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)
Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez of Team Katusha maintained a narrow lead in yesterday’s final stage of the 94th Volta Ciclista a Cataluya to take the overall ranking for the second time in his career, following victory in 2010. Just one week after Kristoff’s emphatic win in Milan-Sanremo, Katusha once again came away from the weekend with a big haul of points for the UCI WorldTour rankings. The weeklong stage race takes place on Purito’s home turf and attracted a stellar field with several grand tour favourites, such as Chris Froome and Alberto Contador taking the start but unable to better the local favourite over the mountainous route.
Climbing High to GC Success
The foundations for overall victory were laid on the stage 3 mountaintop finish to La Molina. Rodríguez proved once again that he is one of the best in the world when it comes to steep uphill finishes by sprinting away on his Aeroad CF within the snow-lined final kilometre to gain vital seconds on the rest of his GC rivals. The stage marked Purito’s first win of the 2014 season and put him in the race leader’s jersey.
Over the following stages Katusha controlled the race well to defend Purito’s slender lead against the inevitable attacks from Contador, who lay just 4 seconds behind on GC. Katusha Directeur Sportif, Dmitry Konyshev, was pleased with the outcome of the race: “This WorldTour win is important for the team and for Joaquim too because he’s Catalan.”
Rodríguez now looks in great shape for his major 2014 objectives: “Now I look forward to trying to win in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and then on to the Giro d’Italia.”
Quintana 5th for Movistar Team
Columbia’s Nairo Quintana was the second Canyon pro to feature at the sharp end of the GC, only ten seconds down on Rodríguez, highlighting just what a close fought race the 2014 edition of the Volta a Catalunya was. Quintana is also looking to build his form ahead of the Giro d’Italia in May, and seems to be on the right track after this week and his 2nd place at Tirreno-Adriatico
It’s a busy time in the UCI WorldTour right now with the recent conclusion of stage races in France and Italy, and cycling’s one-day “monuments” looming just around the corner. Tirreno-Adriatico came to a close yesterday bringing an end to yet another successful week for Canyon riders: Movistar Team claimed 2nd in the GC and a stage victory through Nairo Quintana and Adriano Malori respectively, while Dani Moreno of Katusha put in strong performances throughout the week to finish 8th overall.
Magnificent Malori takes closing time trial
A flat 9.5 km out-and-back time trial along the Adriatic coastline stood between the peloton and the end of a gruelling week of racing through the heart of Italy, which included riding up the country’s steepest road with gradients in excess of 30%. What better place then, for an Italian to triumph? Adriano Malori stunned the rest of the field aboard the Speedmax CF, powering to victory and taking some major scalps in the process.
Malori described his performance yesterday as “the most beautiful victory” of his entire life and after one glance at the results, who could disagree? The Italian overcame the elite of world time-trialling by not only beating Fabian Cancellara into 2nd place by six seconds, but also reigning Olympic Champion, Bradley Wiggins, and World Champion, Tony Martin. In his own words, “it almost feels like a dream to win in front of the best specialists in the world.”
Quintana defends 2nd place in GC
Malori’s was not the only standout performance in yesterday’s ITT as Nairo Quintana consolidated his 2nd place in the GC, backing up his climbing performances from earlier in the race. With riders perceived as more adept time-trialists breathing down his neck, the Columbian proved yesterday he is not just exceptional in the hills by putting time into all his rivals including eventual race winner, Alberto Contador. As a key build up event ahead of the Giro d’Italia, things are heading in the right directions for Quintana’s big season goal: “I’m getting used to the way of racing in Italy, the roads, how everything works here”.
A recent spate of time-trial equipment testing, training and wind tunnel time has paid dividends for Movistar Team. In the race’s opening TTT they surprised the rest of the field with an impressive display to finish 3rd, and in addition to Malori’s victory yesterday British national champion Alex Dowsett also finished 6th. In a discipline where equipment plays such a vital role, the gains provided by the Speedmax CF have been backed up by three victories already in 2014.
Milan-Sanremo Preview: La Primavera kicks off 2014 monuments
In a sport with such a rich history as cycling, there are some races that transcend all others: Milan-Sanremo is one such race. Considered one of cycling’s five monuments, at a shade under 300km it is the longest race of the season, with the distance alone presenting a major obstacle to the riders in addition to the short coastal climbs that feature in its finale. As such, past winners include a wide mix of classics specialists, sprinters and GC riders.
Katusha animated last year’s snow-disrupted race with an attacking display and Alexander Kristoff eventually took the sprint behind the break in brutal conditions. So far this year the Norwegian has shown good form, taking a stage win at the Tour of Oman last month, and is a good bet as a sprinter who also climbs well. Another contender from the Russian outfit is Italian classics specialist Luca Paolini, who thrives in tough conditions and will no doubt be especially motivated for his country’s biggest one day race.
Movistar Team will be backing Jose Joaquín Rojas who stood out at last week’s Paris-Nice as the most consistent rider in the whole race. Other options for the Spanish squad should the race come down to a sprint finish include Fran Ventoso and Juanjo Lobato, who already has a number of podium finishes to his name in 2014.
The 2014 “Race to the Sun” came to a close yesterday as the peloton charged along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice under clear skies, bringing an end to eight exciting and unpredictable days of racing in France. An experimental parcours characterised the 2014 edition with the lack of both summit finishes and time trials meaning the overall classification remained open throughout with just a handful of seconds separating the main contenders.
In the end it was Carlos Betancur from Colombia who triumphed with two Canyon riders featuring inside the top-10: Katusha’s Simon Spilak finished in eighth and Movistar Team’s Jose Joaquin Rojas rounded off the week just off the podium in fourth.
Having achieved a good result in 2013, Spilak was able to showcase his climbing talent once the race hit the hills of southern France and was prominent as one of the most attacking riders in the peloton, coming to within just a kilometre of holding off the bunch on the final stage into Nice.
Meanwhile, JJ Rojas was perhaps the most consistent rider in the entire race, featuring in both the sprints and the more technical finishes, and came incredibly closest to victory on the final stage, where he crossed the line second. Movistar Team also come away from the race with the Team Classification, underlining a solid performance for the squad.
All Eyes on Italy
Paris-nice was not the only UCI WorldTour race going on over the past week. Focus now switches to the remaining two stages of Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy before Milan-San Remo, the year’s first “Monument”, takes place on Sunday. Three Canyon riders are currently well-placed at Tirreno-Adriatico, with Movistar Team leader Nairo Quintana lying in second and both Dani Moreno and Giampaolo Caruso of Katusha in 7th and 9th respectively.
We’ll give you a roundup of Tirreno-Adriatico and take a look forward to “La Classicisima” later in the week.
One week after a commanding performance at the Vuelta a Andalucía, Alejandro Valverde clocked up his fifth win of the season and the eighth for Movistar Team on Saturday at the Vuelta a Murcia. The race marked the first occasion in the 2014 season that Nairo Quinatna and Valverde, the two leaders of Movistar Team, have lined up in the same squad together.
Aggressive tactics pay off
Right from the gun the Spanish ProTeam was in an attacking mood and was active in moves throughout the race over what was a particularly challenging and mountainous parcours. In the end it was Valverde who proved the strongest, once again making fine use of his trademark uphill finishing kick to cross the line 3 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Tiago Machado. Jose Joaquin Rojas rounded off another strong team performance and provided a strong signal that he is back to his best following injury by taking 5th, just 7 seconds down on his teammate.
Lobato on the podium in Almería
Movistar Team continued its run of success at the following day’s Clásica de Almería, where Juanjo Lobato sprinted to 2nd place and two other riders in blue, Fran Ventoso and José Joaquín Rojas, also featuring inside the top-10.
Take a closer look at the Movistar Team bikes here.
A hat-trick of stage wins, the overall and the points classification for Valverde
Movistar Team continued their impressive run of early season form in southern Spain with a commanding display to dominate the Vuelta a Andalucía. The squad got the race underway with an impressive performance in the prologue, where Valverde rode his new Speedmax CF to the fastest time with teammates Izagurre and Moreno also placing inside the top-10. Valverde was then able to unleash his trademark uphill finishing kick on the following two stages to take a hat-trick of wins and an unassailable lead in the GC. Jon Izagirre was also in the mix throughout the race eventually finishing just off the podium in fourth overall.
Teamwork the key to success
A challenging parcours took the peloton over the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, providing a real test for the squad to control the race. In spite of the determined attempts by Team Sky to blow the race to pieces on the two summit finishes and set up their leader, Richie Porte, Movistar Team held firm to deliver Valverde perfectly in the finales. The Spaniard was keen to pay his teammates back: “After all they did for me these two days, always there, they deserved this victory.”
Dream start to 2014
The race marked Movistar Team’s first successes on European soil for the year and takes their current win tally up to seven. This marks the best start to a season the squad has ever had since its debut four years ago as well as the dream beginning to their partnership with Canyon, who became official bike supplier in 2014. With the Spring Classics now fast approaching, results thus far would suggest that the boys in blue will definitely be among the favourites heading into the early season’s biggest one day races. Beforehand, however, Valverde will be back in action this week building his form at La Clásica de Almería and Vuelta a Murcia.
When you’re only halfway through the week and your riding plans at the weekend still seem a way off, it’s easy to see why people refer to Wednesday as the “hump” day.
Nevertheless, Canyon got a mid-week boost yesterday with not one, but two victories coming from our UCI ProTeams. No sooner had Norwegian Alexander Kristoff opened Team Katusha’s 2014 victory account at the Tour of Oman when Alejandro Valverde blasted through the streets of southern Spain to take the win in the prologue of the Vuelta a Andalucia.
First win in the bag for Katusha and Kristoff
Kristoff has clearly bounced back well from the bad luck that plagued him at the Tour of Qatar, where he crashed heavily. After finishing in the top 10 on stage one in Oman, at the end of stage two he was able to show his good early season form and tactical nous by sprinting into a block headwind in a bunch kick against a strong field.
Kristoff now sits in second place in the overall standings with the situation looking good for the coming northern classics, which the Norwegian has set among his main 2014 objectives.
TT Prep pays off for Movistar Team
Further west in sunny southern Spain, the Vuelta a Andalucia kicked off yesterday with a technical 7.3km prologue through Almeria. Fresh from a training camp to hone their positions aboard their new Speedmax CF time trial machines, Movistar Team was able reap the rewards by placing three riders in the top 10 with Valverde now leading the race. In an exhibition of supreme bike handling, Valverde ripped through the corner-strewn course and at one point even overtook the race commissaire’s motorbike.
The Spaniard was clearly pleased with his new bit of kit, stating, “It was the first time on my new TT bike and this debut was impossible to improve. We are very satisfied with how it works.” Teammates Jon Izaguirre and Javier Moreno now sit in 3rd and 7th position respectively as the squad looks in fine nick heading into the remaining four stages.