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by Shane Stokes
February 11, 2015
Terpstra wins stage three time trial in Tour of Qatar, grabs race lead; Cancellara: Eight seconds is a lot; Life beyond cycling: does Drapac’s public image match reality?; The Power of the Bicycle: Afghanistan’s two-wheeled revolution; Tour de France runner-up Péraud chasing form after winter distractions, names first target; Guardini aiming to add to record stage win tally in Tour de Langkawi; Sutton suggests Mark Cavendish’s Olympic track hopes are at an end; Off The Back – Matt’s Favourite Funny Videos
Stepping up to take over team leadership from Tom Boonen in the race, Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) roared into the overall lead in the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday when he won the stage three time trial on the Lusail Circuit.
The Dutchman covered the 10.9 kilometre distance in a time of 14 minutes 4 seconds, beating former world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) by eight seconds and current TT champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky) by nine.
Overnight race leader Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was a distant 26th, losing 44 seconds, and likely conceding any possibility of taking the final overall classification.
Instead, Terpstra is in the driving seat, holding an 11 second lead over Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) and a further one over Ian Stannard (Sky).
“The victory is a bit of a surprise,” Terpstra admitted. “I was just going for a good time trial to move up in the classification. But it went so well I ended up with the stage win as well.
“At the beginning I wasn’t going full gas to save some energy for when I turned into the headwind. Then my Sport Director Wilfried Peeters was pushing me faster and faster until I was giving everything. I kept the speed until the finish line and I am now back in the gold jersey as race leader. If you see the guys that are riding here, it is a really strong peloton with some time trial specialists such as Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins. So, it’s awesome to get a victory with such big competition.”
Terpstra won last year’s Tour of Qatar and then went on to scoop Paris-Roubaix. He wants to try to take both this season and is in prime position to achieve the first of those goals this week.
However he admitted that the race was far from over, acknowledging that the echelons made things very uncertain.
Speaking after he finished as runner-up in the time trial, Fabian Cancellara said that he was disappointed with the result but fully accepted it due to the margin of superiority shown by Nicki Terpstra.
“Of course somehow it’s a pity to be second,” he said after the 10.9 kilometre effort. “But eight seconds? It’s a lot. I think Bradley [Wiggins] and I went 100%, I mean like everyone else, but it was still a little bit of a surprising gap, actually.
“That is almost one second per kilometer. But in the end, that’s racing; that’s the time trial. I did my best, I gave all I could, and when I do that I can say I am happy.”
Cancellara won the world time trial championship four times in the past and is determined to get back to his best shape this season. Like Terpstra and Wiggins, Paris-Roubaix will be a major goal for him; while Qatar is a good competition in itself, riding well there is not nearly as crucial as the April Classics will be.
Directeur sportif Dirk Demol believes that the Swiss rider can be satisfied with what he did. “When someone beats you by eight seconds there is nothing to say,” he said, echoing Cancellara’s sentiments. “You can’t say that you made a mistake in a turn or something.
“I was hopeful when Fabian crossed the finish and he was a second faster than Bradley [Wiggins]. I can’t say he made any mistake, he did a really good time trial and it proves that his condition is good. So overall I am satisfied, I was hoping for the win of course, but very satisfied with Fabian’s form.”
Cancellara missed an important move on stage two and is over nine minutes back overall.
By Matt de Neef
In 2014 Drapac Professional Cycling made the long-awaited step up from the Continental ranks to become Australia’s only Professional Continental team. With the promotion came significant challenges and despite some good results, the team’s opening season at ProConti level didn’t deliver the success it was looking for.
Michael Drapac gives his speech at the 2015 team launch in Adelaide.
Looking at the Drapac roster for 2015 it’s easy to see that there have been significant changes from last year. Of the 17 full-time riders that started 2014, seven are no longer with the team in 2015. That sort of turnover isn’t unusual at Pro Continental level but the fact the team lost two of its marquee signings — Wes Sulzberger and Jonathan Cantwell — just one year after leaving the WorldTour to join Drapac seems noteworthy.
The change of personnel wasn’t just limited to riders — several key members of staff left at the end of 2014, including sports director Henk Vogels — who is now the CEO of Cranktip Pedals — and chief communications officer Jane Aubrey — who left her position as editor of Cyclingnews Australia to join Drapac.
So what was happening at Drapac in 2014? Was it simply a case of the team struggling to find its feet at the new level? Or was there more to the story?
Click here to read the full feature on CyclingTips.
By Anne-Marije Rook
Remember what it felt like to ride a bicycle when you were a child? The freedom, the sense of adventure, the empowerment and, of course, the joy?
Unfortunately, there continue to be countries in this world where bicycling is culturally, or even legally, prohibited. Well, for girls and women anyway.
Shocked to find out that this was the case in Afghanistan, Mountain2Mountain founder and avid mountain biker, Shannon Galpin decided to do something about it, using the bicycle to open conversation, challenge gender barriers and bring about change.
The bike has played many roles in Galpin’s life. Like most American kids in the mid-1970s, Galpin grew up riding her bicycle, discovering the joys and freedom as she tore around the neighborhood.
“Even at a young age, the bike for me represented freedom. Freedom of mobility and the ability to separate from my parents,” Galpin said.
Galpin then spent her entire twenties in Europe, where the bicycle became her main mode of transport.
“I became completely immersed in the normality of biking as your daily mode of transportation and commute,” she said, adding that she’d spent the weekends riding around to meet her friends for a beer, adding a social aspect to biking as well.
And after moving to Colorado when she was 30, she discovered mountain biking and got hooked.
“I started riding aggressively and racing. Mountain biking was about challenging myself, my fears and barriers, and about exploring remote areas on two wheels,” she said.
At the same time, Galpin was facing new challenges off the bike as well.
Second overall in the 2014 Tour de France, Jean-Christophe Péraud has admitted that his winter training has been affected by commitments and surgeries, delaying his start to the season and meaning he is further behind that he had planned to be.
Due to this the Ag2r La Mondiale rider has accepted that a big ride in Paris-Nice is likely beyond him, but has said that he is gunning to be in strong form in April and then to continue his push to be in peak shape for the Tour.
“I usually began in Tour de San Luis,” the Frenchman said, referring to the Argentinean event. “It’s a bit different this year. My winter training was not perfect. Because of my second place in the Tour de France last year, I have been busier with some media requirements, etc. I had also two minor surgeries. Actually, I’m not in a top shape.
“I was very excited by the time trial in Col d’Eze in the next Paris-Nice. But, to be honest, it will be very difficult to get a good result. My first big goal of this season will be in Vuelta al Pais Vasco.”
Péraud was third overall in the race last year and will work towards being in the right condition for the April 6 start.
He is also eyeing up a target later that same month. “And why not Le Tour de Romandie?” he asked. “Usually, this race is too late for me and it’s impossible to achieve a great performance. We will see for this season.
“After the Swiss race, I will take some days off before preparing Tour de France.”
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Already showing strong form this year via results such as second on stages of the Dubai Tour and Tour of Qatar, Andrea Guardini has confirmed he will head back to Le Tour de Langkawi next month in order to try to add to what is a record haul of stage victories.
The Italian has clocked up 14 stage wins thus far, dwarfing the nine stages amassed by the next-best rider, the Australian Graeme Brown. His return prior to the March 8 start will mark his fifth consecutive appearance in the race.
“I’ll never forget that I started my pro cycling career in Langkawi and I got my first victory on day one in Langkawi,” said Guardini, currently the Astana team’s top sprinter.
He knows that this time around things might be a little more complicated, though.
“I’m very aware of the qualities of Caleb Ewan and Jakub Mareczko,” he stated, referring to the two 20 year olds.
“I know Mareczko, he’s from Brescia, not far from my hometown, he’s already a very good sprinter. He has won two stages in Venezuela [at the Vuelta Tachira] in January.”
Mareczko rides for the latest incarnation of Guardini’s previous Farnese Vini team, now called Southeast. Ewan is with Orica GreenEdge.
Guardini will also be joined by the Colombian climber Miguel Angel Lopez, as well as former Tour of Turkey winner Aleksandr Dyachenko, Daniil Fominykh, Maxat Ayazbayev and Arman Kamyshev.
Lopez won the 2014 Tour de l’Avenir and could be one to watch for the general classification.
Le Tour de Langkawi Datuk Malik Mydin describes the team as one of the favourites for Malaysian fans.
“It’s the only World[Tour] Team from Asia so our race perfectly fits in their philosophy to bridge Europe and Asia throughout the sport of cycling,” he said.
The 2.HC race runs from March 8 to 15.
Although Mark Cavendish stated in the past that taking an Olympic gold medal was a priority for him in terms of ambitions, British Cycling’s technical director Shane Sutton has now said that it is looking doubtful that the rider will compete on the track at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Cavendish stated recently that he didn’t believe the road race course was conducive to his chances of taking a medal, with the hills on the parcours making it difficult for him and the other sprinters to stay in contention.
Because of that, he said that track was his best hope of picking up a medal. However he was critical of the way the UCI had, as he put it, segregated road and track cycling, suggesting that new rules meant it was very difficult to do both.
Cavendish said that due to his commitments with Etixx-QuickStep, it was unlikely he would manage. Sutton initially played down such talk but now appears to think the Briton might have given up.
“I know Cav and if he says he ain’t going to do it, he ain’t going to do it,” Sutton said, according to Cycling Weekly. “He knows the door is open to him. The funny thing was, there was a lot of ‘Oh, I might do it’ [last autumn]. He was liaising with certain people here, coaches etc etc. But then all of a sudden, a couple of weeks ago, it is a categoric ‘no’.”
“He is one of those born with the gift. He can do anything technically, he has been world champion on the track and the greatest road sprinter of all time. But unfortunately I think it is the end of the road for Cav. I think he has made his decision not to entertain it.”
Click here to read the full story on Cycling Weekly.
Readers of the Daily News Digest will be familiar with the folks over at GCN; here’s a lighthearted video from them. Apologies in advance over the Speedos segment…
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: