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by Shane Stokes
September 3, 2014
In this morning’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest: Martin grabs Vuelta TT victory, Contador takes over red jersey from fallen Quintana; Buts wins stage four of the Tour of China, Gradek maintains overall lead; Froome’s push for red hits a stumbling block with below-par time trial; Cancellara loses runner-up slot in Vuelta TT due to time penalty; All anti-doping tests from 2014 Tour de France declared negative; MTN Qhubeka continues expansion with signature of Theo Bos, Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg; Cardoso extends Garmin-Sharp contract, and much more…
World time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) blasted to victory as expected in the Vuelta a España’s stage ten time trial, notching up an important win in advance of the defence of his title next month.
The German beat one of his main rivals for gold by 11 seconds, with former champ Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) getting close but not close enough. Neither rider were able to open their usual gaps over the general classification contenders, with the bumpy, technical course differing from their preferred terrain.
Cancellara was later give a seven second time penalty for drafting, elevating Martin’s team-mate Rigoberto Uran from second to third. He was 15 seconds behind the winner.
The day’s big story was the change in race leadership, with Alberto Contador putting in a scorching test to go fourth-quickest, 39 seconds back, and overnight leader Nairo Quintana crashing hard on a descent and ultimately losing over four minutes. He was only 82nd quickest.
Contador ended the day 27 seconds ahead of Quintana’s Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde, who was eighth-fastest in the time trial.
Rigoberto Uran moved up to third overall, and will start on Wednesday 59 seconds off the red jersey.
Quintana will be very disappointed with the outcome, but also relieved to still be in the race after his high speed fall. The accident saw him thrown to the ground, but fortunately he wasn’t as badly hurt as was first feared. More about Quintana here (or in abridged story below).
Click here to read more at CyclingTips
Former world road race champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) once again showed her rapid speed at the end of stage one of the Tour de l’Ardèche, nabbing victory ahead of Specialized-lululemon’s Tiffany Cromwell and Hitec Products’ Chloe Hosking. The latter duo are competing for Australia and a ‘Mixte International’ team respectively in the race.
Image courtesy of Wiggle/Honda
“It was a really windy stage today,” said a pleased Bronzini afterwards. “There were two laps – one small and one longer – and there were some breakaways but we were covering everything.
“In the end we thought about the sprint and the girls did a lead out for me. Everyone was on the lead out. The last one was Lotte [Becker] and I went out from her wheel to the Australian ones with 500 metres to go; I just jumped out with 200 metres to go and I began my sprint.”
The stage was 102 kilometres in length and comprised one 28.8km loop, ten seven kilometre loops and then a separate 1.3km run in to the line. Hosking’s ‘Mixte’ teammate Olivia Dillon got clear and held a solo lead for 15 kilometres, but the former Irish road race champion was hauled back by Bronzini’s Wiggle Honda team.
The Italian also won the opening stage last year and was able to use her knowledge of the finish to good effect.
“It was the same,” she said. “It was exactly the same in the final kilometre. It was a different lap, but the final was the same.”
Aside from the final portion, the actual finishing sequence was also the same as twelve months ago. On that occasion Cromwell was also second.
While Bronzini is in the pink jersey of race leader, she admits that she doesn’t expect to hold onto it. “Tomorrow will be a time trial which is not my best thing. I know we start with the jersey but I think I’m going to lose it! I will be happy though, if it should go to one of my teammates. We will work for that, I hope.”
Note: contrary to the results listed here, Chloe Hosking (Mixte International) was third.
The overall lead in the Tour of China remained constant after the fourth stage, with the 133.6 kilometre race from Bazhong to Pinghang resulting in a large sprint of 42 riders and another day in yellow for BDC MarcPol’s Kamil Gradek.
Kolss Cycling Team competitor Vitaliy Buts was quickest in the sprint to the line, getting the decision ahead of Astana Continental team rider Nurbolat Kulimbetov and Meiyin Wang of the Hengxiang Cycling Team.
The first KOM went to Vojtech Hackecky of Team Dukla Praha, who jumped clear from a four man break to nab top points. However Jingbiao Zhao (Hengxiang Cycling Team) was runner-up on the next two climbs and ended the day two points ahead of Victor Nino Corredor (RTS-Santic Racing Team) in the mountains competition.
Things came back together on the run-in to the finish and there Buts triumphed. Gradek and his team-mate Pawel Bernas remain first and second coverall, while Buts jumps up ten places to third, knocking former Irish champion Matt Brammeier (Synergy Baku) to fourth.
The 2.1- ranked race continues tomorrow with a 101.5 kilometre stage starting and finishing in Chengdu Pengzhou. It includes a hors category climb, although this peaks almost 50 kilometres from the finish.
The first stage in the Boels Rental Ladies Tour (UCI 2.1) in the Netherlands was won by Ellen van Dijk. The World Time Trial Champion won the race against the clock over a distance of 10.1 kilometers, with second place Lisa Brennauer 12 seconds behind.
Van Dijk rode the course in 13:15, Germany’s Brennauer in 13:27 minutes, and fellow German Trixi Worrack, finished third in 13:39 minutes. Marianne Vos was fourth at 29 seconds. Ellen van Dijk wears the yellow jersey going into the 120.10km stage two and defends her win in the overall classification from last year’s race.
The 2014 Tour of Alberta opens today with a 4km prologue in Calgary. The race in its second year features six stages and 120 riders from 13 countries, including 24 Canadians. Ryder Hesjedal, Canada’s most decorated rider will be absent however as he’s in Spain racing the Vuelta a Espana.
The penultimate stage near Edmonton includes sections of dirt road, which Tour of Alberta director Duane Vienneau says, “We have some Canadian cobblestone, It’s called gravel.”
We’ll have daily coverage of the Tour of Alberta here in our Rocacorba Daily. You can see the official startlist here and the official website here.
Fifth at the first intermediate time check on the stage ten time trial in the Vuelta a España, Nairo Quintana’s bid to defend his race leader’s red jersey unravelled very soon afterwards with a high speed crash on the descent of the day’s climb.
The Colombian rider was sent flying when he ran wide on a sweeping bend, clipped a roadside barrier and was hurled to the ground. He lay on the tarmac for some time, prompting concern that he was out of the race, but fortunately was able to remount and to race on to the finish.
“I was feeling great in the uphill, but at that point of the descent my bike simply did not brake enough,” he said, explaining what happened. “Before the turn, I was tightening my shoe, which was a little bit loose, but I think that didn’t have an effect on my crash.
Quintana is now eleventh overall, 3:25 behind Contador.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips
Expected by many to end the day in the red jersey of race leader, Chris Froome was unable to reproduce the kind of time trial form which saw him go close to Tony Martin in the 2013 Tour de France and beat the German rider in this year’s Tour de Romandie.
While the course was one which should have suited the British rider, he never got into his stride and was only tenth quickest at the finish. He was one minute 32 seconds behind Martin and dropped 53 seconds to Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo), who took over the race lead.
“Obviously I was hoping for a better ride today,” the 2013 Tour de France winner and 2011 Vuelta runner-up told TeamSky.com
“I definitely started out too fast. For the first 15 minutes I felt fantastic and I think I chased it a little much. By the time I hit the climb I started to really feel the effort of the fast start and I paid the price for the rest of the time trial. I think anyone who races and knows that feeling of starting out too fast, and how hard it is to come back from being in the red, will know what I’m talking about. It’s a horrible feeling and I had to just try to hold on to it and finish the best I could.”
He remains fifth overall on a day he was expected to improve his GC position, and is now one minute 18 seconds behind Contador. It’s worrying for his prospects of winning the race, but he insisted he would stay focused.
“I’m just over a minute off GC still with a lot of racing to come. I’m going to keep fighting as best I can every day,” he said. “Going back, my goal coming into this Vuelta was to get a Grand Tour into my legs and finish the season in good form. I think all things considered I’m still on track for that. I’m going to take it one day at a time.”
Initially the fastest rider in the provisional standings and then second by the end of the stage ten time trial, Fabian Cancellara was later bumped down a place to third as a result of a penalty handed down by the race judges.
The Swiss rider finished 11 seconds behind his big TT rival Tony Martin, with the current world champion once again getting the better of the former one. The duo are expected to go head to head in next month’s championships and had a good duel on a course that suited neither particularly well.
Cancellara’s deficit was later revised to 18 seconds, with the seven second time penalty dropping him three seconds below the rider who had been third, Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
Race commissaires claimed that he had drafted during the race.
“I did what I could, that was my goal today,” the Trek Factory Racing rider said. “My only doubt was my safety for myself, and I also could not find the rhythm. I spoke with my [director] and he said, ‘hey, if you did not find the rhythm how do you expect the other ones to find the rhythm?’”
The issue was the nature of the course, which was very tough early on with an undulating and at-times steep third category climb, then much quicker afterwards with a rapid descent, then a long, gradual slope down to the finish.
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
The Cycling Anti Doping Foundation (CADF), which manages the anti-doping programme of the UCI, has announced that there were no positive tests in this year’s Tour de France.
The Swiss-based organisation has said that a total of 719 blood and urine controls were carried out on riders, and that none had been red-flagged.
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
Following on from its decision to sign Edvald Boasson Hagen to a two year contract, the MTN Qhubeka team has continued its expansion by announcing that Theo Bos will compete for the team in 2015. The five time world track sprint champion has forged a good road career, clocking up 35 wins in total, and this season won a stage in the Tour of Poland plus the overall classification in the World Ports Classic.
Regarded as one of the quickest riders in the peloton, his signing will give the team another option alongside Boasson Hagen and last year’s Milan Sanremo winner Gerald Ciolek.
The contract continues the African team’s push for a place in next year’s Tour de France. It is currently riding its first Grand Tour, the Vuelta España.
The Portuguese rider André Cardoso has inked a new deal with the Garmin-Sharp/Slipstream Sports setup he has raced with this season, with a contract being signed to take him to the end of the 2016 season.
The 29 year old climber finished a solid 21st and 16th in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Vuelta a España. Those performances plus top six finishes in last year’s Vuelta a Asturias, the Vuelta a Burgos and the Glava Tour of Norway attracted the attention of Garmin-Sharp, with which he finished fourth in the GP Miguel Indurain and 20th overall in the Giro d’Italia this season.
“I’m very happy to have reached an agreement for two years with the Garmin-Sharp team,” Cardoso said today. “I always told my agents João Correia and Ken Sommer I would love to continue as I like how the team works and the people are fantastic. There was no reason to change.”
After speculation about whether or not he would remain with the team, Fränk Schleck has been confirmed as remaining part of the Trek Factory Racing setup for another two years. The Luxembourg rider came back to racing this season after a suspension and while he hasn’t returned to his previous level of form, the 34 year old has had a solid season.
He was 12th in the recent Tour de France, won the Luxembourg national road race championships and went close to a stage win in Paris-Nice. The elder of the two Schleck brothers has been confirmed as one of the team leaders for stage races and hilly Classics.
“I’m very happy to stay with the people I have been with since 2011. Trek Factory Racing is special to me: it’s a group of friends, not just team mates,” he said.
“I have had a rough year and a half and Trek has always stood behind me during this time. My performance in this season was good and steady and I am proud of my 12th place in the Tour. I hope to continue working hard and hopefully get some nice results for the team and for myself.”
In less than two weeks over 5000 of us will be lining up for the fourth annual Amy’s Gran Fondo. To add to the weekend festivities, CyclingTips and Subaru are putting on a hill climb competition on the eve before the main event and offering $1000 (thanks to Europcar) in prize money and spot prizes for things like “best pain face”. Also, from Europcar comes a spot prize of three days free car rental.
If you’re worried about burning out your legs for the next day, don’t fret it. It’s only short (120m) and there’s nothing better to get the engine running than a few sharp efforts the day before. The atmosphere will be electric and it’s something you won’t want to miss.
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And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: