What does it look like to take the last podium place just four seconds ahead of the rabid rider behind you?
Right before the finish line.
Right after the finish line.
On any given day some bike racers ride a high while others try to claw their way out of the basement. This edition of favorite cycling quotes from last week includes comments from or about Nairo Quintana, the newest overall winner of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Hayden Roulston on what it’s like to race with Fabian Cancellara, and Andy Schleck who continues his road to recovery.
But first, retired pro George Hincapie delighted cycling fans with in-the-know commentary on the route and challenges facing the riders via his Twitter stream during Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix. For the first year in a long time Hincapie rode his sofa instead of his bike and didn’t breathe cobble dust as this classics monument wound through northern France.
Guys in back of group. Just hoping to make it to finish now. Winning or getting last in race. The pain is the same.
— ghincapie (@ghincapie) April 7, 2013
Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard Trek) won the 2013 Paris-Roubaix. What’s it like to race on the same team with such a famous rider? Cancellara’s teammate, Hayden Roulston, shared his thoughts on that topic Saturday with SBS’ Cycling Central.
“You’ve got to remember that Fabian is a big star who is someone who has done a lot of races and who has done a lot of great things on the bike. If you are new to the team you could be intimidated by him, and it is important not to have that. You don’t want to be intimidated by your leader, you want to be able to speak freely, laugh, and take the piss. All of that is a very big deal.”
Colombian riders attacked last week’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco with strength and nerve. Nairo Quintana (MoviStar) won a rainy stage and subsequently the overall race. Quintana grew up in the Boyaca region of Colombia, an area that has turned out numerous excellent cyclists and continues to do so. The author of the Cycling Inquisition blog who is Colombian and now living in the U.S., specializes in stories about retired and active Colombian cyclists. Last week he reposted a piece about Quintana in which he wrote,
“Like so many other great cyclists from Colombia, and from Boyacá in particular, Quintana’s parents are peasants, who raised him in what the newspaper El Espectador referred to as ‘precariously difficult economic conditions’…The trip to school was treacherous, and often left a young Nairo absolutely exhausted due to the difficulty of the terrain. So the young man’s family had to save up, and his father bought a used mountain bike for the equivalent of $30. Nairo treasured the bike, and slowly began to daydream during his rides to school. Every time he rode the bike, he pictured himself racing, and winning a stage that always ended on a mountaintop (which was actually his home).”
VeloNews interviewed Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard Trek) during the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Conversation focused on Schleck’s Tour de France plans as well as his continuing re-entry into racing.
“I haven’t experienced this before in my career. It’s something new. It’s the life of a cyclist. You have ups and downs in life. When you’re down, it takes a long time to come back up again. I still love riding my bike. I really enjoy racing.” — Andy Schleck
[For a view from the team car during Paris-Roubaix, see Sean Weide's Facebook album. Weide is a press officer for the BMC Racing Team. Log into Facebook to view the album.]
If history is any guide, Fernando Riveros should achieve his goal for the 2013 Continental Mountain Bike Championships.
In each of the past three years he’s climbed to higher placings in the elite cross-country category. Now he wants to improve on last year’s results when he finished sixth. Riveros will ride in the kit of his home country, Colombia. He currently lives and trains in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
His recent Colombian National Shimano Cup win was an emotional victory and best result since winning last year’s Rocky Mountain Endurance Series Breckenridge 68 mile marathon in July.
Riveros began mountain biking when he was 16 years-old while his family lived in Bogota, Colombia. One year later Hector Fernando Riveros Paez became junior Colombian national champion.
Argentina hosts the Continental MTB Championships this year. Over 500 riders from 35 countries/commonwealths in the North, South, and Central Americas will participate in cross-country, downhill, and four cross categories.
The elite cross-country race gets underway Sunday, April 7 with 57 starters. According to information on the 2013 Continental Championships website and EveryTrail, the 2013 circuit runs 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) with 181 meters (594 feet) of elevation gain.
Fernando Riveros checks in
The day before racing in Argentina, Riveros provided his thoughts on the following questions.
What kind of a performance are you looking to do in the elite race?
I was training for Pan Am games [Continental Championships] like 6 months ago! This is one of my goals for the first trimester of this season. I’m feeling good and I’m looking to be on the podium! Last year I was close to being on it but at the end I got cramps and didn’t get my goal. It’s not impossible and I can do it.
Have you ridden the course? What’s it like?
The course, it’s pretty amazing! It’s a good design and technical! Step climbs and fast descents! Now it’s really dry so we have to be careful in the corners. The course you need to be really focused on it or otherwise you lose places in the race.
Who do you think is the main competition?
All riders I have to put attention to! USA, Argentina, Canada, Brazil and the Colombians too because all these guys are in the World Cups and all the UCI races.
What is it like to be at the Pan Ams [Continental Championships]? Is it different from other races?
For me the Pan Ams are important just because I’m representing my country and personally I want the win because it’s somenthing that I want in my resume!
Continental Mountain Bike Championships, historical elite cross-country results
|Top 3 elite cross-country 2012|
|1||Todd Wells (USA)|
|2||Catriel Andres Soto (Argentina)|
|3||Rubens Valeriano (Brazil)|
|6||Fernando Riveros (Colombia)|
|Top 3 elite cross-country 2011|
|1||Hector Leonardo Paez Leon (Colombia)|
|2||Jeremiah Bishop (USA)|
|3||Todd Wells (USA)|
|12||Fernando Riveros (Colombia)|
|Top 3 elite cross-country 2010|
|1||Todd Wells (USA)|
|2||Rubens Valeriano (Brazil)|
|3||Max Plaxton (Canada)|
|22||Fernando Riveros (Colombia)|
This year’s Continental Mountain Bike Championships unfold in a place dubbed “town with a splendid entrance.” Russell Finsterwald from Colorado Springs hopes to leave it with a splendid finish.
Pan American MTB
The annual Continental MTB Championships is the continental competition for the North, South, and Central Americas and carries sizeable UCI points. Sometimes referred to as the Pan American Continental MTB Championships, it’s not the Pan American Games which is an event similar to the Olympics held every four years with the next edition in 2015.
The town of Tafi del Valle in northwestern Argentina hosts three days of Continental Championship racing this year. Over 500 riders from 35 countries/commonwealths will participate in cross country, downhill, and four cross categories, including 17 from the U.S. Men and women will tackle elite, U23, master, and junior contests.
Finsterwald, 21 years-old and a member of the Trek Factory Mountain Bike Team, will be defending his U23 title on Sunday, April 7.
About Russell Finsterwald
Finsterwald’s aunt is one sharp cookie. According to two interviews by Colorado Springs outlets, she gave him a mountain bike when he was 12 years-old and convinced him to race the Middle School State Championships in Colorado Springs.
“I finished somewhere mid-pack in that race,” he told Pikes Peak Sports, “but from that point on I was hooked on racing and spent every dollar I could on upgrading my bike.”
He became a junior national mountain bike champion in cross country and short track, and has won national championships in 24-hour team competitions.
Finsterwald graduated from Coronado High School where his teachers accommodated his racing schedule. He went on to study at the University of Colorado, then decided to focus on racing.
As a member of the U.S. national team and his former Subaru Trek outfit, Finsterwald has raced all over the world. He’s the reigning U.S. U23 mountain bike national champion in cross country. His resume includes top ten World Cup and U.S. Pro XCT finishes. The 2016 Olympics beckon.
“Finsty” in Argentina
According to information on the 2013 Continental Championships website and EveryTrail, the 2013 circuit runs 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) with 181 meters (594 feet) of elevation gain. Thirty-three riders will take on five laps in the men’s U23 race. Current weather predictions show a high temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24 C) for Sunday with a 30% chance of rain.
Finsterwald responded to the following questions yesterday from Argentina.
What kind of a performance are you looking to do in the U23 race?
I am hoping to end my last year in the U23 field by going out on top step. I won this race last year so I hope I can do it again.
Have you ridden the course? What’s it like?
I was able to get a lap in on the course today [Friday]. They had weird training hours and I would’ve liked to do more but none the less it is good. We’re at 6,600 feet [2,012 meters] here and the course is dry and dusty so it actually reminds me a lot of home. It’s more of a power course where you have to be on your game for the descents. I think it suits me well.
Who do you think is the main competition for the U23 race?
It’s always hard to say who my competition will be here. All the South American countries put together strong teams and my fellow Americans Keegan Swenson and Kerry Werner are riding pretty good. [A Cyclingnews story in 2010 noted the Continental Championships attract a broad range of riders with different levels of elite racing experience. – ed.]
What is it like to be at the Pan Ams [Continental Championships]? Is it different from other races?
Pan Ams is always one of my favorite races. The venues are typically in countries you’ve never raced in so there is quite a bit of excitement in seeing a new area. The South Americans are really ecstatic to be at the race as well so there is a good healthy vibe to it. It’s an honor to a part of it.
What are you doing for fun?
There’s not a ton of time to do much other than keep the legs up and do a little bit of riding but we’re still having fun. Today Colin Cares, Kerry Werner and I drove to the top of one of the mountain passes and shot a timelapse. That was pretty fun!
|2012 Top Three U23 Continental MTB Championships|
|1||Russell Finsterwald (USA)|
|2||Diyer Rincon (Colombia)|
|3||Kerry Werner (USA)|
|2011 Top Three U23 Continental MTB Championships|
|1||Jaime Yesid Chia (Colombia)|
|2||Diyer Rincon (Colombia)|
|3||Stephen Ettinger (USA)|
|26||Russell Finsterwald (USA)|
|2010 Top Three U23 Continental MTB Championships|
|1||Sherman Paiva (Brazil)|
|2||Henrique Avancini (Brazil)|
|3||Rob Squire (USA)|
|9||Russell Finsterwald (USA)|
Vail’s time trial course returns for the 2013 USA Pro Challenge and if Tejay van Garderen wants to leave Denver wearing yellow this time, he’ll need to slay its 16 kilometers and uphill gradient faster than the other GC contenders.
That may well be the biggest challenge BMC Racing Team’s van Garderen will face when the race starts in Aspen this August.
In the first edition of the Colorado race in 2011, Levi Leipheimer, then riding for RadioShack, stole the leader’s prize from van Garderen on what is likely to be a similar if not the same Vail course this year. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) who won the overall last year and plans to race again this year, finished just half a second behind Leipheimer.
Van Garderen’s 2011 ride landed him 51 seconds behind in sixth place on the stage.
Practice makes perfect?
VeloNews reported that van Garderen hadn’t seen the course in 2011 before racing it; neither had Leipheimer. Vande Velde on the other hand had previously trained on it.
So the jury’s out on whether practice will help van Garderen better his 2011 result on this course of two parts. The first 8.7 kilometer (5.4 mile) section is relatively flat and mostly straight, with an average grade of 1%. The second 7.6 kilometer (4.7 mile) part has an average grade of 3% with some sweeping curves as it rises up Vail Pass parallel to Interstate 70. The average grade over the entire 16 kilometer (10.1 mile) course as ridden in 2011 is an estimated 2%.
The two part nature of the route led to questions about equipment choice. In 2011 Leipheimer and van Garderen chose time trial bikes; Vande Velde selected a road bike with aero bars and logged a faster time on the steeper portion into the finish.
In this year’s March Paris-Nice time trial up the Col d’Eze, van Garderen lost 52 seconds to the stage winner over 9.6 kilometers with an average 4.6% pitch. The BMC rider fared better on the 7 kilometer Criterium International race of truth where he gave up only one second to first place. From the maps the Criterium International course appears to have more corners; it’s also much flatter than either Col d’Eze or Vail Pass.
Last summer a handful of riders congregated in Boulder and trained out of the Skratch Labs storefront with Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) as he prepared specifically for the Olympic time trial on a nearby road circuit designed to emulate the Olympic challenge.
Perhaps this August another BMC kitted rider will join him on a route that simulates the 16 kilometers (10 miles) up Vail Pass and channel emotional memories into motivation.
They might have to drive a bit, but not too far, if they want to practice at Vail’s attitude. Riders will take off from the start house at an elevation of about 2,500 meters (8,203 feet) and finish at 2,939 meters (9,643 feet).
2011 USA Pro Challenge Vail TT Top Ten
|1||Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack||0:25:47|
|2||Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo|
|3||Rafael Infantino Abreu (Col) EPM – UNE||0:00:04|
|4||Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo||0:00:33|
|5||Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||0:00:40|
|6||Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad||0:00:51|
|7||David Zabriskie (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo||0:00:59|
|8||Jens Voigt (Ger) Leopard Trek||0:01:01|
|9||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|10||George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:01:11|
2013 Paris-Nice Col d’Eze TT Top Ten
|1||Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling||0:19:16|
|2||Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp||0:00:23|
|3||Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team||0:00:27|
|4||Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:32|
|5||Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:00:52|
|6||Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha||0:00:55|
|7||Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:01:00|
|8||Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:01:03|
|9||Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step||0:01:05|
|10||Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:01:06|
2013 Criterium International TT Top Ten
|1||Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling||0:09:10|
|2||Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||0:00:01|
|3||Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:00:01|
|4||Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling||0:00:02|
|5||Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp||0:00:07|
|6||Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:07|
|7||Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard||0:00:07|
|8||Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard||0:00:09|
|9||Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||0:00:11|
|10||Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team||0:00:11|
As this is the season of cobblestones for pro-cycling, the Classics lead off favorite cycling quotes from last week. The theme of style follows, featuring Taylor Phinney and Peter Sagan.
Two big days, The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix
“The Tour of Flanders is more than a national holiday for us. It’s one of the most important days in Flanders in the year.” Flanders Classics event coordinator Stijn Vermoere, speaking to VeloNews in an interview about cyclosportives that give the public a chance to trace the routes of Classics like the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
“Cancellara will be hard to beat at Paris-Roubaix, but you can’t go into a race thinking you’re beaten already.” Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), speaking to Cyclingnews about racing against Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard-Trek) this coming Sunday at Paris-Roubaix.
Stuey O’Grady (Orica-GreenEDGE), former Paris-Roubaix winner, seconded Chavanel’s sentiments in a quote cited by John Wilcockson in his column on Peloton online: “In talking about that race, but applicable to both of these upcoming cobbled classics, O’Grady says, ‘Experience is priceless in Paris-Roubaix. There’s probably only 10 guys in the peloton thinking they can win. A lot of guys are just happy to finish, a lot of guys are happy to get to the first feed zone. And if it’s raining, a lot of guys will have already lost the race before the start…‘”
Even for a rider like Geraint Thomas (Sky) who thinks he can win a cycling ”monument” like the Tour of Flanders after having focused on the race for months, results can still slip through his fingers.
“It was five-and-a-half hours of concentrating, being in the right place at the right time but it can all go in 10 seconds.” Geraint Thomas speaking to the U.K. outlet CyclingWeekly about his Ronde van Vlaanderen experience; he crashed during the race and expended a lot of energy chasing back onto the lead group.
Style on and off the bike
Before he became famous for pinching a podium girl’s behind at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was better known for his displays on the finishing line. Like wheelies. It turns out not all pro-cyclists can balance on one wheel.
“If I could do a wheelie, I would do it as well. I dream about it sometimes, that I’m very good at it, even if I’m not.” Tom Boonen in a CyclingWeekly interview about racing against Sagan.
Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) should start Paris-Roubaix this coming Sunday. But he’s most recently received media attention about launching a fashion line with the Italian designer Dolce & Gabbana. As reported in VeloNews, the fashion line products are to include a signature perfume and watches.
The story details the watch design with a large face: “The signature model, the ‘T,’ will include a bi-directional rotating bezel, which can be used to figure simple mathematical equations such as watts per kilogram and lactate threshold.
‘Yeah, with this I thought it would be cool to bring a bit of bike racing into the stores,’ he [Phinney] said. ‘You’ll notice [many pro riders] all wear big watches. I have no idea why we started doing it, really, but now that I’ve started, I can’t stop. And you shouldn’t, either.’”
Ever wonder which U.S. teams are performing best in a collection of U.S. races that includes the National Criterium Calendar and National Racing Calendar series as well as popular events outside of those series? The answer is here in an easy-to-read graph format.
The following tallies count wins for UCI-registered U.S. teams in races on U.S. soil this season through March 30th, 2013. Men’s and women’s counts are both shown and include stage as well as overall GC victories. Check back next month for updated rankings.
Men’s team wins summary
The men’s teams are grouped by ProTour, Professional Continental, and Continental status. Jamis/Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home leads the rankings after dominating the San Dimas and Valley of the Sun stage races. UnitedHealthcare owes its three victories to a continued demonstration of force in the Criterium Calendar events.
BMC Racing Team, Garmin-Sharp, and Novo Nordisk haven’t raced yet in the U.S., although Novo Nordisk’s independent development team guys have been very active in the early U.S. season.
Riders on the development powerhouse of Bontrager, namely Jasper Stuyven and Lawson Craddock, have been winning in Europe. Christiaan Kriek of Jelly Belly – Kenda won a stage and overall GC at the Tour of Murrieta but those results aren’t counted in the rankings here to date. Only races that included more than one of the UCI-registered teams have been included in the tallies.
Women’s team wins summary
The women’s teams have divided U.S. wins pretty evenly thus far, with the exception of Team Tibco which has focused its efforts almost exclusively in Europe. Shelley Olds of Tibco raced well in the Ladies Tour of Qatar with top ten stage results; she’s also finished top five in one-day classics.
Alison Tetrick, Mara Abbott, and Jackie Crowell have contributed to Exergy Twenty16‘s success so far this season in the U.S., with Leah Kirchmann leading the way for Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.
Specialized-lululemon has won in the U.S. due to strong performances by Evelyn Stevens, Taylor Wiles, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, and Gillian Carleton.
Non-UCI-registered teams have won races at events that were used to create these rankings. They include for the men P&S – Specialized, Full Circle powered by Pure Gear, and New York’s CRCA/Foundation. Women riders on NOW and Novartis for MS, NCVC/UnitedHealthcare, and Michelob Ultra – LaGrange have won races.
Redlands Bicycle Classic takes place from April 4 to 7 and is the next major contest for these professional cycling teams; it offers four stage wins and one overall placing.
Twelve UCI registered men’s teams based in the U.S.
2 ProTour Teams: BMC Racing Team, Garmin-Sharp
2 Pro Continental Teams: United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team, Novo Nordisk
8 Continental Teams: Jamis Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home, Bissell Pro Cycling, Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis, 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda, Jelly Belly – Kenda, Hincapie Sportswear Development Cycling Team, Bontrager Cycling Team
Four UCI registered women’s teams based in the U.S.
Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Exergy Twenty16, Specialized-lululemon, and Team Tibco
Races included in the win tallies as of 3/30/2013
USA Cycling’s National Criterium Calendar series: Old Pueblo Gran Prix, Cigar City Brewing Criterium, Delray Beach Twilight Festival.
USA Cycling’s National [road] Racing Calendar series: None to date, as the series begins with the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Non-”Calendar” races: Merco Cycling Classic, Valley of the Sun Stage Race, Tucson Bicycle Classic, Blythewood Omnium, San Dimas Stage Race.