Kittel heads to the Giro d’Italia as the top sprinter

With two time trials, one team time trial, three rest days, and heaps of mountains, there will still be plenty of opportunities for sprint finishes at this year’s Giro d’Italia. On paper there are five, perhaps six sprint stages on offer for the fast men racing in Italy over the next three weeks.

A few of the top names going to the Tour of California instead of the Giro are Mark Cavendish (who will not defend his points jersey) Peter Sagan and André Greipel.

Many other teams are also leaving their top sprinters at home, such as BMC, who are aiming to win the overall classification with Cadel Evans, and Belkin, who starts without Theo Bos or Moreno Hofland. Katusha is saving Alexander Kristoff for the Tour de France, with the team backing Joaquim Rodriguez’s ambitions to win the maglia rosa.

Kittel comes to the Giro as arguably best sprinter in the field and also with one of the few teams dedicated to leading him out. It will be his first appearance at the Giro d’Italia, but it’s not confirmed whether or not he’ll ride all the way to the finish.

Other sprinters to watch include Cannondale’s Elia Viviani, with two seconds and one third at last year’s Giro, who will be looking to win his first career Giro stage. Judging by his two wins at the Tour of Turkey beating Mark Cavendish, his chances are good.

Michael Matthews who won two stages in last year’s Vuelta, will be one to watch in the sprints. GreenEDGE will be riding for stage wins and Matthew Goss will be on the squad’s Tour of California startlist.

Other sprinters such as Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma), Boy Van Poppel and Giamcomo Nizzoli (Trek), and Ben Swift (Sky) will likely be up there in the bunch finishes, but probably without seeing the same support that Kittle will have from his Giant-Shimano lead-out.

Read more on Velonews

Wiggins, Cavendish, and Sagan headline Tour of California

Next week brings a feast of cycling for fans in Italy and the US. While the many of the World’s best riders will be fighting out the sprint stages at the Giro d’Italia in the first week, the Tour of California will be where many other high-profile riders will be racing.

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Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Peter Sagan, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Matthew Goss, Jens Voigt and Taylor Phinney are just some of the names who will be making the startline in Sacramento on May 11.

Read more on Velonews and see the full Tour of California Startlist here.

Ketone-based sports drink promises edge for athletes

A new sports drink’s tests suggests that it can increase performance levels by up to two percent and will go on the market later this year. The key ingredients of the drink are flavoured compounds called ketones which the drink’s developers say, are particularly effective in enhancing performance in endurance athletes.

Ketones are water-soluble, biochemicals that are produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low food intake (fasting) or carbohydrate restriction for cells of the body to use as energy instead of glucose.

20 questions with Danny Pate

Team SKY’s Danny Pate keeps a relatively low profile but word has it that he’s one of the funniest guys in the peloton (a “dry funny” that is). Here is an excerpt of a lighthearted interview with him with some more unusual questions than you’d normally hear:

Danny Pate - image via Team SKY

Danny Pate – image via Team SKY

What is the most heroic thing you’ve ever done?

(Laughs) On a scale of one to 10 that’s probably going to be pretty low. It’s hard to think of yourself as heroic. One time a guy dropped his wallet and I gave it back to him.

If you had a year off what would you want to do with that time?

Having a year off would be pretty nice. I’d still like to travel around. That would be one thing I’d miss from my life now is the travelling around. I’d like to go to a couple of places I’ve never been to. Travelling as a cyclist is not the same. We went to Rome once in the Giro and I was like ‘wait a minute – this is Rome!?’ It’s a place I’d like to go back to.

Do you have any phobias?

Heights and snakes. So if there was a snake at the top of a skyscraper I don’t know what I’d do.

Read more of the interview on Team SKY’s website.

Wiggle Honda Team Training Camp 2014 Italy in pictures

If you’re interested in a behind the scenes photo essay of one of women’s most professionally run cycling teams, have a look at Wiggle Honda’s Italy training camp. Stay tuned for following parts.

Team Wiggle Honda team training camp in Italy. Image via www.wiggle.com

Team Wiggle Honda team training camp in Italy. Image via www.wiggle.com

See the full story and gallery here.

Why it makes sense to bike without a helmet

We came across an interesting look at head injuries and the stats on helmet use on Howie Chong’s blog. Chong argues that there are many more activities we partake in that have a much higher risk of head injury than cycling, and that the fear that comes along with a push for helmets is counter productive in getting more people on bikes:

“When compared to other forms of transportation, the fear of head trauma from cycling is likely out of proportion to the actual risk — and that fear is leading many advocates to admonish bare-headed cycling and contribute to a culture that’s counter-productive to the overall safety of all cyclists.”

“a broader look at the statistics show that cyclists’ fear of head trauma is irrational if we compare it to some other risks. Head injuries aren’t just dangerous when you’re biking—head injuries are dangerous when you’re doing pretty much anything else. There’s ample evidence showing that there’s nothing particularly special about cycling when it comes to serious head injuries.

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“Over half of all head injuries occur in motor vehicles and more people were hospitalized after walking down the street than riding on a bicycle. Or consider another statistic: According to a 2006 French study, pedestrians are 1.4 times more likely to receive a traumatic brain injury than unhelmeted cyclists.

Why do places that have mandatory helmet laws for cyclists not have them for drivers or pedestrians? A 1996 Australian study suggests that a mandatory helmet law for motor vehicle occupants could save seventeen times more people from death and serious head injury than a similar law for cyclists.”

Read more here.

Taking Jensie quotes a little too far?


Fix the Iceland

Three young adventurers – Christopher Tubers, Christopher and James Melka Voverka – are travel and cycling enthusiasts. Last summer they went to the Iceland with modified fixed gear cyclocross bikes and brought back this fantastic short documentary that’ll take your breath away.

Better, faster, stronger

When you look at sporting achievements over the last decades, it seems like humans have gotten faster, better and stronger in nearly every way. Yet as David Epstein points out in this counter-intuitive talk, we might want to lay off the self-congratulation. Many factors are at play in shattering athletic records, and the development of our natural talents is just one of them.

If you spend 20 minutes on something today, this should be the thing to watch:

The Rocacorba Recap

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


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Today’s feature image comes Jered Gruber