkin for 2013 and 2014.
“He is a good buddy of mine, and a type of rider that we need in the team”, Sky directeur sportif Gabriel Rasch told TV2. “I hope he continues on a positive trend and that we can manage him better in races so he takes the last step up from being a top-five rider to winning. He has the potential and physique in order to do it but sometimes he could do things differently.”
Nordhaug is the latest big-name rider to leave Belkin, with Bauke Mollema, Lars Boom and, it is rumoured, Theo Bos to leave the team in 2015.
Click here to read more at TV2.
Meanwhile Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf is reporting that Dutch rider Wout Poels is leaving Omega Pharma-QuickStep and will also join Team Sky in 2015, making him the first Dutchman to join the British team.
Pouls signed a one-year deal with OPQS after his Vacansoleil-DCM team (whom he’d been with for five years) folded ahead of the 2014 season. Despite OPQS reportedly being keen to hold on to Pouls, the Dutchman signalled his intention to leave the Belgian team.
Click here to read more at De Telegraaf.
Despite the fact that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned the use of xenon and argon by athletes for their supposed performance-enhancing capabilities, no test for the substances currently exists.
While creating a test for detecting such substances isn’t easy, WADA’s science director Dr Olivier Rabin told the BBC that a test isn’t far away.
“We had some preliminary pilot results that do indicate that detection is not too much of an issue but we just need to make it solid and robust in the anti-doping context and make sure that any result in the future will be accepted by a court.”
Meanwhile, Dr Ben Koh — who co-authored an article on CyclingTips about xenon and its use in professional sport — suggests WADA’s position is untenable.
“Their whole argument is based on false grounds,” Dr Koh said. “I would argue that xenon is actually safer than hypoxic tents, in terms of heart failure, trauma to the ear and to the lungs, the risks are very well documented from hypoxic tents, on the other hand, xenon gas from the published literature seems to be quite safe.”
Click here to read more at the BBC.
This on-bike footage isn’t as thrilling as some of those final sprint videos we’ve seen captured by on-board cameras, but it still does give an interesting perspective on life in the peloton.
Here’s a piece that aired on Channel 9 news in Perth yesterday, about the “war on our roads” between cyclists and drivers. Aside from the hyperbole-laden intro, the piece is actually pretty well balanced and informative, particularly for non cyclists.
Remember Mike Cotty and his super-human, 666km, 17-col ride across the French Alps last year? Well a video from the Briton’s latest adventure is now up. Here are some stats: 1,012km; 21 cols; 21,250m of climbing; 50 hours 29 minutes of riding; just three hours of breaks; average speed of 20km/h. Check out Crotty’s amazing ride below:
And speaking of over-the-top but still great, check out this latest effort from Cipollini bikes, promoting the Nuke TT rig and featuring Cipo himself, of course.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: