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UCI to host inaugural Women’s Teams Seminar

4 hours 50 min ago

A day after the inaugural women's Strade Bianche race, the UCI will host its first-ever Women's Teams Seminar in Italy. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File)

The UCI announced Wednesday that it will host a Women’s Teams Seminar in conjunction with the Strade Bianche race to be held March 7.

UCI Women’s Commission president Tracey Gaudry said it was fitting that the UCI organize its first UCI Women’s Teams Seminar to coincide with the inaugural women’s Strade Bianche. The seminar, to which all 38 UCI women’s teams will be invited, will be held March 8 in Siena, Italy.

“After the launch of La Course by Le Tour last year, this is another welcome step forward for women’s cycling,” said Gaudry. “The UCI is currently working on a project to further develop women’s road cycling over the coming years, and we are very pleased to have the support of different major organizers. As president of the Women’s Commission and also as a former athlete, I appreciate how important this is.”

“The UCI needs more information from the teams,” said UCI Women’s Cycling Coordinator Andrea Marcellini. “We are in the process of forming a Women’s Teams Working Group, made up of riders, team representatives, and a sports economist, which will help us define priorities and establish a timeline for each step of professionalizing the teams.

“The seminar will give us a chance to outline the role of the working group, share what is planned, and receive feedback. It will also be an opportunity for everyone to have their say.”

“We are very glad that UCI has chosen the inaugural Strade Bianche women’s race to hold the first Women Teams’ Seminar, and our will is to give all the support they may need in organizing this event,” RCS Sport’s Mauro Vegni said. “Being held at the beginning of the season, it is a good way to pay specific attention to important matters regarding the whole season.

“That the seminar coincides with International Women’s Day is an added value which we hope will be a communication drive pushing media to speak about women’s cycling.”

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Video: Peter Sagan’s Specialized S-Works Venge

6 hours 34 min ago

Global Cycling Network takes a close look at Peter Sagan's new Specialized bike.

Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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Find your approach: Eight ways to get in solid winter training

9 hours 38 min ago

As a pro 'cross racer who also works for Strava, Elle Anderson has good advice on how to fit in high-quality rides during the winter. Photo: Dan Seaton |

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the February 2014 issue of Velo magazine.

Weather, daylight, family, or work — each of us have different constraints on our winter riding schedule. But according to Elle Anderson, a rising cyclocross star with the Kalas-NNOF team, who also works for Strava, all of these factors shouldn’t be seen as limitations. “[They] are just a part of my life, and there are plenty of ways to approach it,” she said. Here are some suggestions on how to apply the principles of sufficient stress, doing the right stress, and timing, to find your best approach to winter training.

Hard weeks, long weekends

Combining shorter, high-quality riding during the week with a long ride on the weekend is a time-efficient way to stress the body. “Usually after work, it’s just either an hour or 90 minutes,” Chris Phipps, a masters national champion, said. On the weekend, he seeks out the team ride for some volume, but “this time of year it’s pretty constant [pace]. We don’t race up the climbs. We’ll go a pretty good effort, like tempo on the flats. It’s all good base miles. No high intensity.”

One weekend a month

We may not be able to do 20-hour weeks like pros, but most of us can find one weekend a month to focus on cycling. My athletes do “three days of stress” consisting of intervals on Friday, a long hard group ride on Saturday, and a long easy ride on Sunday. Then they let their bodies repair. Phipps feels that one long ride most weekends and two long rides every three or four weeks can help make a successful base. He also takes advantage of holidays to get in an additional long ride.

Stress blocks

One way to produce a sufficient training stress without much intensity is to string a number of days together. Anderson and her coach use this strategy. “We’d work in pretty dense training blocks,” she said. Instead of spreading out her workouts, Anderson will do a two- or three-day training block on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then, she’d recover and fit another two- or three-day block in over the weekend.

Quality without the high end

Base doesn’t necessarily mean no intervals. In fact, more intense training is a big part of Anderson’s base, but she understands the importance of timing. “[The] high-intensity work is definitely something that I would build into as the race season approached,” she said. Doing a few longer intervals of five to 20 minutes, twice per week, at 80 to 95 percent of threshold heart rate, is a high-quality hour without making you peak on Groundhog Day.

Trainer time

Many of us live in places where the trainer is an arranged marriage that none of us looks forward to. Anderson, who survived a few Vermont winters with the help of Netflix, avoids long base rides inside. She often saves her intervals and structured work for the trainer. “It keeps you entertained while on the trainer and provides quality training, but you don’t have to put in too many hours,” she said.

Use what’s available

If you’re scheduling dental appointments to avoid the trainer, look for other options. Phipps goes to the track. “It’s in the dark, no cars, nothing to worry about. I just put headphones on and do an hour of intensity,” he said. Phipps also hits a local spin class designed for cyclists where he can get a quality workout twice per week in 75 to 80 minutes.

Early birds

Anderson has the most success riding early, especially because many cycling communities have great morning group rides. But she admits the winters are a struggle. “It’s pretty hard to get out of bed. I do little tricks like coordinating a ride with someone the next morning at 6 a.m. so I’m held a little more accountable,” she said.

Push it back

December and January can be the toughest time of the year to train. Sometimes, no matter what you do, the time simply isn’t there. Instead of compensating with intensity, stick to the skis and running shoes and, like Phipps, “push the season back a bit.” Do your base in February and March when there’s more light and, who knows, you may be duking it out at masters nationals in September.

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Changing the Business Model: Rethinking pro cycling’s governance

10 hours 38 min ago

Often regarded as the true power broker in the sport, Tour de France organizer ASO may have the power to build a new structure for pro racing. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | (File).

Editor’s note: VeloNews contributor Steve Maxwell and his partner Joe Harris have published a multi-part series of articles about how to improve the sport of cycling’s business foundation. This is an excerpt from the sixth and final article.

Professional road cycling has evolved slowly over the past hundred years. The current structure of major racing events and top team competition fell into place rather haphazardly over many decades, and as a result of changing economic and nationalistic factors in Western Europe. Accordingly, evolution of the sport’s governance has also been somewhat bumpy and arbitrary.

Reforms and decisions that took place in the 1980s and 1990s largely shaped today’s playing field. The calendar has expanded. The traditional cycling nations of Western Europe have seen their dominance diminished with the globalization of the peloton. Sponsors have rewritten the rules by which the sport is financed.

A frequent criticism of pro cycling is that there is insufficient strategic thinking by the leadership of the sport, and a lack of a vision of what the sport should look like in five, 10, or 20 years’ time.

In the previous articles in our “Changing the Business Model” series, we have evaluated several ways in which the sport can reinvent its financial underpinnings, racing structure, ethical, and anti-doping standards to develop new paths to sustainable profitability and greater growth. But it will be difficult to accomplish these forward steps without also changing and modernizing the governance model of the sport — the way in which pro cycling sets its rules, enforces policy, and brings all of the participants together to achieve its overall sporting and business objectives.

First, a thorough review and modernization of the UCI should be completed with recommendations for streamlining and modernizing its business operations, charter, and constitutional bylaws. The result of this exercise should be greater transparency, financial accountability, and global trust in the values and practices of a new UCI, or a “UCI-like” body.

Despite some of the positive reforms proposed or already executed by president Brian Cookson’s leadership team, there are still concerns that the UCI may no longer be the appropriate body to govern professional road racing. The range of its responsibilities is too broad, its management remains too opaque, and its organizational function — as representative, licensor, and regulator of the riders — is fraught with multiple conflicts of interest.

Second, the UCI must build stronger inter-agency agreements to resolve the historical disputes and territorial posturing between all of the agencies intertwined in the sport. Professional cycling has never really effectively policed itself. And much like any business — which should be focused on its core competency to capitalize on market opportunities — cycling should divest itself of what it is not so good at to focus on improving and optimizing what it is good at: bike racing. Too much time and effort has been spent by the UCI trying to manage aspects of the sport which other parties could handle more effectively — namely, drug testing and race promotion.

The UCI should focus on developing the riders and creating a logical competitive structure and racing calendar that encourages viewership. It should divest itself of “police work,” giving that over to the experts at the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), or to an independent certification program. Just as importantly, it must also leave the national federations’ internal issues up to those local agencies to decide, so long as the federations abide by the spirit of the UCI’s interagency agreements.

Third, the sport needs to strengthen and align objectives between the team and race organizations. As explored earlier, the UCI must work with team and race executives to balance the racing demands and adopt mutually beneficial strategies that ensure participation, build racing viewership, and improve the competitive suspense of the annual cycling calendar.

The AIOCC — the organization representing the race organizers — already exercises a great deal of control over the sport, although it is itself dominated by the largest race representative — the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO). Pro cycling could learn a lesson from the way that NASCAR and Formula One motor sports have consolidated television and merchandising rights into empires that build importance and suspense into every race in their calendars.

The Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels (AIGCP) and the newly formed Velon organization are the groups representing the interests of the teams and team owners. While Velon’s strategy has yet to be communicated, the AIGCP has stated that cycling can only grow “if all stakeholders — including teams — have a fair and equal say in the decision-making process.” Both groups will need to work closely together to strengthen the positions of their constituent teams — and by extension, their sponsors — at the table when negotiating with the race organizers and the UCI.

Fourth, pro cycling needs to leave a place at the table for the athletes. They should build a stronger riders association or union. The existing riders group, the Cycliste Professionnels Associés (CPA), has historically been a small and relatively powerless entity — so obscure that many pro racers have never even heard of it. The legacy model of the sport treats riders as mere commodities, which by extension encourages cheating to achieve results; without those results, the rider has no value to barter.

The disparate and diverse nature of the rider population has historically been an obstacle to organization or the establishment of a single base of power. Furthermore, generally low rider salaries have meant that there was no significant funding source for an association.

A stronger union could eventually provide for the kind of collective bargaining needed to improve the safety and financial well-being of the athletes, and perhaps most overlooked — the resources, tools, and training to help riders transition to a life outside of cycling after retirement.

While the creation of a stronger riders union may initially appear to be antithetical to the interests of both the teams and the organizers, it is essential that the riders be better represented in terms of the safety, health, and economic aspects of the sport. The riders must also begin to embrace the concept they represent a valuable commodity — one which they are in effect “selling” to the team owners. The example from almost all other professional sports shows that cycling will never really be able to blossom and grow until the players understand the value of their own human capital and own their spot at the negotiating table.

Finally, It may be time to consider spinning off a separate cycling league for top-level professional racing, completely unencumbered by the current governance model. This league could be a related, but non-subsidiary group to the UCI, focused exclusively on professional road racing. This would allow cycling to take a final step toward parity with other professional leagues and team sports.

There is also one other potential path which could bypass the UCI altogether. Over the past 15 years, ASO has gradually consolidated many of the major racing events, and has solidified its position and power as the chief policy driver in the sport. As many have pointed out, as the ASO goes, so goes the overall sport. If it were to acquire the RCS Sport events, it would control the majority of key events and broadcast rights in the sport.

A new racing league could be structured around the grand tours, unencumbered by Olympic obligations, with affiliated one-day and classics races and a competitive structure to drive viewership and investment.

Far-fetched perhaps, but should ASO decide to go this direction, a true professional league could emerge and grow. And there is a very relevant precedent – Bernie Ecclestone’s wresting control of Formula 1 auto racing away from individual race organizers many years ago to transform it into the global brand that it is today.

This sport cannot be governed forever as one branch of a tree that is unable to support its entire weight. In the future, and as the sport grows, pro cycling will truly deserve its own dedicated governing body, committed to implementing a new business model for long-term financial stability.


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Valverde kicks off 2015 race season in Mallorca

12 hours 4 min ago

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will kick off the 2015 race season at the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who finished 2014 at the top of the UCI WorldTour rankings, will start his season Thursday in Mallorca, Spain at the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca. The 34-year-old will be joined by other notables, such as Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel.

“It would be nice to get our first victory of the season in Mallorca,” said Lotto-Soudal sports director Bart Leysen. “The riders know the Spanish roads well because of their training camps. The first and last day are suited for our sprinters André Greipel and Jens Debusschere. Greipel didn’t start his season, for the first time in seven years, in the Tour Down Under. So he is extremely motivated to get his first victory of the season in Mallorca.”

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) are also expected to start their racing seasons in Mallorca.

The second day of racing, Friday, may suit a rider like Valverde or Martin, as it finishes on a steep climb that ramps up to 10 percent at some points. Stage 3 is also quite hilly, with three second-category climbs.

The four-day event in Mallorca does not award a GC prize and is not a stage race, which may encourage more aggressive racing. Riders are not required to race each day, and teams may field different eight-man squads day-by-day — essentially, the event is four one-day races held in the same region.

Challenge Ciclista Mallorca

Thursday, January 29: Trofeo Santanyí-Ses Salines-Campos (175.5km)
Friday, January 30: Trofeo Andratx – Mirador d’Es Colomer (149km)
Saturday, January 31: Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana. Valldemoosa-Deià (165.7km)
Sunday, February 1: Trofeo Playa de Palma – Palma (168.2km)

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Teams lining up to sign Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria

14 hours 19 min ago

Fernando Gaviria (right) beat Mark Cavendish twice in a sprint finish at the Tour de San Luis last week. Photo: Tim De Waele |

MILAN (VN) — The strength to beat Mark Cavendish, the ability to bring points, and the advantage of youth has teams lining up outside Fernando Gaviria’s door. Ag2r-La Mondiale and Etixx-Quick-Step, the latter being Cavendish’s team, reportedly have already spoken with the 20-year-old Colombian about his 2015 plans.

“I’m dreaming of racing the Tour de France and racing more on the road,” Gaviria told Ciclismo Internacional.

“I’m going to have to wait until next year because I want to fulfill my commitment with team Coldeportes.”

His contract with the amateur Coldeportes-Claro team extends through 2015, but he made international headlines racing in the white colors of Colombia’s national team last week.

Gaviria shot ahead of cycling’s sprint king Cavendish in the first stage of Tour de San Luis in Villa Mercedes last week. He repeated the feat, winning with a larger advantage over Cavendish on then next sprint opportunity, stage 3. On the third occasion, stage 7, he pushed Cavendish to the last meter but ended up taking second.

Cavendish had no idea who Gaviria was before stage 1, but quickly studied his rival.

“Being able to sprint from a distance like that is a sign of a track rider. It’s very impressive,” Cavendish explained in a press release.

“It’s important to anticipate his sprint and do the job before he does.”

France’s L’Equipe newspaper reported that Ag2r sport director Arturas Kasputis met with Gaviria, Belgium’s Het Nieuwsblad said Etixx sport director Davide Bramati visited Gaviria’s hotel, and Gaviria himself explained that five ProTeams asked about his 2015 plans.

Gaviria would present a golden opportunity for any team because of his speed and his potential. Given his age (20), a top-tier team would have time to develop him and provide a supporting leadout train that could dominate races in a similar way HTC-Highroad did with Cavendish.

Cycling’s top sprinters include Cavendish, Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Australian Matthews and Frenchman Bouhanni are the youngest of the lot, but still four years older than Gaviria.

Only Australian Caleb Ewan comes close to Gaviria in terms of age (20) and speed. Orica signed him last year and already this season, he has won three criteriums in Australia and finished second in the national championships behind Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling).

Gaviria’s home is in La Ceja in west-central Colombia at 2,200 meters abve sea level, but his speed comes from the track. He won the Madison and Omnium titles at the 2012 junior world championships. He took home the Ominum title from the London World Cup in December.

He is aiming for another gold medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which means any potential ProTeam will have to work around his track program.

“But I prefer the road,” Gaviria said. “I want to win stages and one-day races.”

After the upcoming UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Paris, scheduled for February 18-22, Gaviria will continue his road season at the Under-23 Tour of Colombia, the Tour de L’Avenir, and the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. However, with two San Luis sprint wins over Cavendish, the ProTeams will not let him out of their sights.

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VeloNews seeking an Editor in Chief, based in Boulder, Colorado

January 27, 2015 - 9:41pm

Like any job — but perhaps amplified — cycling journalism has its pros and cons. Photo by Tim De Waele.

VeloNews is seeking an Editor in Chief to oversee its principal brands, Velo magazine and The position is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Candidates must have well-established experience in writing, editing, and timely project management, as well as a firm understanding of all aspects of the sport of professional cycling.

The Editor in Chief is responsible for brand vision, direction, strategy, and financial performance. The EIC also oversees the coordination, organization, control and completion of all aspects of editorial production, from raw material to finished publication, by maintaining effective communication among the editorial, design, production, and ad sales departments.

Minimum skills required include a B.A. or advanced degree in journalism or related field, or equivalent work experience and working knowledge of Word, Excel, and InDesign.

Essential skills include project management, attention to detail, communication, creativity, people skills, multitasking, and decision making, all within a deadline-driven environment.

In addition, the ideal candidate is intimately familiar with acronyms/abbreviations such as UCI, USAC, ASO, WADA, CIRC, IMBA, HRM, LBS, TT, KPH, OTB, JRA and, of course, DFL.

Company: Competitor Group, Inc.
Position Title: Editor in Chief, VeloNews
Reports To: Group Publisher
Location: Boulder, Colorado

The Company: Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI) is the active lifestyle industry’s leading media and event entertainment company. CGI owns and operates endurance events around the world, including the flagship Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. Anchoring the company with rich content and marketing leverage are four publishing properties dedicated to running, cycling, triathlon and the world of multisport including VeloNews, Triathlete, Women’s Running, and Competitor, with a combined monthly circulation of more than 700,000.

The Brand: Publishers of the official North American guide to the Tour de France, VeloNews delivers the most authentic and authoritative editorial in the cycling industry, to a qualified and influential audience. VeloNews has a 43-year history of delivering compelling content that informs and entertains cycling enthusiasts worldwide. VeloNews reaches serious enthusiasts — past, present, and future — as well as the retailers, suppliers, and service providers who are at the leading edge of competitive cycling. Online since 1994, delivers the most timely, trusted cycling content on the web.

Position Summary: Provide leadership, editorial vision, and direction for the brand across all platforms — print, digital, video, and mobile. Establish and build upon a defined content strategy aligned with business goals and the needs of the audience. Oversee production and design of magazine, as well as daily online presence. Oversee staffing matters for content and design. Serve as spokesperson for the brand to the audience, advertising community and cycling community.

Basic Responsibilities:
• Establish and execute on VeloNews brand’s editorial mission
• Create and implement content guidelines aligned with editorial mission and business goals
• Determine content strategy for print and digital platforms, with the goal of expanding readership, growing community, increasing web traffic, and increasing revenue
• Set high standards for all content; oversee all assigning, editing, and writing
• Oversee day-to-day operating procedures, including scheduling, budgets, and production matters.
• Maintain ultimate responsibility for setting, enforcing, and meeting deadlines.
• Represent the brand from an editorial standpoint at industry functions.
• Provide editorial input in development of ad sales strategy and marketing collateral and strategies.
• Manage a cohesive content team that is motivated, collaborative and works toward the same goals.
• Conceive of partnership ideas for sharing of content and other ways to maximize audience reach
• Expand the audience reach while preserving the brand’s dedicated core subscribers

B.A. in journalism or related field
Five years experience working in print and/or digital media
Deep understanding of professional cycling

Profile of Ideal Candidate:
• Strong leadership qualities — able to articulate vision
• Strong digital content leader — web, tablet, social, video, etc.
• Strong content editor and writer
• Superb editorial instincts
• Extensive people management experience
• Strong process management experience
• Problem solver and solution focused; proactive in experimenting and can take responsibility for results
• Confident, with strength of conviction, but flexible
• Energetic, passionate, yet sensitive toward others

Key Contacts:
Kurt Hoy SVP, Group Publisher
Neal Rogers Editor in Chief, VeloNews
Dianne St. John VP, Human Resources

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Craddock heading home after nasty TDU crash

January 27, 2015 - 2:53pm

Giant-Alpecin's Lawson Craddock crashed hard in stage 4 of the Tour Down Under. After spending several days in the hospital, he's headed home to the U.S. to recover. Photo: Tim De Waele |

Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin) is heading home following three nights in an Australian hospital recovering from a harrowing crash in stage 4 at the Santos Tour Down Under.

The 22-year-old Texan crashed heavily Friday in the early kilometers of the stage, just as the peloton was picking up speed and coming over some rollers as the day’s main breakaway was forming.

In a freak accident, Craddock evidently punctured his front tire, then bounded into a drainage ditch, with his front wheel collapsing, sending him catapulting over his handlebars. One rider who saw the crash said, “It looked real nasty. I could see him flying over his bike.” Craddock suffered a broken wrist, rib, and sternum, injuries that kept him in the hospital for observation for three days.

In an email to VeloNews, Craddock said he was due to fly back to Texas overnight Tuesday.

“I’ve definitely been better. I spent three days in the hospital before finally getting released,” Craddock wrote. “I should arrive [home] tomorrow night, and then I’ll start the long road to recovery. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be too bad.”

Team doctors still are not sure how long it will take before Craddock can return to training and racing. Speaking to VeloNews earlier in the Tour Down Under, the second-year pro outlined ambitious goals for the 2015 season, including an increased focus on one-week races and a return to the Amgen Tour of California, where he was third overall last year.

“It’s hard losing a teammate during a race, when he’s sleeping alone at a hospital, not sure when he can go home,” said Giant-Alpecin teammate Koen de Kort. “With a broken sternum, everything hurts, including breathing.”

Despite the severity of his injuries, team officials were quietly breathing a sigh of relief, especially after hearing more details of the crash.

“Any crash can be dangerous, and from the sounds of it, this could have been even worse,” said Giant-Alpecin sport director Addy Engels. “He’s young, so he has a lot of time to recover. There is no pressure to return. The most important thing is that he becomes healthy again.”

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Gallery: Limited-edition Eddy Merckx Eddy70

January 27, 2015 - 1:00pm

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  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Seat stays

    The greatest male cyclist of all time is turning 70 years old this year. To celebrate, the bike brand that bears his name will be producing a limited run of a highly priced handmade steel bike. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Bike

    The Eddy Merckx Eddy70 is now available for pre-order on Priced at $17,500, it is not for everyone. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Stem

    As you may have already guessed, the only 70 Eddy70s will be made. The component selection is made up of special-edition Campagnolo Super Record and Eddy Merckx-branded carbon cockpit. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Seatpost

    A special-edition carbon seatpost was made specifically for the Eddy70. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Rear dropout

    Each frame will be handmade in Belgium. Buyers will be able to choose a size, but will not be able to tweak the geometry. That has already been fine-tuned by Eddy himself, to meet his demands. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Columbus

    The Eddy70 is built using Columbus' top of the line XCr tubing. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Fork

    The fork sports clean red details. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Wheel

    Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 wheels bear more Eddy70 livery. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Placard

    Buyers will choose their own frame number, between two and 70. Number one belongs to Eddy Merckx, naturally. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Autograph

    Merckx will autograph the number plates and any one part of the frame, per the buyer's request. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Faema

    Each bike will be painted like this one, in an homage to Merckx's 1968 Faema, which he rode to victory at Paris-Roubaix and the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Head tube badge

    The head tube badge is simple but striking. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Campagnolo

    Can you spot the Eddy70 badge on the Super Record crankset? Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

  • View Larger Image.Eddy Merckx Eddy70: Book

    Each bike will be delivered to an Eddy Merckx dealer of the buyer's choosing and will include an autographed coffee table book, documenting Merckx's fabled career. Bikes will start delivering on June 17 — the day of Merckx's 70th birthday. Photo: Eddy Merckx Cycles

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In the News: Armstrong says ex-dopers should talk to CIRC

January 27, 2015 - 11:24am

Speaking to BBC Sport, Lance Armstrong said that UCI president Brian Cookson should force the likes of Astana’s Alexandre Vinokourov, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Bjarne Riis, and other controversial team managers still in the sport, to cooperate with the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC).

“If I’m Brian Cookson, I would make it a deal point that you have to come in and talk,” he said. “So if Riis doesn’t talk to you, or Vinokourov doesn’t, there should be consequences. I don’t know those to be examples, but I can imagine.

“If you don’t come in to talk, you don’t just get passed.”

When asked for a reaction, Riis’ team Tinkoff-Saxo said he has never refused to meet CIRC, and it wanted to respect the confidentiality of the process. The UCI said it would wait until CIRC’s report is finished before commenting. Armstrong has testified before the panel.


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Carmen Small Journal: My first track race

January 27, 2015 - 10:37am

Carmen Small (third wheel) helped her U.S. team ride to third place in Cali, Colombia. Plus, it was her first track race ever. Photo: Guy Swarbrick | USA Cycling.

Editor’s note: Carmen Small is training to race the team pursuit at the Rio Olympics, and will be contributing rider journals to VeloNews throughout the upcoming season. She’s been a professional for nine years, and prior to that, she taught middle and high school mathematics and did a brief stint at Denver Community College.

Excitement pours through my veins … Wait that’s not excitement. Its panic — the puking, sweating kind of panic. I run to the bathroom for what seems like the one-millionth time to try to compose myself. I can’t be so nervous that I might puke. Breathe. Come on Carmen. Breathe.

It’s just riding a bike, right?

Welcome to my very first track race, and it’s no little local event. That’s not really my style. I dive right into the deep end at the last World Cup of the track season in Cali, Colombia. Sink or swim, my first time racing track is a World Cup race, in a semi-open track. Three, two, one, the gun goes off … All anxiety leaves my body as I hear the blast. It’s all business, and there is no going back. It is four and a half minutes of pushing physical and mental limits, while riding inches away from your teammates.

During the two days of racing, I think I experienced every possible human emotion. I had never before ridden rollers so many times and never experienced such highs and lows in only 48 hours. All of this was a new experience and a bit overwhelming, but I’m proud to say I surpassed all expectations and succeeded.

I didn’t puke, didn’t crash, I did not false start, and I’m glad to say I didn’t have to run any of the laps. I did make the U.S. World Cup team.

I’m happy to have accomplished that goal and to have walked away with a bronze medal to boot. My teammates did an incredible job, the event staff were amazing, and I was overjoyed to be a part of it.

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2015 Tour of Qatar to host star-studded field

January 27, 2015 - 9:19am

Etixx-Quick-Step's Nikki Terpstra will return to the Tour of Qatar to defend his 2014 title in the early season race. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

The 2015 Tour of Qatar will host world champions, sprint specialists, kings of the classics, and a Tour de France winner this February. Stars like Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick-Step), Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will all line up, February 8-13, in the desert.

Gilbert describes the event as “an important part of the lead-up to the season. Stages are short and nervous, which is ideal at this time of the year,” the 2005 world champion said. “The high speed and the permanent battle force us to fight for positioning the same way we do it at the classics. We love the weather in Qatar, and we appreciate to stay in the same hotel in Doha during the whole race.”

The race also gives riders an opportunity to prepare for the 2016 world championships, set to take place in Doha.

“I like a fast race to resume competing so I can quickly get back into the rhythm”, said 2014 UCI WorldTour champion Valverde, who will make his way to Qatar for the first time in his 13-year career.

Kittel will also be a first-timer at the event. He recently won People’s Choice Classic criterium in Adelaide but left the Tour Down Under without any stage victories. “I came out of this race with better feelings than one year ago, and I’m looking forward to the Tour of Qatar where I expect a very high level of sprinting,” said the German, who has dominated Tour de France sprints in the past two years.

Besides classics specialists like Boonen, Cancellara, and defending champion Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick-Step), other big names will toe the line in Doha: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Arnaud Démare (, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Theo Bos (MTN-Qhubeka), Andrea Guardini (Astana), and the recently crowned Australian champion Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling). “I’ve always loved this race and I’ll return with ambitions,” said Haussler

Bradley Wiggins is also expected to return to Qatar. The winner of the 2012 Tour de France is gearing up for his last campaign as a road rider. He’s set to focus on track events after Paris-Roubaix in April this year. In 2010, he led the newly created Team Sky to victory at the Tour of Qatar team time trial. This time around, he’ll wear the rainbow jersey in the individual time trial (10.9km), scheduled on the third day of racing near the new Lusail Sport Arena.

Tour of Qatar teams and leaders

Orica-GreenEdge: Blythe (GB), Hayman (Aus)

Etixx-Quick-Step: Terpstra (Nl), Boonen (B)
Topsport Vlaanderen Baloise: Wallays (B)

Cofidis: Bouhanni, Petit (F) Démare, Ladagnous, Offredo (F)

Bora-Argon 18: Bennet (Irl), Voss (G)
Giant-Alpecin: Kittel (G), Sinkeldam (Nl)

Great Britain
Team Sky: Wiggins, Stannard (GB)

Bardiani CSF: Battaglin (I)
Lampre-Merida: Pozzato, Modolo (I)

Astana: Boom (Nl), Guardini (I)

Katusha: Kristoff (N), Guarnieri (I)
Tinkoff-Saxo: Sagan (Slv), Breschel (Dk)

South Africa
MTN-Qhubeka: Boasson Hagen (N), Bos (Nl), Ciolek (G)

Movistar: Valverde, Rojas (Sp)

IAM Cycling: Haussler (Aus), Brändle (A)

BMC Racing: Gilbert, Van Avermaet (B)
Trek Factory Racing: Cancellara (Swi)

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Roman Kreuziger’s highs and lows

January 27, 2015 - 8:49am

Although Kreuziger is cleared to race, a pending biological passport case appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport will determine his long-term fate in the sport. Photo: AFP PHOTO | PASCAL GUYOT

MILAN (VN) — Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) is free to race. He begins in February with the Tour of Oman, but he is unable to plan too far ahead with a court expected to rule on his biological passport case. Attempting to prove that he did not dope, the Czech announced this weekend that he passed a lie detector test. But for many, that only served to highlight the many highs and lows of his nine-year cycling career.


– Tour de Suisse: The 2004 junior world champion joined Italy’s team Liquigas in 2006 and with Vincenzo Nibali, led the team in the smaller stage races. In 2008, he won a stage and the Tour de Suisse overall ahead of Andreas Klöden and Igor Anton. In the same year, he placed second in the Tour de Romandie and 12th in his debut Tour de France. “The Tour,” said the 22-year-old, “could become my aim in the coming years.”

– Giro d’Italia: His seasons with Astana, 2011 and 2012, were stepping stones between teams Liquigas and Tinkoff-Saxo, but he came away with some important results in the Giro d’Italia. In 2011, he won the white jersey of best young rider, and in 2012, after dropping out of contention for the race overall, he won the Alpe di Pampeago stage. The Astana marriage was heading for divorce, though. Giuseppe Martinelli explained, “He hasn’t lived up to what we’d hoped for.”

– Amstel Gold Race: Kreuziger’s one-day palmarès includes a win in the Clásica San Sebastián and fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but the 2013 Amstel Gold Race ranks at the top. In his Saxo Bank colors, he escaped solo with seven kilometers remaining and held off the big guns like Philippe Gilbert and Simon Gerrans. He said afterward, “There are not many that can make moves like that after six hours.” Three months later, he helped Contador to fourth overall and placed fifth at the Tour.


– Michele Ferrari: During Lance Armstrong-related investigations, Leonardo Bertagnolli testified that his former teammate Kreuziger went to banned doctor and trainer, Michele Ferrari. After the testimony gained public attention, Kreuziger said that he worked with Ferrari but that he visited Armstrong’s preferred doctor just for training. He explained to Cycling Weekly, “I was 20 years old. I was in my first year as a professional, and at the time, I believed he was one of the best coaches in the world.”

– Biological passport readings: The UCI’s Anti-doping Commission notified Kreuziger and stopped him from racing ahead of the 2014 Tour de France for suspicious biological passport blood readings during his years with Astana, in 2011 and 2012. The passport helps catch cheaters without a positive test and has resulted in bans for many other cyclists, including Leif Hoste, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, and Franco Pellizotti.

The Czech Olympic Committee cleared Kreuziger, but the UCI appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Kreuziger said the UCI’s medics mishandled his samples and that he had an under-active thyroid gland that could have skewed the readings. He will have to explain that to the high court, who ruled in favor of the passport in other hearings.

– Lie detector test: Kreuziger said Saturday that he took and passed a polygraph test to prove he did not dope, use EPO or blood transfusions. “I don’t have anything to hide, and I am doing everything in my power to clear my name,” he said.

Experts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, said that it is not clear if polygraph tests are reliable. Tyler Hamilton said that he cheated and beat the test. The results may be accurate in Kreuziger’s case, but some see it as a desperate move in the final hours before his court hearing.

The CAS told VeloNews Tuesday that it has yet to schedule a hearing date for Kreuziger’s biological passport case. If the Swiss court rules against him, he could face a two- to four-year doping ban.

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Technical FAQ: Cracked carbon seatposts and more

January 27, 2015 - 7:18am

Harry’s cracked carbon seatpost.

A cracked carbon seatpost

Dear Lennard,
I have a cracked carbon fiber seatpost. Photo [above]. This is the second in four months, and this one failed after less than 25 rides. Both cracked in the seat vertical way. The frame is a 2006 custom-sized Serotta titanium that has over 40,000 miles, and the previous seatpost (also carbon) was the original. The questions I have are:

— Any ideas why this might be happening?
— Should I get a replacement titanium or aluminum seatpost? It seems to me another carbon one will fail, too.
— Any considerations where replacing with ti or aluminum?
— Harry

Dear Harry,
Yes, I certainly do have an opinion about why that has happened.

Carbon fibers are very strong, and, while they can be quite flexible when dry, they become brittle when cured with resin into a matrix. In this case, it looks to me like the seat clamp at the top of the seat tube pinched the corners of the seat-tube slot into the fibers. Carbon fibers cannot take being crushed like that, and the carbon layers will crack and delaminate in response.

There are a number of ways to avoid this, all of which are intended to avoid the stackup of the slot and the tabs of the binder clamp together. If your frame has the binder tabs welded on (rather than a separate band clamp), and your bike takes a 27.2mm seatpost, you are out of luck and should look for a different material other than carbon fiber for your seatpost. (I suppose there is one option with this situation, and that is to cut and file off the binder ears so that you can use a removable binder clamp on it, and then follow Option 2, below.)

With welded-on binder tabs there is only one option to use a carbon post — and that is only as long as the seatpost diameter is larger than 27.2mm. However, if you have a removable seatpost clamp that slips over the top of the seat tube, you have other options.

Option 1
If you have a seat tube with an inner diameter of 28.6mm or larger, then you can use a carbon 27.2mm seatpost along with a slotted shim sleeve that will bring it up to the inner diameter of your seat tube. When you slide the seatpost into the sleeve and in turn slide the whole shebang into the seat tube, make sure you rotate the slot of the shim sleeve so it is on the opposite side from the slot in the seat tube. That way, as the binder clamp is tightened and its corners push inward, the sleeve distributes the load away from the high stress concentration at the top of the seat-tube slot that cracked your seatpost.

Option 2
If you have a removable seat binder clamp, rotate it so that its slot is on the opposite side from the slot in the seat tube. In other words, the binder bolt will be in front of the seatpost, not behind it. This way, the binder clamp’s clamping force will be distributed around a large area, and there will not be a stress concentration at the corners of the seat-tube slot. A variation on this is to use a binder clamp with an angled slot; these are made specifically to address this problem and avoid pinching in at the top of the seat-tube slot.

Using Options 1 and 2 together will further decrease the stress concentration at the top of the seat-tube slot.

As for a preference between a titanium and an aluminum seatpost, I don’t have one. Yes, a titanium one could look very nice with your titanium frame. On the other hand, with aluminum seatposts the price is generally lower, there are far more options, and you can pick the post based on your preferred saddle-rail clamp atop the post.
― Lennard

Cutting a carbon seatpost

Dear Lennard,
I have a carbon seatpost that is way too long for my frame size and would like to cut it down because it’s hard to install and perhaps save a little weight.

How much seatpost is recommended inside the seat tube (below my required seat height) to keep it safe for riding?
— Sam

Dear Sam,
Make sure you have at least four inches (100mm) inside the frame. That should be sufficient for most bikes, but ensure that it is also long enough to extend below the intersection with the seatstays and top tube.
― Lennard

Shimano Ultegra compatibility

Dear Lennard,
I have a Shimano Ultegra-equipped Cervelo R3 and my STI shifters are of the old variety (exposed cables not under the bar wrap). My friend offered me his new Shimano 6703 shifters that he no longer needs. Will the Shimano 6703 left shifter (being meant for a triple) be compatible with my compact double (50-34 teeth)? I have upgraded my front and rear derailleurs in the last year to Shimano 6700 due to other reasons and was hoping this would work. What do you think?

Dear Robert,
That system could be adjusted to be rideable, perhaps even raceable, but it can’t work like either system was intended to work, because you won’t be able to trim the derailleur’s position to avoid chain rub in cross gears at both ends. The left ST-6700 double shifter has a trim position on both chainrings, but the left ST-6703 triple lever has no trim adjustment over the middle chainring, which now becomes either the inner-chainring position or the outer-chainring position when used on a double. So whether you attempt to use outer/middle position clicks, or middle/inner position clicks for running it as double shift lever, you will almost certainly not be able to get an adjustment without chain rub on the front-derailleur cage in all cross-chain combinations. That may be fine for you, and the price is certainly right.
― Lennard

SRAM road/MTB compatibility

Dear Lennard,
I stumbled upon an older post of yours regarding 10-/11-speed compatibility. In a response, you mentioned that, “SRAM did not change the cable pull ratio when going from 10-speed to 11-speed, so a 10-speed SRAM road rear derailleur will work quite well with an 11-speed SRAM road shifter.” This sparked my interest! I am running a 10-speed SRAM Rival rear shifter with an inline barrel adjuster, a SRAM X5 type 2 rear derailleur, a SRAM 11-32 10-speed cassette, SRAM 10-speed chain and a Raceface narrow-wide ring on my CX rig as a budget, CX1-style build. In my research, folks who’d set their bike up this way had great luck, but claimed it would only work with a 10-speed setup. I can attest that it indeed has work flawlessly. That said, if the pull between SRAM 11-speed and 10-speed road shifters is the same, with an 11-speed chain and cassette, can a SRAM X5 type 2 rear derailleur be paired up with a Rival 22 (11-speed) shifter?
— Ryan

Dear Ryan,
Yes it can, because SRAM also maintains the same cable-pull ratio on both its road and MTB rear derailleurs, other than 11-speed MTB. So your 11-speed road shifter/10-speed MTB rear derailleur combination will work fine, just don’t even think about trying to pair any road shifter with an XX1, X1, or X01 rear derailleur! This also applies to X01 7-speed and X01 10-speed rear derailleurs; their cable-pull ratio is the same as other SRAM X-Horizon MTB rear derailleurs (which are all 11-speed other than these two exceptions).
― Lennard

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The Quiet Man speaks

January 27, 2015 - 6:22am

Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) won his second cyclocross World Cup title in the 2014/2015 season. Though he's a familiar face on the podium and a fan favorite in Belgium, little is known about the taciturn Belgian racer. Photo: Dan Seaton |

September 26, 2004, Erpe-Mere, Belgium

The boy lay on the ground for a long, long time. Longer than made any sense. He had fallen heavily, missing a corner, crashing into a ditch. It looked like maybe the kind of fall that could knock you out of a race, but not the kind where you stay down so long. But the boy stayed down.

Tim Pauwels, a barrel-chested 23-year-old with a shock of nearly-white blonde hair lay dying, a ruptured aorta filling his chest with blood. Later, some would say his heart had already stopped before the fall, that he had died on the bike. Nobody would ever know for sure.

In the anguished weeks that followed, his family would forever wonder why help had been so slow to arrive. Why the police who supervised the course had failed to come to Pauwels’ aid. Why the race organization in Erpe-Mere, site of the star-crossed early-season race where Pauwels fell, had not taken to the public address system to seek a doctor from the thousands of fans who lined the track. Or whether they, or their doctors, or his team’s doctors had failed to recognize the warning signs, so clear in the sharp light of hindsight, that something was ailing the young cyclist.

But his parents, Jos and Josée, would face an even more impossible question. What to do about Tim’s brother, Kevin, 20, the reigning under-23 world cyclocross champion?

Should he stop? Did he himself ever harbor any doubts about continuing to race, without the brother who had been his role model and his idol, with the possibility that he, too, might have inherited Tim’s condition?

In an interview two months later, Kevin, normally shy to the point of timorousness, was unusually declarative. Did he ever doubt that he should keep going?

“Not for a moment,” he said.

* * *

January 2015

The Hollywood version of the Kevin Pauwels story would end back in the mud of Erpe-Mere. Exactly 10 seasons out of the long, dark shadow of his brother’s death, racing in the first-ever Belgian championship race on that very course, Pauwels would pull away from the field in the final lap. He would climb the final hill to the finish, holding back tears of joy and sorrow, emotion long repressed finally breaking through.

The music would swell and Kevin would ride to a long-elusive prize, the driekleur, the yellow, black, and red tri-color jersey of Belgium’s elite national cyclocross champion. It would be a redemptive victory, bringing his story full circle, and at just the right moment.

But Belgium is a long way from Hollywood, and there is no redeeming so terrible a loss, certainly not by winning a bicycle race. The real Pauwels finishes a disappointing fifth, his role limited to set-up man for his triumphant Sunweb-Napoleon Games teammate Klaas Vantornout. Pauwels will settle for the World Cup title — the second of his career — and an outside shot at the world championship, in Tabor, Czech Republic, on February 1. He will be the man he has always been: affable, inscrutable.

Pauwels will not shed a tear about any of this. In fact, he foretells most of the real story in his mobile home a week before it all happens, getting ready for a relatively small race in Leuven.

He is preparing his lunch while he talks to me, spreading thin slices of plain white bread with even thinner layers of creamed honey and Sirop de Liège, a nearly black, fruit-based spread that tastes a little like apple butter. He wears the slightly bemused smile he nearly always wears, joking that he might be the only Belgian cyclocrosser who doesn’t load up on spaghetti ahead of a race.

I’ve been through a lot of pre-race, lunchtime, mobile home interviews like this one. He might be right.

The radio plays quietly in the background as we talk, an upside-down interview in which Pauwels listens far more than he talks himself. He answers questions, occasionally in English, more often in Flemish, and as we talk it occurs to me that Pauwels, now 30, has come a long way since emerging as on of the main protagonists of the 2011-12 cyclocross season. That season, Pauwels says, was his very best. He won the World Cup, the GVA Trofee — one of Belgium’s two major cyclocross series, now called the Bpost Bank Trofee — and earned a bronze medal at the world championships in Koksijde, Belgium, his second trip to the worlds podium as an elite.

But the Pauwels of 2011 still seemed more boy than man, small and nervous, his voice quavering in every post-race interview. The years since have transformed him, and he is more confident in every respect: in his demeanor, in his body language, and — most importantly — in the flair with which he races his bike. Though still a man of few words, there is no longer any trepidation in his voice. The boyishness of a few years ago has melted away, and the lines on his face and thinning of his hair lend him instead a touch of ruggedness. He has become, undeniably, a man.

Although, he tells me, interviews, like the one we’re doing today, remain his least favorite thing that success as a cyclist has earned him. Some things never change.

Kevin is talking about his 2014-15 season — not his best, he says — and I am thinking about how much he has changed when his mechanic and friend of 20 years, Bart Risbourg, sticks his head into the mobile home. He joins the conversation, saying he too has seen a change since Kevin first became popular a few years ago.

“Sometimes people stop him and say hello when we’re out,” Risbourg explains. “Now it’s normal, but in the beginning, it was a bit disturbing for him. Now he’s adapted to the spotlight.”

And it’s true. Today, Kevin seems well-adapted to his place near the top of Belgian cyclocross. And while he eats and relaxes before the race, we share a wide-ranging, conversation on his career, his family, his influences, and his expectations for a season that has been something of a resurgence after a down year.

That Belgian championship race so loaded with symmetry and gravity to me? Pauwels brushes off. It is not the kind of race that favors him. “It will be very hard to win,” he says. “It would take a super day. [The others] need to have a bad one. The track will be a hard track and it will be a muddy race. It was already a hard race in September, it is sure to be hard now.”

Pauwels prefers drier conditions, more elevation change. A back injury, better controlled now, but still a nagging problem, has hindered his power and his running in the heaviest mud in past couple of years. He likes many of the World Cup courses, and he points to the Cauberg Cyclocross course, in Valkenburg, Netherlands, where he has twice finished second to Lars van der Haar.

More significantly, he singles out the World Cup race in Tabor, 2011, as the best race of his life. “The difference between me and the rest was so big there,” he says. “It was the beginning of the season, it was my first big win of that season, and it was in that season people started looking with another view at me.”

He’ll have another shot, perhaps his most important shot — perhaps his last, best chance to wear the world champion’s rainbow stripes — at that Tabor course this weekend.

That race, he says, might even be easier to win than the Belgian championship. But he doesn’t yet know that the two young riders who have dominated cyclocross all season, Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert, will both line up in the elite race yet. That decision is still a couple of weeks away. But, cast in that light, Pauwels’ concise assessment of his season so far seems prescient.

“It’s harder to win now than it was a few years ago,” he says. “The two young guys, Wout and Mathieu, are very good.”

* * *

Any time you write about somebody the first question you ask yourself is, “Who is he, anyway?” It’s a terrible cliche, but it is the singular question that determines the fate of your story. Fail to answer it, and your story collapses, limp and characterless.

As a reporter, after a while, you come to know the men and women you cover week after week, and you want to answer this question. You want your readers to know that the reigning world champions, Marianne Vos and Zdenek Stybar, are the two most likely riders in the sport to crack self-deprecating jokes during a press conference. That Katerina Nash will always ask how you’re doing before you can ever land a question. That Niels Albert, no matter where along the roller coaster arc of his career he was, never failed to remind you he was, at heart, “just Niels from Tremolo.”

Kevin Pauwels, always answering questions with the same impenetrable half-smile, reveals so little of his inner life, this question seems impossible to answer. I must have asked myself 20 times in the span of this little lunchtime interview, and asked Pauwels nearly as many times himself, before his friend, Bart, says something that snaps the answer into focus.

Pauwels is so fluid, so obviously comfortable with himself and everything around him on the bike, and so much the opposite as soon as he walks away from it. How can two people so different inhabit the same body?

“I think he’s the same person on the bike or without,” says Risbourg. “He has the same mentality next to the bike, he’s as much determined. But on the bike he has the possibility to show it. It’s harder for him to express himself without it.”

Kevin Pauwels is a bike racer. That’s who he is. It’s what he loves — the best part of his day, he says, is the time spent on the bike — and it’s what he lives to do. Who would he be without the bike? It’s a question without any answer.

Pauwels lives with his parents in Kalmthout, right on Belgium’s northern border. In fact, he tells me, he owns more than one house, but rents them out. His father was a successful racer himself in the 1970s, though he never came close to the kind of success Kevin has enjoyed.

Though he clearly owes something to his father’s interest in cyclocross, Pauwels says he was not much of an inspiration as a racer. “I never saw him riding. I was too young,” he says. Sven Nys, he says, was a much bigger inspiration early in his career.

But he acknowledges parental support as the bedrock of his success.

“It’s easy for me, I’m at home so I don’t have to do a lot,” he explains. “My parents do everything for me. They cook, everything, so I can focus on training and racing.”

In-season he spends most of his time training or recovering from training. Away from the bike he prefers to stay in, watching television and movies. He cites “Breaking Bad” as a favorite.

He is also, as Risbourg, his mechanic, tells it, meticulous to the extreme about his bikes. He weighs and charts every piece of hardware that gets installed on one of them. He is fastidious about his position on the bike as well.

“I think all the best riders are maniacs about their bikes,” says Risbourg. “Kevin worries about the weight of the bike, about the way his brakes are set up. He’s the one who sets the height of the saddle and the shifters and handlebars. I put everything on the bike, but Kevin adjusts it all himself.”

Pauwels is, in his own words, confounded by his fans’ interest in him. He wonders who, in America, could be interested in reading a story whose central theme is, “Who is Kevin Pauwels?” even as he recalls his race at the Louisville world championships fondly. He appreciated the exuberant support of the fans there. “But they were cheering for everybody,” he adds modestly.

The truth is, what the fans think of him matters little to Pauwels; he appreciates their support but he rides for himself.

“I don’t really care [what people think about me],” he says. “My fans know who I am. My friends at home know me.”

And his biggest fan, arguably, is his grandmother, a tiny, white-haired woman with fiery, joyful eyes. She is so omnipresent at Kevin’s races that most Flemish cycling fans know her by the same name he does, Oma Fientje.

“I don’t see her a lot during the week, but I see her every weekend at the races,” says Pauwels. “It’s motivating. It’s good to see her at the races.”

Pauwels has been called dispassionate, a description belied by his obvious desire for victory on the bike — and by the sweetness he reserves for his grandmother, who he smiles and waves at, boyishly, from World Cup podiums.

And when Kevin is on the podium, she is always watching from the front row.

* * *

When Kevin Pauwels was a boy he watched his brother Tim, three years older, venture into the world of cyclocross.

Tim had some success, racing to a podium at the Belgian nationals as a junior and posting respectable results in a handful of big Belgian races. He inspired Kevin, and, when he was finally old enough, Kevin followed his brother into the sport.

“It’s probably because of him that I started racing,” says Pauwels now, looking back. “He raced, so of course I wanted to as well.”

He can be grateful for that.

Cyclocross, it turned out, was his calling. The younger Pauwels was wildly successful, racing to a junior world championship and, two years later, following it up with an under-23 championship. And even as Kevin amassed so much success of his own, he lived in the shadow of his brother. Tim looked out for Kevin, say people who raced with and wrote about the pair before Tim’s death. He was a source of confidence and reassurance, helping Kevin navigate the uncomfortable waters of the spotlight.

His death was clearly devastating, but published reports from 2004 say Kevin never spoke about it, publicly or privately. Whatever it was that Kevin went through back then, he went through it largely alone.

The Kevin Pauwels of 2014 is more forthcoming, more open, and he says now that he does think of his brother sometimes, though he says he does not turn to that thought for inspiration. Tim’s absence now is like a long-ago healed wound, albeit one that still aches from time to time. If it defined Kevin once — and, for a time, it surely did — it no longer does.

Kevin has become his own man.

Who is that man? He is unlike anybody else to compete at such a high level in the sport, it is true.

Invariably, when you talk about Kevin, someone will suggest he is autistic, as if his reticence cannot be explained without a label. He may be, though whether he is or isn’t was a question nobody was willing to address on the record. But the bigger question is whether it would matter if he were. Whatever his nature is, it has hardly been a limitation. Pauwels has met nearly ever expectation and exceeded it on his way to becoming one of the most successful cyclocross riders of the present era.

If you ask Kevin, he will tell you he is one thing: a cyclocrosser, nothing else. So let’s allow his achievements to speak for themselves.

He is the among the only men to go head-to-head with Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel and emerge victorious at any point this season. He is the only still-active racer to earn two World Cup overall titles in the 2010s.

And, by the end of next Sunday, he might just be the new cyclocross world champion.

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Fifteen teams set to contest Ladies Tour of Qatar

January 26, 2015 - 5:02pm

The Ladies Tour of Qatar will host four days of racing in early February, attracting many of the women's peloton's top riders. PHOTO: BRUNO BADE- ASO (File)

The Ladies Tour of Qatar will be holding its seventh edition this year from February 3-6. Although defending four-time champion Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products) won’t make the trip to Doha in early February, Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur) and Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-Honda) — second and third place last year, respectively — will be on hand.

With one year to go before the world road championships come to Qatar for the first time, 90 riders (15 teams of 6) will be present at the tour. Although Wild will not be riding in the event this year, many talented riders will be competing to become this year’s queen of the desert.

The UCI World Cup winner and gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games last year, Lizzie Armitstead, as well as Ellen Van Dijk, who won the Ladies Tour of Qatar in 2011, will lead the Boels-Dolmans team.

The Wiggle-Honda team will be led by Italian sprinter and two-time world champion, Giorgia Bronzini, along with Hosking.

Orica-AIS, which was the best team in the Ladies Tour last year, boasts Emma Johansson, world number one in 2013. Orica will also bring Valentina Scandolara, who is on form after winning the 2015 Santos Women’s Tour in January.

World time trial champion Lisa Brennauer will also race in Qatar, along with her newly-formed Velocio-SRAM team.

Ladies Tour of Qatar (February 3-6)

Stage 1: Museaum of Islamic Art – Dukhan Beach (98.5km)
Stage 2: Al Zubarah Fort – Madinat Al Shamal (112.5km)
Stage 3: Souq Waqif – Ah Khor Corniche (93.5km)
Stage 4: Sealine Beach Resort – Doha Corniche (85km)

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Given same choices, Armstrong says he’d likely cheat again

January 26, 2015 - 3:15pm

Speaking to the BBC, Armstrong said, "If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again." Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

LONDON (AFP) — Lance Armstrong has said he would take banned substances again if faced with the same circumstances that saw him dope in 1995.

In an interview with the BBC on Monday, the American said it was not possible to win cleanly when he was dominating the Tour de France with a record seven wins from 1999 to 2005 but that the race could now be won by a ‘clean’ rider.

Asked, if he would cheat again, Armstrong said, “If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it again because I don’t think you have to.

“If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again.”

Armstrong, who insisted he was clean when he came out of retirement in 2009 and 2010 — contrary to USADA’s report — added: “When I made the decision, when my team made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision, it was a bad decision and an imperfect time.

“But it happened. And I know what happened because of that. I know what happened to the sport, I saw its growth.”

Armstrong, 43, was stripped of his Tour titles and given a lifetime ban from cycling by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in 2012, having denied for years he was a cheat.

The cancer survivor eventually made a public confession in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2013.

On Monday, he also said he deserved a reduction in his ban after twice speaking to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC, a campaign group looking to clean up the sport).

He was also keen to see his Tour titles be restored, with Armstrong saying the absence of a winner was equivalent to the years when the race wasn’t run because of the first and second World Wars.

He added that good had come from his participation in the sport, saying Trek Bicycles, his supplier, had increase sales from $100 million to $1 billion as the story of how he overcame cancer to again become a champion racer brought new fans into cycling, while his charity foundation, Livestrong, was able to raise $500 million.

“Do we want to take it away?” he said. “I don’t think anybody says ‘yes.'”

As for the Tour de France titles now erased from the record books, Armstrong said: “I think there has to be a winner, I’m just saying that as a fan.

“There’s a huge block in World War One with no winners, and there’s another block in World War Two, and then it seems like there’s another world war.

“I don’t think history is stupid, history rectifies a lot of things. If you ask me what happens in 50 years, I don’t think it sits empty… I feel like I won those Tours,” Armstrong added.

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Gallery: Tour de San Luis, stage 7

January 26, 2015 - 11:27am

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  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: San Luis circuit

    The final stage of the Tour de San Luis was a 122-kilometer circuit race around the area of San Luis. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Brajkovic cools down

    Janez Brajkovic put a bag of ice a on his helmet, to help manage the high temperatures in Argentina. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Golas in the break

    Michal Golas played an important role in taking pressure off of the Etixx-Quick-Step leadout, by getting in the break on stage 7. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: TV Helicopter

    The peloton was followed by a TV helicopter on stage 7. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Breakaway

    Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin) got into the break on stage 7. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Voeckler

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) did his share of the work in the breakaway. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Quintana

    Defending champion Nairo Quintana (Movistar), finished third this year, 1:34 off the lead. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Lozano

    David Lozano (Novo Nordisk) tried an attack, but was brought back to the peloton before the finish in San Luis. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Cavendish sprint

    Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick-Step) was in good position for the sprint after a well-executed leadout by Fabio Sabatini. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Cavendish post-up

    Mark Cavendish got his first win of the 2015 season on stage 7 of the Tour de San Luis. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Cavendish post stage

    Mark Cavendish was happy to come away with a stage win. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Cavendish podium

    Mark Cavendish won stage 7, ahead of Fernando Gaviria (Colombia), and Jakob Mareczko (Italy). Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 7: Final podium

    The final podium of the 2015 Tour de San Luis. Daniel Diaz (Funvic) won the overall, with Rodolfo Torres (Team Colombia) finishing second, and Quintana taking third. Photo: Tim De Waele |

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Limitless: Rohan Dennis’ 2013 Alberta win threw the doors wide open

January 26, 2015 - 11:00am

Rohan Dennis' win in the 2013 Tour of Alberta was a sign of things to come. Photo: Casey B. Gibson |

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the November 2013 issue of Velo magazine. After Rohan Dennis’ (BMC) win at the 2015 Tour Down Under, a look back at the young Australian’s first major victory, taken in 2013 at the Tour of Alberta.

Rohan Dennis has always been open to possibilities.

It wasn’t, however, until a week of racing in Canada that he began to believe that these possibilities might become realities. Looking out from the podium as overall winner of the 2013 Tour of Alberta, the 23-year-old Garmin-Sharp rider from Australia began to imagine a very different future for himself as a professional bike racer.

Dennis is a two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist in the team pursuit. He’s been an outstanding time trialist, finishing second (twice), third, fifth, and ninth in TTs at major races in 2013, and was 12th at the 2013 world championship in Florence. Add to this raw power his natural climbing prowess and you have a rare breed indeed. It’s the sort of alchemy that led Bradley Wiggins to a Tour de France win, and a path that Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters sees his young prodigy following [Dennis is now on the BMC Racing team -Ed.].

“What Rohan resembles more than anything else is Brad,” Vaughters said. “He’s incredibly powerful, and he’s sort of like Brad early in his career. You look at how Brad was a fast team pursuit rider, just like Rohan, and he could climb well on occasion in his early years, which is what we’ve seen from Rohan.”

While comparisons to Sir Bradley might be a bit premature, comparisons to riders within his own generation seem inevitable, and hardly less impressive. Dennis hasn’t had the early success of teammate Andrew Talansky, 24, whose 2013 season included a second-place finish at Paris-Nice and 10th in his first Tour. Nor has he gone the way of Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), who has worn the white jersey in Paris and won both the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Challenge in 2013. Dennis evokes a different, but equally powerful, kind of regard.

“He’s got an engine that people would die for, you know?” said David Millar, the Garmin road captain who helped shepherd Dennis n Alberta. “And it’s still pretty raw.”

Raw, yes, but impossible to ignore. He fired his first shot across the bow in 2013’s Critérium du Dauphiné by taking second place in the time trial, behind Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and ahead of Chris Froome (Sky), and held yellow for a day before finishing eighth overall, in white, as the best young rider. He made it emphatic in Alberta, wresting the leader’s jersey from Peter Sagan (Cannondale) with an outstanding stage victory, the first of his career, on stage 3 into Drumheller.

If you put that together, you have a time trialist, a track rider, and now a stage-race winner.

“This guy has got it,” Vaughters said.

Beyond expectations

Dennis said he came to the 2013 Tour of Alberta hoping for an evening prologue victory on the streets of Edmonton, or at the least, a finish in the top three. He finished second that day, 13 seconds behind Sagan in 7.3 kilometers.

“I thought, ‘Well, it’s the Sagan show from here on,’” Dennis said. “And he proved it the next day and the next.”

Sagan powered through the uphill finish in Camrose to win stage 1, flicking an imaginary cigar to the crowd as he crossed the line. He didn’t win stage 2 — that went to stagiaire Sylvan Dillier (BMC), who beat Sergei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly-Kenda) from a two-man breakaway — but Sagan made the field sprint look easy when he cleared the field by two full seconds.

“We were kind of almost resigned — as bad as it sounds — to settling for the podium because of the way Sagan is,” Millar said. “But we had no idea we were going to have an echelon day like we did, which just changed the whole situation.”

The winds blew hard across the Alberta prairie on stage 3, fracturing the peloton and leaving Sagan hanging off the back, unable to bridge back. A breakaway of 18 found Dennis without teammates, battling with four riders from BMC and Robert Gesink (Belkin). The group was whittled to six when Gesink powered up the second of two short, steep climbs with 25 kilometers to go; Dennis went hard on his wheel. That set up a sprint finish in Drumheller that saw Dennis go early and beat Brent Bookwalter (BMC) and Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) to win the stage and take yellow.

“When he finished second in the prologue, automatically that showed how strong he was. But the day he won? He did that all on his own,” Millar said. “He was literally the strongest guy in the race.”

And, Vaughters added, “the smartest.” “That breakaway in Alberta was a good test for him,” Vaughters said. “He had four BMC riders and he was by himself. He managed that situation and still won the stage. There aren’t so many neo-pros that wouldn’t have cracked under the attacks and pressure and being alone, without teammates. He was able to manage that situation very carefully.”

Given a lead of 18 seconds over Bookwalter and 30 over Caruso, Dennis turned to his stable of veteran teammates, among them Millar, Ryder Hesjedal, Christian Vande Velde, and David Zabriskie. They’d been his cheering section all week and, in the final two stages, they kept him from harm, ensuring his top spot on the podium in Calgary.

“They’re really motivating and really do help out with keeping me positive, helping me think it is possible to win — probably more than what I think I can do some days,” Dennis said. “It’s good to have that support from guys who have come in fourth in the Tour de France or won the Giro or won stages in the Tour. It does really help you feel better about yourself, especially as a neo-pro. They look at the possibilities. I’m half doubting myself sometimes.”

Plucked from the waters

Dennis’ sports career began, like many in Australia, in the water. Growing up near Adelaide, he was a competitive youth swimmer with an aversion to chlorine.

“It just sort of seeps into your pores, and into your hair,” he said. “I didn’t have a haircut for a year and a half because it just died. It stayed the same length. I’m like, ‘This isn’t healthy.’”

At 15, Dennis was discovered by the South Australian Institute of Sport, whose Talent Search program visits schools to look for the next generation of Olympic-quality athletes, gauging students on a variety of skills.

“And then they put you into a sport where they physically think your body is made for that sport, and mine was cycling, so I took it up to help my swimming,” Dennis said. “And about four or five months in, I’d done better in my cycling than I ever had in nine years of swimming. And I was enjoying it a lot more as well. It’s a lot more of a social sport, not just looking at a black line then turning around at the end of the pool. You don’t get a whole lot of time to enjoy what you’re doing when you’re in a pool. So I decided to switch my focus to cycling and use my swimming for fitness for my cycling.”

That year he won his first title, the under-17 Australian road time trial. A year later he repeated and added a junior team pursuit championship on the track, and two years later he was on the winning team pursuit squad at the world junior track championships. By 2011, he’d won back-to-back team pursuit golds at the world championships, had recorded the second-fastest modern-era time in the 4-kilometer individual pursuit, and finished third overall in the individual pursuit World Cup standings.

On the road, Dennis joined Jack Bobridge, Leigh Howard, Michael Matthews, and others at Team AIS, the Australian Institute of Sport’s under-23 development squad, in 2009. After two years, he jumped to the Rabobank Continental squad, but he left after a season to rejoin the AIS development team. In the 2012 Tour Down Under, the breakout came. He attacked eventual winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the climbing stage up Old Willunga Hill, and finished fifth, earning both the best young rider and best climber jerseys. While flying the flag for his young Australian team, he flew his own.

“I know it’s a pain in the ass for the WorldTour guys that we were so aggressive, but we want to show off how good we are, and it’s a way for us to try and get our name out there,” Dennis said. “I thought, ‘That’s my goal, I’m going to try to get off the front and show what sort of rider I am.’ And that eventually [led] into a couple of results during that tour, and [Garmin] wanted to talk about a contract the next year. That’s where it all started.”

Like the rest of the world, Vaughters had seen Dennis’ numbers on the track. What he saw on the hills of Australia made offering a contract easy.

“That was real simple,” Vaughters said. “Here’s a guy who has shown he can ride a 4:18 individual pursuit and 3:59 team pursuit, and he wins the best climber by climbing the Tour Down Under with Valverde? He was every bit as good as the guys out there. It’s a rare combination that you can get a guy who can go that fast on the track that can also climb.”


The 2013 season began inauspiciously for Dennis with illness, injury, self-doubt, and no results to speak of.

“The start of the season was pretty rough for me,” he said. “I was battling sickness and thought, ‘Well, this is just pretty normal.’ I kept looking back on previous years and it seemed like every second year it was just an average year, with either my health or my fitness. I couldn’t get on top of things, so I thought this year was going to be one of those years.”

Dennis could still ride against the clock — second in the Australian time trial championship, 15th in a time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, ninth in a time trial at the Tour de Romandie — but his climbing legs were missing in action. After a strong third-place finish in an uphill time trial in May’s Amgen Tour of California, though, Dennis received some encouragement in the form of an odd but prescient phone call. It was Vaughters, asking that he go to the Dauphiné to support Talansky’s bid for a win and maybe finish in the top 30 himself. The team CEO had seen something Dennis hadn’t.

“I thought he had been watching someone else racing. We hadn’t even gone up Mount Diablo yet and I’d been dropped on really big climbs and hilltop finishes and I thought, ‘He’s definitely got me mixed up with someone else,’” Dennis said. “I sort of said, ‘Yeah, thanks, I’ll do it,’ and then it all fell into place. He was right, really.”

His disappointment at losing the Dauphiné time trial to Martin was tempered by a day in yellow. And although he gave up the jersey to Froome, Dennis turned heads. While the Sky captain was powering past Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) to win on the brutal Valmorel climb, Dennis finished a respectable 14th, losing 59 seconds. He climbed well enough the rest of that week to finish eighth overall and wear white as the best young rider, earning him a slot on Garmin’s team for the Tour — what would have been his first. There he was to have ridden until the first rest day; he never started. Instead, he rested for later in the season, for smaller stage races in Utah, Colorado, and, specifically, Alberta, where he thought the challenging prologue course suited his style.

“He went there saying, ‘I want to win the prologue,’ and gets second, but he proved to be a much more intelligent and savvy road racer,” Vaughters said.

At a shade under six feet tall and between 155 and 160 pounds, Dennis is relatively stocky, without the lanky build of most grand tour riders like Wiggins or Froome.

“He’s still got that … I’d go as far as to say that puppy fat on him,” Millar said. “He still legitimately could lose some weight and keep his power, which automatically means he’s going to climb even better in the future.”

The weight loss wouldn’t be easy, and it wouldn’t happen overnight.

“If he ever wants to contest a grand tour, he’ll need to be a good five kilograms (11 pounds) — maybe even six or seven — lighter than he is now,” Vaughters said. “But I think that’s something he can accomplish with time. It’s a twoor three-year process.”

It’s a process that Dennis says he has to ponder. He has another year left on his contract with Garmin, time enough to choose from a new menu of possibilities.

“I need time to sit back, reflect, and look toward what path I should take,” he said before the last stage of Tour of Alberta. “I’ve been told I should just really concentrate on time trialing by some people, and try to become more of a Tony Martin. But I’ve also been told it’s possible to go down the Wiggins-Froome sort of route and go for the overall GC stuff.”

Time, of course, will tell.

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Gallery: Tour de San Luis, stage 6

January 26, 2015 - 9:06am

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  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Scenic

    Tour de San Luis' queen stage, the sixth day of racing, sent the peloton up Filo Sierras Comechingones, a 4,167-foot climb over 16 kilometers. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Kochetkov

    The day's early breakaway was sparked by Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha), Marco Canola (UnitedHealthcare), and Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin). Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Climb

    Verdant hills lined the early ramps on the stage 6's mountaintop finish. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Diaz and Quintana

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) discussed the day ahead with race leader Daniel Diaz (Funvic). Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Breakaway

    The breakaway of the day included Juan Esteban Arango (Colombia), Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida), Antoine Duchesne (Europcar), Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin), Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha), and Marco Canola (UnitedHealthcare). Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Lead group

    With one kilometer to go, the lead group started to play tactical games as Rodolfo Torres (Team Colombia) surveyed his rivals. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Danielson

    Danielson took a turn at the front of the breakaway, which was eventually caught. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Diaz

    Race leader Diaz rode comfortably with the front group on the final climb. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Water crossing

    The race had to ford a small creek that had washed over the roadway on stage 6. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Quintana climbs

    Quintana is still working to find his form ahead of the 2015 season, but the Giro d'Italia champion was able to ride with the front group on Saturday. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Da Silva

    With the remnants of the lead group behind him, Klebar Da Silva (Funvic) rode to a stage win. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Da Silva wins

    Da Silva celebrated the Funvic team's third win of the Tour de San Luis. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Cavendish

    Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick-Step) has been enjoying the early-season racing in Argentina. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.2015 Tour de San Luis, stage 6: Quintana

    Quintana's road to the Tour de France starts in Argentina, and with Tour de San Luis' ample climbing, the Colombian is likely to build fitness in short order. Photo: Tim De Waele |

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