Sprint victory for Nacer Bouhanni in Eneco Tour stage 4

Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) has won a crash-marred fourth stage of the Eneco Tour after outsprinting Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) at the head of a field fractured by a late crash. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) was third on the stage.

ENECO Tour 2014 stage - 4

Frederik Veuchelon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) spent much of the stage away on a solo breakaway and with bonus seconds available to second and third on the road, the intermediate sprints were hotly contested by riders looking to move up in the overall standings.

Veuchelon was eventually caught and despite a late solo move by Daniel Oss (BMC) the race was always going to come back for a bunch sprint.

A dramatic crash occurred in the finishing straight when Andrea Guardini (Astana) and Janse van Rensburg (Giant-Shimano) collided, forcing riders behind them to crash. Czech national champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was one of the worst injured, with examination showing deep wounds on his upper and lower lip, as well as broken teeth. He had radiological examinations, as well as scans, which showed no fractures or cerebral lesions. Russian champion Aleksandr Porsev also crashed, breaking his collarbone.

Lars Boom (Belkin) finished 26th on the stage and maintains his overall lead going into today’s fifth stage of seven.

Stage 4: Koksijde > Ardooie - Stage Result

Thursday 14th August 2014

1. fr
BOUHANNI Nacer
FDJ.fr
04:13:59
2. si
MEZGEC Luka
Team Giant-Shimano
-
3. it
NIZZOLO Giacomo
Trek Factory Racing
-

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Matteo Pelucchi wins stage 2 of the Vuelta a Burgos

Italian sprinter Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) has won the second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos with a powerful sprint in the town of Villas de Amaya. Having been led-out by teammates Aleksejs Saramotins and Vicente Reynes, Pelucchi held off Giant-Shimano duo Steven Lammertink and Thomas Damuseau to take the top step of the podium.


A group of five riders established the day’s early breakaway but they were never given more than 2:30 by the peloton. With 25km to the finish the gap was inside a minute, prompting Javier Francisco Aramendia (Caja Rural) to attack from the breakaway. With 19km to go his lead was 1:05 but by the time 10km remained in the stage, his former breakaway companions and he had all been caught.

In the finale it was IAM Cycling, Movistar, and Neri Sottoli driving the pace before Pelucchi sprinted to his second victory of the year.

Stage 1 winner Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) remains in the race leader’s jersey going into stage 3 of the five-stage race.

Stage 2: Briviesca > Villadiego - Stage Result

Thursday 14th August 2014

1. it
PELUCCHI Matteo
IAM Cycling
03:33:43
2. nl
LAMMERTINK Steven
Team Giant-Shimano
-
3. fr
DAMUSEAU Thomas
Team Giant-Shimano
-

Text adapted from an IAM Cycling press release.

Audrey Cordon claims stage 5 victory in the Route de France

Frenchwoman Audrey Cordon (Hitec Products) has won stage 5 of the Route de France, taking out the bunch sprint ahead of Barbara Guarischi (Ale Cipollini) and overall leader Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano).


After an aggressive start to the race where no-one was really able to build a meaningful advantage, a group of nine riders formed the day’s main escape. Coming into the final 30km of the race the group had 20 seconds, but the gap was rising, growing out to roughly 45 seconds with 14km remaining.

A slimmed-down breakaway was caught inside 5km however, with the race heading to a bunch sprint. Audrey Cordon was fastest in the final kick, taking her third win of the season ahead of stage 2 winner Guarischi and stage 1 winner Lichtenberg.


With two stages remaining Lichtenberg still holds a virtually unassailable lead of 1:06 over Alena Amialiusik (Astana-BePink). Cordin is third, a further 38 seconds behind.

Stage 5: Paucourt > Migennes - Stage Result

Thursday 14th August 2014

1. fr
CORDON Audrey
Hitec Products
02:23:19
2. it
GUARISCHI Barbara
Alé Cipollini
-
3. de
LICHTENBERG Claudia
Team Giant-Shimano
-

Gianni Meersman extends Tour de l’Ain lead with stage 2 victory

Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has solidified his lead in the Tour de l’Ain with his second victory in three days in the five-stage French race.


Meersman won the stage 2 bunch sprint ahead of Romain Feillu (Bretagne-Seche) and Leonardo Duque (Colombia), adding to his victory in the prologue ITT and extending his overall lead to 16 seconds over teammate Julian Alaphilippe.

The last remnants of the day’s main breakaway were caught with 3km to go, setting the race up for another bunch sprint. Again Meersman benefited from the presence of Mark Cavendish, cast in the role of lead-out man in his first race back since crashing out of the Tour de France.

“The leadout was perfect and it’s always special to have Mark Cavendish in front of you in a finale”, Meersman said. “At 300 meters to go there was a left U-turn. Cav entered in first position with Alaphilippe and me on his wheel. When I came out from the corner I went all out for the sprint. I felt I had the right power in my legs and with the position I was in thanks to my teammates, it worked out exactly as we hoped.”

The race continues today with a 142.8km third stage as Omega Pharma-QuickStep continues to hold the top four positions on the general classification after their dominant performance in the prologue.

Stage 2: Bourg-en-Bresse > Saint-Vulbas - Stage Result

Thursday 14th August 2014

1. be
MEERSMAN Gianni
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
03:40:17
2. fr
FEILLU Romain
Bretagne - Séché Environnement
-
3. co
DUQUE Leonardo
Team Colombia
-

Lars Petter Nordhaug claims Arctic Race of Norway opener

Lars Petter Nordhaug (Belkin) has won the 204km first stage of the 2014 Arctic Race of Norway from Hammerfest to Nordkapp, soloing to victory for what is the biggest win of his career.


Crosswinds blew the race apart in the closing kilometres as the riders tackled dramatic rolling terrain in the dash for the line. After a series of attacks near the end of the race Nordhaug broke free of the peloton and was able to hold off the chase to win by six seconds ahead of Davide Villella (Cannondale) and teammate Steven Kruijswijk.

“For a Norwegian to win in Norway, in this special place, is really good. I was feeling super today,” Nordhaug said after the stage. “I have to thank my team for pulling at the front. We are three in the top five, so that’s amazing.

“We’re the strongest team here,” Nordhaug said. “There are two stages for sprinters, but our goal is the overall classification.”

The four-day Arctic Race of Norway resumes today with a rolling 207km second stage from Honningsvag to Alta, with a steep, 3.5km climb from below sea level out of the Nordkapp Tunnel early in the race.

Stage 1: Hammerfest > North Cape - Stage Result

Thursday 14th August 2014

1. no
NORDHAUG Lars Petter
Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
00:00:00

Text adapted from a Belkin press release.

Brenton Jones wins stage 3 of the Tour of the Great South Coast, takes overall lead

Victoria’s Brenton Jones (Avanti Racing) has taken out stage three of the Campolina-Fulton Hogan Tour of the Great South Coast, snatching the yellow jersey from fellow fast man Jesse Kerrison (Budget Forklifts). Jones was victorious in the longest stage of the eight-stage Tour, sprinting to victory in South Australia’s Port MacDonnell ahead of teammates Shannon Johnson and Raphael Freinstein (CharterMason).

Tour of the Great South Coast  Stg 1 & 2 Crit & RR 13/08/2014

“I’m really happy, it was a fast finish, there were a lot of different teams trying to get their sprinters to the front,” said Jones who’s victory makes it three podium appearances from as many stages at the Tour.”

Earlier in the race, a four man break established at the 18 kilometre mark and included Michael Hepburn (health.com.au/search2retain), Patrick Lane (African Wildlife Safaris) and Nick Katsonis (CharterMason) with Jordan Stannus (Jayco/John West/VIS) joining the group four kilometres later.

The quartet earned a three minute and 30 second advantage before some disharmony caused Hepburn to attack. The Queenslander maintained a small gap for eight kilometres before the remainder of the escapees rejoined him.

As the time gap reduced quickly, Theodore Yates (WA), Oliver Martin (TAS), Michael Jaeger (NSW) and Michael Crosbie (VIC) bridged to the leaders as Katsonis returned to the peloton.

Jones now leads the Tour by a narrow four seconds to overnight race leader Kerrison while stage one winner Johnson is third overall, 12 seconds behind Jones.

The Tour continues toda ywith a criterium in Portland before a 92 kilometre road race from Heywood to Casterton.

Follow the link for results from stage 3 of the 2014 Tour of the Great South Coast. Text via a Cycling Australia press release.

Alberto Contador to ride the Vuelta a Espana

by Shane Stokes

Although he said in July that he would not be able to ride the Vuelta a España due to the fracture he suffered in the Tour de France, Alberto Contador has confirmed Thursday that he will in fact be in the Spanish Grand Tour.

The Tinkoff-Saxo rider states that his recent training is going well and that he will be at the start in Jerez de la Frontera. However he plays down any thoughts of going for the overall classification, saying that a stage victory is his target.

“I’m riding the bicycle for ten days and yesterday was the first day I could climb a mountain pass without knee pain,” he said, speaking from his base in Lugano.

“It excites me, motivates me and has led me to make the decision to ride the Vuelta a España. I know it will be a Vuelta that I’ll have to do in a very different way than I had imagined earlier on in the season and during the first part of the Tour. But I think it’s the right decision considering the end of season and the start of next season”.

“Perhaps in the last week I can be fighting for a stage win. I’ll try to do my best in this last week before the start and see you all in Jerez.”

Riding the Vuelta a España will also set Contador up for a tilt at the world road race championships, which also takes place in Spain.

Click here to read the full story at CyclingTips.

Dangerous conditions in Eneco Tour and Arctic Race of Norway raise questions about safety

by Shane Stokes

One situation led to a serious crash and two badly injured riders; the other fortunately didn’t see any ill effects happen, but riders felt that there very nearly could have been. The organisers of the Eneco Tour and the Arctic Race of Norway were both facing questions on Thursday, with riders and teams expressing concern at what they felt were unnecessary and unacceptable risks imposed on them.

The first incident occurred inside the final kilometre of stage four of the Eneco Tour. The concertina effect caused by the crash pushed Aleksandr Porsev (Katusha) into the barriers on the right and defending champion Zdenek Stybar into those on the left.

Stybar’s crash was particularly nasty looking, with the rider hitting the ground face first and his bike cartwheeling in the air.

The organisers were criticised for the type of barriers used and, reportedly, have conceded that a mistake was made. Riders and others have called on the UCI to introduce a rule requiring the use of flat-feeted barriers. The measure would prevent wheels from snagging and pitching riders upwards.

Meanwhile the Arctic Race of Norway also came under scrutiny due to a completely different type of risk along the route of stage one to North Cape.

Sprinters Marcel Kittel (Giant Shimano) and Sam Bennett (NetApp Endura) both voiced their concerns afterwards via Twitter.

“Why does the organization of @ArcticRaceofN send a nervous peloton in the final through a dark tunnel where we reach 100km/h on a wet road?!” asked Kittel. “It seems to be always ok as long as nothing happens. But if they would crash there…. Don’t wanna think about it!”

Bennett message was even more worrying. “There is not many moments I have been that scared on a bike. 100kph down hill for 3km in a very dark wet tunnel. Some tunnels I saw nothing!” he stated.

Click here for the full article.

Cipollini hospitalised after being hit by car while training

by Shane Stokes

The 2002 world road race champion Mario Cipollini has been hospitalised after being involved in a training accident and is set to face surgery to treat the damage.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the retired rider, who was the world’s top sprinter for many years, was taken to hospital in Lucca after a car hit him while he was on his bike. The driver was turning and didn’t see the rider, who reportedly has injuries to his knee and the quadriceps tendon.

He is expected to be operated on to treat the issue.

Click here to read more at CyclingTips.

Fabio Sabatini joins Omega Pharma-QuickStep for two years

Omega Pharma-QuickStep has announced that Italian rider Fabio Sabatini will join the team for two seasons from next year.

Amgen Tour of California 2014 stage 2

“This is a rider who can be a weapon in multiple ways,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “He can be good for Classics, but at the same time he can also be useful in a leadout train of Mark Cavendish, or any sprint train we may have during the season. He’s a good worker with skills for the cobblestones, which is a talent we embrace.”

“I am so happy,” Sabatini said. “For my characteristics as a rider, to join OPQS is a kind of dream. It’s a good step in my career. I love the cobbles. For these kinds of races, to be on a team like this will be important.”

Sabatani has been with the Liquigas/Cannondale setup since 2009 after spending his first three seasons (2006 to 2008) with Team Milram. He is yet to win a professional bike race but has finished second on a stage at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

Text adapted from an Omega Pharma-QuickStep press release.

Fabian Cancellara sparks helmet debate on Twitter

There are few things more polarising in cycling than the debate about whether riders should have to wear helmets, something Fabian Cancellara found out yesterday when he posted the following tweet.


He followed that with:


The replies to the Swiss rider were largely unsupportive of his position. This tweet more or less sums it up:


Click here to read more at road.cc and here to see some of the many replies.

Top Gear’s James May calls for an end to “sectarianism” on our roads

Meanwhile Top Gear presenter James May has backed The Times newspaper’s “Cities Fit for Cycling” campaign, calling for an end to “sectarianism” between drivers and cyclists on the roads.

“I’m all for bicycles in cities,” said May, a long-time cyclist. “We use bicycles to go around locally and also for fun occasionally. Typically, our bike rides would be three or four miles. I go to the shops on it.”

“We need to get rid of road sectarianism,” he said. “Car drivers supposedly hate cyclists, cyclists hate taxi drivers, taxi drivers hate motorcyclists, bus drivers hate lorries. I just think if everybody was a little bit more pragmatic, that would do more for safety.”

May dismissed suggestions from some motorists that cyclists do not belong on the roads.

“I would say that the roads belong to everybody,” he said. “That old argument that ‘I pay road tax and the bicycle doesn’t’ often isn’t true. In any case, roads are funded centrally so the tax [from Vehicle Excise Duty] doesn’t actually go on roads, so no one has a greater right to the road than anybody else, that’s nonsense.”

Click here to read more at The Times.

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 from Jered Gruber and was shot in Belgium’s Ardennes region.