Alberto Contador wins stage 1 of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has continued his great early-season form, winning stage one of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) overnight ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).


The 153km stage featured eight categorised climbs and it was on the final of these, the second category Alto de Gaintza, that Contador attacked with Valverde, before summiting alone and descending to victory in Ordizia.

A chase group featuring Kwiatkowski, Cadel Evans (BMC), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida), Yury Trofimov (Katusha), Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale), and Mikel Nieve (Sky) was unable to reel in the two Spaniards.

“This morning I had good legs and had to seize the day,” Contador said in a press release. “What is important now is to recover, because it has only just begun and here you must go day-by-day.”

Contador now leads the six-stage race by 14 seconds over Valverde with Kwiatkowski a further 20 seconds back. Stage 2 takes the riders 155km from Ordizia to Dantxarinea (Urdazubi).

Stage 1: Ordizia > Ordizia - Stage Result

Monday 7th April 2014

1. es
CONTADOR Alberto
Tinkoff-Saxo
04:05:07
2. es
VALVERDE Alejandro
Movistar Team
0:14
3. pl
KWIATKOWSKI Michal
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
0:34

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Giorgia Bronzini wins GP de Dottignies

Former two-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) has won the GP de Dottignies in Belgium overnight, outsprinting Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini) and Lucy Garner (Giant-Shimano) to take her first win on European soil for 2014.

GP Dottignies  2014

Reports are scarse as to how the race unfolded, but it appears as if an early break featured Valentina Carretta and Elena Berlato (Ale-Cipollini), Silvia Valsecchi (Astana-BePink) and Rossella Ratto (Estado de México-Faren) but it was all brought back together for a bunch kick.

Follow the link for results from the 2014 GP de Dottignies. And click here to read more.

Richie Porte to miss the Giro d’Italia

After much speculation that Richie Porte’s Giro d’Italia preparation had been compromised by a lingering illness that saw him withdraw from Tirreno-Adriatico, Team Sky has confirmed that the Tasmanian won’t race the Italian grand tour this year.

Tirreno - Adriatico 2014 stage - 4

Porte will instead focus on being in peak form for the Tour de France where he’ll ride in support of last year’s winner Chris Froome.

“Richie was always going to ride the Tour de France this year but this now means that he can fully focus on being in the best possible shape without having the added challenge of having to ride the Giro as well,” Team Sky’s Head of Performance Support, Tim Kerrison, said in a team press release.

Porte has been listed as a starter for Liege-Bastogne-Liege on April 27 where he’ll ride in support of Froome.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Organisers rate the cobbles ahead of Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix

Representatives of the ASO, the organisers of Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France, have previewed the route of this year’s “Hell of the North” and rated the 28 cobblestone sectors based on “length, the unevenness of the cobbles, the overall condition of the sectors, and their location.”

The infamous Forest of Arenberg.

The infamous Forest of Arenberg.

There are three five-star sectors (the most difficult): the Forest of Arenberg after 161km, the Mons-en-Pévèle after 208km and Le Carrefour de l’Arbre after 240km.

The 257km race also features seven four-star sectors, nine three-star sectors, eight two-star sectors and a single one-star sector, a kilometre from the finish in Roubaix.

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Investigation opened into Vansummeren crash at Flanders

The spectator that was involved in that sickening collision with Johan Vansummeren in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday has reportedly undergone a second round of neurosurgery and remains in a coma with life-threatening injuries.

Meanwhile local police have announced that they are investigating the incident. Tom Janssens, Kortrijk’s public prosecutor, told Sporza:

“Why is that woman standing there? Does the rider make a wrong manoeuvre? Based on the evidence, based on the statements of Vansummeren and based on the video, we will take a position.”

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Mark Cavendish withdraws from Scheldeprijs

Before we all turn out attention to Paris-Roubaix on Sunday there’s the mid-week semi-classic Scheldeprijs on Wednesday. Three-time winner Mark Cavendish was supposed to be there but a press release from his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team suggests the Manxman won’t race due to a bout of gastro which has left him unable to adequately prepare for the race.

Cavendish on his way to winning Scheldeprijs in 2011.

Cavendish on his way to winning Scheldeprijs in 2011.

“I am sad to miss a race that is very close to my heart, my first win as a professional,” Cavendish said. “But it wouldn’t be fair to the race and for my team if I couldn’t arrive and perform at my best. With a team built around me, I wouldn’t feel right in asking my teammates to sacrifice themselves if I’m not in condition to perform.”

“The Team for Scheldeprijs was originally built around Mark,” Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. “Unfortunately Mark won’t be at the start, so we will have to reconsider a bit our race strategy. However, in the team we have a few fast men that can be there in the final and go for the sprint. The race will be also an important preparation prior to Paris-Roubaix. ”

Text via Omega Pharma-QuickStep press release.

Brainy Bike Lights

A behavioural expert has created a rear bike light which, it is claimed, helps drivers more easily see the cyclist (compared with other rear lights) and therefore avoid an accident.

The Brainy Bike Lights create light in the shape of a bike and rider, making use of the brain’s reported ability to be able to rapidly process symbols and imagery. This helps drivers differentiate a cyclist ahead from other lights in the urban environment.

Oxford University’s Department of Experimental Psychology conducted three experiments to see how quickly test subjects processed different bike lights and their results show that the subjects’ reactions were quicker to the Brainy Bike Light than other alternatives.

According to Professor Charles Spence at the Experimental Psychology Lab drivers reacted an average of 100 milliseconds quicker to the new lights than standard lights, which apparently equates to 1.3m of extra stopping distance for a vehicle travelling at roughly 50km/h.

Click here to read more at Bike Radar. And click here to visit the Brainy Bike Lights website.

Tour of Flanders 2014: Orica-GreenEDGE Directors Cut

Great video this:

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 Jered Gruber and shows the infamous Forest of Arenberg cobbled sector which will no doubt be a highlight of Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.