VeloNews.com http://www.velonews.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Wed, 01 Mar 2017 18:52:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.velonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/cropped-Velonews_favicon-2-32x32.png VeloNews.com http://www.velonews.com 32 32 Stolen Team Sky medical records leave UK officials skeptical http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/stolen-team-sky-medical-records-leave-uk-officials-skeptical_431565 http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/stolen-team-sky-medical-records-leave-uk-officials-skeptical_431565#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 18:52:20 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431565 UK Anti-Doping chief blasts British Cycling, Team Sky, and doctor Richard Freeman for not keeping medical records of Bradley Wiggins's TUE.

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LONDON (AFP) — The UK Anti-Doping chief blasted British Cycling, Team Sky, and their doctor Richard Freeman for not keeping medical records which could shed light on whether star cyclist Bradley Wiggins received a banned medical product.

Nicole Sapstead, appearing before the all-party House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee looking into doping in sport, said Freeman claimed the information was lost when his laptop was stolen while on holiday in Greece.

She said she had yet to receive confirmation from Interpol as to whether the theft was reported. Freeman did not testify Wednesday, saying he was too ill to attend.

Sapstead had hoped to bring clarity to whether a package sent out to Team Sky for eight-time Olympic gold medalist Wiggins, in June 2011 at the climax of the Critérium du Dauphiné, contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil, as Freeman says. It has been alleged, however, that the package contained the banned corticosteroid triamcinolone, and Sapstead said although there was no record of Freeman ordering Fluimucil, there were invoices for Kenalog — a brand name for triamcinolone.

Sapstead alleged there are substantial amounts of Kenalog at British Cycling’s headquarters in Manchester — Team Sky is its road-race offshoot — which suggests several riders use it.

However, she could not state categorically that this is what Wiggins had been sent in 2011 — he took it legally when he won the 2012 Tour de France having obtained a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) because he said he needed it for asthma provoked by pollen.

TUEs are official notes allowing athletes to use otherwise banned substances.

“There are no records … He [Freeman] kept medical records on a laptop and he was meant, according to Team Sky policy, to upload those records to a Dropbox that the other team doctors had access to,” said Sapstead, whose own inquiry has consumed 1,000 man-hours and involved interviews with 34 current and former cyclists and British Cycling and Team Sky staff.

“But he didn’t do that, for whatever reason, and in 2014 his laptop was stolen while he was on holiday in Greece.”

While Interpol is yet to get back to her over whether Freeman reported the theft, he did report it to British Cycling.

Earlier in the session Simon Cope, at the time a British Cycling coach and the man who had the package entrusted to him to take out to France, failed to shed any light on what was in it.

Cope’s 50-minute testimony failed to impress the lawmakers with one, John Nicolson, tweeting: “I’m left wondering whether I’d buy a used bike from Simon Cope and suspect the answer is no.”

Cope said he had been obeying orders from then-boss Shane Sutton to deliver the package.

“Why would I question it? Why would I question the integrity of our governing body? I just didn’t ask. You may think I’m stupid,” said Cope in answer to a question as to why he hadn’t asked what was in the envelope.

“Maybe I was doing everything possible to keep a job [he was women’s road team manager]. I could see it was part-time and 12 months down the line I was made redundant. I have a family to look after.

“It must have been something medical because it was for Dr Freeman, but I had no reason to doubt it.”

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New Colorado race to feature bands Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/new-colorado-race-feature-bands-wilco-death-cab-cutie_431535 Wed, 01 Mar 2017 18:38:07 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431535 The new UCI 2.HC race set to run in Colorado this August will feature a three-day arts and music festival headlined by bands Wilco and

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The new UCI 2.HC race set to run in Colorado this August will feature a three-day arts and music festival headlined by bands Wilco and Death Cab for Cutie.

On Wednesday organizers of the race, called “Colorado Classic” unveiled plans for a festival called “Velorama Colorado,” which will be held in Denver’s River North arts district from August 11-13. The festival includes a bike expo, flea market, and craft beer market. The Colorado Classic runs August 10-13 and includes stages in Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, and Denver, as well as a two-day women’s race, which runs August 10-11.

The festival will kick off on Friday, August 11, after the women’s criterium in downtown Denver, with Chicago-based band Wilco performing after the race. Death Cab for Cutie will perform the following night after the men’s field completes an out-and-back stage from Denver to Colorado’s Peak to Peak Highway, which sits at approximately 8,000 feet elevation.

Organizers of the event hope the combination of the festival and Denver’s trendy neighborhood will help attract fans to bicycle racing.

“We are re-imagining bike racing as the centerpiece of a large-scale community event,” said Daivd Koff, CEO of RPM Events Group, which operates the race. “We will broaden the appeal of an already wildly popular sport.”

The festival and concert series is the keystone of RPM’s attempt to create create a sustainable race. Unlike most American professional bicycle races, which rely predominantly on sponsorship to cover costs, RPM’s hopes to generate revenue by selling tickets to the festival. Tickets for the event cost between $25 to $45 per day.

In September the group announced their plans for a new bicycle race in Colorado to take the place of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which ceased operations after the 2015 edition after taking on sizable financial losses. RPM pegged the budget of the four-day race in the mid seven figures. Organizers said that they are still searching for a title sponsor for the event.

“By imagining an event that is more than a bike race and bringing a ‘gate’ to the sport, we are confident that we can build an annual event that is anchored in Colorado and gives back to the community in meaningful ways,” Koff said.

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Hammer Series puts new spin on racing with team-centric format http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/hammer-series-puts-new-spin-on-racing-with-team-centric-format_431543 http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/hammer-series-puts-new-spin-on-racing-with-team-centric-format_431543#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 18:18:45 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431543 Velon and Infront Media partner to produce a new three-day race that offers a different format from most pro road races.

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Road cycling is a sport with individual winners, but that’s set to change at a new race called the Hammer Series. Velon, Infront media, and a group of teams have announced a new three-day race, scheduled for June 1-4, that combines aspects of a points race, team pursuit, and team time trial to crown a winning team, rather than winning individual.

Teams stand to win more than once, in fact. The series is the latest move by Velon, Infront, and some teams to produce a more sustainable model for cycling. The race is owned by Infront, which has a partnership with Velon. Ten teams all own a stake in Velon, meaning that if the race makes a profit, they’ll get a share.

“The idea is to explore ideas that haven’t been pushed forward yet, to try to some new formats,” Cannondale-Drapac CEO Jonathan Vaughters told VeloNews. “Since it’s owned by the teams and the athletes you have the capacity to directly listen to fans and tweak stuff around a bit.”

The three-day event is indeed a new format for pro cycling, though it borrows ideas from popular track events. It will include two days of circuit racing followed by a pursuit-style team time trial that will see teams set off in a staggered start, with gaps determined by performance over the first two days, and chase each other. The first team across the line on day three will be the overall winner.

“We go to the biggest races with what we think is the strongest team, and what’s great about the Hammer Series is it will really put that to the test,” said Team Sky’s Chris Froome in a press release. “It’s something new and a chance for fans to see teams competing directly against each other.”

Profits for the teams are not guaranteed, of course.

“If it’s profitable, just like anything else, then the teams will profit,” Vaughters said. “It’s like anything. You can open up a convenience store and it can pay out or you have to pay in.”

The potential to directly profit from the event provides an incentive for teams to bring star-studded squads to the new event, which overlaps with the Criterium du Dauphine. Infront, organizer of the Hammer Series, has a partnership with Dauphine rival Tour de Suisse.

Thus far, the ten Velon teams plus two additional WorldTour squads and three Pro Continental squads are signed on.

Attending teams include:
Aqua Blue Sport (Irl)
Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team (Bah)
BMC Racing Team (US)
Cannondale – Drapac (US)
Quick-Step Floors (B)
Lotto-Soudal (B)
Movistar Team (Sp)
ORICA – SCOTT (Aus)
Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise Pro Cycling Team (B)
Team Lotto NL Jumbo (Nl)
Team NIPPO Vini Fantini (I)
Team Sky (GB)
Team Sunweb (G)
Trek – Segafredo (US)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE)

The races

The rough concept is to include one climbing day, one sprint day, and one time trial day in each Hammer series. The stages for the first event, which will take place in the Netherlands, include a climbing circuit, a flat circuit, and a 50km pursuit-style time trial.

Each team will bring five riders to the event.

Day one will be centered on the Vaalserberg climb in Vaals and will finishing at the Drielandenpunt. Points will be awarded 10 deep on each lap, with the possibility for double points on some laps.

Day two will take place in Sittard-Geleen and will be approximately 100km long, split into 10-kilometer laps. Like the climbing day, each lap will award points at the finish line, which will once again go 10 deep.

Day three is a team time trial, but with a major change. Points will be tallied following the first two stages and the teams will start the time trial according to their rank. The first place team will go off first, with a 30-second gap to the second team. The gap then shrinks down to 20 seconds to the third team, and 15 seconds between the rest. The first team across the line 50km later wins.

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Phil’s Gaimon’s ‘Worst retirement ever’ http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/phils-gaimons-worst-retirement-ever_431537 http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/phils-gaimons-worst-retirement-ever_431537#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 17:59:16 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431537 Phil Gaimon is done with pro racing, but he's got one final mission on the bike: snatching Strava KOMs, and you get to pick which ones.

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A friend recently asked how I was doing in my retirement. I told him that I drove out to Westlake that morning, where it was pouring rain (this means a light drizzle if you live in L.A.), so I was pretty cold in my long-sleeve skinsuit when I started. Then I hit a rock going down a climb and flatted my front wheel, which meant turning around and climbing back up on the rim. I didn’t have my phone, so I hitchhiked back to my car in someone’s horse trailer.

“You’re retired. What the hell were you doing with no spare tubes, a skinsuit, and no cellphone, riding alone in the rain?” They asked.

“Well I was going for the Strava.”

So that’s how I’m doing, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Last fall, when I realized that I wouldn’t be racing professionally anymore, I turned my focus from pedaling, to my future, finishing two books, planning Phil’s Fondo for 2017, pitching the TV show I’ve been trying to sell (this is still in the “might actually happen” phase), and sorting out a job, because none of those are likely to pay the bills (the Fondo is for charity). To get some exercise and enjoy myself, I went on the local group rides, where I accidentally took the Strava for a climb called Nichols Canyon. The previous owner of the Nichols KOM was on top all of the leaderboards in L.A., which had become a bit of an eyesore for the cycling community after his drug scandal, so friends were really happy to see me take the crown instead. Most pros don’t care about Strava, and I’d never paid attention to it, but we all know that generally, the internet is a cruel place, filled with trolls and rude comments, so when I was flooded with positive feedback, I felt like I should respond. In my spare time over the winter, I used my residual WorldTour fitness to peck away at KOMs around the city.

My new job is at Wasserman, a big, fancy sports marketing company in LA. Everyone’s warned me about desks and offices, but this is exactly where I should fit in in the adult world, and after bouncing around the globe and having no idea where I’ll be next week for the last ten years, the truth is, I’m ready to trade the suitcase for a briefcase and a little stability.

There’s just one little problem: It took a crazy amount of work and sacrifice to be one the top 50-100 in the world at riding a bike up a hill, and while it wasn’t enough to stay in the pros, I doubt if I’ll ever be that good at anything again. I know have to let it go eventually, but as excited I am to eat more cookies and stop doing intervals, part of me wanted to hang for a little longer, have goals, and suffer with purpose.

That’s when the word started to spread about my “retirement mission.” There were news articles about Phil Gaimon “cleaning up the streets,” and I was recognized a couple times in L.A. — like, at restaurants, not on my bike. Some people were geeking out on my power files, others emailed asking to me go after famous segments from races, or smaller climbs in their hometown, curious to know what a pro could do on their local hills. I got all the good L.A. KOMs after a few weeks, just thinking it was funny, but it was actually Jonathan Vaughters’s idea that I could take it a step further.

So I’m proud to announce: “The Worst Retirement Ever.” My 2017 will have lots of pain and suffering, with none of the glory of posting up in front of a cheering crowd, or joking around on the bus with my teammates. Instead, I’ll be chasing hillclimb records, on climbs of your choice, with fully dorked-out race gear. I’ll collect as many as I can, but 10 missions will be filmed for my YouTube channel, which might help get that TV show picked up, or at the very least entertain some of you as I make an ass of myself. All I really care about is that there’ll no more hitchhiking.

My new mission is rather niche of course, so I’ll be posting on my own site from now on, and this will be my last blog for VeloNews. I’d like to thank all the editors and interns and kind folks who proofread the blogs I wrote over the years (often on my phone from massage tables at stage races), as well as the readers put up with my horrible photography and sophomoric humor. Sincerely, much love to all of you.

For those who choose to stick with my shenanigans, keep an eye on my social media, subscribe to my YouTube channel or put in your email address on www.philthethrill.net to get the posts by email.

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Le Samyn: Van Keirsbulck overcomes rain, mud, and cobbles http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/race-report/le-samyn-van-keirsbulck-overcomes-rain-mud-cobbles_431528 http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/race-report/le-samyn-van-keirsbulck-overcomes-rain-mud-cobbles_431528#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 16:39:29 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431528 On a dark, rainy day, Guillaume van Keirsbulck overcame slippery cobblestones on a tough circuit around Dour, Belgium to win Le Samyn

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On a dark, rainy day, Guillaume van Keirsbulck overcame slippery cobblestones on a tough circuit around Dour, Belgium to win Le Samyn Wednesday. The Wanty Groupe Gobert rider out-sprinted Alex Kirsch (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect) after holding a tenuous lead on a group of chasers through the final lap of racing. Quick-Step’s Iljo Keisse sprinted to third.

“It was a very hard race, and I survived,” said van Keirsbulck, exhausted after the 202.2km race. “I’m very happy.”

A lead group of seven riders went into the final 25-kilometer lap around Dour with just 16 seconds’ lead on the peloton, which was being led by Cofidis.

The breakaway included: Keisse, Jasper De Buyst and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Maartin Wynants (LottoNL-Jumbo), Kirsch and Olivier Pardini (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect), and van Keirsbulck.

Four of the seven were captured with about 22km to go, while Van der Sande, van Keirsbulck, and Kirsch carried on off the front.

With a little less than 12 kilometers remaining, van Keirsbulck made his move on a short cobbled climb, dropping Van der Sande. As the pace increased behind, a chase group of seven formed, including Keisse.

The lead duo reached the final, nasty sector of cobbles with a 22-second lead. Kirsch led into the Rue de Belle Vue, and behind, Florian Senechal (Cofidis) attacked the chase.

Although LottoNL-Jumbo’s Jos van Emden was able to pull back Senechal, the chase couldn’t bring the breakaway duo to heel.

Kirsch started the sprint, but it was too early. Van Keirsbulck waited until the final 100 meters and then dug into the reserves for one final acceleration to win.

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McCabe closes Langkawi with second stage win http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/mccabe-closes-langkawi-second-stage-win_431522 http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/mccabe-closes-langkawi-second-stage-win_431522#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:27:34 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431522 American sprinter Travis McCabe records third sprint win of the season with stage 8 victory at Le Tour de Langkawi.

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KUALA LUMPUR (VN) — UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling riders wasted little time wondering ‘what could have been’ with what they felt were missed opportunities at the 22nd edition of Le Tour de Langkawi.

Instead, the team turned its attention toward delivering Colombian climber Daniel Jaramillo into the top five on general classification and American sprinter Travis McCabe to his second stage win of the race — his third of the season on Wednesday.

In both instances, the UHC plan paid off.

“The plan today was to get some seconds with Jaramillo,” said UHC sports director Hendrik Redant. “The start of the race was pretty hard, and I knew that climb was going to be steep. I was looking at it and said you have to try and see what happens but it all split up and at that point I had my fastest guy in the break and I said, ‘Hey, we are going to ride.’”

While Jaramillo, 26, rode into fourth overall, McCabe, 27, took advantage of a split field to capture the eighth and final stage in fine fashion on Wednesday.

The Tuscan native, who also capped a win earlier in the week over the longest stage (208.1km) of the race, beat Australian Anthony Giacoppo (IsoWhey Sports-SwissWellness) and Italian Riccardo Stacchiotti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) at the finish line of the 121km day, which featured a six-lap, 6km loop to close the race in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

“That [stage 2] was the first time we got the lead-out together and we just got it perfectly, and that is how I won,” said McCabe after the race. “Today [Wednesday], was really great because Tanner [Putt] was on the front drilling it and that did put some pressure on me to win because when you see your friends and teammates killing themselves because they believe in you, it gives you that extra speed and determination.”

Stage 5 winner and overall leader Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data) finished fourth to finalize his tour victory and reclaim the points jersey he lost a day earlier to Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina), who was caught in the latter half of a split field following the second of two categorized climbs to start the day.

With some of the race’s top sprinters out of contention, McCabe found himself with the upper hand, but with only one teammate to leading him out.

“I jumped with 300m to go, which is still early, but it was fast and I had to go when I had to go today,” he explained. “[Greg] Henderson was really the only guy to take care of me. He dropped me off second wheel with 300 to go, so I just punched it.”

Earlier in the week, McCabe told VeloNews “patience” was the biggest lesson he was taking on board since joining his new team after a year with Holowesko-Citadel. Today, he said those lessons are starting to pay off.

“Patience-wise, I know where it really contributed was on the climb,” claimed McCabe. “I stayed calm. Usually I see a group go and I want to jump across and be in that group, but today I saw the split. I saw the yellow jersey had six guys with him, so I knew ‘OK, I am in this group. Let’s just ride it out and stay calm.’ They brought it back, and I was able to save it for the sprint.”

McCabe now returns home to prepare for his next block of racing after starting his season in Australia at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (1.UWT) on January 29, followed by the Herald Sun Tour (2.1), where McCabe picked up his first win of the season — the second of his career after winning stage 4 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah (2.HC) last year.

“The next big race will be Tour of California, that is the one I am focusing on,” said McCabe. “We have some criteriums, Tour of the Gila, Redlands.

“I’ll go home and have about a month to train, work on the sprint and build up the aerobic base again,” he continued.

“Really, the focus is on California. I want to be going even better there, I want to take what I learned from this race and use it in the bigger races and try to get a win at the WorldTour level now.”

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Your New Favorite Race: Strade Bianche http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/commentary/your-new-favorite-race-strade-bianche_431488 http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/commentary/your-new-favorite-race-strade-bianche_431488#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 14:53:02 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431488 Strade Bianche is the newest classic, but it packs a punch with scenic dirt roads, steep climbs, and a finish in the ancient city of Siena.

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Welcome to the VeloNews 2017 WorldTour fan guide. Great news: There are tons of cycling races all season! Less-great news: Like trying to pick an ice cream flavor at Ben & Jerry’s, tons of choices can be overwhelming. So, we’ll try to help out by giving you quick, fun overviews of major races. Stay tuned for more previews.

Need to pick Your New Favorite Team? Here are 11 teams you should follow in the 2017 season >>

Your New Favorite Race: Strade Bianche, Saturday, March 4.

Why should you care about this race? It’s like Paris-Roubaix and Amstel Gold Race’s Italian love-child — a hilly route that features rough, unpredictable roads. Perhaps for this reason, Strade Bianche attracts a fascinating mix of climbers and classics riders. How often do you see Alejandro Valverde and Peter Sagan standing on the same podium? It feels like cycling’s golden era, when Tour de France contenders would happily mix it up at Flanders and Roubaix.

The 2014 Strade Bianche podium was long on talent but short on smiling faces. Peter Sagan was second; Michal Kwiatkowski won, and Alejandro Valverde was third. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Most dramatic edition in recent history? The 2015 Strade Bianche had one of the spring’s most exciting finishes. Three men came into the final climb to Siena (more on that in a moment): Zdenek Stybar, Greg Van Avermaet, and Alejandro Valverde. Van Avermaet punched it into the first — and often decisive — right-hand corner. Valverde popped, but then Stybar found an extra gear and punished Van Avermaet for going too early. Ouch!

Honorable mention goes to the 2016 edition, when Fabian Cancellara won for a record third time, hunting down poor Gianluca Brambilla on the final climb and showing Stybar the gutter on that crucial right-hand corner.

Your race’s defining feature: It would be easy to just say the race’s rolling, sinuous, and sometimes sketchy dirt roads are the most important feature — after all, “strade bianche” means “white road.” That would be like calling Paris-Roubaix “pavé dangereux” or Flèche Wallonne the “Mur de Huy sprinten.” (Sorry, that second one was Google Translate, plain and simple).

However, those beautiful white roads don’t usually decide the winner. You can lose Strade Bianche on the dirt, but the climb to Siena is the most pivotal and spectacular part of the course. Riders blast up this climb through the ancient city like X-Wing fighters diving into the Death Star’s canyon in “Star Wars.” Okay, it’s not that fast because the climb pitches up to 16 percent at its steepest point, but the narrow streets, hemmed in by old buildings, create a neat effect. Watch out for the sharp, narrow turn onto Via delle Terme. If your favorite rider is not on the front coming out of that corner, it’s tough to sprint past with only about 300 meters to go.

But the thing is … Strade Bianche is still a young race. This year will be the 11th running of the men’s race, so it doesn’t quite have the deep heritage of its northern classics brethren. Should that matter to you? Probably not. Even if we can’t swoon over arcane historical footnotes like we do for Flanders or Liège, it’s a damn fun day of bike racing. Plus, all the dust makes for epic photos.

Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Ladies first? Indeed! The Women’s WorldTour kicks off Saturday, as it did in 2016, and we can expect great racing. Former world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot returns to the peloton with her new team, Canyon-SRAM. Has she recovered from the overtraining and frustration that scuttled her Olympic dreams? Plus, another former world champ is back on the road for her first race of 2017: Marianne Vos, riding for her new WM3 Energie team. Unlike Ferrand-Prévot, Vos is riding high after nearly winning cyclocross worlds in January. The Boels-Dolmans team, deep with talent, will remain the women’s race’s center of gravity, however. Lizzie Deignan won last year, and American Megan Guarnier won Strade Bianche 2015.

Who are you betting your beer money on this year? I like Vos for the women’s race. She looked great at the end of the cyclocross season, and a punchy, technical course like this would be ideal for the multi-time world champion. Stybar is a good bet for the men’s race because he’s won it before, been on the podium before, and I think he’s hitting his spring form, riding to ninth on Sunday in Kuurne.

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Gutiérrez wins women’s Le Samyn, out-sprints Pieters http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/race-report/gutierrez-wins-womens-le-samyn-sprints-pieters_431518 http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/race-report/gutierrez-wins-womens-le-samyn-sprints-pieters_431518#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 14:52:05 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431518 Riding for American team Cylance, Sheyla Gutiérrez wins her first race of the season in Le Samyn, ahead of Amy Pieters in the Belgian race.

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Sheyla Gutiérrez out-sprinted Amy Pieters Wednesday to win Le Samyn des Dames in Dour, Belgium. Riding for American team Cylance, the Spaniard collected her first win of 2017 in the 100.5km semi-classic race. Canyon-SRAM’s Tiffany Cromwell was third behind the Boels-Dolmans Dutchwoman.

Gutiérrez, 23, is in her second year with Cylance, but Le Samyn is her first win wearing the team’s green colors. Her team has had a run of success early in 2017, with new hire Kirsten Wild winning twice at the Santos Women’s Tour in Australia.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” said Pieters. “It was only the one other that was faster. I couldn’t have done anymore. Sheyla was really fast today, and now we know for next time.”

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Quintana more motivated to tackle double than just one grand tour http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/quintana-motivated-tackle-double-just-one-grand-tour_431509 http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/quintana-motivated-tackle-double-just-one-grand-tour_431509#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 14:16:47 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431509 The Colombian is gearing up for an attempt to win both the pink (Giro d'Italia) and yellow (Tour de France) jerseys this season.

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FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Nairo Quintana agrees that winning the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France this year will be complicated, but racing in both motivates him more than if he just focused on one grand tour.

The Movistar rider is the first to attempt the double since Alberto Contador in 2015. The last to win both races in one season was Marco Pantani in 1998.

“It’s different for me than the last years, that’s why I’m doing it,” Quintana said. “Plus I have the dream of winning it.

“I still want to win the Tour, which gave me so much fame so far. But this is the 100th Giro d’Italia. It’s important, and that pulls me in. That’s my motivation.”

Quintana debuted in the Tour de France in 2013 and became Froome’s most feared rival. He placed second overall that year and won a stage, along with the mountains and best young rider classifications.

In 2014, then 24, he raced the Giro d’Italia for the first time and won. He returned to the Tour in 2015 to place second again and in 2016, after suffering, he climbed his way to third. He took revenge in the Vuelta a España, where he toppled Froome in the final week.

The experience has enabled him and Movistar’s staff to better estimate what Quintana is capable of in the season.

“I’m more mature now. In the three-week races, I’m good. I do well in the second race of the year, I’m able to have a good level and recuperate better,” Quintana continued.

“Maybe it won’t work, but I’m going to attempt it and there’s a chance I can achieve it, to win both grand tours.

“[My fitness] is different this time around. I’ve had different training ahead of this season. In the past it was just one big race, now it’s two [Vuelta a Valenciana, which he won, and the Abu Dhabi Tour — ed]. I’m focusing to be ready on two grand tours, and my team is too, to be around me to make sure that I can pull it off.”

Quintana will not only need to make sure he manages an A list of stars in the Giro – from Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain-Merida to Orica-Scott’s Adam and Simon Yates – he will need to have something left to take on Sky’s Chris Froome in the Tour de France.

Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli, who directed Pantani in 1998, said in modern cycling it has become harder to win the double, but that Quintana has the traits to accomplish it.

“In both cases, the rivals will be tough,” explained Quintana. “In the Giro, there are going to be many rivals, which is good for the 100th edition. It’ll be complicated. There will be stronger climbers in the Giro. In the Tour, I’ll face Froome but also his team. They are held in high regard for how they all arrive and ride strongly around him. I’ll have a strong team too, though. We can also expect some surprises from other riders.

“The conclusion we came to last year, and throughout the last years, is that I’m stronger in the second grand tour of the season. I think that this will allow us to confront this challenge. I’m hoping so.”

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UCI president Cookson: UCI has tightened TUE rules http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/uci-president-cookson-uci-tightened-tue-rules_431502 http://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/uci-president-cookson-uci-tightened-tue-rules_431502#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 13:44:11 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431502 The UCI is issuing far less TUEs than it did before, now that president Brian Cookson has put tighter restrictions in place.

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Bradley Wiggins and his infamous TUEs have been making a lot of headlines, but it was Chris Froome’s case during the 2014 Tour de Romandie that prompted the UCI to overhaul its procedures for issuing the controversial therapeutic use exemptions.

In an interview with VeloNews, UCI president Brian Cookson recounted how it was the Froome case that prompted his new administration to tighten up its internal TUE process.

“There was a controversy about one of Froome’s TUEs at Romandie, and that was when we looked at how we were issuing TUEs,” Cookson said. “We changed the rules about how TUEs were issued.”

Up until 2014, the UCI’s practice was to sometimes fast-track urgent TUE requests via just one of the UCI’s medical staff (usually former UCI medical advisor Mario Zorzoli) rather than a three-member panel. There were already growing doubts about the efficacy and reliability after many dubious TUEs were issued over the years — including revelations about Lance Armstrong’s infamous backdated TUE for cortisone in 1999 — but the issue soon reached a head. By 2009, the number of TUEs hit 239 across the peloton.

By 2014, just months into his new administration after being elected as UCI president the previous fall, Cookson decided it was time to close the loophole and insist that all TUE requests go through a three-member review panel.

“We made sure there was an active TUE commission, not just one doctor that was consulted with in extraordinary circumstances,” Cookson continued. “We made sure those three doctors were people who were experts in the field, that they have to agree unanimously. That’s one of the reasons why there are less issued now.”

TUEs were already tracking downward even before 2014, in large part because salbutamol, a favored asthma treatment, was taken off the banned list in 2010. The number of TUEs dropped from 97 in 2010 to 30 in 2013.

By 2015, only 15 TUEs were issued during the entire racing season. Cookson also insisted the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, founded in 2008 to run anti-doping controls, is more independent than ever, and operates as an stand-alone operation rather than under the UCI’s legal department.

“We have made the TUE system as rigid and clear as it possibly can be,” Cookson continued. “We’ve handed the whole thing over to the CADF, so it’s not the UCI who is making the decision. OK, it’s still in Aigle, it’s on the other side of the building, but it’s not managed by the UCI, there are no board members. It is properly independent.”

Wait and see on Wiggins

When we talked to Cookson at the Santos Tour Down Under in January, he outlined his position on the brewing controversy involving TUEs that 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins was issued during the 2011, 2012, and 2013 seasons for triamcinolone, a powerful corticosteroid that Team Sky claims he took to treat asthma. The injections, taken ahead of the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and the 2013 Giro d’Italia, also raised red flags about possible abuse to trigger weight loss and improve power-to-weight ratio.

The revelations, which came via leaked data from a hack into the World Anti-Doping Agency late last summer, created a firestorm in the British media. A formal investigation by UK Anti-Doping was opened, including inquiries over a mysterious package that was sent to the team during the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford eventually testified before a parliamentary committee, and findings could be issued as soon as this week.

Cookson, who was president of the British Cycling Federation during Sky’s formation going into its debut 2010 season until he was elected UCI president in 2013, has largely steered clear of commenting on the case.

“There is nothing that I can say that would not make it worse for the whole sport of cycling, so that is why I am not saying very much,” Cookson said. “I don’t know how many times you’ve got to keep saying this. Of course, I am not interfering with this. If someone breaks the rules, I am not going to sweep it under the carpet … but let’s wait to see what happens with this inquiry.”

The growing crisis has put Cookson in a bind, and he said he’s not been involved in the inquiry. And he also insisted he has no idea if any rules were broken, but he said it should not come as a surprise that Team Sky might have pushed the rules to the limit.

“As I understand it, WADA looked at all those leaks, and concluded that none of them required disciplinary action,” he said. “In that respect, and everything I’ve read, there is no suggestion that any rules have been broken. [The TUEs] have been issued within the rules and procedures at the time.

“I have said, people shouldn’t be surprised that professional sports teams push the rules to the limit,” Cookson continued. “That’s what they do, whether it’s soccer, tennis, and I am not just talking about doping, but all rules. Sports teams seek every advantage they can by pushing the rules to the absolute limit. As long as you do not pass that line, that’s OK. It might be uncomfortable for some people, but as long as they do not break the rules; that’s the end of the matter. But … let’s see what comes out of the UK anti-doping.”

And Cookson repeated that he’s playing no role in the current investigation nor did he have any idea what Team Sky might or might not have been during the Wiggins era.

“But the idea that I should know what was inside this package is ridiculous,” Cookson said of the so-called “jiffy bag.”

“When you are in governance of an organization, you are not involved in the management, so I have no idea what would be inside of any package.”

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VN Show: Translating Sagan, recovery gummy bears http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/video/vn-show-translating-sagan-recovery-gummy-bears_431481 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/video/vn-show-translating-sagan-recovery-gummy-bears_431481#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 18:37:41 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431481 Peter Sagan was very busy in his first weekend of classics. We analyze that, and talk about the ongoing argument over disc brakes in pro

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Editor’s note: This video includes images from TDW Sport, VeloNews.com, Eurosport/YouTube, Sporza/YouTube Flanders Classic, Sportingclub Kuurne

Peter Sagan lost Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, but we’re ready to declare him the champion of the weekend. Why? He won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, chomped down handfuls of gummy bears, hit Sep Vanmarcke with some tough questions, and then told Sporza about proper toilet usage. That’s all in a weekend’s work for the current world champion.

On this week’s VeloNews Show we break down Sagan’s antics. Caley Fretz translates Sagan’s interview with Sporza, and discusses why it was better that the sport’s top sprinters were in Abu Dhabi, rather than at Kuurne.

Then, Caley discusses the latest wrinkle in the ongoing saga that is the pro cycling’s battle over disc brakes.

Finally, is there any better recovery food than gummy bears? All that and more on this week’s VeloNews Show!

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Tour of Flanders names 2017 wildcard teams http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/tour-flanders-names-2017-wildcard-teams_431477 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/tour-flanders-names-2017-wildcard-teams_431477#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:42:49 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431477 Tour of Flanders invites seven Pro Continental wildcard teams to the 2017 race, including three Belgian squads and two French teams.

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Flanders Classics, organizer of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), announced Tuesday that seven wildcard teams will be included in the 2017 men’s race.

Along with pro cycling’s 18 WorldTour outfits, three Belgian teams, one Dutch team, an Italian team, and two French teams will race on April 2 in Belgium’s biggest race.

The 101st edition of the Tour of Flanders will run 260km from Antwerpen to Oudenaarde. The 2017 route includes the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen for the first time in five years.

In 2016, Dimitri Claeys was the top finisher for a Pro Continental team that was racing Flanders on a wildcard invite. The Belgian, then 28, rode to ninth place in a nine-man group that sprinted home behind solo winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and three other men that rounded out the top-four that day. Claeys was riding for Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 2016. He’ll likely return to Flanders this year but wearing new colors, that of French team Cofidis, which was among the seven invited squads.

Also of note, Willier Triestina was invited. The Italian team is home to Filippo Pozzato, who was second behind Tom Boonen in the 2012 edition of Flanders.

Tour of Flanders 2017 Pro Continental wildcard teams

Cofidis (F)
Direct Energie (F)
Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij (Nl)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise (B)
Veranda’s Willems-Crelan (B)
Wanty-Groupe Gobert (B)
Willier Triestina (I)

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Crunch time for Quick-Step, both on and off bike http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/crunch-time-quick-step-off-bike_431472 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/crunch-time-quick-step-off-bike_431472#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:16:07 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431472 Belgian team Quick-Step comes up short in opening classics weekend. With Boonen retiring and sponsorship unconfirmed, it needs to win soon.

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Belgian super-team Quick-Step Floors is barnstorming toward the spring classics with everything at stake, both on and off the bike.

The team lives and dies by cycling’s monuments, and with Tom Boonen set to end his career at Paris-Roubaix, the pressure is on to win something big. Plus, team boss Patrick Lefevere revealed to the Belgian media that the team is under added pressure to shore up its sponsorship to guarantee the team’s survival going into 2018.

“The sponsorship deal we have only covers this season,” Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad. “We have four months to pull together the money to decide the fate of the team.”

Current sponsor Quick-Step Floors has long been a loyal backer of Lefevere’s team, but he said the company needs more time to decide if it wants to continue supporting the team following the retirement of Belgian superstar Boonen. Lefevere said he is focusing on Belgian sponsors first, but will expand his reach across the globe.

“We are in talks with Quick-Step, but they want time, and we do not have time,” he said. “We might not have the riders [if we wait].”

Lefevere called the Tour de France an unofficial deadline for him to secure new sponsorships for 2018, otherwise riders will start accepting offers from other teams to secure their respective futures.

If the behind-the-scenes drama isn’t enough, the team is also under pressure to win a major spring classic. Despite lining up as an annual favorite in just about every cobblestone race, the team hasn’t delivered a major victory since Niki Terpstra won Paris-Roubaix in 2014.

The team sputtered through the opening weekend, with Boonen crashing out of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and not starting Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday due to a bad stomach. Matteo Trentin carried the flag by riding in the winning break to finish fifth Sunday at KBK. Trentin was also tops for the team at Omloop in ninth, 56 seconds back.

Boonen is going all-in for his final charge across the cobbles. He’s hoping to win a record fifth Roubaix in what will be his final race on April 9, and looked to be in fine condition until tumbling this weekend.

Boonen’s last major wins in the classics came in 2012, when he won E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix all in a row. Aside from Boonen, and Niki Terpstra’s 2014 Roubaix victory, the team’s most recent monument winner was Filippo Pozzato, who won Milano-Sanremo 2006. Michal Kwiatkowski also won Amstel Gold Race in 2015 in team colors.

Lefevere also confirmed that Boonen will not make major alterations to his racing schedule that includes Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo ahead of his final rumble across the cobbles. Despite missing most of last weekend’s racing, Boonen will not race Le Samyn on Wednesday, but he might start Dwars door West-Vlaanderen on Sunday.

“There’s no sense in changing his schedule now,” Lefevere said. “The first thing is to let him recover, but he might race Dwars.”

In other Boonen news, the cycling magazine Grinta revealed in an interview with the Belgian star that he is going to work as an ambassador with a Dutch sports car manufacturer Donkervoort. The high-end, custom-made cars retail new at around $150,000.

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What to watch for in March pro cycling http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/watch-march-pro-cycling_431441 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/watch-march-pro-cycling_431441#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 15:29:16 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431441 Good news: Road season is underway. Bad news: As always, we cycling fans have a befuddling task ahead: Sorting through the hundreds of

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Good news: Road season is underway. Bad news: As always, we cycling fans have a befuddling task ahead: Sorting through the hundreds of races that span 12 months of the calendar. So I figured I’d help you out a bit. Here are my predictions for the month of March, what to watch for, and why it matters.

Our guide to watching pro racing on TV and online >>

Yes! Here we go, after the February tease, you can really sink your teeth into some great racing this month.

Strade Bianche: Boels-Dolmans will win the Women’s WorldTour opener at Strade Bianche — but who does it … Guarnier? Deignan? Also on March 4, men’s Strade is just as fun, plus it’s now a bona-fide WorldTour race for them too. Seems like a good time for Peter Sagan to claim his first title in Siena, as he builds toward Flanders and Roubaix.

Paris-Nice (March 5-12) and Tirreno-Adriatico (March 8-14): Our march (get it!?) into classics season takes a detour with two major stage races. This makes the weather gods angry. They want more cobbles racing. At least one stage of either Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico is cancelled due to bad weather — last year we had a twofer! Paris-Nice truncated stage 3, and Tirreno outright cancelled its queen stage. As for actual racing action, start lists are still a work in progress, but Paris-Nice will see the great French hope, Romain Bardet racing on home roads. Similarly, Fabio Aru will treat his country’s fans to all of his goofy suffer-faces on Italian soil in Tirreno. Plus, it’s time to get stoked for some more hot, hot Alberto Contador action at Paris-Nice. Remember how strong he looked at Ruta del Sol last month?

Milano-Sanremo pro tip: Sleep in on March 18 and then fire up the livestream when they’re about to reach the Cipressa. Or, you can set your alarm and watch the (boring) coverage from the early kilometers. Then you’ll understand why grand tours are running fewer 230km stages. This race is a lottery (Arnaud Démare had the winning numbers last year), so predictions are sketchy, but maybe Sagan can do it this time? Or maybe he can just do this again?

Trofeo Alfredo Binda: A day later, March 19, Italy hosts the Women’s WorldTour for a completely different kind of race. While Milano-Sanremo is a long, mostly flat, sprinter-friendly affair, Alfredo Binda winds around the hills of Lombardy, providing ample action. It’s a shame women’s racing is difficult to watch live, because I’d wager this Sunday race will make for better TV than most of Sanremo. Lizzie Deignan has won the last two editions — can she make it a hat-trick in 2017?

Volta a Catalunya (March 20-26): Start lists are still very preliminary, but this looks like our first chance to see Chris Froome strut his stuff in a race that isn’t Down Under. Yes, he opened the season at the Herald Sun Tour, but Catalunya will offer a nice appetizer for the summer to come. Contador is also slated to start — can he hold a candle to the reigning king of France? I don’t want to speak out of turn here, but is it possible that this Spanish race will eclipse Paris-Nice and Tirreno as March’s best stage race? It sure is less likely to have stages cancelled for weather.

Cobbles, cobbles, cobbles! We end the month classics racing. First, there’s Dwars Door Vlaanderen, March 22. If you’re bored at work on a Wednesday morning, why not watch? The real can’t-miss kickoff (apologies to Omloop), however, is Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, March 26. For the women’s WorldTour Gent-Wevelgem race, I’m thinking Team Sunweb because its riders rode really well at Omloop, a somewhat similar race. Perhaps Ellen van Dijk can win her first title at Gent this season? On the whole, this race has slowly become a little less of a sprinters’ classic, especially for the elite men. This could be one for John Degenkolb as he reemerges from injury with his new Trek-Segafredo team? Just watch out for the canals!

Gent-Wevelgem 2015 was a very windy (sometimes wet) affair. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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VN podcast, ep. 18: Much ado about Omloop, Abu Dhabi aids Kuurne? http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/podcast/vn-podcast-ep-18-much-ado-about-omloop-abu-dhabi-aids-kuurne-exercise-addiction_431463 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/podcast/vn-podcast-ep-18-much-ado-about-omloop-abu-dhabi-aids-kuurne-exercise-addiction_431463#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 14:28:30 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431463 We dissect exciting first week of cobbles racing — why didn't Vanmarcke attack? Is Kuurne better now? Plus, a talk about exercise

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Welcome to the VeloNews cycling podcast, where we discuss the latest trends, news, and controversies in the world of cycling.

What did we learn from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad? Is there really a witch’s curse? Is there anything Peter Sagan won’t say? Fred Dreier, Caley Fretz and Spencer Powlison dissect the weekend’s racing and look ahead to Le Samyn and Strade Bianche. Then, Fred sits down with Chris Case to discuss exercise addiction.

If you like what you hear, subscribe to the VeloNews podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Also, check out the VeloNews Fast Talk training podcast with Trevor Connor and Fretz.

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Lachlan Morton: ‘The WorldTour feels different this time around’ http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/lachlan-morton-the-worldtour-feels-different-this-time-around_431222 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/lachlan-morton-the-worldtour-feels-different-this-time-around_431222#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 14:00:34 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431222 The Australian riding for Dimension Data said is on track to race the Tour of California this year, and perhaps the Vuelta a Espana.

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Lachlan Morton quietly made his return to the WorldTour in January at Australia’s Santos Tour down Under.

Several weeks later at the Tour of Oman, Morton wasn’t so quiet.

Morton rode aggressively near the front of the pack on Oman’s hardest days, finishing 14th on stage 2, 10th on stage 3, and 7th on the stage 5 climb to Green Mountain. On that stage, Morton attacked near the base of the climb, hoping to set up his Dimension Data teammate Merhawdi Kudus. He finished the Tour of Oman in 8th place, just 1:21 down on winner Ben Hermans.

VeloNews caught up with Morton to talk about Oman, the season ahead, and whether or not he’ll start a grand tour in 2018.

VN: Take us through your result at the Tour of Oman

Lachlan Morton: I could feel I was riding really well. I had been home [in Australia] training, and we were close to pulling off a win for Nathan [Haas] and got close but it didn’t quite fall that way. On the Green Mountain, [Kudus] and I were the two guys to go for it, and the plan was for me to attack early on the climb to get rid of the guys with teammates, and if everyone was by themselves, then [Kudus] would go. He attacked just slightly too early. I think he was the strongest guy on that climb. Either way, it was a good experience and it felt nice to be riding off the front on a climb like that with the caliber of guys like that.

VN: So far, how does this WorldTour experience compare to your previous stint in 2014?

LM: The WorldTour feels different this time around. I want to prove myself as an athlete, not just as a promising talent. I want to win some races. I felt more at home racing at this level that I ever did in the two years with Garmin. I dunno. So far it’s been really positive. We were racing for Nathan [Haas] for most of the [Australian] summer, and he was riding really well. He’s someone I get along with. I enjoyed jumping back into the role of working for someone else. It’s nice after having the pressure on your back for a few years every race.

VN: What’s your spring schedule look like?

LM: I’m in Colorado for three weeks, then back to Spain for [Volta a] Catalunya and then Pais Vasco. Then I come back here and train for the Tour of California. After California I’m doing the Tour de Suisse. California is the big goal for the first half of the season, so I’m slowly building up to that.

VN: So it sounds like you will be racing the Tour of California instead of the Giro d’Italia. What are your thoughts on that?

LM: It was the team’s call and it makes sense. Historically I’ve always gone better toward the end of the year. With the Vuelta being right at the backend of the year, hopefully I’ll have done enough WorldTour racing to deal with it a bit more. Jumping into the Giro would be pretty ambitious this year. Next year that is a race I would love to do. There’s so much climbing and a lot of opportunities to do things. With the Tour of California being a WorldTour race it becomes more important, so we have a good team going there.

VN: You’ve spent the last two years racing alongside your brother, Gus. So now that you’re no longer teammates, who is the new Gus in your life?

LM: Ha, there’s no new Gus. It’s been a weird change. We’d always room together for two years, and now I’m back to rooming with people I don’t know. Gus is generally more organized, so he’s the one who knows what airline we’re flying and when dinner is and everything like that. It’s been a tough transition to work all of that stuff out myself. The group of guys I was with in Australia and again in Oman was great. We all got along so it’s been an easy transition.

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2018 Tour to start on slick island passageway http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/2018-tour-start-slick-island-passageway_431456 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/2018-tour-start-slick-island-passageway_431456#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 13:29:58 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431456 The 4km Passage du Gois was last featured in the race in 2011, when it hosted the start of the French grand tour.

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MOUILLERON-LE-CAPTIF, France (AFP) — Next year’s Tour de France will begin on a notorious, slippery passageway linking an island off the west coast to the mainland, organizer ASO revealed on Tuesday.

The Grand Depart of the 105th edition of the world’s most prestigious bike race will start on June 30, 2018 on the 4-kilometer Passage du Gois — a natural and periodically flooded land bridge from the island of Noirmoutier to the Vendee department in the Loire region — with a 195km flat stage.

The passage has an infamous place in Tour history as it proved decisive in helping Lance Armstrong win the first of his seven titles in 1999. He was later stripped of all of them for doping.

Many of the favorites that year, including Switzerland’s Alex Zulle, crashed on the slippery cobbles and ended up losing six minutes to the American, who would eventually win the Tour by seven minutes.

The passage was last featured at the Tour in 2011, when it also hosted the Grand Depart.

After a second flat stage of 185km, the third stage on July 2 will be a 35km team time trial around Cholet.

The race will then leave the Vendee department the following day, although the destination of the fourth stage and the program for the rest of the race will not be revealed until October.

In the meantime, the 2017 Tour will start in Duesseldorf, Germany on July 1.

Britain’s Chris Froome is the current champion having won the race for the third time last year.

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CPA lawyers challenge UCI’s disc brake rules http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/cpa-lawyers-challenge-ucis-disc-brake-rules_431446 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/cpa-lawyers-challenge-ucis-disc-brake-rules_431446#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:00:35 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431446 The pro cyclists association, the CPA, threatens legal action against UCI over its continued permissive stance toward disc brakes.

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Lawyers from rider organization Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) have sent a “legal warning” to the Union Cycliste International (UCI) on the issue of disc brakes in pro racing.

The letter reiterates the CPA’s position that the UCI did not properly vet disc brake technology, and states that the UCI is responsible for any “damage or accident that should happen to the riders.” The statement references EU employment law that requires employers to a safe working environment for workers.

“With the Equipment Commission we tried in every way the path of dialogue through the repeated letters and meetings we had,” said Gianni Bugno, president of the CPA, via the statement. “Now we feel compelled to act in a stronger way to be heard. As we have always said we are not against the disc brakes but against the non-implementation of the security measures that the majority of the riders asked before making the tests on the disc brakes in the races.”

The CPA called on the UCI, once again, to reevaluate its position on discs and suspend the current test period.

It’s not clear, however, if the statute referenced by the CPA, EEC 89/391, could actually be used against the UCI, which does not employ pro cyclists and is thus not subject to laws governing the employer/employee relationship. Pro cyclists are employed by their respective teams, which are independently owned.

When asked for comment, the CPA reiterated its stance that the UCI must ensure that riders work in safe conditions. Its legal team was not immediately available for further explanation. The UCI was not immediately available for comment, or to confirm that it received the letter.

The CPA’s letter follows another alleged incident involving disc brakes. At the Abu Dhabi Tour last week, Owain Doull claimed that his shoe had been sliced in a crash with Marcel Kittel, who was riding discs at the time. Though that claim has been disputed, Kittel used a bike with regular rim brakes for the remainder of the race.

Watch our tongue-in-cheek disc brake experiment >>

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Women’s weekend recap: Two Omloops http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/womens-weekend-recap-two-omloops_431375 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/womens-weekend-recap-two-omloops_431375#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:04:26 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431375 The women’s opening weekend of racing in Europe took to the Belgian roads at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Spar-Omloop van het Hageland

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The women’s opening weekend of racing in Europe took to the Belgian roads at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Spar-Omloop van het Hageland — both UCI 1.1 races.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Saturday saw an all-Dutch podium with Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) taking the top step and compatriots Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) second and third, respectively.

Highlights:

Key race action:

Things heated up with a crash atop the Paterberg at the front of the field that took down several riders and forced other to run their bikes up the climb. Ellen van Dijk (Sunweb) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) escaped as the field pulled itself back together.

With the two experienced riders out front, van Vleuten pushed the pace in the main field over the Molenberg, paring down the field to a select group of 15-20 riders. Blaak charged the Paaastraat, reducing the chase group even further to just five riders.

Four of those chasers would make contact with the two leaders with 10km to go. Brand had the freshest legs at the end of the day — benefitting from teammate van Dijk’s earlier escape up the road. In the final kilometers, Brand laid down attack after attack until, on the third try, she broke free and crossed the line 15 seconds up on the small group. Blaak won the sprint for second with van Vleuten edging out van Dijk for third.

“It was a really good day,” said Brand. “The team were great and supporting me really well by keeping me out of the headwind. The girls kept me in a great position, and we were in a perfect situation with Ellen up the road and good support behind. They helped me to maintain a good position ahead of the cobbles and climbs, so I didn’t have to do anything, which was great.”

American riders:
Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans): 21st
Allie Dragoo (Cervélo-Bigla): 61st
Allison Whitney (Colavita-Bianchi): DNF
Abby Mickey (Colavita-Bianchi): DNF
Amber Pierce (Colavita-Bianchi): DNF

Spar-Omloop van het Hageland

Sunday’s Spar-Omloop van het Hageland came down to a select group sprint with Belgian Jolien D’hoore nabbing the win after 126 kilometers of racing.

American Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) tangled with another rider and crashed out of the race with over 50 kilometers to go. She suffered a blow to the head and several contusions on her legs and hip. “You always hurt all over with a crash like this,” said Guarnier. “It doesn’t feel good, but I’m OK.”

Watch the full race replay:

Key race action:

With 20 kilometers to go, the racing heated up with a successful break that included Longo Borghini, Blaak, Coryn Rivera (Sunweb), and van Dijk. The firepower of this small group was hard to reign in but the sprinters’ teams weren’t going to let this flat finish get away from them. With five kilometers to go, Orica-Scott reeled the break in.

Longo Borghini wasn’t finished yet, though. She launched an attack up the final climb of the day to secure queen of the mountains prize and continued her effort over the top making for a wild chase toward the finish line. Caught with 1.2 kilometers to go, Longo Borghini left it up to her teammate D’hoore who inched out former teammate Chloe Hosking (Alé-Cipollini) and Orica-Scott’s Sarah-Roy.

Americans:
Allie Dragoo (Cervélo-Bigla): 49th
Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans): DNF
Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb): DNF
Sara Fletcher (Autoglass Wetteren-Group Solar): DNF
Leah Thorvilson (Canyon-SRAM): DNF
Allison Whitney (Colavita-Bianchi): DNF
Abby Mickey (Colavita-Bianchi): DNF
Amber Pierce (Colavita-Bianchi): DNF

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U.S. women earn two golds at Track World Cup in California http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/u-s-women-earn-two-golds-track-world-cup-california_431412 http://www.velonews.com/2017/02/news/u-s-women-earn-two-golds-track-world-cup-california_431412#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:38:18 +0000 http://www.velonews.com/?p=431412 Chloe Dygert leads the way with gold in the individual pursuit and another in the team pursuit.

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The United States grabbed a pair of gold medals in women’s track cycling at the UCI World Cup Los Angeles over the weekend.

Chloe Dygert capped the weekend in record fashion by winning Sunday’s individual pursuit in a track record time of 3:28.431. The race also marked Dygert’s debut in the individual race against the clock.

“Coming here, I had no idea what to expect,” Dygert said at the VELO Sports Center at StubHub Center, situated on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, California.

“I had done some training in the event, and it was really great to have Sarah [Hammer] here as the race is kind of her specialty — she helped me nail in what I should be doing in order to get a fast time. I couldn’t have done it without her help.”

Also grabbing gold for the U.S. women was the team pursuit squad on Saturday. Kelly Catlin, Dygert, Kimberly Geist, and Jennifer Valente put up a time of 4:19.990 in the final round.

As the reigning world champions, the Americans were the favorite entering the nighttime finals and they delivered with a win over New Zealand.

“Two things are really special about this,” Valente said. “Number one, it’s the only opportunity we will have to race in the world championship stripes, which is something that is special for anybody. Then, being at a home World Cup is incredible.”

Last summer, the U.S. women’s team pursuit squad won the silver medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics behind Great Britain.

The three-day event was the fourth and final World Cup on the UCI calendar. The next stop on the track circuit are the world championships, to be held in Hong Kong April 12-16.

Women’s results

Sprint
1. Kristina Vogel, Germany
2. Liubov Basova, Ukraine
3. Anastasia Voynova, Russia

Scratch
1. Tetyana Klimchenko, Ukraine
2. Jasmin Duehring, Canada
3. Elinor Barker, Great Britain

3km Individual Pursuit
1. Chloe Dygert, United States
2. Ashlee Ankudinoff, Australia
3. Jaime Nielsen, New Zealand

Madison
1. Australia: Amy Cure, Alexandra Manly
2. New Zealand: Michaela Drummond, Racquel Sheath
3. Italy: Rachele Barbieri, Maria Giulia Confalonieri

Team Sprint
1. Gazprom-RusVelo: Daria Shmeleva, Anastasia Voynova
2. Canada: Kate O’Brien, Amelia Walsh
3. South Korea: Won Gyeong Kim, Hyejin Lee

Team Pursuit
1. United States: Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert, Kimberly Geist, Jennifer Valente
2. New Zealand: Rushlee Buchanan, Michaela Drummond, Jaime Nielsen, Racquel Sheath
3. Canada: Laura Brown, Jasmin Duehring, Annie Foreman-Mackey, Kirsti Lay, Stephanie Roorda

Keirin
1. Kristina Vogel, Germany
2. Martha Bayona Pineda, Colombia
3. Natasha Hansen, New Zealand

Men’s results

Team Sprint
1. New Zealand: Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster
2. Germany: Erik Balzer, Eric Engler, Max Niederlag
3. Poland: Maciej Bielecki, Krzysztof Maksel, Mateusz Rudyk

Scratch
1. Yauheni Karaliok, Belarus
2. Thomas Denis, France
3. Tom Seton, New Zealand

Omnium
1. Szymon Wojciech Sajnok, Poland
2. Campbell Stewart, New Zealand
3. Sanghoon Park, South Korea

Keirin
1. Fabian Hernando Puerta Zapata, Colombia
2. Hugo Barrette, Canada
3. Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom, Malaysia

Madison
1. Ireland: Felix English, Mark Downey
2. Denmark: Julius Johansen, Casper Pedersen
3. New Zealand: Campbell Stewart, Tom Sexton

Sprint
1. Denis Dmitriev, Russia
2. Max Niederlag, Germany
3. Sam Webster, New Zealand

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