Rodriguez defends Lombardia crown
Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez of the Katusha team made up for his disappointing world championships defeat by defending his crown in the 107th edition of the Tour of Lombardy one-day cycling classic last night.
Fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished second with Poland’s Rafael Majka of Saxo Bank in third after 242km of racing in rainy conditions between Bergamo and Lecco on the shores of Lake Como.
Rodriguez, pipped on the finish line of the worlds road race last Sunday by Portugal’s Rui Costa, made his decisive move on the steepest section of the fifth and final climb, powering ahead of a select group of frontrunners.
The Spanish climbing specialist went on to build a small lead on Valverde and Irishman Dan Martin and maintained his advantage over the closing kilometres to cross the finish line solo.
Valverde, criticised by Rodriguez for failing to chase Costa down last week, battled to close the gap but eventually crossed the line 17 seconds in arrears. Majka finished in third, at 23 seconds, and ahead of Martin after the Garmin rider, who was seen trying to fix a problem with his bike in the final 500 metres, appeared to suffer a setback in the closing kilometres.
“It’s a huge satisfaction, but it wasn’t easy because everyone knew how much I wanted to win,” said Rodriguez, who produced an almost identical attack on the race’s final climb as the one which led to his maiden win last year.
Rodriguez’s victory comes at the tail end of a season in which he finished runner-up at the Tour of Catalonia and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, both times to Martin, and in Florence last week. Having spent the past week lamenting what might have been, and questioning Valverde’s tactics, the Spaniard widely known as ‘Purito’ (Little Cigar) said it was time to move on.
“I spent a lot of this week thinking about what happened,” said Rodriguez. “But we have to look ahead. Otherwise, you can’t move on.”
Earlier in the race Italian Vincenzo Nibali’s victory bid in the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’ ended when he was involved in a multiple pile-up, the Giro d’Italia champion suffering an apparent knee injury and pulling out. Not long after, the battle to win one of the season’s five cycling ‘Monuments’ races moved up a gear.
Valverde’s Movistar team, including Colombian climber Nairo Quintana, helped set a searing pace on the steep Sormano climb, an effort which dropped several contenders, including Belgium’s former two-time winner Phillipe Gilbert.
The technical descent, during which Valverde and Quintana attacked, leading to the Madonna di Ghisallo climb exacted a further toll. They were soon joined by three other riders, including Frenchman Thomas Voeckler who attacked solo to build a near three minute lead before seeing his audacious bid snuffed out with 11.5 km remaining.
On the Villa Vergano climb, a number of specialists moved to the front in anticipation of the crucial, final ramps. Rodriguez waited for the steepest section before making a move which no-one was able to follow.
“It was an incisive attack, I just couldn’t match it,” said Valverde. “Purito deserved to win.”
With Britain’s Chris Froome pulling out with a back injury on Saturday, the win allowed Rodriguez — who was 80 points behind the Tour de France champion in the WorldTour standings — to retake the number one spot.
“This year I have been unlucky whereas last year everything went well for me,” added the Spaniard. “I lost the Tour of Catalonia and Liege-Bastogne-Liege to Dan Martin, and I wasn’t 100 percent at the Tour de France. So when victory does come, it tastes all the more sweet. And taking the number one spot again shows how consistent I have been.”
Follow the link for results from the 2013 Tour of Lombardy. Text via AFP.
Jack Haig wins the Tour of Tasmania
Bendigo’s Jack Haig (Huon-Genesys) has been crowned the 2013 Caterpillar Tour of Tasmania champion with his efforts earning him the Subaru National Road Series lead with just three one-day races remaining on the calendar.
Haig, 19, joins the likes of Cadel Evans (BMC), Richie Porte (Sky), Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) on the Tour’s honour roll.
“It’s great to be able to finish the tour with the yellow jersey and be on that long list of people that have won this race — I’m very honoured,” Haig said.
— Jack Haig (@jackhaig93) October 6, 2013
Haig, part of the Tasmanian based Huon-Genesys team, clinched the lead on day three of the eight-day tour and finished 1:43 ahead of Robbie Hucker (Drapac) and over three minutes to Brodie Talbot (Caterpillar).
The win has propelled Haig back into the NRS lead after he lost the jersey to teammate Nathan Earle in August.
“It’s great having Nathan on the team and to have him present me with the NRS leader’s jersey,” Haig said. “He’s a good friend, someone who’s going to be riding with Team Sky next year, and I definitely look up to him.”
Line honours in the Tour’s final stage, a criterium in Devonport, went to Launceston’s Ben Grenda (Team Polygon).
There was never more than a few seconds between the riders over 30 rapid laps, with Grenda clinching the stage, and the Cycling Australia Insurance green sprinter’s jersey, ahead of stage two winner Alex Edmondson (Euride Racing) and Patrick Shaw (Huon-Genesys).
“I couldn’t have asked for a better race,” Grenda exclaimed. “I really wanted to win a stage during this tour, so I’m pretty happy. All my family have come to watch, so it’s nice to race in front of them and win a stage in my home state.”
The next event on the Subaru NRS calendar is the historic Melbourne to Warrnambool classic, a 256km race held this coming Saturday, October 12. Sunday October 13 will then showcase both men and women’s NRS racing, with the Shipwreck Coast Classic held along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.
Follow the link for final results from the 2013 Tour of Tasmania. Text via Cycling Australia press release.
Tyler Farrar signs one-year contract with Garmin-Sharp
American sprinter Tyler Farrar has told Belgian journalists that he will ride with Garmin-Sharp again next season after signing a one-year contract extension.
Farrar won stage 3 at the Eurometropool Tour in Belgium on Saturday, his first European victory since 2011.
“Many count only victories,” Farrar said Saturday. “I finished this season 20 times in the top five, something almost nobody knows. And there were many second places. That proves I can still be in the game in the sprints.”
Farrar has ridden with Garmin-Sharp since 2008 and has won a stage in all three Grand Tours with the squad. Farrar reported being “stressed” at the end of the Vuelta a Espana last month, having not secured a contract for next season.
Click here to read more at VeloNews.
Contador accepts pay cut
With Bjarne Riis still looking for a second title sponsor for this Saxo Team for 2014, headline rider Alberto Contador appears to have taken a paycut to help out Riis and the team.
Contador is believed to have accepted a 15% reduction in his salary, down from roughly 3.3 million Euro per year to 2.8 million euro. It’s believed that Contador gets roughly 2 million Euro a year from Specialized as well.
The funding shortfall for the Saxo Bank team is the result of Oleg Tinkoff withdrawing funding from the now-Saxo Tinkoff team.
Riis and his staff will need to submit the relevant documentation to the UCI by October 20.
Click here to read more at VeloNation.
Thomas De Gendt signs with Omega Pharma-QuickStep for 2014.
Vacansoleil-DCM rider Thomas De Gendt has signed with Omega Pharma-QuickStep for 2014 after uncertainty about whether the Belgian would find a team for the coming season.
De Gendt is believed to have taken an 80% pay cut in order to join OPQS but didn’t appear concerned.
“I didn’t need a second to think to say yes,” De Gendt told Het Nieuwsblad. “When my manager rang Wednesday with the offer, I immediately said yes. I am grateful for this opportunity.”
De Gendt’s best career result was a third place on GC at the 2012 Giro d’Italia and he has also won stages at Paris-Nice, Tour de Suisse, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and other races.
“We’ve been following Thomas with considerable interest for some years now,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. An athlete who can win a stage at Paris-Nice, one at the Tour de Suisse, the reigning stage in the Giro and even take 3rd place in the race for the Pink jersey definitely cannot have lost all his skills in just a few months.”
“I’m very happy to become a part of this group,” De Gendt said. “I’ve always dreamed of being a part of a something like this, ever since Tom Boonen won the World Cup in Madrid in 2005. OPQS is one of the top teams, very professional in all aspects and with absolutely competent people in every sector.”
Text adapted from an OPQS press release. Click here to read more about De Gendt’s pay cut.
Top riders end career
With the end of the season fast approaching, many riders are considering their options for next year with many of them deciding to bring their professional career to a close.
American Dave Zabriskie confirmed last night that Lombardia was the final race of his 13-year career.
“The time for me to stop has come. I’m at peace with that,” he said before the start of last night’s race. “I unfortunately had a bad season with the injuries and hardly raced at all. That gave me a lot of time away from the sport this year and that helped me reach my decision to not pursue it anymore.”
As reported on Friday, BMC’s Marco Pinotti will also retire at the end of this season. The Italian rider received a warm farewell from his home crowd at Lombardia last night.
Vacansoleil-DCM’s Juan Antonio Flecha will make the Tour of Beijing his last race and is looking forward to a well-earned rest afterwards.
“I can not wait to finish in mid-October… and go to Maui, Hawaii, with an open date on the ticket back. I will swap the road for the foam of the waves, and my bike for a surfboard, and walk barefoot all day, and free.”
And Frenchman Anthony Charteau (Europcar), who won the polka dot jersey in the 2010 Tour de France, has completed his last race, the Tour de Vendee.
Europcar bikes stolen in Tournai, Belgium
It’s been a bad few weeks for bike thefts with the Russian and Danish national teams having had their gear stolen during the world championships and now Team Europcar falling foul of thieves at the Eurometropool Tour in Belgium.
Thieves reportedly broke into the Europcar team truck and stole 18 bikes, with a total estimated value of close to 200,000 Euro.
The Europcar riders were able to resume the race on bikes loaned from rival teams.
Earlier this year the Garmin-Sharp and Synergy Baku teams also had bikes stolen. It is unclear whether it’s the same group targeting the sport or if there are several different groups responsible.
Click here to read more at VeloNation.
Mark Cavendish gets married
— Peta Todd (@petatodd) October 6, 2013
Calcutta bans cycling on 175 roads during the day
In a city where more trips are made by bike than by car, it would seem strange to ban bikes during the day, but that’s exactly what has happened in the Indian city of Calcutta.
Police say there is too much traffic in Calcutta and that cyclists are slowing other road users down too much.
“There is just not enough space for all kind of vehicles,” Dilip Kumar Adak, deputy commissioner of the city’s traffic police department, told the BBC.
“Cycles slow down traffic and removing them will make the streets safer and traffic speedier. “It’s not a blanket ban. People can still cycle on smaller streets.”
Bans first introduced in 2008 barred cyclists from 38 roads in Calcutta but that ban has now been extended to nearly 200 roads. The decision has been met with much anger.
“The new laws are crazy,” said Gautam Shroff from the group Ride 2 Breathe. “Pollution is increasing every day here so we should be encouraging people to take up cycling. Instead we are punishing them for helping improve the environment.”
Click here to read more at road.cc.
Riders face court over the Giro della Toscana protest
Last month’s Giro della Toscana ended in controversy with more than half the field refusing to start the final stage due to safety concerns. The response from race organisers has been unflinching, accusing the riders of deliberately sabotaging the race, and now, threatening to take riders to court.
Check out this article at Podium Cafe for the full story.
We love a good helmet-cam video here at CyclingTips and here’s a high-energy clip to get the heart racing after the season’s first weekend of crit racing.
The Rocacorba Recap
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed: