Vuelta Espana 2014 has concluded after 3 eventful weeks with Contador as the overall winner. It marked the 3rd Vuelta Espana win for the star Spaniard.
The second position was bagged by Tour France 2013 champ Chris Froome. It was another major grand tour performance by the Team Sky rider.
The thrilling 3-week race, which is widely said to be the best of grand tours for the year, finalized with 9.7 km time trial at Galicia – albeit Froome’s scope of beating race lead Contador were minimal.
The Tinkoff-Saxo man is no doubt a fantastic talent but again a controversial cyclist who was ripped of his 3rd Tour France crown in 2010 on the ground of doping. However, he seemed to have reached to his previous glorious state post his doping suspension and relished a wonderful 1 minute 37 seconds lead over Chris since at the beginning of the Vuelta stage.
Whilst heavy downpour halfway through hardened the conditions, the Spanish star rider managed to balance his winning status safely, beating Chris by 1 minute 10 seconds in general classification. Alejandro Valverde from Movistar took the 3rd position at 1 minute 50 seconds whilst Adriano Malori, his team-mate, won that stage.
Contador was definitely elated to bag his 3rd Vuelta Espana win.
“It’s like a dream come true to triumph at 3 Vueltas”, remarked the winner while approached to speak a few words after the win. He had his first Vuelta win in the year 2008 & the second one in 2012. “I wasn’t expecting it really.”
“These last couple of months, I went through a great deal of ups & downs but the huge support from my fans was really crucial. I’m delighted & want to express my gratitude to the squad as it would not have been possible without them.”
Sir Bradley Wiggins is all set to defend the title of Tour of Britain according to Sir Dave Brailsford, the boss of Team Sky rather than competing in Vuelta a Espana. But he said later on that he might consider riding in Vuelta a Espana for the preparation in Spain for Road World Championship.
Tour de Britain is compulsory for him and he wants to eagerly participate in the event. One week tour from 7th to 14th September, the tour will be held but the Vuelta tour will overlap with it as it begins from 23rd of August. A category called the ‘time-trial’ in the Road World Championship is what he is looking forward to which begins from 21st to 28th September.
An altitude camp is what he is going at the organisers stated about him. It will be a great practise session and training while going into the World Championships. A year later in 2013 he was unable to win the covetous title of Tour de France, owing to knee injury. His focus shifted to track cycling, in Glasgow, Commonwealth games and won a silver medal and also declared that he would not be taking part in the Grand Tour race.
For him the track seems to be a close-knit unit. Many other riders who have won medals are also going to join him. He is wishing that he gets the same amount of support which he got from the crowd in Ride London. It is further going to be a marathon race with many riders wishing to take part and actually competing in the race. Even amateurs will be plunging in to take part for the sake of curiosity and enthusiasm. The road to cycle ride for most of the riders is an enthralling ride.
Tour France 2014 might be starting off in England but ironically this year there would be just 4 Brit riders. The English riders are naturally disappointed and leading British cyclist Mark Cavendish has already expressed great worries about sparse participation of Brit riders in Tour France this year.
This is the 2nd time in 8 years that Tour France officials decided to commence the most esteemed cycling event of the world from UK. It’s naturally a matter of great delight for the British cycling enthusiasts & hence Cavendish expected more number of British riders at the tour.
“Ideally, I would have preferred to see more number of Brit cyclists at the Tour France this year”, remarked the famous Omega Pharma rider.
Apart from Cavendish, the other 3 names participating in the prestigious championship are Simon Yates, Geraint Thomas & 2013 Tour France defending champ Chris Froome. Former tour France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins has been kept out from the championship by his team Team Sky & veteran rider David Millar wasn’t selected.
Wiggins’ absence at the 2014 Tour France is a huge blow both for his fans & fellow native riders. Ironically he was the first British to earn the Tour France trophy for his country in 2012. David was cut off from Garmin-Sharp outfit a few days ago.
“UK has been really successful over the past years in global cycling. This is one of the major reasons why Tour France decided to start at UK this year. It would have been great to see some more riders such as David, Bradley & the British riders who have achieved winning feats at Grand Tour race stages”, Cavendish added in saying that he is looking forward to win on the inaugural Tour France 2014 stage which ends at Harrogate – as Harrogate is his mom’s hometown.
Welshman Geraint Thomas has said that he is happy and will be more than willing to help his team mates at Team Sky, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Edvald Boassan Hagen at the Paris-Roubaix which is scheduled to take place this week.
This announcement from the Welshman comes on the back of his brilliant performance at the Tour of Flanders last weekend where he finished an impressive eighth as part of the cashing pack to the leading pack of Fabian Cancellara and the other three which comprised the top four in the race.
Thomas finished in third position at the E3 Harelbeke a few days back and he was also tenth at the Tour of Flanders three years ago and his performance at this year’s race showed that the double Olympic track cycling gold medal winner is a master of his destiny on the cobbles.
Geraint Thomas hurt his back after a spectacular crash on Sunday but in spite of that, he climbed back onto his bike and kept pace with the leaders for a good fifteen kilometers after which he found himself fighting for the minor places.
Thomas had come into the race as a rank outsider and although he failed to make a mark in terms o his winning potential, he still managed to do quite well for himself and now he wants to do his teammates a favor in a race that is dubbed as the Hell of the North.
He stated that he is happy to ride for the team, adding that it is something he has said all winter and will continue saying it as long as his team’s needs are fulfilled. Geraint Thomas admitted he has no qualms in racing for the team and the priorities of the Team Sky are his priorities as well.
Alexander Vnokourov, the general manager of the cycling team Astana Pro has high hopes from the team this season and in a recent press conference he said that he has set some goals for the team to achieve and he is sure they will be able to achieve those by the end of the season. Astana Pro will have two new riders this season and they are Michele Scarponi from Italy and Lieuwe Westra from Netherlands.
The team members feels that the two new faces will bring lots of glory in the upcoming years and when the general manager was asked about what he was thinking about these two he said that he has given them full freedom to show what they are capable of. Since it will be their debut season they will be excited to perform and that is what is required from them. Both of the two riders were present when the official presentation was being done in Brescia, Italy and in that event the team confirmed that Scarponi and Westra would be a part of the final team this year.
In the press conference that followed just after the presentation the two riders were asked about their planning for the upcoming season. They both said that they are indebted to the team for having chosen them for the final team and they would be looking to prove themselves as the competition is very high in the team. They also said that Alexander Vnokourov was kind enough to give them the freedom and they would like to capitalize on that. It all depends on how the first season goes and they would have ample opportunity to prove themselves. The team members have stood by the side of the two new comers and they are sure that they would do well in this year and the decision of taking them would not be proved wrong.
Great news for female cyclists who have long been wanted to be a part of the illustrious Tour de France!
All thank to the very dynamic Olympic silver winner Brit cyclist Emma Pooley, the Tour France organizers are presently considering the rider’s proposal on launching a women’s version of the most prestigious cycling championship of the world- Pooley herself has confirmed the news.
As per the statements from the erstwhile time trial world champion, discussions are going on between the women race campaigners & Tour France organizers off late with the recently elected UCI President Cookson donning a significant role in organizing the meet.
“We have contacted & communicated with Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), the Tour France organizers- by ‘we’ it refers to 4 of us fighting with the petition & some who have assisted us in the mission- & Cookson was really helpful in setting the meet with ASO pretty early on. It’s just so amazing of him”, stated a naturally satisfied Pooley. “I can just say that we’re into discussions presently & ASO isn’t averse to any kind of women’s race at the Tour.”
The ASO spokesperson acknowledged that they are into the phase of echoing the notion forwarded by Poolwy. “Nothing is decided till now but we would declare about the possibilities and impossibilities on the right time”, shared the ASO spokesperson.
Pooley came up with her petition of women’s race alongside men’s Tour France championship this year in July. Initially she gathered support from 3 other campaigners- Marianne Vos, the reigning female world champion, 4 time Ironman world championship winner Chrissie Wellington & author Kathryn Bertine. The petition pulled in over as many as 80 thousand signatures within weeks.
According to sources, Pooley’s petition on women’s race at Tour France was cited as a troubled plan by ASO Chairman Jean Amaury who highlighted different organizational difficulties associated with the plan.
While the women riders all over are petitioning hard for all women Tour de France, Brit Olympian Laura Trott feels a need for second thought on the petitions. The online petition for all Women Tour France was initiated by veteran cyclist Kathryn Bertine and has managed to pull up more than 85 thousand signatures till now. The petition has got backing from many elite female riders like Marianne Vos & Emma Pooley.
In a recent interview Trott stressed that albeit she supports the concept of Women Tour de France, she is not content with the petition demands that suggest that women’s event would cover the similar grueling distance & duration akin to that of men’s. “I do want to have the women’s Tour France, don’t take me wrong”, cleared the bright British Olympian. “But I feel the very way the proposal is being forwarded, I do not think that we have to sacrifice the races which we have already secured”. The twenty-one year old Olympic gold winner admitted that higher profile brings in more responsibility & in spite of a young age, Trott is ready to nurture the serious issues affecting female cycling.
“What I feel is that we must be grateful for whatever we currently have. After all, female cycling was always lot smaller in comparison to what it’s now”, stated Trott. “I simply feel that if these people go on pushing the petition, people won’t be able to finish the race. It will lead to rubbish where people will be finishing in ones & twos & by that time we would have lost out on other races since we would be having such a race. I feel a second thought is needed before the petition is forwarded finally”, Trott emphasized adding that she fears the constant petition on Women Tour France might result in losing out Giro Rosa.
USA Pro Challenge is next in line of prestigious cycling events after Tour of Denmark that ended on August 4. The upcoming cycling event has already came up with its participant list that was declared on august 7.
As per the list the event is going to have both world’s No.1 & No.2 riders in the championship- Chris Froome and Peter Sagan respectively. Froome is the 2013 Tour de France hero while Sagan is the Sprint Jersey winner from the elite championship.
Froome hails from Sky Procycling while Sagan is one of the most distinguished members of Cannondale. USA Pro Challenge is a 7-stage race which is scheduled to run from August 19 to 25. The race will be taking place around Colorado.
Chris Froome will be appearing in 2013 USA Pro Challenge from the very first day of the race in Aspen, and the betting makes him the firm favourite. The famous Colorado race is going to be his 1st appearance since his triumph in the Tour de France this year. He would be joined by R Porte, the man who helped speed him across the French mountainous tracks.
In regards to the other racers participating in USA Pro Challenge, the race officials mentioned about 5 latest national champions apart from Froome & Sagan. These include Fred Rodriguez from USA, Luis E Lemus (MEX), H Roulsten (NZL), M Olsson (SWE) & M Schär (SUI). Added to these national champions, the Colordo race would be hosting 6 ace Olympic medalists & multiple cyclists who have been able to bag stage wins at the recent Tour de France.
USA Pro Challenge will include the eminent BMC Racing Team which is spearheaded by T V Garderen. However, Taylor Phinney, the pro American rider who triumphed at the Colorado race last years will not be participating in the USA Challenge this time.
George Atkins might not have picked up the much anticipated win he was earlier looking for on his birthday, but star gave Leicester Castle Classic high marks. It was not like a bad day for George Atkins as his hundred per cent ME team-mate Simon Yates won the very first city race that attracted huge crowds around the four kilo meter circuit.
George told that he wanted to win the race, but when Sam and Simon got in the break, that limited his scopes. The national elite circuit series winner stated that he was happy that someone from the team got the win on the day. It was a very good event and was really nice to have a lot of backing and support on the circuit. The weather too was also fine and that was another plus point. Therefore, it was not a bad way to spend his birthday.
The twenty lap race offered high speed racing and George Atkins, who finished the race on 26th spot, added that the tight nature of the race course had added to the atmosphere of the event. The cobbled section, where people were sitting on the grass watching, had a really good feel to it. Atkins rated it as a top class event; one of the top class events in the United Kingdom.
The rider of the Great Britain Academy is in a heavy training mode but he has 2 races later this week. On Sunday, he will hit the Rotherham road. On Monday, he will hit the local roads for Metaltek Grand Prix at Harby Hill, which is now attracting a quality field of riders.
The Giro d’italaia was full of surprises as it gave Giovanni Visconti his first win at any grand tour stage. He held up the pack that chased him till Les Granges du Galibier to ensure he can come out with flying colors at the 16th stage of the race. The enthusiastic 30 year old racer was ahead of Carlos Betancur by 42 seconds when he finished the race. Niemec from Poland came fourth while another Polish rider Rafal Majka came fifth. Visconti was the Italian National Champion for three times and this win at the 15th stage of Giro means really a lot to him. It is a great confidence booster ahead of the second season. The organizers decision to reduce the distance of the stage by approximately 4 km also played instrumental in his victory.
Earlier Mauro Santambrogio of Italy left Vincenzo Nibali behind to win the 14th stage as the overall leader Nibali had to settle with the second position. In that stage Giro organizers had removed the Sestriere climb citing safety reasons. The riders had to combat snow, rain, fog and fluctuating weather conditions. But Visconti’s victory in the grueling tour is really a showcase of skill and experience. He not only reached the snowy peak as a winner but also wonderfully fought with the difficult conditions of one of the most difficult stages of Giro. His win was also regarded as a tribute to the late famous Italian cyclist Marco Pantani with whom he shares his birthday.
The spectators surely had a visual treat when they watched the peloton ascent the Galibier and cover the path full of snow that have been ploughed recently for the 15th stage. The final climb was definitely very thrilling for the riders as well as for the spectators. The fluctuations in the weather on both Saturday and Sunday made the situation a bit chaotic initially but later everything was settled.