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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
July 31, 2014

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Glasgow 2014 Commwealth Games Elite Individual Time Trial:

Men: 38.4 km

Winner's average speed: 48.302 km/hr

  1. Alex Dowsett (England) 47min 42sec
  2. Rohan Dennis (Australia) @ 9sec
  3. Geraint Thomas (Wales) @ 14sec
  4. Svein Tuft (Canada) @ 51sec
  5. Jesse Sergent (New Zealand) @ 52sec
  6. Michael Hepburn (Australia) @ 1min 29sec
  7. Steven Cummings (England) @ 1min 33sec
  8. David Millar (Scotland) @ 2min 14sec
  9. Luke Durbridge (Australia) @ 2min 16sec
  10. James McLaughlin (Gurnsey) 2 2min 58sec
  11. Mark Christian (Isle of Man) @ 3min 9sec
  12. Michael Hutchinson (Northern Ireland) @ 4min 24sec

Women: 30 km

Winner's average speed 42.436 km/hr

  1. Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) 42min 25sec
  2. Emma Pooley (England) @ 6sec
  3. Katrin Garfoot (Australia) @ 48sec
  4. Jaime Nielsen (New Zealand) @ 1min 4sec
  5. Katie Archibald (Scotland) @ 1min 5sec
  6. Shara Gillow (Australia) @ 1min 8sec
  7. Elinor Barker (Wales) @ 1min 31sec
  8. Lucy Coldwell (Scotland) @ 1min 38sec
  9. Anna Turvey (Scotland) @ 1min 43sec
  10. Jasmin Glaesser (Canada) @ 1min 47sec
  11. Reta Trotman (New Zealand) @ 2min 5sec
  12. Amy Roberts (Wales) s.t.

Yesterday I noted the terrific ratings Eurosport was getting for its Tour de France coverage. Now quotenmeter.de writes that the German public service broadcasters ARD and ZDF are interested in bringing back their TDF coverage. Currently Eurosport holds the exclusive German Tour de France (as well as other ASO races like Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Tours) broadcast rights until 2019.

Seven years ago, in the face of cycling's rampant doping problems, the German public service broadcasters pulled the plug on their Tour coverage. Now, with seven German Tour victories in 2014 (Marcel Kittel's 4, Tony Martin's 2 and André Greipel's 1), Germans are more interested in watching the race. And though the 300,000 German Eurosport viewers during the Tour's final two day's seems like a sizeable audience, it actually represents a decline over last year's numbers. Out of 82 million people, 300,000 isn't a very large percentage of Germany's population.

Tony Martin

German cycling star Tony Martin. Photo ©Sirotti

ARD sport director Axel Balkausky is more comfortable with cycling's cleaner image and Germany's new generation of riders who are impressing Germany "through openness and a clear commitment to clean sport."

Let's hope Mr. Balkausky is right.

FDJ.fr, the French cycling team sponsored by the French National Lottery, has grown ambitious. With FDJ rider Thibaut Pinot coming in third in this year's Tour, the lottery's boss Christophe Blanchard-Dignac wants to win the Tour de France. The last French winner was Bernard Hinault in 1985 and the last time a Frenchman made the podium was Richard Virenque in 1997. He is planning a meeting with the team's sponsors because,  "I think we may have another scenario, that we will build a French team to win the Tour de France...it is necessary to be stronger."

Thibaut Pinot

FDJ rider Thibaut Pinot. Photo ©Sirotti.

Lotto-Belisol signed three young riders. The team sent me this press release. I made a few changes to give it more idiomatic English:

"On the 1st of August three riders will start a traineeship with the Lotto-Belisol pro team. They are Tiesj Benoot and Xandro Meurisse, who are part of the U23 team and Oliver Naesen from the Cibel team.

For Tiesj Benoot it’s his second year in the U23 category and both years he rode for Lotto Belisol's U23 team. This season he had some nice results. He was third in the U23 version of the Tour of Flanders and fifth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Also stage races suit the 20-year-old. He was second in the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux and third in de Tour de l’Isard. This month Benoot got sixth in the European Championship road race.

His teammate Xandro Meurisse was also offered a traineeship. He’s part of the U23 category for the fourth year and is also riding his second season in the U23 team of Lotto Belisol. He crashed in the Giro Valle d’Aosta this month and had multiple fractures of his wrist and a rib injury. The 22-year-old won a stage in the Triptyque Ardennais this year and took a third place there as well. In the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for U23 he finished seventh.

Oliver Naesen rides for the Cibel team. He turns 24 in September. This year Oliver triumphed five times and collected several other nice results. He was fourth in Dwars door de Vlaamse Ardennen and second in the first stage of the Tour de Liège. In the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad U23 Naesen got sixth. In May he was part of the selection for the Belgium Tour.

Sports director Kurt Van de Wouwer explains the choice for these three riders.

Kurt Van de Wouwer: “Tiesj Benoot is an all-rounder. He can handle all sorts of terrain. He's a rider who can go smoothly over the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix, as well as the hills of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Even in the high mountains he can perform well. And he has fast legs. That’s a rare combination. Tiesj has prepared himself for this traineeship with a training camp. I expect he will prove that despite of his young age he’s ready to turn professional.”

“Just like Tiesj Benoot Xandro Meurisse is part of the Lotto Belisol U23 team for the second consecutive year and it’s his last year as U23. Xandro deserves this traineeship because of his consistency. This season he won a stage in the Triptyque Ardennais and often had high finishes. Unfortunately he crashed in the prologue of the Giro Valle d’Aosta and fractured his wrist in five places. He underwent surgery at the Herentals hospital. He should be able to return to competition at the end of August. Xandro is pretty fast at the finish and also hilly courses suit him.”

“Then there’s Oliver Naesen. He’s not part of our U23 team, but we certainly noticed him. Also he is very consistent. In almost every race he participated in, he showed himself. Oliver won some races this year and often got into top five. He’s a classic type, a man for the Flemish races.”

“Tiesj Benoot and Oliver Naesen will start in the Tour of Denmark. Xandro's start will be determined later, depending on how his injuries heal. They will all get the opportunity to prove they are ready to take the step to the pro level. Via this traineeship they get the chance to show themselves. That can be in different ways. By working for their leader, joining a breakaway or taking their own chance when that’s possible.”

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