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by Shane Stokes
April 1, 2015
Photography by Jered Gruber, Cor Vos and Shane Stokes
In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kristoff grabs stage one of Driedaagse de Panne; Kristoff gains confidence through manner of his win; Riis says goodbye to Tinkoff-Saxo; unclear if he hopes to continue in cycling; Tinkov on team’s and sport’s future: We need a boring, meticulous manager like Brailsford; Richie Porte: “I’ve already had an incredible season but I want more”; Dowsett announces plans to try to break Dennis’ world hour record; Kimmage Fund: Final judgement rendered against Aaron Brown, former UCI Overlord owes $85 thousand and counting; Haussler on Flanders chances: “The sensations are good, but it will be critical to race without a hitch”; People are awesome (cycling edition); The GCN show episode 116: Gent-Wevelgem, Riis Leaves Tinkoff-Saxo + We’re (Still) In California!
Picking up what was his sixth win of the season in a rather unexpected fashion, Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff sped to victory on stage one of the Driedaagse de Panne in Belgium.
The Norwegian is best known for his bunch sprint speed but used that same velocity to take a five man sprint to the line in Zottegem.
He beat Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal), Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing), Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) and Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal) to the line, with the latter team failing to make the most of the presence of three riders in the quintet.
The main contenders finished 34 seconds back and, with the win bonus taken into account, Kristoff is in a strong position.
Those five riders plus Kristoff’s team-mate Sven Erik Bystrøm (Team Katusha) got clear in a six man move. Debusschere had previously got away with three others after 100 kilometres of racing and Bak bridged across, dragging his team-mate Debusschere clear of the rest.
Kristoff’s group then got across with a little over 20 kilometres left. Bystrøm worked hard to set the pace in the group, realising that Kristoff’s powerful finish marked him out as a possible stage winner and first race leader.
That’s how things worked out, with Debusschere giving his all to try to deny Kristoff but being unable to match the Norwegian’s speed.
Racing continues Wednesday with a 217.2 kilometre race from Zottegem to Koksijde. The main contenders will do what they can to try to get back on terms with Kristoff, but Katusha will seek to keep him secure at the top of the leaderboard.
Speaking after taking stage one of the Driedaagse de Panne, Alexander Kristoff said that he had taken a lot of encouragement from the way he picked up win number six of 2015.
“This was a new way for me to win today as I have not bridged across too many times,” he said. “It gives me confidence that I am in good shape. That’s important for Flanders.”
The 27 year old won Milan-San Remo in 2014 but came up slightly short this time around, losing out to John Degenkolb in a reduced group sprint to the line.
He was greatly disappointed not to take the opening Classic of the season but believes he has a chance to make amends in Flanders on Sunday. He was fourth in 2013 and fifth last year.
He said that his manner of riding on Tuesday showed that his form is currently very good.
“On the Leberg I saw that Sven Erik was in front and knew that he didn’t have the best sprint, so I told my other guys to keep it close and I would bridge up,” he explained.
“I made it to that group and we worked at full gas all the way to the finish to keep the gap. Debusschere wasn’t pulling so I wasn’t sure how fresh or fast he would be at the end.
“We went at the same time at 250 m but I had a little more speed in the legs and I could take him.
The big question is if he can hold on at the top.
“It was not a plan this morning to take the GC this week but we’ll see after tomorrow,” he said, discussing the idea. “We’ve had a very good Classics season so far and the whole team is at a very good level.”
Issuing a brief statement in the wake of his parting of ways from the Tinkoff-Saxo team, Bjarne Riis has bid farewell to the squad he owned for more than a decade and said that he is stepping back from media contact until he works out what he will do next with his life.
The former professional rider, who won the 1996 Tour de France but later admitted to doping to do so, sold the team in December 2013 to the Russian entrepreneur Oleg Tinkoff.
He remained on as general manager at a salary rumoured to be one million euro per year.
However tensions rose between himself and Tinkoff and there were reports of a major argument during Tirreno-Adriatico.
The team confirmed last Tuesday that he had been sidelined, although it said that the decision was neither due to a lack of results nor financial issues.
The team then confirmed on Sunday that he and the squad had reached a mutual agreement to “terminate all contracts entered between Tinkoff Sport A/S and Bjarne Riis with immediate effect.”
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Laying out his blueprint for his team and his vision for cycling’s future on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov has said that his team wants someone “boring and meticulous” to manage the squad in the wake of the team’s split with Bjarne Riis.
He named Team Sky’s principal, David Brailsford, as an example of that.
“Cycling has to change,” he wrote. “The times of Sainz [Manolo Saiz – ed.], Bryneel and Riis are over – they were stuck in the 2000s and that is not necessarily about doping. They just don’t get some obvious things and don’t know how to manage teams in modern way.
“Managing a team is not just about issuing instructions from a car radio or about casting a spell over the riders at which Riis was unsurpassed, for example. Managing a team is about boring, monotonous work in the office. The day of the boring and meticulous managers has come – guys like Dave Brailsord and, I hope, our new Director Stefano Feltrin.
“Directing the team and its riders from preparation today must be driven by mathematical and statistical analysis and data mining. Sport science is the king now! Today the winner is not the one that trains the most but the one who trains the right way, not the one who injects EPO, but the one with a healthy diet and the one who consumes the right drinks before, after and during lengthy training sessions.”
Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly. Tinkov’s full statement is here.
by Matt de Neef
A little over a year ago Richie Porte abandoned the Volta a Catalunya on just the second day of racing. It was the second race that month that he’d been unable to finish — after Tirreno-Adriatico — and by the end of May he would also have DNFed at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Romandie. The illness that affected Porte in those races would also see him shelve his main goal for the season: the Giro d’Italia.
Twelve months on things couldn’t be more different.
Porte took two stage wins en route to overall victory at Paris-Nice — as he’d done two years prior — and a couple weeks later he worked his way into the overall lead of and then won the Volta a Catalunya.
There were no great celebrations; just a flight back to Monaco to begin a week of recovery before Porte begins his build-up to the Giro.
Any sign of the illness that plagued and ultimately cut short his 2014 season are gone. He’s not only healthy; he’s roughly 5kg lighter than he was last year but just as importantly — if not more so — the leader of the WorldTour’s individual rankings has his confidence back. And rightly so.
Click here to read the full feature on CyclingTips.
Having been forced to cancel his initial plan to target the world hour record on February 27 due to a collarbone fracture, Alex Dowsett has now announced a new date for the attempt.
The British rider, who is racing with the Movistar team, will attack the record in Manchester on May 2.
“I’m thrilled to be back on track to attempt the #PerfectHour,” explains Dowsett in a statement released Tuesday. “Breaking my collarbone whilst in such good form was a real disappointment, but I healed 100% and didn’t lose much form through it all.
“Manchester will be a fantastic location and it’ll be an honour for me to attempt the record on the same boards as Chris Boardman.”
There has been a flurry of activity in relation to the world hour record after the UCI relaxed the previous constraints on the bikes which can be used.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Having been found liable for the missing Kimmage Fund by the Massachusetts Superior Court last October, the person responsible for its theft, Aaron Brown, has run out of time to lodge an appeal.
Aaron Brown (left), appearing in a Cyclismas video
Hue explained the recent timeframe to CyclingTips on Tuesday.
“We had the final damage ‘trial’ on January 8, 2015. Aaron did not appear. At the damage ‘trial’ affidavits supporting damages were presented and argument made.
“The Judge provisionally granted judgment and then formally granted Judgment on January 20. That was formally entered February 20, notices were sent February 27 and that started the 30 day appeal period.”
That appeal period expired on Monday, leaving Brown fully liable.
When the court originally filed its findings and Order for Judgment on February 27, the figure owed was set at $69,935 plus pre-judgement interest of $14,715.22 and costs of $275. That represented a total of $84,925.22.
Since then, at a rate of 12% interest, the judgement has increased to a total sum of $85,774.47, and will continue to increase at a rate of $27.92 per day until Brown pays.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
The 2009 Tour of Flanders runner-up Heinrich Haussler has made clear that he is aiming for the top step of the podium in Sunday’s race, but said that it will be crucial that he, his IAM Cycling co-leader Sylvain Chavanel and the rest of the team do things perfectly and that luck is also on their side.
“I had a good start to the season with no particular problems,” he said, referring in part to his victory in the Australian road race championships plus top six stage finishes in the Santos Tour Down Under, Tour of Qatar and Paris-Nice.
“The sensations are good, but it will be important that we race without a hitch, in order to hope that we get a chance to play our cards.
“The fact that both Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara won’t be there due to injuries really doesn’t change what we have to do. There are still many contenders capable of vying for the coveted victory in Le Ronde.”
Haussler was 80th in Milan-San Remo and 84th in E3 Harelbeke and thus is not on the list of top favourites for Sunday’s race. However he still believes he can do something if everything aligns for him.
“It’s super important always to be well placed, never leave the top positions in the pack, and have a little bit of luck not to crash or puncture,” he said. “Of course I know that sometimes you make your own luck.”
A really spectacular video – well worth a watch. Definitely some ‘do not try this at home’ moments in there!
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: