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by Shane Stokes
April 22, 2015
Photography by Kristof Ramon & Cor Vos
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Bora Argon 18 defeats WorldTour rivals to take opening stage of Giro del Trentino; Cancellara moves to next stage of recovery from vertebral fracture; Valverde, Gilbert and Froome ready for Flèche Wallonne but hold differing objectives; Nibali criticises Cookson as Astana licence decision nears; The 2015 Amstel Gold Race through the lens of Kristof Ramon; Beyond the podium at Flanders Classics with Lien Crapoen and Maja Leye; Competitive Cyclist suspends Strava credits program; How The Race Was Won – Amstel Gold; The GCN Show Episode 119: Win A Trip To The Giro D’Italia! + Disc Brakes Coming To Road Racing
Riding to perfection on a twisting, technical course, the Bora-Argon 18 team surprised the tipped WorldTour teams in the opening stage of the Giro del Trentino in Italy on Tuesday, rocketing around the 13.3 kilometre team time trial to edge out Team Sky.
The German Pro Continental squad beat Sky by 0.3 seconds, and finished four seconds clear of third-placed Astana. Ag2r La Mondale and Pro Conti squad Caja Rural filled the other places in the top five.
First home of the Bora-Argon 18 riders was Cesare Benedetti, propelling the Italian into the leader’s jersey. The result is the biggest of his career and, unsurprisingly, he was elated.
“We made a sprint for the line, but my teammates were happy that I eventually won it,” he said. “I always put my best effort to the team’s service, and this jersey is a great reward for many tough moments. It is great for me to take the start from Dro – where I started racing – tomorrow in the leader’s jersey, and wear it on my training roads.”
Directeur sportif Enrico Poitschke was also in a celebratory mood. “It was a perfect race and it was crowned by the victory. We felt already beforehand that the guys are absolutely determined to score a top result,” he said.
“They were all totally focussed when we scouted the course this morning as well as during the warm-up. In the end, it was tight but won. This was a victory by the entire team, including our mechanics and physios. We all fought together to get this result.”
He pointed out that Benedetti comes from the region and the race is therefore the home event for him.
Wednesday’s second stage is a mountainous 168.2 kilometre leg from Dro to Brentonico Parco Del Baldo.
Sky’s Richie Porte is the best-placed of the general classification contenders, sitting in eighth overall. He will seek to make a move on the hillier sections.
Having been forced to miss the spring Classics due to the transverse process fractures he suffered to two vertebrae bones of the lower back at the end of March, Fabian Cancellara has been able to resume training.
The Trek Factory Racing rider fell heavily in the E3 Harelbeke race on March 27, being forced to retire from the event. X-rays and CT scans subsequently confirmed the damage and made participation in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix impossible.
“There is nothing you can do with this injury – no cast, no surgery – but just biting the pain,” said Cancellara at the time.
There was better news for the Swiss rider on Tuesday.
“Medical check done and greenlight is on for training. Happy about my first ride today without pain. #happy #spartacus,” he said via his Twitter account.
Contacted by CyclingTips, a Trek Factory Racing spokesman confirmed the news
“It’s going alright,” he stated. “He’s had another medical check today. Pedalling isn’t at it should ideally be, just yet, but we’re optimistic.”
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Second behind world champion Michal Kwiatkowski in Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race, Alejandro Valverde will be one of the big favourites in Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne. The defending champion, who also won in 2006, is in strong form this season and his Movistar team manager Jose-Luis Arrieta is convinced he will be a major protagonist.
Speaking on the eve of the race, Arrieta said that the riders from the team rode the final 50 kilometres early on Tuesday. He said that the new climb in the finale should shake things up, but he is unclear if it will be as decisive as some think.
“I believe there will be a lot of attacks on the Côte de Cherave, but it’ll be difficult to gain more than 30 seconds and hope to win at the top of the Mur de Huy. On the other hand, the selection will be a lot bigger than usual.”
As a result of that, he suggests that many of the big guns could be left without team-mates prior to the last climb, the famous Mur de Huy.
“For Alejandro, it’ll be important to adapt to the situation. Let’s not forget that he attacked far from the line when he won the Tour of Catalunya, for example.”
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Choosing to criticise Brian Cookson as the decision looms about whether or not the Astana team should lose its WorldTour licence, Tour de France Vincenzo Nibali has questioned the UCI president’s actions.
An elite group featuring Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step) chases Tanner and Clarke.
“Since the Tour, I’ve not heard from him and this is may be the thing that’s missing the most. I think he should talk more, create dialogue, not only with me but with all the cyclists.”
Nibali’s Astana team is under serious scrutiny following a spate of positives tests last year. The brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy both tested positive for EPO, while the Astana Continental team riders Ilya Davidenok,
Artur Fedosseyev and Victor Okishev tested positive for anabolic androgenic steroids.
The squad was given a probational WorldTour licence but on February 26 the UCI said that it had asked its Licence Commission to strip the team of this.
A final hearing is expected to be held on Friday. It remains to be seen if Nibali’s decision to criticise Cookson will help or hinder Astana’s case. The UCI has said that its Licence Commission will act independently.
Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.
by Matt de Neef
Here at CyclingTips we’re lucky to be able to work with some of the best cycling photographers in the world. It’s always a joy to pore over the dozens and dozens of photos that come our way after the big races, seeing the little details we missed while watching the coverage on TV.
Belgian photographer Kristof Ramon is one such purveyor of fine images and he was at the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, capturing another set of photos which tell the story of the day. We’ve added in a handful of photos from our photo agency Cor Vos as well — it’s hard for one photographer to be everywhere and capture every interesting moment!
By now you probably know how the race unfolded. In brief: there were numerous breakaways and escape groups throughout the day, but it all came back together on approach to the final climb: the Cauberg.
Click here to read more and see the full gallery at CyclingTips.
by Richie Tyler
By 8am on the morning of the Tour of Flanders, the Grote Markt in Bruges is already filled to bursting point. The sun slowly emerges above the medieval belfry, though most have already been warmed by heated discussion over who will win De Ronde.
Lien in front of the belfry in Bruges.
Lien Crapoen and Maja Leye survey the Markt with pride. In just over nine hours, they will do their duty as podium hosts to present that winner with a bouquet and an oversized bottle of champagne. Millions will witness the moment Alexander Kristoff accepts kisses from them, but few will realise that 12 months of hard work from these two women have played a major role in the very running of the race itself.
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
Less than a fortnight after announcing a programme that would reward registered Strava users with a voucher value of $1 per hour of riding, Competitive Cyclist has put that offer on hold.
Under the arrangement, Strava users could benefit from the reward account on the company’s webpage, garnering a maximum 40 credits per month. Under the terms of the promotion, these expired after two months.
However Competitive Cyclist has announced that the plan is now on hold.
“When we came up with the idea to pay you a dollar an hour to ride your bike through our partnership with Strava, it was pure, it was simple, and it represented everything we stand for,” it said in a statement.
“Apparently you liked it too, because you signed up by the tens of thousands and told everyone you knew. We had expectations and you blew them out of the water.”
Click here to read more at VeloNews.
The spring Classics have now moved to the Ardennes and Amstel Gold brings through a change of cast in the contenders.
In a race won three times by Philippe Gilbert (four, if you count the 2012 World Championships held on nearly the same course) the final kilometre was fairly predictable. Except that it didn’t go to script. We trust you’ll enjoy Cyclocosm’s ‘How The Race Was Won’ of the 2015 Amstel Gold.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: