TOP STORY: Sergio Henao Race Programme Suspended
Sergio Henao’s agent told Gazzetta dello Sport that his rider had been removed from the Sky team roster due to anomalous values. Since then the teams’ manager; David Brailsford announced in a press release that: “In our latest monthly review, our experts had questions about Sergio’s out-of-competition control tests at altitude – tests introduced this winter by the anti-doping authorities. We need to understand these readings better.” He added “We contacted the relevant authorities – the UCI and CADF – pointed to these readings and asked whether they could give us any insights. We’ve also taken Sergio out of our race programme whilst we get a better understanding of these profiles and his physiology. We want to do the right thing and we want to be fair. It’s important not to jump to conclusions.”
It seems that the anomalous values come from an out of competition test in October when Henao was at home in Rionegro, Colombia. The town of Rionegro is in the Antioquia Department and sits at 2,125 metres above sea level with climbs in the area reaching 2,600 metres altitude and some mountains even higher.
The Sky team trains specifically at altitude and are based in a hotel on Mount Teide on the Canary Island of Tenerife, the summit of Teide is at 3,718 meters altitude and their hotel is a little lower. Brailsford finished his statement with “we are commissioning independent scientific research to better understand the effects of prolonged periods at altitude after returning from sea level, specifically on altitude natives. Sergio will help with this programme and we expect him to be out of the race schedule for at least eight weeks. Once we have completed our assessment, we’ll decide on the right steps and give a full update.”
Surely a team that trains at altitude and prides its self on their philosophy of ‘marginal gains’ should already know the effect of altitude on their riders?
Sergio Henao in the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
The finish was not even close. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team dominated the front so much in the final kilometres of 189km Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 on Monday that they had five riders in front of Mark Cavendish with about 2.6 kilometres to go. The team was technically sound navigating final turns and kept the pace high enough on the front to line out the field. OPQS hit the corners with confidence already in great position on the front, and a crash happened behind them that made matters even worse for other teams.
When it came down to just Alessandro Petacchi and Cavendish with a couple hundred meters to go, there was a considerable distance between those two and the rest of the field. Cavendish launched with no one around, and Petacchi was able to throw his hand up in celebration and still cross the finish line for a 1-2 finish. Mark Renshaw was also 9th.
OPQS timed the effort perfectly. Cannondale forced a high pace earlier in the stage while a breakaway was up the road (Peter Kennaugh (Sky), Steve Morabito (BMC), Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) and Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura), causing Giant-Shimano sprinter Marcel Kittel to lose contact. Then, when the breakaway was caught inside 10km to go, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) went off the front. He was brought back with 3.4km to go. OPQS then moved up on the right, all five riders of the lead-out train ready to guide the Manx Missile to launching position. They completed the effort with a victory, approaching the final kilometres with high motivation and plenty of power.
“I’m incredibly happy,” Cavendish said. “Yesterday I felt really the worst I’ve felt in a long time. Considering the day before, today I felt really good even from the beginning. The team stayed with me, with one goal today obviously to win the sprint. Kwiatkowski was sad about yesterday, but he gave everything today to try and get us the win. We didn’t have to work as we worked the whole week. We’re tired. We knew Cannondale would try to break it up on the last climb, another difficult climb. But the team stayed with me, especially Kwiato and Tony keeping me out of the wind and bringing me back to the front as soon as possible. Then that lead out, that lead-out was fast. The whole team was fabulous in the final. We stayed together, we didn’t get carried away and go too early. So we had the all the big motors in the last four kilometres. Tony just went on the front with no one to match us. Then Kwiato went and took us into the last kilometre. It was down to Matteo, Renshaw, Petacchi, and myself. I knew when Renshaw went with about 600 meters to go, I knew it would be hard for anyone to pass because we were going that fast. We were doing more than 1000 watts for the last 600 meters. It was like doing a sprint. You know with the kind of team we have here it is always going to be fast. You saw it in the team time trial. But to get it perfect technically like we did I was super super happy with that. We can go home and celebrate this victory tonight, and go for a good result with our two big engines tomorrow: Kwiato and Tony. I feel like Omega Pharma – Quick-Step brought a strong team here. Not just in the legs, but a group of friends. It really feels like a family. It’s a nice situation to be in. There isn’t a lot of pressure, we just want to go out and do well. It’s so refreshing and nice to be back like that. We’ve got 23-year-olds like Kwiato and Matteo, and 40-year-olds like Alessandro. But it really feels like a bunch of kids just going out to race their bikes.”
It was an unlucky day in Tirreno-Adriatico for the Lampre-Merida team. In the morning, Chris Horner had quit the race, then after few kilometres Ulissi crashed, without heavy consequences and finished in 27th position. Then coming to the sprint; Modolo crashed 1500 meters out while he was following Cavendish’s wheels.
“I was aware today’s massive sprint would have been frantic, because everybody would have wanted to fight in the last sprint of this race,” Modolo explained. “That’s why I preferred to move earlier than usual to reach the head positions of the bunch. Unfortunately, I crashed and I lost every chance. I’m sorry, especially for my team mates that had given me once again perfect help during the stage and in the final part of the race. The good news is that I did not suffer injuries in the crash: I’ll be ready to face the next very important challenge.”
Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Philippe Mauduit comments: “It was a perfect scenario for us. We were hoping that the sprinter teams would take the reins of the pack and as Kittel was dropped, they were all eager to work in the front so we didn’t have to. Now, we’re only one stage away from the overall win and let’s face it, it looks pretty promising with a two minute lead to Quintana. But history shows that many unforeseen things can happen during a time trial and we’re not celebrating until Alberto crossed the finish line tomorrow. Roman is in a good position as well and if he can finish second overall, it would be a major achievement for us. However, he has been working hard the whole week for Alberto and Quintana has had good time trials before.”
Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 4:16:15
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
5. Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar
6. Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin
7. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
8. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) NetApp-Endura
9. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale.
Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 6:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 25:17:51
2. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 2:08
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 2:15
4. Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek at 2:39
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:40
6. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Sky at 2:50
7. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 2:51
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:56
9. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 2:58
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 3:06.
The Final Stage 7 of Tirreno-Adriatico featured a short but very fast 9.2 kilometre time trial in the seaside city of San Benedetto del Tronto. Before the stage Tinkoff-Saxo held both 1st and 3rd place with Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger respectively. But with 2:08 from Contador down to 2nd place, Nairo Quintana of Movistar, the overall win seemed certain if accidents were avoided. Contador rode securely throughout the course and arrived at the finish line 3 seconds slower than the Colombian, who showed what a strong competitor he had been throughout the race. Before the time trial, Kreuziger was only 7 seconds behind Quintana and his second overall place. But an impressive effort by Quintana, who finished two seconds faster than Kreuziger, meant that Tinkoff-Saxo had to settle with 1st & 3rd places.
The race for the stage win was between the top men of the time trail World: Fabian Cancellara (Trek) got the better of Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and World TT champion; Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), but Movistar’s Adriano Malori upset the applecart and beat them all.
Stage winner Adriano Malori (Movistar):
Victory near the town where he took the Maglia Rosa in 2012: “I’ll come back to this part of Italy on holiday. It’s beautiful and it brings me luck. It still hasn’t sunk in. The result list is fantastic: my name above all the strongest specialists, it’s truly hard to believe.”
The challenge of longer time trials: “I’d like to do well at the World’s this year. Long time trials are a matter of being used to them: Tony Martin and Fabien Cancellara have ridden lots of Giros d’Italia, Tours de France and Tours of Spain. But I’ve worked hard on this and I think I can do well in future.
Overall winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo):
Minutes, not seconds: “I came to this race wanting to win it. I wasn’t happy at Arezzo when I lost 6 seconds to Sagan and Kwiatkowski, because I thought those seconds might be decisive. But in the end I’ve won by a matter of minutes, so I’m very happy.”
The solo attack to Guardiagrele: “I wanted to do something different. In the morning, on the bus, I said that if I would go alone, if I thought I could make it all the way to the finish. It wasn’t in my plans to ride across to a group of breakaway riders, of course, but I was motivated that morning.”
The romance of the long-distance attack: “The crowds for the Tirreno have been big. In the end, people want to see something different: it’s what we all want in cycling. It’s not easy, and sometimes the opportunity never arises, or you don’t have the legs. But I was very happy the previous day, when I took my first uphill stage win, and, at Guardiagrele, I think I was 3 or 4 times happier.”
Contador will race again in Catalunya: Next stage race for Tinkoff-Saxo will be Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, where Alberto Contador, once again will be in the line-up. This time though, the ambitions are a bit lower. “Well, Alberto came to Tirreno in great shape. Now he will get some rest and then he’ll race again in Catalunya. But we don’t want to put too much pressure on him, and we also focus on big goals later in the season. But of course, if he’s good and don’t have to strain himself too much, a rider like Alberto is always among the favorites in a mountainous stage race,” said Tinkoff-Saxo DS Philippe Mauduit.
Second overall Nairo Quintana (Movistar):
“I’m pretty satisfied with today’s performance. Not only due to this podium, but also because this was an important test for me, and it turned our well. The route didn’t suit me well, but I could defend myself. We’re working extensively on my TT skills, we went to the wind tunnel… and all those improvements are paying off. Still, we must keep training and progressing, though it’s true that this will give me confidence towards the next time trials. It was a very important day for the team, because we had worked hard throughout the week – thankfully, the reward came with Adriano’s victory. My preparations for the Giro are going well and that’s important, too. I’m getting used to the way of racing in Italy, the roads; how everything works here… it will be good for the upcoming races. Now I’m heading to the Volta a Catalunya, where I’ll be having better racing form. It will be a beautiful race, with some of the best taking part. I prefer to face such competition because it gives you a more exact idea on how you’re doing. After that, I will fly back to Colombia – I’ll only return for a stage race before the Giro.”
Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 7 Result:
1. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar in 10:13
2. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek at 0:06
3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 0:11
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:15
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:19
6. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:20
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:22
8. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC at 0:23
9. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek at 0:24
10. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:26
20. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:38
26. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:40
29. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:41.
Tirreno-Adriatico Final Overall Result:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 25:28:45
2. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 2:05
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 2:14
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:39
5. Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek at 2:54
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 3:04
7. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 3:09
8. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 3:16
9. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana
10. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Sky at 3:19.
The final TT stage 7:
Nokere Koerse 2014
Kenny Dehaes has taken his second victory of the season today by winning Nokere Koerse. Dehaes was just a tad faster than Tom Van Asbroeck and Nacer Bouhanni on the cobbles of Nokereberg. After winning the Ronde van Drenthe past weekend, Dehaes continues to show his good condition. It’s already the eighth victory of the year for Lotto Belisol.
The 69th edition of Nokere Koerse was animated by seventeen riders, among them Tosh Van der Sande and Dennis Vanendert. The big front group got up to two and a half minutes lead on a chasing peloton and was reduced bit by bit. Before entering the last lap Van der Sande raised the tempo together with Alaphilippe, but they couldn’t create a sufficient gap.
Steegmans, who was also part of the front group, tried to take off in the last kilometres. Six riders that were left, with Tosh Van der Sande, were only caught in the last kilometre. For Steegmans it was over at 100 meters of the finish line. It was a bunch sprint once again. Last week Dehaes showed he was in a super shape and today he’s proven it again. He won in a millimetre sprint before Tom Van Asbroeck and Nacer Bouhanni.
Kenny Dehaes: “When that big group took off, I didn’t expect we would see them back. After all, many teams were represented in the front. But I was in a comfortable position because Tosh and Dennis were part of that breakaway. Before the race we had agreed to set up a sprint train. Because of the nervousness in Nokere it wasn’t easy to keep the wheel of a teammate, but Jonas Van Genechten dropped me off perfectly in the wheel of Napolitano. It was an exciting finish. My front wheel bounced just before the finish line. Afterwards there was some doubt about who had won, but the photo finish made that clear.”
“If I can measure myself against the top sprinters? If I had participated in Tirreno-Adriatico or Paris-Nice no doubt I would always have finished on the fifth or sixth place. I know for myself that I just haven’t got enough power in the legs to play along with the world top. When you see that Bouhanni is third here, that proves I definitely have my place in the sub top. This isn’t a WorldTour race but Nokere Koerse is, and stays a nice race to win.”
“Next week I start in Waregem and Harelbeke as a helper. Then I have to assist Debusschere and Roelandts. After the classics I will slowly build up to the Giro and also the Belgian Championship in Wielsbeke suits me. But let us first enjoy this victory with the team.”
Thanks to the Lotto Belisol team for the race info.
Nokere Koerse Result:
1. Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol in 4:21:39
2. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Scott Thwaites (GB) Team Netapp-Endura
7. Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC
8. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
9. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty Groupe-Gobert
10. Barry Markus (Ned) Belkin.
Nokere Koerse highlights:
Giant-Shimano for Milan-Sanremo
Press Release: The race has seen a late change to its parcours, with the removal of the Pompeiana climb, but it still features the classic hills to finish over, with the Cipressa and the Poggio, before descending down into Sanremo after 294km of racing.
The team will be focused on racing for John Degenkolb (GER) who has shown in the past editions of the race that he has what it takes to get to the finish at the front. Degenkolb finished fifth in 2012 and then finished just 14-seconds down on the winner last year.
Those riding in support of Degenkolb have all shown well recently, including Dries Devenyns (BEL) who was strong throughout Paris – Nice, as well as Simon Geschke (GER) who was climbing well and raced to a second place on stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriactio.
“These long races really suit me,” said Degenkolb. “I had a good week’s preparation in Paris – Nice and am happy with my form. Winning a stage and taking the green jersey there was good for the confidence, and I am really looking forward to Sunday.”
Coach, Marc Reef (NED) said: “We have a really strong line-up for this race and the guys have shown in both Paris – Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico that they are riding well.
“John will be the absolute leader for us and we have the guys to support him. The goal is to get the best possible result, and after a fifth place two years ago we have to try for more!”
Roy Curvers (NED), John Degenkolb (GER), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Koen De Kort (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
COACH: Marc Reef (NED).
Europcar Roster for Milan-Sanremo
Hard to say who will be the leader of the French team at the Italian Classic:
Yukiya Arashiro, Bryan Coquard, Jérome Cousin, Tony Hurrel, Vincent Jerome, Brian Nauleau, Alexandre Pichot, Bjorn Thurau.
Directeur Sportif: Dominique Arnould.
Tom Boonen at Milan-Sanremo
Press Release: With heavy hearts, team OPQS announces that Tom Boonen will not take part in Milano-Sanremo next Sunday. The Belgian champion won’t start because he and his partner, Lore, lost their baby few hours ago due to a miscarriage. In such a sensitive moment Tom prefers to stay by his partner’s side.
All the athletes, staff, and sponsors of the team want Lore and Tom to know that they support them at this difficult time, and they hope the couple will find the strength to get through this trying experience.
We kindly ask everyone to respect the privacy of Lore, Tom and the Boonen family.
No Valverde at Sanremo
Press Release: The Movistar Team is up for the fight after their two recent wins in Italy: GP Nobili (Thursday), with Valverde in the line-up, and Milano-Sanremo (Sunday).
On Italian soil, after two wins in the last ten days -Valverde claimed a famous victory at Roma Maxima, while Malori took honours yesterday in the closing ITT of Tirreno-Adriatico-, will the Movistar Team continue their quest for success. The telephone squad is set to take part in the GP Nobili on Thursday, before heading into the capital of Lombardy on Sunday for the first monument of the cycling spring: Milano-Sanremo.
The Piemontese semi-classic will see Alejandro Valverde notably featuring on its startlist, leading an eight-man roster completed by Fran Ventoso, Juanjo Lobato, Sylwester Szmyd, Andrey Amador, Dayer Quintana, Enrique Sanz and Jasha Sütterlin. In turn, the Classicissima on Sunday will take Movistar Team’s José Joaquín Rojas, Fran Ventoso, Andrey Amador, Dayer Quintana, Juanjo Lobato, Adriano Malori, Jasha Sütterlin and Enrique Sanz through the Riviera Ligure and to the Lungomare Calvino after season-longest 294km. Chente García Acosta will be sports director on both races.
BMC Racing Team Announces Milan-San Remo Roster
Philippe Gilbert headlines the BMC Racing Team roster for Sunday’s 105th edition of Milan-San Remo.
Four Past Top 10 Finishers
Gilbert has twice finished third (in 2008 and 2011) in the UCI WorldTour race. The past world road champion also has a sixth- (in 2005) and ninth-place finish (in 2010) to his credit. Three other riders on the BMC Racing Team’s roster for the 299-kilometer race have previously finished in the top 10: past world road champion Thor Hushovd was third in 2005 and 2009, sixth in 2010 and ninth in 2008; Taylor Phinney was a BMC Racing Team-best seventh last year; Greg Van Avermaet was ninth in 2011 and Peter Velits finished 10th in 2009.
Download the BMC Racing Team’s official roster card (PDF with bios, statistics, etc.): http://bit.ly/1l4JNWH
BMC Racing Team Milan-San Remo Roster:
Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Peter Velits (SVK), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sport Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA) & Valerio Piva (ITA).
Thanks to Sean Wiede at BMC.
Belkin Believes in its Milano-Sanremo Chances
Press Release: The first real classic of the year is upon the peloton. Despite a change in course, the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM looks forward to Milano-Sanremo, Sunday, March 23.
Initially the Pompeiana, a climb of five kilometres with an average gradient of five per cent, was included in the course, but because of weather and bad road conditions the organiser rerouted La Primavera two weeks ago.
Mollema isn’t too happy with the change but won’t let himself get distracted by it. “It’s unfortunate, but I still think I can put in a good result. In recent years, we haven’t always seen a bunch sprint in Sanremo. If a small group makes it to the finish, I hope to be there and I hope that my sprint allows me to get in the mix.”
Sports Director Erik Dekker shares a similar view. “We don’t have the biggest favourites, but with Bauke, Jonathan Hivert and Lars Petter Nordhaug, we have three guys we can deliver to the Poggio climb with confidence. They are very sharp and quick.”
Dekker expects a predictable race without the Pompeiana and with hopefully better weather conditions than last year. “The scenarios and options are limited now,” he said. “With the Pompeiana it would have been a different story. The current route holds few secrets for us.”
Jos van Emden, Jonathan Hivert, Rick Flens, Tom Leezer, Bauke Mollema, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Maarten Tjallingii and Robert Wagner.
Sports Directors: Erik Dekker and Louis Delahaije.
Next Races for Europcar
Classic Loire Atlantique 22 March 2014.
Riders: Antoine Duchesne, Jimmy Engoulvent, Yohann Gene, Romain Guillemois, Morgan Lamoison, Angélo Tulik, Kévin Reza, Thomas Voeckler.
Directeur Sportif: Bénoit Genauzeau.
Cholet Pays de Loire 23 March 2014.
Riders: Giovanni Bernaudeau, Jimmy Engoulvent, Yohann Gene, Romain Guillemois, Morgan Lamoison, Fabrice Jeandesboz, Yannick Martinez, Angélo Tulik.
Directeur Sportif: Bénoit Genauzeau.
Happy Birthday Spartacus
Fabian Cancellara (Trek) took second place in the final time trial of the Tirreno-Adriatico behind Movistar’s Adriano Malori, a result which show’s that his form is coming good in time for the classics ahead.
The day of the time trial was also the day of his 33rd birthday. “I didn’t have a good feeling at first; I could not make a hard effort. At halfway I had a better feeling and I was very, very fast. In fact, I’m happy with how I finished as I did not have specific preparation because my focus is on something else. Malori made a great race and it shows that competition in all disciplines is increasing,” Cancellara said. “For me it’s always good to make time trial in this way. I can definitely take a glass of good wine tonight, with a pizza,” he joked.
Cancellara didn’t receive the present of a victory to celebrate his birthday but there was another fact that made him happy. “I’m happy with the performance, and birthday, but I realized after the race that there is more in life than to do a good race or celebrate a birthday. I saw someone that I see maybe once a year, and when I saw that he was not in the best of health, it was not what I expected to see and I was able to help boost his morale. In just two minutes you can give a person more, and that has touched me more than anything else that happened yesterday or today.”
The best of Fabian Cancellara:
Iljo Keisse Wins Court Case (again)
Belgian ‘6 Day’ star; Iljo Keisse (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) has won his case against the UCI for his drugs ban going back to his positive test during the Gent 6 Days in November 2008. In the test Keisse was found to have two illegal substances in his system and was banned by the Belgian Federation for two years. He showed that these substances were from a cold medicine and a contaminated sports supplement, the federation withdrew the ban. The UCI did not agree and took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, it suspended him for 2 years, but included the 11 months he had waited for the judgement, the ban ended on the 6th of August, 2011.
Keisse took the case to the Belgian appeal court which agreed that CAS had no right to stop him from working and he rode the Gent 6 Day in November of 2010, but the UCI said he could only race in Belguim until his ban was over. In this new case the Belgian appeals court has awarded Keisse €100,000 to compensate him for lost earnings during the UCI imposed ban.
Testing Course for GB National Road Championships
Press Release: The Great Britain Cycling Team’s head coach Shane Sutton and double world champion Becky James, today exclusively revealed the official courses that the best of British Cycling will ride as they fight it out for the coveted title of British National Champion.
Around 50,000 cycling fans are expected to line the roads of Monmouthshire, James’ home county, when one of the biggest cycling events of the year comes to Wales in June.
The championships will see riders go for glory in the Elite Men’s, Women’s and Under-23 competitions in both the road and time-trial disciplines.
Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, the last two winners of cycling’s greatest prize – the Tour de France – are expected to battle it out for the Men’s Elite Road Race title alongside reigning National Champion Mark Cavendish and Welsh double Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas. The road races, starting in Abergavenny, will test riders’ strength and endurance over 116 miles of rural roads and punishing climbs for the men’s race and over 63 miles for the women’s race.
Olympic medallists Lizzie Armitstead and Joanna Rowsell, the current time-Trial champion, are also expected to race in June. If Rowsell fights to defend her title, she will ride a 20km course hosted in the beautiful grounds of the Celtic Manor Resort – home to the Ryder Cup in 2010. Men’s time-trial competitors will cover the same course but will ride two laps instead of one.
Jonny Clay, cycle sport & membership director for British Cycling, said:
“This is the second time in five years that the championships has visited Wales with the event held in Abergavenny in 2009. Abergavenny also hosted a very successful British Cycling Premier Calendar road race last year and has a strong pedigree in cycling led by Grand Prix of Wales organiser, Bill Owen, who will organise the championships for Monmouthshire this year.
“In 2009 we saw a race in which Chris Froome, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish were all key protagonists and 2014 should be a fitting prelude to the Tour de France Grand Depart in the UK.”
Councillor Peter Fox, leader of Monmouthshire County Council, said:
“It‘s incredibly exciting that we have the opportunity to work with British Cycling to host this year’s prestigious National Road and Time Trial Championships.
“We are a county that holds cycling dear to our hearts and making Monmouthshire the cycling capital of Wales is a top ambition of ours.”
Bill Owen, Wales’ representative on the British Cycling Board of Directors, said:
“Once again, our nation has the opportunity to showcase the best in cycling, both competitive and leisure riding, to the UK.
“Monmouthshire has an enormous tradition in the sport of cycling, with many wonderful riders, such as Becky, raised on the hills and roads of the county before going onto achieve great things on the international stage.
“This year’s event is set to be spectacular and with the support of Monmouthshire council and The Celtic Manor Resort, I’m confident it will be an unforgettable experience.”
The National Road Race Championships will take place in Monmouthshire 26-29 June 2014. Full course details and event information can be found on www.nationalroadchamps.co.uk
For more information about how to get into cycling visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/getinvolved
The Sound of Belgium
If you have never been to a race in Belgium then you are missing out on many things, not just chips and mayonnaise, but this very distinctive sound. If you have been, then this will bring back many memories…RODANIA!
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