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Here’s a neat silent video from 1926 that just popped up on YouTube from British Pathé. The race is called a “Cycle-Cross-Country” race, and was won by F. Pellissier, who wins what was called a “novel Sporting event from big field.” It was held in Suresnes, France.
The race looked to have a mix of pavement, single track, cobbles, dirt roads and a healthy dose of jungle cross.
It’s awesome to see the run-up crowds and finish line scrum. We think we might have even seen a hand-up in the trees.
Our biggest question is how did all these racers handle such terrain without dedicated gravel or dirt road bikes, thru axles or disc brakes? Simply mind blowing.
Hand-up to @laxbikeguy for being first to alert us to the video.
PARIS (AFP) — British sprint specialist Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) revealed on Friday that he will bypass next month’s Giro d’Italia to focus on the Tour de France, which begins July 5.
The 28-year-old Isle of Man native will instead use the Tour of Turkey (April 27-May 4), Amgen Tour of California (May 11-18), and the Tour de Suisse (June 14-22) as his tune-up races for the Tour de France. This summer’s Tour begins in Leeds, located in Yorkshire, England.
“As everyone knows, my main objective this year is the Tour de France,” said Cavendish, who has won 25 Tour de France stages.
“I will not do the Giro this year, which saddens me because it is a race that has given me a lot of satisfaction in the past.”
Cavendish, whose mother is from Harrogate, the finishing town for the first stage of this year’s Tour de France, has won 15 Giro stages during his career and earned the overall points title at last year’s race.
The post Cavendish to skip Giro in favor of Tour de France prep appeared first on VeloNews.com.
GENT, Belgium (VN) — Michael Matthews takes confidence into Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. The Aussie known as “Bling” already won twice this season and placed second behind Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) in Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow).
“The Amstel Gold Race is going to suit me,” Matthews told VeloNews. “It’s basically the same as Brabantse Pijl but on a bit of a higher level.”
The 23-year-old Orica-GreenEdge rider chalked up two wins in the last week and a half: a stage in the Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja and, at the UCI WorldTour level, a stage in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country). It marks the most promising start to a season since the former under-23 world champion turned professional in 2011. It also follows up on two stage wins in the Vuelta a España at the end of last summer.
After teammate Simon Gerrans escaped at Belgium’s mid-week classic Brabantse Pijl Wednesday, Matthews had his chance to win. He followed the wheels in the uphill drag to the finish, closed on Yukiya Arashiro’s attack, and responded to Gilbert’s sprint.
Gilbert, who won the road worlds title in 2012 a year after he swept all three Ardennes classics, won the sprint last week. Matthews finished second.
“I definitely had the legs to win Brabantse Pijl but I was boxed into the last corner by Arashiro. I couldn’t get through and had to settle for second,” Matthews said.
“I’m just coming off of two wins and that makes a difference heading into races like Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold. It’s nice to be back on top with wins under your belt because you go into the races with more confidence. I hope there’s more to come from here in both Amstel and the Giro d’Italia.”
Gerrans placed third in the Amstel Gold Race last year and in 2011. He gives the Aussie team its best option to win the Dutch classic. However, just as in Brabantse Pijl, the team has different options with Daryl Impey and Matthews.
“Orica will be one of the strongest teams because we have several options — and that helps going into it,” Matthews said. “We don’t just have one favorite, but three favorites with Gerrans and Impey. Being able to play off one another takes the pressure off and allows the other two to rest and to counter any moves.
“I’m taking confidence from the two wins and this second place into the Amstel Gold Race.”
Following Amstel, Matthews backs off and focuses on the Giro d’Italia and possibly the Tour de France. This year, instead of supporting Matt Goss, who will race in the Amgen Tour of California, Orica is backing “Bling” for stage wins. He already showed what is possible with a win in Lago de Sanabria and in Madrid last year at Spain’s grand tour.
“After the Amstel Gold Race, the Giro is my goal. Orica is aiming for the team’s TT in Belfast. We will see how long we can hold the jersey for after that, and I’ll certainly try to win a stage,” Matthews said.
“The Giro’s a goal for me. I hope to hold this form through to the Giro and have good legs there. I also want to take it onto the Tour de France.”
The post Matthews hopes to bolster season wins total at Amstel Gold Race and Giro appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprinters opts for the Amgen Tour of California
GENK, Belgium (VN) — As usual, American outfit Garmin-Sharp finds itself a bit of an outsider as it heads into the hilly classics. As usual, the team prefers it that way. And unsurprisingly, the team itself maintains its traditional looseness — the riders all piled into a boat on a rarely sunny Belgian afternoon — in spite of having the defending Liège-Bastogne-Liège champion on its roster.
But make no mistake here: Garmin brings a very deep team into the Ardennes classics, one with 2013 Liège winner Dan Martin of Ireland. But Garmin doesn’t have the megastar of a Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), who won all three Ardennes races in 2011, and it doesn’t have the deep expectations of a Belgian team. The squad kicks off Ardennes week at Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race.
Alex Howes, one of Garmin’s key support riders, says he’s unsure of the pressure the team will face, particularly in Liège next weekend. The team hasn’t found itself in this position before.
“I’ve never had to defend Liège. We’ve never been in this position before. I think we’re fortunate in the fact that we’ve always been seen as underdogs,” Howes said, reclined on a couch at the team hotel a short distance from the start of Amstel. “But maybe that’ll change a little bit this year. But honestly, you look at the guys coming to these races. Guys like Gilbert, and Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez], [Alejandro] Valverde. Hitters. They’ll have a full squad around them, very deep squads as well. We’re definitely not the favorites.”
That’s a role the Garmin boys prefer. Martin won Liège last year to many people’s surprise when he unfurled a devastating final kick, dropping Rodriguez (Katusha) in the process. On that day, Garmin employed attacking teamwork brilliantly, as it sent a flying Ryder Hesjedal up the road to provoke the race rather than truly try and control anything. That’s not what wildcards do, control things.
Martin is excited to be back, and why not? Starting a monument with the ones on his back is something he’s looking forward to.
“Obviously in the past we’ve been relatively successful. Even last year coming into it I’d been sixth in Flèche and fifth in Liège,” Martin said. “And so we were optimistic about what we could achieve. I don’t think any of us could imagine that we’d be coming away with victory, but yeah, it happened. And to be starting Liège this year with the number ones on my back? It’s going to be incredible. It’s a pleasure to ride that race and I’ll be really proud pinning those numbers on. But at the same time, that’s last year, it’s done, it’s finished.”
Come Sunday in Valkenburg, it’s all business. The Amstel Gold Race climbs more than 13,000 feet and has riders packed into small streets for six, seven hours. Martin said he’s thinking of Amstel first and foremost, and that the rest of the Ardennes can wait.
In his Garmin teammates, Howes sees a deep lineup and, as a result, doesn’t think he has much of a chance to ride for himself in the Ardennes. He finished sixth in Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow) in 2012.
“We’ve got a really, really deep team for Amstel, Flèche, and Liège,” Howes said. “It goes all the way down. We’re defending the Liège title. And Ryder Hesjedal’s always really good in these races. Tom-Jelte [Slagter], he’s been kicking phenomenally in the finals. Nathan [Haas] is looking good this year. Fabian Wegmann … He’s always there. On paper, I’m the weakest link.”
Garmin, even with a champ, is an underdog. The squad won’t hold any press conferences — maybe one before Liège for Martin — and won’t be stared at to constrict the races.
“We’re fine with that,” Howes said. “We’re gonna throw down.”
The post Despite 2013 success, Garmin enters Ardennes week as an underdog appeared first on VeloNews.com.