Chris Horner wins the Vuelta a Espana, Matthews takes the final stage
American Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) has become the oldest ever winner of a cycling grand tour after the 41-year-old took out the Tour of Spain in Madrid overnight.
Australian Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) won the 21st stage of the race around the capital’s city centre in a bunch sprint ahead of American Tyler Farrar and German Nikias Arndt.
Horner finished 47th on the final stage but maintained his 37 second advantage over Italian Vincenzo Nibali while Spain’s Alejandro Valverde took third.
“I have faced younger and great riders like Nibali, Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez. They have had a great tour so for me it is a legendary moment that may not be repeated,” Horner said at a press conference.
“I know I am also the first North American to win the Tour of Spain and this makes me very proud of my work and above all that of my teammates.”
Horner’s bid for the title began in earnest on the third stage from Vigo to Villagarcia de Arosa, which he won to register his first ever stage victory in a grand tour and move ahead in the general classification.
He held the leader’s red jersey for just a day as 2010 champion Nibali regained the lead on stage four, but he took the lead once more with another stage victory in the 10th stage from Torredelcampo to Guejar Sierra.
Nibali responded again and the Giro d’Italia winner seemed set for his second Tour of Spain title as he headed into the final week of the race with a 50 second lead.
However, Horner made significant strides into Nibali’s advantage in the 16th and 18th stages before finally moving ahead of the Italian on the climb up the Alto Naranco in Oviedo in Friday’s 19th stage.
And the RadioShack rider all but sealed his triumph when he moved away from Nibali in the final few kilometres of Saturday’s daunting 12.2km climb to the top of the Alto de L’Angliru to open up his 37 second lead.
Horner had to withstand a series of attacks by Nibali but the Italian couldn’t open up a significant gap on Horner and eventually paid the price for his incessant attacks as he was left without the strength to follow Horner in the final couple of kilometres.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won the points classification, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) won the mountains classification and Euskaltel-Euskadi won the teams classification.
Follow the link for results from stage 21 of the 2013 Vuelta a Espana. Text via AFP.
Viviani wins opening stage at the Tour of Britain
Italy’s Elia Viviani (Cannondale) won the first stage of the Tour of Britain on Sunday as Mark Cavendish missed the chance to take the sprint finish.
— roberto (@robtapiamans) September 15, 2013
Omega Pharma Quick-Step rider Cavendish had the platform laid for him by his teammates on the first ride from Peebles to Drumlanrig Castle, but he was boxed in and slipped off teammate Alessandro Petacchi who went it alone to follow Viviani across the line.
Sojasun’s Anthony Delapace had looked to go solo with a breakaway with just over 40 of the 209.9 kilometre stage left but he was pulled back and Viviani took the win.
Former Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins is likely to be satisfied after crossing nine seconds off the pace for Team Sky. In fact, surviving a crash 200 metres from the end may well have been of greater pleasure to Wiggins, with the rest of his teammates just a second behind him in the peloton.
Tonight’s second stage takes the riders around Britain’s Lake District as they start in Carlisle and finish in Kendal.
Follow the link for results from stage 1 of the 2013 Tour of Britain. Text via AFP.
Sagan wins GP Cycliste de Montreal
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has continued his devastating form in North America, winning the GP Cycliste de Montreal one-day race after countering late attacks and attacking solo with 5km left to race.
With his move in the dying kilometres Sagan bridged across to Robert Gesink (Belkin) before riding away on his own to win by 4 seconds over Simone Ponzi (Astana) and Hesjedal.
Sagan went into the race as one of the favourites and was heavily marked throughout. But those efforts to stop the Slovak and the hilly course weren’t enough to stop him from winning, suggesting he might be one to watch at the world championship road race later this month.
Final-stage protest marrs the Giro Toscana
More than half the field in the Giro della Toscana stage race has quit in protest after ongoing concerns about rider safety due to traffic on course.
Only 49 of the race’s 112 riders completed last night’s final stage after the biggest teams in the women’s peloton led the protest. ORICA-AIS, Wiggle Honda, Hitec Products UCK, Specialized-lululemon and Rabobank-Liv/Giant all pulled out, with Marianne Vos leaving the race while comfortably in the lead and looking poised for victory.
Quitted #GiroToscana as a protest against dangerous race situations in previous stages. Tough decision while in the lead, but safety first!
— Marianne Vos (@marianne_vos) September 15, 2013
The five-stage Giro Toscana is the only HC-classified race on the women’s calendar but with traffic on course throughout the race and several near-misses the bulk of the riders took a stand.
In the end the final stage was won by Aude Biannic (S.C. Michela Fanini Rox) with Claudia Hausler (Tibco-To the Top) taking the overall win by one second.
Cycling has enough dangers involved without racing on roads with haphazard safety measures. So long #GiroToscana we're going home in 1 piece
— Jessie MacLean (@aussiejessmac) September 15, 2013
Marianne Vos had been enjoying a comfortable lead going into the final stage, having won the prologue time trial and stages 2 and 3.
Gesink wins GP Cycliste de Quebec
Robert Gesink (Belkin) won the GP Cycliste de Quebec on Friday with an impressive final effort, overpowering French champion Arthur Vichot (FDJ) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC) on the slightly uphill arrival.
“I did not expect that this uphill finish still remained after such a gruelling race with all those little climbs,” said Gesink. “I’m still a little bit shaky. It was not a flat sprint, it was pretty hard, but I’m still a bit surprised. Apparently, everyone was exhausted.”
The race was animated by a three-rider breakaway early in proceedings before Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) all attacked in the final 12.6km lap through Quebec City.
Gesink had been in a group that shut down Terpstra and a move by van Avermaet and when it came time to open up for the sprint, Gesink went from long range and just managed to hold off van Avermaet and Vichot.
Follow the link for full results from the 2013 GP Cycliste de Quebec. Text adapted from a Team Belkin press release.
Australian national teams announced for World Road Championships
Cycling Australia has released the names of the riders that will represent their country in the upcoming road cycling world championships in Tuscany, Italy.
The representatives are as follows:
1. Simon Clarke
2. Rohan Dennis
3. Cadel Evans
4. Mathew Hayman
5. Michael Mathews
6. Cameron Meyer
7. Richie Porte
8. Rory Sutherland
9. David Tanner
1. Rohan Dennis
2. Richie Porte
1. Amy Cure
2. Tiffany Cromwell
3. Gracie Elvin
4. Shara Gillow
5. Lauren Kitchen
6. Amanda Spratt
7. Carlee Taylor
1. Shara Gillow
1. Caleb Ewan
2. Campbell Flakemore
3. Damien Howson
4. Bradley Linfield
5. Adam Phelan
6. Samuel Spokes
7. Calvin Watson
1. Campbell Flakemore
2. Damien Howson
European Cycling Union backs Cookson for UCI presidency
Members of the European Cycling Union (Union Européenne de Cyclisme or UEC) have voted 27-10 to support Brian Cookson as the next UCI president.
The UEC has mandated that its 14 delegates to the UCI Congress on September 27 will vote for Cookson but the vote is secret meaning any or all of the 14 could vote for McQuaid if they wanted to.
Both candidates addressed the meeting in a bid for support before the vote.
McQuaid left the meeting soon after the vote but insisted he is still confident of being re-elected.
“I’ve got a valid nomination and I’ll be running for president. The elections is in two weeks and there’s a lot of work to be done,” he said. “I’m confident I’ll have a majority due to the feedback I’ve had from delegates and confederations.”
Click here to read more at Cycling News.
Further changes proposed to the UCI Constitution
It’s only two weeks until the UCI Congress convenes in Florence to vote in a new UCI president and the drama shows no signs of abating.
Three national federations have proposed further amendments to the UCI constitution ahead of the Congress, two of which would help Pat McQuaid, one which appears to have been designed to reduce his chances of a third term.
The Barbados Cycling Union has proposed a change to the nomination process floating a clause that says “the incumbent President shall qualify on the basis of incumbency.”
The following day the Turkish federation submitted a similar proposal saying “The incumbent president has the right to stand for re-election without nominations.”
Meanwhile the Lithuanian National Federation has proposed that an amendment currently on the table — to allow any two federations to nominate a presidential candidate, and for that amendment to take effect retroactively — be altered to remove the retroactive clause.
Click here to read more at CyclingNews.
Graeme Obree breaks world record
Former Scottish cycling champion Graeme Obree set a new world record Friday, hurtling head-first across the Nevada desert at over 50 mph on a prone-style bike called “The Beastie.”
The 48-year-old, known as “The Flying Scotsman,” broke a 30-year-old record for a one-man prone machine by reaching 56.6 mph (91.1 kph) at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge event near Battle Mountain, in the western US state.
“It feels good,” he told AFP after setting breaking the record on his last ride — and he admitted it wasn’t looking good after his initial times were well off the pace.
“I thought, oh my goodness I’m going to struggle a bit… I started off with 47 miles an hour, then 48, then 52. I thought, Now hold on, I’ve really really got to nail this, so last chance.
“I really nailed it and gave it absolutely everything… this was the last chance, the last ride,” he added.
The Nevada event, in its 14th year, tests riders on “what is arguably the straightest, flattest, and smoothest road surface in the world,” according to organizers.
At an altitude of 4,619ft (1,408m), they can accelerate over four miles to reach their maximum velocity being timed over a 200-meter distance.
In his top cycling days — when he was known for his distinctive aerodynamic helmet and riding position — Obree twice set the world hour record in 1993 and 1994, and he was the 4,000 m pursuit champion in 1993 and 1995.
In 2006 his story was made into a film called “The Flying Scotsman,” which told how he built his bike from old bits of washing machines, won glory on the world cycling stage but also suffered lows, including with mental health problems.
Olympic champion cyclist Chris Hoy is among those who have paid tribute to Obree’s pioneering spirit.
“Graeme is a genius in the true sense of the word. His uncanny ability to tackle problems from an angle that no-one else could have thought of, makes him a one-off,” he said, quoted on Obree’s website.
“An original. He sees the world in a different way to us mere mortals and comes up with ideas and solutions which make you laugh, shake your head and say ‘why didn’t I think of that?!’”
Text via AFP.
New dates and return to world level for Herald Sun Tour
Victoria’s oldest and most prestigious stage race will return to UCI status and conduct its 61st edition from the Wednesday 5th to Sunday 9th of February 2014.
After a period of uncertainty, a hiatus in 2010 as Geelong hosted the UCI Road World Championships and a move in 2013 from October to a three day event in January, Herald Sun Tour organising committee chair Tom Salom said he was thrilled that the UCI Road Commission had agreed to the new dates and status.
“The return to UCI 2.1 level status will enable the participation of the international WorldTour teams and international riders who will once again mixed it with the best Australian domestic teams. It’s the perfect combination for the event that has seen the likes of 2011 winner Nathan Haas move from his domestic team to the global stage.” Mr Salom said.
The Herald Sun Tour last had UCI 2.1 level status in 2011, but a temporary move to January in 2013 to keep the event alive delivered a domestic level event. Mr Salom praised the work of the Oceania Cycling Confederation president Tracey Gaudry and thanked Cycling Australia for their support of the new dates which will ensure the survival of the 60-year-old event.
Oceania Cycling Confederation president Tracey Gaudry said the Herald Sun Tour plays an important role in the development of cycling in the region.
“As we have seen over many years the Herald Sun Tour is a crucial step in the development pathway, particularly for riders from Australia and New Zealand, but also from Asia and even Africa in recent years. For national and continental teams to be able to ride alongside the WorldTour teams and riders provides a great opportunity and that mix is what makes the Herald Sun Tour a crucial component of the global cycling calendar,” Ms Gaudry said.
Race director and three-time Sun Tour winner John Trevorrow said the world’s best riders and teams were keen to have confirmation of the new date so they can determine their plans for the 2014 season.
“The response from those WorldTour Teams and riders we have spoken to about the potential for a February Herald Sun Tour has been overwhelmingly positive,” Trevorrow said.
“Many are keen to extend their summer racing and training in Australia before they return to Europe for the spring Classics and they are already expressing a strong desire to participate.”
“We will now formally target some key WorldTour teams and look forward to confirming the start list and the Tour route as soon as we can.”
Nearly 4,000 riders enjoy picture perfect conditions at Amy’s Gran Fondo
Australian cycling legend Phil Anderson yesterday presented prizes to Zac Quinn and Peta Mullens as overall winners of the 110km Amy’s Gran Fondo cycling event. African Wildlife Safaris and Team Pill took out the honours in the men’s and women’s team categories.
Rhys Gillett, for the third consecutive year, took King of the Mountain honours.
Tracey Gaudry, Amy Gillett Foundation CEO and UCI Oceania President said Amy’s Gran Fondo is one of 12 worldwide qualifying events for the 2014 UCI World Amateur Road Cycling Championships.
“Amy’s Gran Fondo continues to grow, with nearly 4,000 riders participating across the three distance options – 110km, 40km and the 14km community ride which showed the highest growth in participation. There’s something for everyone from kids to elite riders,” Ms Gaudry said.
“Now in its third year, Amy’s Gran Fondo is confirmed as an iconic event on the Australian cycling calendar, and one of the premier events on the UCI World Cycling Tour calendar.
Australia’s leading cycling safety charity receives no ongoing government funding as it strives to improve conditions for bike riders. Patron of the Amy Gillett Foundation, Simon Gillett said “Rob Teal and Team Genovese deserve special mention as the top individual and team fundraisers. The funds raised throughout this event are vital for the Foundation to continue its cycling safety educational programs and cycling safety advocacy.”
The Rocacorba Recap
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:
- The end of the Goulburn to Sydney Cycling Classic?
- Cam Wurf’s Vuelta Diary: Stage 19
- Cam Wurf’s Vuelta Diary: stage 20
- Rocacorba Daily: Friday September 13