VeloNews

Syndicate content
Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews
Updated: 26 min 45 sec ago

Photo Essay: Women’s Fleche Wallonne

7 hours 32 min ago

$(document).ready(function() { $(".fancybox").fancybox({margin : [20, 60, 20, 60]}); }); $(document).ready(function() { $('.marquee-367781').carousel({ slider: '.slider', slide: '.slide', slideHed: '.slidehed', nextSlide : '.p-next', nextSlide2 : '.p-next-img', prevSlide : '.p-prev', addPagination: false, addNav : false, speed: 600 }); $('.p-next').click(function() { $('#post-slider-secondary').trigger('nextprev', { dir: 'next' }); _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Image Gallery Carousel', 'Next', 'Image Gallery Carousel Next Button']); googletag.pubads().refresh(); }); $('.p-next-img').click(function() { $('#post-slider-secondary').trigger('nextprev', { dir: 'next' }); _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Image Gallery Carousel', 'Next', 'Image Gallery Carousel Next Image']); googletag.pubads().refresh(); }); $('.p-prev').click(function() { $('#post-slider-secondary').trigger('nextprev', { dir: 'prev' }); _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Image Gallery Carousel', 'Previous', 'Image Gallery Carousel Previous Button']); googletag.pubads().refresh(); }); $('.carousel-nav').css('display', 'block'); $('.slide').css('margin-right', '0'); $('.slideHed').css('display', 'block'); $('.cover.secondary').css('max-height', '100%'); $('#post-slider-secondary .slide').css('height', '100%');$('.view-full-image').css('display', 'block'); $('.slide p').css('display', 'block'); $('#post-slider-secondary .slide').removeAttr('width');}); 1 of {count} Back to Start
  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Mur de Huy

    Fans line both sides of the Mur de Huy - a climb of 1.3 kilometers with a gradient of up to 19 percent - which represents the beginning, the middle, and the end of the Fleche Wallone women's race. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Prevot interview

    At the start in Huy the spotlight is on defending champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo Liv). Photo: Kris Claéye / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Start line

    It was a packed field at the start line at the top of the Mur de huy as 143 riders queued up to race the 121 kilometer course. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Peloton fields

    The women's peloton rolls out from Huy to start the first of two laps on the course - the same circuit the men would later race the same day. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Compact peloton

    The race started with a high pace that kept the peloton together for much of the first half of the course. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Abbott crash

    With riders jockeying for position early in the race the inevitable crashes took place on the first circuit with Mara Abbott (Wiggle Honda) crashing hard between the Côte d'Ereffe and the Côte de Bellaire. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Hitec Products on the front

    Several teams played a role on the front leading up to the first pass of the Mur de Huy including Hitec Products (Charlotte Becker pictured). Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: First pass

    Nearly completing the first circuit, the front of the race passes the 500 meter marker on the Mur de Huy. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: 19 percent grade

    The women's field climbs the steepest sections of the Mur which top out at 19 percent. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Hall digs deep

    With over 60 kilometers to race, American Lauren Hall grimaces through the pain of the Mur. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Peloton

    The race takes up the whole road as the top teams start to assemble at the front of the bunch. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Côte d'Ereffe

    The top pf the Côte d'Ereffe is a picturesque panorama of the Wallonia region. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Komanski rides clear

    Just outside Ohey the first break of the day took shape as Lauren Komanski rode clear at 40 kilometers to go. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Williams attacks

    Lizzie Williams (Orica-AIS) breaks free and bridges across to race leader Lauren Komanski with the peloton close behind. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: The chase

    The break reached the Côte de Bellaire with the peloton chasing only 20 seconds behind. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Lead group

    The break had been reeled in by the the top of the Côte de Bohissau as the peloton split into a lead group of about 20-25 riders. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: van Vleuten attack

    Attacks by Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) and Roxane Knetemann (Rabo Liv) at 15 kilometers to go gave them an advantage on the run into the penultimate climb - the newly added Côte de Cherave. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Brand works

    Rabo Liv rider Lucinda Brand works for teammates Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Anna Van Der Breggen to pull the gap down before the climb up Côte de Cherave. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: van Vleuten leads

    Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) leads the race up the penultimate climb before the final pass up the Mur to the finish line. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Côte de Cherave

    The addition of the Côte de Cherave - a disruptive climb so close to the finish -added a new layer to the race and provided an opportunity for eventual race winner Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) to make her move. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Niewiadoma best young rider

    Rising star Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo Liv) was on the gas on the Côte de Cherave and took the young rider jersey in the Women's World Cup at the finish in Huy. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: van der Breggen on the Mur de Huy

    Having cuaght the break, Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) rides for the win up the Mur de Huy. Photo: Kris Claéye / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Guarnier climbs

    The 2015 Strade Bianche winner Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) grits her teeth through the steep corner at 400 meters to the finish. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Prevot climbs

    With her teammate up the road headed for the win, the TV cameras follow every move of World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: van der Breggen wins Fleche Wallonne

    With the Fleche Wallonne domination continuing, Anna van der Breggen takes another win on the Mur for Rabo Liv. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: van Vleuten gets second

    Delighted with her second-place finish, Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) crosses the line. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Moolman-Pasio finish

    After a training crash the day before the race, a hard-earned fourth-place went to Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Bigla) who was escorted across the line. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Stevens finish

    Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans) shows what the Mur is all about. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Guarnier collapses

    Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) collapsed after sealing her podium spot on the Mur. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Armitstead finish

    The effects of the day are seen on the finish line face of Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans). Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: van Vleuten

    The Mur brings agony and ecstasy … Annemiek Van Vleuten (Bigla) shares the elation from making the podium. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Podium presentation

    The 2015 women's podium: Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv), Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla), Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans). Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: World Cup leaders

    Women's World Cup leaders: Anna Van Der Breggen and teammate Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo Liv). Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

The post Photo Essay: Women’s Fleche Wallonne appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Aru to pursue legal action over Henderson Tweets

7 hours 51 min ago

Fabio Aru won stage 15 at the Giro d'Italia this year. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Fabio Aru (Astana) will pursue legal action against Lotto-Soudal’s Greg Henderson for inflammatory and accusatory Tweets posted by the Kiwi rider late Thursday. The Tweets suggested that Aru’s recent virus was cover for a biological passport violation.

A statement on Aru’s website said, “Regarding the statements published on 23 April, 2015 on the Twitter profile of Greg Henderson, Fabio Aru has appointed a lawyer … in order to take legal action against the New Zealand rider to protect his image and his respectability.”

Henderson Tweeted twice, first implying that the stomach virus that took Aru out of the Giro del Trentino this week was used cover up a biological passport problem.

Sad to see @FABARO1 “sick”. Mate make sure next time u come back to our sport “healthy”. Aka. Clean! #biopassport! Or don’t come back!

— Greg Henderson (@Greghenderson1)

Henderson’s second Tweet expressed his exasperation with dopers, and suggested that news of violations spreads quickly within the pro peloton, even before it is released publicly.

I am so sick of it. It becomes common knowledge within days. Why try cheat

— Greg Henderson (@Greghenderson1)

Both Tweets have since been deleted from Henderson’s account.

Henderson apologized this morning, again on Twitter:

When you are sick. You are sick. Jumping to conclusions helps nobody. My mistake @FabioAru1. I should shut my mouth. Sincere apologies.

— Greg Henderson (@Greghenderson1) April 24, 2015

Vincenzo Nibali, Aru’s teammate, weighed in early Friday morning, following Henderson’s apology. It’s easy to apologize after, he said, but the image damages need to be considered as well.

troppo facile chiedere scuse dopo !! Bisogna chiedere i danni d'immagine!!

— Vincenzo Nibali (@vincenzonibali) April 24, 2015

The post Aru to pursue legal action over Henderson Tweets appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Tiralongo takes final Trentino stage, Porte wins overall

10 hours 26 min ago

Paolo Tiralongo won the fourth stage of the Giro del Trentino from a breakaway. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo led a breakaway group across the line to win stage 4 of the Giro del Trentino in the small town of Cles, Italy. Overall race leader Richie Porte (Sky) finished with the peloton to seal up the general classification title ahead of Mikel Landa (Astana), with Porte’s teammate Leopold König nabbing the final step on the podium.

A move of 15 riders got clear early on in the 161.5-kilometer stage from Malè, but after fringe GC threat Diego Rosa (Astana) made an effort to bridge into the group up the road, Sky spun up the pace in the pack and reeled in the breakaway. With around 80 kilometers to go, a new breakaway formed, consisting of Tiralongo and six other riders, none of whom posed a threat to Richie Porte’s overall race lead. Tiralongo, David Arroyo (Caja Rural), and Fabio Duarte (Team Colombia) left their companions behind as the finish line neared, and the 37-year-old Italian won the three-man sprint to take the stage.

The bunch finished 49 seconds behind, giving Richie Porte the overall race victory. Team Colombia’s Rodolfo Torres won the race’s king of the mountains competition, while MTN-Qhubeka’s Louis Meintjes, eighth on GC, was the winner of the Giro del Trentino young rider’s classification.

The post Tiralongo takes final Trentino stage, Porte wins overall appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Kristoff signs new contract with Katusha

11 hours 47 min ago

Alexander Kristoff has a lot to celebrate after signing a new deal with Katusha. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Alexander Kristoff and Katusha will continue their relationship past 2015. The winner of the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) on April 5 and much more re-signed with the Russian WorldTeam Friday.

Katusha announced the news via a press release. Kristoff has emerged as one of the top sprinters and one-day riders in the peloton.

In addition to Flanders this month, Kristoff won three stages and the overall of the Three Days of De Panne and Scheldeprijs. The results backed up 2014, when the 27-year-old made a significant step forward by winning Milano-Sanremo and two stages in the Tour de France.

“It is unbelievable how the team was going the last months. They all worked so hard for me. The teammates trust me and I trust them,” Kristoff said.

“For the first time I could work from a sprinter’s train. Our newly arrived riders all proved to be the right choices. I had a contract [until] the end of this year but my hope was to be able to stay with this winning team. It didn’t take us so long to reach a new agreement. I am very happy.”

Katusha management was equally pleased with the deal that will keep Kristoff on board.

“Alexander is happy with the deal we made, but we are more than exited as well,” general manager Viacheslav Ekimov said.

“We’ve built a strong relationship with him these last years and Alexander Kristoff proved to be the rider on which we can build further in the coming years. We can’t wait to see what we’ll be able to accomplish in the near and distant future.

“It was a pleasure as well to see that Alex’s victories were contagious to our other riders. In addition, Sergei Chernetckii, Luca Paolini, and Joaquím Rodríguez all won WorldTour races this season. We never had such a good spring as this one in 2015. It is the right moment to build further on the future of our team. Alexander Kristoff was the logical first rider to re-sign. More riders will follow.”

The team was unavailable when VeloNews asked for details on the contract. It is likely that he signed at least a two-year deal that would take him through the 2017 season.

Norway’s VG reports that Kristoff signed for 35 to 40m kroner, or $4.48-5.12 million, over two years, which fits well with the $2.5 million annual pay Kristoff was reportedly seeking.

Kristoff is leading a new era in Norwegian cycling after Thor Hushovd retired in 2014. He earned his “sprinter” title with wins in various stage races, including the Tour of Oman and the Tour de Suisse, and of course the sprinters’ monument Milano-Sanremo and two wins in the Tour de France.

Kristoff’s Flanders ride and a 10th-place result in Paris-Roubaix, however, show he is capable of much more than bunch kicks.

“Is this my evolution as a cyclist? I think this is where I can make it,” Kristoff said.

“At least when you get older, you get slower, and maybe sprinting will be more difficult for me. For the classics, you get even better sometimes because you can handle long distances and the hard racing better as you get older.”

He helped Katusha earn its 18 wins so far this season, the second highest total it shares with Sky. Etixx-Quick-Step leads the way with 19.

Katusha could re-sign Italian Luca Paolini in the coming days as well. He won the Ghent-Wevelgem classic March 29 and told VeloNews he wanted to continue with the team.

“I’m still at a good point in my career, I’m not going downhill,” Paolini said.

“When I can still be at the front, I’m having fun and it’s worth continuing.”

The post Kristoff signs new contract with Katusha appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Shelley Olds returns to racing after rib injury

12 hours 30 min ago

Shelley Olds is motivated for the 2015 season with her new team Bigla. Photo: Gregor Brown | VeloNews.com (file)

Shelley Olds (Bigla) will return to racing at Omloop van Borsele on Saturday, following her recovery from a rib injury sustained at Ronde van Drenthe on March 14.

“From the first day that I knew I had a broken rib, I have focused on staying positive and moving forward,” Olds said. “As soon as I could start working, I did. The first days were difficult, but every day I saw progress and I felt better with each week that passed.”

Olds was forced to take time off the bike following the crash, which occurred on one of the cobbled sectors in Ronde van Drenthe and resulted in broken ribs for the American sprinter.

A fast finisher with a track racing background, Olds is a two-time stage winner at the Giro Rosa and was America’s top elite finisher at the world championship road race last fall, placing sixth. She is a likely candidate to lead the American team at the world championships in Richmond, Virginia later this year.

“I am taking it one day at a time still, but I am very excited to race and grateful that it is possible. The doctors told me it can take 6-12 weeks to recover, so to be able to come back this soon is great,” Olds said.

“However, the trauma of the crash affected me in more places than my rib, and my whole body is still working to recover. But I know that I have worked really hard in the last month, and I want to race more than anything now. I really want to rejoin my team and enjoy the races.”

Bigla will race Omloop van Borsele on Saturday and Dwars door Westhoek on Sunday. Olds is on the startlist for both events.

The post Shelley Olds returns to racing after rib injury appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Preview: Liege could close spring classics season in dramatic fashion

12 hours 41 min ago

Alejandro Valverde, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Philippe Gilbert are three of several riders who could win Sunday. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The 2015 spring classics season wraps up Sunday with what should be a dramatic exclamation point on a campaign full of aging warhorses and emerging stars.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) emerged as major forces in the northern cobbles, with huge wins at Flanders and Roubaix, respectively, while world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick-Step) scored a major coup at the Amstel Gold Race. All are young, talented, and poised to become the riders of reference across the spring classics.

Some aging veterans still had something to say, with Luca Paolini (Katusha) taking a win at Gent-Wevelgem and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at Flèche Wallonne, to prove that experience and guile still have a place in the peloton.

Sunday’s 101st Liège-Bastogne-Liège should see a showdown between youth and experience in the hilliest of the northern classics. With its long distance — 253 kilometers — and series of ever-more-difficult climbs, the Ardennes monument tips a rider who can go the distance, have the nose to follow the moves, and then the legs to finish it off out of a reduced bunch.

A dozen or so favorites line up with realistic chances to win. Two-time winner Valverde is clearly on spectacular form, and will be the man to beat. Anything can happen in the final hour of racing, but if this year’s previous races are anything to go by, expect to see a fairly large group to hit the base of the final slog up to the finish line in Ans. A winning move could come just before the final right-hander. Last year, Daniel Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) looked to have another win in the bag, only to slip out, opening the door for Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge).

The favorites: The Spanish armada

As a nation, Spain has won Liège just twice, both of them coming thanks to No. 1 favorite Valverde, but the Spanish armada will be out in force Sunday. Spain’s “Green Bullet” will see excellent support from Movistar, and is clearly on top form from his impressive win Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne. The Spanish mountain goats always fare better in the Ardennes than they do over the punishing pavé, so watch for Joaquim Rodríguez and Dani Moreno (Katusha), Luis León Sánchez (Astana), and Samuel Sánchez (BMC Racing) to mash it up. Valverde and Rodríguez have the best chances to deliver another Spanish win.

“Liège is a beautiful race, and perhaps the one I like most and the one that suits me best, and I dream of being in the mix again Sunday,” Valverde said. “We have high morale, but we’re also going into the weekend with tranquility. We won one, and second in the other [Amstel Gold Race], that gives us confidence for Sunday.”

The other top favorites

World champ Kwiatkowski will be looking to forget his disappointing Flèche (33rd) and remember his winning ways from Amstel Gold Race. Zdenek Stybar (Etixx) will be making his Liège debut, and his teammate Julian Alaphilippe, the 22-year-old phenom who was second to Valverde up the Mur de Huy, will give the squad several cards to play.

Two former winners — Philippe Gilbert (BMC, 2011) and Martin (2013) — both hit the deck Wednesday at what was a very nervous Flèche. Both should be back for the fight Sunday, but could be a touch off their best. The added distance and demands of Liège require a potential winner to be at the top of his game, so it’s hard to say just how rattled they will be until they’re deep into the race Sunday.

Bolstered by the news that it will not lose its WorldTour license, Astana will likely be charged up for a big ride Sunday. Vincenzo Nibali has been close before, and he’s a prototypical rider who can go the distance and have the kick at the end to seriously challenge for victory. Fabio Aru, who pulled out of the Giro del Trentino due to a stomach bug, is also slated to start his first Liège.

Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing), Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) could all easily ride into contention if they can stay upright and save their legs for the final decisive moves.

Orica-GreenEdge returns as the defending champion, but Simon Gerrans will still likely be short of contending for a second consecutive win. Michael Albasini, third at Flèche, Daryl Impey, and Simon Yates give the team added depth.

Orica sport director Matt White said he expects another fairly large group to arrive to the final kilometer of the race.

“It’s the most demanding one-day classic of the lot as far as climbing is concerned,” White said. “I think the general trend at all of the classics is that you are seeing bigger and bigger groups closer to the finish. The style of racing in one-day racing has changed.”

A course for climbers

Of cycling’s five monuments, Liège is the one that’s best suited for pure climbers. GC riders stand a chance to win here, with the palmares including such names as Merckx and Hinault, but in modern cycling, a fast finishing kick is also needed to go along with the legs to go the 253km distance of the Belgian out-and-back.

There is no shortage of climbs in the looping route around the Belgian Ardennes, with 10 major ascents in the six-and-a-half-hour race. Though none are terribly long — Col du Rosier at 194km is the longest at 4.4km — what they lack in distance they make up for in punch. The famous Cote de Stockeu is 12 percent, while the final three climbs, including the Redoute, Roche-aux-Faucons, and Saint-Nicolas, all hover around nine percent. Ideal terrain for the puncheurs to pounce.

The race typically sees a fairly large breakaway form in the first hour of racing. Up to a dozen riders can pull clear, often building a sizable gap as the pack pushes south toward Bastogne at 107km, the turnaround point and when the real racing begins.

In today’s peloton, the Stockeu, at 175km, is way too far to make a Merckxian-style attack. The real action begins at the Redoute at 218km. Although the steep, narrow climb is no longer the launching pad for winning moves, it still serves to fracture the peloton and see the first real aggression of the race among the favorites. The relatively new climb at Roche-aux-Faucons at 234km is now the reference point for riders looking to make long, solo moves. The steep climb is followed by a false-flat that provides ideal terrain for riders such as Nibali to make long-distance forays.

The final major climb at Saint-Nicolas will see the front pack whittled down if it’s not already, but the final run up to the Ans is where the winning moves can be made. In today’s much more balanced and equal peloton, the winning surge might not come until 500m to go, and even then, it could be a reduced-bunch sprint.

Weather: Could be sloppy

The race could see some sloppy weather, with a 50 percent chance of showers, temperatures in the low 60s, and 10 mph southerly winds that pick up during the afternoon. If it’s rainy and windy, expect to see more selection in the final hour of racing, and crashes.

History lesson: The oldest of the old

Liège is called “la doyenne” for a reason. As far as bike races go, this is one of the oldest. Dating back to 1892, the race celebrates its 101st edition this year. Belgians, naturally, hog the record books, with 59 wins as a nation — which includes a record five victories courtesy of Eddy Merckx. Moreno Argentin won four times, helping to give Italy the second-most victories per nation with 12.

Valverde could match history

Valverde could match history if he wins Liège on Sunday. Coupled with his win Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne, he could become the second rider to win both races in the same year twice in their career. Ferdi Kubler is the only rider to pull off the Ardennes double twice, in 1951 and 1952. Valverde did it in 2006. Others who achieved the milestone include Stan Ockers (1955), Merckx (1972), Argentin (1991), Davide Rebellin (2004), and Philippe Gilbert (2011).

VeloNews’ pick: Valverde

When it’s long, hard, and a fast finish, there are few in the peloton who can match Valverde’s depth and speed. He’s twice mastered the finale into Ans with victories, and finished on the podium four additional times, including second last year and third in 2013. Valverde just keeps getting better with age and he’s hitting the Ardennes in even better condition than last year. With the backing of a strong Movistar squad, Valverde should be able to avoid trouble, let his team control late-race aggression, and then tee it up in the decisive final kilometers. After a second at Amstel Gold, and a victory at Flèche Wallonne, Valverde will be looking to close out his classics season with a huge ride Sunday.

Our outsider pick: Pozzovivo

Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) won’t bubble onto many favorite’s lists, but he’s been riding consistently over the past month, notching a stage win at the highly contested Volta a Catalunya in March, and giving Richie Porte (Sky) a run for his money Thursday with a stage win at the Giro del Trentino. Fifth last year in his Liège debut, Pozzovivo could surprise the favorites. To win, he will need to ride everyone off his wheel, because others are faster than he is in a reduced bunch sprint.

The post Preview: Liege could close spring classics season in dramatic fashion appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Organizers unveil 2015 Tour of Utah route

April 23, 2015 - 12:35pm

The 2015 Tour of Utah will roll through the rural Heber Valley. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Organizers of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah have revealed a race route for the 2015 edition of the event that will cover over 712 miles in total and make the race’s first visit to the state of Idaho.

The Tour of Utah will make the jump from a 2.1 ranking on the UCI America Tour to a 2.HC ranking this year, putting it on the same UCI race level as the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Challenge, and the newly promoted race will greet riders with 51,442 feet of elevation gain from start to finish.

The race will take place from August 3-9, starting with a stage in Logan, Utah. The “queen stage,” stage 6 on Saturday, August 8, will take the peloton over nearly 13,000 feet of elevation gain en route to a finish at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort before the final stage of the race on the following day in Park City.

“With the route for the Tour of Utah changing each year, we are proud to design courses that continue to challenge the best cyclists on the planet with the toughest mountain terrain,” said Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Tour of Utah. “The race route gives us an opportunity to showcase the diverse beauty of northern Utah, and a portion of Idaho for the first time, making it a win-win scenario for new communities and cycling fans.”

Details of the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic were also released, with two days of criterium racing planned for August 3 in Logan and August 4 in Ogden.

Men’s race

Stage 1: August 3, Logan, 132 miles
Stage 2: August 4, Tremonton to Ogden, 100.3 miles
Stage 3: August 5, Antelope Island State Park to Bountiful, 107.9 miles
Stage 4: August 6, Soldier Hollow in Heber Valley, 128.7 miles
Stage 5: August 7, Salt Lake City, 55 miles
Stage 6: August 8, Salt Lake City to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, 110.4 miles
Stage 7: August 9, Park City, 78 miles

Women’s race

Day 1: August 3, Logan
Day 2: August 4, Ogden

The post Organizers unveil 2015 Tour of Utah route appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Astana to keep its WorldTour license

April 23, 2015 - 11:23am

It's been a rocky road for Astana this season. Photo: Iri Greco | BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Embattled pro team Astana, home of reigning Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali, will keep its WorldTour license, but will continue to be closely monitored by the Institut des Sciences du Sport de l’Université de Lausanne (ISSUL).

UCI President Brian Cookson had pushed for the team to have its WorldTour license revoked, but the final decision lay in the hands of the UCI’s License Commission, and was largely dependent on the outcome of the ISSUL audit.

“The registration for the 2015 season remains in force. However, the Team’s licence is subject to strict monitoring of the conditions laid down. This monitoring will be carried out on the basis of reports transmitted by ISSUL to the Licence Commission,” a UCI statement reads.

ISSUL made a number of demands of Astana a requirement for the continuation of the team’s WorldTour license. The team committed to meeting those demands.

The UCI release, issued on Thursday, states: “On the initiative of the License Commission, ISSUL were asked to propose special measures which the Team will be obliged to put in place at specific times over the rest of this season. The team committed to respecting all the measures recommended by ISSUL. At the end of the hearing, the Licence Commission announced the suspension of the proceedings.

The UCI did not release a list of the demands placed upon the Astana team, noting only that a “full reasoned decision will be released in due course.”

The License Commmission retains the right to re-open proceedings if “Astana Pro Team fails to respect one or several of the conditions imposed, or if new elements arise,” according to the statement.

The ISSUL audit did not focus on specific anti-doping offenses, but rather on ethical and organizational standards within the Astana team. Astana will continue to race within the WorldTour, but will be under close observation of ISSUL using the methods developed by the body during its original audit of the team.

The UCI has been tight-lipped regarding the specific methods used by ISSUL, but an in-depth investigation by Italian cycling magazine CyclingPro showed that the body took the view that doping is a bi-product of a socio-economic condition, and centered its investigation around this understanding.

The UCI has previously stated that the audit “revealed a big difference between the policies and structures that the team presented to the Licence Commission in December and the reality on the ground.”

This story is developing. Check back for more.

The post Astana to keep its WorldTour license appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Photo Essay: Fleche Wallonne

April 23, 2015 - 11:07am

$(document).ready(function() { $(".fancybox").fancybox({margin : [20, 60, 20, 60]}); }); $(document).ready(function() { $('.marquee-367679').carousel({ slider: '.slider', slide: '.slide', slideHed: '.slidehed', nextSlide : '.p-next', nextSlide2 : '.p-next-img', prevSlide : '.p-prev', addPagination: false, addNav : false, speed: 600 }); $('.p-next').click(function() { $('#post-slider-secondary').trigger('nextprev', { dir: 'next' }); _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Image Gallery Carousel', 'Next', 'Image Gallery Carousel Next Button']); googletag.pubads().refresh(); }); $('.p-next-img').click(function() { $('#post-slider-secondary').trigger('nextprev', { dir: 'next' }); _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Image Gallery Carousel', 'Next', 'Image Gallery Carousel Next Image']); googletag.pubads().refresh(); }); $('.p-prev').click(function() { $('#post-slider-secondary').trigger('nextprev', { dir: 'prev' }); _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Image Gallery Carousel', 'Previous', 'Image Gallery Carousel Previous Button']); googletag.pubads().refresh(); }); $('.carousel-nav').css('display', 'block'); $('.slide').css('margin-right', '0'); $('.slideHed').css('display', 'block'); $('.cover.secondary').css('max-height', '100%'); $('#post-slider-secondary .slide').css('height', '100%');$('.view-full-image').css('display', 'block'); $('.slide p').css('display', 'block'); $('#post-slider-secondary .slide').removeAttr('width');}); 1 of {count} Back to Start
  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Kwiatkowski interview

    After victory in the Amstel Gold Race, all eyes were on world champion Michal Kwiatkowski at the start in Waremme, Belgium. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Froome Tour prep

    Chris Froome took the start of Flèche Wallonne largely as a recon of the third stage of the Tour de France, which will finish atop the Mur de Huy. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Kwiatkowski world champ

    Michal Kwiatkowski was a favorite for victory at the start in Waremme. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Gilbert interview

    Philippe Gilbert made his round of interviews before signing on for the day. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: van Garderen starting line

    Tejay van Garderen was focused on the start line, ready to support team leader Gilbert. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Roll-out

    Large crowds turned out to see the start of the Fleche Wallonne in Waremme. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Ratto Mur de Huy

    The breakaway containing Daniele Ratto of UHC hit the steepest part of the Mur de Huy in one of the early ascents of the climb. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: The peloton climbs Mur de Huy

    The first pass of the Mur de Huy is typically done at a pace that keeps the peloton together. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: The peloton climbs Mur de Huy

    The peloton keep things together as they ascend the Mur for the first of three passes. Photo: Kris Claeye / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Martin gets paced

    Dan Martin is tucked in behind teammates as he is paced back to the bunch after a crash in the kilometers just before the Mur. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: The scene

    Once the race rolls through, the roads open up and the Mur becomes a big block party. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Movistar controls the pace

    On the second ascent of the Mur, Movistar, Etixx-Quick-Step and Astana assemble their teams at the front to assert some control of the peloton. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Alaphilippe climbs

    Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx - Quick-Step) had a great day on the Mur, always near the front in support of Kwiatkowski. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Kwiatkowski climbs

    Michal Kwiatkowski looked on track for a solid performance as they climbed the Mur de Huy for the 2nd time. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Chevrier crash victim

    Clement Chevrier (IAM Cycling) was one of many victims of a crash-riddled Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: King crash

    Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin) climbed his way up the Mur de Huy covered in gravel and blood from a crash. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: The fans

    Its always a party on the Mur de Huy for the thousands of cycling fans that come out for the Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: The leaders

    The favorites mass at the front of the peloton on the final climb up the Mur de Huy. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Alphilippe in good position

    Julian Alaphilippe positioned himself perfectly as the race was exploding on the Mur. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Quintana climbs

    Climbing ace Nairo Quintana struggled on steep but short Mur de Huy. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Final climb of the Mur de Huy

    The front of the peloton climbs the steep straight section before the road pitches even more and turns left to the finish. Photo: Kris Claeye / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Final effort

    It's an uphill drag race to the line atop the Mur de Huy. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Valverde wins

    For the second year in a row, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) sprints clear to victory in the Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Albasini finish

    Michael Albasini takes third behind a surprise second place from Julian Alaphilippe. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Fuglsang hydrates

    Jakob Fuglsang rehydrates at the top, pleased with his eigth place on the day. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Canola finished

    The strain of the Mur de Huy is all over the face of Marco Canola (UHC). Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne:Froome off the back

    Taken out of contention by a crash late in the race, Chris Froome did manage to finish his day at the top of the Mur. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Fleche Wallonne podium

    Alejandro Valverde takes the top step on the podium once again at the Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

The post Photo Essay: Fleche Wallonne appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Video: Highlights from women’s Fleche Wallonne

April 23, 2015 - 9:49am

Anna van der Breggen attacked on the Mur de Huy and left the rest of the peloton behind.

The post Video: Highlights from women’s Fleche Wallonne appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Pozzovivo wins Trentino stage 3, Porte retains overall lead

April 23, 2015 - 9:07am

With the pursuing group a few seconds behind him, Domenico Pozzovivo had time to celebrate his Giro del Trentino stage 3 victory. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) climbed to victory in stage 3 of the Giro del Trentino Thursday.

Pozzovivo, who lost over a minute to Richie Porte (Sky) in Wednesday’s stage 2 to essentially fall out of the GC conversation, found his climbing legs for the 183-kilometer third stage from Ala to Fierozzo. He attacked on the finishing climb to Fierozzo Val dei Mòcheni and won by 5 seconds ahead of Mikel Landa (Astana) and Porte.

Porte has a 22-second lead in the GC standings ahead of Landa, while Leopold Konig (Sky) is 58 ticks behind in third.

“We made a tactical plan after yesterday’s disappointment, and it worked,” Pozzovivo said. “Personally, I am happy to have won a stage that to me is worth more than a podium. I feel ready for a Giro d’Italia, where I want to be one of the protagonists, and in which I wish to achieve a top-5 finish, or even a podium.”

The four-day race concludes with Friday’s 161.5km stage 4, stretching from Malè to Cles.

The post Pozzovivo wins Trentino stage 3, Porte retains overall lead appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Dan Martin: Dreaming of another Liege win

April 23, 2015 - 8:15am

Dan Martin rode to victory in the 2013 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — It has been quiet, but that is no reason to forget about Dan Martin ahead of Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day race in Belgium. The Cannondale-Garmin leader’s run in the biggest Ardennes classic stands strong: fifth in 2012, a victory in 2013 and, had it not been for a crash in the final corner, perhaps another victory in 2014.

A crash in La Flèche Wallonne Wednesday should do little to derail a determined Martin as he races for another “dream win” in Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

“This is the race of my dreams,” Martin said after his 2013 win. “It’s one of the big ones, and one of the places where I can win.”

The race in southern Belgium travels from Liège’s main square south to Bastogne before making a U-turn. On the run north, it usually gets serious with côte after côte before reaching Ans after 253 kilometers. The main climbs include La Redoute, La Roche-aux-Faucons, and Saint-Nicolas. They all run between 1km and 3km in length.

The England-born Irishman, 28, is suited to the course with his classification/climber build. His palmarès includes overall victories in the Tour of Poland and the Volta a Catalunya, and stages in both the Vuelta a España and Tour de France.

To win Sunday, he will have to beat such favorites as Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Polish world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick-Step), and Spaniard Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha).

Martin has been working slowly toward the Ardennes classics. In fact, his program mimics that of 2013 when he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège and a stage in the Tour de France. This year, instead of building for the Giro d’Italia with Liège-Bastogne-Liège serving as a warm-up event, he is targeting the one-day races before a break and building for the Tour de France.

He has been building in Mallorca, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the Volta a Catalunya. In Spain’s Catalunya stage race, he showed he is on track with a 10th overall behind winner Richie Porte (Sky).

Martin placed 15th in the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. It was not a win, but he had gone deep in Catalunya and had come off a week of training for the short and steep climbs.

In Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne, Martin fell after touching wheels with another rider with 90km remaining. He rejoined the main peloton but eventually decided to pull the plug early.

The crash left Martin a bit banged up, leaving the team uncertain about his Liège prospects with three days to go until Sunday’s race. “Medical staff continues to closely monitor Dan following his crash at Flèche Wallone. Today his known injuries include contusions, abrasions, and soreness in his neck. His health is our top priority and we will see how he progresses but remain hopeful that he will be able to start Liège-Bastogne-Liège,” the team told VeloNews.

If Martin recovers from his fall and is able to race Sunday, the signs are pointing to another top result on the finishing climb to Ans just outside of Liège.

In Catalunya, he was going better than he did last year and because of a break coming up, he can give everything to Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

In 2014, Martin was in position to repeat his 2013 victory when disaster struck. He created a small gap with Rodríguez, but slipped in the final left-hand corner to the finishing straight at 200 meters to race. Two weeks later, he fell with his Garmin teammates during the team time trial that opened the Giro d’Italia in Belfast and abandoned.

Martin turned his season around with a seventh overall in the Vuelta a España and a win in another monument, the Giro di Lombardia.

“I knew that my luck would change. I always remain positive,” Martin said after Lombardia. “[Lombardia and Liège] are my two favorite races. I love them.”

The Irishman will draw on that same optimism and miles spent preparing to try to turn his spring into a winning one Sunday.

The post Dan Martin: Dreaming of another Liege win appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Richard DeGarmo seeks financial support following cancer surgery

April 23, 2015 - 7:39am

American cycling pioneer Richard DeGarmo, a former president the United States Cycling Federation — the precursor to USA Cycling — and director of the Tour of Texas, is seeking financial help following surgery for liver cancer.

“Richard gave so many of my generation a fabulous month-long series of races that helped us not only jump start the season, but also our careers,” Olympic champion Connie Carpenter Phinney said. “He provided us host accommodations so that we could stay and race for the entire month of March. He was way ahead of his time and simply loved the sport of cycling.

“[He] gave many of us a forum to race and develop our talents. It will be a very long road and he is in need of some large funding.”

DeGarmo, 64, underwent surgery for liver cancer on Tuesday.

Carpenter Phinney is not the only cyclist of her era to have lent a hand. Andy Hampsten, America’s only Giro d’Italia winner, has donated to the cause as well.

“Best of luck to you Richard. Thanks for the great start in Texas,” Hampsten wrote on the donation page.

“I am so lucky and blessed to have shared whatever time we had together. You are all amazing. Really, sometimes I am speechless that people remember me and actually cared,” DeGarmo wrote.

Those who would like to lend a financial hand can do so at a GoFundMe page set up for DeGarmo’s recovery.

The post Richard DeGarmo seeks financial support following cancer surgery appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Tour contenders have mixed results at Fleche

April 23, 2015 - 7:11am

A late-race crash cost Chris Froome more than 10 minutes in La Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

HUY, Belgium (AFP) — Tour de France hopefuls Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, and Nairo Quintana enjoyed varying fortunes at Wednesday’s La Flèche Wallonne.

Reigning Tour champion Nibali (Astana) showed he was in good form, attacking the field on the penultimate climb 5 kilometers from home before battling shoulder to shoulder with the favorites up the Mur de Huy finish in Wallonia.

The Italian finished 20th at the end of the 205.5km Ardennes classic, just 19 seconds behind Spanish winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

However, earlier in the day, there was speculation that Nibali might join Vuelta a Espana champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in riding May’s Giro d’Italia.

Nibali’s compatriot and teammate Fabio Aru was due to ride the Giro as team leader but had to pull out of this week’s Giro de Trentino due to a stomach virus and is now doubtful for the Giro.

A report in La Gazzetta dello Sport quoted Nibali as saying he may ride the Giro, particularly with the ongoing uncertainty about Astana’s WorldTour license over several doping cases and the possibility it could be revoked.

La Gazzetta speculated that Nibali, 30, might opt to ride the Giro as a safety net, in case the license is withdrawn between the Giro and the Tour.

“It’s true. [Astana manager Giuseppe Martinelli] is pushing for me to ride the Giro too. But at the moment it’s not in my plans,” Nibali said.

With Contador already deciding to go for a Giro-Tour double, the prospect of Nibali doing the same would certainly excite Giro organizers.

Particularly with Australian Richie Porte (Sky) showing his form in taking control of the Giro del Trentino on Wednesday after a solo victory on the second stage, backing up his impressive overall victories at Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya stage races.

A half-fit Aru would likely be no match for Porte or Contador, but a Nibali firing on all cylinders would be a strong contender.

While Nibali proved his form in Belgium, the same could not be said of Froome.

The 2013 Tour de France winner, who crashed out last year during the first week, was on the deck again in Belgium.

Froome crashed inside the final 10km and although he carried on to the finish, he lost more than 12 minutes and placed 123rd.

“Chris was … pretty banged up but showed real courage to finish the race and we’ll assess his injuries overnight,” Sky sport director Gabriel Rasch said.

“He hasn’t needed to go to hospital and right now as things stand, we’re still expecting him to line up at the Tour de Romandie next Tuesday.”

Froome, 29, was still due to recon the cobbled section that forms part of the Tour’s fourth stage on Thursday.

The Kenyan-born Brit started his season well by winning the Ruta del Sol, but he then had to pull out of Tirreno-Adriatico in early March due to a chest infection.

On his comeback at the Volta a Catalunya, he struggled and finished almost 40 minutes behind Porte in the overall standings.

As for Quintana (Movistar), he seemed to be on a voyage of discovery at Huy, following Valverde’s wheel throughout.

The third stage of July’s Tour finishes at the top of the Mur, so Wednesday’s race was useful in terms of intelligence gathering.

Quintana, 25, sat up once the racing spiced up and finished 76th at 2:43 back.

The Colombian may have been giving little away but he has already demonstrated his condition, winning Tirreno-Adriatico this season.

The post Tour contenders have mixed results at Fleche appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Alaphilippe, 22, registers breakthrough ride at Fleche Wallonne

April 23, 2015 - 6:38am

Julian Alaphilippe climbed onto the podium in Wednesday's La Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Julian Alaphilippe came to La Flèche Wallonne with a job to do, but it wasn’t to win, or even try.

That’s why, as a sharply diminished peloton hit the lower slopes of the Mur de Huy and the riders around him honed in on the climb, the young Frenchman’s head seemed on a swivel, searching in vain for his Etixx-Quick-Step team leader, world champion Michal Kwiatkowski. He looked back once, twice, checking over his right shoulder and then his left. The rainbow stripes were nowhere to be seen. Kwiatkowski was too far back, with 600 meters to go, to contest for victory.

Sitting in ninth wheel as the gradient pitched up with 500 meters to go — 10 percent, 12 percent, 15 percent — Alaphilippe took a hand off his bars and called over race radio. What should he do?

“My sport director told me to just go for the victory,” he said after the race. And he did. At the top of the Mur de Huy it was Alaphilippe, not his world-champion teammate, who was closest to a flying Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), just one step away from victory.

The result was made all the more impressive by Alaphilippe’s age — he’s just 22 — and his earlier efforts over the penultimate climb, the new Côte de Cherave, where he was charged with chasing early attacks for his Etixx team leader.

“He had a strong performance and it was only his first time,” Kwiatkowski said. “He closed all the attacks on the second-to-last climb. He did a great job for me and in the final he still found the legs to contest the race. He was second, so we are very proud of him.”

With his second-place finish on Wednesday, Alaphilippe became the first French rider since Laurent Jalabert in 2000 to stand on the podium at Flèche Wallonne.

The performance was no fluke. The Mur doesn’t allow flukes. And Alaphilippe was seventh at last weekend’s Amstel Gold Race, and finished second in a difficult finale at the Volta Catalunya last month.

So who is this young French phenom? And how far can he go?

Alaphilippe is a two-time Under-23 French cyclocross champion from Saint-Amand Montrond, in the rolling geographic center of France. He was discovered by Johan Molly, an Etixx masseur and occasional talent scout, and came to the WorldTeam through its development squad, Etixx-Inhed.

At 5-foot-8 and 136 pounds, Alaphilippe is slim. Body type alone is no guarantee of success in the long, hilly classics of late April, but these are the races Alaphilippe believes he is suited for.

“This is the kind of race on which I think I can grow in the future. I had never climbed the Mur de Huy. It was a discovery. I can be happy. Second, it’s still a surprise for my first participation,” Alaphilippe told AFP.

“I’m still a young rider trying to gain experience and am happy that I can be there to both help my teammate, and also try if there is an opportunity for myself in the finale. One day I’d like to try and win these kinds of races, which I love. I will carry on and keep learning from both my teammates and the peloton around me.”

Second place on the Mur, a climb that is notoriously difficult to time, shows a level of maturity, and patience, beyond his years. It shows an ability to position well, too; he hit the Mur inside the top 15, and followed all the right wheels through its lower slopes, landing in Valverde’s wake at the key moment.

“Second place, it is always a defeat, but Valverde isn’t just anyone,” he said. “I had too much lactic acid in the legs. The pain was really intense in the last 200 meters.”

Alaphilippe’s next challenge will be Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday. It will be his first participation, and he’ll work for Kwiatkowski, he said, but his ride Wednesday has put other teams on notice: Etixx now has two weapons for the Ardennes.

“I hope to play an important role in the team strategy to help Michal in the front so the team can be able to contest the finish,” Alaphilippe said.

The post Alaphilippe, 22, registers breakthrough ride at Fleche Wallonne appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Velo Magazine — May 2015

April 22, 2015 - 3:59pm

The May 2015 issue of Velo magazine is the Destinations issue and the Giro d'Italia preview.

The May 2015 edition of Velo magazine doubles as the Destinations issue, as well as the official guide to the Giro d’Italia.

First, Neal Rogers takes a look at the delivery of and reactions to the long-anticipated Cycling International Reform Commission (CIRC) report. Did this expensive, high-profile report deliver on its promise, and what steps come next?

Read about the best places to eat, the best climbs, and the heritage of some of the world’s hottest cities in professional cycling. Caley Fretz, Chris Case, and Andrew Hood take you through the ins and outs of Cote D’Azur, France; Lucca, Italy; Colorado’s Front Range; Girona, Spain; and Tenerife, Spain.

No matter which corner of the U.S. you live in, there is a rugged race for you. Spencer Powlison takes a look at the opportunities to get a taste of Paris-Roubaix right here in America as he rides Rouge Roubaix in Saint Francisville, Louisiana.

In the tech department, we have a featherweight face-off. Logan VonBokel, along with editors Chris Case and Caley Fretz, put four of the best super-light race bikes on the market to the test, both on the road and on the stiffness testing jig. See how the Guru Photon, Trek Emonda, BMC Teammachine, and Specialized S-Works Tarmac bikes held up.

Finally, the issue wraps up with everything you want to know about the 2015 Giro d’Italia — the teams, the contenders, the iconic climbs, and the decisive stages. The ‘Corsa Rosa’ is always a fan favorite.

Subscribe to Velo magazine >>

The post Velo Magazine — May 2015 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Results: 2015 La Fleche Wallonne

April 22, 2015 - 1:39pm

  • 1. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, MOVISTAR TEAM, in 5:08:22
  • 2. Julian ALAPHILIPPE, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at :00
  • 3. Michael ALBASINI, ORICA GreenEDGE, at :00
  • 4. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, TEAM KATUSHA, at :00
  • 5. Daniel MORENO FERNANDEZ, TEAM KATUSHA, at :00
  • 6. Alexis VUILLERMOZ, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at :04
  • 7. Sergio Luis HENAO MONTOYA, TEAM SKY, at :04
  • 8. Jakob FUGLSANG, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :04
  • 9. Tom Jelte SLAGTER, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at :04
  • 10. Wilco KELDERMAN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :04
  • 11. Roman KREUZIGER, TINKOFF – SAXO, at :08
  • 12. Rinaldo NOCENTINI, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at :10
  • 13. Dylan TEUNS, BMC RACING TEAM, at :10
  • 14. Pierre ROLLAND, TEAM EUROPCAR, at :13
  • 15. Enrico GASPAROTTO, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at :13
  • 16. Jonathan HIVERT, BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT, at :16
  • 17. Mathias FRANK, IAM CYCLING, at :16
  • 18. Michele SCARPONI, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :16
  • 19. Bauke MOLLEMA, TREK FACTORY RACING, at :19
  • 20. Vincenzo NIBALI, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :19
  • 21. Julien SIMON, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at :19
  • 22. Steve MORABITO, FDJ, at :19
  • 23. Ben HERMANS, BMC RACING TEAM, at :22
  • 24. Sébastien REICHENBACH, IAM CYCLING, at :23
  • 25. Robert GESINK, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :23
  • 26. Warren BARGUIL, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at :23
  • 27. Nicolas ROCHE, TEAM SKY, at :23
  • 28. Rui Alberto FARIA DA COSTA, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at :28
  • 29. Rudy MOLARD, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at :30
  • 30. Fabio FELLINE, TREK FACTORY RACING, at :36
  • 31. Tim WELLENS, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :36
  • 32. Robert KISERLOVSKI, TINKOFF – SAXO, at :36
  • 33. Michal KWIATKOWSKI, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at :38
  • 34. Gianluca BRAMBILLA, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at :42
  • 35. Davide FORMOLO, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at :43
  • 36. Michel KREDER, ROP, at :51
  • 37. Georg PREIDLER, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at :53
  • 38. Jose Joaquin ROJAS GIL, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :53
  • 39. Serge PAUWELS, MTN – QHUBEKA, at :57
  • 40. Jan BAKELANTS, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 1:09
  • 41. Giovanni VISCONTI, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 1:16
  • 42. Rafael VALLS FERRI, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 1:19
  • 43. Floris DE TIER, TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 1:32
  • 44. Gorka IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 1:37
  • 45. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 1:39
  • 46. Giampaolo CARUSO, TEAM KATUSHA, at 1:47
  • 47. Marinus Cornelis MINNAARD, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 1:54
  • 48. Luis Angel MATE MARDONES, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 1:54
  • 49. Francis DE GREEF, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 1:54
  • 50. Diego ULISSI, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 1:54
  • 51. Huub DUYN, ROP, at 1:54
  • 52. Victor CAMPENAERTS, TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 2:00
  • 53. Brent BOOKWALTER, BMC RACING TEAM, at 2:01
  • 54. Luis Leon SANCHEZ GIL, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 2:02
  • 55. Pierrick FEDRIGO, BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT, at 2:05
  • 56. Carlos Alberto BETANCUR GOMEZ, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 2:05
  • 57. Stéphane ROSSETTO, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 2:05
  • 58. Frank SCHLECK, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 2:05
  • 59. Lawrence WARBASSE, IAM CYCLING, at 2:05
  • 60. Jan POLANC, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 2:05
  • 61. Marco CANOLA, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 2:05
  • 62. Simon YATES, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 2:05
  • 63. Mikael CHEREL, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 2:05
  • 64. Kristian SBARAGLI, MTN – QHUBEKA, at 2:12
  • 65. Marc DEMAAR, ROP, at 2:12
  • 66. Bart DE CLERCQ, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 2:16
  • 67. Yukiya ARASHIRO, TEAM EUROPCAR, at 2:16
  • 68. Sander ARMEE, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 2:16
  • 69. Jacques JANSE VAN RENSBURG, MTN – QHUBEKA, at 2:19
  • 70. Maurits LAMMERTINK, ROP, at 2:19
  • 71. Eduardo SEPULVEDA, BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT, at 2:22
  • 72. Stephen CUMMINGS, MTN – QHUBEKA, at 2:27
  • 73. Thomas SPRENGERS, TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 2:27
  • 74. Florian VACHON, BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT, at 2:27
  • 75. José HERRADA LOPEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 2:43
  • 76. Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 2:43
  • 77. Alberto LOSADA ALGUACIL, TEAM KATUSHA, at 2:43
  • 78. Mirko SELVAGGI, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 2:50
  • 79. Andriy GRIVKO, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 2:56
  • 80. Tiago MACHADO, TEAM KATUSHA, at 3:29
  • 81. Manuele BOARO, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 3:33
  • 82. Rafal MAJKA, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 3:33
  • 83. Yannick EIJSSEN, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 3:33
  • 84. Chris Anker SÖRENSEN, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 3:45
  • 85. Johnny HOOGERLAND, ROP, at 3:58
  • 86. Pieter JACOBS, TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 4:03
  • 87. Louis VERVAEKE, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 4:46
  • 88. Arthur VICHOT, FDJ, at 4:49
  • 89. Ben GASTAUER, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 5:44
  • 90. Manuele MORI, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 5:47
  • 91. Valerio CONTI, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 5:47
  • 92. Tony MARTIN, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 5:47
  • 93. Vasil KIRYIENKA, TEAM SKY, at 5:47
  • 94. Pieter WEENING, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 5:50
  • 95. Caleb FAIRLY, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 5:50
  • 96. Benoît VAUGRENARD, FDJ, at 5:53
  • 97. Nathan HAAS, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 6:24
  • 98. Jose Rodolfo SERPA PEREZ, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 6:24
  • 99. Thomas DE GENDT, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 7:11
  • 100. Michal GOLAS, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 7:11
  • 101. Laurens TEN DAM, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 7:19
  • 102. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC RACING TEAM, at 7:59
  • 103. Samuel SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, BMC RACING TEAM, at 7:59
  • 104. Paul MARTENS, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 8:03
  • 105. Sergey LAGUTIN, TEAM KATUSHA, at 8:03
  • 106. Maxime BOUET, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 8:03
  • 107. Matthieu BOULO, BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT, at 8:03
  • 108. Bryan COQUARD, TEAM EUROPCAR, at 8:03
  • 109. Pieter SERRY, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 8:03
  • 110. Youcef REGUIGUI, MTN – QHUBEKA, at 8:08
  • 111. Alex HOWES, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 8:08
  • 112. Alessandro VANOTTI, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 8:17
  • 113. Laurent DIDIER, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 8:22
  • 114. Jérôme BAUGNIES, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 8:46
  • 115. Mike TERPSTRA, ROP, at 9:10
  • 116. Armindo FONSECA, BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT, at 9:40
  • 117. Brice FEILLU, BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT, at 9:40
  • 118. Danilo WYSS, BMC RACING TEAM, at 9:40
  • 119. Preben VAN HECKE, TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 9:40
  • 120. Patrick SCHELLING, IAM CYCLING, at 9:40
  • 121. Pieter VANSPEYBROUCK, TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE, at 9:52
  • 122. Petr VAKOC, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 10:57
  • 123. Christopher FROOME, TEAM SKY, at 12:19
  • 124. Angelo TULIK, TEAM EUROPCAR, at 13:18
  • 125. Johannes FRÖHLINGER, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 13:20
  • 126. Fumiyuki BEPPU, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 13:20
  • 127. Bryan NAULLEAU, TEAM EUROPCAR, at 13:28
  • 128. Songezo JIM, MTN – QHUBEKA, at 13:42
  • 129. Davide FRATTINI, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 13:51
  • 130. Daniele RATTO, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 14:27
  • 131. Federico ZURLO, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 14:27
  • 132. Mike TEUNISSEN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 17:46
  • 133. Reinier HONIG, ROP, at 18:02
  • DNF Imanol ERVITI, MOVISTAR TEAM
  • DNF Rory SUTHERLAND, MOVISTAR TEAM
  • DNF Daniel MARTIN, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN
  • DNF Benjamin KING, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN
  • DNF Matej MOHORIC, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN
  • DNF Ramunas NAVARDAUSKAS, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN
  • DNF Rein TAARAMAE, ASTANA PRO TEAM
  • DNF Philip DEIGNAN, TEAM SKY
  • DNF Peter KENNAUGH, TEAM SKY
  • DNF Lars Petter NORDHAUG, TEAM SKY
  • DNF Wouter POELS, TEAM SKY
  • DNF Philippe GILBERT, BMC RACING TEAM
  • DNF Amaël MOINARD, BMC RACING TEAM
  • DNF Dmitrii KOZONCHUK, TEAM KATUSHA
  • DNF Aleksei TCATEVICH, TEAM KATUSHA
  • DNF Evgeny PETROV, TINKOFF – SAXO
  • DNF Ivan ROVNY, TINKOFF – SAXO
  • DNF Michael VALGREN, TINKOFF – SAXO
  • DNF Julian David ARREDONDO MORENO, TREK FACTORY RACING
  • DNF Bob JUNGELS, TREK FACTORY RACING
  • DNF Calvin WATSON, TREK FACTORY RACING
  • DNF Matteo BONO, LAMPRE – MERIDA
  • DNF Sébastien MINARD, AG2R LA MONDIALE
  • DNF Matteo MONTAGUTI, AG2R LA MONDIALE
  • DNF Jelle VANENDERT, LOTTO SOUDAL
  • DNF Pim LIGTHART, LOTTO SOUDAL
  • DNF Dennis VANENDERT, LOTTO SOUDAL
  • DNF Jerome COUSIN, TEAM EUROPCAR
  • DNF Romain GUILLEMOIS, TEAM EUROPCAR
  • DNF Perrig QUEMENEUR, TEAM EUROPCAR
  • DNF Thomas LEEZER, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO
  • DNF Bertjan LINDEMAN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO
  • DNF Nick VAN DER LIJKE, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO
  • DNF Simon CLARKE, ORICA GreenEDGE
  • DNF Damien HOWSON, ORICA GreenEDGE
  • DNF Michael MATTHEWS, ORICA GreenEDGE
  • DNF Christian MEIER, ORICA GreenEDGE
  • DNF Lawson CRADDOCK, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN
  • DNF Thierry HUPOND, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN
  • DNF Cheng JI, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN
  • DNF Fredrik LUDVIGSSON, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN
  • DNF Olivier LE GAC, FDJ
  • DNF Laurent PICHON, FDJ
  • DNF Kévin REZA, FDJ
  • DNF Anthony ROUX, FDJ
  • DNF Jussi VEIKKANEN, FDJ
  • DNF Clement CHEVRIER, IAM CYCLING
  • DNF Jonathan FUMEAUX, IAM CYCLING
  • DNF Pirmin LANG, IAM CYCLING
  • DNF Jarlinson PANTANO, IAM CYCLING
  • DNF Arthur VAN OVERBERGHE, TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE
  • DNF Otto VERGAERDE, TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN – BALOISE
  • DNF Yohan BAGOT, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS
  • DNF Nicolas EDET, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS
  • DNF Romain HARDY, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS
  • DNF Clément VENTURINI, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS
  • DNF Simone ANTONINI, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT
  • DNF Boris DRON, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT
  • DNF Andreas STAUFF, MTN – QHUBEKA
  • DNF Jay Robert THOMSON, MTN – QHUBEKA
  • DNF Pierre-Luc PERICHON, BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT
  • DNF Jesper ASSELMAN, ROP
  • DNF Alessandro BAZZANA, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM
  • DNF Lucas EUSER, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM
  • DNF Christopher JONES, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM
  • DNF Kiel REIJNEN, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM
  • DNS Lieuwe WESTRA, ASTANA PRO TEAM

The post Results: 2015 La Fleche Wallonne appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Porte’s Trentino stage win bolsters Giro d’Italia creds

April 22, 2015 - 1:32pm

Richie Porte was clearly the strongest rider on the day in the second stage of the Giro del Trentino. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Richie Porte (Sky) continues to barnstorm through the spring calendar, notching his seventh win of 2015 Wednesday, with an emphatic stage victory at the second stage of the Giro del Trentino high in the Italian Alps.

The 30-year-old Tasmanian has clearly stepped up big-time in 2015, and with his climbing-stage victory Wednesday, he takes control of the overall leader’s jersey in the key warm-up race ahead of his season’s major goal at the Giro d’Italia, less than three weeks away.

Porte attacked with 2km to go to open up a sizable gap over his rivals, and maintained the advantage to take a convincing stage victory and grab the overall leader’s jersey by 24 seconds.

“It’s nice to come here and win a stage like today,” said Porte after the race. “It was such a hard stage. It was great to see Bora honor the jersey and do the work they did. But credit to my team and especially Kosta Siutsou, he was incredible today. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I’m here to win this race.”

Last season was a bit of a bust for Porte, who saw his chances of shining at the Giro d’Italia and later at the Tour de France undermined by illness. Following recovery, Porte admitted he went back to the drawing board, and realized he had to dedicate himself fully to being a professional cyclist if he wanted to fulfill his highly touted potential.

So far, things could not have gone better for Porte this year. He won the overall at both Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya, two highly contested back-to-back World Tour-caliber races in March. In his first European stage race in February, he won a stage and was fourth overall at the Volta a Algarve.

After training at altitude on Tenerife, Porte and has come roaring into the four-day Trentino race clearly firing at all cylinders, with his team working like a well-oiled machine in support of his bid for victory.

In Tuesday’s 13.3km team time trial opener, Team Sky tied on time with Bora-Argon 18, but the German squad took the win and jersey on a tiebreaker.

On Wednesday, Sky rode the 168.2km stage from Arco to Brentonico as if they were in the leader’s jersey. Sky set a brutal pace to thin the peloton, with Porte safely protected by riders he’ll be bringing to the Giro with him next month. No one could match Porte’s firepower up the final summit finale, with Mikel Landa (Astana), a winner of a stage at the Vuelta al País Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) earlier this month, taking second 16 seconds back and Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini), a former three-time winner at Trentino, leading a group of four across the line at 32 seconds adrift.

“I didn’t feel at my best today. I came down from altitude on Friday, but to win with legs like I had today is a massive confidence booster,” Porte said. “But it’s a team sport and the work the guys put in today for me was the cherry on top of the icing on the cake. … Ian Boswell has really stepped up this year, and he attacked at the beginning of the penultimate climb, which helped force the selection. Then it came back and it was the Kosta show. He paced the whole climb. We talked on the bus this morning that we wanted to have four guys at the bottom of the last climb, and we had that. That’s what set me up for the win. There was no other team with as many numbers there as we had.”

The victory puts Porte in the driver’s seat going into Thursday’s three-climb, uphill finale in stage 3. If he can hold onto the lead, Friday’s rolling stage shouldn’t present major problems for what would be his third stage race victory of the season.

Another GC victory would provide Porte with another huge boost going into the Giro. The Trentino field is hardly world-class, even less so after Fabio Aru (Astana) was a late-hour scratch due to stomach problems, but the overall would reconfirm Porte’s Giro credentials in dramatic fashion.

Of the pre-Giro favorites, Porte has been the most prolific so far in 2015. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has only one win all season, with a stage victory at the Ruta del Sol in February, followed by less-than-spectacular rides at Tirreno-Adriatico (fifth overall) and the Tour of the Basque Country (fourth). Contador is taking aim at the Giro-Tour double this year, and has continually said he does not want to peak too early, so he’s been holding back with an eye on riding into winning form at the Giro, and then keeping enough in the tank for an assault at the Tour.

Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-Quick Step), two years running as the Giro runner-up, won the Colombian time trial title in January, then finished a solid third at Tirreno behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and fifth at Basque Country. He’s traveled home to Colombia to train at altitude before a return to Europe next month ahead of the Giro.

Aru, who was out-gunned by Porte at both Paris-Nice (39th) and Catalunya (sixth), will be hoping that his stomach bug isn’t more than a temporary setback before the Giro. He’s penciled in to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday, but will miss the four days of hard racing in his legs as he approaches the Giro as the top Italian favorite for the pink jersey.

Porte’s stock is clearly on the rise ahead of the corsa rosa, and he’s been by far the best performer of the pre-Giro favorites. The only question is whether will he have the legs to hold out the inevitable assaults from Aru and Contador in the Giro’s high climbs. Those two know they will need to take important gains out of Porte before the 59.2km individual time trial in stage 14.

“It’s the last big hit out for me before the Giro,” Porte said Wednesday. “I’m happy with where my form is going into the Giro d’Italia.”

The Trentino tour has long been a springboard to Giro success for such riders as Ivan Basso, Cunego, and Vincenzo Nibali. Will history repeat itself in 2015? Porte will certainly be hoping so.

The post Porte’s Trentino stage win bolsters Giro d’Italia creds appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Gallery: 2015 Fleche Wallonne

April 22, 2015 - 1:08pm

Valverde took one last look before crossing the line. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

$(document).ready(function() { $(".fancybox").fancybox({margin : [20, 60, 20, 60]}); }); $(document).ready(function() { $('.marquee-367565').carousel({ slider: '.slider', slide: '.slide', slideHed: '.slidehed', nextSlide : '.p-next', nextSlide2 : '.p-next-img', prevSlide : '.p-prev', addPagination: false, addNav : false, speed: 600 }); $('.p-next').click(function() { $('#post-slider-secondary').trigger('nextprev', { dir: 'next' }); _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Image Gallery Carousel', 'Next', 'Image Gallery Carousel Next Button']); googletag.pubads().refresh(); }); $('.p-next-img').click(function() { $('#post-slider-secondary').trigger('nextprev', { dir: 'next' }); _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Image Gallery Carousel', 'Next', 'Image Gallery Carousel Next Image']); googletag.pubads().refresh(); }); $('.p-prev').click(function() { $('#post-slider-secondary').trigger('nextprev', { dir: 'prev' }); _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Image Gallery Carousel', 'Previous', 'Image Gallery Carousel Previous Button']); googletag.pubads().refresh(); }); $('.carousel-nav').css('display', 'block'); $('.slide').css('margin-right', '0'); $('.slideHed').css('display', 'block'); $('.cover.secondary').css('max-height', '100%'); $('#post-slider-secondary .slide').css('height', '100%');$('.view-full-image').css('display', 'block'); $('.slide p').css('display', 'block'); $('#post-slider-secondary .slide').removeAttr('width');}); 1 of {count} Back to Start
  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Mur de Huy

    Flèche Wallonne starts in Waremme, is 205 kilometers long, and climbs the Mur dey Huy three times. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: De Gendt leads

    Thomas De Gendt led the breakaway group up the Mur de Huy. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Albasini climbs

    Michael Albasini had good legs at Flèche Wallonne. Albasini rode at the front in the finale, rounding out the podium in third place. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Froome climbs

    Before making his final climb up the Mur de Huy Chris Froome went down in a crash. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Rodriguez finish

    Joaquim Rodríguez lacked the snap in his climbing legs to challenge Valverde in the final climb. Rodríguez crossed the line in fourth place. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Moreno finish

    Daniel Moreno finished right behind his teammate Rodríguez, claiming fifth place. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Valverde on the Mur de Huy

    Alejandro Valverde moved to the front of the peloton, for the final climb up the Mur de Huy. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Valverde attack

    Alejandro Valverde calmly led the peloton into the finish, saving his attack until 200 meters from the line. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Valverde look

    Valverde took one last look before crossing the line. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Valverde wins Fleche Wallonne

    This was the third victory for Valverde at Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Alaphilippe finish

    Julien Alaphilippe showed the strain of a hard day in the saddle after crossing the line. Alaphilippe finishd in second place. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Teuns finish

    With team leader Philippe Gilbert crashing out earlier in the race, Dylan Teuns was the highest placing BMC rider at 13th. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Gesink finish

    Robert Gesink has not raced since February, and was able to finish in the top 25, just 23 seconds back. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Froome road rash

    Hitting the deck was not part of the intended Tour de France prep for Chris Froome. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2015 Fleche Wallonne: Podium presentation

    Alejandro Valverde, Julian Alaphilippe, and Michael Albasini were on the podium at Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The post Gallery: 2015 Fleche Wallonne appeared first on VeloNews.com.