Archive for the ‘Canyon Online Team’ Category

Vuelta a España: Canyon Riders in Control

Monday, September 1st, 2014

vuelta-2
Today marks the first rest day of the 2014 Vuelta a España bringing an end to nine days of racing that have seen it all. The peloton has had to cope with several extremes so far, including searing 40°C heat, buffeting crosswinds and yesterday’s torrential rain. At all times, Katusha and Movistar Team have been at the fore and now three Canyon riders feature inside the top six in the general classification.

vuelta-3

After losing the leader’s Red Jersey on Stage 3, Alejandro Valverde won it back in fine style after the race’s first proper uphill finish during Stage 6. Valverde set a suffocating tempo up the long, steep and straight drag to Cumbres Verdes, yet had enough power left at the end to answer his rivals’ accelerations and take the win on the line to extend his lead in the overall classification.

vuelta-4

Stage 7 may have looked straightforward on paper, yet when the wind picked up towards the finish Alberto Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo team succeeded in splitting the race into echelons. Nairo Quintana was one of the main contenders to get caught out by the strong gusts before the field came back together before the finish. Fortunately for Quintana, no damage was done.

vuelta-5

Coming just before the first rest day and with a finish line up at 1975 metres above sea-level, it was clear that Stage 9 to Valdelinares would produce fireworks in the GC. Rain cascaded down on the peloton as car and motorbike headlamps lit the way in stark contrast to the blazing sunshine from earlier in the week.

vuelta-9

On the final climb, it was Contador who was the first to break away from the group of favourites. Nevertheless, Joaquim Rodríguez set off in pursuit and made contact with teammate Eduard Vorgonov from the day’s breakaway with Quintana in tow. Together, the trio raced through the final kilometre to catch Contador just before the line, with Valverde coming across 23 seconds later to relinquish the leader’s jersey to his Columbian teammate.

vuelta-8

Heading into the second week, the 2014 Vuelta is still too close to call with less than 90 seconds separating the top ten. Quintana sits in first with a slender three second margin over Contador and teammate Valverde back in third place. Rodríguez leads the charge for Katusha in sixth place and just 30 seconds separating him from Quintana.

vuelta-11_0

The standings won’t stay the same for long with another GC shakeup on the cards after tomorrow’s 36.7 km Individual Time Trial followed by one of the race’s toughest summit finishes the day after.

So far the Vuelta a España is turning out to be perhaps the most exciting Grand Tour of 2014, and Canyon is once again right in the mix for the title…

vuelta-6

Dream start to Vuelta a España for Movistar Team

Monday, August 25th, 2014
Team Movistar / (c) TDWsport.com

Movistar Team set the opening Team Time Trial of the 2014 Vuelta a España alight on Saturday evening to take a resounding victory and get their race off to the perfect start.

The squad were the last of 22 teams to take to the start ramp as the setting sun cast a glowing light across the southern Spanish city of Jerez. With nine Speedmax CFs primed to take on the short, yet highly technical 12.6 km test, the team set off to once again show themselves at the very top level in this discipline.

At the halfway split the Blues were a handful of seconds off the time set by early pace-setters, Cannondale. Nevertheless, the team rose to the challenge over the second half of the course. Riding together as a perfect unit, Movistar Team proved that the TTT is all about working strongly together rather than having a handful of strong individuals. Each member took their turn to keep the pace high as they committed to their lines through every corner, whilst not dropping any of their nine riders.

TT specialist, Jonathan Castroviejo, was the first to cross the line and take the race lead as the team stopped the clock at 14.13, six seconds quicker than Cannondale.

Team Movistar / (c) TDWsport.com

Movistar Team in control for first week

Perhaps even more crucial than the stage victory is the advantage Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde now hold going into the rest of the race: Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo currently lies 19 seconds back, while Chris Froome of Team Sky is already 25 seconds off the race lead.

Alejandro Valverde / (c) TDWsport.com

The race leader’s Red Jersey transferred onto the shoulders of Valverde yesterday from Castroviejo following the team captain’s higher placing in the sprint finish to stage two. With the first major summit rendezvous not set until this Sunday, there’s a high probability the team will hold onto the jersey through the sprint stages and short uphill finishes on the cards for the rest of the week.

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(Deutsch) Leanda Cave gewinnt Ironman in Schweden – dritter Langdistanz-Triumph für Canyon in 2014

Monday, August 18th, 2014


The Strive Diaries: Entry 6 – Canadian Judgement Day

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Ines Thoma in Whistler
Getting to Whistler was way easier than any other race so far this season – a short hop from Colorado followed by a two hour drive and we’d arrived at Mecca for gravity riding. Last year’s Enduro World Series Round in Whistler got Pinkbike’s nod as the “Best Race of the Year” – no pressure then, expectations for 2014 were sky high.

EWS Round 6 at Crankworx

When the stages were unveiled on Wednesday, the riders’ jaws hit the floor when it became apparent what lay ahead of them. The Crankworx organisers couldn’t be serious – oh but they were: five stages, 60 km, over 2400 metres of climbing and 33 degree-heat forecast. On top of all this, a classic one-day format. This was going to be harder than the rounds in Scotland and Valloire put together… The stages could be walked in the lead-up, but most decided to save their legs for the two practice days before judgement day on Sunday.

Ludo May in Whistler

The race started out perfectly for us. Ludo May got 8th on the first stage, showcasing his potential, while Joe Barnes was just off the podium in 4th, with Ines Thoma 6th. Steep and dusty but loads of grip to get the tyres stuck in, the guys were loving it at the sharp end.

On Stage 2 things started to come unstuck for Ludo:
“I had a tough time out there – it all kind of went to pieces on stage 2 when I took a little trip OTB. It wasn’t too bad, but my shoe didn’t come with me, it stayed clicked in and then the cleat got damaged when the bike fell, it took me ages to get my foot back in and get going again when I realised my bars weren’t straight, so I had to get off and sort that out. Man that was some crucial time I lost there.”

Joe Barnes in Whistler

Luckily it wasn’t game over for Ludo and his times were back towards the top on Stage 3 down “27 Switchbacks”. Joe’s consistency shone through again as he moved up to third overall before things also began to slide downhill down “Ride Don’t Slide” on Stage 5:
“That was actually one of my favourite stages. I felt really good on it in training but half way down I got something caught right in my front spokes so had to stop and sort that out. That cost me a few seconds and after that I just lost the flow.”

View from the top at Whistler

The tech check between the fourth and fifth stages provided a much needed break in the action before taking the lift up to start the final epic run down from “Top of the World”. Ines was already at the limit before the 25 km stage even began:
”I thought I knew the stages quite well from training but right after the first corner I barely even recognised the trail anymore. When 500 people have already ridden it at race pace, everything is totally bombed out. I had loads of energy on Stage 1 and was pedalling everything but on the climb up to Stage 2 I had nothing left in the legs. There’s only “Top of the World” to go, I think I’m gonna need a new body after that…”

Enduro Racing at EWS Round 6 in Whistler

Unfortunately for Ines, she didn’t get to give it her best on the final stage as a puncture from the sharp rocks put an end to her challenge:
”That sucked… At first it was just a just soft, as soon as I noticed it I tried to keep my weight up front to unload the rear. That didn’t work for long so I could only roll down to the bottom.”

All in all, a tough day in Whistler where all the guys had a touch of bad luck: Joe got another solid top-10 coming 9th, while Ines’ flat tyre dropped her to 10th and Ludo ended up 25th. Now it’s time for a well-earned break. We’re heading back to Europe to recoup before Trans Provence in mid-September and then the final round of the EWS in Finale Ligure.

Ludo May in Whistler

Before all of that, the entire Canyon Factory Enduro Team will be at Eurobike 2015. Come down for the chance to chat with Fabien Barel, Joe, Ines and Ludo – Saturday, Hall B4, Stand 404 – Don’t miss it!

The Canyon Factory Enduro Team

The Strive Diaries: Entry 4 – Enduro Quattro Stagioni

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller
The beauty of enduro racing is you get a whole variety of different factors that impact the overall result. First of all, there’s the terrain: the kind of trails on offer can change the outcome of a race completely. Second, there’s the rider: how fit or mentally strong are they? Third, the bike: attaining the perfect setup to attack the race can be an art form. And last but not least, there’s the weather. This can be so influential that it has a major effect on all of the other factors just mentioned.

Overshadowed by the hulking mass of Mont Blanc high up in the Aosta Valley, La Thuile’s weather threw everything it had at us. Four seasons in one day puts it lightly, these were some of the most extreme conditions we’d ever experienced in the Enduro World Series.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

It was the first time La Thuile had ever hosted a race like this, but from the welcome we got when the EWS rocked up in town, you’d think they’d been doing it for years. Two days of racing lay ahead of us, three stages on each day and a combination of pedal transfers and lifts. With a mix of exposed, rocky high alpine trails and a network of flowing paths laid down by mine workers centuries ago, the terrain had a bit of everything.

On the morning of first practice we woke up to sub-zero temperatures, high winds and hail lashing down; not exactly the weather we were hoping for from an Italian summer. When competing so high in the mountains though, you have to be prepared for all conditions come rain, shine or snow…

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

With the start line way up at 2600 metres and the weather and visibility changing every minute, the riders faced over 10 km on Stage 1, making it was one of the longest they will face this season. On paper this kind of course shouldn’t have suited Joe’s riding style, but after recording the 4th best time he sent a clear message to the rest of the field that he was definitely up for it. Combining consistency with a wicked pace, Joe ended the first day in 5th with the podium in his sights.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Ines was also unfazed by the harsh conditions on the first day and ended up in 4th spot overnight:
“For the women the weather wasn’t so bad, it was almost warm enough that you could break a sweat on the ride up! You couldn’t see a thing right at the top though, but after a few minutes riding completely blind everything got a bit clearer. I ended up 4th after the first stage so I’m just looking to do more of the same.”

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

There was no let-up for Day 2 with heavy rain forecast at high ground as it seemed the calendar had shifted back a few months to spring, making Stage 4 a total washout. Stages 5 and 6 luckily took place further down the mountain so the trails were more sheltered. All of Sunday’s stages had lift access and Joe came out fighting, nailing his run on the first challenge of the day to take the best time by 10 seconds and notch up his second ever stage win. That incredible performance cemented Joe’s spot on the podium with just 4.5 seconds separating him from 1st after six stages, proving again just how tight it is at the top this year:

“Right from the beginning on the first stage 4 on Sunday I really pushed hard and took my second stage win for this year. Unfortunately when it came to the end when I was sitting in 2nd position, stage 6 was my worst run, but I still came down with the 6th fastest time. It was really good to show some consistency over the whole weekend. I´m so happy that it paid off and I was able to finish another weekend on the podium.”

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Ines gave it everything to defend her 5th place, sprinting for every last second and leaving it all in the mountain. After his recent brilliant win in the European Enduro Series at Flims, Ludo was unable to capitalise but still managed a solid 21st place.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Right on time for the podium ceremony, the clouds parted and summer finally arrived to round off a great weekend in La Thuile for the Canyon Factory Enduro Team. Now it’s time to head back to HQ in Koblenz to restock and pack our bags for a flight across the pond to Colorado and Whistler in just a few days-time. Look forward to the next edition of the Strive Diaries coming your way from the Wild West in Winter Park, USA!

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

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

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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

The Strive Diaries: Entry 1 – EWS Round 1 in Chile

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014



Fabien Barel // Foto: Jérémie Reuiller

With the Strive Diaries we hope to capture the wide range of experiences, events and emotions that the Canyon Factory Enduro Team goes through. Just focussing on the good times doesn’t cut it, you’ve also got to reflect on when stuff doesn’t go right, and in some cases, badly wrong. The lives of high-level athletes are full of ups and downs, which is exactly what we want to expose. In this entry, we could bang on about how amazing it was to race in Chile with its incredible terrain and the support we experienced, but to do that would ignore the setbacks, and near disaster we had along the way.

Travelling to Chile was a complete step into the unknown on a number of levels. Despite being a bit of a logistical nightmare, nothing could prepare us for how how diverse and dynamic the riding scene is over there. People in Chile are absolutely mad for Enduro – some European countries could really take note. It was immediately clear to us that with a fan base like this, the country had truly earned the right to host the first round of the 2014 Enduro World Series (EWS).

The Canyon Crew was rolling deeper than usual to get the most of our time on the other side of the world. We spent build-up to racing doing film and photo shoots with the Andes as a backdrop, as well as training. Having got the shots we were after, it was time to really get to grips with the terrain at the warm-up race, “Montenbaik Enduro 2014” in La Parva. Just like us, it was clear that our competitors had also been putting in the hard hours over the winter months. Fabien finished up in fifth place, while Ines got onto the podium with a fantastic effort by taking third.

Ludo May // Foto: Jérémie Reuiller

Our Swiss newbie, Ludo May, couldn’t wait to get his first ever race in CFET colours underway: “Coming here to Chile was the first real trip I’ve done with the team and it feels great having a mechanic and manager at my side. I really felt this support, it’s like being part of a big family. Unfortunately a small mechanical held me back, but I’m still happy because I had good stages, which makes me confident for the EWS.”

After a solid performance by the guys drifting their way through “Antigrip Country”, we felt good on the five hour drive south to Nevados de Chillan, with everyone super keen to get EWS 2014 underway. Thursday and Friday were spent trying to get as much practise in on the course as possible, while the real action kicked off at the weekend, with six stages spread over Saturday and Sunday. Time was tight for everyone.

Ines Thoma // Foto: Jérémie Reuiller

Like all of us, Ines was feeling it before the race: “I was a bit nervous to be honest, but I think everyone else felt the same. You never know what’s going to happen, even if you’ve done thousands of races before. Being here is something else though, the trails are super fun to ride and we’ve got great weather so I’m happy!”

Even after the very first stage, it was clear that racing will be super close this season, with the rookies mixing it up with the big guns. Then Fabien came across the line. It was clear something was up and everyone looked on with concern etched on their faces. What the hell happened?

Fabien Barel // Foto: Jérémie Reuiller

Despite that crash and unaware of the damage he’d done, Fab still fought to the finish of day one: “I am not sure I should start it this way, but what a day. I did not expect the first day, the first stage happening this way. I started the first corner like a 15 year old kid, ripping the sand full speed, drifting, bunny-hopping the ruts of the others. A feeling where confidence makes you believe nothing can happen. An excitement that even after 20 years of racing, I cannot control… Half way down the track at 40km/h flat out, I go over the bar, face plant my head in the sand, bend my back like it shouldn’t and fall 5 meters below the trail. It took me 10 minutes to get climb back up my back hurt so much. I could barely move. I managed to go back on the bike and cross the finish line and go direct to the medical staff. After a long check, I decided to start the liaison to go to the second stage anyway… Should I have pushed today for a couple points? Are the risks worth it? Should I ride tomorrow? Did I plan the first round this way? All questions without answers but the only thing I know, is that I am here to ride my bike and give my best to compete. One knee on the floor does not mean that you are out… I would say, don’t ever give up!”

Canyon Pro Sports

It was an incredibly difficult and emotional decision to make on Sunday morning, but Fabien could go no further. As it turned out, it was absolutely the right decision. A proper check-up and scans in hospital that afternoon revealed that he’d broken his back at the 8th dorsal vertebra, coming within a hair’s breadth of being paralysed below the waist. It’s definitely at times like these that any thoughts about riding and racing take a backseat. We all realise just how close we came to absolute disaster.

Back on course, Ludo made a big impact in his first ever EWS race by finishing 13th. Meanwhile, Joe had great pace but was struck down by a flat tyre, which dropped him down to 25th.

Joe Barnes // Foto: Jérémie Reuiller

The Top Chief had a blast nonetheless: “My first race of the year was an amazing one to start with bringing us all the way to Chile. All through practice we would ride a stage and think it was the best thing ever and then move on to the next and think the same thing again. So much fun to be had in them Chilean hills.

I took it easy in the first stage as I knew the year was long and felt comfortable on my bike. After this I was ready to attack in the longer more physical stage 2. This stage came good for me with an 11th place finish. Day one was good but with my casual start I still felt that I had more to give and so was excited for the bigger, and possibly better second day of racing.

Stage 4 was a really flowy, fast and definitely loose trail. I pushed a bit harder where I could and came away with a 5th place finish and a personal best stage finish that helped me climb in the overall positions. Stage 5 became tight and technical and what I love riding at home in Scotland so excitement levels were at an all-time high. Unfortunately after galloping through a rock garden a bit too keen my front tyre started to lose air and was soon completely flat with half the stage still to go. I rode as fast as I could but lost a good amount of time to my competitors.

This was a huge disappointment for me for the first race of the year and first of the EWS series. I finished 25th in the end so still got some points but not where I really want to be. The fun I had over the whole weekend has made me keen for more and can’t wait for the second round coming up. Just going to take it easy in them rocks…”

It’s with mixed emotions that we look back on our time in Chile. Feelings range from being “totally stoked” after riding such incredible terrain and seeing the enthusiasm of the Chilean fans, to disappointment with our results, to complete shock following Fab’s crash. Heading back to Europe, we’ll regroup and be ready to go again at the Riva BIKE Festival in Italy.

Thank you very much for all the “get well” wishes we have already received for Fabien. We have to be patient and wait for further examinations, but like all of you, we hope to see Fab back on the bike as soon as possible!

Canyon Factory Enduro Team