Mark Cavendish wins opening stage of Tour of California

In a day of heavy crosswinds that threatened to blow the race apart, the 193.3km first Stage of AMGEN Tour of California resulted in a bunch finish after reeling in the day’s breakaway in the final kilometers.

Mark Cavendish launched off the wheel of Peter Sagan (Cannondale), and was able to catch up to Degenkolb who charged early from the front of the group and beat him in a photo finish.

Mark Cavendish beats John Degenkolb on stage 1 of the Tour of California. Cavendish takes the overall race lead. Photo courtesy of John Pierce of PhotoSport International

Mark Cavendish beats John Degenkolb on stage 1 of the Tour of California. Cavendish takes the overall race lead. Photo courtesy of John Pierce of PhotoSport International

“To be fair, I won Milano – Sanremo by 10 centimeters before,” Cavendish. “I’ve lost a sprint in the Giro d’Italia by three centimeters. Both of those, I knew the outcome. This is the first time in my career I really had no idea. I had to wait a little bit until they confirmed.”

“We knew it was going to be windy, but to be honest the wind changed direction on the way back. We thought it was going to be a crosswind in the last 20 miles on the main road on the way to Sacramento. We sensed the move that split the group. We felt the crosswinds, knew the split was going to happen, and we just went straight to the front. It split and we were there. We were well represented with four guys. But then we turned right and it was a headwind. That’s when we thought it was going to be a crosswind. If you’ve got a small group, that much distance, and a headwind, you’re never going to stay away. We sat up and didn’t deplete our energy any further. I could feel the work we did earlier in my sprint and I could see it in the guys setting up for the sprint. But they still kept me up there and led me out perfectly.”

cavATOC

Stage 1: Sacramento > Sacramento - Stage Result

Sunday 11th May 2014

1. gb
CAVENDISH Mark
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
04:44:17
2. de
DEGENKOLB John
Team Giant-Shimano
-
3. nl
HOFLAND Moreno
Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
-

Marcel Kittel wins second consecutive stage of the Giro d’Italia

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) has won stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia, sprinting to victory in Dublin ahead of Ben Swift (Sky) and Elia Viviani (Cannondale).

Giro-D'Itaia 2014 stage 3

Kittel’s second consecutive stage victory was more challenging than the first, thanks to the efforts of Ben Swift who benefitted from a terrific Edvald Boassen Hagen lead-out and led for most of the sprint. But Kittel was able to move past the Brit with just metres to spare to take the win on his 26th birthday.

It was another wet day for the riders and many suffered punctures and crashes. The day’s main breakaway featured Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo), Gert Dockx (Lotto Belisol), Yonder Godoy (Androni Giocattoli), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia) and Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin) and was wrapped up with 7km to go, setting things up for a sprint finish.

Orica-GreenEDGE’s Michael Matthews retained his overall lead after finishing on the same time as Kittel and is currently eight seconds clear of Alessandro Petacchi (OPQS) and 10 seconds clear of Daniel Oss (BMC).

The riders now take a rest day in order to make the long transfer from Ireland down to the south of Italy.

Stage 3: Armagh > Dublin - Stage Result

Sunday 11th May 2014

1. de
KITTEL Marcel
Team Giant-Shimano
04:28:43
2. gb
SWIFT Ben
Team Sky
-
3. it
VIVIANI Elia
Cannondale
-

Read the full report and see the stage highlights on CyclingTips here

Marianne Vos wins the inaugural Friends Life Women’s Tour

Marianne Vos (Rabo/Liv) has won the inaugural Friends Life Women’s Tour off the back of three consecutive stage wins in the five-stage race around Britain.

Marianne Vos pictured during  women's Tour of Great Britain winning stage- 5

Marianne Vos pictured during women’s Tour of Great Britain winning stage- 5

After the first two stages of the race were won by Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) and Rosella Ratto (Estado de México-Faren Kuota) respectively, Vos stamped her control on the race winning stage 3 in a bunch sprint and taking the overall lead.

She then went on to win stage 4 and stage 5 as well, both of them in bunch sprints as well, showing a late start to the season hasn’t curbed Vos’ dominance in races she decides to target.

“It’s nice to win the first ever Friends Life Women’s Tour,” Vos said. “This race is setting the standard for every other now; there’s no race that can match the organisation, the attention or the crowds. It’s really big already, but it was the first time and I think it has a bright future.”

women's Tour of Great Britain 2014 stage-5

Emma Johansson finished second overall, 30 seconds in arrears, while Rosella Ratto rounded out the podium a further five seconds back.

Stay posted for more from the Women’s Tour, coming soon.

Stage 5: Harwich > Bury St Edmunds - Stage Result

Sunday 11th May 2014

1. nl
VOS Marianne
Rabobank-Liv Woman Cycling Team
02:48:10
2. it
BRONZINI Giorgia
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
-
3. nl
PIETERS Amy
Team Giant-Shimano
-

Ilnur Zakarin wins the Tour d’Azerbaidjan, Justin Jules takes the final stage

Justin Jules (La Pomme Marseille) has won the fifth and final stage of the 2014 Tour d’Azerbaijan, taking out a sprint finish in Baku ahead of stage 3 winner Youcef Reguigui (MTN-Qhubeka) and Adrian Honiskz (CCC Polsat). Ilnur Zakarin (RusVelo) maintained his overall lead in the general classification to win the race overall.

 Justin Jules (La Pomme Marseille) shown winning  stage 5 of Tour d'Azerbaidjan -

Justin Jules (La Pomme Marseille) shown winning stage 5 of Tour d’Azerbaidjan -

A group of three riders — David de la Fuente (Torku Sekerspor), Samir Jabrayilov (Baku Synergy) and Thomas Vaubourzeix (La Pomme Marseille) — built an advantage of five minutes at one point but once that started coming down it was clear a bunch sprint was on the cards.

A flurry of attacks defined the later stages of the race, including two attacks from Australia’s Robert Power who turned 19 today. But ultimately a reduced peloton came back together as the finish approached.

Jules proved to be the strongest sprinter in that select group while Zakarin finished safely in the group to take out the race overall. Vitaliy Buts (Kolss) was second overall while Australia’s Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) was third.

Final Classification: > - Stage Result

Sunday 11th May 2014

1. ru
ZAKARIN Ilnur
RusVelo
20:36:24
2. ua
BUTS Vitaliy
Kolss Cycling Team
1:52
3. au
LAPTHORNE Darren
Drapac Professional Cycling
1:57

Click here to read more at CyclingTips.

Arnaud Demare defends his Four Days of Dunkirk title

Frenchman Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) has won his second consecutive edition of the Four Days of Dunkirk after taking the overall lead on stage 1 and never relinquishing it.

Demare won the first two stages of the race giving him a 16-second overall lead. But a win on stage 3 by Sylvain Chavanel saw the IAM rider get within just two seconds of the lead.

Demare was able to finish ahead of Chavanel on stage four, opening his overall lead to six seconds, and when Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar) won the fifth and final stage (yep, five days in a race called the “Four Days of Dunkirk”) Demare finished on the same time as Chavanel, clinching back-to-back overall victories.

Final Classification: > - Stage Result

Sunday 11th May 2014

1. fr
DéMARE Arnaud
FDJ.fr
22:14:25
2. fr
CHAVANEL Sylvain
IAM Cycling
0:06
3. dk
VALGREN ANDERSEN Michael
Tinkoff-Saxo
-

Peter Sagan faces tough competition at the Tour of California

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) currently holds the record for the most stage wins ever at the Tour of California (10, with four green jerseys to boot) but this year’s he’s got a little more competition in the sprints.

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) will both be there, as will a number of other sprinters that could potentially challenge Sagan.

“I came here for the first time five years ago and won two stages,” Sagan said at the pre-race press conference. “And then every year I found more victories. Maybe it was a little bit easy last year and maybe before because we were missing Mark [Cavendish] and we were missing [Matt] Goss. We will see this year, but I don’t know. This year is going to be harder.”

The race will open with a stage for the sprinters in Sacramento; a stage Cavendish won in 2011, his last visit to the race.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Up to seven teams keen to sign Nacer Bouhanni

French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni is out of contract at the end of this year and according to his agent, as many as seven teams are interested in signing him for next year.

Kramon_Giro_OpeningCeremony_DSC7538 - Version 2

“It’s true that there’s a broad interest in Nacer but that’s logical as he’s one of only a couple of top sprinters who are free for next year. Kittel, Cavendish, Greipel, they’re all blocked for next year,” De Geyter told Cyclingnews.

“The only decision for Nacer at the moment is whether he will stay with his current team or not because he’ll have to talk with them in the coming days. We’ll know more then but the only thing that’s true is that there’s a broad interest in him. There are six or seven teams interested. They’re top teams.”

Click here to read more at cyclismactu.fr (via Google Translate).

Doubts building over Fernando Alonso’s cycling project

F1 star Fernando Alonso is supposed to be launching his cycling team in 2015 but details are still scarse and there are rumours that the project is in doubt.

“We are not hearing anything from the Alonso people,” one rider agent told VeloNews. “This is the time of year when serious negotiations begin. It’s not a good sign if they are not talking to riders.”

“It seems like it’s completely stopped,” another team manager said. “We’d be hearing about it if they were approaching our riders. There is nothing. There’s no news.”

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Integrated electronics: predictions for the next three years of cycling technology

Here’s an interesting read over at Bike Radar in which David Rome gazes into his crystal ball to try and work out what sort of advances in cycling-related technology we’re likely to see in the coming years. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Wireless shifting: it isn’t a huge leap to think it is near. Wireless shifting could totally simplify bike setup, change frame construction and clean up a bike’s overall aesthetics. Wireless-specific frames could be made without gear cable ports or routing consideration, opening up a whole new era in frame design and construction techniques.

You can also catch a glimps of SRAM’s new electronic shifting below:

sram-electronic-shifting

Click here for video, more photos of SRAM electronic shifting and what the rumours are saying.

In the Australian National Team car at the Tour d’Azerbaidjan

CyclingTips Editor Matt de Neef has been over in Azerbaijan for the past week, reporting on the five-day Tour d’Azerbaidjan. On stage 4 of the race, the queen stage, he went along for a ride in the team car of the Australian National Team, led by director sportif Brian Stephens. Here’s the video Matt put together of the day:

Click here to read more about the Australian National Team, how it was selected and more.

Officials car causes a crash at the Women’s Tour

The following incident happened in the neutral zone on stage 4 of the Women’s Tour over the weekend. Not the ideal start to the stage.

Thankfully no-one was hurt in the incident.

Click here to read more at road.cc.

The Rocacorba Recap

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


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This morning’s feature photo was taken by Kristof Ramon and shows Marcel Kittel collapsing after coming back to win stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia.