Gerrans Wins The Santos Tour Down Under:
Simon Gerrans was crowned winner of the Santos Tour Down Under this week, winning a record third title. Following a week of dramatic racing, Gerrans became the first rider in the Tour’s 16-year history to win three overall titles.
Gerrans had been locked in a battle for the GC with fellow Australian cycling legend, Cadel Evans (BMC). Both riders shadowed each other in the final stages, with Gerrans ultimately finishing ahead of Evans by only one second. Italian rider Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) finshed third.
Other notable performances came from Tasmanian Richie Porte who won the stage and battle up Willunga Hill. Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) won the Tour’s King Of The Mountain jersey and Orica-GreenEDGE won the team of the Tour.
Christian Prudhomme Backs The TDU:
Santos Tour Down Under boss Mike Turtur is hoping the Australian race remains the UCI WorldTour season opener in January.
UCI president Brian Cookson confirmed there is an ongoing review of the elite men’s calendar, and that everything is up for review, including a possible change of date for the Tour Down Under, perhaps slotting it into February.
However, Tour director Turtur and Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, said that the Tour Down Under is just fine where it is in mid-to-late-January.
“January is an ideal period for the race,” Turtur told journalists Monday. “Being the No. 1 race on the calendar is something that’s worked out well for us, and I think January is a good month to start for the riders.”
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme echoed those sentiments. Prudhomme visited the race during the closing days, and agreed that January is a good place for the Tour Down Under.
The Tour Down Under has a WorldTour license through 2015. Cookson said any changes considered for the future would be likely introduced for the 2016 season.
Quintana To Miss The Tour De France:
After weeks of speculation, Movistar have confirmed that Nairo Quintana, runner-up in the Tour de France last year, will be absent from the 2014 Tour De France.
Instead, the Colombian Mountain Machine will focus on the Giro d’Italia, with Movistar co-leader Valverde targeting the Tour de France. The two are then provisionally due to race in the Vuelta a España, which Valverde won in 2009 and where he finished on the podium again in 2013.
Quintana’s presence at the Giro d’Italia will be a big boost to the line-up of top contenders for the Italian race, and allows him ample time to recover prior to the Vuelta a España. Valverde, meanwhile, has proved himself capable of riding the Tour and Vuelta back to back and will repeat his 2013 program of Grand Tours.
Sagan Builds For San-Remo Classic:
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) kicked off his season in Argentina’s Tour de San Luis last week. Sagan improved throughout the Tour, saving his best for last with a second place finsh in the final stage.
Sagan came up short against Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) on a technical finale seemingly more suited to the Slovakian’s skill set.
Nonetheless, Sagan was happy with his progress at the seven-day Tour de San Luis, the biggest stage race in all of South America, as his major goals for the season are still months away.
“My team did very good work and I had the best position for the finale, but I’m not in condition now.” Oscar Gatto, new to Cannondale for 2014, provided the lead-out for Sagan into the finish at Terrazas del Portezuelo.
Sagan wasn’t involved in the Tour de San Luis’s first sprint finale, won by Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing), as he rolled in 44 seconds down. Sagan did prove rather adept in the flat, 19.2km time trial on stage five, placing 10th.
“I’m leaving San Luis with improving condition and that is good,” said Sagan. “January is an important step in preparing for the Classics season, my first goal of the season.” When asked to identify what first big goal of the season was, Sagan provided a two-word response: “San Remo”.
Haydn Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org