STYBAR WINS STAGE TWO AND TAKES OVER RACE LEAD IN ENECO TOUR

Biding his time when he got clear in a three man move with 1.6 kilometres to go, the Czech champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) waited, waited and then pounced on stage two of the Eneco Tour, powering clear as the peloton latched onto the move and grabbing the sprint victory.

ENECO Tour 2014 stage - 2

The 2013 race winner beat Belkin duo Lars Boom and Sep Vanmarcke to the line, with Marco Marcato (Cannondale) fourth and Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing Team) fifth.

Overnight race leader Andrea Guardini was unable to repeat his stage one success, with the Astana rider finishing 14 seconds behind the 20 man front group. As a result he lost his race lead to Stybar, who leads Boom by one second and Vanmarcke by six.

“I feel pretty relaxed now despite a very hectic final,” Stybar said, notching up the 50th road win for his team thus far this season. “Everything turned out well and I’m happy with my victory.”

His win was the 50th road win for OPQS in 2014 and the 52nd in total.

“In the final we were there with the whole team, and we started to make an echelon with the crosswind,” he said explaining how things played out. “We were just riding hard and in perfect position. I knew in advance that I have to be in front on the cobblestones, especially because they were wet.

“Vanmarcke tried on his own, so that was the moment when I jumped on someone’s wheel. Then when we caught up to that move with 1.5 kilometers to go, I saw Boom and Quinziato going. So I directly jumped on their wheel. They were giving everything and I knew that Lars would go full gas to the final to try and win in his hometown. I didn’t work with the others because I knew if I did, I would lose the sprint.”

The 177.4-kilometer stage to Vlijmen featured a three man move which built a lead of almost six seconds. Brutt was going particularly well and clocked up all three bonus sprints, then attacked the other two with just over 12 kilometres left.

He powered on and looked like he might grab the victory, but furious chasing behind saw him finally reeled in with 4.5 kilometres left.

Stage 2: Waalwijk > Vlijmen - Stage Result

Tuesday 12th August 2014

1. cz
ŠTYBAR Zdeněk
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
04:06:16
2. nl
BOOM Lars
Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
-
3. be
VANMARCKE Sep
Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
-

BRONZINI GRABS STAGE THREE IN LA ROUTE DE FRANCE

Third on Sunday’s stage one despite winning the Prudential RideLondon Classic’s women’s Grand Prix the day before, Georgia Bronzini powered to victory on today’s third stage of the race. The Wiggle Honda sprinter showed she has fully recovered from a long and late travel on Saturday evening, outsprinting Jolien D’Hoore (Lotto Belisol) and Shelly Olds (Alé Cipollini) to the line in Vendome.

Image courtesy of Wiggle-Honda

Image courtesy of Wiggle-Honda

“It was a great day,” Bronzini said. “It was quiet at the beginning of the stage because there was just one breakaway rider and the bunch left Carlee Taylor of the Australian Team out front because they were able to control the race.

“Some of the other teams tried to be a bit aggressive, but nothing serious and we waited. We waited and waited, because yesterday the girls did a lot of attacks and the other teams just sat on the back and didn’t work, so I told the girls to save some energy for the final laps.”

The 116.8 kilometre stage ran from Chateau du Loir and saw Giant Shimano’s Claudia Lichtenberg start in the race lead. A total of 31 riders ultimately sprinted for the stage win, with those behind them at least six seconds back. Lichtenberg placed 18th but her dominant stage one solo win keeps her firmly in the race lead 29 seconds ahead of Alena Amialiusik and one minute 44 up on Bronzini.

The 2.1-ranked race continues tomorrow with a 137 kilometre stage from Cloyes sur Loir to Chalette sur Loing.

Stage 3: Chateau du Loir > Vendome - Stage Result

Tuesday 12th August 2014

1. it
BRONZINI Giorgia
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
03:03:23
2. be
D'HOORE Jolien
Lotto Belisol Ladies
-
3. us
OLDS Shelley
Alé Cipollini
-

MEERSMAN LEADS OMEGA PHARMA-QUICKSTEP DOMINATION AT TOUR DE L’AIN

The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team were completely dominant on the opening day of the Tour de l’Ain prologue, with no less than four riders from the team stacking the top of the 4.6 kilometre solo race.

Gianni Meersman was quickest in the Saint Amour prologue, beating team-mates Julian Alaphilippe, Pieter Serry and Rigoberto Uran by 1.64, 3.29 and 3.35 seconds respectively.


Meersman had also taken the prologue in 2013 and ended the day in the first race leader’s jersey. Jerome Coppel of Cofidis was fifth, 4.9 seconds off victory.

“I am really happy because this morning I thought about this exact result,” said the satisfied Belgian.

“I thought about how I won this stage last year and, why not, I can try to win it again. A time trial is a fight against yourself. It’s a question of how deep you want to go. Today, I really wanted to do well.

“The course was different from last year in that it was not so technical, but the last 500 meters were uphill. I think that section is where I won the race. I am also thrilled because we finished first through fourth, which means the team here is really motivated and strong.”

Also riding well from the Belgian squad was Mark Cavendish, who was making his return after crashing out of the Tour de France. He finished a solid ninth and will be satisfied with how things worked out. Carlos Verona was 17th.

“It’s a great team result,” continued Meersman. “We’re here with six strong guys. Tomorrow we will try to defend my leader’s jersey. It won’t be easy with six riders instead of eight, but that’s the same problem for everybody in the peloton. We’ll do our best to figure out how to defend my leadership in the best way possible.”

Prologue: Saint-Amour > Saint-Amour - Stage Result

Tuesday 12th August 2014

1. be
MEERSMAN Gianni
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
00:05:22
2. fr
ALAPHILIPPE Julian
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
0:02
3. be
SERRY Pieter
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
0:03

FROOME SAYS TOUR WITHDRAWAL COULD BOOST SKY’S PROSPECTS IN THE LONG TERM

Although he accepts that withdrawing from the Tour de France as the defending champion was one of the toughest moments of his entire career, the 2013 winner Chris Froome has said that in some ways, the setbacks of this year’s race could ultimately prove beneficial to his Sky team.

Kramon_TDF14_stage4_KRA2129 - Version 2

The British squad dominated the race in the past two years but has had a difficult season in 2014. While Richie Porte tried to step up to fill Froome’s slot after the latter was forced to pull out on stage five due to wrist and hand fractures, the Australian became sick and was unable to challenge.

The rest of the team also seemed below par and it had a very quiet Tour.

“I think we have been really fortunate at Sky for the last two years, having things to go our way,” Froome told Sky Sports, “and I think it’s easy to get lulled into that false sense of security of almost how easy it is at the time. But it’s a huge ask winning something like the Tour de France.

Kramon_Tdf13_stage15_DSC0326 - Version 2

“I don’t think we can ever go there and think that, ok we’ve got this one in the bag. It’s just never the case.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing what happened this year. Obviously it’s devastating for us as team havening won it for last few years we put a lot of expectation on this year’s Tour. In a way it’s been a good readjustment for us and to revaluate things and to look at where we are and how better to improve looking forward to next year’s Tour.”

The Briton has worked hard to try to recover from the wrist fracture he suffered on stage four, plus a separate hand injury. He’s been training in the United States and believes that he should be able to challenge in the third Grand Tour of the year.

“In cycling when you come to the end of something and it doesn’t work out, you are very quickly onto next thing already,” he said. “For me the Vuelta has become another opportunity, another challenge to be able to get my teeth stuck into and work hard towards that.”

Click here to read more at Sky Sports

TAYLOR PHINNEY INTERVIEW: ‘I WILL DEFINITELY BE BACK NEXT YEAR’

He’s gone from crutches to a cane to standard walking; he’s transitioned from flying on his bike to doing the same in the skies. It’s been a helter-skelter few months for Taylor Phinney since he crashed hard at the USA Cycling professional road championships in Chattanooga on May 26th but, as the end of the 2014 racing year approaches, the young American sees clear signs of progress in his recovery.

tumblr_n9rd7s3DWQ1qz6ktho1_1280The BMC Racing Team rider suffered a compound fracture to his tibia in the fall and also severed his patellar tendon. He is still uncertain as to whether or not he will get to race before the season draws to a close, but he is optimistic that he will be back to a high level for his objectives in 2015.

“I don’t have a set return date that I have penned out,” he told CyclingTips during a long phone interview. “I think most of my goals that I look forward to are next year, early next season. The bigger targets like Paris-Roubaix and going to the Tour and doing that first prologue.

“Right now I am just building up. I am going to see how I feel after I get this screw out of my leg. The only knee pain that I have is related to this screw. If I can continue to build once I get this screw out and I don’t have any more knee pain, I can ramp up the training a bit.”

In the interview Phinney talks at length about the various stages of his recovery, opens up about the mental and physical hardships he has experienced, discusses the exciting new hobby he’s picked up while being sidelined and gives his advice to any others who might also find themselves returning from serious injury.

Click here to read more at CyclingTips

Ivan Basso still aspires to be at the top

Two time Giro d’Italia winner, stage winner and GC runner-up at the Tour de France, Ivan Basso is no longer at the top of his game ever since he came back from a doping suspension in October 2008, but he still has ambitions in cycling to be at the top.

Kramon_2014Giro_st16_DSC8731 - Version 2

Velonews caught up with Basso at the Tour of Utah where he finished 42nd overall, 58:59 behind winner Tom Danielson. Here’s an excerpt:

Velonews: Having won the Giro d’Italia twice, having stood on the podium at the Tour de France, are you frustrated that you’re no longer racing at that level?

Ivan Basso: “No, because sometimes I invest all of my energy … the last part of the last season, Tour of Beijing, Lombardia, I do well (He finished ninth overall in Beijing, and 11th at Il Lombardia — Ed.). The problem is I invest all of my energy in the Giro, and the Giro didn’t go well, and it is not easy to restart. But I’m pretty confident that from Colorado to the end of October, [I will] close very well.”

VN: In early August, La Gazzetta reported that you were headed to Tinkoff-Saxo for 2015. Can you confirm that you will be moving to Tinkoff-Saxo for next season?

IB: “That is not the point [I’m focused on]. In my head, now, we have to do well here. For me, the only thing that is important is to do good at the race in front of me. The rest, we have time to think. We still have time to decide. I don’t want to decide what we do in the future until I feel okay [with it]. Now I’m focused on Cannondale and doing well for Cannondale.”

Read more at Velonews

GIRO PODIUM FINISHER ARU HUNGRY FOR VUELTA A ESPAÑA SUCCESS

Third overall in this year’s Giro d’Italia, Fabio Aru is aiming high once again in the Vuelta a España, where he will co-captain the Astana team with Paolo Tiralongo.

Aru

The 24 year old secured a podium finish in the Italian Grand Tour and also won stage fifteen to Plan di Montecampione; some riders in his position might be satisfied with that, but he makes clear that he remains hungry to achieve more in 2014.

“I don’t want to call it a season because I’ve done well at the Giro,” he said. “There are still great races to take part in and I’d like to repeat some of my performances.”

The Astana team is on a high after Vincenzo Nibali dominated the Tour de France. Andrea Guardini has kept the winning momentum going with two stage victories in the Tour of Denmark plus another sprint success on yesterday’s opening stage of the Eneco Tour, while Alexey Lutsenko took the time trial in Denmark.

Aru took a long break after the Giro but has knuckled down again in order to be ready for the Spanish Grand Tour.

“I just returned home from the Tour de Pologne, which was an important race in my lead up to the Vuelta,” he said. “The Vuelta is the goal of the second half of the season for me.

“I’m excited and I’m looking forward to it since it’ll give me the opportunity to race against so many champions even though I’ve never done two Grand Tours in a single season up to date.”

Click here to read more at CyclingTips

DUTCH HOLIDAY COMPANY ROOMPOT VAKANTIES TO COMMIT TO DUTCH CYCLING TEAM, BUT WHICH ONE?

Dutch cycling is due to receive a sponsorship boost with the news that the Dutch Holiday company Roompot Vakanties is to make a substantial commitment to the sport, but it remains uncertain which team will actually benefit.

roompot-vakanties-grootDutch newspaper AD reported Tuesday that the team will decide between the WorldTour team Belkin or the new Pro Continental team Orange Cycling.

The latter was announced in April and is a setup drawing on the experience and clout of the ex-professionals Michael Boogerd, Erik Breukink, Jean-Paul van Poppel and agent and event manager Michael Zijlaard.

Belkin has already inked a provisional deal with the Dutch Lotto company and BrandLoyalty, and so Roompot Vakanties’s commitment would be more modest than as a title sponsor.

Zijlaard told AD that there are other options for his squad, but that the backing of the holiday company would definitely be a big plus if it happens.

“We are talking to more parties than jump Roompot. It still looks good though and there should be an answer within a week or two,” he stated.

Click here to read more at Cyclingnews

Interview with Christoph Strasser, winner of 2014 RAAM (Race Across America)

The Race Across America, or RAAM, is an ultramarathon bicycle race across the United States (roughly 4800km) that started in 1982 as the Great American Bike Race.

Austrian Christoph Strasser has won the event three times including the 2014 edition which broke his own record for the fastest time of 7 days 15 hours 56 minutes at 26.2km/hr (in 2013 he set the fastest time of 7 d 22 h 11 min).

Christoph Strasser

The blog VeloCrushIndia has interviewed Strasser about his 2014 RAAM win. Here’s an excerpt:

What is your favourite fraction of this year RAAM?

Christoph Strasser: Hard to say. In the last years I liked Kansas most, but this year we had heavy crosswind in Kansas. In 2014 I loved the first 24 hours because I was very fast. Improved aerodynamics and tailwind made me ride Time Station 2 with an average of 45 kph. This was crazy and very exciting!

What was your plan? Did you have intentions to break and better your own record?

Christoph Strasser: No of course not. My plan was to be as fast as possible and fight until the finish line. But I knew that a new record was possible if the weather is on our side. If you want to break any record and plan to do this, then you put too much pressure on yourself. That happened to Reto Schoch in 2013 and the result was that he stopped after 4000km, because he calculated that the record is not realistic anymore. Then he had a breakdown and a heavy crisis. The record is too much depending on weather conditions.

Where there any obstacles faced by you besides the climatic conditions?

Christoph Strasser: I was afraid of the missing strong opponents, I mean the best ultracyclists were not at RAAM in 2014. No Reto Schoch, no Dani Wyss, no Marko Baloh. Even Alberto Blanco was not here, and Gerhard Gulewicz has his mind-problem and always quits when I am in the lead. Of course there were very strong racers like Mark Pattinson and Nico Valsesia, who were on the podium in the past, but they said that their goal is finishing between 9 and 10 days. So I knew that if I have no problems and can give my best performance, it could be a lonely race, which can slow you down after some days.

Read part 1 and part 2 of the interview here on VeloCrushIndia.com. You can also visit Christoph Strasser’s Facebook page here.

Coolest pro cyclist ever?

Coming tomorrow: The Secret Pro is back

theSecretPRoThe Secret Pro has been fairly quiet this year (mostly because he’s been so busy doing his day job) but fortunately he’s poked his head up again and has something for us tomorrow. We’re just running everything past our legal team and stripping out all his libel and slanderous comments and we should be good to go. Stay tuned.

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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