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Tejay van Garderen (BMC) won stage 3 of the USA Pro Challenge with his peerless climbing prowess.
On the climb to Monarch Mountain, he also rode his way into the GC lead at the Colorado tour.
An elite group of GC contenders entered the final ascent up the east side of Monarch Pass at the end of a 96-mile stage from Gunnison to Monarch Mountain. As the race climbed to 10,000 feet above sea level, the leaders traded jabs to little effect.
First, Janier Acevedo (Garmin-Sharp) and Daniel Jaramillo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) went. Then it was Bruno Pires (Tinkoff-Saxo). Carter Jones (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) also tried their hands at solo moves.
But none of them stuck until the lead group saw the red kite, and van Garderen dealt the most decisive blow, followed only by Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo). Though this year’s Tour de France king of the mountains tried to overtake the American on the final ramp, van Garderen found another gear, won the stage, and earned himself the yellow jersey.
“I don’t know that [attack] wasn’t really the plan,” said van Garderen. “We were kind of thinking, ‘let’s just keep it on same time,’ and you know because I’m pretty confident for the TT, but when I saw Danielson’s attacks were getting weaker toward the end, I could sense he was getting a little tired, and I just went for it.
“[Majka] is definitely a strong rider, not only for the overall but also for the stage. Yeah, [he] was definitely a concern. … I was actually really surprised because he’s pretty quick to the line, I didn’t think I was actually gonna be able to stick it there [to win].
“GC is the most important [for me], but if you have a chance for a stage [win] you’re not going to give it away.”
Behind Majka, Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) finished third.
Race splits on early climb
The day’s flat, early miles saw a number of ill-fated attacks that rarely got more than 10 seconds’ advantage on the field.
Things finally got serious at around 31 miles into the race, when Garmin-Sharp’s Acevedo wound up the pace and got a slight advantage.
The elevated pace at the base of the west side of Monarch pass saw a small group of about 15 separate from the front of the peloton.
Acevedo’s lead grew to 1:15 on the long category 1 climb.
However, the chase group, which had been pared down to seven, caught the leader just before the day’s first king of the mountains sprint.
The front group included: Ben Hermans (BMC), van Garderen, Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), Jones, Majka, Acevedo, Pawel Poljanski (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Hermans was first over the top of Monarch Pass, followed by Danielson, then Poljanski in third.
As they reached Salida, a large chase group caught the breakaway, resulting in a group of 23 riders, including the day’s overall leader, Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp).
With 32 miles to go, Rogers set out alone, making a solo breakaway on the Salida circuit.
With a confused chase group, the gap went out to 25 seconds.
“Obviously I had to have a go,” said Rogers. “There was a bit of confusion there … what, you know, the teams wanted to do. Obviously Garmin rode very aggressively the first time up the climb. [They] had two, we had three. Ideally it would have better if someone had come with me, or two guys. … It was tough out there with the headwind.”
Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) and Jaramillo tried to bridge but were brought back by the main chase group at the end of the circuits in Salida. By that point, Rogers had a 1:30 lead.
Showdown on Monarch Mountain
BMC set tempo into the final climb with all four riders taking the front of the chase.
Coming into the final eight miles of the day, Rogers’ gap began dropping precipitously. Sure enough, the chase, led by BMC’s Michael Schär, made the catch with 5.3 miles to go.
Acevedo and Jaramillo attacked with 3.9 miles to go.
Brent Bookwalter (BMC) kept the tempo high as the two Colombians dangled off the front. They were soon brought back to the group.
Then, Jaramillo went to the front again, winding up the pace for a moment, then causing the lead riders to look at each other, opening the door for another attack from Acevedo. That move was also to no avail.
As the pace fluctuated, Howes was dropped with 3.6 miles to go.
Pires was next to go, but he never got a significant gap over the lead group. The high altitude, steady grade, and headwind all contributed to cautious racing tactics among the GC favorites.
But with three miles to go, Danielson tried to make another move. Hermans quickly jumped on his wheel, not letting a gap grow.
Jones went next, with the same result as all the earlier moves on the climb.
With the lead group reeling from the flurry of attacks, Busche made an attack that finally stuck. Tinkoff-Saxo quickly went to the front to chase back the seven-second gap.
The former U.S. national champion was brought back with one mile to go.
“There was a big lull at 3k to go, and I decided I should try something,” said Busche. “I got a gap. I don’t really know what happened behind, but when they came by, I saw Tinkoff pulling full gas, so I don’t think there’s anything different I could have done. I basically went all in. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t, At least I tried.
“[I'm] happy that I tried but a little disappointed that I lost something [on GC] in the end, but I guess better to go down fighting than go down without trying. It’s not over … long race yet.”
As Majka’s final teammate pulled off the front with one kilometer to go, van Garderen attacked, and only Majka could follow.
The defending USA Pro Challenge champion drove the pace up the final incline, leading out Majka through the final right hand bend up to Monarch Mountain.
Though the Pole tried to swing around van Garderen’s left side, he could not match the BMC rider’s final kick.
“Today the final was really fast,” said Majka, “and for the win I tried to pass Tejay, but he is too strong for me. I am a little tired with the Tour, Poland, and now Colorado.”
Van Garderen now leads Majka on GC by 20 seconds. Hermans sits third, 23 seconds behind, and Danielson and Tvetcov round out the top-five in fourth and fifth, respectively.
“My biggest advantage is the time trial and to already have as solid buffer going into that that gives me a lot of confidence,” said van Garderen. “Majka is looking strong and my teammate Hermans is looking strong.
“I love being home [in Colorado]. I love this race. Every year I’ve done this race, I’ve taken away something from it. I look forward to this race every year … yeah, this is awesome.”
Thursday, the peloton will face a punchy 70-mile circuit race in Colorado Springs, through the Garden of the Gods.
The post Van Garderen wins stage 3, takes overall lead in USA Pro Challenge appeared first on VeloNews.com.
BRUSSELS (AFP) — Alexandre Vinokourov and Russian Alexandr Kolobnev have been charged with bribery by Belgian justice authorities.
The two will face trial later this year, Belgian media reported on Wednesday.
The now-retired Olympic road race champion Vinokourov, 40, is accused of paying 150,000 euros to the 33-year-old Kolobnev to allow him to win the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day classic.
Kolobnev is still competing for the Katusha team.
Vinokourov, who is now managing the Astana team — which includes Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali — allegedly made the offer to Kolobnev as they geared up for the sprint finish.
According to Belgian media, the investigators possess several email exchanges which detail 150,000 euros being transferred from Vinokourov’s Monaco account to that of Kolobnev’s in Switzerland. Vinokourov has always denied the accusation and claimed it was a loan.
However, Liege prosecutor, Philippe Richard has charged the pair, and the trial is set to take place in a few months’ time, according to the SudPresse media group.
Vinokourov was thrown out of the 2007 Tour de France for blood doping, resulting in the expulsion of the whole Astana team from the race.
Posted 12 May 2014 - 03:26 PM
The annual Momentum Racing/Momentum Cycles' Rally In The Valley will be held this Sunday at Lost Valley Trail in Weldon Spring, MO. The course will start will a lead out run down the Hamburg, from The Mound, and run counter clockwise through the trail system. The course will follow the same route as last year. The only amendment to that will be, if the newest section of single track at the bottom of the fireroad is still wet, we will bypass it. That area is under heavy shade, at the bottom of the hill, and does not drain and dry out as well as everything else. We don't want to tear it up. 2 Timing Guys will be chip timing the event this year, so you can be assured your results will be awesomely recorded. We'll have buckets full of Boulevard Brewery products, for on-site sampling, at no charge to you. Second and third helpings are encouraged. Registration will be in The Mound parking lot. Don't forget to pick up your Rally In The Valley pint glass, included with your registration. Hope to see you all this Sunday, for our party in Lost Valley, with a little bike racing mixed in!
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Don’t call it a merger. Call it a marriage.
That’s what Jonathan Vaughters said in announcing the new relationship between Cannondale, the American bike manufacturer, and Slipstream Sports, the American sports management group behind the Garmin-Sharp UCI ProTeam.
With Brixia Sport, the Italian management group behind the current Cannondale team, closing up shop at the end of the season, the American bike manufacturer is shifting its equipment sponsorship into Slipstream Sports, which was seeking a title sponsor to replace Garmin, its title sponsor since 2008.
Earlier this year, Cervélo, Garmin’s bike sponsor since the merger of Garmin and Cervélo TestTeam in late 2010, announced it would be sponsoring MTN-Qhubeka in 2015, lending credence to the rumors that Slipstream Sports’ riders would be riding Cannondale bikes in 2015.
Cannondale will back the team through 2017.
“Technically, it’s not a merger,” Vaughters said. “It’s still Slipstream Sports, LLC, as the owner and management of the team. Cannondale becomes a large shareholder. Slipstream chairman Doug Ellis remains the primary shareholder.”
In addition to the obvious bike sponsorship, Cannondale brings eight riders under contract, as well as potential staff members — directors, soigneurs, mechanics — that may or may not find a home into the Slipstream organization.
“For the riders under contract with the current Cannondale team, we will offer all eight of them contracts under the terms they had in place,” Vaughters said. “It’s undetermined at this point which will accept, and which might not. As far as our riders go, we have 14 riders under contract for next year, and they all will be honored. Anyone who had a contract in this scenario will be honored. There is nobody who has a 2015 contract that we are shuffling off to the side.”
Among those eight riders are 2012 Tour of Poland winner Moreno Moser, 2013 under-23 world champion Matej Mohoric, Kristijan Koren, Alan Marangoni, and Elia Viviani.
One rider contracted with Cannondale, Davide Formolo, has already signed a Slipstream contract. Formolo, 21, was second to Vincenzo Nibali at the Italian national road championship in June, and seventh overall at the Tour de Suisse.
Vaughters said that Slipstream Sports’ policy is that the team does not sign any contracts until management has reviewed a rider’s entire UCI blood profile, adding that it has not yet gotten to that point among many of the eight riders coming over from the Italian team.
Vaughters said the eight riders would have until the UCI’s WorldTour registration date of October 15 to decide, though he doubted it would take that long.
Among the 14 riders who have contracts with Slipstream Sports for are Andrew Talansky, Daniel Martin, Ryder Hesjedal, Tom Danielson, Ben King, Nathan Haas, Sebastian Langeveld, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Nick Nuyens, Nate Brown, André Cardoso, Norman Hansen Lasse, Ramunas Navardauskas, and Dylan Van Baarle.
“On the whole the riders [that may be] coming over are a very young, super young bunch,” Vaughters said. “Many are first-year pros, but they are an unbelievably talented bunch of young riders.
“In terms of our overall objectives, it will still be Sebastian Langeveld for the classics, Andrew Talansky for the grand tours, Dan Martin for the Ardennes, with Ryder Hesjedal kicking around in there. We will be a team with a lot of young talent. In addition now we have an incredible crop of talent including Formolo who can already lead the team in weeklong stage races and will apprentice to Hesdjal in the 2015 Giro. There’s also Moreno Moser who’s already capable of winning WorldTour races as shown by his win in the 2012 Tour of Poland, and his third-place on Alpe d’Huez in the 2013 the Tour de France.”
Should all eight riders move over to Slipstream Sports, Vaughters said there would remain five spots available to fill the team’s roster of 27 riders.
American riders still seeking contracts for 2015 include Cannondale rider Ted King and Garmin’s Phil Gaimon.
“Eight guys have been extended offers, but they might decide they would rather go ride for another team. They’re not obliged to ride with us, but we hope they will” Vaughters said. “Until all of that becomes apparent, we don’t know our final 2015 roster.
“Cannondale will be a title sponsor, no matter what” he said. “As of today, the name of the team is Team Cannondale. There is the possibility of another brand moving into the first name, or second name, of the team’s title. Either way, the budget is secure and similar to our 2014 budget. But as of August 18, it’s Team Cannondale for 2105. We are still looking for a co-title on either end of that in order to reinforce our program in the years to come. But we’re very fortunate to have a great partner in Cannondale for the next three years, and the security that comes with that.
“Garmin will still be involved, on a very large scale. As of now, Garmin won’t be a title sponsor, but that is still an ongoing discussion. Garmin does have a contract with Slipstream Sports, and I think Garmin will be in the sport for a long time.”
Vaughters, who recently graduated from the University of Denver with an MBA, said that he never thought he’d be using lessons learned from a mergers and acquisitions course so soon after graduation.
“This is one of the most complex deals to be put together in pro cycling,” Vaughters said. “It entails a sponsorship component, and also a team ownership component. Cannondale receives two seats on Slipstream Sports’ board of directors. It’s a real marriage, and that’s been interesting from a business perspective. This deal is much more complex than just ‘give us this and we’ll put your logo on our jersey.’ There are some very interesting added business elements.”
Vaughters said that he didn’t know who would fill those board seats, but imagined that one would likely be taken by Cannondale CEO Peter Woods, and the other might be occupied by global brand manager Bob Burbank, stressing that it was yet to be determined.
“Cannondale is excited to team up with Slipstream to create the next evolution of Cannondale Pro Cycling with the most progressive and innovative team in the peloton,” said Woods.
Vaughters also emphasized that the team will remain American-registered, English speaking, and based in Girona, Spain.
“There is nothing changing about that, the management and direction of the team will be conducted in English,” he said. “Although the majority of our staffing will be similar, we’re always looking for new and qualified staff members, and in our recruiting for 2015 staff, people from the Cannondale team will be given priority.”
As for the team’s color scheme — Cannondale has used a lime green in line with its former title sponsor, Liquigas, while Slipstream Sports has utilized a blue-and-white argyle theme for years — Vaughters said that lime green and argyle will, well, merge.
“We’re leaving the possibility open that someone comes in as a first-name title sponsor,” he said. “But as of today, it’s going to be green argyle for next year.”
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