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- This weekend marks the second round of the World Cup for the 2014-15 season as we head to Koksijde in Belgium, often described as the ... The post World Cup Preview: Vos Returns to Cyclocross in Koksijde, Can Van der Haar and Compton Repeat appeared first on Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News,...
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It was a procedural hurdle, but an important one. MTN-Qhubeka confirmed Thursday the UCI has re-upped its Pro Continental racing license for 2015, a critical stepping stone for the team’s ambitions to race the Tour de France next season.
The announcement comes with the confirmation that the team also received invitations to race the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman in February, two races organized by Tour owner Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), another important signal the squad could be Tour-bound in July.
“The main target for the team and its partners is the Tour de France in 2015,” said interim team manager Brian Smith in a press release Thursday. “To be invited to Qatar and Oman by the ASO confirms to us that we are going in the right direction. These events are very important races for the team and we plan to go there and race hard. It sets up a year that could be a very good year for the team as we continue to create history for African cycling.”
With its renewed racing license for 2015, MTN-Qhubeka will embark on its third season in the second-tier, Pro Continental ranks. The team made history in August when it became the first African-registered team to race a grand tour at the Vuelta a España.
“The registration process is time consuming and needs to be done right to maintain your credibility and sustainability with the UCI,” said team principal Douglas Ryder. “Our partners MTN, Samsung and Qhubeka are incredible and continue to support the team in all areas that culminates in a greater sense of purpose. 2015 is going to be our biggest season yet, with new partners coming on board, a new team look, and an awesome team line-up and exciting races we have not done before.”
To position itself for a possible Tour wildcard bid, the team has signed a legion of top racing talent, including Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Theo Bos (Belkin), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), and Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge).
The team is hoping, with the additional firepower and its unique African heritage, the Tour will offer up one of its likely four wildcard slots for the 2015 edition.
The post MTN-Qhubeka secures Pro Continental license for 2015, eyes Tour de France spot appeared first on VeloNews.com.
What started as a trickle is now a flood. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is the latest rider to confirm he will try to take on an hour record attempt, perhaps sometime in 2015.
Speaking to the German website RadSport, the three-time world time trial champion said he would like to tackle the hour record, but only if it fits in with his road racing priorities.
“I will meet with my team in December to see if we can do something without it conflicting with my goals on the road,” he told RadSport. “I will need time to prepare without hurting my condition for the road. I think we can try to find a date within the next year.”
Martin, 29, said the hour attempt is not his priority for 2015, pointing out that a shot at the yellow jersey at the Tour de France in the opening-day time trial, as well as recapturing the world TT title in Richmond, Virginia, will be more important.
“The opening day of the Tour would be like the World Cup final and my season highlight, all in one day, if I can take the yellow jersey,” Martin said. “And for the world championships, I always like to race in the United States, and it should be a great world championships. I hear the course will be good for me. There were not many fans in Ponferrada, but there are a lot of cycling fanatics in the United States, so I am looking forward to it.”
Martin said he will put renewed focus on early-season stage races, such as Paris-Nice or the Tour de Suisse, before taking on the Tour, which not only features an opening-day time trial, but a team time trial as well. And with the world championships a top goal for September, Martin admitted fitting in the hour record would not be easy.
Martin is the latest in a steady stream of riders who are taking renewed interest in the hour record since the UCI changed the rules outlining the prestigious mark. Jens Voigt set a new mark in September (51.115km), only to be bettered by Matthias Brandle (51.852km). Thomas Dekker and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) have both confirmed they will target the hour mark in 2015.
Dekker, currently without a contract for 2015, will be trying to pull together technical assistance to make an attempt, while Wiggins is expected to make a well-planned assault on the historic mark, perhaps sometime in June or July.
Martin admitted that Wiggins, with his track racing background, will have an advantage, and said he would need special training to become accustomed to racing on the oval.
“I raced a bit on the track as a junior, but Wiggins obviously has more experience than me,” Martin said. “It would certainly take me longer to become comfortable on the track. I would need to make a few experiments on the track to see if it’s feasible.”
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the October 2014 issue of Velo magazine. On Saturday, November 22, the cyclocross World Cup resumes with round two in Koksijde, Belgium. With her win in Valkenburg, Netherlands last month, Compton is once again atop the World Cup leaderboard.
The track was slick with mud, but she felt her leg pains — she’s adjusted her training, like she was floating on air. The course was lined with fans, but she heard nothing. Her bike, body, and mind — everything was firing in unison. Knowing she wouldn’t likely beat Marianne Vos in a two-up sprint, American Katie Compton attacked, opened a gap, and held it to the finish, to win alone, 24 seconds ahead of the world champion.
It was the Rome World Cup, held January 5, and American Katie Compton was on a perfect day.
“I felt good, physically, I had some good training in Mallorca before the Christmas cyclocross races, and I carried the form through into Rome,” Compton said, eight months later, on the cusp of the 2014-15 cyclocross season. “The weather was pretty ideal, it was warm, but muddy, and the course got more technical as it cooled.
“I had a good start, I was in fourth or fifth position from the start. I rode smartly, and was patient. Marianne and I had a gap after a few laps, and I just put my head down and kept the pace hard. I committed to going 100 percent, and I was able to attack on the last lap, open a gap, and carry it through to the finish. I was surprised, but happy. My technical skills were good. I was on the new [Trek] Boone. I felt strong. Everything came together.”
Compton finished first, in the white World Cup series leader’s skinsuit, ahead of Vos, in her white rainbow-striped world champion’s skinsuit. It was the two best racers in the world, finishing first and second, with the American on top.
In fact, not only did Compton beat the world champion for the third time in three World Cup races, she also secured her second consecutive World Cup series title — the only American to have ever achieved the feat.
The concept of the “perfect race” is important to Compton, and not just for the positive reinforcement that comes from practice made perfect. Over the last 10 years, Compton is undefeated at the U.S. national cyclocross championship, and over the past two years, she’s been the most consistent winner at the World Cup level. (She won five of seven World Cup events last season; Vos won the other two.)
When it comes to worlds, Compton has finished on the podium four times, including three silver medals, without taking home the big prize. For such an accomplished rider, there’s only one accolade missing from Compton’s palmares — a rainbow jersey.
Putting it all together when it matters most is something Vos seems to have mastered.
“For me, sometimes I have technical issues, or physical issues, or mechanical issues; we all have them, but sometimes you can hide them from anyone,” Compton said. “I ride through it, I take a pit bike, and I can still have a good day, maybe win a race or make the podium. Marianne seems to have everything go her way… Sometimes I wonder if maybe she’s such a great racer she can just hide that, and cover it up, and maybe nobody knows of any issues, besides her and her support staff. She certainly seems to have everything dialed in.”
Compton knows that in order to beat Vos, a seven-time world cyclocross champion and the most dominant woman to ever race on two wheels, the 35-year-old from Delaware, now living in Colorado Springs, will need to have a perfect day.
For Compton, that means no issues with what she simply calls her “leg pains” — un-diagnosed burning, stabbing pains that render her barely able to walk — and no issues with allergies, a problem that reared itself at the 2014 world championship in Hoogerheide, where Compton missed a pedal at the start, was tangled up in an early crash, and struggled to breathe deeply; she finished ninth.
Given her allergies — grasses and pollens are particularly troublesome — her poor result at worlds didn’t come as a surprise, not to her anyway.
“I knew as soon as I got to Hoogerheide that I was feeling bad,” Compton said. “Come race day, once we got into grass, it didn’t take long before I couldn’t breathe. The whole week was just really bad; I couldn’t really train. You can tell, warming up, that you can’t take a deep breath. I felt weak and tired, and I couldn’t breathe. I knew it wouldn’t be a good day, but I thought, ‘Maybe it will be okay, just try to put it behind you.’ But as soon as the race started, I just couldn’t recover, and then I was stuck behind that crash…”
Just as Compton has learned to work around and her travel, to make sure her legs are never overly taxed — she is now learning to work with her allergies. “I find myself being mentally tough, but sometimes my body doesn’t get the memo, and it tells me to slow down,” she said.
She’s adopted a low-histamine diet, and also avoids anything containing wheat. “I stay away from fermented foods, cultured foods, yeasts, wine… no cheese or yogurt. Spinach, eggplant, avocados, and tomatoes are all high-histamine foods, so I’ve really had to cut out a bunch of different foods.”
In addition to her new diet, Compton also has changed her approach to the upcoming race season — a lesson she learned last year, when her leg pains, and a bacterial infection, forced her off the bike for most of July. She started her 2013 race season badly out of shape, and though she suffered through the early-season races, she peaked in late December and early January. It’s a strategy she hopes to replicate this year, which is why she spent much of the summer off the bike, forcing herself to relax.
“This year I’m coming in a little slower than in years past,” Compton said. “Last year I was sick or injured most of the summer. I think that helped me come January. Had I not had bad allergies, I would have been good at worlds. I’m approaching this season similar to last year, and I think that will help me come January. To put myself in that pain cave for 40 to 50 minutes, it takes mental strength to put yourself there, to turn yourself inside out, every weekend, for four months. I think coming in slower will help me in January, and especially in that heavy period of racing in late December, which is intense and hard. It’s an important time to be riding well.”
Compton will strive for a third consecutive World Cup title — “Of course I’d like to defend it” — and has signed a two-year contract with Trek Factory Racing, meaning she’ll race through the 2016 world championship.
Whether Compton’s perfect day comes at the world championship in Tabor, Czech Republic, in February, or in Zolder, Belgium, in 2016, or never, it’s something she refuses to dwell on.
“Of course I want to win a world championship. Everyone wants to,” she said. “Especially having been so close. But if it never happens, it doesn’t happen. I have had tons of success, I have overcome a lot of physical issues, and I have been able to win, and do well, and I am pretty proud of that. I’m not going to keep doing this forever, trying to win worlds… one of these days, I’m either going to be retired, or I’ll win one. We’ll see. I’m okay with what I have accomplished, and where I am. I am still striving to win worlds, but it’s a hard thing to accomplish. I hope to have that perfect day.”
The post In search of the perfect day: Katie Compton takes another run at ‘cross worlds appeared first on VeloNews.com.