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PONFERRADA, Spain (VN) — Marianne Vos has been called the Eddy Merckx of women’s racing. She has dominated the major dates on the women’s calendar over the past half decade.
The multi-talented 27-year-old can win on all surfaces, from track to road to cyclocross, with world titles in all three disciplines. The Dutch superstar is the five-star favorite at every race she starts, and capped another exceptional season this summer with victory in La Course on the Champs-Élysées in July, with 20 wins in 45 days of racing.
Yet there are some troubling signs coming into Ponferrada that Vos might not be in top condition as she takes aim at a fourth career rainbow jersey.
Vos pulled out of two stage races earlier this month — the Boels Rental Ladies Tour on home roads and the Lotto Belisol Belgian Tour. Both were planned departures to be fresh for Ponferrada, but nevertheless some are wondering what’s going on with the usually voracious Vos.
On Sunday, during the women’s team time trial, there was something even more shocking: She was dropped by her teammates during the 36.15km race.
“I blew up. I went out way too hard at the start of the race,” Vos told reporters at the line. “I was pulling hard at the front, and when I eased up, and moved to the back of the line, I could not keep up. They were going too fast for me.”
Vos said that team time trialing is not her thing, and it’s no secret that Vos is not a top racer against the clock. She’s never won a world title in the individual time trial. Still, it was still a shock Sunday to see Vos gapped.
“I was surprised,” Vos said. “I expected to go better, because we prepared well for the race, but what counts is Saturday. I am feeling good about the road race.”
Perhaps Vos’s fast start and eventual blowup in the TTT was a blessing in disguise. She was not on the wheel when her Rabo-Liv teammates crashed hard coming through a traffic circle late in the race when it looked like the team was poised for the podium. Vos pedaled through moments later to see the carnage.
More troubling are the injuries suffered Sunday by two key helpers on the Dutch team, Anna Van der Breggen and Annemiek Van Vleuten. Both were transported to a local hospital.
Vos insists there is no reason for alarm, but even a hint of weakness by such a dominant rider could give wings to her rivals.
When asked if Vos is beatable, archrival Emma Johansson (Sweden) said she tries not to obsess over Vos.
“Everyone is beatable,” Johansson said. “For me, it’s about being the best I can be on Saturday. If that’s good enough to win, I don’t know. I hope it is, but I am not going to focus on others.”
This year’s deep field, coupled with the deceptive Ponferrada course, means that it could be harder for Vos to ride away from the pack. Some are expecting a selective race, with perhaps a reduced bunch sprint to the line, making things more complicated for Vos to try to win her third title in a row.
It’s a mistake to count Vos out of any race, but Sunday’s race was hardly the kind of start to worlds week that she was expecting.
The post Marianne Vos dropped, Rabo-Liv crashes at UCI road worlds appeared first on VeloNews.com.
PONFERRADA, Spain (VN) — Shaking off a training-day crash, Specialized-Lululemon powered to its third consecutive team time trial victory Saturday to open the 2014 road world cycling championships.
Three of the team’s six riders went down hard in a high-speed training crash Saturday, with key rider Evelyn Stevens earning a trip to a Spanish hospital.
Under sunny skies Sunday, they rallied to fend off a deep, 14-team field to claim the prestigious trade team title for the third year running.
“The staff did an incredible job after our crash yesterday, helping us recover not just physically, but mentally as well,” said Carmen Small. “They helped us keep a positive attitude, to remind us that it happened yesterday, and not on the race day. That helped us to focus on what we needed to do.”
Stevens and Trixi Worrack have been on the team for all three victories. For Stevens, riding across the line victorious once again was even more significant after the crash. Stevens said riders crossed wheels, sending her crashing hard on her shoulder.
“I was getting X-rays last night, so it added a little bit more flair. That made it even more special knowing that we were not perfect going into the race,” Stevens told VeloNews at the line. “We just went out and rode flawlessly. It’s super special, because it was a really deep field.”
Specialized-Lululemon rode the 36.15km course in 43:33 (49.805kph). Stevens, who said she was not seriously injured Saturday, lost the wheel on the final descent, but regained contact in the closing kilometers to give the team six across the line.
Orica-AIS kept it close, stopping the clock for silver at 1:17 back.
“We’ve been working really hard all year, and we got it spot on today. I am really pleased with the ride,” said Orica’s Emma Johansson. “Lululemon have been super-fast all year, but we’re getting closer and closer.”
Astana-BePink, which wasn’t among the pre-race favorites, took a surprise bronze at 2:20 slower, edging out Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies by just six seconds. United Healthcare was also close to the podium, stopping the clock in 2:44 for sixth.
“It’s an incredible experience for the team to come together to get a medal,” said American Alison Tetrick of Astana. “We might not have been one of the favorites, but we had a great ride and a lot of heart today, so we are very proud of our ride.”
Rabo-Liv crashed heavily in the closing kilometers, finishing last. Anna Van der Breggen and Annemiek Van Vleuten — key helpers for defending world road race champion Marianne Vos — were both transported to a local hospital.
Vos had been gapped by her teammates, so she was not involved in the crash.
“Team time trialing is not my thing,” Vos said at the line. “I only saw the crash when I came around the corner. I hope my teammates are okay.”
Many eyes were on Ellen van Dijk , who was part of Specialized-Lululemon’s first two worlds-winning teams. She switched to Boels Dolmans this season, but her team could only muster fifth.
“It didn’t go as well as we had hoped. Not everyone was on their best day,” Van Dijk said. “We lost two girls early, and on the climb, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. I was feeling okay.”
Specialized-Lululemon took special pride in winning its third title despite the departure of Van Dijk, the reigning world individual time trial champion.
“We showed we are a strong team, even without Ellen here,” said Lisa Brennauer. “This shows to everyone that we six stick together, that we can make it happen. It’s more than just about her, it’s the whole team. It’s not just one, that’s what we showed during the whole year.”
Despite some changes in team sponsorship for 2015, the team’s future is secure, though there could be some changes in Specialized-Lululemon’s lineup for next season when it defends its world time trial title in Richmond, Virginia.
The post Specialized-Lululemon wins 3rd straight TTT title at UCI road worlds appeared first on VeloNews.com.
- Katie Compton and Jeremy Powers both took commanding wins on a day of evolving weather conditions at the 2nd Annual the Trek CXC Cup. By ... The post Powers and Compton Continue Their Winning Ways in Waterloo appeared first on Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races, Bikes, Photos, Videos.
...view the full story & post your comments at our site: http://cxmagazine.com
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Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) took the kickoff at the Trek CXC Cup on Saturday in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
Powers got busy early on, and going into the bell lap the U.S. national champion had built a lead of perhaps a dozen seconds over a surging Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), who had just shed Shawn Milne (Boulder Cycle Sport-Yoga Glo).
Johnson cut into Powers’ advantage on the final go-round, but not enough. He would have to settle for second, seven seconds behind, as Milne held off Allen Krughoff (Noosa Professional Cyclocross) for third.
“It’s just such a technical track. It’s so fast, and there’s just a lot of room for error from the others,” said Powers. “So, I just elected this morning … I was like, well, if I can establish a gap in the first two then I’m just going to try to hold that throughout the race.
“Everything was perfect today. The bikes were perfect, the tires were hooking up great, and I felt good. You can’t ask for more than that.”
Johnson got an assist from Milne, who bobbled once toward the end.
“[Milne] dumped it in a corner and that’s how I got the gap,” said Johnson. “Second’s good. Jeremy had a classic wire-to-wire.”
As for Milne, he said his mantra this season has been “one step at a time.”
“Once I got up there at the beginning it wasn’t really a tactics game as just an hour time trial for me, hoping to not get caught from behind,” he said. “I think I’m as strong as everyone here. It’s just the technique has to start coming.
“Allen’s my roommate, so I know very well how good he is technically. And this year he’s shown that he doesn’t lose form at the end of a race. So I saw him coming and I was racing steady to keep away from him, honestly.”
The post Jeremy Powers goes early and stays gone to win Trek CXC Cup opener appeared first on VeloNews.com.