Rain threatens to disrupt track world championships in Colombia

The track world championships get underway in Cali, Colombia today, but after heavy rain put the track out of action briefly on Monday there are concerns the weather could affect the championships’ schedule.

Image via Cali Track Worlds website

Image via Cali Track Worlds website

While the Alcides Nieto Patino velodrome does have a roof, the sides are open meaning rain can still get in when heavy enough. Monday’s downpour was enough to soak the track and flood the velodrome’s tunnels. More rain is forecast for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The velodrome’s open sides also allow some wind to get on to the track, as Aussie sprinter Shane Perkins told AAP.

“The wind changes its mind every five minutes, which makes it fun choosing wheels. But at the end of the day, everyone has to put up with it.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Richmond, Virginia announces courses for 2015 road world championships

The 2014 road world championships in Ponferrada, Spain might still be seven months away but already the organisers of next year’s worlds in Richmond, Virginia, USA, have revealed their course designs.

map

Richmond isn’t a particularly mountainous area but there are a couple of cobbled climbs — out of Shockoe Bottom and Historic Shockoe Slip — which will feature heavily in the closing stages of the men’s road race.

Tim Miller, CEO for Richmond 2015, said the organisers had to take into account three factors when designing the courses: competition, tourism, and impact to businesses and residents.

“If all we had to worry about was the competition, it would be easy,” Miller said. “[we had to consider] the areas of city, county and state that they want to show off, and how local residents and businesses will be impacted. We’ve worked hard to find that balance and meet courses that meet those objectives.”

UCI President was on hand and offered the following comments:

“I am truly excited that the UCI Road World Championships will return to the US for first time in nearly 30 years, the last time was at Colorado Springs in 1986. The courses that have just been unveiled are certainly worthy for a world championships.

“I’m very excited by what I’ve seen today. The urban setting is very interesting. It takes in a bit of Monument Avenue, and two cobble stone climbs including the wonderful Libby Hill climb, which would surely have a place in the Tour of Flanders if it was in Belgium,” Cookson said.

Click here to read more at the Richmond 2015 website.

Brad Wiggins to target the Commonwealth Games and the Vuelta

Sir Bradley Wiggins has updated his list of target races for 2014, saying he’d love to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games and use the Vuelta a Espana as a lead-in to the world championships.

Giro d'Italia 2013 - 8a Tappa

“I haven’t got a gold medal from the Commonwealths so it would be nice to add that on”, Wiggins told Cycling News. “It’s a couple of days after the Tour de France, so for the sake of carrying on for a few more days and doing it, I am down for it.”

Wiggins’ main target for the season will be the Tour de France, where he’ll reportedly ride in support of defending champion Chris Froome, but after that he wants to target the Vuelta.

“I’d love to ride the Vuelta again, now that I’ve ticked the box of the Tour of Britain. I’d love to use it as preparation for the World Championships as Fabian [Cancellara] and Tony [Martin] tend to do every year and really try to have a good crack at the worlds in Spain this year.”

Click here to read more at road.cc.

Orica-GreenEDGE targeting stage wins at the Tour de Langkawi

The Tour de Langkawi starts tomorrow and for Orica-GreenEDGE, the team’s second appearance in the Malaysian race will be about trying to take stage wins and riding for Pieter Weening in the general classification.

Le Tour de Langkawi 2013 stage-6

“The parcours is fairly typical of the Tour of Langkawi,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “There are nine mostly flat stages, and one really tough mountain stage up to the Genting Highlands on day four. Given the length of the race, it’s a good opportunity for the riders to get some decent race miles in their legs on the way to Europe.”

Aidis Kruopis goes into the race as Orica-GreenEDGE’s designated sprinter after showing some good form at the Tour of Qatar with a second place stage finish.

“Our main objective in Langkawi is stage wins,” said Wilson. “We are bringing our in-form sprinter Aidis to try and fulfil that objective. With nine potential sprint stages, he will have plenty of opportunities. Pieter Weening’s GC goals are always important. He will have our new climbing sensation, Esteban Chaves, there for support.”

The Orica-GreenEdge Tour de Langkawi team is: Aidis Kruopis, Brett Lancaster, Damien Howson, Esteban Chaves, Pieter Weening and Sam Bewley

Click here to read more in the Orica-GreenEDGE press release.

Deignan back training after broken collarbone

After riding into the back of a car and breaking his collarbone during training in Monaco earlier this month, Team Sky’s Phil Deignan is back on the bike.

“I had a week off, but I’ve done a couple of days on the trainer and today was my first ride out on the road,” he told Cycling News.

The Irishman has his sights set on the Giro d’Italia.

“It’s going to depend on the next couple of weeks and how the training goes. The fact that I’ve only missed 10 days means that I shouldn’t have lost a huge amount of fitness. I should be able to get back up to speed relatively quickly and hopefully the Giro is still on. We’ll see next week as to where we are with the race programme.”

If he does make the Giro squad he will ride in support of Richie Porte in the mountains.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Martijn Keizer signs for Belkin

Team Belkin has announced that Dutch rider Martijn Keizer has signed with the squad after coming from the Varanclassic-Dolticini Continental Team.

Ster ZLM Tour 2013 stage-4

Keizer made his professional debut with Vacansoleil in 2011 but was one of many riders left without a contract when the team folded at the end of last year. The 25-year-old was reportedly considering retirement, but instead signed with Veranclassic-Doltcini, striking up an agreement with the team that if a WorldTour team was interested in him, he’d be free to leave.

“He will be a good help for our team leaders on the smaller mountains and, moreover, he will add to the team in team time trials with his time trial skills,” Belkin directeur sportif Nico Verhoerven said. “We operate as a team and that really suits Martijn.”

“It’s still fairly early in the season, but we already noticed that, due to our busy racing schedule, we could use another rider,” he said. “In Martijn we found a very strong rider who wanted to help us out. We already considered him last year, but back then we opted for others. Martijn fits well into our team and the way we operate.”

Click here to read more in a Team Belkin press release.

Managing the talent at Omega Pharma-QuickStep

With the Spring Classics just around the corner we’re bound to hear a lot about Omega Pharma-QuickStep in the next few months. With riders like Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra and Zdenek Stybar (to name just a few) on the squad, the team OPQS has plenty of cards to play when it comes to the Classics. Is it possible they’ve even got too many cards to play?

Tom Boonen attacking very strong on 'his' Taaienberg

In a guest post for The Inner Ring, former Mercury-Viatel director sportif Whit Yost goes through all of the Classics and semi-classics — from Het-Nieuwsbald through to Paris-Roubaix — and picks what he believes is the most appropriate OPQS line-up, choosing a captain, lieutenant and “wild card” for each race. He also gives great detail about why he’s chosen the riders he has.

It’s an impressive exercise that shows just how much is involved from a director sportif’s perspective when it comes to picking a squad. It also shows the depth of talent OPQS have on their hands, particularly if Tom Boonen is back to full fitness.

Click here to read the full article at The Inner Ring

Sagan’s shortcut

Check out this move from Peter Sagan in the Tour of Oman, where he bunny hops some traffic furniture, at great speed, in order to shorten his path around a roundabout. Maybe not as impressive as jumping up a flight of stairs on his bike but still worth a watch.

The Rocacorba Recap

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


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Today’s feature image comes from Cor Vos and shows some slightly damp conditions during last year’s Tour de Langkawi. This year’s edition of the race starts tomorrow.