Kittel wins stage 2 of Paris-Nice
(AFP) Germany’s Marcel Kittel won the second stage of the Paris-Nice race, a 200.5km ride from Vimory to Cerilly, on Tuesday.
However, the overall lead is held by Italian Elia Viviani, who benefited from overnight leader French champion Nacer Bouhanni crashing out of the race when he came to grief 58km from the finish and suffered a mouth injury.
“He has a split lip, and maybe a damaged tooth, he is also complaining of a sore arm,” his team sporting director Frank Pineau told France Television, adding he had been taken to hospital in nearby Bourges.
The 24-year-old Kittel – who counts a stage win on the Tour of Spain in 2011 amongst his honours – overtook four riders, including Viviani, to take the stage in a sprint finish.
Viviani finished second with Australian Leigh Howard taking the final place on the podium.
Viviani has a seven second lead to protect over Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel with compatriot Damien Gaudin third overall and a further second adrift.
Stage three features a 170.5km ride from Chatel-Guyon to Brioude and includes a category two climb just 15km from the finish.
Click here for the full results of 2013 Paris-Nice, stage 2.
Paris-Nice leader Bouhanni, falls, abandons
(AFP) – French cyclist Nacer Bouhanni, the current leader of the Paris-Nice race, fell during the second stage and abandoned, organisers said on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old Francaise des Jeux rider slipped coming out of a bend at Nemours, 80km (50 miles south of Paris) and injured his mouth as he fell, during the 200.5km ride from Vimory to Cerilly.
Bouhanni won the opening 195km stage between Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Nemours on Monday, edging out Italian duo Alessandro Petacchi and Elia Viviani in the race for the line.
Porte taking advantage of Paris-Nice opportunity
Richie Porte is taking advantage of his opportunity to lead team Sky in Paris-Nice this week. He sees it as an important goal ahead of the Tour de France.
“This is a chance for me to step up. I am going to take it with both hands,” explained Porte. “I’d love to be in that Tour squad again. That’s the main aim for this year.”
Sky’s top dogs are elsewhere. Chris Froome leads the Tirreno-Adriatico team and Bradley Wiggins is training in Tenerife.
Porte has his chance in France, where he sits 34th overall at 17″ back going into today’s stage three.
More on this story at velonews.
Goss preparing for second Sanremo win
Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) is preparing in Tirreno-Adriatico this week for a shot at a second Milano-Sanremo win.
“I’ve always liked Tirreno but when I was with HTC I did Paris-Nice a lot of the time because me and Cav [Mark Cavendish] would race different programmes, so I had more opportunity,” Goss said.
“This year Tirreno has got a couple of really long stages, which is always good before Sanremo. The style of racing is I think better preparation before March and April. The racing in Tirreno I find is a little bit more like Classics racing – it’s left, right, up, down and little hills all day. At Paris-Nice you still have the long stages but it’s a lot more uneventful.”
He is one of the top sprinters in Tirreno with Cavendish (OmegaPharma-Quick Step), André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp).
More on this story at cyclingweekly.
Wiggins hid in Oman, says Nibali
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) says that Tour de France champion Wiggins hid during the Tour of Oman last month.
“He snubbed race in Oman and hid. When he showed himself, it was for Froome’s sake,” Nibali told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I wouldn’t be able to do that, my gut instinct always pushes me onto something. I can’t stay still.”
Froome won in Oman by 1 minute 19 seconds over Nibali in seventh place. Nibali rode strongly but suffered somewhat on the penultimate day.
Of Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), who placed second, Nibali explained, “He never rides as a spectator. He always wants to leave his mark even if he’s racing around his home.”
Contador hopes Puerto trial will allow cycling to advance
Alberto Contador told Spanish daily Marca that he hopes his and other cyclists’ testimonies in the ongoing Operación Puerto trial will allow cycling to move forward.
“I hope it is useful for something, and for the good of cycling, that we get to the bottom of this,” he explained. “That way, if things are done well and the case is completed correctly, we can finally talk starting about sport.”
The Spaniard was allegedly one of the cyclists linked to the scandal that erupted in 2006 in Madrid. The Spanish and international federations cleared his name, but doubts remain. As such, Contador said he would gladly give DNA to prove his innocence.
Tour of Flanders increases its competitors to 208
The Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) organiser stayed with seven wildcard invites despite a recent court decision that expanded the first division to 19 teams. Given the organiser’s decision, 208 riders in 26 teams will take part on March 31 in Belgium.
Of the second division teams that received wildcard invites, there are three home teams: AccentJobs-Wanty, Crelan-Euphony and Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise. They join Team Europcar, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, NetApp-Endura and IAM Cycling.
The Giro d’Italia also made a similar decision, though it had selected its teams before the Katusha decision that expanded the first division team count to 19.
Pressure on Boonen for fourth Tour of Flanders
The Belgian newspapers are worrying over their national hero Tom Boonen (OmegaPharma-Quick Step) ahead of the Tour of Flanders. After Boonen placed nearly two minutes behind the sprint on Monday, they sounded warning alarms.
“I decided not to sprint. The roads to Nemours were pure chaos,” Boonen told Belgian newspaper, Het Nieuwsblad.
“At almost every meter there was something on the road. I almost crashed three times. I even saw a colleague fly against a wall. I thought to myself, ‘Tom, boy, you’ve been lucky enough.” I lost my enthusiasm.”
Boonen won a stage in Paris-Nice last year. He counts three Ronde victories in his palmarès: 2005, 2006 and 2012
Read more on nieuwsblad.be.
UCI against breakaway league
(AFP) – Cycling’s world governing body has said it is against plans to create a new WorldSeries in the sport, amid reports of talks about a possible breakaway competition featuring top teams.
“The UCI does not want a league,” the president of the International Cycling Union, Pat McQuaid, said at the weekend. “But we still have to develop professional cycling and it’s important to work together.”
The proposal for a World Series is said to include plans to restructure the sport, introducing new races and giving teams a greater share of broadcasting revenue rather than the current system, where money from television rights goes to organisers.
Britain’s Team Sky, which counts 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and runner-up Chris Froome among its riders, is reportedly in favour of a change in the structure of professional cycling.
A dozen other teams are also said to be interested by the project.
Team Sky is backed by British satellite broadcaster Sky television, whose sports arm currently holds the rights to broadcast English Premier League football.
France’s David Lappartient, the newly elected head of the European Cycling Union (UEC) representing national cycling federations on the continent, however, said they were “very hostile” to a WorldSeries event.
Sources also said that those behind the new competition — Briton Jonathan Price and Swiss Thomas Kuerth, who headed a bid to create a European football super-league in the early 2000s — had not a favourable response from the Tour de France.
The UCI currently runs the elite WorldTour and last December admitted having talks with a group of investors and lobbyists led by the Czech owner of the Omega-Pharma team, Zdenek Bakala, to overhaul the programme but the discussions stalled.
Click here to see what a new breakaway league might look like.
Tour of Alberta to announce race route today
The inaugural Tour of Alberta (Canada) will be releasing the race route details in the next couple of hours.
The Tour will be a six-stage race, starting in Edmonton on Tuesday, September 3 and ending in Calgary on Sunday, September 8, with stage routes traveling throughout rural Alberta.
The UCI sanctioned the Tour of Alberta as a 2.1 race in September 2012, making it the highest level pro cycling event to be hosted in Canada. An annual event beginning in 2013, it will feature up to 16 pro cycling teams of up to eight riders per team.
Tune in to velonews for details on the route announcement.
Gracie Elvin shows us round the ORICA-AIS hotel in Belgium
Gracie Elvin from Orica-AIS takes us on a tour of the Lepelbed Hotel, a very popular hotel amongst Pro cycling teams, and she gives us a nice look behind the scenes of the kinds of places teams stay during their classics campaigns
3 Peaks Challenge – What to expect
This weekend nearly 2,000 of you will be riding Australia’s most difficult sportif, the 3 Peaks Challenge. With forest fires and landslides damaging the roads on Mount Hotham the route has been changed to ensure everyone is safe. The Climbing Cyclist has a good post on what you can expect from the revised route and you can download the Ride Guide from Bicycle Network here. I’ll see you there!
FebFifteen Australia versus the World Strava Challenge
We haven’t forgotten about you: the competition just closed for uploading your data from last week and we’re crunching the stats. Stay posted for an update tomorrow on who won, what the top countries were, who the top riders were, and a selection of our favourite #FebFifteen photos from Instagram.