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by Shane Stokes
March 11, 2015
Photography by Jered & Ashley Gruber and Cor Vos
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Greipel wins stage two of Paris-Nice with perfectly-timed sprint; Caleb Ewan gets stage win and yellow jersey in Tour de Langkawi; Contador announces he’ll remain with Tinkoff-Saxo in 2016, Tinkov confirms it will be his final season; Ag2r’s Lloyd Mondory positive for EPO, faces possible four year ban; Second injury diagnosed for Boonen; “In two seconds I realized that my Classics season was over”; Past Olympic and worlds silver medallist Larsson to attack hour record on Saturday; Contador says he also spoke with CIRC; Lampre-Merida quits MPCC over Ulissi case; Off The Back – Best Cycling Hacks
Dedicating the victory to his sick mother, André Greipel produced a superb sprint to get the better of French champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and the rest of the main field on day three of Paris-Nice.
Gripel blasted home first into Saint Amond Montrond at the end of the 172 kilometre race, netting his first-ever stage victory in the race.
“It was a bit of a headwind sprint. Arnaud (Demare) came in fast but I managed to hold my lead. It was a really nice bike race. I’d like to give this victory to my mother, she has a very hard time at the moment. Don’t give up!
“It’s important to win for the first time on Paris-Nice. It’s a big race with some of the best sprinters in the peloton. Yesterday, we really didn’t take part in the sprint. Today we wanted to do it better It’s a team work, I win with them and I lose with them. So I was glad I was able to deliver today.”
The stage was led for a staggering 134 kilometres by lone attacker Arnaud Gerard (Bretagne Seche Environnment). He went clear one kilometre after the start and opened a lead of eight and a half minutes. However he was hauled back 135 kilometres after the drop of the flag.
Closer to the finish a dangerous move containing multiple world time trial champion Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep), Geraint Thomas (Sky) and Lars Boom (Astana) clipped away, but they were recaptured with just over a kilometre to go.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quickstep) retains the yellow jersey heading into Wednesday’s third stage.
Making the most of his team’s firepower to dispatch his chief rival Andrea Guardini, the rider who had beaten him on the first two days of the Tour de Langkawi, Caleb Ewan powered to victory at the end of stage three of the race on Tuesday.
The first year pro clocked up his third UCI victory of the year when he blasted in ahead of Youcef Reguigui (MTN-Qhubeka), Leonardo Duque (Colombia) plus the rest of a reduced peloton. Stages one and two winner Andrea Guardini and many others had been burned off by Orica GreenEdge’s pace on the day’s early climbs, with the team then continuing to work to haul in a break before the finish.
“After two seconds [second places], it is a bit of a relief to win today,” said Ewan at the finish. “The team worked so well and the least I could do was to deliver today because of how they have been riding in the past few days.”
He said that targeting Guardini was a deliberate tactic. “I saw him at the start, up the first climb, and he really looked to be suffering. So that is when we made the plan that if we really put the hammer down on the second climb that we might drop the pure sprinters,” he said.
“That is what we did and we had a select group in the end. Luckily there were four of us so we had enough guys still to bring back the break and drop the rest of the sprinters.”
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips, and also to hear audio interviews with Ewan and others.
With his contract due to finish at the end of the current season, Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov and general manager Bjarne Riis have announced Tuesday that the Spaniard will extend with the team for one year more prior to retirement.
“For me it was something very important. I knew I could not wait much more because if I had to choose another option it should have been done much in advance, in order to adequately prepare the team,” the six-time Grand Tour winner said.
“We have been thoroughly assessing all aspects and in Tinkoff-Saxo we have a group that can fully guarantee the challenge of the Grand Tours.”
Contador said that having such a guarantee in place is vital for him. It means he doesn’t have to worry about finding a similar setup and support elsewhere, and can concentrate fully on this goals.
“For that reason I am very happy to have closed the deal. It is already five years that I have been working with Bjarne Riis and the possibility to continue for another year is satisfying,” he said.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
In a week when the Cycling Independent Reform Commission stated that it would be foolish to believe the doping problem in cycling was a thing of the past, the UCI announced Tuesday that a member of the WorldTour peloton has been snagged for EPO use.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that it has notified French rider Lloyd Mondory of an Adverse Analytical Finding of EPO in a sample collected in the scope of an out-of-competition control on 17 February 2015,” it stated.
Mondory is yet to tell the governing body if he wishes his B sample to be analysed.
As per UCI rules, he is now provisionally suspended. He will face a likely four year ban if the B sample confirms the result of the A analysis. This is almost always the case.
Mondory is a 32 year old rider with the Ag2r La Mondiale team. He won Tirenno-Adriatico’s mountains classification in 2008 and also took stage victories in the Etoile de Bessèges in 2011 and the Vuelta a Burgos last year.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Already pronounced as having a dislocated left acromioclavicular (AC) joint due to his crash on Monday’s stage one of Paris-Nice, Tom Boonen has received further bad news.
Yvan van Mol, the Etixx-Quickstep doctor, has told FranceTV that the Belgian rider also has a fractured elbow. Boonen was already facing a recovery period of three to six weeks, and this is a further complication for him.
“I’m really disappointed, for the third time in a row something unfortunate happened that affected the Classics,” Boonen said. “Every time because of different circumstances. It was a stupid crash with big consequences at Paris-Nice yesterday. We were with four teammates in the back and had just brought our jackets to the car, and as others in the peloton were doing, we took a nature break for the last time before heading back to the front.
“That was the plan for us. The stage was very easy, long roads, and nobody was nervous. But all of a sudden there was a hold up. I had to do a brake manoeuvre, but while breaking you cannot steer your wheel as you normally do. I touched my teammates Nikolas Maes’s wheel and crashed.
“In two seconds I realized that my Classics season was over. I imagined it differently and I was ready for the Classics. But I can’t change what happened and it is something I need to accept.”
In contrast to the well-publicised build-ups of the other riders who have attacked the world hour record, the Swede Gustav Larsson has announced just four days in advance that he intends to try to break the record on Saturday.
Gustav Larsson begins the stage in yellow after an excellent prologue but looses 2:30 in the crosswinds today
“I am very confident of breaking the Swedish hour record but it is the world record I am after” Larsson stated. “I think it will be possible – it will not be easy but I am feeling ready for the challenge!”
Although Larsson has arguably a lower current profile than Dennis, he has a long pedigree of riding well against the clock. He is a six time national champion, a 2010 Giro d’Italia time trial stage winner and took the silver medal in both the 2008 Olympic Games and 2009 world time trial championships. He also won the Paris-Nice prologue in 2012, leading the race as a result.
“I was inspired to try for the hour record when I was trying to heal my broken back last year,” he said. “It was one of the goals to get back on the bike and to look forward to through the rehab and winter training.”
“When I heard about the Dowsett and Storey attempts at the Revolution series meet at London I thought it was a super concept…”
Although Chris Froome has already stated that he spoke to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission following its inquiry into the UCI, the Armstrong situation and the general state of cycling, it seems he was not the only rider to do so.
Peter Sagan (centre) flanked by Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador.
The Spaniard said that he is yet to read the full report, having only looked at the section referring to his positive test in the 2011 Tour de France.
“Regarding the UCI, these are all old stories that had already appeared in the press. I hope that this report makes a further contribution to a cleaner cycling,” he stated.
As for 2014 Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali and past Classics winner Fabian Cancellara, both said that they have yet to read it.
“I can say no sensible word about it because I do not know about it,” Nibali stated on the eve of Tirreno-Adriatico.
As for Cancellara, he said that he doesn’t want to ponder on what was the situation before. “There are many stories of the past. I just think it’s important that we look to the future of cycling.”
Click here to read the full story at De Telegraaf.
A standoff between the MPCC anti-doping group and the Lampre-Merida team over the situation involving the rider Diego Ulissi has led to the team announcing it is withdrawing from the group with immediate effect.
Ulissi won two stages in last year’s Giro d’Italia but then tested positive for excessive levels of Salbutamol. His test, taken at the end of the 11th stage, revealed the presence of 1900 ng/ml of Salbutamol, almost double the maximum limit of 1000 ng/ml permitted for those using an inhaler.
In January he was handed a partially-backdated nine-month ban, with that suspension due to end on March 28.
Under MPCC rules member teams cannot sign riders who have served a suspension longer than six months for an additional two years. The team argued that as he already had a contract the rule did not apply but, in a communication issued on February 2, the group indicated this was not the case.
Almost one month later, the team has decided to choose the rider over the group.
“Team Lampre-Merida officially confirms the decision to exit the MPCC, due to the impossibility of confirming their membership,” it said.
Bradley Wiggins kicked off the Paris-Nice prologue in style last weekend with a custom painted Jaguar F-TYPE with the rainbow stripes to recognise his first European time trial of the season.
The bespoke F-TYPE Coupé was first unveiled during last year’s Tour de France, and also made a special appearance at the Tour of Britain before being fully updated for Sunday’s 6.7km prologue.
This footage dates back a few years but it hasn’t lost its appeal. The Dirty Dozen Race is a yearly race which tackles 13 of Pittsburgh’s biggest inclines over 50 miles. The steepest one shown in this video is 37 percent grade on Canton Avenue in Beechview.
The Apple Watch was officially unveiled on March 9th and Strava is one of the early select partners of third-party developers who will offer apps for the new device.
The new Strava app will take advantage of basic ride and run metrics in real time. Results at the end of the ride will be instantly summarised and for premium members, it will allow you to interact with real-time segments.
“Strava is committed to enhancing the experience for the athlete before, during and after each of his or her activities,” Strava design lead Kyle Yugawa said in a press release. “Strava for Apple Watch fulfils a big part of this commitment by delivering an optimum ‘live’ experience that leverages Apple’s beautiful design and Strava’s interface.”
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: