Ladies Tour of Qatar – Stage 1

Defending champion Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) has won the opening stage of the 2014 Ladies Tour of Qatar, sprinting to victory from an elite 20-rider group that escaped from the main field roughly halfway through the race.

Stage 1 took the riders 97km from the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha to Mesaieed via a long loop with no more than a dozen corners throughout the entire desert-ringed stage.

The lead group featured most of the big-name sprinters — Wild, Chloe Hosking (Hitech-Products) and Mel Hoskins (Orica-AIS) — while Giorgia Bronzini missed the split, forcing her Wiggle Honda team to do much of the chasing in the main field in an unsuccessful attempt to shut down the break.

In addition to the sprinters, the lead group also contained many of the biggest names in the race including British and German national champions Lizzie Armistead and Trixi Worrack respectively, last year’s number-one-ranked female road cyclist Emma Johannson (Orica-AIS) and Australian Specialized-Lululemon recruit Tiffany Cromwell.

Kirsten Wild won both intermediate sprints on the stage, before going on to take the final sprint comfortably ahead of Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini) and Chloe Hosking. The main field finished 54 seconds behind the lead group.

The four-day race continues tomorrow with a 112km stage from Al Zubara to Madinat Al Shamal.

Follow the link for results from stage 1 of the 2014 Ladies Tour of Qatar.

Class field assembles for 61st Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Today commences the 61st instalment of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Victoria’s oldest and most prestigious stage race which will deliver five days of world-class racing.

96 riders representing 16 teams will tackle five stages and a combined 561.5km in the saddle, vying to add their name to an honour roll that features some of Australian and world cycling’s greatest names, including 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins.

A top lineup of teams include the likes of Orica-GreenEDGE, Garmin-Sharp, Cannondale, Drapac, United Healthcare, Avanti Racing and many others.

Beginning with the historic city centre prologue along Southbank Promenade tonight, and culminating with the iconic ascent of Arthur’s Seat on the Mornington Peninsula, the Tour’s latest edition also sees the return of UCI WorldTour teams for the first time since 2011.

Tonight will feature the team’s presentation which will be held between 4:30 – 5:30pm on the main stage at Federation Square (Melbourne) and the 2.5km prologue starting at from 6:45pm – 8pm.

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Race Timetable:

Prologue: Wednesday 5 February – 2.5km Melbourne 6:45pm to 8:00pm
Stage 1: Thursday 6 February – 116.1km Geelong to Ballarat 10:30am to 1:00pm*
Stage 2: Friday 7 February – 163.0km Ballarat to Bendigo 10:30am to 2:40pm*
Stage 3: Saturday 8 February – 156.1km Mitchelton Winery to Nagambie 10:30am to 2:20pm*
Stage 4: Sunday 9 February – 125km Arthurs Seat to Arthurs Seat 2:30pm to 5:30pm*

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View full startlist and teams here.

Dubai Tour kicks off today with 9.9km ITT

127 riders will begin first edition of the Dubai Tour with a 9.9km time trial today with the first rider (Tom Veelers, Team Giant-Shimano) starting at 1:05pm and the last rider (Tony Martin, OPQS) starting at 3:11pm (Dubai time). See the full ITT starting order here.

the day before the start of the Dubai Tour 2014

The inaugural edition of the four-day race run by RCS Sports has attracted a stellar lineup with cycling’s biggest names including Mark Cavendish, Vincenzo Nibali, Joaquim Rodríguez, Peter Sagan, Rui Costa, Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara, Alejandro Valverde, Taylor Phinney and Marcel Kittel.

Stages

Stage 1: ITT – 9.9km in Dubai
Stage 2: 122 km from Dubai to Palm Jumeirah
Stage 3: 162km from Dubai to Hatta
Stage 4: 123km from Dubai to Burj-Khalifa

See the official Dubai Tour website here.

2014 Paris-Nice Route revealed

ASO have revealed the course for the 72nd edition of Paris-Nice and confirmed that there will be no prologue nor time trial in this year’s edition.

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Paris-Nice starts on Sunday, March 9 in the west of Paris and includes 1,447 kilometres of racing over eight stages finishing in Nice.

18 WorldTour teams will start the race and wildcards who have been invited are the French pro-continental teams Bretagne – Séché Environnement and Cofids as well as IAM Cycling from Switzerland.

Read more about the course and analysis on the InnerRing.

Avanti Racing official team launch on eve of Sun Tour

Avanti Racing Team’s 2014 season has been officially launched in Melbourne, Australia, on the eve of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

The full 19 rider squad of the Avanti Racing Team: Taylor Gunman, Sam Davis, Campbell Flakemore, Brenton Jones, Jack Haig, Aaron Donnelly, Scott Law, Jonathan Lovelock, Ben Dyball, Anthony Giacoppo, Neil Van Der Ploeg, Joe Cooper, Jack Beckinsale, Mitchell Lovelock-Fay, Mark O’Brien, Luke Fetch, Alex Clements, Chris Hamilton, Tom Robinson

The full 19 rider squad of the Avanti Racing Team: Taylor Gunman, Sam Davis, Campbell Flakemore, Brenton Jones, Jack Haig, Aaron Donnelly, Scott Law, Jonathan Lovelock, Ben Dyball, Anthony Giacoppo, Neil Van Der Ploeg, Joe Cooper, Jack Beckinsale, Mitchell Lovelock-Fay, Mark O’Brien, Luke Fetch, Alex Clements, Chris Hamilton, Tom Robinson

With the team’s mission statement of sending riders to the WorldTour, co-manager Andrew Christie- Johnston was reluctant to say who would be ‘the next Riche Porte,’ but remained hopeful that some of the future stars of Australia and New Zealand cycling were embedded in his roster.

“We’ve got quite a few guys here that can take that next step,” said Christie-Johnston. “Who is going to be next? I’m not going to put my name on who that’s going to be.”

Christie-Johnston did, however, hint that there has been interest in some of his current crop.

“Campbell Flakemore did well at the world champs last year with a fourth in the U23 time trial, I think there’s quite a bit of interest in Campbell at the moment. Also with our sprinters, there is always a lot of interest in Australian sprinters, so anyone of those guys can step up.
“But for me it’s not so much about anyone of them individually, as the year develops we will see the standouts, and if they can take that next step then certainly I’ll be pushing hard to get them to the WorldTour.”

The Avanti Racing team will be lining up tonight to start the Jayco Herald Sun Tour which Nathan Haas won in 2011 (he was racing on the same team which was then named Genesys Wealth Advisors). Haas’ pro deal with Garmin-Sharp was said to take place at the final stage on the top of Arthur’s Seat which will feature again this Sunday.

The Tour of Britain upgraded to 2.HC status by UCI

The Tour of Britain will sit alongside some of professional cycling’s most prestigious events, having been upgraded to HC status by the UCI for 2014 and beyond. This status upgrade puts Britain’s national tour on a par with major events such as the Tour of California, Tour of Qatar and Criterium International.

The 2014 Tour of Britain will take place from Sunday 7th to Sunday 14th September.

Commenting on the news, SweetSpot Race Director, Mick Bennett, said:

“We are delighted by today’s announcement, which comes as a culmination of ten year’s hard work by the SweetSpot team [Ed: the event promoter].

2013 Tour of Britain at the top of Honister Pass on stage 2 (Carlisle to Kendal). Image Kristof Ramon.

2013 Tour of Britain at the top of Honister Pass on stage 2 (Carlisle to Kendal). Image Kristof Ramon.

Cyclesport and Membership director Jonny Clay said:

“We’re delighted that The Tour of Britain has attained a place alongside some of the most historic races on the global cycling calendar.

“This is a well-deserved recognition of the status of the sport in Britain and of the work that British Cycling has done to put Great Britain amongst the top cycling nations in the world.”

The reputation of The Tour of Britain has been growing in recent years with larger crowds watching increasingly high-profile fields. Last year’s event was won by Sir Bradley Wiggins, as he overcame a field that also included Tour de France stage winners such as Mark Cavendish, Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin.

Via press release. Read more about the 2013 Tour of Britain here.

Spanish cyclist pedals around world despite grenade hit

A Spanish cyclist said Tuesday he is determined to circle the world despite witnessing a deadly bus bombing and then coming under a grenade attack while crossing Pakistan.

colorado_on_the_road_3The 27-year-old cyclist, Javier Colorado, has posted a dramatic video he took of attacks by militants, including a January 21 bus bomb that killed 24 Shiite Muslim pilgrims in the dangerous southwestern province of Baluchistan.

As a police vehicle with an armed guard drove him and his bicycle away from the scene of the bus bombing the following morning, Colorado was hit on the side of the head by shrapnel apparently from a grenade attack. He had to be treated in a clinic and then a military hospital in Quetta.

“Right now I am better, I suffered two terrorist attacks in less than 12 hours and I feel strong enough to carry on with my project,” the bearded cyclist said in a message to AFP from his Facebook account.

“I have to take it step by step because what I went through was very tough,” he said.

Colorado said he was being transported in a police van with armed officers through Baluchistan when the bus, which was travelling behind them on the same road, exploded.

In a video released on his YouTube account, a huge ball of flame can be seen erupting in the distance.

See 6:51 when bomb goes off

Clearly frightened and breathless, Colorado can be seen fleeing the police van and crouching for cover by a stone wall nearby as the sound of gunfire crackles.

After spending the night in a nearby police station for safety, his journey continues in another police van.

Soon after, the video shows Colorado lying on the floor of the police vehicle saying: “They shot at us, they shot at us. I am bleeding.”

The cyclist said he published the video to show the “terrible horror” of such attacks.

“They are images that condemn the people dedicated to doing evil in the world.”

Colorado said he had now crossed into India and had 1,500 kilometres (about 930 miles) to go to reach Kolkata.

“That’s my next goal, to carry on pedalling and with my trip around the world,” he said.

The cyclist disputed an assertion by Pakistani officials that six police officers had died while protecting him from a gun attack after he crossed the Iran-Pakistan border. He said they actually died at the bus bombing the previous day.

Colorado set off from Madrid in October and cycled across Europe and the Middle East, entering Pakistan via Iran.

He aims to cycle round the world in two years, passing through Asia, the Americas and Africa, according to his blog.

Follow Javier on his blog here: www.coloradoontheroad.com

text via AFP

Shimano launches D-Fly Data Management System

Further expanding the capabilities of its E-tube wiring and electronics found in its Di2 electronic shifting systems, Shimano introduced the Di2 Wireless Unit featuring the new Shimano D-Fly Data Management system. This allows riders to view gear position, battery life and other common rider data functions from a handlebar-mounted computer.

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The tiny ANT/ANT+ transmitter will plug inline anywhere in the system (not just the rear derailleur as per the photo), providing many mounting options. The unit will transmit system data like battery level, gear selection and a few other items, to compatible cycling computers. Initially, this only be to the new Shimano Pro SCIO ANT+ Cycling Computer, but units from MIO and others are on in the works.

Upon its introduction, SM-EWW01 will be compatible with the PRO SCIO ANT+ cycling computer, a new 2014 introduction in the PRO line. Future compatibility with others cycling computers are planned for the 1st quarter of 2014.

The SCIO ANT+ cycling computer weighs 80 grams and will be available in white or black color options for $139 in January 2014.

Di2 Wireless Unit SM-EWW01 maintains a svelte size at only 38mm long, 25mm wide, 12.5mm in height, and weighs less than 5 grams.

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 Jered Gruber on Stelvio Pass in Italy.