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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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Vuelta A España Abandons

Sadly, stage 17 had four non-starters. The most notable was Omega Pharma-protected GC man Rigoberto Uran. Uran had climbed to third place in the GC after the stage 10 individual time trial, but then started suffering from asthmatic bronchitis. During the three last stages, all in the high mountains, Uran lost gobs of time and after stage 16 was in 16th place, down 18min 53sec. Uran's condition deteriorated during the rest day. He's going to Belgium for evaluation with hopes he'll be ready to help Omega Pharma at the world team time trial championships (Omega Pharma is the defending champion team) later this month at Ponferrada Spain.

Other withdrawals: Christian Knees (Sky) is sick, Haimar Zubeldia (Trek) has an infected boil and Tanel Kangert (Astana) is also out of the Vuelta.

That left 169 riders to start today's stage. Today is the final chance for the sprinters. The 190.7 km leg has no categorized climbs. After today there are four stage remaining. Stage 18 and 20 have hilltop finishes and stage 19 includes two category one ascents, though it finishes after a long downhill run to Cangas do Morrazo. The final stage is an individual time trial at Santiago de Campostela.

Rigoberto Uran

Rigoberto Uran wearing pink at this year's Giro d'Italia. Photo © Sirotti

Tinkoff-Saxo on Tour of Britain Stage Three

This press release came from Nicolas Roche's team:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s team leader, Nicolas Roche, finished 3rd on stage 3 of Tour of Britain, which featured a serious challenge in the finale as the riders had to ascend a 5-kilometer climb with percentages above 8%. Nicolas Roche went on the offensive but had to settle for 3rd after a strong attack. Sport Director Lars Michaelsen was satisfied with the team’s performance.

“The team did a good job today and delivered Nicolas in a good position before the final climb. He attacked with 3 kilometers to go, quickly closed the gap to Zardini and went past him. It was a strong attack and I think that he was on the limit after bridging the gap, while Zardini could balance his efforts more easily on the final part of the climb”, says Lars Michaelsen after the stage and continues:

“I think we can be satisfied today. Boaro made a great effort in the break, which also gave him the combativity award and Nicolas showed that he’s in a good shape. Tomorrow we have a 2-kilometer climb in the finale on a very tricky parcours, where all the favorites need to be aware”, Lars Michaelsen adds.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Manuele Boaro had been in a long breakaway consisting of six riders during most of the stage and was caught just before the final climb, “The Tumble”. Nikolay Trusov and Rasmus Guldhammer worked hard to position team leader Nicolas Roche before the final.

An attack with 5 km to go from Chris Juul-Jensen together with the later winner of the stage, Edoardo Zardini, drove up the pace in the peloton. Nicolas Roche attacked and created a gap to the other favorites. The Irishman quickly closed down Zardini, but had to let him go after the Italian accelerated on the finishing strait towards the line.

“I had to attack today as I know that Kwiatkowski and Wiggins will be strong in the TT. I’m of course a bit disappointed but I went early, put everything on the line and tried to ride for stage glory. I believe I will get another opportunity during the next tricky stages – maybe already tomorrow”, said Nicolas Roche, who’s now 3rd in the GC with 17 seconds up to the overall leader.

“My teammates did a very good job today keeping me at the front. We needed to stay focused and the team showed that we’re motived to do a good job here in England”, Roche concludes.

Nicolas Roche and Ben Swift

Nicolas Roche riding with (I'm pretty sure) Ben Swift.

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