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by Shane Stokes
June 17, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos, VeloShotz, Jonathan Devich and Jered Gruber
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Matthews wins stage four of the Tour de Suisse; Gilbert out of Tour de France due to discovery of leg fracture; News of Gilbert’s Tour absence followed voiced frustration about BMC Racing Team’s selection delay; Contador still tired from Giro, says he has only done three days of specific training; Astana women’s team fires Solovey; A vision for the future of the National Road Series; Playing with the big boys: Carmen Small to race in the men’s pro field at North Star Grand Prix; Weather got you down? Embrace the freedom!; Men and women in mixed track event at UCI World Cycling Centre; The GCN Show Ep. 127: Battle Of The Aero Bikes, Amazing New Tech + Who Will Win The Tour?
Australian rider Michael Matthews blasted to victory at the end of Tuesday’s fourth stage of the Tour de Suisse, winning a 40 man bunch sprint into Schwarzenbach. The Orica GreenEdge rider blasted past Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) close to the line, beating the rider who had been victorious 24 hours earlier and denying the Slovakian the time bonus he needed to take over the race lead.
“It was always going to be difficult,” Matthews said after the stage. “The way (Sagan) sprinted yesterday was really strong.
“I knew I just had to glue myself to his wheel and then see what I had left to come over him.”
His Orica GreenEdge team did a lot of work to set him up, firstly by chasing the day’s break and then by setting a high pace to help burn off Mark Cavendish (Etixx QuickStep) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
“My teammate Michael Albasini, who lives near this area, said he’d love to go for this stage because it’s near his home but that it’s probably a better sprint for me,” continued Matthews.
“It’s incredible for a guy of that experience and that I have so much respect for, to help me in a final like this. It’s really special.”
Sagan was second while Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) was third. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) continues to lead with Sagan on the same time and Dani Moreno (Katusha) eight seconds back in third.
The race continues Wednesday with a 193 kilometre race from Unterterzen/Flumserberg to the summit finish of Sölden/Rettenbachgletscher.
Former world champion Philippe Gilbert’s intention of riding the Tour de France has been dashed due to the diagnosis of a previously-undetected leg fracture, with the Belgian now forced to miss next month’s Grand Tour.
His BMC Racing Team doctor Max Testa has revealed that a recent MRI identified a fracture in his lower right leg.
“The MRI showed a small fracture of the postero-lateral tibia head,” he explained in a team statement. “The fracture is small, and not involving the joint articular surface and the injury is not worrisome for his cycling career.
“Philippe had no particular pain on the bike. But he had been complaining of knee discomfort, especially off of it, and especially going up and down stairs. So we decided to look into it.”
It is believed that the fracture was incurred at the Flèche Wallonne Classic in April, where he crashed.
Since then he clocked up two stage wins in the Giro d’Italia and placed second overall in the points classification. Despite that, the team believes the best course of action is that he should rest.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
It may be coincidental but today’s announcement that Philippe Gilbert will miss the Tour de France due to a previously-undiagnosed fracture comes three days after the Belgian rider spoke with frustration about the BMC Racing Team’s dragging of heels in relation to selecting him for the Tour de France team.
Speaking to Het Laatste Nieuws and Het Nieuwsblad, Gilbert said that he still wasn’t sure at that point if he would be given a green light for the Tour. He had won two stages in the Giro d’Italia and felt he should have done more than enough, but instead was still waiting to know.
“Do I need to prove myself more?” he asked rhetorically, speaking at the Tour de Suisse.
“I come here actually without motivation at the start. It is difficult to recharge yourself if you do not see your programme. I do not know if the team wants me there at the Tour. I find this very bizarre and I do not understand the approach of BMC.”
The team was due to announce its Tour de France lineup after the Tour de Suisse. Gilbert argued he should have done more than enough to be told he was going to the race.
Perhaps playing down his chances somewhat, as he is often prone to doing before major targets, Alberto Contador has said that he is still fatigued after his victory in the Giro d’Italia and has only done limited training thus far.
“Physically and muscularly I still feel the wear from the Giro, especially that of the final week, which was very hard,” he said. “As a result, I tried above all to rest as much as possible during this time. I focused on recovering and I have only done three days of specific training to activate my body.”
Contador clocked up his seventh Grand Tour when he won the Giro d’Italia earlier this month, beating runner-up Fabio Aru by one minute 53 seconds and the latter’s Astana team-mate Mikel Landa by three minutes and five seconds.
He appeared to weaken dramatically on the final mountain stage and after the conclusion of the event said that he took 15 days of active rest in order to try to recover.
Contador is trying to become the first rider to win the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in the same season since Marco Pantani in 1998.
Nine months after she took the silver medal in the women’s elite time trial at the world championships, Anna Solovey has lost her place on the Astana-Acca Due O team. The squad announced Tuesday that her contract had been severed with immediate effect, although it didn’t give the precise reason for that.
In the women’s ITT later that day, Ukranian Hanna Solovey rode into second place …
“The decision came in response to several organizational difficulties that the athlete, with her unprofessional behaviour, has caused to the team and its prestigious sponsors in these first months of 2015,” it said, without going into details.
“We are sorry to have arrived at this point because we believe that Anna Solovey has great cycling qualities and she would have to be the top rider of the team for this season. But the situation was no longer sustainable: it’s a matter of respect for us, the teammates, our sponsors and organizers of the races.”
The 23 year old Ukrainian rider won the European time trial championships in 2013 and last year took the Chrono Champenois plus the Chrono des Nations as well as second in the worlds TT.
She was banned in 2011 for 2 years due to a positive test for the substance Drostanolone.
By Angus Bell
It has been an interesting week for cycling in Australia with the cancellation of one race, the Tour of the Murray River, and the postponement of another, the Tour of Gippsland. There has been a lot of comment and discussion around this, particularly on CyclingTips.
For the Tour of the Murray River the explanation was “the event had reached the end of its lifespan”. The Tour of Gippsland “was under some commercial distress”. What that actually means for both races I am not sure. I suspect there are other contributing factors beyond the reasons given.
It is a shame to lose two races mid-season. They should still have gone ahead; cancelling them now makes Cycling Australia look unprofessional. Cancel them at the end of the season.
These cancellation and postponement decisions impact the smaller teams as well as the big teams. We had Murray and Gippsland down as races to compete in.
Last Saturday riders from 13 teams were tested for cortisol levels on the morning of stage seven of the Dauphiné. It’s part of their membership of the MPCC, the Movement for Credible Cycling. The group’s become laughing stock for some recently and teams are pulling out fast at the moment too.
The peloton fills the narrow rode up the Gulpenerberg.
But the guarantees it brings riders and their health is no joke. In fact it’s so good the UCI needs to adopt its rules to the letter.
Medical primer: Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands which sit on top of your kidneys. When confronted with a shock these glands produce adrenalin but also cortisol in response to the stress. Skimming the medicine it has two effects, one is anti-inflammatory and the other is to help the body access more energy.
When someone starts taking big doses of cortisone the adrenal gland stops producing the natural cortisol. So low cortisol levels can be indicative of cortisone use, whether doping or approved cortisone use by a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). It can also signal a health problem, perhaps a disease or a concern with the adrenal glands so it’s good to stop them in any case.
Click here to read the full story on Inrng.
by Anne-Marije Rook
It’s the day before the start of the North Star Grand Prix and Twenty16 rider Carmen Small is at the airport waiting for her bags.
“I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into!” she exclaims with a nervous giggle. “I just don’t know what to expect.”
Small is not usually this nervous. She has won this five-stage event, formerly known as Nature Valley, twice and proved at the Pan American Championships and Chrono Gatineau that she is in good form.
But this year’s North Star Grand Prix isn’t like the previous years. Last month, the race organizers cancelled the women’s pro race due to low turnout. Despite its longstanding status as one of the top stage races in the country, the organizers struggled to get sponsors on board and the women’s race wasn’t announced until March. By that time, most teams and riders had already filled their schedules.
Click here to read the full story on Ella-CyclingTips.
by Mara Abbott
I’ll start with a confession: I love bad weather.
This is not a common bike racer statement, but allow me to elaborate. This is about freedom.
You see, it isn’t only physical ability that predicts an elite competitor’s success. To sustain excellence year after year, a bit of mental command and control is required as well. You could distill the professional competitor’s job description to “dominance” –dominance of opponents, obviously, but also a dominance of daily circumstances. There really is a true performance benefit from regulating diet, sleep and specific daily exertion (you know – those training plan things).
It becomes easy – perhaps too easy – to judge a day’s success by how well it went according to the plan. Routine is a wonderful tool, but there is a trickily thin distinction between a constructive habit and a superstitious entrapment. Some days, my urge to get it right just seems like an awful lot of responsibility. I mean, goodness, I’m trying to be perfect every day!
Until… it snows.
The UCI has released a video of the mixed international test event held at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, on Friday March 23.
The competition comprised four Under-23 international teams from France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain, each with two men and two women, who competed in a sprint formula race.
Teams had timed qualification rounds and then battled each other in the same fashion as the traditional team sprint in semi-finals and then finals. Each rider led for a lap before dropping away.
The three first teams were separated by less than 2/10 of a second. Italy beat France by just 1/100 of a second in the final, with Great Britain beating Spain for third.
The test event was hailed ‘a huge success’ by the UCI President Brian Cookson.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: