Tag Archives: prologue

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team claims podiums in Taiwan and El Salvador

Riders from the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team claimed podium positions on two separate continents today, with the men racing at the Tour of Taiwan and the women at the Tour of El Salvador.

After a victory in stage one of the Tour of Taiwan, the men’s team has been motivated to stay active and create opportunities in Taiwan. The blue train’s first move on stage three was to place Aldo Ilesic in a 4-man breakaway that would dangle in front of the peloton for much of the day. The escapists were caught at 15km to go, but a hard solo effort from Ilesic kept his breakaway hopes alive until 300 meters from the finish line.  Acting on years of instinct and experience, sprinters Luke Keough and Jeff Louder immediately reacted to Ilesic’s capture and set up to lead John Murphy out for a 3rd place final sprint effort. The podium result also earned Murphy a four-second time bonus, advancing him to third in the overall classification.

Meanwhile, in El Salvador, the women of the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train have been earning podiums of their own. In the prologue of the Tour of El Salvador, Sharon Laws powered her way to 3rd place, making the team’s mark on the race and setting the tone for the remaining 5 stages. This is the fourth podium of the week for the women’s squad, after Mara Abbott earned 3rd place in last week’s Grand Prix Saint Bernard, then won Grand Prix Oriente with Sharon Laws sharing the podium in 3rd, and then earned 3rd place again in the Grand Prix El Salvador on the third consecutive day.

The two squads of the Blue Train continue racing tomorrow. The men will race 137 kilometers around the Tainan City region in stage 4 of the Tour of Taiwan, while the women line up for the 95 km first stage of the Tour of El Salvador.

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Roster,  2014 Vuelta a El Salvador:

  • Mara Abbott (USA)
  • Hannah Barnes (GBR)
  • Katie Hall (USA)
  • Sharon Laws (GBR)
  • Lauren Tamayo (USA)
  • Ruth Winder (USA)

United Healthcare Roster, 2014 Tour of Taiwan:

  • Luke Keough (USA)
  • John Murphy (USA)
  • Jeff Louder (USA)
  • Martin Irvine (IRL)
  • Aldo Ilesic (SLO)

Zipp’s new SL-70 aero handlebar tops in performance, functionality

Zipp’s new SL-70 Aero is, in every way, a high-performance bar. This new unidirectional carbon handlebar is packed with the innovations for best-in-class fit, ergonomics and aerodynamic performance. With its wing-shaped bar top, the SL-70 Aero features Zipp’s latest bar refinements while building on the trend-setting aero legacy of the VukaSprint.


Performance Advantage
- Distinctive wing-shaped top designed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), the same supercomputing software used to design Zipp Firecrest wheels.
- A traditional round-tube handlebar top creates drag of about 0.74 Newtons, which we found requires about 7.5 watts of effort at 30mph (48.3kph) to overcome. The SL-70 Aero exhibits just 0.11N of drag, which means a savings of 6.4 watts over a round bar.
- 30 percent stiffer than VukaSprint.

Fit and Comfort
- Zipp bars designed using feedback from top fitters and pros.
- Popular 70mm drop shape especially tuned for SL-70 Aero, allowing a proper fit without compromising stem length and steering control.
- Revised 10 degree ramp angle to the brake hoods eliminated need for up-rotated bars.
- Ample wrist clearance for riding and sprinting in drops.

Easy Setup, Race Ready
- Features Zipp’s Rapid Routing™ system, first developed for the Vuka Stealth integrated aero system, for easy internal cable routing.
- UCI legal.
- Compatible with all mechanical brake/gear systems and all electronic gear systems. Not clip compatible.
- Perfect to pair with Zipp SL Sprint carbon stem.
- The SL-70 Aero already Raced this season by the technology-minded Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team.

This bar is the perfect mix of aerodynamics and stiffness with ergonomic shape. It’s confortable and at the same time proved to be the fastest bar in Zipp collection.”
Rolf Aldag, Sport and Development Manager for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step

I used it in the Prologue of Tour of Dubai and I can say that it is a fast handlebar. The Zipp SL-70 Aero is the closest thing to get to the position of TT bike even on the road.… It looks good and it gives me the opportunity to go in an aero position with the arms inside the handlebar.”
Tony Martin of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider, world time trial champion

Sizes: 38, 40, 42, 44 cm (center-to-center)
Weight: 240g (42cm)
Material: Unidirectional carbon
Reach: 70mm
Drop: 128mm
Ramp angle: 10 degrees
Drop outsweep: 4 degrees
MSRP: $350, €300, £266
Retail Availability: March 2014

Lotto Belisol previews team for 2014 Paris – Nice

On Sunday, the 72nd edition of Paris-Nice will start. The course differs from last years. The race doesn’t start with a prologue and there is no time trial during the week. There aren’t many tough climbs. The first three stages are pretty much flat. In the fourth and fifth stage there is each time a climb of second category at about 13 km from the end. It’s only on the sixth day that there is a climb of first category: the Col de Bourigaille. This is at a distance of 19 kilometers from the finish in Fayence, which is uphill. That  climb was given category two. The penultimate stage has five climbs on the route, the last one is 64,5 kilometers from the finish. The final stage ends on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. That day the peloton will climb the Col d’Eze, with the top 15 kilometers before the end.

There’s going to be a nice peloton in this WorldTour race. Italian Vincezo Nibali has chosen not to ride Tirreno-Adriatico but to participate in the Race to the sun. Other riders that will travel to France are world champion Rui Costa, Carlos Betancur, John Degenkolb, Gianni Meersman and Tejay Van Garderen. The French public can cheer on their national champion Arthur Vichot, Nacer Bouhanni, Thomas Voeckler and of course Tony Galllopin. He wears the Lotto Belisol shirt. The team relies on him and Maxime Monfort to ride a good GC. Monfort already finished in the top ten twice.

Maxime Monfort: “This year a big part of my focus lies on the Giro and Vuelta. Paris-Nice is a goal in this first part of the season. Then I’ll further prepare myself on the Giro via the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Tour de Romandie. I won’t participate in any of the Ardennes classics. I want to ride a good season. That means that I want to get results on my level. I won’t put an exact place on it. In Giro and Vuelta I strive for a good GC and I also want to perform well in a series of WorldTour races, one of those is Paris-Nice.”

“I feel home at Lotto Belisol. After a long time I now ride again for a Belgian team and that has it benefits because I live in Belgium, but on the WorldTour level nationalities fade. For me it’s more about the sportive challenge. I have a clear goal. For two of the Grand Tours the team relies on me to set a strong result. I have a protected role now.”

Tony Gallopin: “Paris-Nice is an important goal for me this season. I have had a good preparation in the Etoile de Bessèges and Tour of Oman where I set a few good results. The course of Paris-Nice suits me. There is no long time trial or finish in the high mountains. Some stages are made for punchers and I can possibly play a role in those. Nibali and Van Garderen do indeed have a chance to win, but because of this year’s route it will be an open race with more contenders for the overall than usually. I expect a first selection in the stages on Wednesday and Friday. The stages next weekend will decide who gets the trophy. I want to show myself in the fourth and sixth stage. Friday evening I’ll see where I stand and know if  a place in top ten is possible.”

“On Monday we pass the area where I live, we’ll even get at 15 kilometers of my home. Nice weather is predicted the next days. In that second stage the wind could otherwise play its role. Next to Maxime and I the team also brings Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens to Paris-Nice. We have many cards to play. The team has faith in me and gives me the space to optimally prepare myself in ideal circumstances for my goals. Paris-Nice is a first objective of me and I want to set a good result.”

Selection Lotto Belisol: Sander Armée, Lars Bak, Kris Boeckmans, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.

Stages Paris-Nice

Stage 1: Sunday 9th of March: Mantes-la-Jolie – Mantes-la-Jolie (162,5 km)

Stage 2 : Monday 10th of March: Rambouillet – Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche (205 km)

Stage 3: Tuesday 11th of March: Toucy – Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours (180 km)

Stage 4: Wednesday 12th of March: Nevers – Belleville (201,5 km)

Stage 5: Thursday 13th of March: Crêches-sur-Saône – Rive-de-Gier (153 km)

Stage 6 : Friday 14th of March: Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon – Fayence (221,5 km)

Stage 7: Saturday 15th of March: Mougins – Biot Sophia Antipolis (195,5 km)

Stage 8: Sunday 16th of March: Nice – Nice (128 km)

The route for Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen will cover many of the same roads Klaas Lodewyck uses for training. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

BMC Racing Team looks to prologue for 3 Days of West Flanders success

How the BMC Racing Team performs overall at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen could well hinge on the outcome of Friday’s prologue, Sport Director Jackson Stewart said.

The three-day race begins with a seven-kilometer race against the clock on a looping, out-and-back course.

“I think we bring a strong team that is looking to come out of the time trial in a competitive position for the GC (general classification),” Stewart said. “I would expect Martin Kohler to have a good performance with his time trial capabilities. I am also very interested in seeing how Silvan Dillier and Rick Zabel perform in the prologue.”

Marcus Burghardt, Sebastian Lander, Klaas Lodewyck and Danilo Wyss round out the BMC Racing Team’s seven-rider roster. Being from the area, Lodewyck knows the courses for the prologue and Saturday and Sunday’s road stages well.

The route for Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen will cover many of the same roads Klaas Lodewyck uses for training. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

The route for Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen will cover many of the same roads Klaas Lodewyck uses for training. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)


“I hope to make a good result one of the days,” Lodewyck said. “The prologue always makes the GC here, but in the last day – with the open roads – other selections can be made.”

BMC Racing Team Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Roster (March 7-9):
Marcus Burghardt (GER), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI), Rick Zabel (GER).

Sporting Manager:
Allan Peiper (AUS)

Sport Director:
Jackson Stewart (USA)

Dario Spinelli (ITA)

Bus Driver: Freddy Viaene (BEL). Mechanics: Peter De Bleecker (BEL), Danny Debuck (BEL), Jürgen Landrie (BEL). Soigneurs: David Bombeke (BEL), Bernd Coutteau (BEL), Anthony Lafourte (BEL), Antonio Marron (BEL).

Lotto Belisol previews Le Samyn and Three Days of West-Flanders

This week two races are scheduled. Wednesday March 5 there is Le Samyn and from March 7th until March 9th the Three Days of West-Flanders will be contested. Le Samyn, a race of 195,9 kilometers, will head from Quaregnon to Dour. After a straight 110km line there will be five laps in and nearby Dour.

The difficulty of the race is located in the first half of it, where the peloton has to cover five hills. In the local lap there are two more hills. The Côte de la Roquette and the Côte d’Audregnies have to ensure that only the strongest sprinters will battle for the win. The biggest contenders are the Frenchmen Adrien Petit and Nacer Bouhanni. Kenny Dehaes will be the sprinter for Lotto Belisol.

Two days later the Three Days of West-Flanders starts with a prologue of seven kilometers in Middelkerke. The second stage, which starts in Bruges and heads to Harelbeke, is about 182,9km long. The 185,9km final stage starts in Nieuwpoort and brings the riders to the traditional finish town Ichtegem. Among the favorites for GC are last year’s winner Kristof Vandewalle, Stijn Devolder and Julien Vermote. Lotto Belisol focuses on a stage win with fast riders like Dehaes and Van der Sande.

Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, sports director: “We bring a youthful selection to Le Samyn. We have also chosen to select Greg Henderson for the race. The goal for Greg is to take his place back in the peloton after the knee injury he suffered. The past few years Kenny Dehaes was always very close to the victory. But this year we will try to turn things around and win the race. A couple of fast riders should do the lead-out for Dehaes. Once again I am expecting strong teamwork from Cofidis. With Adrien Petit in their selection they have a big chance to win. Another one to watch is Nacer Bouhanni.”

“The prologue of the Three Days of West-Flanders will be crucial. If the team rides a decent prologue, we can climb up the GC in the following stages by picking up some bonifications. Our main goal for the race is to have a good GC and strive for a stage win. With Kristof Vandewalle and Stijn Devolder the Trek team has two shoo-ins for the overall.”

Selection Le Samyn: Vegard Breen, Sean De Bie, Kenny Dehaes, Greg Henderson, Boris Vallée, Tosh Van der Sande, Jonas Van Genechten and Dennis Vanendert.

Sports director: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx

Selection Three Days of West-Flanders: Vegard Breen, Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Kenny Dehaes, Gert Dockx, Greg Henderson, Boris Vallée, Tosh Van der Sande and Jonas Van Genechten. (Final selection after Le Samyn).

Sports directors: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx and Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Stages Three Days of West-Flanders:

Prologue: Friday 7th of March: Middelkerke (7km)

Stage 1: Saturday 8th of March: Brugge – Harelbeke (182.9km)

Stage 2: Sunday 9th of March: Nieuwpoort – Ichtegem (185.9km)