Taylor Gunman wins stage 4 at Tour of Southland, Oram retains yellow

Taylor Gunman has conquered one of the most anticipated stages of this year’s SBS Bank Tour of Southland, powering up the 8km Coronet Peak climb for a stage victory.

Sam Lindsay (Barry Stewart Builders) finished second, overtaken in the final 500m of the 187km stage from Te Anau to Queenstown. James Oram (Kiwi Velo-Armstrong Prestige) was third across the line, meaning he will stay in the Tour’s yellow jersey for the third consecutive day; now boasting a 33 second lead in the general classification.

Gunman, in his debut Tour for Huon Salmon Genesys Wealth Advisors, said the stage victory came down to a cool head and some good speed.

“We had our hopes pinned on Joe (Cooper) today, so getting into the base of Coronet Peak when Kiwi Velo had control, I had the legs and put a turn of pace in, just to isolate Oram as much as we could to set up Joe. Unfortunately he hit a bit of a rough patch so he gave me the all clear,” he said.

In previous Tours today’s stage has finished with a steep 4km climb up the Crown Range, however this year organisers opted to move to the 8.4km Coronet Peak finish – a move Gunman and his team anticipated with a recon of the hill before the Tour started.

Today’s stage played out in hot, sunny conditions, with a group of eight riders making an initial break after just 32km. That lead grew to more than 7 minutes at one point, with Tom Scully (Ascot Park Hotel Kia Southland) cleaning up almost all of the sprint points on offer to retain the Harcourts Sprint Ace jersey, and Grayson Napier (Creation Signs L&M Group Racing) taking three maximum-point climbs to keep the Jesco Hydraulics King of the Mountain jersey.

By the base of Coronet Peak – 179km into the stage – the break had been caught and, while Gunman had the legs to take the stage victory, Oram did enough to extend his overall lead and will take added confidence heading into the last two days of the SBS Bank-sponsored Tour.

Oram now leads the Tour by 33 seconds, ahead of Linsday and Gunman, although the trio along with Lachlan Norris (Ascot Park Hotel Kia Southland) are all within a minute. Michael Torkler and Jeremy Vennell (both Calder Stewart) are both less than two minutes back from Oram.

Oram, a strong time trialist, is cautious not to look too far ahead of tomorrow’s 167km Stage 5 from Invercargill to Lumsden, but will no doubt be eyeing Saturday morning’s time trial in Winton as key.

“Today’s result puts a bigger gap between (myself and) those people who were earlier threats. Hopefully that will make the job a bit easier for the boys and we’ll be able to enjoy riding the front a bit more,” he said.

“I am looking forward to that time trial… it’s definitely something I enjoy.”

Follow the link for results from stage 4 of the 2013 Tour of Southland. Text via Tour of Southland website.

Docker and Howard re-sign with Orica-GreenEDGE

Orica-GreenEDGE has confirmed that Mitch Docker has re-signed with the Australian outfit for another two seasons. Docker made the jump to the WorldTour after a breakout Spring Classics campaign with Skil-Shimano in 2011. In his two-year tenure with the Australian team, Docker has honed his skills in the lead-out train and continued his focus on the cobbled classics.

Amgen Tour of California 2013 (2.HC) stage-6 ITT

Docker endured a major scare at the start of his first season with ORICA-GreenEDGE. He crashed heavily during the team training camp in January 2012, breaking his hand and suffering a severe concussion. His injuries sidelined him for more than four months.

“I was really happy with the support the team gave me when I was coming back from my injuries,” said Docker. “There was never any pressure to return quickly. I think I was able to repay them this year with some good riding in the support roles that I had.”

Meanwhile Orica-GreenEDGE has confirmed that Leigh Howard will also continue to call the Australian-based squad his home for another two years. Howard is a former multi-discipline track World Champion who took his sprinting skills to the professional level on the road four years ago. In his two years riding with Orica-GreenEDGE, Howard has found success, stability and comfort amongst his comrades.

“It has been a dream come true to race for an Aussie team,” said Howard. “Every year has been slightly better. I’ve gotten stronger and scored more results each year.”

Howard started off the season with a run of good form that netted him two wins at the Challenge Mallorca and podium places at Tour de San Luis and Paris-Nice. In the second half of the season, he played an integral role in several of his teammates’ victories, most notably two Vuelta a España stage wins courtesy of Michael Matthews.

Text via Orica-GreenEDGE press release.

Ted King extends Cannondale contract through 2014

Cannondale general manager Roberto Amadio has confirmed that popular US rider Ted King will ride with the Italian-based squad through 2014.

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“Maybe the journalists had their doubts, but his future with Cannondale was never questioned,” Amadio told VeloNews.

“He’s an intelligent rider, he can express himself well,” Amadio said. “He has a big appeal and is popular with the American fans, which is important for the sponsor, but above all, he has to be able to ride his bike well.”

Ted King controversially missed the time cut in stage 4 of this year’s Tour de France after a crash on stage 1 left the American with a separated shoulder. The commissaires ruled he had missed the stage 4 time cut by mere seconds, despite riding almost an entire team time trial alone.

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Caja Rural in advanced negotiations with Luis Leon Sanchez

According to Caja Rural-RGA sports director Jaime Gutierrez, the Spanish team is in negotiations with Luis Leo Sanchez about a possible contract for next year.

“We are talking, that’s for sure,” Gutierrez told Cyclingnews. “If he came to the team, he’s a great rider and he’d suit our squad down to the ground, it’d be a huge step forward.”

“But as yet, it’s not 100 percent confirmed.”

Sanchez was released from his contract with Belkin after being linked with Michele Ferrari and the fact “his name has been mentioned in too many cases”, according to a Belkin spokesperson.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Paracetamol can help cyclist’s endurance

Studies have shown that taking paracetamol prior to a 10-mile (16km) time trial can shave as much as 30 seconds off a rider’s time.

A new study has confirmed that the painkiller achieves this by reducing pain and the athlete’s body temperature, ensuring physical exertion can be maintained for longer in hot conditions.

The compound currently isn’t on WADA’s banned substances list, but the researcher who led the new study, Dr Lex Mauger from the University of Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences has urged that “consideration by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and local anti-doping authorities should be made about the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in sport – on both health and performance grounds.”

Click here to read more at road.cc.

’Wheelmen’ details Armstrong’s rise and fall from a business perspective

Just as there was no shortage of books about Lance Armstrong’s amazing cancer comeback and how he went on to win seven Tours de France, you can expect no shortage of books about his famous downfall.

Ronde van Vlaanderen  2010

One such book is ‘Wheelmen’, written by Wall Street Journal reporters Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell. The book is written from a business perspective with the authors approaching the Armstrong saga as the story of a white-collar crime.

Here’s a quote from a review of Wheelmen, over at VeloNews:

Much like Tyler Hamilton’s The Secret Race, if only half of the sensational and lurid details in this book were true, Armstrong comes across as more arrogant, deceptive, and vindictive than we already thought he was.

Sending an e-mail to Michael Barry instructing him to lie to the grand jury? Assuring Hamilton that he would make his life “a living hell?” Threatening the wives of his teammates? Demanding his own brand of Oakley sunglasses not only be tested in a wind tunnel to minimize drag, but also designed to look stylish upside-down in his own brand of Giro helmet when he was climbing?

Stories of Armstrong’s exploitation and discarding of women over the years? Each is richly detailed here, often via crude quotes attributed to Armstrong himself.

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Top 10 Cycling Fashion Disasters

Fashion is obviously a subjective thing, but whatever your tastes, you’ve got to admit there are some shockers among this list:

The Rocacorba Recap

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


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Today’s feature image was taken by Eric Wynn during the Shimano media camp on the Hawaiian island of Maui this week. It shows riders on the 55km-long descent from the Haleakala volcano which tops out at 3,000m.

For more amazing photos from the camp and to read about how Shimano’s new disc brakes handle a descent like that, click here.