Vincenzo Nibali wins the 2014 Tour de France, Marcel Kittel wins the final stage

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has become just the sixth rider in history to win all three of cycling’s Grand Tours, after winning the 2014 Tour de France in Paris on Sunday.

Nibali finished safely in the bunch on stage 21 as Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) won the bunch sprint on the Champs-Elysees for the second year in a row, edging out Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp).

TDFR 2014 - stage -21

As is traditional in the Tour de France, the final stage of the 2014 Tour began with the overall leader sipping champagne with his teammates before the proper racing got underway. The riders covered just 32.2km in the first hour, chatting with one another and offering congratulations to Vincenzo Nibali while his Astana team sat on the front of the bunch, maintaining a gentle tempo.

It took until the riders reached the first of nine laps around the 6.85km finishing circuit in Paris for there to be any real aggression in the race. There was a series of attacks in the closing kilometres, most of them shortlived, while the longest escape came from Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Richie Porte (Sky), Michael Morkov (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne-Seche).

The quartet got away with roughly 38km to go and it wasn’t until just before the final lap, 7.5km from the finish, that Porte was caught, having attacked his breakaway companions.

But as is almost always the case, the final stage of this year’s Tour came down to a bunch sprint. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) recovered from an earlier puncture to get back to the front and lead the sprint. But with just a few metres to spare he was passed by Marcel Kittel who took his fourth stage win of the race and back-to-back wins on the Champs-Elysees.

Final Classification: > - Stage Result

Sunday 27th July 2014

1. it
NIBALI Vincenzo
Astana Pro Team
89:59:06
2. fr
PERAUD Jean-Christophe
AG2R La Mondiale
7:37
3. fr
PINOT Thibaut
FDJ.fr
8:15

Click here to read the full race report at CyclingTips.

Marianne Vos wins inaugural La Course by Le Tour de France

Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) has won the first ever La Course by Le Tour de France, sprinting to victory on the Champs-Elysees ahead of Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) and Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits).

The reigning world champion stayed sheltered in a fast and aggressive race, only coming to the front in the closing kilometres before sprinting to an historic victory.

Paris 2014 - La Course for women Elite

The 89km race was off to an aggressive start with attacks coming from a number of riders before ultimately being shut down. Indeed, the entire race was defined by constant attacks from within the peloton with escape groups getting a few seconds clear before being swept back up.

The attacks continued right up until the final 5km at which point it was clear that a bunch sprint was imminent. A crash with 1km to go brought down Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) and Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) causing a split in the peloton.

When it came to the final sprint it was Marianne Vos who launched first, with Kirsten Wild following. The pair were neck and neck as the line approached but it was Vos who was able to push clear, winning the inaugural La Course.

1. nl
VOS Marianne
Rabobank-Liv Woman Cycling Team
02:00:41
2. nl
WILD Kirsten
Team Giant-Shimano
-
3. ca
KIRCHMAN Leah
Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
-

Click here to read the full stage report at CyclingTips.

Gianni Meersman leads the Tour de Wallonie after two stages

After two stages of the five-stage Tour de Wallonie in Belgium, Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) leads the race overall having taken second place in both bunch sprints so far.


The 148km first stage was taken out by Belgian national champion Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol), ahead of Meersman and third-placed Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar). Stage 2 went the way of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) who outsprinted Meersman and BMC’s Silvan Dillier.

Having been third overall after stage 1 (due to time bonuses), Meersman leapt into the overall lead on stage 2. The race continue today with a 174km third stage from Somme-Leuze to Neufchâteau.

Stage 2: Péronnes-lez-Antoing > Perwez - Stage Result

Sunday 27th July 2014

1. it
NIZZOLO Giacomo
Trek Factory Racing
04:51:35
2. be
MEERSMAN Gianni
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
-
3. ch
DILLIER Silvan
BMC Racing Team
-

Pieter Weening wins the Giro del Toscana

Pieter Weening has one the Giro della Toscana, taking out the one-day race with a solo victory this afternoon.

The win is ORICA-GreenEdge’s second of the weekend following British neo-pro Adam Yates’ success at the GP Industria and Artigianato yesterday.

Weening launched a final attack with 3km to ride, finishing six seconds ahead of Jerome Baugnies (WGG) and Roman Maikin (RVL).

“Today it went perfect for us,” Weening said.

“Adam and I ended up in the first group. Adam attacked just before the last climb so the other guys had to chase it down and that was the perfect position.

“Then I was able to come from behind at full speed and surprise the other guys with only 3km to go and that’s how we won, it was teamwork.

“Adam and I had a good training camp beforehand so we were in good shape and today this was a hard course so we could use it.


Text adapted from a Orica-GreenEDGE press release. Read more here.

1. nl
WEENING Pieter
Orica GreenEDGE
04:41:18
2. be
BAUGNIES Jerome
Wanty - Groupe Gobert
0:06
3. ru
MAIKIN Roman
RusVelo
-

Cadel Evans still undecided on future; short-term contract a possibility

Australia’s only Tour de France winner and world road champion, Cadel Evans (BMC), is out of contract at the end of this season and according to BMC management, the 37-year-old is currently weighing up his options.

Giro d'Italia 2013 - Settima Tappa

“Cadel and I have had some preliminary discussions over what his future looks like and racing could be part of that, racing may not be part of that”, BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz told Cyclingnews.

Ochowicz was asked whether Evans might be a given a contract for the early part of the season that would include the Tour Down Under and, presumably, the new road race created in his name that’s scheduled for February 1.

“That falls within the two or three categories. We’ve discussed a number of scenarios for his future and that’s one of them.. Both of us have had preliminary discussions about what that might look like but nothing is definitive.”

Click here to read more at Cyclingnews.

Bradley Wiggins to step away from road racing

After taking a silver medal in the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games over the weekend, Bradley Wiggins (Sky) told the BBC that he will be stepping back from road racing in favour of the track.

Amgen Tour of California 2014 stage 1

The 2012 Tour de France winner has signalled his intention to target the 2016 Rio Olympics on the track while any road racing between now and then would “have to compliment what I want to do on the track.”

“The road will have to take a back seat, we will use the road to compliment it but the priority will be the track. I said at the end that it would probably be the end for grand tours,” he told the BBC. “I can’t imagine doing that with what it’s going to take to get up to speed with these guys. I’ve kind of been and done it, thank God, this has to take priority if we want to take golds.”

Wiggins is reportedly in talks with Team Sky to see whether the team will be accommodate him as he uses road cycling as his secondary discipline.

“Whether or not they have a place for an ex-grand tour winner to just use the racing to prepare for the track. That’s to be discussed and we’re in discussions at the moment about it,” said Wiggins.

Click here to read more at the BBC website.

Lotto-Belisol to become Lotto-Soudal

From 2014 to 2020, Lotto and Soudal will be the main sponsors of the cycling team that was known as Lotto-Belisol over the past two years.

Both Lotto and Soudal commit to at least 2020 to support the Belgian Cycling Project and will be showcased on the jerseys of one of the top the Belgian cycling teams. Soudal is a glue and silicone manufacturer have been a minor sponsor of the team for several years and will now become a title sponsor. Lotto has had an association with cycling for over 30 years.

Luke Durbridge extends his contract with Orica-GreenEdge

Time-trial specialist Luke Durbridge has signed a new two-year deal that will see the 23-year-old ride with Orica-GreenEdge until the end of 2016.

Luke Durbridge

Durbridge started as a neo-pro in 2012 and was rewarded for his efforts with a call up to his first Tour de France this year.

“I’m really glad to have signed. I couldn’t have picked a better place to turn pro and my first seasons here have confirmed that this is the right team for me going onwards,” Durbridge said via a press release.

“I’m getting a lot of personal opportunities here and I’m able to work hard for my teammates to get some fantastic results. I feel at home on this team and it’s where I see my best possibilities to develop and grow as a rider,” says Durbridge.

“Durbo is an incredibly gifted athlete and a great rider to work with,” said sport director Matt White. “He has a really big engine, is a world class time trialist and knows how to win races. His first years as a pro have been very successful and I find that often people tend to forget how young he still is. I think he still has a lot of potential that we will see unfold over the next years with us.”

Text adapted from an Orica-GreenEdge press release.

Specialized-Lululemon turns to crowdfunding for sponsorship

The company behind pro women’s team Specialized-Lululemon, Velocio Sports, has announced it will be turning to crowdfunding from 2015 onwards with funding from both Specialized and Lululemon ending at the end of this season.

Club memberships will be available to fans and supporters of women’s cycling while the team looks to find new financial partners.

“We’re switching tactics in our search for team sponsorship and funding,” said team owner Kristy Scrymgeour in an announcement “and we want to get the cycling community involved in an attempt to build a bridge between the ever-increasing number of recreational cyclists and pro cycling as a sport.”

“We have corporate interest for part of our budget and we’ve decided to add to that by trying something a little different. It’s a way for us to invite people to be a part of the team and vote for women’s cycling at the same time,” Scrymgeour added. “It starts with supporting our team, but if we can create a buzz around this campaign, it will reach the eyes of potential sponsors for both the team and other aspects of our sport.

Click here to read more about Project X at Indiegogo.

Lance Armstrong in purgatory: The after-life

Esquire magazine has produced an interesting, well written, and provacative piece about Lance Armstrong and where he’s at now after his great fall and if all the positive work that he didn’t cheat at still matters.

lance

After a great fall, what do we remember? We remember the cheating, and the lies. We remember the cult of personality that we eagerly embraced, and then felt betrayed by. But what of the man who fell? What about the work he didn’t cheat at? What about the 16 years Lance Armstrong spent building a global cancer advocacy? Did it matter? Does it still? Does it matter that Livestrong, the foundation that kicked him out, now wants him back? Do we care what happens to the great work a man has done, after a great fall?

Physiology at the front of the Tour

It’s become somewhat of a trend in recent years to for sceptics to time the best climbers in the Tour de France (and other Grand Tours) on the big mountain climbs, drawing conclusions about whether the rider is clean based on how fast they did the climb.

Of course there are any number of variables that can affect climb time, so it’s an imperfect science at best, but what Ross Tucker does at Science of Sport goes beyond that. He has crunched the numbers on Nibali’s performance on the Hautcam at the Tour de France the other day to see where the Sicilian fits in the grand scheme of things and what his performance means, if anything.

Here’s an excerpt:

You can say that the performances are historically comparable to those from the period 2008 to 2012, and thus be optimistic that this ‘new era’ in cycling (which supposedly started post biological-passport) persists today. Of course, this relies on the somewhat circular argument that those grey dots represent clean performances, and given that a few names have fallen foul of doping controls in this period, that seems highly unlikely.

Rather, what you probably want to be able to conclude is that the Tour today is not worse than it was in the pre-biological passport days, when the 50% HCT rule was used, and pre-EPO testing, but it’s also not obviously better.

If this sort of number-crunching and analysis is of interest, take a look at Dr Tucker’s piece. It’s not your usual scepticism-filled analysis, rather an objective look at what Nibali’s performances tell us (or don’t tell us).

Click here to read the full article at the Science of Sport.

Chris Hoy’s encounter with a fan

It’s been a strange few days for track cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. First he was asked for identification to get into the stadium bearing his name, and then, yesterday, having a rather interesting encounter with a fan.


Galibier: an act of adoration

Here’s a cool video from Oakley, looking at one of the most iconic climbs in Tour de France history, the Col du Galibier.

It’s the last in a series of three videos about the most famous climbs in the Tour’s history. The other two videos in the series are about Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux.

Kevin Reza takes fan’s helmet cam for a ride

French rider Kevin Reza picked up a fan’s helmet cam after it was knocked to the ground by Marcel Sieberg and went for a bit of a ride with it:

In case you’re wondering, as we were, the fan got the camera back by tweeting Reza, who replied and posted it back to him.

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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