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by Shane Stokes
September 10, 2014
In this morning’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest: Dogged Zardini fights back to take climbing stage and overall lead in Tour of Britain; Contador passes up chance to ride world championship in Spain; Specialized extends with Tinkoff Saxo, will Contador follow?; Farrar moves to MTN-Qhubeka after seven years with Garmin Sharp; Gerdemann looking to ambitious future with Cult Energy Pro Cycling, and more…
Showing impressive strength and composure on the final climb of the Tumble, Edoardo Zardini of the Bardiani-CSF team attacked early, fought back after being passed by Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff Saxo), then pressed on again to win stage three of the Tour of Britain and to take over in the race leader’s yellow jersey.
Edoardo Zardini takes stage 3 of the Tour of Britain
The 24 year old Italian jumped clear in pursuit of Jack Bauer on the final climb, then wore down the Garmin-Sharp rider and dropped him with just under three kilometres to go.
Roche jumped clear of the group behind and soloed across, blowing past Zardini. However the Irishman was using a very big gear and appeared to get bogged down in it, fading and enabling the Italian to get by him and to push on for the win.
“An amazing success,” Zardini enthused at the finish. “It is still hard to believe what happened. I know that my shape was really good, last week all went well and I came in UK with good sensations. Today the whole team did superb work for me and Bongiorno. During the stage I talked with Roberto Reverberi and we planned to attack from the bottom of the climb.
Edoardo Zardini takes the yellow jersey from Mark Renshaw after stage 3 of the Tour of Britain
“I did it but at the same time I climbed fast, but with a little margin for the final decisive km, where I knew that some attacks behind could happen. Indeed when Roche bridged, I used the last bits of energy and when we arrived under the last km I attacked again. I pulled away solo and gave all till the finish line.”
Zardini took over at the top from a dropped Mark Renshaw (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). With the gaps and time bonuses calculated, he will begin Wednesday’s fourth stage 13 seconds ahead of Kwiatkowski and 17 up on Roche.
Boris Shpilevskiy (RTS Santic Racing Team), secured his yellow jersey due to his extraordinary performance. Marco Benfatto (Continental Team Astana) took the second followed by GAVAZZI Mattia (Amore&Vita-SELL SMP).
Boris Shpilevskiy wins stage 2 of Tour of China 11 and secures yellow jersey..
Multiple breakaway attempts were made soon after the race started, but riders who got away for the moment would soon be caught by the peloton and nothing ended up sticking for most of the race.
In the last 5km before the finish, 19 riders formed a breakaway group. However, under the leading of Team Vorarlberg helped by Drapac Professional Cycling, the peloton was organised in its chase and everything came back together in what looked to be a bunch sprint.
In an emerging chaotic finale, Boris Shpilevskiy (RTS Santic Racing Team) while in the yellow jersey attacked 200m before the line and stayed away for the win.
“While I am kind of surprised to wear the yellow jersey today, but not too surprised. I mean it’s difficult to say I am 100% lucky. After all, I am in good condition and I do have good legs.” Boris said after the race. “Today is really hot indeed. I want to thank my teammates who always help me during the race, and I hope I can keep in good condition and bring more victories to my team.”
While Bradley Wiggins was unable to follow the fastest riders on Tuesday’s third stage of the Tour of Britain, he fought back towards the end of the climb of the Tumble and limited his losses. He crossed the line 14 seconds behind the surprise winner Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani CSF) and five behind the runner-up Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). Both Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff Saxo) and Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team) were three seconds ahead of him.
When the time bonuses were calculated, Wiggins ended up 24 seconds behind Zardini, who took over in the yellow jersey, and 11 seconds behind Kwiatkowski.
Last year’s defending champion said that the latter is his main rival, given his abilities against the clock. He believes it’s still possible to overhaul him, although it will be important not to give up any more time in the days between now and the time trial on Sunday morning.
“The time gap’s not too bad [to Kwiatkowski] and it’s all to play for in London,” he said “I’m in a good place. If it stays pretty close like this until London we will give ourselves a good chance. Eight kilometres doesn’t sound a lot but it’s like a pursuit and that will favour me more than other riders.
“Kwiatkowski is a good time trialist so it’s going to be tight. It’s doable, it’s not impossible. I think 11 seconds to Kwiatkowski is going to be touch and go. It just depends what kind of day he is on – I thought he would take more today.”
He did admit concern about the time bonuses up for grabs in the remaining stages, but said that isn’t the only uncertainty. “There are still three or four days now [that could change things]. That run-in to Brighton, and Bristol. It could all change. It’s not a foregone conclusion.”
Read the full story here on Cycling Weekly.
Currently second overall but with Chris Froome just three seconds behind him and breathing down his neck, Alejandro Valverde has not given up on his hopes of beating Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) and taking his second Vuelta a España title.
The Movistar rider spoke of his ongoing campaign during Tuesday’s rest day, and showed that he still retains morale and focus.
“With one stage like Ancares’ and the other finishers still remaining, anything could happen,” he insisted. “I don’t rule out anything, because I think the stages left really suit me well. They’re beautiful, not as tough as yesterday’s, but definitely hard.
“Looking at how things stood yesterday, nobody could argue Alberto is really strong. It will be hard to take him down from the place he’s in right now, but it’s not impossible. Should we win one of the stages coming up right after today, we might take some seconds back and…who knows? The race is not over till the last day, we mustn’t surrender.”
Valverde and the rider in fourth overall, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) made a crucial error on Sunday when they refused to work with Contador when Froome was dropped.
As a result the Briton limited his losses; his bounce-back in form on Monday saw him overhaul Rodriguez for third and fall just short of displacing Valverde.
The latter insists the race is not over, and that Contador doesn’t already have it won. “There’s one week left,” he said. “There’s Froome against him; I don’t rule out my own chances; Purito is at two minutes 29 seconds but things like Fuente Dé’s stages have happened in previous editions… it looks good for Alberto, but not easy.
Although he is clearly in excellent shape and the world championships is taking place on his home soil of Spain, Alberto Contador has said that he doesn’t plan to compete in either the time trial or the road race in Ponferrada later this month.
Contador has decided to pass up what is likely the only chance of his career to chase the rainbow jersey in Spain, believing that he doesn’t have a chance of winning.
While the course has been described as hillier than many recent editions, he doesn’t feel it is hard enough.
“Analysing the parcours of the Worlds, it don’t suit me,” he said on the race’s second rest day. “Plus it have been a tough season. I think there are other riders with more confidence for Alejandro [Valverde] or Joaquim [Rodriguez] that can go this year and I prefer to leave my place for another rider. I need to rest and therefore it’s not in my plans this year.”
Contador will also miss out on the team time trial championship, which is open to trade teams. That will be held on September 21st, with the Elite road race one week later.
In what may be an indication that Alberto Contador’s contract will be extended past 2015, his Tinkoff Saxo team announced today that the bike company which has a personal deal with the rider and which pays a chunk of his salary will stay on board for ‘the next years.’
Although the team didn’t specify the precise period the extension will run until, it confirmed that both parties had agreed terms and would remain together into the future.
“I’m very happy to announce that we will continue our relationship with Specialized. With them, I believe that we have the best technical setup possible,” said the team manager Bjarne Riis in a statement. “We have always worked closely with Specialized to optimise every detail and it shows in the performance of both our bikes and equipment.
The team and the company have worked together since 2009. Contador was using the same machines since the following season, being with Astana at the time, and joined Riis’ team in 2011.
The company has developed a solid relationship with the rider and that partnership has been consolidated by his strong performances this year.
“We’re excited to keep developing our symbiotic relationship with team Tinkoff-Saxo into the future” said Mike Sinyard, the founder and chairman of Specialized Bicycle Components. “We race to win, but we also race to learn. The world class riders and technical staff on the team drive us to create products that will help them win – products like the new 2015 Tarmac, our tires, wheels, helmets, and S-Works shoes. These products provide a tangible performance benefit to the riders on the team, and riders everywhere. It’s going to be a good year.”
Contador had been linked in the past to a possible move to Fernando Alonso’s as-yet unnamed team, but that project has taken longer to set up than was previously expected. It is uncertain if it will be in place for next year, although it has applied for a WorldTour licence.
Bringing to end a near-decade with one team and embarking on a new project with another, Tyler Farrar has confirmed that he will race with the Team MTN-Qhubeka squad in 2015.
The American has taken six individual stages in Grand Tours; one in the 2011 Tour de France, two in the 2010 Giro d’Italia and three Vuelta stages between 2009 and 2010.
However his rate of victories has slowed in the past two seasons and he is looking for a fresh start to try to get things back on track.
“I am really excited and happy to be joining Team MTN-Qhubeka next year,” he said. “This is a big change for me in my cycling career after having spent seven years with my current team. I feel it is the perfect timing for me to move on though and Team MTN-Qhubeka is definitely the team that appealed to me the most.”
Read more here on CyclingTips.
Former Tour de France race leader and past Deutschland Tour winner Linus Gerdemann is looking with ambition towards a new two year contract with the Cult Energy Pro Cycling team, believing that he can return to the top of the podium in medium-length stage races.
The German rider has inked a deal for 2015 and 2016 and sounds enthusiastic about the contract, which was made official early Tuesday.
“It looks really great. I think the guys really know what they are doing,” he told CyclingTips. “For years they brought out the best Danish riders and it just shows that they really know what they are doing, and that it is a good environment for riders to get better.
“I am really looking forward to sharing my experience, but of course I want to act as a leader and win races. That is quite important.”
The Cult Energy Pro Cycling squad has been racing at a Continental level in recent seasons but will step up to the Pro Continental level in 2015. The budget has been increased and it is currently making a number of important signings.
The 2010 Tour de France winner Andy Schleck has been linked in some reports to a possible move to the team, although it remains to be seen if he recovers from the knee injury he suffered in the Tour de France and will be given a contract.
Read the full interview here on CyclingTips.
On stage one of the Tour of Britain Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was making his way back to the peloton through the race convoy after a nature break and clipped a Rapha Condor JLT team car.
Remarkably, Cavendish got back on his bike and placed third on the stage despite sustaining a leg injury and being taken to hospital. He is still in the race and his injuries appear not to be serious.
Read more about the incident here at CyclingWeekly.
If you’re as much of a fan of Cyclocosm’s “how the race was won” videos as we are, you’ll enjoy this one. In the heart of the GC action at the Vuelta, Cosmo takes us through his analysis and points out the absurd little things everyone else misses.
On Saturday evening, on the eve of Amy’s Gran Fondo in the Victorian seaside town of Lorne, CyclingTips will be holding a short hill-climb competition in conjunction with the Amy Gillett Foundation. The 120m-long ramp up Bay Street reaches gradients of roughly 20%, providing a great venue for a standing-start hill climb competition.
There is $1000 in prize money, Europcar car-hire prizes, and other spot prizes for “best pain face” during the competition.
Don’t be scared about burning out the legs before Sunday’s Gran Fondo. It’s short and sweet and will be a good warmup! Choosing the proper gear will be more important than being a good climber!
For more information, and to sign up, click here.
This Thursday evening (September 11), between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, CyclingTips will be hosting a free webinar with the guys at Dig Deep Coaching where the guys from Dig Deep will be answering a bunch of your training, nutrition, racing and other cycling-related questions. You can sign up for free here.
To get an idea of the sort of questions the team will be answering, check out the first two parts in our collaborative series with them here and here.
Yesterday we launched our new collaboration with The Sufferfest called “Elements of Style”. It’s unlike anything that’s ever been done in training videos and will change the way you think about your form while riding. For new riders, it provides drills that dive into efficiency and awareness on the bike to unlock your potential. For experienced riders, it serves as an excellent warm-up routine and reminder to get you in the mood to suffer!
We’re extremely proud of how this came together and as a time-limited middle-aged cyclist myself, I know this will be invaluable to my training so I’m confident you’ll feel the same.
Here are a couple reviews of the video so far:
TheCrankset.com: “DAMN that’s a good looking video. I mean wow.”
TheUnconstituted.com: “9/10 Nailed it. Ambitious session that achieves the holy grail – making you want to work on form an enjoy it”
Name withheld: “I won’t be buying or using or recommending Sufferfest as a result of your choice of the buffoon, Carlton Kirkby, to voice this programme. I refuse to support or endorse any company or organisation which prolongs or propagates this ignorant moron as part of the cycling community. He’s not a “character” he’s an embarrassment.”
Okay…not everyone is a fan.
CLICK HERE to get your early copy of the video. Use the code SMOOTHOPERATOR to save 10% for the next 24 hours.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: