What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday!

A shorter EuroTrash than we had during the Tour de France, but all eyes have been on London and the Olympic Games. We have the results of the Men and Women’s Olympic road races, plus Endura Sport at the Tour Alsace and Euskaltel-Euskadi team drinking Rioja. ”Top Story” is also on the Olympics and we find some other news. Have an easy start to Monday morning…get the coffee.

“Top Story”

Luxembourg & Lithuania Lose Olympic Places
Due to the positive tests for Frдnk Schleck from Luxembourg and Rasa Leleivyte from Lithuania before the Olympic Games, both countries lost those places and in the case of Lithuania it had no women riders in the road race, Luxembourg had to rely on their sole representative Laurent Didier. The International Olympic Committee rules do not allow the doping positives to be replaced and the countries loose that place.

The positive riders will receive their ban from the sport and can (possibly) line up at the next Olympic road race in four years time, would it not be a good idea for the countries concerned to lose that place for the next Games. They could choose to field the errant rider, if they want, or leave him/her off the start list and be given the lost place back. This idea could be similar to the lifetime ban which the British Olympic Committee had until they were over ruled, but it would give the country a choice.

The Olympic road race preview video from Eurosport:

Men’s Olympic Road Race 2012
A break of 12 riders went away early forcing the GB team to chase for their man Mark Cavendish, the German team did lend a hand, but the action was up the road. Another group of 11 chased then down and when it all looked over for the escapees, some more riders crossed to the leaders and they were not seen again till after the finish. From the leaders; Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) and Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia) attacked together around the 5K to go point. The two worked well together until 400 metres to the line and Vino kicked for all his worth to take the Olympic Gold medal, Uran Silver and Alexander Kristoff of Norway won the chase group sprint for the Bronze. Behind them Andrй Greipel won the bunch sprint for 27th place ahead of Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish.

After the race the victorious Alexandre Vinokourov said: “I didn’t win any stages of the Tour, but today the dream has come true. It is nice to finish off my career with a gold medal. I will still race in the time trial on Wednesday, but I will just spin. I have what I have wanted. I have the gold medal and I can envision my retirement. After so many crashes, returning to cycling was difficult for me. I still have a metal plate in my femur, so it was not easy. I was still hoping for a good result. My family and my children were behind me the entire time.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Mark Cavendish said: “We rode the exact race we wanted to ride. We wanted to control it and we wanted the group at a minute. We expected teams to come and chase at the end with us. We controlled it with four guys for 250 km and we couldn’t do more. We are human beings.”

“There was a group of 22 who got away and we couldn’t pull them back. The four guys who ran all day couldn’t do it. The Germans came a bit too late and the other teams seemed to be more content that they wouldn’t win as long as we didn’t win. That’s kind of how it goes. I can be proud of how the lads rode today. I’m proud of my country as there was incredible support. The guys are sat there, they are spent. They have got nothing left in the tank. It’s incredible to see that. To see what they gave for the cause.”

“It seems that most teams are happy not to win if we don’t win, that’s the story of our lives in cycling it shows what a strong nation we are and we have to take that as a compliment but it’s bitterly disappointing. There’s 70 guys in our group at the finish, I don’t understand why there’s only three guys riding it doesn’t make sense.”

Fabian Cancellara came so close to making the winning move, he was in the winning break when he crashed into a barrier on the run-in to the finish. He finished the race unable to hold the handlebars with his right hand and collapsed, sobbing into the arms of a team helper. He was then taken to hospital in an ambulance where it was discovered that nothing was broken; but it looks like he might be missing the Olympic time trial on Wednesday though.

No Cadel Evans at the time trial, “inadequate recovery and fatigue” are the reason according to Australian team manager Matt White. Michael Rogers will be on the start line in the TT on Wednesday.

Men’s Olympic Road Race Result:
Gold. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) in 5:45:57
Silver. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia)
Bronze. Alexander Kristoff (Norway) at 0:08
4. Taylor Phinney (United States of America)
5. Sergey Lagutin (Uzbekistan)
6. Stuart O’Grady (Australia)
7. Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium)
8. Gregory Rast (Switzerland)
9. Luca Paolini (Italy)
10. Jack Bauer (New Zealand).

The finish of the Men’s road race:

Dave Brailsford, Team GB’s cycling director, says Mark Cavendish is disappointed with the road race result and is worried he let the home crowds down, by ITN News:

Women’s Olympic Road Race 2012
Unlike the Men’s race on Saturday, the Women’s event had to contend with rain for most of the race. Marianne Vos (Holland) took the Gold Medal after she out-sprinted her break away companions; Lizzie Armitstead (GB) and Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia). Zabelinskaya attacked on the last climb of Box Hill, Vos and Armitstead chased along with Shelly Olds (USA), unluckily Olds punctured and was swept up by the peloton that was less than a minute behind. Vos, Armitstead and Zabelinskaya worked hard together to stay away for Vos to take the Gold.

Britain’s Liz Armitstead said after the finish: It’s just really strange I am a bit shocked,” commented the 23 year old from Otley. “Emma Pooley did exactly what was asked on Box Hill, I am so glad I committed to that race. I am so happy.” She added; “I should have tried to jump her but I just went with it and so happy it came off, Marianne Vos was the one to watch and I knew that before the race, I played my tactics and thankfully it came off. It’s the most special thing I have ever experienced, it was absolutely amazing. I didn’t even feel my legs, it was just so special.”

Gold medal winner Vos paid tribute to Armitstead’s challenge: “Lizzie did a really good job on the break and did a really good sprint but I am just so happy to win. After Beijing this is what I wanted for four years and now it has happened it’s incredible.”

2008 Olympic champion Nicole Cooke won in Beijing in similar conditions and from a late break, the 29 year old from Swansea delighted with what was a strong team performance from the GB squad and an impressive singular show of strength from Armitstead: ”It feels great, we came in here with a serious chance and we did it. Lizzie did a fantastic ride, we were there backing her up but she didn’t need it because she was superb.”

Women’s Olympic Road Race Result:
Gold. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) in 3:35:29
Silver. Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain)
Bronze. Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation) at 0:02
4. Ina Teutenberg (Germany) at 0:27
5. Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
6. Emma Johansson (Sweden)
7. Shelley Olds (United States of America)
8. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France)
9. Liesbet De Vocht (Belgium)
10. Aude Biannic (France).

A little bit of race action:

Poels Goes Home after Tour Crash
Vacansoleil-DCM’s Wout Poels has been allowed to go home from the hospital after his terrible Tour stopping crash on stage 6. He was taken to the military hospital in Metz where he was diagnosed with a ruptured spleen and kidney, three broken ribs and a bruised lung. He was eventually transferred to Holland and was allowed to go home on Wednesday.

The Wout Poels fan club:

Vacansoleil-DCM promo video from the Ronde van Vlaanderen 2012:

No More Fuglsang for RadioShack-Nissan?
After Jakob Fuglsang was not picked to ride the Tour de France, openly showed his displeasure with his RadioShack-Nissan team and planned to move team at the end of the year. RadioShack management announced that Fuglsang would not be riding any high points scoring WorldTour events for the team for the rest of the year. He did ride the Tour de Wallonia last week, but has said that he now has an empty calendar for the remainder of the season. It’s rumoured he will be returning to Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank for next year.

He should have more time for cooking:

Jon Tiernan-Locke Wins Stage at Tour Alsace
Press Release: Jon Tiernan-Locke returned to winning ways today (Thursday) in France, with a victory in the second stage of the Tour Alsace (UCI Europe Tour 2.2) in Bischoffsheim after being a key aggressor in the break of the day before outsprinting Alexandr Pliuschin (Leopard – Trek) to the line.

After the customary flurry of activity in the opening kilometres, Jon was part of a large group who broke away in the opening 30km of the 154km stage, along with team-mates Erick Rowsell and Paul VoЯ.

The stage featured two first category climbs in the first half and the lead group remained largely intact on Mont St Odile at 41km, but on the lower slopes of the Steinhьbel, at 55km, a lead trio formed with Tiernan-Locke, Ilnur Zakarin (Itera Katusha) and Alexandr Pliuchin (Leopard – Trek) and they quickly gained an gap with Jon taking the King of the Mountains points over the summit.

The trio were joined shortly afterwards by Dimitri Le Boulch (Auber 93) and Warren Barguil (CC Etupes) and leaders quickly established a six minute lead as they hit the finishing circuits around Bischoffsheim. Zakarin was first to be dropped the group started the final lap of the 18km circuit with Le Boulch and Barguil falling back just before the 10km to go banner when Tiernan-Locke and Pliuchin turned up the pressure. As the pair headed towards the line, Tiernan-Locke unleashed an impressive sprint to take the stage in 3hrs 51m and the overall lead by 1 second from Pliuschin.

The Tour Alsace continues on Friday with a 160km stage from Beaucourt to Colmar which features three third category climbs.

Julian Winn (Sporting Director): “The team did a good job today and the plan worked well. We’d looked at the results from last year’s race and knew that there was a chance that it might split up on the climbs with the potential for some big time gap. So the aim was to get our GC riders [Jon Tiernan-Locke and Erick Rowsell] in there and both Jon and Erick made the first major move. Erick was a little unlucky as he had the legs to go when the break split again, but didn’t quite get there.”

“Great win for Jon, he’s had some misfortune through injury and illness recently, so it’s good to see him getting back on the top step of the podium as a reward for the work he’s put in.”

“Tomorrow looks slightly more straightforward, although it’s a bit longer – if it splits then the mix of teams at the top of the GC should spread the workload and if it heads for a bunch sprint we’ve got options there with Scott [Thwaites] in form.”

Tour Alsace stage 3:

Jon Tiernan-Locke Tightens Grip on Tour Alsace
Press Release: Race leader Jon Tiernan-Locke extended his lead in the Tour Alsace (UCI 2.2) today (Saturday) with a win in this morning’s 85km road stage and a solid seventh place finish in this evening’s 18km individual time trial.

Tiernan-Locke used the second category climb to the finish in Markstein to jump clear from the lead group and overhaul an earlier attack from Louis Meintjes (Lotto – Belisol). By the line, Jon was able to open up a four second gap on Meintjes, who finished second, and with time bonuses was able to extend his one second overnight lead to 26 seconds over Alexandr Pliuschin (Leopard-Trek) going into the time trial.

Erick Rowsell was Endura Racing’s best placed finisher in the 17.7km individual time trial in Cernay coming home fourth, 31 seconds behind stage winner Ilnur Zakarin (Itera – Katusha). Tiernan-Locke finished in a solid seventh spot in the same time as his nearest challenger to maintain his 26 second lead.

Sunday’s final stage covers 157km from Ribeauvillй to Ballon d’Alsace taking in five categorised climbs and finishes with the 1st category climb of Ballon d’Alsace.

Tour Alsace from the roadside:

Jon Tiernan-Locke Wins Tour Alsace
Jon Tiernan-Locke sealed overall victory in the Tour Alsace (UCI Europe Tour 2.2) today after commanding team performance on the Queen stage.

The final stage saw the peloton cover 157km from Ribeauvillй to Ballon d’Alsace – famously the first official mountain climb in the Tour de France in 1905 – with four classified climbs on the route before finishing at the top of the the first category Ballon d’Alsace. A large break went clear early in the stage, but none of the nineteen rider posed a threat to Tiernan-Locke’s 26 second overnight lead and so Endura Racing set about controlling the tempo of the bunch to keep the gap in check, whilst staying vigilant for late attacks.

The stage was won by Jonathan Fumeaux (Atlas Personal – Jakroo) who clipped clear from the break with Stian Remme (Joker – Media) and Daan Olivier (Rabobank Continental), before out-climbing them to the finish line.

Tiernan-Locke’s final margin of victory was 26 seconds over Alexandr Pliuschin (Leopard – Trek) and his dominant performance was rewarded with the Points and King of the Mountains classifications.

Jon Tiernan-Locke: “The overall win was set up by Thursday’s stage win which opened up some big time gaps in GC, but it was very pleasing to get another stage win yesterday morning and then I followed that up with solid performance in the time trial last night to keep my lead.”

“The guys rode incredibly well today, with Erick there all day for me, closing down all the gaps. I’m looking forward to a couple of days here in France to recover before heading to Paris-Corrиze.”

Julian Winn (Sporting Director): “Very pleased for Jon as he’s had a tough spell with illness and injury since the spring and it was a strong performance throughout the race from the rest of the team too. Today saw the ideal situation develop for us, with a large group away with no threats to Jon’s overall lead.”

“The lads set about riding tempo and emptied themselves to take Jon to the bottom of the final climb, with Erick in particular doing a great job. Very pleasing to watch, a perfect team performance really.”

Endura Racing’s next race is the UCI 2.1 ranked Paris-Corrиze which starts on Thursday.

Elsewhere this weekend, Rene Mandri finished in 50th place in the Olympic Road Race, coming home in the main bunch 40 seconds back from gold medallist Alexandr Vinokurov. Ian Wilkinson marked his return to racing after a bout of illness which has dogged him over recent weeks, with a win in the CDNW race Ulverston ahead of Richard Handley (Rapha Condor).

Miss Tour Alsace?

Euskaltel-Euskadi Reconnoiter Vuelta’12 Route
Euskaltel Euskadi will on Monday 30 July, ride the first kilometers of the third stage of the next edition of the Vuelta, which starts in Oion. The riders of the orange team will meet at 11 am at the Bodegas Heredad Ugarte Laguardia. The team leader Igor Anton, along with Mikel Landa, Juanjo Oroz, Gorka Verdugo and Amets Txurruka, the five picked riders ahead of the Vuelta, will ride to the finish line in the Santurio of Arrate. The ‘ naranjas ‘ will be led by manager Miguel Madariaga and none other than Samuel Sбnchez will be present on the scouting trip to encourage his team mates who face the great challenge of Vuelta’12.

After training, the whole team will lunch at the Bodega Heredad Ugarte, located in Laguardia. Ugarte is associated with ABRA, the Association of Bodegas de Rioja Alavesa with which Euskaltel Euskadi has a close and fruitful relationship. They allow you to enjoy the excellent wine from Rioja Alavesa in any race in the world. The ‘ naranjas ‘ will enjoy a delicious menu and regain strength to reach the Vuelta in great form.

The relationship between Euskaltel Euskadi and ABRA was born in 2008 and since then the wines of Rioja Alavesa have always been present in the greatest wins of the orange team. Whether on any of the three Grand Tours of three weeks or in the Tour of the Basque Country, ‘ naranjas ‘ have always celebrated their achievements with ABRA. Thus, Euskaltel Euskadi has become one of the best ambassadors of the great wines of Rioja Alava, while having the pleasure of enjoying its high quality in bottles bearing the logo of the team.

ABRA was formed in 1990 with the primary aim of defending the interests of the winemakers of Rioja Alavesa through institutional representation, promoting advocacy, training, marketing, innovation and general advice. Steadily growing, it currently has 125 associates and has become a vitally important sector representative.

The relationship of both entities are fully consolidated. Euskaltel Euskadi members have been visiting some of the wineries of ABRA in order to know their characteristics and performance. In 2010, ABRA awarded the Euskadi Cycling Foundation and its president, Miguel Madariaga, the “Rioja Alavesa IX Award.”

Samu Sanchez Gold Expoerience:

The Giro Valle d’Aosta
The Giro Aosta is a sporting experience at the highest level of cycling. Wilfried has made this nice video which he assembled with parts from the official video montage & photos. Enjoy this beautiful memory with suffering and sporty cycling fun.

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