Hepburn leads Orica-GreenEDGE clean sweep in men’s national ITT champs

Dual track world champion Michael Hepburn has taken victory in the time trial at the Australian National Road Championships in Burrumbeet, heading up an Orica-GreenEDGE cleansweep of the podium.

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Hepburn was joined on the dais by defending champion Luke Durbridge and the U23 world champion and GreenEDGE recruit Damian Howson.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think about winning,” said a stunned Hepburn post race. “I don’t think I’ve ever beaten Luke in a time-trial, [but] I felt like I was on a good one.

“I knew at the half-way check point that I was a little bit down on Luke and I just tried to come home strong and luckily that was enough.

Silver medalist Durbridge, looking to claim a third consecutive title, was disappointed but lauded praise on his team mate and friend.

“I thought I gave it everything and thought my everything was going to be enough today, but it wasn’t so obviously Heppy was on a super ride,” Durbridge commented. “Full credit to Hepburn he’s a great time triallist — I’m really proud of the guy he’s one of my best friends.

The ITT was marred by the crash of one of the pre-race favourites, Rohan Dennis, who was reportedly blown off his bike by a gust of wind.

Follow the link for full results from the 2014 men’s national ITT championships. Text via Cycling Australia press release.

Felicity Wardlaw wins women’s national ITT champs

Felicity Wardlaw (Bicycle Superstore) has been crowned Australia’s elite women’s time trial national champion after toppling three-time reigning champion Shara Gillow (Orica-AIS) at Burumbeet yesterday.

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Wardlaw, 36, a Subaru National Road Series rider from the regional Victorian town of Benalla, was overcome with emotion after her win.

“I’ve done so much work for this and it’s just an awesome reward,” Wardlaw exclaimed. “I’ve been trying to hold down a full-time job and train morning and night — at 36 years of age you often question and think is it time to hang up the shoes but it’s moments like this that are just surreal.”

Wardlaw finished third in last year’s championships but this time around she finished the 28km course 32 seconds clear of Gillow and a further five seconds clear of fellow NRS rider and 2008 ITT champion Bridie O’Donnell.

Three-time defending champion Gillow, who represented Australia at the 2013 world championships in Italy, admitted her preparation for the event was less than ideal.

“It’s a little bit disappointing,” said Gillow. “But I am just back after being off the bike for two weeks with a bout of pneumonia, so to come here and get second today I was pretty happy with that. And all credit to Felicity she did a really, really good job and I’m really happy for her.”

In the women’s under 23 time trial, Jenelle Crooks was crowned champion ahead of Emily Roper and Jessica Allen.

Follow the link for full results from the 2014 women’s national ITT championships. Text via Cycling Australia press release.

Jordan Kerby wins U23 ITT nationals

Jordan Kerby (Drapac Professional Cycling) has kicked off the new year with gold in men’s under 23 time trial on the opening morning of the national championships.

Image: Drapac Professional Cycling

Image: Drapac Professional Cycling

In a nail-biting finish to the 28km event, Kerby narrowly edged out Harry Carpenter by just two tenths of a second, with Carpenter’s SASI Cycling team-mate Miles Scotson rounding out the podium. 2013 Australian road world championships representative Campbell Flakemore (TAS) finished fourth.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed,” said Kerby who is making his debut for the newly promoted Drapac ProContinental team. “The support from the team was phenomenal — it was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. We put a target on the time trial and everything went to plan and we got it.”

Kerby will now turn his attention to defending his road race crown in Saturday’s 132.6km under 23 men’s road race in Buninyong.

“I’m going in as the defending champion so I’m definitely going to be marked and I’m going to do everything I can [to win] on the day.”

Follow the link for full results from the 2014 U23 men’s national ITT championships. Text via Cycling Australia press release.

UCI announces Cycling Independent Reform Commission

It’s been nearly a year since Pat McQuaid shut down the UCI’s independent commission into the governing body’s past, but new president Brian Cookson has announced overnight the make-up of a new body which will be given the same task.

The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) will be led by Swiss politician and former state prosecutor Dick Marty. He will be joined by Ulrich Haas, a professor of Civil Procedure and Civil Law at the University of Zurich, and Peter Nicholson, a former Australian military officer whose specialties include criminal investigations at national and international level.

“This Commission will investigate the problems cycling has faced in recent years, especially the allegations that the UCI has been involved in wrongdoing in the past”, Cookson said. “Allegations which have done so much to hurt the credibility of the UCI and our sport.”

“Their work will also be focused on understanding what went so wrong in our sport and they will make recommendations for change so that as far as possible those mistakes are not repeated.”

Cookson said that commission’s work was already underway and that they would soon be granted complete access to UCI files and data collected by the Kroll company on the day of Cookson’s election.

Click here to read more at VeloNation.

Giant steps up as major sponsor of former Argos-Shimano team

The team formerly known as Argos-Shimano will race as Giant-Shimano in 2014, according to a report in the Dutch Telegraaf newspaper.

cold!! (again)

Back in April Argos-Shimano announced they had a big title sponsor that was supposed to take the reigns for three years but that unnamed sponsor withdrew, leaving the team without a sponsor for 2014.

Giant is believed to have stepped up to fill the funding shortfall for one season, meaning the team will be on the hunt for a title sponsor for the 2015 season.

Click here to read more at Bike Radar.

Cadel Evans confirms he’ll race the nationals road race

It was revealed a couple weeks ago that Cadel Evans had entered the nationals road race and now the 2011 Tour de France winner has confirmed he’ll take the startline on Sunday.

Tour de France  2012 stage - 11

“My training has been very focused in the last few weeks and I feel that I’m at a level that should hopefully enable me to be competitive on Sunday.” said Evans who has declared that his Grand Tour focus will centre on the 2014 Giro D’Italia.

“I know it’s going to be hard work going up against the larger teams, but it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds and I’m looking forward to a good, solid hit out.”

Cycling Australia is calling this year’s road race the “strongest line up of men’s riders ever assembled for a national championship”, with the likes of Richie Porte, Nathan Earle, Simon Gerrans, Simon Clarke, Luke Durbridge, Matt Goss, Rohan Dennis (injury pending), Cadel Evans and many more taking to the start.

Text via Cycling Australia press release.

UCI mandatory wheel sticker program delayed

Last year the UCI announced plans that all non-standard wheels used in elite competition would need to bear a sticker confirming they had passed a rupture test.

That sticker program, due to be implemented this month, has reportedly been postponed while the UCI streamlines the approval process.

“This will allow us more time to develop the best approval process possible working in close collaboration with the different parties”, the UCI’s technical co-ordinator Matthieu Mottet told BikeRadar.

Almost 400 wheels from brands like Shimano, Campagnolo, Zipp and Bontrager have already passed the test.

Click here to read more at Bike Radar.

Tomas Vaitkus retires from pro cycling

Lithuanian national champion didn’t get his contract renewed with Orica-GreenEDGE this season and has announced he’s retiring from the sport.

Tomas Vaitkus up Le Manie

Vaitkus told ciclismointernacional.com that he wasn’t surprised about not getting a ride in 2014 after he clashed with an unnamed director at GreenEDGE early in 2013. Vaitkus claims he wasn’t given many opportunities at the Australian-basesd squad and even approached his national federation asking to ride for them.

With far more riders on the market than there are jobs, Vaitkus is coming to terms with the fact he might have to look elsewhere for work … including to other sports, such as motor racing.

Click here to read more (in Spanish) at ciclismointernacional.

The wealthiest people in cycling

In part one of a series of articles, The Inner Ring takes a look at the wealthiest figures in the sport of professional cycling. And we’re not talking about riders here, but the team owners and other powerful players within the sport.

Check out part one of the series here which includes a section on Australian cycling’s everwhere man Gerry Ryan.

Physiological demands of road sprinting in pro riders and U23 riders

Here’s an interesting study published in the Journal of Science and Cycling about the differences between the physiological demands of top-end sprinting in the pro ranks and the U23 ranks.

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Nine podium-place-winning sprints were analysed from a pro rider and then from an U23 rider. No significant differences were found in the peak power required (1370W for the pro, 1318W for U23) nor the average power required. A difference was found, however, in the intensity required in the last 10 minutes of the race, leading up to the final sprint: 4.6W/kg for the pro and 3.7W/kg for the U23.

The paper’s abstract suggests the duration of races, total elevation gain and average power considered in this study were similar between pro and U23 riders. We’d be interested to know what the quality of the fields was like in each race and effect that had on the results. That is, 1370W might be enough to win a smaller race, but it’s unlikely to be enough to outsprint Marcel Kittel or Mark Cavendish.

Click here to read the paper’s abstract and click through to the full paper.

Team Cannondale’s TTT training strategies

This is a cool video from a recent Cannondale training camp in which the riders are split into groups and challenged to put in the most efficient TTT effort they can, based on the average power created by the riders while maintaining an average speed of more than 47km/h. Interesting viewing.

The Rocacorba Recap

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


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Today’s feature image was taken by Tim Bardsley-Smith at the Australian national ITT championships in Burumbeet.