Lapthorne wins stage 3 of Tour of Tasmania, Haig takes overall lead

Jack Haig (Huon-Genesys) has ridden into the Caterpillar Tour of Tasmania yellow jersey, finishing behind fellow Bendigo resident Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) in the punishing third stage from Hamilton to Lake St Clair. Robbie Hucker (Drapac) completed the Bendigo trifecta, rounding out the podium in third place.

Haig is the third person in three days to don the yellow leader’s jersey in the Subaru National Road Series event, following teammates Jai Crawford and Nathan Earle who held it on Sunday and Monday respectively.

Haig now leads the tour by one minute and 48 seconds ahead of Hucker, with Lapthorne and Brodie Talbot (Caterpillar) more than three minutes off the lead while the stage result has moved Tasmanian’s Earle and Crawford down to fifth and sixth position respectively.

“It definitely wasn’t the plan for me to take over yellow,” said Haig. “We just wanted to keep the peloton under control to make sure no-one overtook us in the lead. To come away with the yellow is a bit of a bonus, and it will be interesting to see how it goes for the rest of the tour – hopefully we can keep it.”

The 103.8 kilometre stage from Hamilton to Lake St Clair began fiercely with a number of early attacks in the wet and windy conditions. A seven man breakaway including Tasmania’s Gerald Evans (Team Polygon) formed with riders from several major teams building an imposing lead, before faltering just before the second King of the Mountain after 55 kilometres where they were caught by a chase group including eventual stage winner Lapthorne.

A counter attack from Bendigo trio Lapthorne, Haig, Robbie Hucker (Drapac) and New South Wales’ Brodie Talbot (Caterpillar) maintained composure as their lead over the peloton stretched to three minutes, before Lapthorne sprinted home in light rain to take the stage honours.

“The plan was really to set Robbie Hucker back into contention, because he’s almost a minute in front of me in the general classification,” Lapthorne explained. “We planned to get away with one of the Huon-Genesys guys because if we didn’t, we knew we’d have the whole team chasing pretty hard.

“Once we had the right combination of riders away we all committed and it just worked out perfectly. I got the stage win and Robbie is second on general classification so we’re right back in this race,” Lapthorne said.

Despite slipping back in the rankings, pre-tour favourite Earle and Crawford remain positive.

“It was a really good result for Jack, he’s up there now in the leader’s jersey and still has a good gap on the rest of the guys,” Earle said. “Obviously it’s a little bit disappointing that we were so far back in the peloton, but that’s just racing and there was nothing we could really do about that.

“Jai [Crawford] and I have only dropped down a few places, so we’re still right up there, and Jack’s in the lead – so things for the team are good,” Earle said.

Today’s fourth stage begins in the city of Launceston and will see the riders complete a 94km loop, finishing in Grindelwald after a challenging King of the Mountain to the finish.

Follow the link for results from stage 3 of the 2013 Tour of Tasmania. Text via Cycling Australia press release.

Broken ribs end Chris Horner’s season

Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner has ended his season early after breaking ribs in a fall at the world championships last Sunday.

Chris Horner on his way to winning the Vuelta.

Chris Horner on his way to winning the Vuelta.

Horner was one of many riders that was involved in a pile-up on the first of 10 laps around Florence and broke several ribs.

Horner has ruled himself out of Giro di Lombardia and the Tour of Beijing, effectively ending his season early.

Horner said: “Everything went well in the last couple of months, except for the World Championships. Broken ribs are really painful and I’ll be off the bike for at least two or three weeks. It’s sad that I can’t finish my season on a good note in Lombardy or China.”

Text via RadioShack Leopard press release.

Mikel Astarloza announces his retirement

Euskaltel-Euskadi veteran Mikel Astarloza has announced that he will retire from racing after the Tour of Beijing this month.

Tour de France 2013 stage-18

The Spaniard described the decision as “the hardest I have had to take up to now, but I am going to be 34 and I believe this is the moment for a lifestyle change.”

Astarloza first turned pro in 2002 when he rode with AG2r and he later joined Euskaltel-Euskadi in 2007. He has ridden the Tour de France nine times and won stage 16 of the 2009 edition, before he was stripped of his victory for testing positive for EPO. He subsequently was banned for two years.

Astarloza won the Tour Down Under in 2003.

Click here to read more.

Mikel Nieve confirms two-year deal with Sky

Rumours last week suggested Euskaltel-Euskadi rider Mikel Nieve would be joining Team Sky. Those rumours have now been confirmed by the 29-year-old climber.

Giro d'Italia 2011 - Arrivo quindicesima tappa "Conegliano-Gardeccia"

“Even before the Fernando Alonso option appeared I was already convinced that I wanted to go to Sky,” Nieve said. “I’ve still not signed because I wanted to see how things played out with Euskaltel, but I’ve agreed a two-year deal.”

Nieve will join Sky as a support rider having developed into a grand tour leader at Euskaltel. He has finished 10th in the Giro and the Vuelta and this year finished 12th in the Tour de France, thanks largely to a third place on the Mont Ventoux stage.

“I fully understand that I am going to be working for other team-mates, and that this is a team where I can provide real support in mountain stages,” he said. “I know that I am going to a team in which I am going to ride in a very different way and in which things are going to be very different all-round. I believe this change will suit me very well. It is the best team in the world and I believe I can progress as a rider.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke’s former team issues a statement on doping speculation

Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke was last week asked by the UCI to explain anomalies in his Biological Passport from 2012, leading Sky to announce any such issues happened before he joined their squad.
Tour of Algarve cycling 2013 stage-1

Last night, Tiernan-Locke’s former team, Endura Racing, issue a statement about the issue. The statement begins:

“At this early stage, without detailed information, it would be inappropriate to speculate on the reasons for inconsistencies in JTL’s biological passport data although it is known that there are many possible legitimate causes including fatigue and ill-health both of which we understand JTL has suffered from in the last year.

A process, that ought to have remained confidential, is underway and we obviously hope that JTL is able to provide information that is acceptable to the UCI for their enquiry in order for him to clear his name.”

Click here to read the full statement.

Team Champion System to shut down

Team Champion System started up as a Continental squad in 2010 and in 2012 it made the leap to ProContinental status.

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Having been riding mainly Asian races, the team brought in a handful of bigger international riders including Australians Will Clarke and Cameron Wurf.

The team has announced that it will fold at the end of this season after not being able to secure adequate funding, achieve much success in bigger races and secure invitations to bigger races.

Clothing manufacturer Champion System will continue an association in the sport with its ongoing partnership with Lampre-Merida.

Click here to read more at CyclingCentral.

Why Team Great Britain struggled in the elite men’s worlds road race

Writing for The Guardian cycling columnist William Fotheringham has suggested five reasons for the sub-par performance by British riders in the men’s road race at the world championships last weekend.

1. Riders were undercooked or over-raced
2. None of the team had ridden the Tour of Spain
3. British eyes are fixed too intently on the Tour
4. Incorrect tactical choices
5. Great Britain underestimated the task

To read the full article in which Fotheringham expands on each point, click here.

GoPro launches the HDHero3+

Sports videocamera manufacturer GoPro has gone from strength to strength in recent years thanks, most recently, to the HDHero3. Now the company has released the HDHero3+ which is apparently “20% smaller and lighter than its best-selling predecessor”, with 30% longer battery life and a sharper lens.

Here’s one of many promo videos for the new camera:

Click here to read more at road.cc.

Who wants to buy a $110,000 road bike?

Here’s a bike we stumbled upon on eBay which looks more than a little impressive. Problem is, it’s got the pricetag to match.

$T2eC16RHJGYE9nooh75vBSJlHtRbvQ~~60_57

Here’s the description:

“ONE-OF-A-KIND 2008 Colnago FUTURA La Carrera prototype road bicycle frame fully built with custom wheel-set hand painted by FUTURA. This frame was the prototype for the Look Ma No Brakes project which revived both the Master Pista model and the Art Bike concept! In 2007, La Carrera collaborated on this project with world renowned graffiti/street artists FUTURA and Stash, and legendary bicycle manufacturer Colnago.”

If you’ve got a spare $110k sitting around, the bike could be yours. The auction closes tomorrow.

Click here to see the listing on eBay.

Playing solitaire

Here’s a short and simple piece that’s worth checking out. It’s a first-person account from a cyclist in Iowa who does the vast majority of his cycling alone. When he joined in with a passing bunch on one of his solo rides, it proved to be an eye-opening and valuable experience. It’s a simple idea for a piece, but it’s well written and food for thought for riders who prefer riding alone.

Click here to read the article at Bicycling.

Sometimes it’s better not to follow your friends

This entertaining video has been doing the rounds over the past few days and it’s worth a look:

We wouldn’t normally recomend checking out the comments on YouTube videos but in this case the top commenter has it right:

“1. never ride without knowing where the track leads to…
2. the idiots of track builders should have applied a warning sign at places like this”

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:


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