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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Monday, September 29, 2014

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2014 World Road Cycling Championships

This note from Lotto-Belisol:

Michael Kwiatkowski has become World champion cycling in Ponferrada. Simon Gerrans was second, Alejandro Valverde third. Lotto Belisol rider, Tony Gallopin took part of the little group that was sprinting for silver. He became sixth.

The first 170 kilometers we’re spiced up by four unknown escapees, until Italy found it well enough in the tenth lap and the race broke loose. Tim Wellens showed himself in lap number 11 and 12 in the leading group, which had a varying composition of riders. Tony Martin created a gap of 30 seconds but got caught. The next lap there was an attempt of De Marchi, Gautier, Valgren and Kiryienka.

Kwiatkowski, Gerrans, Valverde, Breschel, Gallopin, Van Avermaet and Gilbert jumped to the front in the last lap. The Pole pushed on through and arrived at the finish line with minimum of seconds ahead. Phillipe Gilbert did all he could to close the gap with Kwiatkowski, but the Pole took away the gold medal. The sprint for the silver medal resulted in a second place for Gerrans and a third for Valverde. Tony Gallopin ended sixth.

Tony Gallopin: “I’m not completely satisfied with my sixth place, I’m rather disappointed. Being on the podium was maybe possible. Everyone’s legs certainly were hurting but I just had to wait for the right moment. Everybody knew that the last lap would be decisive. I could follow the best on the last climb, so I’m content with my performance. But my result should have been better. A medal was possible.”

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin. Photo ©Sirotti

Nicki Sorensen on his Last Worlds:

This note came from Tinkoff-Saxo.

Four-time national champion Nicki Sørensen rode his last World Championship Sunday in Ponferrada, Spain. He was a part of the Danish squad consisting of six riders from Tinkoff-Saxo, which supported Matti Breschel in obtaining an impressive 4th place behind Kwiatkowski, Gerrans and Valverde on a tough and rainy day.

After the race, Nicki was pleased with the overall performance of the team but whished that he would have had a bit extra left in the tank for the final part of the race.

“This was my last World Championship and it was really great to finish off with a good result for the team and for Matti. I was feeling strong in the first half of the race but I lost power in the final part. I wish that there had been a bit more energy left for the final lap. But I gave myself to the fullest and rode at maximum intensity until I had nothing left to give. As a cyclist I think that’s a great way to conclude 11 years on the national team”, says Nicki Sørensen, who’ll finish his professional career at Milano-Torino and Giro di Lombardia in the coming week.

The 39-year old Dane was impressed by his teammates, who were visible and active throughout the 255-kilometer race.

“Matti obviously impressed everybody with his 4th place. He really has the ability to aim for a top result on a route like this. But Valgren and Chris Juul also did a great job in the breakaways going into the finale, and Valgren was not far from getting over the last climb together with the best. They are young guys but they rode with a lot of power and took responsibility”, Nicki Sørensen comments.

Nicki Sorensen

Nicki Sorensen at this year's Tour Down Under. Photo ©Sirotti

Nicolas Roche on his World's race:

This also came from Tinkoff-Saxo.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Nicolas Roche represented Ireland at the World Championships Road Race and crossed the finish line in 26th place as a part of the decimated peloton, seven seconds behind the winner Kwiatkowski. According to Nicolas, it’s not the best result of his career, but taking the grueling race into consideration he’s close to being satisfied.

“The World Championships is always a grueling war of attrition, with the pace slowly increasing with every lap until most riders have gone out the back door. I had absolutely nothing left in my legs as we approached the 500-meter mark and final sprint and I had to make do with 26th. It’s not the best ever result of my career but respectable enough in a very tough race”, says Nicolas Roche and admits that he could definitely feel the 255 kilometers after the race: “I was so wrecked after my six and a half hours in the saddle that half an hour later I had to grab the handrail to pull myself up the steps of the team hotel before collapsing onto my bed”.

Roche was part of the group of favorites going into the final climb on the last lap but wasn’t able to respond to attacks. It was simply a matter of hanging on after 250 hilly kilometers in the rain.

“As Kwiatkowski attacked over the top of the last hill, with 5 k to go, there were only about 25 riders left in the peloton and I was pretty far back in the group. As seven more riders attacked off the front of the group, I grimaced and focused on hanging on at the back”, comments Nicolas Roche, who adds that the end of his season is getting close after 8 months, two Grand Tours and more than 13,000 kilometers of racing.

Nicolas Roche

Nicolas Roche partway through Sunday's Elite Men's Road Race. Photo ©Sirotti

Orica sent this summary of how their riders did at the Worlds:

Orica-GreenEdge and Orica-AIS have taken home four medals from the 2014 UCI Road Cycling World Championships after Simon Gerrans wrapped up the event in Ponferrada, Spain with a silver medal in the elite men’s road race yesterday.

Swedish champion Emma Johansson also rode herself onto the podium, taking the bronze medal in a select sprint finish in the women’s road race on Saturday, whilst the two teams kicked off the championship last weekend with two silver medals in the team trial events.

In another promising sign for the future, young Australian Caleb Ewan, who officially joins the Orica-GreenEedge roster in October, also won a silver medal in the under-23 road race.

General manager Shayne Bannan said the team had a lot of reasons to be proud of our riders at the world championships. “It has been fantastic to cheer for the success of our riders and also the huge achievements of the Australian team in general,” Bannan said. “We would like to congratulate our riders for their medals and also the additional four medals won by up and coming stars of Australian cycling.

“Above all, we have seen some great racing with our athletes being part of the action. The world championships are a unique event and we have strived to give our riders the best possible conditions to prepare and focus on being at their best. After a long and demanding season, it's been great to see them perform so well and bring home medals for the team and for their countries. We're looking forward to the last and hugely important races of the season before we start working specifically towards 2015.”

A summary of the Orica-GreenEdge and Orica-AIS achievements at the world championships can be found below:

Orica-GreenEDGE rider Simon Gerrans has won the silver medal for Australia in the men’s elite road race at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

Going into the race as one of the favourites, Gerrans didn’t disappoint, showing his cards in a small break over the final climb that came agonisingly close to catching the solo escape of Michal Kwiatkowski (POL).

Opening up his sprint Gerrans was the strongest finisher, but a few moments of hesitation by the chase in the closing kilometres meant his efforts were in pursuit of a minor medal.

Orica-AIS rider Emma Johansson (SWE) has won the bronze medal in the women’s road race at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships. After a calm start to the race by the peloton, Johansson was active in shaping a thrilling final two laps that saw her claim the minor medal from a significantly reduced sprint by the narrowest of margins. “I have never been so close to gold,” Johansson said.

Orica-GreenEdge won their second consecutive silver medal in the team time trial event at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. A strong finish pulled Orica-GreenEdge onto the podium but it wasn’t enough to top a dominant BMC Racing who won by over 30 seconds. “We suffered out there,” Svein Tuft said.

ORrica-AIS pulled together a stunning ride to take out the silver medal in the team time trial at the 2014 UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. The outfit rode the 36.15km course to perfection, the result a culmination of training camps and recce rides in preparation for one of the season’s biggest focuses. “We pulled out a really good ride and we got everything right today,” Johansson said.

Orica-AIS rider and Australia’s lone entrant in the women's individual time trial event at the 2014 UCI Road Cycling World Championships Katrin Garfoot has finished eleventh after posting a time of 40mins 11.52secs. She was just over one minute behind Lisa Brennauer (Germany) who added to her Specialized-Lululemon team’s time trial victory.

"The plan was to go out hard, which I don’t normally do, and I struggled after half way, but it was a new experience and at least I gave it everything,” Garfoot said. 

Riding for home nation Canada, Orica-GreenEedge’s Svein Tuft finished 28th in the men’s individual time trial at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Backing up from a silver medal winning effort in the team time trial last Sunday, Tuft was the sole ORICA-GreenEDGE representative in the individual race against the clock.

Simon Gerrans

Simon Gerrans at the start of the Elite Men's Road Race. Photo ©Sirotti

Lars Bak Extends with Lotto-Belisol

This news from Lotto-Belisol arrived this morning:

Lars Bak (34) has extended his contract with Lotto Belisol for two more years. In that way he will stay with the Lotto Belisol team, which will be named Lotto Soudal next year, until the end of 2016. The past three seasons Bak already rode for our team.

Injuries interfered his spring season in 2012 and 2013, instead he rode both Giro and Tour. His biggest victory was one in the Giro of 2012. He finished alone after a solo in Sestri Levante. In the Tour he was luxury help for Jurgen Van den Broeck and André Greipel. Last summer he did hundreds of kilometers in support of the leading man.

Lars Bak: “I’m very happy to stay with this team for next years. I had a good feeling in the team for the past seasons. I always try to do my job in favour of the team and there is a good atmosphere in the Lotto Belisol team. As a foreigner it’s a joy to be a part of this team. The Belgian employees have a lot of experience and make sure that the riders can performance in a optimal way. I feel myself at home in this team.”

“I presume I got this contract extension thanks to my way of cycling, because I always try to think at the importance of the team. The team management probably knows after three years how to set me in. I will give it all to play my role in the team as good as possible for the next two years.”

Lars Bak

Lars Bak. Photo ©Sirotti

Other Rider Transfer News noted these rider moves:

Marco Marcato has signed for two years with Wanty-Groupe Gobert, moving from Cannondale.

Movistar will have Rory Sutherland (now with Tinkoff-Saxo) and Winner Anacona (now on Lampre-Merida) on its roster next year.

NetApp-Endura's Tiago Machado will ride for Katusha next year.

Thomas Degand (now with Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Maxime Vantomme (Now with Roubaix-Lille Metropole) will move to IAM Cycling.

Marco Marcato

Marco Marcato in 2012. Photo ©Sirotti

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