Colorado Classic women's race extended to four stages
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 20:27:00 +0000

The organisers of the Colorado Classic, RPM Events Group, announced on Thursday an additional stage for the women's race for 2018. Like the men, the women's field will take on four stages of the second-year event, two in Vail and two in Denver, from August 16-19.

Although the race will not be UCI-sanctioned, it has been added to USA Cycling's Pro Road Tour. With the addition, women will compete in 18 of the 20 Pro Road Tour events, with only the Tour of Utah and Thompson Bucks County Classic remaining for men-only.

The women will race a circuit in Vail on August 16, then contest the famed Vail Pass time trial on the following day. The races then move to Denver, where the women will contest a criterium on Saturday and race on the same RiNo Arts District circuit as the men on Sunday.


The changes double the number of races that are part of the women's stage race this year. Last year, the women competed in the Colorado Springs and Breckenridge circuits, and had separate evening criteriums in Denver's RiNo Arts District on the weekend. The stage race was won by Rally's Sara Poidevin.

Although the women's race will not be broadcast live, there will be video recaps and live data information via the race's mobile app.

Organisers say they will invite 13 teams of six riders each to the race, including the Twenty20-Sho Air squad of last year's Colorado Springs stage winner, Olympian and track team pursuit world champion Jen Valente.

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WhatsApp group inspires De Gendt to Romandie stage win
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 19:34:00 +0000

Whisper it, but WhatsApp groups might soon be portrayed as the next marginal gain within cycling. Thomas De Gendt certainly used one to good effect on stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie, or at least in the build-up, having plotted his stage-winning victory with teammate Victor Campenaerts two weeks ago when the pair first looked at the stage race profile.

The first chatter between the pair of Lotto Soudal riders focused on the uphill stage 3 time trial, but when Campenaerts suggested forming an alliance for stage 2 from Delmont to Yverdon, De Gendt duly accepted the challenge.

A fortnight later, the Lotto Soudal teammates were on the attack, forging clear on the first climb of the day, with Nathan Brown (EF-Drapac), Andrey Grivko (Astana), and Matteo Fabbro (Katusha), keen to latch on. Five soon became three, with only Brown able to last the pace. With 26km to go and the bunch unable to mount a chase, De Gendt left Brown for dust. Campenaerts had already cracked after sacrificing himself for his teammate, and with 20km to go, De Gendt was virtually assured of his second victory of the season.


"Victor brings the time trial know-how to the team. If I have a question before the time trial, I can ask him, but two weeks ago we were talking about tomorrow's time trial, and he sent me a profile for it. But he also told me that the day before had an uphill start and that he wanted to go full-gas on the climb so that he could get his legs turning," De Gendt said at the finish.

"I told him I'd join him, and that we'd go full-gas the whole day. So, we made this plan two weeks ago, and we were hyping each other up, and we even had a WhatsApp group, and it was our plan from two weeks ago. Victor gave his all for me until he was finished. He was important for me today but also for the team and the time trials. We can ask him anything about aerodynamics, and he always answers with a lot of passion."

At the start of the stage, De Gendt made it clear to everyone with a media accreditation that he would attack from the start. Only Bahrain-Merida put up any meaningful opposition, but when the gap moved out to eight minutes, there was little chance of the break being caught.

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Romandie: Why the sprinters' teams failed against De Gendt
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 18:05:00 +0000

Thomas De Gendt's only fault on a day that saw him win again from a breakaway came when he predicted the number of teams that would chase him.

At the start of stage 2 at the Tour de Romandie, the Belgian Lotto Soudal rider assumed that Bahrain would chase for Sonny Colbrelli and that Sunweb and Quick-Step would follow suit for their sprinters, Michael Matthews, Elia Viviani and Fernando Gaviria. It was a sensible prediction. They were the race's lead sprinters, and other than the final stage on Sunday, this was their only chance of taking a victory.

As expected, and as he said he would, the Lotto leader went clear on the early climb of the Col des Rangiers. Nathan Brown (EF Education First-Drapac), Andrey Grivko (Astana), Matteo Fabbro (Katusha-Alpecin), and - crucially - his own teammate Victor Campenaerts followed the move, and although Fabbro and Grivko were soon dropped the remaining trio built up a lead of over eight minutes before the bunch panicked and finally reacted.


In the end, and when it mattered most, only Bahrain-Merida attempted to track the Belgian's escape. One team against a breakaway Goliath of De Gendt's stature was never going to be enough.

Where were the other teams De Gendt predicted would chase?

With Matthews unwell and unconfident of victory, Sunweb sat out almost from the start. From that point on Bahrain chose to gamble. They hit the front with 60km to go but their tactics were split. They wanted to ride fast enough to catch De Gendt but also drop Quick-Step's two sprinters. That latter goal lost them another potential ally. With a favourable route, strong legs, and a valuable teammate in the breakaway, De Gendt's odds for a stage win only grew as the road descent towards Yverdon. As soon as the Lotto-Soudal rider dropped his last companion, Nathan Brown, with around 26km to go, the stage result was over.

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Jacquelyn Crowell dies aged 30
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 17:40:00 +0000

Former professional cyclist Jacquelyn Crowell died on Wednesday, April 25, following a five-year battle with cancer. She turned 30 in February.

Doctors diagnosed Crowell with stage 4 glioblastoma, a rare malignant brain tumour, in October of 2013. She underwent surgery to remove a tumour at the WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia, where she also started cancer treatments.

Crowell experienced initial symptoms of temporary paralysis on the right side of her body while she was training with USA Cycling's team pursuit program in Colorado Springs. She was training for a spot on the Olympic team, and she made one of the final cuts to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics.


She immediately returned to her home in Georgia, where she suffered a brain haemorrhage. It was a subsequent MRI that first discovered a tumour. Doctors removed the tumour three days later.

While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, Crowell also spent time at physical therapy sessions to build strength and regain use of the right side of her body. A scan in December of that year came back clear.

Crowell continued riding her bike and coaching athletes through 2014, and although she took a step back from racing, she competed in the Tour of California Women's Invitational Time Trial in 2015 in an Amgen Breakaway from Cancer skinsuit.

Crowell - the cyclist and teammate

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Fuglsang hangs tight in Romandie after punishing Ardennes campaign
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 15:04:00 +0000

A few hours after finishing tenth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) began his second race of the day as he rushed from Belgium to Switzerland for the Tour de Romandie. Barely 48-hours separated the two races, with the Dane eventually finishing 60th in the prologue.

Three days into the race, the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné winner has started to find his race rhythm. On stage 2, he finished 20th in the main bunch behind Thomas de Gendt's solo win, and on Wednesday he made the first group on stage 1 and was part of the Astana team that helped set up Omar Fraile for the stage win.

"Yesterday was a hard day. With the wind and the climbs, it wasn't easy, especially with Liège still in my legs. In the end, I felt a little bit better, so that's something and it was a nice victory for Omar and the team. We worked for him in the sprint, and it was the right decision," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews before the start of stage 2.


He has centred his season around the Tour de France in July, and his form throughout 2018 has been consistently high. He made the top ten in both Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, with 16th in La Flèche Wallonne his only slight blemish. The 33-year-old's stage racing form has been as impressive with third overall in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, backed up by fourth in Ruta del Sol and 14th in a tough edition of Paris-Nice.

The six-day Tour de Romandie is Fuglsang's next pre-Tour de France marker, and although he conceded 25 seconds in the prologue, he remains a threat for the top GC placings.

"Of course, I'd like to do well. I paid a bit in the prologue because of Liège and the travel here, but we'll have to see. I try and save myself as much as possible. The uphill time trial is going to be decisive because there's no other mountaintop or uphill finish in the race. The prologue already made a difference. There could be some really aggressive racing though, so if you race smart then you might be able to create opportunities," he said.

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Liege-Bastogne-Liege finish confirmed to return to Liege from 2019
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 14:30:00 +0000

Liège-Bastogne-Liège is coming home. After 27 years in the suburb of Ans, the finish of La Doyenne will return to the centre of Liège from next year and remain there for at least five years after that.

The news had been rumoured for some time but was made official on Thursday upon the signing of a new agreement between the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the Province of Liège, and the Royal Cyclist Pesant Club de Liège.

It was also announced that the Mur de Huy will continue to act as the finish of La Flèche Wallonne for the next six years.


Despite starting and finishing in Spa in its early editions, Liège-Bastogne-Liège has traditionally finished in Liège itself, despite a one-off move to Verviers in 1972. In 1992, however, the Pesant Club partnered with ASO and the finished was moved to Ans, several kilometres outside the city centre.

The race, the oldest and one of the most prestigious of cycling's one-day Classics, has since become known as a race of attrition with the string of climbs in the final 50 kilometres simply serving to whittle down the group of favourites ahead of the uphill finale into Ans. Though Bob Jungels' solo victory last weekend mixed things up somewhat, the organisers are moving the finish back to Liège in a bid to enhance the spectacle of the race.

"While acknowledging the passionate collaboration from the Commune of Ans over the past 27 editions, the P.S.O and the Province of Liège specify that, in terms of the return to a format more befitting of the name of the race, the change of finish location is essentially dictated by purely sporting criteria intended to make the finale of the race even more attractive," read a statement from the Province of Liège.

La Flèche Wallonne sticks with the Mur de Huy

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Chaves and Simon Yates form two-pronged Mitchelton-Scott approach at Giro d'Italia
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 12:50:00 +0000

Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates will form a two-pronged approach at the upcoming Giro d'Italia, with the Mitchelton-Scott naming what it describes as "one of the strongest line-ups possible" to support their two leaders.

Chaves finished runner-up at the Giro in 2016, losing the pink jersey to Vincenzo Nibali on the penultimate day, and he went on to finish on the podium of the Vuelta a España and then win Il Lombardia later that year. Things didn't go so smoothly last year as injury and personal problems derailed his Tour de France debut, but the Colombian is confident he can return to Grand Tour contention.

"I'm really happy to be going back to Italy. When I became professional, I lived in Italy and it has been the place for my toughest moments, but also the most beautiful moments of my career," said Chaves, who suffered a career-threatening crash at the 2013 Trofeo Laigueglia. "Like always, the Giro will be hard but I have been in Colombia training in the last few weeks and the preparation has gone well so we can hope we can find similar form to 2016."


Having originally been down to target the Giro last year with his twin brother Adam, Chaves' injury meant Simon Yates was sent to his first Tour de France, where he finished seventh before doubling up with the Vuelta a España. The 2018 Giro, then, is the 25-year-old's third consecutive Grand Tour, with Adam chosen to lead the line at the Tour in July.

"I'm really looking forward to starting the Giro d'Italia this year for the first time. A last-minute change of program that meant I was unable to debut as planned last year so we decided to give it a try again this season," said Yates. "Even without having raced before it's clear the Giro is one of, if not the most difficult and demanding race on the calendar."

Chaves and Simon Yates have raced alongside each other at last year's Tour de France and in the past two editions of the Vuelta a España, the 2016 edition in particular serving as proof of their ability to dovetail their efforts. Chaves was fifth overall when Yates reached out for a stage 6 win that moved him into the top 10, and later in the race the team were tactically adventurous in sending Yates up the road on stage 14, with the Briton linking up with teammates who'd been placed in the break before taking on the Col d'Aubisque to leap from seventh to fourth overall. At the end of the race Chaves finished second and Yates sixth.

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Sivakov patiently learning the ropes at Tour de Romandie
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 10:15:00 +0000

After an injury-hit start to his debut WorldTour season, Pavel Sivakov is finding his feet at Team Sky. The 20-year-old was forced to delay his start to racing this year due to a knee-related injury, but he quickly produced results with fourth overall at Coppi e Bartali in March, where he was also part of Sky’s winning team time trial effort.

A rather more humbling performance followed at the Tour of the Basque Country, but the neo-pro has been on the front foot already this week at the Tour de Romandie. On stage 1, he marked a late move from Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal) on the final climb, before eventually finishing just a minute down on the leaders.

"I had a difficult winter, with an ITB [iliotibial band – ed.] injury but I managed to start my preparation in early January. That moved things on a bit, so I don’t have a lot of racing days in my legs. I’m still enjoying things, and I’m learning from the guys, but this is a big step up from the U23 ranks," Sivakov told Cyclingnews in Delemont at the Tour de Romandie.


Although just 20, Sivakov speaks several languages. Born in Italy, he has spent 19 years living in France, while both of his Russian parents were pro riders. His father Alexei Sivakov rode the Tour de France three times with BigMat, while his mother Aleksandra Koliaseva finished second in the women’s Giro and won the Tour de l’Aude.

His language skills have certainly helped him settle at Team Sky, although there have been a few small off-the-bike steps to overcome.

"Coppi e Bartali was my first ever race with a radio, so I’m still learning. I’d never used a radio in a race before that, and it was a new experience. I had to look at the guys on the bus just to see how I needed to wear it but was pretty easy in the end," Sivakov said.

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Fraile relies on Astana's strength to collect Romandie win
Wed, 25 Apr 2018 21:55:00 +0000

Omar Fraile picked up his second win in Astana team colours on Wednesday after claiming a surprise victory on stage 1 of the Tour of Romandie. The Spaniard out-foxed and out-kicked Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) in the reduced-bunch sprint to win and extend Astana’s season tally to 14 races.

“This morning, I said to be myself that I was going to try. I knew that. It was always going to come down to a small group. It’s possible to win from there and Lotto Jumbo set a good pace on the final climb that helped drop all the main sprinters. That created the chance for me,” Fraile told Cyclingnews as he left his post-stage press conference.

The 28-year-old moved to Astana from Dimension Data over the winter, and after a relatively quiet start to life on the Kazakh team, he came to life with a strong second place on the final stage at Paris-Nice. He followed that up with a stage win at the Tour of the Basque Country after being in a decisive break.


His win in Romandie owed as much to Astana’s clear strength in depth as it did to Fraile’s skill. Dario Cataldo was instrumental in nullifying the opposition, and with three other teammates in the lead group, Fraile was one of the most protected riders ahead of the sprint.

“In the finish I could see that Colbrelli had lost about a metre on me. Then it was two metres, and as I came to the line I could sense that I was going to win with a small advantage. In the last few kilometres there were lots of attacks and I could see that he was closing a lot of the gaps. I was just trying to follow and follow, and my team did an amazing job,” Fraile added.

Astana were a team facing financial uncertainly at the start of the year after questions were raised over their budgets, but their on-bike performances have been nothing short of exceptional. At the recent Tour of the Alps they won three stages, while Amstel Gold and Het Nieuwsblad have also been added to their win list this season.

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UCI regrets event conflicts on Women's WorldTour calendar
Wed, 25 Apr 2018 20:35:00 +0000

As the 2018 Women's WorldTour makes its transition from the one-day spring Classics to stage racing, it's hard not to notice the overlap between Tour of California Women's Race (May 17-19) and Spain's Emakumeen Bira (May 19-22). The conflict has forced many women's teams to choose one over the other, something that the UCI told Cyclingnews it aims to fix in future.

"The organisers of the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM always link the women's race to the men's race, with both events running concurrently and concluding in Sacramento," the UCI explained to Cyclingnews.

"The UCI regrets the overlap with Spain's Emakumeen Bira race, and for future seasons, we aim to avoid calendar conflicts of events whenever possible."


Last year, Tour of California Women's Race was held ahead of the men's event and shared the city of Sacramento for the women's finale and opening stage of the men's race. Also, there were three days between Tour of California Women's Race and Emakumeen Bira. Even though Emakumeen Bira has a 30-year history in women's racing, it was not on the Women's WorldTour calendar.

Emakumeen Bira was one of three races added to the Women's WorldTour this year to make up the current 23-event series. The Tour of California Women's Race is held later in the week, and on the same days as the final three stages of the men's race, so there is one day of overlap between the two events.

Anna van der Breggen, who won the Tour of California title last year and is the currently the leader of the Women's WorldTour, will not return stateside to defend her title. Her Boels Dolmans team, which is the number one ranked team in the world, told Cyclingnews earlier this month that they don't have the riders or the resources to compete in both races, and chose to race Emakumeen Bira.

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