Omega Pharma – Quickstep takes opening Team Time Trial of Tirreno Adriatico
Two-time UCI World TTT Champion Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rode to victory by an impressive 11 seconds on the flat, 18.5km course of the Tirreno-Adriatico team time trial on Wednesday. This is the second straight year the team has won the team time trial stage.
Mark Cavendish took over on the front after Tony Martin in the final meters, helping to drag the team along the line as they beat ORICA-GreenEDGE and their previous best time of 20’24” (54.411km/h average speed) with an average speed of 54.905 kilometers per hour. Movistar was 3rd, 18″ back.
As a result of the win, Cavendish put on the Maglia Azzurra (blue jersey) as the race leader. Kwiatkowski now wears the Maglia Blanca (white jersey) for best young rider.
OPQS will defend the leader’s jersey at 166km Stage two, from San Vincenzo to Cascina, on Thursday. The earlier parts of the parcours are undulating, but the profile goes flat after 108.2, which leaves the possibility of a bunch sprint finale.
“To be fair, we went fast, we went hard, but the faster you go in the team time trial the easier it feels,” Cavendish said. “We were really smooth with the pace the whole way. You almost feel like you didn’t go fast enough when it’s like that. We did the course many times yesterday and the day before. We knew every corner, we knew exactly where we had to go, and we knew our form. Everybody was nervous. Alessandro Petacchi, in his 20 years as a professional, this is his first team time trial. So he was nervous coming into this.”
Click here for full results of stage 1 of the 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico.
Text adapted from OPQS press release.
Slagter takes the win on stage 5 of Paris-Nice
They might have seemed unexpected leaders at the start but Geraint Thomas and Tom-Jelte Slagter proved the skeptics wrong in the decisive 201.5-kms 4th stage of Paris-Nice to Beleville on Wednesday.
The steep Mont-Brouilly was thought to the first turning point of the Race to the Sun this year and it was. Dutchman Slagter and Welshman Thomas were the boldest, breaking away from the pack to go for stage win and yellow jersey. Both joined efforts in the finale to achieve their respective goals and managed to hold a first bunch of favorites at bay to earn their moment of glory. Overall, Thomas, who only replaced title-holder Richie Porte as the Team Sky leader on the eve of the start, leads stage 3 winner John Degenkolb by three seconds with Slagter third, four seconds adrift.
The start was given at 10:45 to 164 riders in sunny weather, as usual this week. Winner three years ago in Belleville, Thomas Voeckler (EUC) briefly attempted to part company with the bunch before being reeled in. Valerio Agnoli (AST), Laurent Didier (TFR) and stage 3 escapee Perrig Quemeneur (EUC) in turn tried their luck after 11 km and were quickly joined by Spanish champion Jesus Herrada (MOV). The peloton let them go and the gap went up to 6:20 at most at kilometre 111 before the first climbs appeared.
Agnoli claims polka-dot jersey
The four just had the time to tackle the 3rd category Cote de la Clayette (km 137.5), Col de Champ de Juin (Km 156.5) and Col de Crie (Km 164) before being reined in. Each time, Agnoli collected the four points by crossing the top in first place which was enough for the Italian to take the polka-dot jersey away from France’s Christophe Laborie. The break ended at the foot of Mont Brouilly (Km 183), leaving the stage for the strong men of this Paris-Nice to battle it out.
Slagter and Thomas the boldest
Team Sky, who took charge of most of the chase, kept leading the way in the steep hill overlooking the Beaujolais vineyards. The decisive move was launched by Slagter, the 2013 winner of the Tour Down Under, who surged in the last kilometre of the ascent. Geraint Thomas was the only rider capable of taking his wheel. The two took turns in the last ten kilometers with a first bunch involving other favorites like Vincenzo Nibali (AST), Carlos Betancur (AG2R), Jakob Fuglsang (AST) or wrold champion Alberto Rui Costa (LAM) on their heels, while yellow jersey holder John Degenkolb (GIA) was in a second group, not too far down. On the line, track specialist Thomas and hopeful Slagter retained a slim lead on their chasers and the Welshman, who had done most of the work in the finale, could not resist the Dutchman’s jump in the final stretch.
Slagter, who won the 2013 Tour Down Under said, “I can’t believe it because this is the first race of my season after one day in Mallorca. But it was really hectic in the last few days and you can feel how good you are. Today was the best possibility for me. That climb suits me really well but to win the stage is something I didn’t expect. I knew Geraint Thomas is pretty good, he is fast and strong and a very good rider. I knew that if I wanted to beat him I had to wait for the right moment but it worked perfectly. It was the job I had to do.”
Thomas said after the race, “It’s unbelievable. I only learnt Friday before the race I was going to lead the team. Paris-Nice is one of the biggest stage race in the world behind the Tour de France and the Giro. I obviously received great support from the team. It’s a different pressure because you don’t want to let them down. I knew anyway that if I had been helping Richie I would have played a role here anyway. But the fact that he went to Tirreno was a great opportunity for me. I just want to enjoy that day in yellow because John(Degenkolb) will probably take it back tomorrow with the bonus sprints.”
Click here for full results of the 2014 Paris-Nice stage 4.
Text adapted from ASO press release.
Tamouridis takes Stage 4 of Tour of Taiwan – tight top 10 GC
Greek national champion Ioannis Tamouridis (SP Tableware) won stage 4 of Tour of Taiwan yesterday and moved into second place, only four seconds behind race leader Rémy Di Gregorio. The Frenchman is also under serious threat by new points classification leader Marco Zanotti of Parkhotel Valkenburg with only one stage remaining.
“I had no choice but open my sprint from 500 metres out, otherwise we would have been caught,” explained Tamouridis who outsprinted Bulgac and missed being swallowed up by the chase group. “This is my first race of the year and I didn’t have a good preparation so it took me a few days to find the rhythm. My motivation went down after Euskaltel folded. I had joined the World Tour pretty late at the age of 32 but I was hoping to stay there for a while. One year ago, I was racing Tirreno-Adriatico before the big Spring classics and the Giro d’Italia. It’s another world!”
“We’ve passed the hardest stage,” said Di Gregorio. “I’ve avoided the traps so far but I don’t feel like I’ve won the Tour de Taiwan yet. It’s not easy to control a race with a team of only five riders. My teammates have done a great job in the past three days but it seems much longer than that. We feel the fatigue and I cross my fingers for keeping the lead tomorrow.”
With three intermediate sprints and ten seconds time bonus on the finishing line, only sixteen seconds separate the top ten GC riders so the race will be full of action in tomorrow’s final stage.
Read more on cyclingnews.
General Classification top 10 after stage 4
1 DI GRéGORIO Rémy Team La Pomme Marseille 11:28:26
2 TAMOURIDIS Ioannis SP Tableware 0:04
3 ZANOTTI Marco Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:08
4 DIETEREN Jan Team Stölting 0:10
5 BULGAC Brian Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:10
6 EIBEGGER Markus Synergy Baku Cycling Project 0:11
7 FORMOLO Davide Cannondale 0:12
8 WURF Cameron Cannondale 0:15
9 UCHIMA Kohei Japan 0:16
10 SULZBERGER Wesley Drapac Professional Cycling 0:16
See full results here.
UCI to broadcast all nine women’s Road World Cup races in 2014
According to a UCI press release, each of the nine races on the UCI Women’s Road World Cup will be shown this season by various broadcasters and on the UCI YouTube channel.
UCI President Brian Cookson praised the organisers of the nine rounds of the 2014 UCI Women Road World Cup: “We are extremely fortunate to have the support of the race organisers for this initiative,” said Mr Cookson. “Their dedication and incredible work has already had a large part to play in the growing success and popularity of women’s cycling. By staging exciting and high-level events, they are improving its image and generating more interest from the fans.”
He added: “This is an exciting and positive year for women’s cycling. With the launch in 2014 of La Course by Le Tour de France on the last day of the Tour de France and now this increased visibility of our leading professional women’s cycling series, it is clear that real momentum is building.”
It’s all in the thighs for Quadzilla
This video is four months old but we only stumbled upon it now, so we though it was worth sharing. It features World cup gold medalist in the team sprint Robert Forstermann, AKA Quadzilla, showing off both his skills and his famous thighs in Berlin. The German athlete has been focused on cycling for about 12 years and has quite a few titles under his massive thighs. The man of pure muscle has a top speed of 78kmph.
In November when this video was shot, Forstermann was training 14 times a week which also includes gym sessions: the athlete squats 280kgs and can leg press up to 640kgs. Reports say his thighs measure between 28 to 34 inches in diameter.
CyclingTips Marketplace off to a roaring start!
A couple weeks ago we launched our Marketplace section where the CyclingTips community can buy and sell their used cycling goods for free. We felt this space was underserviced in Australia and judging by its fantastic start we can only assume you agree.
If you haven’t already visited, check out all the listings of used cycling gear that’s quickly being updated every day. You can always access the Marketplace by clicking on the top right corner in the navigation menu on any page under “Marketplace“.
The Rocacorba Recap
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed here at CyclingTips:
- Dean Woods OAM responds to Charlie Walsh criticism
- Calvin Watson’s Strada Bianche (and massive photo gallery)
- Tirreno-Adriatico: race preview and contenders
- Rocacorba Daily: Wednesday March 12
- Roadtripping New Zealand
- Everesting: climbing 8,848m in a single ride
- The human cost of gold medals — the dark secrets of the Charlie Walsh era
- Xenon gas as a performance enhancing drug: doping or hot air?
- BH G6 review