Archive for the ‘Movistar Team’ Category

Mountain Man Purito Rides into Polka Dots

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Joaquim Rodriguez / (c)
With seven categorised climbs on the cards crammed into 160 km of racing, the profile to Stage 10 from Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles looked more like a saw blade than a race route. Exactly the conditions required then for Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez to launch his assault on the King of the Mountains competition.

As soon as the flag dropped, the Katusha captain was in the breakaway aboard his new Aeroad CF SLX and went on to collect 40 points over the course of the day.

Joaquim Rodriguez / (c)

The stage victory may have just passed him by, but Purito was still pleased to pull on the polka dots on the podium:

“My main objective for today was to take the mountain jersey, which is why I went in the breakaway. Today would have been nice to win a stage too, but it was a really hard day and I saw that the yellow jersey group never let us have enough time.”
Canyon Pro Sports

Alejandro Valverde / (c)

Valverde on Track

Movistar Team worked tirelessly to set up leader Alejandro Valverde for the tough final climb and were rewarded as the Spaniard crossed the line in third, boosting him to third overall in the process.

Crashes have taken their toll on the peloton so far in the race and with big favourites Chris Froome and Alberto Contador now out of the race, Valverde’s chances of standing on the podium in Paris are now even greater.

For exclusive news updates and photos of our teams from the Tour follow us on:

Canyon at the Tour de France

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Alejandro Valverde / (c)
The second week of the Tour de France is already underway as the race heads for the Alps. As the big favourites begin to show their cards, Canyon will be bringing you exclusive news updates, photos and all the latest information from the race.

Our Social Media Guru Robert will be following the action giving you a closer look into the inner workings of Katusha and Movistar Team. Can Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez hold on to the Polka-dot jersey? Will Alejandro Valverde continue his march up the General Classification? What’s the latest on the brand new Aeroad? Follow us on social media to get the full lowdown:


Joaquim Rodríguez / (c)

We’ve also got a whole load of gifts for Canyon fans spectating at the side of the road. Look out for the black Canyon Skoda if you want to get your hands on Canyon bottles, wristbands, musettes, stickers and special offer fliers.

So hit the road and support Katusha and Movistar Team at the Tour de France with us!

Joaquim Rodríguez / (c)

Hunting for Yellow: Katusha and Movistar Team ready for the Tour de France

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Arc de Triomphe / (c)
July is upon us and that can only mean one thing – It’s time for the Tour de France. “Le Tour” transcends cycling like no other race on the calendar, anyone who doesn’t know about cycling knows about the Tour de France. Images of the Yellow Jersey rolling through bright fields of sunflowers and battling up mountain passes are iconic and what many people associate with our sport.

For the riders themselves, this is the biggest race of the year – every pro wants to complete the Tour at least once in their career. As such, this three week-long Grand Tour is one of the toughest sporting events in the world. No one arrives at the start line to use this as a preparation race, every rider shows up in the form of their life. It’s a stress-fest. The battle for road position is intense, the average speeds considerably higher, and the risks of losing it all with one false move are far bigger than any other race on the calendar.

Three weeks. 21 stages. 3,664 gruelling kilometres. 198 of the world’s best bike riders. The 101st Tour de France is guaranteed to be a race to remember.

Seeing Yellow, Green and Polka Dot

Expect to see Canyon riders in the thick of the action throughout July as Katusha and Movistar Team field the strongest riders available to them. The Spanish squad have come away from victory at the Giro d’Italia on a high and will be looking to do the double with Alejandro Valverde, who will target the Yellow Jersey. Supporting Valverde will be an array of climbing talent to wreak havoc upon the rest of the field when the race hits the high mountains. This is seventh time the Spaniard has taken on le Tour and he has multiple stage wins to his name. Judging by his list of successes so far in 2014, Valverde is no doubt one of the favourites for the podium in Paris.

Alejandro Valverde / (c)

A different approach will be taken by Katusha, who will be backing Alexander Kristoff to take the sprinters’ Green Jersey. The Norwegian has had a breakthrough season this year, taking his biggest career win at Milan-Sanremo back in March. Kristoff has the power and versatility to mix it up at the front on a variety of stages beyond the pan-flat drag races for pure sprinters. What’s more, he is one of the peloton’s most consistent performers, an essential trait for success in this competition.

Alexander Kristoff / (c)

Katusha captain, Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez will be making his comeback at le Tour after crashing out of the Giro d’Italia. Following a monumental ride in 2013 to finish on the podium, the Catalan will be targeting stage wins this year and could be an outsider for the Polka Dot Jersey in the mountains classification. After a successful start to 2014, including victory in his home race, the Volta a Catalunya, bad luck struck Purito with a series of crashes in the Spring Classics and then at the Giro putting him out of action. Expect to see him at the front of the peloton whenever the road heads skywards as he looks to turn his season around.

Joaquim Rodríguez / (c)

The Challenge Ahead

A drastic change of scene for the Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014 and what many people are predicting to be the toughest start for decades. Yorkshire. North England. God’s Own Country. No opening prologue time trial this year, instead the action kicks off with a tough 190 km road stage through the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park. Tension will be high and crashes are all but guaranteed as the sprinter’s teams battle to bring their fast men to the finish line in Harrogate in the best position possible for the rare chance to pull on the Yellow Jersey.

While the opening stage is destined for the sprinters, Stage 2 is perfect for hilly classics specialists and could well see the GC favourites already showing their cards. Up hill and down dale for 200 km, the stage to Sheffield has no metre of flat and the narrow, twisting, heavy Yorkshire roads could well catch many teams out.

The race returns to the continent on stage 4 and poses another major challenge on stage 5 with 9 bone-rattling cobble sectors for the peloton to tackle. While many riders are used to taking on the Pavé, the GC favourites will be pinning all their hopes on coming through this stage without any major mishaps. The riders will hit the first real mountains the following weekend in the Vosges, with fireworks expected on Bastille Day including the steep summit finish to La Planche des Belles Filles prior to the first rest day. Then it’s into the Alps for stages 13 and 14, and two consecutive high-summit finishes to Chamrousse and Risoul.

After the Alps, there’s just one flat stage and one rest day to get some energy back into the legs before hitting the Pyrenees hard for the climax of this year’s race. The trend for shorter, more action-packed mountain stages continues with 125 km to Pla d’Adet and 145 km to Hautacam on stages 17 and 18 respectively, at which point we should have a real idea of who will win the Tour. There will be one final twist, however, with the only time trial in the race coming on the penultimate stage – a 54 km test to provide the last shake up in the GC. The following and final day, the peloton will roll into Paris at sunset for a Sprint Royale on the Champs-Élysées to crown the 2014 Tour de France champion.

Team Katusha line-up: Yuri Trofimov, Joaquim Rodríguez, Egor Silin, Simon Spilak, Alexander Kristoff, Aleksandr Porsev, Luca Paolini, Gatis Smukulis, Vladimir Isaychev

Movistar Team line-up: Alejandro Valverde, Imanol Erviti, John Gadret, Jesus Herrada, Benat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre, Ruben Plaza, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Giovanni Visconti

We wish both teams the best of luck for the Tour de France!

Movistar Team and Katusha at the Tour de France 2014 / (c)

Movistar Team Dominates Route du Sud!

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Jesus Herrada takes stage one of Route du Sud 2014 / (c) Maxime Lafage
Movistar Team put in a dominating performance at the Route du Sud last week. Two stage wins, two further podiums and second in the overall classification with Alejandro Valverde rounded out a successful campaign in the French Pyrenean stage race.

Stage one saw a tough summit finish atop the Sainte Marie-de-Campan at 1106 metres above sea level. Spanish national champion, Jesus Herrada, attacked on the climb aboard his Ultimate CF SLX and took the stage to notch up his first win in 2014, while Valverde lead home the rest of the peloton to take second. With Herrada’s success, Movistar Team also celebrated their 100th ever victory, a landmark achievement for the Spanish squad.

Alejandro Valverde leading the peloton / (c) Maxime Lafage

Build-up to Tour de France

Although just three days long, the Route du Sud is a key warm up to the fast-approaching Tour de France. Stage two included some of the Tour’s most famous climbs, taking the riders over the Col du Tourmalet and the Col d’Aspin. Valverde further proved his good form by coming in third place on this brutal day.

Adriano Malori finished off the race in the perfect way by winning the final stage into Castres with an incredible 20 km solo attack. The Italian took the sprinters’ teams by surprise and crossed the line just 5 seconds ahead of his pursuers for Movistar Team’s 19th win of the season.

Following such an impressive showing, things are looking up for Eusebio Unzué’s squad going into July and the biggest race of the year, the Tour de France. Valverde clearly has the form and will go into his 7th ever Tour on July the 5th as one of the big favourites for the title.

Canyon Pro Sports

Historic Victory for Quintana and Canyon at the Giro d‘Italia!

Monday, June 2nd, 2014
Nairo Quintana / (c)

Dressed head-to-toe in pink and with a rosa Ultimate CF SLX to match, Nairo Quintana rolled across the finish line of the final stage of the 2014 Giro d’Italia yesterday to claim a historic Grand Tour victory for Movistar Team, for Columbia and for Canyon.

Ultimate Success at last for Canyon

With a roll of honour that includes a World Championship title, multiple stage wins in all three Grand Tours, six Monuments and countless other race wins and podiums, the one result that has always proven elusive for Canyon was overall victory in a Grand Tour. Until now.

Nairo Quintana / (c)

Nairo Quintana and Movistar Team’s success at the Giro provides a defining moment in the history of Canyon Bicycles. Over the past three weeks, Movistar Team have shown that with the Ultimate CF SLX, Aeroad CF and Speedmax CF, they are without doubt one of the best prepared and best equipped teams around in the UCI WorldTour.

Nairo Quintana / (c)

A Grand and Gruelling Giro

From Belfast to Trieste, the battle for the Maglia Rosa was fought out over 21 brutal stages in a Giro of extremes. From the wind-battered coastal roads along the Irish Sea, to monsoon conditions in southern Italy, through freak hail storms and across snow-lined mountain passes in blizzards. The struggle to contend with such treacherous conditions provided a major obstacle for many.

Giro d'Italia / (c)

Crashes also played a defining role in the story of the Giro with a number of big names falling victim to slick Italian roads as the rain came down. Teamwork, 100% concentration, tactical know-how and, to a certain degree, luck, were all essential to stay in the race.

Add to all this a final week of racing that tackled the most iconic climbs in Italian cycling, including the Gavia and Stelvio passes in addition to the Zoncolon, the 2014 Giro was undoubtedly one of the toughest Grand Tours in recent years.

Stage 16 / (c)

Perseverance and Solidarity Key to Movistar Team Success

No rider was immune to misfortune in the race. Quintana himself was involved in the mass pile-ups that defined the first week giving the team cause for concern: “We did fear Nairo wouldn’t be able to recover from his injuries,” claimed manager Eusebio Unzué. What’s more, the Columbian was suffering from a chest infection and allergies throughout the first two weeks meaning he was never entirely at 100% fitness.

Nairo Quintana / (c)

Nevertheless, perseverance always pays off. Having made it into the final week the race finally headed into the terrain for which Quintana is made: the high mountains. His victories at Stage 16 to Val Martello and once again during the Stage 19 mountain Time Trial confirmed him as one of the greatest climbers of his generation.

Movistar Team / (c)

Victory would not have been possible were it not for the strength in depth of the whole Movistar Team. The foundations for success were laid after a solid performance in the opening Team Time Trial in Belfast. Whether on the flats or in the high peaks, Quintana was rarely seen without a teammate at his side, allowing him to save energy for when he needed it most. Out of 21 teams, Movistar Team was the only squad bar one to have a full complement of nine riders by the end of the race in Trieste.

Movistar Team / (c)

The Best Bike for the Best Rider

Canyon prides itself on the work it carries out with professional athletes to continue developing and perfecting our products. It is a direct result of the hours of testing we put in with the best riders in the world that allows us to build what we believe are the best bikes in the world. Nairo Quintana’s historic victory at the Giro d’Italia only serves to cement that belief.

Ultimate CF SLX / (c)

Congratulations to all at Movistar Team and to Nairo Quintana for winning the 2014 Giro d’Italia!

The winning squad: Nairo Quintana (Col), Andrey Amador (Crc), Igor Anton (Spa), Eros Capecchi (Ita), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa), José Herrada (Spa), Gorka Izagirre (Spa), Francisco Ventoso (Spa), Adriano Malori (Ita)

Canyon Pro Sports

Quintana Climbs into Pink after Mountain Attack

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
Quintana in Pink / (c)

Nairo Quintana of Movistar Team laid his claim to the overall title of the 2014 Giro d’Italia yesterday with a massive attacking display in the Alps to move into the race lead on the Ultimate CF SLX.

How it happened

Stage 16 was always going to be explosive. Just 139 km long and with three huge ascents, including the legendary Gavia and Stelvio passes. Add to that the adverse weather conditions with the peloton riding through heavy snow at higher ground, yesterday had all the makings of a classic Giro stage.

Stage 16 / (c)

The Columbian slipped away before the final climb of the day and pressed home his advantage on the steep ramps to the summit finish at Val Martello, distancing Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Sharp on the final hairpins to the line. Further down the mountain, the main contenders were still toiling away, with pink jersey wearer, Rigoberto Uran, coming to the finish over four minutes down and losing his lead in the overall classification. Quintana now has a minute and 41 second advantage over his compatriot Uran.

Nairo Quintana / (c)

Following the stage, a delighted Quintana was buoyed by the commitment of his teammates and by his own performance: “This gives me confidence and confirms I can do great things in the present and future. I dedicate this to my team. I owe them everything.”

The challenges to come…

Quintana has had to fight hard to even make it this far in the race, having ridden with a chest infection for the first two weeks and undergoing a course of antibiotics. Nevertheless, the final week of the Giro is made for the pure climbers.

After yet another category one summit finish on Thursday comes the second Individual Time Trial of this year’s Giro on Friday. The twist? It’s 26 km straight up the side of a mountain.

Stage 19 / Photo: RCS Sport

As if that wasn’t enough to separate the overall contenders, the final showdown will take place on the feared slopes of Monte Zoncolon. A Giro highlight, expect to see massive crowds with the tifosi going wild and riders struggling with fierce 20% gradients.

Stage 20 / (c) RCS Sport

Following this test we will know who will be crowned 2014 Giro d’Italia champion.

Canyon Pro Sports

Giro d’Italia 2014: Katusha and Movistar Team Fight for Pink!

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Purito in la Maglia Rosa 2012 / (c) ROTH

The 2014 Giro d’Italia is just around the corner and both Canyon ProTeams are set to be right in the hunt for the coveted “Maglia Rosa”. With 21 stages, two time trials, one team time trial and a whole host of big mountain stages, this year’s edition promises to be a close-fought classic.

Quintana at Tirreno Adriatico / (c) Graham Watson

In a race that will favour the featherweight climbers of the peloton, Nairo Quintana of Movistar Team and Katusha’s Joaquim Rodríguez line up at the start as marked men for the title. As two of the best climbers in the world, both have a proven track record over this kind of terrain.

Blues vs. Reds.

Canyon vs. Canyon.

Get ready for some epic racing as the 2014 Grand Tours get underway…

Rodríguez: “It’s time I netted a Grand Tour”

Purito is without doubt one of the most consistent Grand Tour riders in the world with a number of podium performances to his name, most recently 3rd place at the 2013 Tour de France. However, he has yet to stand on the top step at the end of a three week race. In the 2012 Giro d’Italia he came agonisingly close, taking two stage wins aboard his Aeroad CF and wearing the Maglia Rosa for much of the race before losing his lead in the final time trial by just 16 seconds.

Puito wins in Catalunya / (c)

This year could be very different. Purito has targeted the Giro as his main objective for 2014: “It’s a route which suits me. It’s got a lot of long, hard stages.” Despite a disappointing showing in the recent Ardennes classics where he suffered injury from crashing, Rodríguez wrapped up the Volta a Catalunya in style earlier this year against an incredibly strong field and rightly goes into the race as one of the main favourites.

Luca Paolini in pink in 2013 / (c)  ROTH

The 2013 Giro was a huge success for Katusha with stage wins from both Maxim Belkov and Luca Paolini and multiple days in pink. The Katusha squad will be focussed on shepherding Purito through the mountains where the race will be decided: “The team is a very strong one, well-focused, and that’s always important.”

Quintana steps up to leadership

One of the performances that got people talking most in 2013 was Nairo Quintana’s debut Tour de France. After taking 2nd place overall, the best young rider’s jersey, the polka-dot jersey, not to mention a stage win, it was certain to all that it’s only a matter of time before the Columbian climber bags a Grand Tour. With a course so packed full of climbing, that win could come even sooner than many expected as Quintana takes to the start in Belfast as the man to beat.

Quintana wins in Argentina / (c) Graham Watson

With a stage race win and a number of consistent performances coming early in 2014, Quintana clearly has the form, and as last year’s Tour de France showed, the stamina to last three weeks. Movistar Team have a number of mountain domestiques to aid Quintana in his bid for overall glory but can also look elsewhere for success. Adriano Malori is racing his home Grand Tour and will have his eye on the stage 12 time trial, with two TT wins already under his belt this season it would be hard to bet against him.

The Contenders

Quintana and Rodríguez will have their work cut out if they want to arrive in Trieste wearing pink. This year a number of strong contenders will line up at the start to ensure an incredibly open race for 2014. Those to watch out for include BMC veteran Cadel Evans and OPQS’s Rigoberto Uran, both of whom finished on the podium last year. Past winners of the race riding this year include Ivan Basso of Cannondale, Michele Scarponi of Astana, and most recently, 2012 winner Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin -Sharp.

2014 Giro d'Italia / (c) RCS Sport

The Route

As is increasingly the trend with the Grand Tours, this year’s Giro d’Italia will get underway on foreign soil, this time in Belfast, Northern Island. Two sprint stages on the Emerald Isle follow the opening 21 km team time trial around Belfast on Friday, which will determine who gets to be the first rider to pull on the pink jersey.

After its brief stint abroad and a rest day after the weekend, the race returns home to the heel of Italy on Tuesday 13th May. The first real test for the GC contenders comes the following Saturday with the first category summit finish to Montecopiolo in the Apennines mountains. With gradients creeping up to 13%, stage 8 will provide the first proper climbing showdown.

Stage 8 / (c) RCS Sport

The next big test in the second week comes in the form of a 42 km individual time trial over the rolling Barolo vineyards. This stage is bound to have a big impact on the general classification and will likely define the rest of the race. Both our teams will deploy the Speedmax CF for absolute efficiency on the climbs and maximum speed on the flats and descents.

Stage 12 / (c) RCS Sport

Two first category summit finishes lie in store over the following Saturday and Sunday providing no let-up for the riders before the Giro heads into its brutal final week. When names like the Stelvio, Monte Grappa and Monte Zoncolon appear the end of a 3 week stage race, you know it’s going to hurt… Stage 16 will be explosive as the riders tackle three big summits in just 139 km of racing.

Stage 16 / (c) RCS Sport

Then on Friday there will be no place for the riders to hide as they face an excruciating 26 km mountain time trial.

Stage 19 / Photo: RCS Sport

Saturday brings the dreaded Zoncolon for the final GC battle. The Zoncolon has achieved legendary status in the Giro with its unfathomably steep 20% pitches and uneven gradients. It’s more like climbing a wall than a road. Massive crowds will line the mountain on this day as the final places in the GC are settled.

Stage 20 / (c) RCS Sport

The following day marks the final stage of the 2014 Giro d’Italia with a procession into the city of Trieste before a fast sprint finish.

Check back here for more content throughout the race and look forward to an action-packed 2014 Giro d’Italia!

Team Katusha Line-up: Joaquím Rodríguez (Spa), Maxim Belkov (Rus), Giampaolo Caruso (Ita), Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Alberto Losada (Spa), Daniel Moreno (Spa), Luca Paolini (Ita), Angel Vicioso (Spa), Eduard Vorganov (Rus)

Movistar Team Line-up: Nairo Quintana (Col), Andrey Amador (Crc), Igor Anton (Spa), Eros Capecchi (Ita), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa), José Herrada (Spa), Gorka Izagirre (Spa), Francisco Ventoso (Spa), Adriano Malori (Ita)

Canyon Pro Sports

Ardennes Roundup: Dominant Week for Valverde!

Monday, April 28th, 2014
100th Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2014 Podium with Alejandro Valverde / (c)

After 263 KM of racing and over 4700 metres of climbing, just one bike length separated Alejandro Valverde from victory at the finish line of Liège-Bastogne-Liège yesterday. The Spaniard came tantalisingly close to winning one of the toughest physical tests in cycling, only to be edged out by Simon Gerrans of ORICA-GreenEDGE in the sprint for the line.

Nevertheless, yesterday’s result capped off a fantastic week for Valverde and the Movistar Team. By piloting his Ultimate CF SLX to fourth in the Amstel Gold Race, a memorable victory on the Mur de Huy in Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne and second place yesterday, Valverde proved to be the strongest and most consistent rider throughout the Ardennes Classics: “First, second and fourth in three Classics, there aren’t many out there who can achieve these results. […] I can’t really ask for much more.”

With eight victories to his name so far this season, Valverde is currently the most successful rider in the peloton in 2014. What’s more, he celebrated his 34th birthday on Friday. Valverde will now take a well-deserved break from racing before building up for an assault on the Tour de France in July.

Fourth for Caruso, no luck for Rodríguez

Heading into the Ardennes week, much expectation lay on the shoulders of Joaquim Rodríguez having performed exceptionally in these races over the years. Unfortunately though, this year it wasn’t to be as crashes took him out of both Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne. The damage sustained meant “Purito” couldn’t possibly be at his best for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, forcing him to withdraw prior to the finale.

Katushas Giampaolo Caruso pushing hard at Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2014 / (c)

The baton was therefore handed to Katusha’s other uphill specialists, with Dani Moreno and Giampaolo Caruso performing exceptionally across the week. Moreno was a constant feature in the top-ten, with 9th place in all three races, meanwhile Caruso animated both Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège with attacking displays. The Sicilian, who normally rides in aid of others, made the most of the opportunity to ride for himself by attacking in the finale of yesterday’s race, only to be swallowed up by his pursuers within 100 metres from the line. Caruso still managed to hold on to take fourth place and with it Team Katusha’s best result of the Ardennes week.

Grand Tours just around the corner

With the 2014 Spring Classics season over, it’s now time for the Grand Tours. Up first is the Giro d’Italia, which starts on the 9th of May in Northern Ireland. We’ll be keeping you up to date with all the latest action as Nairo Quintana of Movistar Team and Rodríguez with Katusha fight it out for the pink jersey!

Canyon Pro Sports

Made for the Mur: Valverde takes historic Flèche Wallonne for Canyon

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Alejandro Valverde takes Flèche Wallone 2014 /(c)

On the final brutal ascent of the Mur de Huy, it was Movistar Team’s Alejandro Valverde who proved the strongest to take a historic victory for Canyon at Flèche Wallonne.

Following wins in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, Canyon bikes have now triumphed four times on the trot at the Ardennes Classic, in an unprecedented run of success.

With gradients well in excess of 20%, watching the legendary finish up the Mur de Huy resembles a super-slow-motion bunch sprint – few other races in the world provide such a vivid impression of the riders’ effort. To succeed, the winner has to time their effort to perfection – go too early and you’ll fade away, wait too long and it’s too late.

Valverde, who also triumphed in the race back in 2006, proved to have the legs and the experience as he built a gap over a select group of uphill specialists on his Ultimate CF SLX just after the steepest section of the climb.

Having notched up his eighth victory of the year, the Spaniard becomes the most successful rider so far in 2014 and will go into Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège as the man to watch. The race marks the climax of the Ardennes Week and could be the perfect birthday present for Valverde, who turns 34 on Friday.

Canyon Pro Sports

Tour of Flanders Preview: Katusha and Movistar Team Ready to Attack the Cobbles

Friday, April 4th, 2014
Katushas Luca Paolini leading the peloton on the cobblestones / Photo:

The 98th edition of the Tour of Flanders will roll out from the centre of Bruges on Sunday to mark the start of one of most evocative, demanding, and downright insane spectacles in professional cycling. For the cycling-mad locals, it doesn’t get any bigger than De Ronde van Vlaanderen. Their race eclipses all other events on the international sporting calendar, and that includes the Tour de France. The proof lies in the millions who come out to line the course just to catch a glimpse of their heroes in action. All across the region they congregate on the cobbled climbs, bier in one hand, frites in the other, to celebrate this festival of cycling.

The Challenge Ahead

While the spectators soak up the atmosphere, the riders undergo an all-together different experience. Between Bruges and Oudenaarde the course winds its way over 260 km to tackle 17 fierce Hellingen in total. What these climbs may lack in altitude, they more than make up for with gradients in excess of 20% in addition to the race’s defining feature: the cobbles! It is a true test of a rider, requiring the very highest levels of endurance, power, bike-handling skills, experience, tactical nous, as well as the very best from their equipment: one mechanical mishap at the wrong time and it’s game over.

Profile Ronde van Vlaanderen 2014 / Photo:

Katusha Back Two-Pronged Attack

One rider more who is than up for this challenge is Katusha’s Classics specialist, Luca Paolini. The 37-year-old has all the necessary experience to be considered a real frontrunner for Sunday and is already planning how he can go for the win: “I’ll have two days to mull over where to attack […] I’ll have a film in my head beforehand of what I’d like to do.”

Katushas Luca Paolini leading the peloton on the cobblestones / Photo:

While Paolini is ready to go on the offensive, should a select group arrive at the line to fight out the sprint, Katusha will have one of the big favourites in their line-up in Alexander Kristoff, who came fourth in last year’s race. The Italian and the Norwegian combined perfectly in the finale of Milan-Sanremo two weeks ago, and if similar circumstances play out on Sunday, a second Monument victory in 2014 could be on the cards for the Russian ProTeam.

Katushas Alexander Kristoff fighting on the cobblestones / Photo:

An Open Race for Movistar Team

Despite not achieving great results in previous editions of De Ronde, Movistar Team cannot be discounted, especially with the team backing Andrey Amador. The Costa-Rican loves racing in the cobbled classics, as was proved at Gent-Wevelgem last Sunday where his determined breakaway attempt only got caught by the peloton within the final 1000 metres.

Movistar Teams Andrey Amador attacking on the cobblestones / Photo:

With the likes of Giovanni Visconti and JJ Rojas out with injury, Sunday provides a great opportunity for some of the squad’s youngest members, including German Jascha Sütterlin and Spaniard JuanJo Lobato, who will be taking on their first Ronde.

Canyon wishes Katusha and Movistar Team the best of luck and looks forward to an exciting race!

Provisional Lineups for our ProTeams: 
GUSEV Vladimir, ISAYCHEV Vladimir, KRISTOFF Alexander, KUCHYNSKI Aliaksandr, KUZNETSOV Viacheslav, PAOLINI Luca, SMUKULIS Gatis, TSATEVICH Alexey
Movistar Team: 

Canyon Pro Sports