Bouhanni wins stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana, Valverde takes overall lead

by Shane Stokes

Replicating the Grand Tour stage-winning form and confidence he showed when taking three victories in the Giro d’Italia, Nacer Bouhanni blasted home into San Fernando on Sunday to win the first Vuelta a España stage of his career.

Tour of Spain 2014 stage - 2

The 24 year old FDJ.fr rider was led out perfectly by his team and opened a gap on the other riders when he jumped. He powered in ahead of Giant Shimano’s John Degenkolb, who closed slightly before the line but ran out of ground, plus Lampre-Merida’s Roberto Ferrari.

Earlier, Garmin-Sharp’s Nathan Haas, Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida), Francisco Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural), Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka), Romain Hardy (Cofidis) and Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka) pushed clear in a six man move. Haas and Conti got clear on the day’s sole categorised climb, crossing the summit in that order, and then dropped back to the bunch. The other four persisted and opened up a lead of over five minutes. Despite this advantage, they were hauled back inside the final 20 kilometres and the bunch sprint ensued.

On Saturday’s opening stage of the race Movistar won the 12.6km team time trial with Jonathan Castroviejo crossing the line first to take the overall lead. You can see the final kilometres of the opening stage on YouTube here.

On stage 2 overnight race leader Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) handed over the red jersey to his team-mate Alejandro Valverde, who had crossed the line second at the end of yesterday’s team time trial.

The race continues today with a lumpy 197.8 kilometre race from Cádiz to Arcos de la Frontera. The stage includes four category three ascents plus a short, steep rise to the line.

Stage 2: Algeciras > San Fernando - Stage Result

Sunday 24th August 2014

1. fr
BOUHANNI Nacer
FDJ.fr
04:01:30
2. de
DEGENKOLB John
Team Giant-Shimano
-
3. it
FERRARI Roberto
Lampre-Merida
-

Click here to read a full stage report at CyclingTips.

Tejay van Garderen seals back-to-back victories at the USA Pro Challenge, Alex Howes wins final stage

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) has won his second consecutive USA Pro Challenge in Colorado off the back of two stage wins in this year’s race. Van Garderen finished sixth on the final stage into Denver, which was won by Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) in a bunch sprint.


The day’s main breakaway featured no fewer than 12 riders: Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo); Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing); Caleb Fairly (Garmin-Sharp); Cameron Wurf (Cannondale); Adam Phelan (Drapac); Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare); Javia Megias (Novo Nordisk); Hugh Carthy (Rapha-Condor); Jesse Anthony (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies); Johnathan Freter (Jelly Belly); Tiago Machado (NetApp-Endura); and Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development).

The group was reduced to just six with Voigt and Rogers driving the pace. The bunch got within 40 seconds as Voigt and then Rogers tried to attack and get clear, and finally Voigt, in his last race as a professional, got to the head of the race one last time, dragging Javia Megias with him.

The move was ill-fated though, and after the peloton let the two leaders dangle for a while, Voigt and Megias were caught in the closing kilometres. Voigt’s teammate Riccardo Zoidl attacked solo before being joined by Pawel Poljanski (Tinkoff-Saxo) but with 1km left to race, it was all back together.

Race leader Van Garderen led out his teammate Michael Schar but it was Alex Howes with a desperate lunge for the line that edged out stage 1 winner Keil Reijen (UnitedHealthcare). Schar was third.

Earlier in the weekend Laurent Didier (Trek) took out stage 5 after a tenacious solo attack and after holding off two chasers. And on stage 6, Tejay van Garderen extended his overall lead with victory in a wet ITT. In the end van Garderen won the USA Pro Challenge by 1:32 over Tour of Utah winner Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) with Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) third at 1:45.

Stage 7: Boulder > Denver - Stage Result

Sunday 24th August 2014

1. us
HOWES Alex
Garmin Sharp
00:00:00
2. us
REIJNEN Kiel
UnitedHealthcare
-
3. ch
SCHAR Michael
BMC Racing Team
-

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Chantal Blaak wins Open de Suede Vargada, adding to TTT victory

Chantal Blaak has capped off a memorable weekend of racing for Specialized-Lululemon, winning the Open de Suede Vargada World Cup just days after the team won the Vargada team time trial World Cup.

Open de Suede Worldcup Vargarda Roadrace 2014

In Friday’s TTT Specialized-Lululemon averaged 48.85km/h on the 42.5km course, to beat Rabo-Liv by 1:21 and Boels-Dolmans by 2:33.

It was a typically aggressive start to the road race with several groups managing to get clear before being chased down by the peloton and with 11km to go, the peloton — albeit significantly reduced in size — was all back together. Blaak attacked solo but was caught with roughly 6km to go, thanks to the efforts of world champion Marianne Vos who appeared to be cast in a supporting role for her Rabo-Liv teammates on the day.

With Blaak caught, Roxane Knetemann (Rabo Liv) counterattacked and was followed by Amy Pieters (Giant-Shimano). Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) and Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) marked one another while Vos and Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) bided their time for a bunch sprint. Chantal Blaak jumped across to Knetemann and Pieters, the three Dutchwomen riding away to the finish, with Blaak outsprinting Pieters and Knetemann.

With one round left in the World Cup, the GP de Plouay, Lizzie Armitstead still maintains the lead she took back in the first round, the Ronde van Drenthe. With only 120 points left on offer in the final race, and currently holding a 140 point lead, Armitstead will be crowned winner of the 2014 Women’s World Cup.

1. nl
BLAAK Chantal
Specialized-lululemon
03:26:22
2. nl
PIETERS Amy
Team Giant-Shimano
-
3. nl
KNETEMANN Roxane
Rabobank-Liv Woman Cycling Team
-

Stay posted for insights from within the two Vargada races coming later today. Click through to read more at cycloweb.it.

Victory for Alexander Kristoff at the Vattenfall Cyclassics

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) has taken his 14th UCI win of the year, outsprinting Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) to win the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg.

Vattenfall Cyclassics 2014

The 247km race saw a group of three riders get clear — Ralf Matzka (NetApp), Björn Thurau (Europcar) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) — the trio gaining an advantage of 10:50 before the peloton started to increase their tempo. The gap was slowly coming down as the riders hit the Waseberg for the first of four ascents, the peloton also being reduced as the race wore on.

David Boucher (FDJ.fr) and Vladimir Isaychev (Katusha) left the peloton after the third ascent of the Waseberg, but they were soon caught. With 39km left to race the gap to the three leaders was down to 1:40 at which point Thurau attacked his two companions with Bonifazio following and Matzka falling back to the peloton.

After the lead group disintegrated there was a volley from attacks from a number of teams and another break of five riders got up the road. But with 5km to go, the hard work of Katusha (among other teams) had brought the race back together for a bunch sprint. In the end it was an easy victory for Kristoff who crossed the line comfortably ahead of Nizzolo and Gerrans.

1. no
KRISTOFF Alexander
Team Katusha
05:55:24
2. it
NIZZOLO Giacomo
Trek Factory Racing
-
3. au
GERRANS Simon
Orica GreenEDGE
-

Click here to read more at CyclingQuotes.

Kristoffer Skjerping wins stage 1 of the Tour de l’Avenir, Asbjørn Kragh Andersen takes overall lead

Kristoffer Skkerping (Norway) has won the opening road stage of the Tour de l’Avenir, outsprinting his two breakaway companions into Brioude, including Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Denmark) who now takes the overall lead.


After a stressful prologue the day before — which was won by Australia’s Campbell Flakemore — the peloton seemed to be in a relaxed mood on stage 1, with Kristoffer Skjerping, Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Netherlands) and Asbjorn Kragh getting away from the gun.

Over the final of five climbs of the day, the trio had an advantage of 7:45 and despite some more determined chasing from the peloton towards the end of the stage, the trio had plenty of time to ride gently into the finish. With Kragh set to take the overall lead he was happy to led Van Ginneken and Skjerping contest the stage victory. The latter took it, with the peloton crossing the line 2:21 behind the trio.

The eight-stage race continues today with a 143km stage from Brioude to Saint-Galmier which includes three categorised climbs.

Stage 1: Saint-Flour > Brioude - Stage Result

Sunday 24th August 2014

1. no
SKJERPING Kristoffer
Team Joker
03:37:31
2. nl
VAN GINNEKEN Sjoerd
Metec - TKH Continental Cyclingteam
-
3. dk
ANDERSEN Asbjørn Kragh
Christina Watches - Kuma
-

Click here to read more at Espoirs Central.

Rebecca Wiasak wins Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley

Canberra’s Rebecca Wiasak (Suzuki Brumby’s) has taken out the Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley in dominant fashion, winning three from four stages at the Subaru National Road Series event to claim the Tour by one minute and 30 seconds to her closest rival, Sydney’s Ashlee Ankudinoff (Specialized Securitor).

Sam Miranda, NRS Womens RR Stg 43, 24/08/2014

The track World Cup gold medallist dominated the opening stage time trial, putting 1:41 into her nearest rival Subaru National Road Series leader Ruth Corset (Holden Women’s Cycling). Wiasak then went on to take a sprint victory at the Wangaratta Aerodrome that afternoon.

On stage 3 Wiasak clinched three consecutive stage victories after outsprinting newcomer Natalie Redmond and Ruth Corset into Oxley after a 100km stage that featured the infamous ‘Strade Nero’ dirt climb.

On the final stage Bicycle Superstore’s Crystal Wemyss took victory from a three-rider breakaway that included Justyna Lubkowski (Bike Bug) and Rachel Ward (Boss Racing Team). Wiasak finished safely in the bunch, 52 seconds behind the lead trio to secure her overall lead.

Wiasak finished the tour 1:30 ahead of Ashlee Ankudinoff and 1:39 ahead of Ruth Corset. The Subaru NRS continues in Gippsland with the men’s Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland on September 3 before the women tackle the inaugural Amy’s Otway Classic on September 14.

Click through for final GC results from the 2014 Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley. Text adapted from Cycling Australia press releases.

Chris Horner prevented from starting the Vuelta a Espana due to low cortisol levels

by Shane Stokes

Chris Horner’s aim of defending his Vuelta a España title was derailed even before the race started, with the American rider blocked from taking part due to a drop in his cortisol levels.

Horner’s Lampre Merida team is a member of the Mouvement Pour Un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC) anti-doping organisation. It includes a requirement that teams rest all riders with cortisol levels below a certain threshold, a measure which it introduced in the past on health grounds.

stage-21 of the Vuelta a España 2013

Cortisol is a naturally-occurring hormone in the body and has a variety of functions. The MPCC states that suppressed cortisol levels can have health implications for riders, particularly if they crash, and teams which have signed up to the body agree to rest any riders who are under the defined MPCC threshold.

Cortisol levels can be suppressed for a number of reasons, including the use of cortisone or similar substances. In Horner’s case, the rider and his team are blaming the lung problems he has had this year plus the medication he has had to take.

Team doctor Carlo Guardascione explained the situation in a Lampre-Merida statement. “After the finish of Tour de France and after the Tour of Utah where the athlete was still suffering from bronchitis, Chris Horner underwent two examinations by two specialists for his bronchitis as he had been suffering since the beginning of the Tour de France as well as during the Tour of Utah.

“Both specialists agreed that a treatment of cortisone by oral means was the only way to resolve this problem. All the necessary steps were taken to request a TUE (therapeutical use exemption). This authorization was given by UCI commission for the athlete to proceed with this therapy on the 15.08.2014.”

Click here to read the full article at CyclingTips.

Michael Matthews extends Orica-GreenEdge contract

Multiple Grand Tour stage winner Michael Matthews is the latest rider to re-sign with Orica-GreenEdge, committing to a further two years with the team.

Giro d'Italia 2014, 6a tappa: Sassano-Montecassino

“For me this is the perfect team and I wouldn’t think of going anywhere else,” Matthews said on the eve of this year’s Vuelta a Espana. “Joining the team in 2012 was a huge experience and ever since then my progression in professional cycling has gone a lot higher.”

The clear highlight for Matthews’ 2014 so far was wearing the maglia rosa for six stages (stage 3-8) at the Giro d’Italia in May. Among that success was victory in the team time trial on stage one and an individual stage win on stage six. He has also recorded additional stage wins at the Tour of Slovenia and Tour of the Basque Country and a victory in the one-day race, Vuelta a La Rioja.

“Michael is a winner and an extraordinary talent on the bike,” sport director Matt White said. “This year, he’s accomplished a lot and I think we’re yet to see the full scope of what he’s capable of. What we saw at the Giro is just another example of how he continues to take massive steps in his career on this team. He’s a very serious athlete and with the support we can give him, he will be able to make the most of his efforts.”

Text adapted from an Orica-GreenEdge press release.

Annefleur Kalvenhaar killed in MTB World Cup

Here’s some horrible news from the world of mountain biking: Dutch rider Annefleur Kalvenhaar has been killed while competing in the World Cup over the weekend.

training Worldchampionships Cyclocross in Hoogerheide 2014

The UCI published the following statement:

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is extremely sad to announce the loss of Dutch mountain bike rider Annefleur Kalvenhaar.

The 20-year-old Focus XC Team rider fell on August 22, 2014, at the cross-country Eliminator qualifying rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Méribel, France. She was transferred to the intensive care unit at the Grenoble CHU, but despite all efforts died this morning.

UCI President Brian Cookson said : “I’m devastated to hear that the cycling family has lost one of its members at such a young age. Our deepest thoughts are with her family and friends”.

Click here to read more at Prowomensycling.com.

Cycling the Himalayas: Upper Mustang and the Annapurna Circuit

Late last week we published the first part in a series of articles about Andrea Oschetti’s cycling adventures in the Himalayas. The first instalment took Andrea to the Mustang valley and the Annapurna circuit, and the result was simply amazing. Be sure to check out the amazing photography and more here and stay posted for further instalments in the coming months.

Farewell to Jens Voigt

Here’s a nice little video with a bunch of people at the USA Pro Challenge bidding farewell to Jens Voigt in his last race.

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 was shot in Japan by Jered Gruber.