TOP STORY: The 2014 Giro d’Italia
The 2014 Giro d’Italia route was unveiled to riders and the press on Monday afternoon by the organisers; RCS Sport. The Italian Grand Tour will start in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Friday May the 9th with a 22 kilometre team time trial from the Titanic museum before finishing in the town centre. On Saturday the 218 kilometres stage will take in the tourist spots of the Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills and returning to finish in Belfast again. Sunday’s stage starts in Armagh and finish in the Eire capital of Dublin (187km). An early rest day allows for the race to return to Italy, to start in Giovinazzo in the south and going to Bari. From there the race heads north taking the climb to Montecassino also with some sprinters stages before the second rest day.
In the second week the race has a 46.4 kilometre individual time trial to Barolo, through some of the best Italian vineyards with a climb to finish. Stage 14 finishes at the Oropa sanctuary, the scene of one Marco Pantani’s great rides and disqualification in 1999. Stage 15 finishes on the summit of Plan di Montecampione where Pantani sealed his 1998 Giro victory.
The third week takes in the Dolomites and Friuli climbs with the feared Monte Zoncolan on the penultimate day. The final stage is from Gemona to Trieste on the 1st of June. Many say this is a more balanced Giro, but does that mean less summit finishes and a long time trial, that maybe doesn’t make for a great race, but time will tell.
Last year’s winner; Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) said he will probably miss the 2014 edition, favouring the Tour de France, he said of the route: “I think the 46km time trial could be very important tactically. It doesn’t look very hard but it climbs at the end, and it comes just before the tough final eight days. The first stages in Ireland could be tough, too, as it looks like it’s all along the coast and it could be windy. The winner will be someone capable on all terrains; you’ll need to be complete. The final week will be the key.”
BMC’s Cadel Evans has shown an interest in prioritising the Giro over the Tour: “I started off in grand tours with Mapei in 2002, when I lost the pink jersey at the end,” Evans said. “I have an appetite for the Giro since that hunger crisis and I want to finish it well. The first week seems easy, but like always you have to stay attentive to avoid problems. In the final week, you have to manage your strength and be ready for the big mountains.”
Saxo-Tinkoff’s Nicolas Roche:
What does it mean to you that the race will be launched in Ireland and Northern Ireland?
“I think it’s great. I know that people have been working very hard for many years to get the Giro to the two countries so I think it’s really exciting and it’s a huge achievement for the people involved and for both countries to host this fantastic cycling event. For the cycling fans in both countries, it’s going to be a unique experience,” commented Nicolas Roche.
What do you think of the course in general?
“I think it’s an interesting course as it varies a lot. With one flat time trial, a mountain time trial and a team time trial spiced up with the usual mountain top finishes, you’ll have to be able to be good at everything to win the race. Especially in the start of the race, the sprinters will have their chance to shine as well while the toughest part of the course is in the final week,” said Roche.
Irish-born Nicolas Roche has had a very good season with Saxo-Tinkoff supporting Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger in the Tour de France before finishing fifth in the Vuelta a Espana where he wore the leader’s jersey and won a nerve-wrecking mountain stage: “It’s been a thrilling year for me. First of all, I’ve learned a lot and in terms of personal results, I had a good final part of the season. I enjoyed supporting Alberto and Roman during the Tour and I’ll always remember the stage where we blew the peloton apart in the crosswind. That’s a day I’ll never forget. But of course wearing the leader’s jersey and taking my stage win in the Vuelta were probably the happiest days of the season. However, the Vuelta offered a series of good experiences for me. But I couldn’t have done it without the massive support from my teammates,” Roche concluded.
Ivan Basso (Cannondale): “It’s certainly a balanced Giro but my experience teaches me that even the early stages could be difficult with the wind and road conditions. Still, the hardest climbs are in the finale. It’s easier to make the difference in the final week and it’s a Giro I like.” The 2010 Giro winner added: “The climbs where you win stay in your heart and it would be great to crown my career with a third Giro win there. Nothing is impossible.”
Stay PEZ for more in-depth analysis from the crew.
Here is the 2014 route promo:
Binche-Chimay-Binche-Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke 2013
Binche-Chimay-Binche, the Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke has changed its turn around town from Tournai to Chimay which is well known for the very special dark beer they make. That said the racing hasn’t changed and the race was a battle to the end. South African Janse van Rensburg (Argos-Shimano) came out on top as he got the better of Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) after an attack by Greg van Avermaet (BMC) in the last two uphill kilometres. Earlier in the race a break including: Bertjan Lindeman (Vacansoleil-DCM), Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Nico Sijmens (Cofidis), Thomas Degand (Accent Jobs-Wanty) and local boy; Tom Dernies (Wallonie Bruxelles). They were caught with 42 kilometres to go, just under 3 laps of the 16 kilometre cobbled circuit. From then on there was one attack after the other, but none managed to stay away until the move from van Avermaet.
BMC DS; Yvon Ledanois said of his team: “I am very satisfied with the team work today, our guys did a great job. Greg had good legs. He is very strong, but he went a little bit too early. This was the last test before Paris-Tours on Sunday. A victory should be possible.”
Binche-Chimay-Binche-Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke Result:
1. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Argos-Shimano in 4:10:24
2. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:01
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
4. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin at 0:04
5. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
6. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Jetse Bol (Ned) Belkin
8. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
9. Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis.
The Cyclo-Cross Season 2013/14
With all the excitement of the World championships last week you might have missed the start of the 2013/14 cyclo-cross season. There have been a couple races here and there, but the Belgian season is well under way.
Grote Ereprijs Albert Van Damme, Laarne 2013
In Neerpelt on the 28th of September; Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) beat World cross champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) in the Soudal GP. But in the GP Albert van Damme on Sunday the 6th of October it was the Telenet-Fidea team who dominated with Tom Meeusen first and Rob Peeters second with Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon) in third. The Telenet-Fidea team riders, and others, raced with black armbands in memory of their team mate Amy Dombroski who died in a training accident last Thursday.
Grote Ereprijs Albert Van Damme Result:
1. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea in 57’01”
2. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:01
3. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:36
4. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:56
5. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:57
6. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:02
7. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:06
8. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink-leontien.nl at 1:07
9. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:09
10. Niels Albert at (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:13.
Nibali Finishes Season
After his crash in Sunday’s Giro di Lombardia; Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has decided to finish his 2013 season. He was taken to the local Manzoni hospital in Lecco, there were cuts and abrasions, but they were to his left leg, the same one he injured during the previous weeks World championships in Florence.
2013 Giro d’Italia:
Juan Antonio Flecha to Retire
The Tour of Beijing will be the veteran Spanish cyclist Juan Antonio Flecha’s final race. He announced at the end of the Giro di Lombardia that it would be his last big European race and the Chinese race would end his career. Flecha had originally said he would like to race for a further year, but now with the demise of the Vacansoleil-DCM team he has decided to call it a day. Flecha told Spanish newspaper El Pais: “I saw what I wanted to do with my life and what I had to do.” As to his immediate future: “I cannot wait to finish that race in mid-October (Tour of Beijing) and go to Maui, Hawaii, with an open date on the return ticket. I’ll swap the asphalt for the foam of the waves, the bike for the surfboard, and walk barefoot all day, and be free.” Flecha was happy with his last season: “In my last season at Vacansoleil-DCM I raced the way I wanted in the races I like the most. Although I didn’t get a big victory I believe it was one of my best seasons, very consistent and solid. Retiring now gives me a chance to look back on cycling with good memories.”
Vacansoleil-DCM team manager Daan Luijkx was impressed by Flecha; “We asked Juan Antonio to join us since he brings a lot of experience and he is of value in every race of the season. From the very first team event in November he over delivered sharing his experience, showing leadership and acting like a pro. His way of racing and big courage fitted the team like a glove.” Flecha is grateful to the fans and the sport of cycling: “I love the sport and say goodbye with a big smile. Cycling will for sure stay a part of my future life.” Maybe Flecha wasn’t the biggest winner in the peloton, but he always gave everything he could and had a smile on his face at the finish no matter the result.
Cannondale-Tinkoff in 2014?
It’s looking more likely that the Cannondale team will have the Tinkoff Bank as a co-sponsor next year. Part owner of the bank; Oleg Tinkov has floated the credit card company on the stock exchange and is looking to raise over $700 million, so cash shouldn’t be a problem for the Russian. The main problem could be that Cannondale’s star rider; Peter Sagan he was not too keen on Tinkov being involved with the team, but then money can be a strong consideration.
Belkin Buy Out Luis Léon Sanchez Contract
The Dutch Belkin team have bought out the final two years of Luis Léon Sanchez’s contract with the team, due to: “His name is reported in too many cases,” the team told De Telegraaf newspaper. This move had been rumoured early in the year when he was not selected for any races from February. The team then said they had not found any reason to suspend the rider further and he raced from May. At the time there were many rumours concerning Sanchez and which doctors he has worked with during his career, or in some cases all of them, including Fuentes and Ferrari. The deal is said to be more than €2 million and whether or not he has a team for next year is not known.
Is it the end of the road for Luis Léon?
Argos-Shimano U23 Squad
The Argos-Shimano team will have an Under 23 team to add to its WorldTour and Woman’s teams for next year. The young team will race at UCI Continental level, depending on approval and will be the feeder team for the Pro team in the future. Team manager Iwan Spekenbrink said in a press release: “The team will be composed of a mix of young riders moving up from the junior ranks and 22-year-old riders with some experience in the Europe Tour. The establishment of this team is a reflection of what Team Argos-Shimano stands for: development of young riders through our way of working.” The team will name the riders soon.
Europcar Team for Paris-Tours
The Classic Paris-Tours is on Sunday the 13th of October.
Sébastien Chavanel, Bryan Coquard, Tony Hurel, Vincent Jerome, Brian Nauleau, Alexandre Pichot, Kévin Reza, Angélo Tulik.
DS: Ismaël Mottier.
Giro d’Italia to Start in Dubai?
The first Dubai Tour will be in February next year and is being run with RCS Sport, the Giro d’Italia organisers, and the proposal is that the Giro d’Italia could start in the Middle Eastern Emirate in the future. We have heard similar before; the Tour de France to start in the US was one such idea that (so far) has never happened, but if the Giro can start in Belfast and the Tour de France in Yorkshire, I guess nothing is impossible!
Sheryl Crow Witnessed Blood Transfusion
According to The New York Daily News, who are quoting from a soon to be released book called “Wheelman” written by Vanessa O’Connell and Reed Albergotti, that Lance Armstrong’s then fiancée; Sheryl Crow witnessed him receive a blood transfusion in 2004. Crow told Jeff Novitsky in 2011 that she witnessed the transfusion when flying to Belgium in Lance’s private jet in 2004.
Lance Armstrong: The Lie
The 2009 documentary about Lance Armstrong is due out in the US in November, it was originally made to cover his come back, but in the end it has turned into a two hour film on the scandal that it “The Armstrong Lie”. Here is the official trailer from Sony Pictures.
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