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by Shane Stokes
February 4, 2015
NEWS AND RACING BROUGHT TO YOU BY CHAPTER2 BIKES
In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Annalisa Cucinotta wins opening stage of Ladies Tour of Qatar; Dubai Tour: Nibali vs Valverde and Rodriguez on climbs, Cavendish and Degenkolb chasing stages; Boasson Hagen: The goal is to win more and more, including Roubaix; Full route revealed for Paris-Nice, Bradley Wiggins likely to ride the race; IAM Cycling gunning for Qatar stage win with Haussler, feels time trial success may already be possible; Photo gallery: the long and distinguished career of Cadel Evans; Emma Johansson ready to make most of final two years as full-time pro; Tinkoff-Saxo lineup named for Tour de Langkawi, Brutt returns eyeing another stage; Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists (ANAPRC) representing pro riders’ interests; Video: Jack Bobridge – Hour record Team Budget Forklifts; Video: And Now Meet The Super Cyclist (1930)
Italian sprinter Annalisa Cucinotta (Ale Cipollini) profited from a strong leadout by her team-mates on the opening stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar, powering home ahead of fellow Italians Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) and her Marta Tagliaferro (Ale Cipollini).
The victory propelled her into the first leader’s jersey of the four day race.
“We are very satisfied,” said her directeur sportif Fortunato Lacquaniti afterwards, talking about the day’s work and the final result. “We are happy not only for the first and third position, but also for all the work we have done. We have been a protagonist during the race. Annalisa made a wonderful sprint, also thanks to the work done by the whole team. This is the victory of the whole team.”
The race remained together until after the first intermediate sprint at kilometre 28, where Shelley Olds (Bigla Pro Cycling Team) was first to the line. Just under ten kilometres later the China Chongming-Liv-Champion System Pro Cycling rider Xiu Jie Jiang attacked and built a maximum lead of one minute 20 seconds by kilometre 61.
Behind, the group was affected by several crashes, with Maura Kinsella (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) the most unfortunate in being forced to retire.
Jiang continued on to the second bonus sprint (km 68.5) and took that prior to being reeled in; behind, Olds was best of the rest and picked up some more bonus seconds.
The peloton remained largely together from there until the end of the 98.5 kilometre stage to Dukhan Beach, where Cucinotta and her team played things perfectly to place two riders on the podium.
She nabbed the race leader’s golden jersey as a result and also heads the points classification. The 2.1-ranked race continues tomorrow with a 112.5 kilometre race from Al Zubarah Fort to Madinat Al Shamal.
Speaking one day before the start of the 2015 Dubai Tour, five of the top riders in the lineup have outlined their goals for the early season event.
Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali is seeking to clock up his first win since taking his yellow jersey on to the Champs Elysees last July, and while he admits not being certain where his form is at, he feels it’s possible he could contend,
“It’s important for me to be here,” he said, speaking about his season debut. “We have two good sprinters in [Lars] Boom and [Andrea] Guardini.
“It’s the first race of the season for me. There is one hard uphill finish, where I’ll find out how well I’ve worked over the winter. There are some good riders here, and an explosive finisher like Rodríguez could do well that day, although I’ll try to be right up there with him.”
Nibali finished 17th overall last year and while he would like to improve on that, he now has the benefit of the experience of that first participation as well as the confidence boost he gained by winning the Tour.
The latter success moved him into the rare category of rider who has taken all three Grand Tours; in adding the French event to his earlier 2010 Vuelta a España overall win plus his 2013 Giro d’Italia triumph, he has become only the sixth rider in history to take all three.
Like Nibali, Rodriguez also competed in the first Dubai Tour last season and can draw upon that past knowledge this week.
He said he is yet to his peak condition but still believes he will be competitive on the terrain which suits him best.
“I feel good, although I am not planning to hit my best form until Tirreno-Adriatico in March,” he explained. “I’m not a sprinter, of course, but the third stage ends with a tough little climb. I’ll try to win it, although it will depend on my condition.”
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
After five years at Team Sky, riding mostly for others, Edvald Boasson Hagen has greater ambition and opportunity in 2015 and is clear on what he would most like to do.
“[The goal is to have] a better season than last year, winning more races, contesting the Tour de France and fighting for a stage win,” he said, speaking to Biciclismo. “Winning more and more, or at least trying to. Last year was not the best, so the main goal is to win again.”
Boasson Hagen was previously regarded as a rider with massive potential and his past results as a young rider backed that up. He took the overall in the Tour of Britain plus two editions each of the Eneco Tour and the Glava Tour of Norway, won Gent-Wevelgem, the Vattenfall Cyclassics and the GP Ouest France, and also clocked up a stage win in the 2009 Giro d’Italia plus two in the 2011 Tour de France.
However despite growing older – he’s now 27 years of age – his results have trailed off in recent years and he has clearly lost momentum. He’s hoping to get that back this season with MTN-Qhubeka, although he plays down any suggestion that he will be under extra pressure due to being with a team where he will be a clear leader.
“Pressure? There is no difference, it is always about winning as much as you can,” he said. “It’s all that a rider wants. I put pressure on myself because I want to win.”
The spring Classics will be a big goal for him and he is clear which of them he would most like to excel in.
“The first objective is Paris-Roubaix,” he said. “I know it’s a lofty goal. It is the Classic I like best because it is very hard, as much for the course as the competition. Winning is a great goal, but it must be so, because no one remembers second or third.
World time trial champion Bradley Wiggins could give his rainbow jersey an outing in the 2015 Paris-Nice, with the Briton expected to return and the race finishing with the classic 9.6km time trial up the Col d’Èze climb.
The Col d’Èze has been used no less than 32 times in 72 editions of the Race to the Sun, 28 of those in the form of an individual mountain time trial, with Wiggins taking the victory on the final stage in 2012.
Team Sky teammate Richie Porte (who is also set to race again in 2015) was the last rider to take victory in the time trial on the Col d’Èze, en route to the overall win in 2013, just as Wiggins had done the year before.
The climb (as featured within the race) averages 4.7 per cent gradient to the top, but has some significantly steeper sections that can often make it a decisive player in who will win the pretigious stage race.
Last week’s leaked Paris-Nice route proved to be right on the money, as ASO revealed the full details of where the race will be headed in 2015, with three particularly mountainous days consecutively on stages four, five and six, with a brand new summit finish atop the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret to contend with on the fourth stage.
Click here to read the full story at Cycling Weekly.
Already twice second overall in the Tour of Qatar, finishing as runner-up in 2009 and 2011, Australian road race champion Heinrich Haussler and his IAM Cycling team are counting the days down until Sunday’s start of the Tour of Qatar.
The national champion’s jersey of IAM Cycling’s Heinrich Haussler.
“Out leader will be Heinrich Haussler,” said Seigneur. “The objective will be to have at least one stage win with him, and then we’ll see if we have a chance to play for the general classification after we see the results of the time trial. For the time trial, which will be the third stage of the race, everyone will have his chance.”
The IAM Cycling lineup for the race includes the rider who currently holds the UCI world hour record, and Seigneur knows that he could well challenge.
“The course is flat and very fast,” he said. “We will have a very good chance at a great result there since we have Matthias Brändle, and will be hoping for a victory. But considering it is such a short distance, even a rider like Haussler will have the chance to succeed.”
The Swiss squad’s other riders will be the Swiss duo Marcel Aregger and Reto Hollenstein, the German Roger Kluge, Spain’s Vicente Reynes and the Belgians Dries Devenyns and Jonas Van Genechten.
Seigneur said that the lineup was selected with the demands of the race in mind.
“Every day there will be risks with gutter riding and echelons,” he said. “The wind is the greatest opponent on these roads. That is why we need to have good riders in the group to protect Heino.
“Our vigilance will be even more important in the first two stages because anything can happen at the start of the race.”
As he crossed the finish line in Geelong on Sunday, in the inaugural race named in his honour, Cadel Evans called time on a professional cycling career that had lasted two decades, most of it on the road. It had been a long an illustrious career with victories in two of the biggest bike races on the planet – the Tour de France and the Road World Championships – and many more besides. In this piece we look back at some of those memorable moments and reflect on the career of Australia’s greatest ever cyclist.
Cadel Evans’ story is well known. He was a champion mountain biker in the early part of his career, winning a couple of World Cups in the late 1990s and finishing seventh on the dirt at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Despite focusing his attention on mountain biking in those early days, Evans showed great promise on the road as well.
A break-out performance at the Tour of Tasmania in 1999 – when he won on the mountain-top finish to Mt. Wellington — famously prompted Phil Liggett to claim that Evans would one day win the Tour de France. The veteran commentator was right, but it would take Evans more than a decade to get there.
It was several years until Evans make the switch to the road full-time, joining Saeco in April 2001. He rode with Mapei-QuickStep in 2002, before joining Telekom in 2003, which became T Mobile in 2004. From 2005 through to 2009 Evans rode with the Lotto setup, initially known as Davitamon-Lotto before becoming Predictor-Lotto (2007) and then Silence-Lotto (2008-09).
After winning the World Championships in late 2009, and in search of greater support for his Grand Tour ambitions, Evans moved to BMC in 2010. He would race for the US-registered team right up until his retirement last week, netting a whole host of victories along the way.
Click here to see the full photo retrospective here on CyclingTips.
Sweden’s Emma Johansson is only 31 years old, but the former world number one women’s road cyclist (2013) says that while gold at the UCI Road Worlds and the Olympic Games still elude her, she intends to step down as a full-time pro in 2017.
“I do have a year in my head,” Johansson shared with Ella Cycling Tips from her home in Norway regarding potential partial retirement. “I firmly believe 2016 is going to be my last year where I am working as hard as I am at the moment and then step it down for 2017.
“I really want a family and that’s one of my biggest dreams after I wind down my career.”
For Johansson, her career has been a tale of seconds – both in time and place. The cross-country skier-turned-cyclist has won and lost bike races all over the world, often by a millisecond in time with many of her most memorable performances ending as second-place finishes in classification – including a silver at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2013 UCI Road World Championships in Tuscany.
Johansson is also a four-time UCI World Cup runner up (2010-11, 2013-14), who finished second to Dutch cyclist Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) in the women’s UCI points classification by 48 points last year.
Now entering her 10th year as a pro, Johansson is both mentally and physically refreshed after a relaxing off-season spent in the Scandinavian snow with friends and family over the holidays. Following the off-season reset, she’s eager to return to racing with an Orica-AIS squad that has undergone a facelift of sorts that could prove beneficial to Johansson’s success in 2015.
Click here to read the full interview on CyclingTips.
With just over one month to go until the start of the 2015 Tour de Langkawi, the lineup of the Tinkoff-Saxo squad has been named and will feature a rider who has already achieved success there.
Pavel Brutt grabbed stage nine in 2007 and is returning once again to try to repeat that sort of success. The Russian will be joined by compatriot Nikolay Trusov, the Slovakian Michael Kolar, Portugal’s Bruno Pires, Edward Beltran (Colombia) and the Dane Jesper Hansen.
“That day remained one of the best memories of my cycling career,” said Brutt, thinking back to his victory.
“It was hot and I was so exhausted from climbing up to Genting Highlands the day before that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to complete the stage. But I ended up in the winning breakaway and I found the resources to attack from the front group and finish solo. It was a historical moment for our team too.”
He went on to take a final overall placing of seventh.
Brutt said the team had a well balanced lineup for the event. “We aim for a top 5 overall with our Colombian climber Edward Beltran. We’ll go for the sprints with Michael Kolar, who knows the race very well since last year [he finished third in the points classification then – ed.]. I intend to take part in many attacks and hopefully come up with another win like eight years ago.”
“Being new to this team, I want to show to the staff which kind of rider I am.”
Brutt has already ridden strongly, netting fourth on the final stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.
The race begins on March 8.
An association which will represent the interests of North American riders has secured membership of the riders’ international association CPA, with the Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists (ANAPRC) taking its place after the CPA AGM back in November.
According to VeloNews, the group will be used for North America’s pro riders to engage with the CPA, register their input, and stay informed on issues related to safety, benefits, and the reform of pro cycling. Better measures to deal with extreme weather on race days is one focus of the group.
During last year’s Giro d’Italia riders were vociferous about the need for rules governing what should happen on particularly severe days, as were seen in that edition of the race and also on other occasions such as the 2013 Milan-Sanremo.
“It’s time the riders and CPA step up and make a meaningful contribution to the big changes that we all hope will modernize and grow our sport,” said ANAPRC board member Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing). “We the riders have a choice between doing what we’ve always done — which is only looking out for ourselves individually — or working together to make some changes that benefit all of us.”
The board is presided over by former pro Christian Vande Velde, with Michael J. Laszlo, Esq. (secretary-treasurer), Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing), Ted King (Cannondale-Garmin), and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) also on board.
A new board of directors is due to be elected by the membership at the first official meeting of the members in 2015, and ANAPRC is also seeking candidates to serve as executive director.
At this point in time Michael Carcaise is filling that position until a permanent replacement can be found.
Click here to read more at VeloNews.
The effort might not have worked out as he planned but Jack Bobridge’s attempt to take the hour record was nevertheless a strong showing in terms of athletic effort and determination. Here’s a video of his attack on the mark last weekend.
Another wacky video from years past; this one has some very impressive skills. The cyclist featured is Alma Victoria, nicknamed the “Whirly Wheely Girl.”
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: