Latest News in Cycling
- USA Cycling has made nearly $140,000 available to mountain biking groups since the incentive program began.
lol good stuff
- Like the title says, I'm looking for a Klein Quantum. Either a 54 or 56, if its a 55 even better. Would prefer a frameset over a complete bike unless its an ultegra group on it. Just looking for a project to throw some of my spare parts at, and I've been a big fan of these bikes recently.
The Tour de France will lack one of the sport’s brightest stars this year, as Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) will skip the 100th edition to focus on the world championships, to be held in Florence, Italy.
Cancellara, 32, blitzed through his spring campaign, winning E3 Prijs-Harelbeke, Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), and Paris-Roubaix, so it’s clear his form has returned in absolute force after a crash-riddled 2012 in which the Tour was his only respite — although he kept his 2012 Tour plans close to the chest. Now, the Swiss rider has declared he’s out and will seek an elusive rainbow jersey, presumably in both the road race and time trial.
“The Tour has given me beautiful things, but now I set other goals,” Cancellara, a four-time world time trial champion, told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. Cancellara will start his home race, the Tour de Suisse, on Saturday, and will race in Austria, Poland, and at the Vuelta a España to prepare for what’s billed as the hardest worlds course in years, according to recent Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
Last year, Cancellara salvaged a rough season for super-team RadioShack-Nissan when he seized the yellow jersey in Liège by winning the prologue at the Tour. He wore the jersey for six stages, and ultimately RadioShack won the team classification, though Cancellara abandoned the race after its 11th stage to be with his then-pregnant wife.
Today’s news comes at a tough time for what’s now the RadioShack-Leopard team, as it announced earlier Friday that Chris Horner would not be able to take the start due to knee issues that led to surgery. Further, Andy Schleck has proven unable to rebound from a crash at last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, in which he broke his sacrum.
For Cancellara, the move is one that makes sense, as it’s no secret he covets a rainbow jersey in the road race. If the rider known as “Spartacus” is to succeed in Florence this September, he will have done it on a brutally difficult course — which may actually suit his riding style.
Cancellara’s two Flanders victories (2010, 2013) and his 2008 Olympics road race silver medal prove he has the legs to cover long, hilly courses. At the 2009 worlds, he placed fifth in the road race and at last summer’s Olympics, winning a medal was all but assured until he crashed with 15km left in the challenging course.
The world championships start September 22, with the men’s road race capping the week seven days later. They will race 272.5km and climb 3,373 meters, which is comparable to a classic like Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a race Cancellara has yet to start.
Thomas Voeckler appears to have timed his recovery perfectly for the Tour de France next month.
After suffering a collarbone fracture in April, the Europcar won the sixth leg of the Critérium du Dauphiné in France on Friday.
“Seeing how fast I finished today, and I’m almost 34 years old, I can say that I’m happy with my recovery,” Voeckler said in a press conference. “For the Tour, this stage win is perfect.”
Voeckler won from an escape that went early into the 143km leg from La Léchère to Grenoble. After an eight-rider group escaped the peloton on the Col du Barioz some 80km out, Voeckler watched his rivals and won from a four-man sprint.
Europcar received a wildcard invitation to race the Tour de France alongside Cofidis and Sojasun. The three teams join 19 first division WorldTour teams next month for three weeks.
The race is the ultimate showcase for Europcar, a France-based rental car company.
Since joining the team in 2011, the punchy Voeckler has delivered the goods for Europcar. In 2011, he placed fourth overall at the Tour and spent a week in the maillot jaune after a spring campaign that included two stage wins in Paris-Nice.
At last year’s Tour, he won both the Bellegarde-sur-Valserine and Bagnères-de-Luchon mountain stages. On his second stage win, he slipped off the front of the escape on every mountain pass to help secure the race’s KOM jersey.
Voeckler, however, risked missing the Tour all together and dashed his Ardennes Classics campaign this year due to a broken collarbone. He suffered a bad crash about 92km from the finish of the Amstel Gold Race. He was one of many riders caught up in a crash in the main group and was one of the worst off. En route to the hospital, rumors spread online that he may have broken his femur. Even though it was only a collarbone fracture, it appeared bleak for Voeckler.
Four weeks later, he was back racing in the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour. At the Tour of Belgium, he crashed again, but still came away with form.
“I need to race,” Voeckler told French website Cyclism’Actu ahead of the Dauphiné. “On one hand, it helps to know where we are. And secondly, it helps you get your condition, because I’m not someone who does camps in the mountains. It is not really my cup of tea.”
Europcar breathed a sigh of relief when Voeckler crossed the line first in Grenoble Friday afternoon. It underlined the team’s worth ahead of the Tour de France.
It also puts the team far ahead of their French counterparts selected to race the Tour. Cofidis has only seven wins this year, and Sojasun three, compared to Europcar’s 17 wins.
The team’s GC star, Pierre Rolland appears to be going well, despite a crash that knocked him out of the fight in Thursday’s summit finish to Valmorel. Rolland won the Circuit de la Sarthe overall in April, and after the crash, said that he would aim for a stage win at the Dauphiné.
Last year, Rolland was the best-placed French rider at the Tour, finishing eighth overall, at 16 minutes behind Bradley Wiggins (Sky). This year, the pieces of the puzzle seem to be coming together well for Rolland and Europcar’s other star, Voeckler, ahead of the Tour.
- What is missing in the Webster-Kirkwood Times Letters to the Editor? Each Friday I eagerly peel off the familiar red plastic liner and turn to Page 6 to scan the letters for the first sure sign of spring . . . the annual compaint about gangs of middle-aged, spandex-clad, Lance-wannabe, scofflaw cyclists maurading the serene streets of Webster and Kirkwood, blowing stop signs, terrorizing grannies on their walkers . . . but . . . nothing! Could it be we all finally learned how to get along? Cyclists are stopping at stop signs . . . motorists have learned to share the road? Only time will tell . . .
The dust has barely settled on the 2013 Giro d’Italia before the wheels are already starting to spin to put next year’s corsa rosa in motion.
The 97th Giro will make an historic start in Belfast, the thriving capital of Northern Ireland, with three days of racing that will also include a stage into Dublin before transferring back to Italy.
It’s an ambitious project that will bring the peloton into the heart of Ireland and provide local organizers a platform to show off sweeping changes in Northern Ireland to an international audience.
“The symbolism is huge,” said project director Darach McQuaid. “Starting in Belfast puts an important message out there. It will make a statement, and the start of the Giro is going to shout that out.”
Rocked by decades of violence and political upheaval, Belfast today is a thriving, vibrant city that is keen to show off its new colors since the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which helped put an end to decades of conflict.
Local organizers have embraced the idea of starting the Giro in Belfast and have worked to bring the project to fruition by next year’s start in early May, McQuaid said.
The idea took seed in 2009 and 2010 when McQuaid, the brother of UCI president Pat McQuaid, first floated the idea to Irish officials.
With Ireland mired in economic crisis, he approached Belfast, where he quickly found enthusiasm for the idea. He took the plans to Giro officials, meeting with Angelo Zomegnan and his successor, new Giro director Michele Acquarone, who also found the idea appealing.
A site visit last year by Giro officials sealed the deal.
“The Giro officials liked what they saw,” Darach McQuaid said. “Everyone is working together to make this happen.”
Route details will be hammered out in July when key Giro officials spend a week in Ireland to scout possible routes. The general outline, however, is already set.
Belfast will play host to the opening two stages, including a route along the spectacular northern coast at Giant’s Causeway. A third stage will start in Amargh and cross into Ireland, finishing in Dublin, which hosted the grand depart of the 1998 Tour de France.
From there, the Giro entourage will board planes to return to Italy. Organizers are still finalizing details of where the Giro will return to Italy.
McQuaid said organizers are getting around logistical challenges by creating a self-contained entourage that will stay in Ireland.
“We are going to replicate everything here, so there will be no coming and going to Italy,” McQuaid said. “When they arrive in Italy, there will be another set waiting for them there.”
More than 300 cars, vans, and trucks will be organized in Ireland, allowing teams and riders to travel to Belfast with a relatively light load. Teams will have the option of bringing their own vehicles.
Other infrastructure, such as the podium, starts and finishes, and race barricades will all be provided locally, meaning the transfer back to Italy should be dramatically easier.
Giro officials got the green light from teams before signing off on the project.
McQuaid said he’s also hoping the Giro’s departure will help revive sponsor interest in the Tour of Ireland, which stopped for a second time in 2009 after a three-year return.
“Cycling is absolutely booming in Ireland,” McQuaid said. “There is significant interest in relaunching the Tour of Ireland. It’s a good time for Irish cycling right now.”