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PONFERRADA, Spain (VN) — Cycling is all about individual success, but it certainly takes a team to win, so perhaps it was no surprise when Tejay van Garderen described Sunday’s team time trial victory with BMC Racing as the “highlight of my career.”
BMC Racing upset pre-race favorites Omega Pharma-Quick Step, knocking back the Belgian squad and Australian challenger Orica-GreenEdge by more than 30 seconds to win the prestigious race Sunday as the UCI World Road Championships opened in Spain.
“This is the highlight of my career. To be able to share this with the team, it’s just incredible,” van Garderen told VeloNews. “To be up here with my boys, it’s awesome.”
Van Garderen’s celebration was clouded by a late-race thunderstorm, however, which added a touch of polemic to the finale as light rain and gusting winds kicked up for the final teams still on course.
BMC Racing was fastest at two of three time splits on the 57.12km course looping around the Bierzo wine country, stopping the clock in 1:03:29 (53.954kph).
The American squad started more than 30 minutes before defending champions Omega Pharma and rode to the finish on dry roads. An afternoon thunderstorm quickly developed, with light showers dampening the roads and gusting winds creating tougher conditions for the later starters.
BMC and Omega Pharma were all but tied at the first time check at 23.5km, and Omega Pharma was nearly 10 seconds faster at the second time check at 36km. At 48.9km, BMC was once again 12 seconds faster, and won handily by 35 seconds over Omega Pharma, and 31 seconds over second-place Orica.
Omega Pharma’s Tom Boonen said the rain and the wind were both contributing factors to their loss.
“We knew we were behind. Coming into the final climb, we saw the thunderstorm coming, and the wind was really picking up,” Boonen said.
“I think it changed a lot for these three teams starting later [Orica, Omega Pharma and fourth-place Sky]. We went 8kph slower on the last part than we did in training. It was just pushing, pushing, pushing.”
Boonen said the team lost “a lot of time” on a final climb and descent as the team separated, and had to wait for everyone to regroup before the final corners to make it safely to the line.
Van Garderen, however, defended BMC’s victory, saying that his team was already fastest when the sprinkles started to fall.
“It’s a kind of a blessing and a curse. We got a little bit better weather, but the teams knew how to play off of us, because they had the split times,” van Garderen said of BMC’s earlier starting time.
“The weather didn’t come until the end … maybe it would have been closer, but I am confident that we were the strongest team today. We made no mistakes. We were hauling ass out there.”
Van Garderen said BMC’s game plan was to try to remain steady throughout the course and keep everyone together as long as possible.
“We started with 20-second pulls, and once we got to the first check, we assessed who was a bit stronger and weaker, so the weaker guys sat on a bit longer, and the stronger guys pulled longer,” he said.
“We tried to keep the speed the same, and then drill it on the flats. We didn’t want to over-complicate things. It was just, get out there, and ride … hard.”
Rounding out the team were Italians Manuel Quinziato and Daniel Oss, Swiss rider Silvan Dillier, Australian Rohan Dennis, and Slovak Peter Velits, who has now been part of three straight team time trial victories, adding Sunday’s win to victories in 2012 and 2013 with Omega Pharma.
Velits, too, defended BMC’s victory despite the late-race change of weather.
“I think we would still win, maybe not with such a big advantage, but we would still win,” Velits said. “The last few teams had rain, with worse roads, but we were strong all the race. It was the work of the whole team.”
Sunday’s intense battle revealed just how seriously the major teams are taking the team time trial. Several big favorites for next week’s road race were roped into racing by their respective teams, such as Fabian Cancellara with Trek Factory Racing, and Peter Sagan, with Cannondale.
Team Sky brought in 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (who said, when asked how the race went, “There’s not much to say, is there?”), while Marcel Kittel, the German sprinter, started with Giant-Shimano.
“For any team that takes it seriously, there are five or six teams that go all out for the team time trial, amongst those teams, it’s a very special race,” said Orica’s Svein Tuft.
“It’s a special test, a real show of character of the team. It’s a very special event. I think it’s a great event that they’ve added to the world championships.”
For van Garderen, winning gold in Sunday’s team time trial is what he said was his most realistic chance to ever become a world champion. He admitted it will be tough to beat Tony Martin in Wednesday’s individual time trial, or knock back the likes of Sagan or Cancellara in next week’s road race.
“This is a team sport, but sometimes people don’t understand that. The team time trial really shows you that. You can understand what the team aspect is all about,” van Garderen said.
“There are times, like at Colorado [USA Pro Challenge], I was there on the podium, but I wanted to have my whole team up there.”
On Sunday, the entire BMC Racing Team celebrated the victory.
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- 1. BMC Racing, in 1:03:29.85
- 2. Orica GreenEdge, at :31.84
- 3. Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :35.22
- 4. Sky, at :37.29
- 5. Tinkoff-Saxo, at :46.59
- 6. Movistar, at :51.37
- 7. Trek Factory Racing, at 1:01.47
- 8. Giant-Shimano, at 1:26.60
- 9. Cannondale, at 1:28.56
- 10. Garmin-Sharp, at 1:44.80
- 11. Fdj.fr, at 2:05.08
- 12. Astana, at 2:12.38
- 13. Katusha, at 2:14.35
- 14. Belkin, at 2:28.16
- 15. Lampre-Merida, at 2:30.08
- 16. RusVelo, at 2:44.81
- 17. Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, at 2:45.29
- 18. CCC Polsat Polkowice, at 3:36.90
- 19. Europcar, at 3:52.06
- 20. Ag2r La Mondiale, at 4:05.91
- 21. Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 4:07.49
- 22. Lotto-Belisol, at 4:12.00
- 23. Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 4:29.70
- 24. Kolss Cycling Team, at 4:57.99
- 25. Mg Kvis-Wilier, at 5:36.95
- 26. Rabobank Development, at 6:01.11
- 27. Adria Mobil, at 6:12.23
- 28. BDC Marcpol, at 6:51.56
- 29. Ecuador, at 8:08.46
The post Results: 2013 UCI World Road Championships, team time trial appeared first on VeloNews.com.
PONFERRADA, Spain (AFP) — BMC Racing Team, led by American star Tejay van Garderen, dethroned reigning champions Omega-Pharma Quick-Step to win the men’s team time trial on Sunday at the UCI World Road Championships.
Although finishing with just four of the original six-man team — the minimum requirement — the American team got stronger as the course went on to win in a time of 1 hour, three minutes and 29.85 seconds.
That was 35 seconds quicker than Australia’s Orica GreenEdge, which, like several other teams who started later, was impeded by rain on the run in.
BMC finished before the rains started to fall. And although they were neck and neck with their main rivals throughout, the difference was made in the final 10km of the 57.1km course.
“It feels incredible,” said van Garderen, who raced alongside teammates Rohan Dennis, Silvan Dillier, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato and Peter Velits. “We were confident but we were nervous coming into this.
“We’re world champions. What more can you say? We knew coming in that we had a strong team, and it was just a matter of everything falling into place.
“It was a dynamic course and you had to be strong on all fronts to win this.”
Omega Pharma, led home by reigning three-time individual time trial champion Tony Martin, and with a star-studded team including former road race world champion Tom Boonen and Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra, could manage only third, just over three seconds behind Orica.
They had won the last two editions of the team time trial competition, beating BMC into second in 2012 and Orica last year.
Team Sky, led by British Olympic time trial champion Bradley Wiggins, missed out on a medal by just two seconds. Like Orica and Omega, Sky finished in the rain but they paid more for weak links.
By the halfway mark Sky had already lost two of their six riders, with Geraint Thomas and Salvatore Puccio dropping off, while Dario Cataldo was missing turns at the front, effectively reducing them to three riders while all their rivals were still at full strength.
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more from Spain.
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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.
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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.
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