Published: Wednesday, 21 January 2015 08:53
Written by Jamie Naragon
Thomas De Gendt showed himself and the Lotto Soudal colours during the second stage of the Tour Down Under, from Unley to Stirling. The Belgian rider was part of a three-man breakaway, but the peloton didn’t let them take the win. Still, De Gendt has some souvenirs. After the stage he received the KOM jersey and the jersey of most competitive rider.
After twelve kilometres the breakaway was formed. Thomas De Gendt had the company of Cameron Meyer and Campbell Flakemore. Their maximal advantage was 3’55” after 62 kilometres. IAM, Sky and UniSA, the team of leader Jack Bobridge, set the pace in the bunch. Thomas De Gendt won the two intermediate sprints and took the maximal points at the KOM. De Gendt has ten points, just as many as Bobridge.
More than 100 kilometres in front
The three wouldn’t battle for the stage win, with about 25 kilometres to go de Gendt, Meyer and Flakemore were reeled in by the peloton. A group of about fifty riders headed to the uphill finish in Stirling. Juan José Lobato was the fastest man of the pack. Daryl Impey was second and Gorka Izagirre third. In the GC Adam Hansen stands on the seventeenth place at thirteen seconds of Jack Bobridge.
Make the race hard
Thomas De Gendt: “We definitely wanted to have someone of our team in the break, because it was possible that it would survive. I tried three times and then I was part of the breakaway. I did think we could make it, but the peloton soon started the chase. The three of us tried to make a hard race of it. Eventually the peloton caught us quite early. At the start of the first local lap of 20 kilometres we had about 2’20” advantage and I still believed in it. Then Flakemore didn’t help anymore, probably for his leader Cadel Evans. Then the peloton got closer really fast and at the end I didn’t push anymore.”
Win the KOM jersey
“Tomorrow I’ll start in the KOM jersey. At 500 metres of the finish there are sixteen points to gain. If I ride top five, I can keep my jersey. After today that won’t be easy. In the other stages there are definitely other opportunities. In the fourth stage I’ll have to be in the break and probably best in the fifth one as well. It will be difficult to win the KOM jersey, but it’s possible. I will do everything I can.”
Published: Monday, 12 January 2015 09:36
Written by Jamie Naragon
Saturday the route of the 70th edition of the Vuelta was announced in Torremolinos. The race starts on Saturday 22nd August in Puerto Banús and finishes on Sunday 13th September in the Spanish capital Madrid. During these three weeks there are nine summit finishes and two time trials.
Team time trial to start
Just like the previous editions the Vuelta starts with a team time trial. This time it’s over a distance of 7.4 kilometres and it takes the riders from Puerto Banús to Marbella. The next day the stage ends on a third category climb. Also the fourth stage finishes uphill, but not on a climb that yields points for the KOM classification. Thursday and Friday there are two more summit finishes, each time on a climb of second category. The stage on Sunday 30th August takes the riders to the first climb of first category, the finish line is drawn there. Tuesday 1st September the riders can enjoy a rest day.
Queen stage in Andorra
Then the riders have a tough week ahead of them. The eleventh stage, in Andorra, is the queen stage. Later that week there are two more finishes on a climb of first category. Just before the second rest day there is a summit finish on a climb hors catégorie. In the final week there is an individual time trial of 39 kilometres. The nineteenth stage finishes in Ávila. In the penultimate stage the peloton has to get over four climbs of first category, the finish lies after the final descent. The final stage, to Madrid, is 93.7 kilometres long. This is one of the few opportunities for sprinters.
For climbers and punchers
Mario Aerts sports director Lotto Soudal: “The organisation chose the same recipe as previous years. I expect nervous finals the first ten days. After the first rest day the queen stage is scheduled. There are six climbs over a distance of only 138 kilometres and about 5000 altitude metres. The hardest part will be the stages between the two rest days. The stages after the second rest day are possibly not tough enough to change the top of GC. There are two definite chances for the sprinters and two other stages that might end with a sprint as well. It’s a Vuelta for climbers and punchers.”
Opportunities for the team
“I see several opportunities for Adam Hansen. He’s someone who can jump away a few kilometres from the end and take the win. An early breakaway could make it on different occasions as well, Adam could be present in one of those. The Vuelta is part of the race programme of Jurgen Van den Broeck this year. After the first rest day he gets on a terrain that suits him, longer climbs and more climbs on one day. Also the time trial in the final week is not bad for him. The Vuelta is still far away, but there will definitely be opportunities for us.”
Stage 1: Saturday 22nd August: Puerto Banús – Marbella (7,4 km) (TTT)
Stage 2: Sunday 23rd August: Alhaurín de la Torre – Caminito del Rey (165 km)
Stage 3: Monday 24th August: Mijas – Málaga (164,6 km)
Stage 4: Tuesday 25th August: Estepona – Vejer de la Frontera (203 km)
Stage 5: Wednesday 26th August: Rota – Alcalá de Guadaira (182 km)
Stage 6: Thursday 27th August: Córdoba – Sierra de Cazorla (204 km)
Stage 7: Friday 28th August: Jódar – La Alpujarra (188,3 km)
Stage 8: Saturday 29th August: Puebla de Don Fadrique – Murcia (188,6 km)
Stage 9: Sunday 30th August: Torrevieja – Cumbre del Sol. Benitachell (168,3 km)
Stage 10: Monday 31st August: Valencia – Castellón (152 km)
Rest day 1: Tuesday 1st September
Stage 11: Wednesday 2nd September: Andorra La Vella – Cortals d’Encamp (138 km)
Stage 12: Thursday 3rd September: Escaldes – Engordany. Andorra-Lleida (172,5km)
Stage 13: Friday 4th September: Calatayud – Tarazona (168 km)
Stage 14: Saturday 5th September: Vitoria – Alto Campoo. Fuente del Chivo (213 km)
Stage 15: Sunday 6th September: Comillas – Sotres. Cabrales (175 km)
Stage 16: Monday 7th September: Luarca – Ermita de Alba. Quiros (184 km)
Rest day 2: Tuesday 8th September
Stage 17: Wednesday 9th September: Burgos – Burgos (39 km) (ITT)
Stage 18: Thursday 10th September: Roa – Riaza (204 km)
Stage 19: Friday 11th September: Medina del Campo – Ávila (185 km)
Stage 20: Saturday 12th September: San Lorenzo de El Escorial - Cercedilla (181 km)
Stage 21: Sunday 13th September: Alcalá de Henares – Madrid (93,7 km)