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by Shane Stokes
February 18, 2015
In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Guardini wins stage one of the Tour of Oman; Boonen frustrated to miss victory but shows Classic form is coming; With high ambitions, Contador and Basso to get season underway Wednesday; World champion Kwiatkowski gunning for repeat victory in Volta ao Algarve; Armstrong lawyers respond to $10 million ruling against rider, more details emerge; US Postal doping affair: CAS sets dates for cases involving Bruyneel, Martí and Celaya; Rugby causes postponement of 2016 track world championships; Sarah Storey Unveils Hour Record Bike, equipment and kit; Video: Top 10 Riders To Watch – Tour Of Oman 2015; Video: Kwiawtowski’s stellar 2014 season
After notching up a total of five top five placings this season in the Tour of Qatar and Dubai Tour, including three second paces, Andrea Guardini converted that form and consistency into victory on Tuesday’s opening leg of the Tour of Oman.
The Astana rider was best on the rise to the line at Al Wutayyah, ending the 161km stage slightly ahead of Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) and Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling).
Ramon Sinkeldam (Team Giant-Alpecin) and Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) were fourth and fifth in the 125-man sprint to the line.
“I wasn’t worried about the fact that I haven’t yet won a stage as I knew the form was there,” he said afterwards. “I raced Dubai and therefore I was tired in the final days of the Tour of Qatar. [But] the three days of rest between the two races was very good for me.”
Guardini said that he is deliberately targeting the period of the season between Dubai and the Tour of Turkey, noting that there are many opportunities for sprinters.
The stage saw four riders as the main animators: MTN-Qhubeka’s Johan van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka), Patrick Konrad of the Bora-Argon 18 squad and Simone Andreetta (Bardiani CSF) plus Jef van Meirhaeghe of Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.
They built a maximum lead of five minutes 15 seconds but Guardini’s Astana team moved to whittle that down. Van Zyl was worried and clipped away in the feed zone, 76 kilometres after the start. However despite extending his lead to over four minutes, he was hauled back before the line, enabling Guardini to fight for the win.
He is four seconds ahead of Boonen and five up on Konrad heading towards stage two, a 195 kilometre race from Al Hazm Castle to Al Bustan.
Finishing second behind Guardini in Oman, Classic specialist Tom Boonen has shown that his form is continuing to build in advance of his big targets in March and April.
The Belgian rider previously took placings of second, fourth, fifth and eighth in this month’s Tour of Qatar, and went close to success on Tuesday’s opening stage in Oman.
However he was foiled after needing to start his sprint earlier than planned. Making his move with 250 metres to go, he faded on the uphill finish and lost out to his Italian rival.
“I gave a good sprint but the finish line was 50 metres too long,” he said, according to Cycling Weekly. “If it was 50 metres shorter, I may have won.
“We had done good work in the last five kilometres for the sprint, but in the last 300 metres I had to go, because I had everyone on the wheel.”
He said that the headwind and uphill gradient combined to grind him down before the line, but nevertheless was pleased with his sensations.
“I’m disappointed because we did a lot of work in the final kilometres, but my feelings are really good.”
Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.
Last year’s Vuelta a España winner Alberto Contador and the former double Giro d’Italia champion Ivan Basso both make their 2015 season debuts in the Vuelta a Andalucia on Wednesday, with the former looking to test his form against Tour rival Chris Froome and the latter seeking to help his new team-mate to win.
Basso moved over to the Tinkoff-Saxo squad over the winter, ending a long association with the Cannondale team.
The latter came to a halt and entered into a merger of sorts with the Garmin-Sharp squad, producing the newly-titled Cannondale-Garmin team, but even had that not happened Basso needed change.
The Italian has stagnated in recent years but hopes to get back to a better level in the new surroundings of Tinkoff-Saxo.
His move has given him new motivation and also exposed him to different training and race advice.
Both he and Contador report themselves content with their winter work and say they are eager to get things underway in Wednesday’s split stages.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
He showed form with a strong second place in the time trial in last month’s Tour de San Luis, and now Michal Kwiatkowski has another chance to show off his rainbow bands and, hopefully, to land his first win of the year.
The Etixx-QuickStep rider won the Volta ao Algarve twelve months again and returns to the race once again vying to ride strongly.
“I think I came to Algarve every year since I’ve been a professional,” he said, looking forward to the event starting on Thursday.
“This is a well organized race, with good stages, good weather, and a short time trial. So it is good to race here.
“As for me, this race will be another step towards the first big appointments of my season. After Tour de San Luis I had three good weeks of training in Calpe, and everything is going as expected. But of course as the last winner of the race I will try to do my best to be in the actions maybe a few times.”
He said that the team is fired up to do well after netting nine road wins thus far this season.
He’s not feeling major pressure, though, noting that the squad also includes Tony Martin, Gianni Meersman, and Zdenek Stybar.
“They are all good riders,” he said. “As a team we will try to make a mark in Algarve.”
Responding to Monday’s announcement that the arbitration panel judging the Lance Armstrong vs SCA Promotions case had ruled against the Texan and ordered him to pay a penalty of $10 million, his legal team have expressed their dissatisfaction with the outcome.
“This award is unprecedented,” his lawyers said in a statement circulated to media. “No court or arbitrator has ever reopened a matter which was fully and finally settled voluntarily. In this matter SCA repeatedly affirmed that it never relied upon anything Armstrong said or did in deciding to settle.
“The proper analysis of governing law is set forth in the opinion of arbitrator Ted Lyon, which is part of the award and which we believe will be adopted when the courts review the action of the arbitration panel.”
Lyon was the arbitrator appointed by Lance Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, the company which owned the US Postal Service cycling team of which he was a part, and would normally be expected to lean towards their position.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Meanwhile, in a related story, it’s been a full eight months since WADA announced that it would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in an attempt to secure longer bans from cycling for former US Postal manager Johan Bruyneel and two team staff. A date has now been set for that legal battle.
CAS released a list on Tuesday updating the dates of pending cases across a number of sports, and has named March 2 as the start point for three related appeals.
The first two are attempts by Johan Bruyneel and José ‘Pepe’ Martí to have their bans reduced.
The third is a bid by WADA to have those bans increased, and also to have an eight year ban handed down to former team doctor Pedro Celaya lengthened.
Click here for the full story on CyclingTips.
Cycling and rugby have little in common, other than both being tough sports in their own right, but the latter has had a direct effect on the former in terms of next year’s track world championships.
The UCI announced Tuesday that the normal February timeslot for the track worlds would be delayed in 2016 in order to avoid a clash with rugby’s Six Nations tournament.
The track worlds will be held in London and were originally scheduled for February 24 to 28. However, discussions between the UCI, the Organising Committee of the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships and TV broadcasters raised concerns about rugby’s possible impact upon the TV coverage.
As a result the championships will now be held from March 2 to 6 next year.
“The UCI, organisers and TV broadcasters worked hand in hand to find the best possible dates for our track flagship event, taking into account the international sporting calendar,” explained UCI president Brian Cookson.
Rugby is a major sport in Britain, thus making the timing more sensitive than it would be in other countries.
Cookson said that returning to the Lee Valley VeloPark velodrome in London should guarantee a very successful worlds.
“We still have vivid memories of the track cycling raced there during the London 2012 Olympics, and last December’s UCI World Cup was also very successful,” he said. “Next year’s UCI World Championships promise to be another great event.”
The track world championships begin Wednesday and run until Sunday.
With less than two weeks to go until her hour record attempt in London, Sarah Storey has unveiled details of the bike and equipment she will use to try to beat the long-standing mark of Leontien Van Moorsel.
She will use a Ridley Arena Carbon Track frame, which includes the company’s patented FAST technologies including the F-Split fork. This is aimed to help increase aerodynamic performance and reduce drag.
She will also use Shimano Dura-Ace sprockets, chain rings, track chain and pedals, while UK distributors Madison and Sportline have finished off the cockpit with components from PROs Missile Evo range, including extensions, a UD Carbon race stem and a PRO Missile Evo bar.
The latter has been specially adapted for Storey, a multiple gold medallist paralympian, who has a partially developed left hand.
The bike will use a PRO 5 spoke front track wheel plus PRO disc track rear wheel, which have a combined price of just under £3,000.
Click here to see full details of Storey’s bike. Click here to read a full feature interview with the rider.
We’ve mentioned the Tour of Oman above, but who are the big riders to look out for in the race? The folks over at GCN have analysed the field and come up with this assessment of the riders most likely to fight for stages and the overall.
A stirring look back at the sensational 2014 season of Polish rider Michal Michal Kwiatkowski, who continued his rapid progress in the sport and ended the year in the rainbow jersey.
Michal Kwiawtowski by ThePassionCyclisme
If you’re getting caught up in the excitement of all the Hour Record attempts, here’s a throwback to Eddie Merckx’s record set in Mexico City = in 1972. Thomas Dekker will be attempting the record next week (Feb 25) in Mexico city also.
Founded with help from US cycling royalty, the Boulder based brand revolutionised US apparel in ’80s with new fabrics. They may not have the marketing prowess that other clothing brands have, but they do make some fine kit with a substantial history.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: