Archive for the ‘Movistar Team’ Category
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then on Friday there will be no place for the riders to hide as they face an excruciating 26 km mountain time trial.
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.
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)
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.
Norwegian sprints to career-defining victory
Alexander Kristoff of Team Katusha took the biggest win of his career yesterday at the 2014 edition of Milan-San Remo. The Norwegian triumphed in the cold and the rain by unleashing a powerful sprint on his Ultimate CF SLX at the end of 300 km and just under seven hours of tough racing. His success in Italy’s biggest one-day race marks the third victory in a Monument for Katusha following Joaquim Rodríguez’s successive wins at Il Lombardia in 2012 and 2013.
Katusha to the fore in the wind and rain
With the blizzards and freezing conditions of the 2013 edition still fresh in the memories of many, nobody could blame the riders for longing after more pleasant conditions this year. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t to be as they rode through rain and hail for the entirety of the race, providing a spectacle of endurance and suffering for spectators at home.
Katusha proved to be among those most hardened to the extreme conditions with many riders still present in the finale to work for Kristoff and all riders finishing the race. The Russian duo of Pavel Brutt and Aleksandr Kuchynski were highly visible through the gloomy conditions, upping the pace in a depleted peloton prior to the penultimate climb of the day, up the Cipressa, to reel in the day’s break.
Heading up the race’s final climb of the Poggio, which topped out just 6 km from the finish line, Kristoff was able to stay in touch with the front group as several riders attempted to break away and put the sprinters in difficulty. Fortunately for Kristoff he still had Italian Classics specialist Luca Paolini at his side. Paolini put in an enormous effort to shepherd Kristoff back to the front of the pack down the dangerous descent into Sanremo and then kept the pace high to within the last 600 metres, putting off any late attacks.
An elite group of around 25 riders made it to the line to fight for the win with many of the pre-race favourites and previous winners still present, including Fabian Cancellara, Gerald Ciolek, Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan. Nevertheless, with some 300 km in the legs Kristoff proved to be the strongest, surging ahead in the final 150 metres to win by a couple of bike lengths over Cancellara and Team Sky’s Ben Swift.
“It was the best moment of my life”, claimed a delighted Kristoff after the finish, who was keen to highlight the work by his teammate Paolini: “I just said, ‘I’m here Luca,’ and he brought me to the front. He could stay in the group, follow the attacks and he did a great job. I’m very thankful to him. […] A sprint after 300 km is different from one after 200 km. Normally I don’t lose much power even on a long stage”. The Norwegian is well aware of the significance of yesterday’s win and the impact it will have, “Milan-Sanremo really puts you on the map and it’ll always stay in my career. It’s important. It’s almost unbelievable.”
Lobato takes 4th for Movistar Team
Perhaps one of the most standout performances yesterday came from Spain’s Juanjo Lobato, who in his debut Milan-Sanremo just missed out on the podium by finishing 4th. It was a hugely encouraging display by the young sprinter who is in his first season for Movistar Team and rounded off a perfect day for Canyon.
Canyon bikes have now triumphed six times in cycling’s Monuments since 2009.
Movistar Team came away from an intense week of racing at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina with two stage victories and the overall to round off a dream start to their 2014 campaign.
Following Nairo Quintana’s impressive solo victory atop the Cerro el Amago on stage 4, new-recruit Adriano Malori doubled up the following day with an outstanding performance in the 19.2 km ITT. What’s more, Quintana was able to use the team’s new Speedmax CF to good effect by overcoming the four second deficit to then-race leader, Phillip Gaimon, to pull on the leader’s jersey, which he successfully defended to the end of the race.
Despite a rough start to the week with stomach problems plaguing members of the team in addition to the misfortune suffered by the squad racing at the Tour Down Under, where two riders were side-lined after crashing heavily, Movistar Team came out of the season-opening races on a high. Directeur Sportif José Luis Jaimerena was keen to praise his rider’s efforts: “Starting the season this way is always important, especially for the team’s morale.”
What’s to Come
The entire Movistar Team will be in Madrid this Friday for their official team presentation before the racing calendar picks up the pace. With Quintana himself claiming that he is yet to hit top-form, expect plenty more to come from the boys in blue over the coming season.
Team Movistar Overall Rankings:
1. Nairo Quintana
43. Andrey Amador
45. Benat Intxausti
81. Adriano Malori
97. Fran Ventoso
101. Pablo Lastras
Nairo Quintana opened Movistar Team’s 2014 victory account by taking an impressive solo win at the summit finish of stage four of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. Movistar Team set a fierce pace at the foot of the climb to Cerro El Amago at the end of the 169 km stage, setting up Quintana perfectly to launch his attack.
The 9.4 km ascent suited the Columbian’s style perfectly as he was once again able to showcase his exceptional climbing talent aboard his new Aeroad CF, finishing 50 seconds ahead of his nearest rival and putting over 4 minutes into current race leader Phillip Gaimon’s advantage. The race is now perfectly poised heading into the penultimate stage, a 19.2 km ITT around the streets of San Luis, where Quintana will deploy the Speedmax CF to try and close the 4 second gap separating him and Gaimon in the GC.
Having already placed riders on the podium twice in previous stages, yesterday’s win marked the first victory for Movistar Team in 2014 and will set the precedent for the rest of the season. What’s more, it marks the first success in the new partnership between Canyon and Movistar Team. We look forward to more of the same ¡Grande Nairo!