Archiv für den Tag: 12. Februar 2019

Paris-Roubaix 2019: La Trouée awaits

Key points:
 On 14 April, the riders of the 117th edition of Paris–Roubaix will roll out of Compiègne and tackle a course of the same length (257km) and with the same amount of cobblestones (54.5km) as last year’s.
 A few adjustments have been made to the early sectors, starting in Troisvilles (96.5km), while the Trouée d’Arenberg has been shortened by 100 metres… without touching a single cobblestone!

Cobble-gobblers are familiar with the whirring sound of their wheels on the cobblestones of Roubaix, which start to rattle their bicycles about 100km into the race, right after the village of Troisvilles. Eagle-eyed observers will realise that the first cobbled sector is a bit shorter this time round (0.9km versus 2.2km in 2018). Although the peloton will be focused on this sequence, and it may have even started the war of attrition by this time, the second sector (no. 28, from Briastre to Viesly) will provide an opportunity for the riders to honour the memory of Michael Goolaert as they ride past the stele marking the location where he suffered a cardiac arrest last year. The effort will then enter the Cambrésis region, heading due east so that the peloton tackles the Quiévy (no. 26), Saint-Python (no. 25) and Vertain (no. 24) in the opposite direction compared to 2018. The Vertain sector is back in the race for the first time since 2017.
From the moment the riders enter the Valenciennes area (sector no. 23), the course of the Queen of Classics remains unchanged all the way to Roubaix Velodrome. However, the official map is not exactly the same. More accurate measurements taken during reconnoitring shortened the Trouée d’Arenberg (no. 19) from 2,400 to 2,300 metres… without touching a single cobblestone! The first five-star sector, where the fight between the pretenders to the crown enters a decisive phase, remains as tough as ever. Anyone who is not in the lead group at the end of the sector can wave goodbye to victory in Roubaix. Later on, the Mons-en-Pévèle (no. 11) and Carrefour de l’Arbre (no. 4) five-star sectors will set the scene for further attacks and dramatic twists.
Paris-Roubaix Challenge – Saturday, April, 13th
24 hours before the elite race, some 7,000 amateur riders will measure themselves on this legendary Spring classic and its fabled cobblestone sectors. Three distances are on offer to cyclists, in order to accommodate all the preparation levels: 70, 145 and 172 kms. Every rider will find an appropriate legend.
Information and registration on et
Paris-Roubaix Challenge in figures:
• 9th edition of Paris-Roubaix Challenge
• 7,000 participants
• 3 routes of 70 km, 145 km and 172 km
• 67 nationalities at the start

Amgen Tour of California 2019 route revealed

Key points:
 Throughout 7 stages over 7 days (May 12-18), the world’s elite professional cyclists will contest mountain roads, highways and coastlines from Sacramento to Pasadena. The 1251km course through 13 Host Cities will ante up 14 Sprints, 25 King of the Mountain climbs, the most in race history, and a fan-favorite Mt. Baldy summit finish.
 With 7 new courses between them, the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM will run concurrently May 16-18, using many of the same routes as the men’s course. Also the longest women’s race in event history, the 285km, three-stage road race course will see the athletes climb eight Queen of the Mountain.

©Casey Gibson “The Amgen Tour of California is the pinnacle of cycling in America. The 2019 race course is incredibly demanding – there’s more climbing and more long road days than ever before. With the best of the best in cycling coming to California to contest it, we are in for another memorable race,” said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports. “We look forward to shining a spotlight on the beauty of California and the dedication of these athletes for fans, in person and via the worldwide broadcast, in what will be one of the most exciting sporting events in the country this year.”
Sunday, May 12th, stage 1 presented by Amgen: Sacramento – Sacramento = 143km

Sacramento is known as one of the most sports-friendly cities in the country, and this year will mark its 10th time hosting the race. Stage 1 will begin with the men rolling out of Sacramento across the iconic Tower Bridge, passing through West Sacramento, then hugging the Sacramento River into the city of Woodland. From there, the race will travel across several rural roads in Yolo County. A quick dash and sprint in the Town of Winters will see the race turn east and heading back downtown for the fast finish.

Monday, May, 13th, stage 2 presented by Visit California: Rancho Cordova – South Lake Tahoe = 194,5km
The ATOC welcomes the City of Rancho Cordova as a new stage host. The stage will start at sea level. Heading east from the start, the route will follow White Rock Road through El Dorado Hills. Once again, racers will enjoy the huge crowds and warm hospitality in Placerville before heading onto the picturesque Mormon Emigrant Trail and Hwy 88, where the peloton will zip through lush forests and past bass-laden lakes.
They will also encounter some serious elevation. The KOM at Carson pass tops out at 2627m, the highest point the race has ever reached in its 14 years. A long descent will allow the riders a short rest, but a left turn onto Hwy 89 will take them to the top of Luther Pass and into South Lake Tahoe. For those that have raced to South Lake Tahoe in previous years, they know that a brutal finish up the steep roads to the Heavenly ski area finish looms ahead.

Tuesday, May, 14th, stage 3 presented by TAG Heuer: Stockton – Morgan Hill = 207km
The City of Stockton returns for its third stage start, near the waterfront and Stockton Arena. The race route will wend its way through the city as it heads southwest toward Morgan Hill. Heading east of Livermore, the riders will turn onto Mines Road and toward the HC climb up Mt. Hamilton. Over the next 35km of climbing and descending, the racers will encounter two climbs with a total of 25 switchbacks and two very technical descents with another 25 hairpin turns. The race will then return to the eastern slopes of San Jose and into Morgan Hill, site of the 2018 time trial stage. Spectators will line the streets as they await the teams to tee up their sprinters for a classic field sprint to finish near the Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center.

Wednesday, May, 15th, stage 4 presented by Lexus: Raceway Laguna Seca – Morro Bay = 212,5km
This stage will be a celebration of a massive achievement by Caltrans to reopen the iconic coastal stretch.
After a short climb out of the start at Laguna Seca, the race will pass through Seaside, Monterey and Carmel. Hwy 1 typifies the beauty of the state and features a gentle rolling landscape that drivers may not register, but the cyclists will certainly feel the 3584m of climbing on this stage. A fan-favorite, the Morro Bay finish will follow the route from 2017, where Peter Sagan won the sprint finish. After passing through Morro Bay State Park, riders will get their first glimpse of the iconic Morro Rock. A right turn off the Embarcadero, with Morro Rock over their shoulders, will put the racers onto a steep sprint to the finish on Harbor Street.

Thursday, May 16th, stage 5 presented by Lexus: Pismo Beach – Ventura = 218,5km
stage 1 women’s race presented by Lexus: Ventura – Ventura = 96.5km
This stage will highlight the best of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, which have long been the cornerstone of the Amgen Tour of California. Within a few kilometers, the race will reach Foxen Canyon and the home of countless world-class vineyards and wineries. As the race leaves the vineyards and jumps onto Hwy 154 in Los Olivos, the riders will enter the feed zone to replenish some calories. Ahead lays the grueling category climb up San Marcos Pass. After leaving Hwy 192, the stage’s final two categorized climbs lie ahead on Casitas Pass. The finish will be within a few miles once the cyclist enter Ventura, which hosted its first stage last year. Riders will contest the final sprint at the summit of a short 12% climb up Fero Drive. The final kilometers to the Ventura finish line will be intense as the teams set up their sprinters for a field sprint along the Pacific Ocean.
Meanwhile, the women will contest a punchy day of racing with five QOMs. The out and back course starts and finishes in Ventura. The final 56km of the route is the same the men will use coming into Ventura for their Stage 5 finish later in the day.

Friday, May, 17th, stage 6 presented by Visit California: Ontario – Mt. Baldy = 127,5km
stage 2 women’s race presented by Visit California: Ontario – Mt. Baldy = 74km
This “Queen Stage” has seen legends made and winners decided. A return to the Mt. Baldy a finish that thrilled so many fans in 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2017, this is the top training ground for many Southern California racers.
This will be the fourth time the City of Ontario has hosted the men’s Mt. Baldy stage, and the first time the women will contest it. Because of the complexities of men’s and women’s races sharing an “out and back” course, the women will use a slightly different route to Mt. Baldy. The final 20.5 miles of their course is the same to reach the common finish.
This year’s route will head north into the cities of Rancho Cucamonga and Upland. From there, the riders will start an 11-mile climb to the Village of Mt. Baldy. They will cover 33km of narrow and twisting roads that lead to a fast and technical descent down the backside of Glendora Mountain Road. At Ice House Canyon, the route will make a hard left turn where the sign to the ski area points. With 1.6km to go, the road will straighten out but still climb at 15%. At 400m to go, the route will make a hard left and the racers will face the final five switchbacks to the finish line.

Saturday, May 18th, stage 7 presented by AMGEN: Santa Clarita – Pasadena: 141km
stage 3 presented by AMGEN: Santa Clarita – Pasadena: 115,5km
Santa Clarita and Pasadena have a storied tradition of hosting the ATOC grand conclusion. There will be challenges from start to finish as teams protect their GC riders from attacks and set up their sprinters to win the stage. The race’s traditional start in Santa Clarita will be at the Town Center Mall. The first climb will come at Mill Creek Summit, then downhill and left onto Upper Big Tujunga to the final climb of the race at the intersection with Angeles Crest Highway. A quick dash through La Canada Flintridge will take the race down Rosemont Avenue to the famed Rose Bowl for the ultimate race finish.
This stage shares a common start and finish for the women and men, with two slight differences. Whereas the women will come straight up Angeles Forest Highway to Angeles Crest Highway, the men will turn on Upper Tujunga to add mileage and one final climb. The women conclude the day first, coming to the finish line and completing one lap. Just as they began the week with three Capitol circuits during Stage 1 in Sacramento, the men will blaze through three circuits of the Rose Bowl to conclude the race.

Tour of Oman 2019

Greg van Avermaet: « Green Mountain is a test of how deep you can go »

With eight participations out of a possible nine in the Tour de Oman, and a stage win and two day spell in the lead last year, Greg van Avermaet is one of the Tour of Oman’s most frequent participants. And this time round, after a blistering sprint victory already in the Volta a la Comunitat Valencia, the CCC Team leader is clearly ready to hit the ground running once again in the Tour of Oman.
Greg van Avermaet, you have been in every Tour of Oman bar one, in 2012, since it began in 2010. From a racer’s point of view, why is this event so appealing for you?
„It’s a good preparation, a relaxing event, good weather with some nice stages, I think it’s good for a rider like me – except for the Green Mountain finish! It’s a nice way to build up for the season, I like the way many of the stages are prepared for punchy riders. Plus after each stage you can ride to the hotel and get in a few more kilometres.
So I can get extra train as well as race, there are at least three stages, sometimes four, which have the kind of terrain that suits me. So I get some results. Sometimes stage races only offer me one day at most where I can do something, but that’s not the case in Oman. I have more chances. And that’s why I keep on going back.
Green Mountain is a very tough mountain for you. How much can you use it to see how good your form will be on terrain that is more suited to you, like in the Classics in Belgium?
A lot of Classics riders use it like that. In my case, on a couple of editions I was working for a GC rider there, so I’d get him to the bottom of the climb, then I’d go hard up it for one or two kilometres anyway, and then take a couple of minutes to recover. Then I’d pick up the pace, just to do a kind of test inside the rest, to see how good you are and how deep you can go.
So Green Mountain operates as a testing ground after you’ve made the big efforts in the rolling stages?
For me this is the perfect place to do it, of course the weather is always super nice and they’ve created a bit more space too on the calendar between the Tour of Oman and my big first Classics goal, Het Nieuwsblad, so that gives me some more time to adapt to the cold weather when I go back in Belgium.
You’ve already had one great result this year, a stage win in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain. Does that lower the pressure for you to get a good result in the Tour of Oman or will you still be fighting as hard as ever?
For sure as a rider you try to win everywhere. But with a new team like CCC it’s even more important to try and get the wins so you can build up the team’s self-confidence. And the stage win I got in Valencia was against a strong field and on a very difficult day’s racing. So these kinds of results are very important to get early in the season. But let’s hope we try to get a stage win in every stage race, make a habit of it, and that’s the most important thing for me, to have certain days in races like this where I can be good.
So that is the goal in Oman, to get another stage victory like you did last year?
Yes, that would be ideal, to win a stage or at least to get a top three position in a few different days.
But in any case you must be very pleased with how the team is coming together this season, with wins in Spain, Australia and New Zealand, and next, hopefully in Oman!
Yes, for sure. It’s always hard, we have a completely new rider line-up so we have to see how it goes, but for now we are where we wanted to be and expected to be. It was a great moment, to see a guy like Patrick [Bevin] taking that World Tour win in Australia [in the Santos Tour Down Under] for us and hopefully that kind of success will give us all motivation on the team to keep on winning in the races to come.