TOP STORY: Contador; Following in the Footsteps of Sky?
Alberto Contador has started the 2014 season with a bang! In 2013, the Spaniard only managed one win: a stage in the Tour de San Luis. This year; six so far: Algarve, two stages and overall in Tirreno, another stage and the yellow jersey in the Basque Country. “This is the beginning of the brightest season of my career,” he admits.
According Jacinto Vidarte, Contador’s communications manager, the crux of his performance lies in the “tranquillity and thoroughness with which he (Contador) has faced his preparation.” Adding that: “This winter he has left aside advertising commitments and media to focus on training. That has meant less pressure, and his health has been good.” He continues: “through an eating regime, there has been no change in his diet (he is the same weight as at the Tour, 61 kilos), but to his routine.”
The Sky connection comes from Contador training at altitude up Mount Teide for the first time (same as Sky) for “a few weeks” with Steven de Jongh, former Sky and now Tinkoff technician. The Dutchman, who left the British structure due to the anti-doping policy, has added new Sky methods to the Contador plan. “I am satisfied with it. We have a very good feeling and the work pays off,” said Contador during Tirreno.
Teide has been a popular training destination for Sky riders (it’s where Wiggins and Froome achieved their Tour wins), also Nibali, Rodriguez and other figures of the current peloton. Quintana also uses the altitude of Colombia to refine his goals. At the moment Contador is leading the 2014 UCI WorldTour ranking. “The difference this season is that the legs work. When the body responds, the mood comes with it,” summed up Contador.
Looks like Sky’s loss is Contador’s gain.
Alberto Contador wins stage 4 of the 2014 Tirreno Adriatico:
Amstel Gold Race 2014
Read Mark’s Race Report here and our interview with BMC’s Philippe Gilbert earlier this year.
BMC Racing Team’s Philippe Gilbert soloed to victory Sunday at Amstel Gold Race to win for the third time in five years.
On the same finish where he soloed to win the 2012 world road title, Gilbert put in a vicious attack the fourth and final time up the Cauberg climb. In the clear over the top, he powered his BMC teammachine SLR01 to a gap that kept growing until he started celebrating in the final 50 meters of the 251.4-kilometre race. “This was a particularly emotional win for me,” Gilbert said. “My wife and my kids were here for the first time in two years. So to win will be something they will never forget. I have been dreaming of this.” Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) was runner-up five seconds later and Simon Gerrans (ORICA-GreenEDGE) finished third. Also a winner here in 2010 and 2011, Gilbert’s victory was his second straight after holding off Michael Matthews (ORICA-GreenEDGE) on Wednesday at Brabantse Pijl. BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the performance re-confirms the importance of the hard work the team put in during its winter training. “This victory was a result of perfectly-executed strategy and 100 percent delivery by the team of that strategy, from start to finish,” he said. “I give full compliments to everybody: the riders, managers, staff, all the way down the line.”
The entirety of the BMC Racing Team played a part in the team’s ninth win of the season. Past Olympic road race champion Samuel Sánchez attacked at the foot of the Cauberg to set up Gilbert’s winning move after Marcus Burghardt escorted him into a forward position on the descent leading to the climb. Earlier, Greg Van Avermaet covered an attack by Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) with 30 km to go in a move that was not brought back until seven kilometres remained. And Ben Hermans, Dominik Nerz, Michael Schär and Peter Velits all contributed to the chase of the day’s breakaway when its gap peaked at nearly 13 minutes after about 100 kilometres. “My teammates really did a great job before the final ascension of the Cauberg,” Gilbert said. “They all did a very good job to place me in the best position. During the briefing, it was planned for Samuel to do an attack at the foot of the Cauberg. It was not a surprise for me, but I think it was one for my adversaries. I only had to wait for the best moment to attack. And I did that when it was most difficult and hurting for everyone.”
Second; Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol): “The race didn’t start well for me; I crashed after about 40 kilometers. I hit my knee and had much pain. That moment I wasn’t sure I would finish the race, it was difficult to get back on track. Eventually I could make a switch. In the last 50 to 60 kilometers I took my place in the front rows of the peloton. For the team the race went as planned with Pim Ligthart in the front group and Tim Wellens who responded when the strong teams started the final. My brother Dennis took care of me.”
He added: “My ideal scenario was that we reached the top of the Cauberg with a small group and that I could take off when the others hesitated. Only Gilbert crossed my plans. I did make the jump when the tempo went down after the Cauberg and I became second just like in 2012. This confirms my good shape, I’m back where I want to stand. This result isn’t unexpected for me after all the hard work. My season started with a setback due to the elbow injury I incurred in the Tour de San Luis. That’s why I wasn’t at my full strength in Paris-Nice. This second place is a nice reward. The Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège are coming up. The Mur de Huy is very steep and you need to be explosive there. I think others are more cut out for that. La Doyenne suits me more, although I became fourth in the Flèche Wallonne two years ago.”
Fifth went to Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski. “There is something so good about this Cauberg,” Kwiatkowski said. “I think it’s something I need to discover. I think I would have been a little bit better further back in the group, maybe following a guy like Gilbert. He has so much experience. I think it would be a bit easier. I didn’t catch an attack from Samuel Sanchez (BMC) right away early on the climb. I was a little bit back. That surprised me, but I had just started behind my teammate Michal Golas on the Cauberg. I thought ‘why do I have to wait,’ as I thought after a couple of seconds later we’d be on the top. But on the bike, it’s a long way to the top. I went too early actually and I paid for it. But, I’m happy.”
“I had so much support from my teammates,” Kwiatkowski continued. “I have done this race twice now, and I have performed recon of the parcours. I’m learning year-by-year. I stayed in the race all day in the front, but maybe from this I learned I need to stay a little more in the back and realize when to use my energy. But the support of my teammates was great today regardless of my choice of position. Golas was really impressive today. He was able to chase down a breakaway, and then he was still with me on to the bottom of the Cauberg. So I’m happy with what they did for me. I finished 5th and while I didn’t improve on last year’s 4th place, I made it a little bit better start. Because I could follow guys on the Cauberg and I couldn’t last year. I had maybe a little bit better of a sprint, but this year I took a different way. I did better but in the end I just couldn’t follow Gilbert. There is so much to learn and I for Fleche Wallone, I think this makes me confident. After Pais Vasco I took a different way to prepare for the Ardennes Classics. I’m happy my legs are OK and there are a few days of recovery. If you have good legs, you can be there. I showed today they are there. I’m looking forward to the next two races.”
Belkin’s Bauke Mollema was able to finish seventh. “The guys dropped me off perfectly at the foot of the Cauberg,” said Mollema. “I started the climb in Gilbert’s wheel, but despite the fact that I had been able to save energy all day long thanks to my teammates, I just couldn’t follow. On top of the Cauberg, I unfortunately couldn’t join the first chase group, otherwise I could have gotten in the mix for the second place. It’s too bad that didn’t happen.” By placing seventh, Mollema did slightly better than in the past two editions when he finished tenth. The Dutchman didn’t really know what to think of his result, however, as he had already announced that he had hoped to finish in the top five. Right after the race he already looked forward to La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “A seventh place isn’t very bad,” said Mollema. “I gave everything I had. On Wednesday and Sunday, I’ll get another chance. Those races suit me even better. I’ve worked hard to be good this week and it’s nice to see that my legs are fine.”
Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Tristan Hofmann had these comments after the race: “We put Rory in the break at first point so we weren’t going to pull in the front of the peloton and the guys did an excellent job to support Roman and make sure he remained strong for the finale where he was covered by Chris (Anker Sørensen) until the foot of Cauberg. But as the race had developed into a very punchy finale, Gilbert was the one with the biggest power. Unfortunately, Nicki was in a big crash and because his elbow swell up, he was taken to the hospital for further examination but nothing was broken. He is, however not able to start Fleche Wallone on Wednesday. Chris was also showing good form but he hasn’t been in any races for a while so he has to find the rhythm of the pack again before we can be expecting any results from him.”
Amstel Gold Race Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 6:25:57
2. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:05
3. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:06
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 0:10
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
8. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha
10. Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Europcar at 0:12.
The final action from the Amstel Gold Race:
GP de Denain 2014
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) took the bunch sprint for the win in the GP de Denain on Thursday. After a six man break of Antonino Parinello (Androni Giocattoli), Pierre Luc Perrichon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli), Federik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Thomas Rostollan (La Pomme Marseille) and Jonathan Dufrasne (Wallonie-Bruxelles) had built up a lead of around 4 minutes; Europcar chased them down. Parinello and Dufrasne thought they could go all the way to the line and left the others to their fate with 50 kilometres remaining. It looked good for the two escapees, but they too were back in the fold 18 kilometres out. Europcar kept the pace high on the run-in, but it was FDJ.fr who put their man Bouhanni at the front for a comfortable win from Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) and Francesco Chicchi (Neri Sottoli).
GP de Denain Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr in 4:36:38
2. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
3. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Neri Sottoli
4. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli
5. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Yannis Yssaad (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93
7. Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia
8. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
9. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka.
The last 20K of the GP de Denain:
Le Tour du Finistère 2014
Antoine Demoitie (Wallonie-Bruxelles) won the Tour du Finistère (UCI 1.1), which is part of the French Cup series, ahead of Julien Simon (Cofidis) and Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne-Seché Environnement). Julien Simon now leads the French Cup overall.
Le Tour du Finistère Result:
1. Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles in 4:48:22
2. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
3. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
4. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
5. Natnael Berhane (Eri) Europcar
6. Laurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles at 0:04
7. Quentin Jauregui (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole at 0:06
8. Domingos Goncalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille at 0:07
9. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:13
10. Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis at 0:14.
Le Tour du Finistère finish:
Tro-Bro Léon 2014
Young French Cofidis sprinter; Adrien Petit won the Tro-Bro Léon (UCI 1.1) on Sunday by three seconds from Flavien Dassonville (BigMat-Auber 93) and Cédric Pineau of FDJ.fr. The Tro-Bro has some sections of unpaved road as well having a tough profile.
Tro-Bro Léon Result:
1. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis in 4:56:15
2. Flavien Dassonville (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93 at 0:03
3. Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:27
4. Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:00:31
5. Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Bretagne – Séché Environnement 0:00:41
6. Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Rabobank Development Team
7. Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Vincent Jerome (Fra) Europcar
9. Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis
10. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement at 0:44.
Most of the Tro-Bro Léon:
Flèche Wallonne 2014
On Wednesday the 79th edition of the Flèche Wallonne will start in Bastogne instead of Charleroi where the start has been held for several years. As always the finish will be at the summit of the Mur de Huy after 199 kilometres at around 4 o’ clock. The race climbs the Huy three times ; a climb of 121 metres in 1.3 kilometres at 9.3%. Last years winner Dani Moreno will be back with all the other top men who have a burst of speed on a final climb, but the form of Pilippe Gilbert’s at the moment looks unbeatable.
Race website: http://www.letour.fr/la-fleche-wallonne/
What the Team’s Say:
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Wallonne
While many teams field identical squads for the three Ardennes, ORICA-GreenEDGE will bring in several sets of fresh legs – young, neo-pro legs. Adam Yates and Simon Yates all feature in the team’s line-up. Cameron Meyer and Ivan Santaromita lend the experience alongside Albasini, Weening, Clarke and Meier. In the team’s maiden season, Michael Albasini surprised when he stormed up the Mur de Huy and onto the Flèche Wallonne podium.
What they’re saying about Flèche Wallonne:
“Flèche always comes down to the final ascent of the incredibly steep Mur de Huy. Position matters and so does what you’ve done during the day. While we don’t have the best climbers in the world, we have guys that can get a good result here. We are aiming for a top ten out of one of them.” – Sport Director Matt White.
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Flèche Wallonne:
Adam Yates (GBR), Cameron Meyer (AUS), Christian Meier (CAN), Ivan Santaromita (ITA), Michael Albasini (SWI), Pieter Weening (NED), Simon Clarke (AUS), Simon Yates (GBR).
Europcar for Flèche Wallonne
Riders: Natmael Berhane, Giovanni Bernaudeau, Bryan Coquard, Cyril Gautier, Christophe Kern, Perrig Quemeneur, Pierre Rolland, Romain Sicard.
DS: Andy Flickinger.
Joaquim Rodriguez to start in Flèche Wallonne
24 Hours after his crash in Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race, Team Katusha’s leader Joaquim Rodriguez performed a two-hour-training ride after which he decided to take the start in the next WorldTour race, the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, April 23rd.
Joaquim Rodriguez had to abandon in the Amstel Gold Race after 90 kilometers due to contusions at the left chest level. The bruised ribs are still painful but Rodriquez is optimistic.
“I spent a good and long night and our osteopath treated me very well, that’s why I decided to do this test,” said Purito Rodriguez. “The first 30 minutes were very painful, but afterwards it went better. The major problem remains the efforts on the climbs. There is a difference between performing on training and in the race. I am a bit afraid of the Mur de Huy, but we will see. On the one hand I feel it as an obligation towards my teammate and last year’s winner Dani Moreno to support him. On the other hand I feel I need this race to be at top level in Liège on Sunday. My personal ambitions for the Flèche are a bit lowered now. Anyway, I am happy that the injury evolves better than expected. I worked hard to be super this week and I hope all my training efforts are not wasted energy.”
The team line-up for the Flèche Wallonne: Daniel Moreno, Giampaolo Caruso, Alexander Kolobnev, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Alberto Losada, Joaquim Rodriguez, Angel Vicioso and Eduard Vorganov.
Team director: José Azevedo.
Photo: Katusha/Tim De Walle.
Giant-Shimano to Fléche
La Flèche Wallonne is the second of three Ardennes classics in eight days, and sees Warren Barguil (FRA) join an already successful classics campaign for the team.
At 205km, the race falls short of the surrounding WorldTour races, however that is not to say that it is lacking in difficulty.
Flèche Wallonne is littered with the short, sharp climbs that define the Ardennes, and it finishes atop the Mur de Huy – 1.3km with an average gradient of 9.3%, with the riders tackling this ascent twice before the finish already.
Warren Barguil (FRA) returns to racing here after a period of focused training, close with the coaches following a strong showing in firstly Catalunya and then Pais Vasco.
He is joined by Tom Dumoulin (NED) who had a strong race at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, showing signs of what is still to come from this young Dutch talent. Also starting the race is Daan Olivier (NED), lining up for his first one-day classic of the season, and also the first of his young career.
“We head to Flèche Wallonne with a view to getting Warren is as good a position as possible at the foot of the steep finishing climb of the Mur de Huy which suits his characteristics as a climber,” said coach Christian Guiberteau (FRA).
“Teamwork is always important in these types of races for both positioning and also because anything can happen. The team have proven that this is one of our strong qualities so far this spring and they will look to continue with this here.
“Tom Dumoulin is also is good shape for the Ardennes classics and we will look to keep him protected for as long as possible too. It is promising for the future to be heading into the race with two strong young talents in the early stages of their careers, but who are already proving capable of challenging with the best.”
Warren Barguil (FRA), Thomas Damuseau (FRA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Daan Olivier (NED), Tom Peterson (USA).
Coach: Christian Guiberteau (FRA).
BMC Racing Team Roster For La Flèche Wallonne
Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl winner Philippe Gilbert headlines the BMC Racing Team’s roster for the 78th edition of La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.
Sánchez A Past Podium Placer
Gilbert is a past winner of Flèche Wallonne in 2011 and finished third in 2012. Three riders who helped him win Amstel Gold Race on Sunday will join him: Marcus Burghardt, Ben Hermans and Samuel Sánchez, who was third at Flèche Wallonne in 2011. Teaming with them will be two riders who helped Gilbert win at Brabantse Pijl last week – Amaël Moinard and Larry Warbasse – along with Darwin Atapuma and Tour Méditerranéen winner Stephen Cummings. The 199-kilometer race finishes with the climb of the Mur de Huy, a 1.3-kilometer ascent averaging 9.3 percent gradient.
BMC Racing Team La Flèche Wallonne Roster (April 23):
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Larry Warbasse (USA).
Sporting Manager: Allan Peiper (AUS).
Sport Director: Valerio Piva (ITA).
Team Belkin heads to Fléche Wallonne with three leaders
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will tackle La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday with three leaders. Paul Martens, Bauke Mollema and Lars Petter Nordhaug will have a free role as in the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.
“Flèche Wallonne is the most predictable race of the three Ardennes classics. Until the Mur de Huy, it will be a controlled race,” said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. “Just as in the Amstel Gold Race, we have a strong team, although we don’t have a true favourite. Paul, Bauke and Lars Petter should be able to handle the tough final. The team will try to keep them as fresh as possible until the Mur de Huy.” Though the race ending is predictable, Zeeman has warned his riders. He said, “The wind can be a factor, but we are well prepared and know the crucial points of the course.”
Mollema ready to give everything
Bauke Mollema finished seventh in the 2012 Flèche Wallonne and ended ninth in last year’s edition. The Dutchman knows what awaits him. “The climbs in the final will weaken the pack and on the Mur de Huy we’ll be sprinting for the win with a large group. The man with the best punch will win,” he said. “I see riders like Joaquim Rodriguez and Dani Moreno as the favourites. I hope to save as much energy as possible until the final and on the Mur de Huy, I’ll give all I have.”
Jack Bobridge, Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Jonathan Hivert, Paul Martens, Bauke Mollema, Lars Petter Nordhaug and David Tanner.
Sports Directors: Frans Maassen and Merijn Zeeman.
2013 Flèche Wallonne:
No Giro for Cavendish
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the program of Mark Cavendish for the coming weeks. As previously communicated, the British Champion will ride the Tour of Turkey at the end of April. He will then ride the AMGEN Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse prior to the Tour de France.
“As everybody knows, my big goal this year is the Tour de France,” Cavendish said. “Especially as it starts in my native country. My program is shaped for that moment. This year I will skip the Giro d’Italia. I’m saddened as it’s a race that has given me great satisfaction in the past. I have great memories and victories, even last year. But, with the Tour de France as my main objective this year, we had to make some choices. I’m sure passing through the Tour of Turkey, and a great, well organized race like Tour of California will get me in shape and ready for the Tour de Suisse, which will be my final tune-up for the Tour de France.”
“With the sickness Mark had, we had to reshape his calendar a little bit,” Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag said. “It’s a shame because Mark showed how strong he was at Milano-Sanremo. He could have taken advantage of his condition during the period immediately after that race. But, it is what is, and now we have rebuilt the best approach for Cavendish heading into the Tour. Cav is now training in Italy and will be back at Tour of Turkey with a good, strong team around him. With Tour of Turkey we will open the second part of his season, that culminates with the Tour de France.”
‘Cav’ wins stage 1 of the Giro d’Italia 2013:
Horner Home After Crash
In the afternoon of Wednesday 16th April, Chris Horner left Lecco hospital, where he had been admitted on Friday 11th April after that he had been the victim of an accident while he was training on Como Lake roads.
The American cyclist, who received a punctured lung, four broken ribs, cuts in his head and bruises on the elbow, was authorized to go home in his Como house as the lung drainage was completed. Horner was joined in Italy by his wife and will be constantly monitored by the medical staff of the Lampre-Merida team.
“I’m happy I can come back home, it was a bad experience, but I also think I was lucky: the crash could have had worse consequences,” Horner explained. “I thank everyone who supported me, especially nurses and doctors in hospital and all the members of Team Lampre-Merida. I still feel pains when move, I know I must be patient, I hope I can soon pedal on the rollers.”
Let’s hope he is back in Spain for more interviews:
Just a Bit More Roubaix
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Niki Terpstra won the biggest race of his career — the biggest monument in cycling — on Sunday, April 13th. He won Paris-Roubaix solo after a fantastic team race, including a great effort by Tom Boonen earlier in the race. Watch this video as we see all the emotions of that amazing day!
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