Canyon at the Tour de France

  July 14th, 2014 | 13:02 | Onlineredaktion

Alejandro Valverde / (c) TDWsport.com
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:

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Joaquim Rodríguez / (c) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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

  June 27th, 2014 | 10:52 | Onlineredaktion

Arc de Triomphe / (c) TDWsport.com
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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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) TDWsport.com

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The Strive Diaries: Entry 3 – Feeling the Alpine Burn

  June 25th, 2014 | 12:07 | Canyon Onlineredaktion

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller
After the last round in Scotland, where Joe tore it up in front of his home crowd to get his first ever podium, this week it felt like there was another homecoming on the cards. France is and always will be the spiritual home of Enduro. With so many events on offer, it’s easy to see how the French keep churning out so many of the world’s best riders. Our spot in Valloire, high up in the Alps at the foot of the legendary Galibier pass, has hosted Enduro racing for almost a decade and finally got the recognition it deserved with a spot in the 2014 Enduro World Series – we were about to find out just why.

After drifting through sand in Chile and sliding over roots in Scotland, it was time to get back to lift-assisted, full-gas, high-alpine terrain. The course in Valloire was a real mix of steep, technical scree slopes and flat-out meadows, with more descending on the menu than an entire season of DH World Cups.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Racing in France is known for having its super strict formats and in Valloire this was no exception. The course remained top-secret until Thursday evening before the race to make it even more challenging for the riders. With extremely limited time to inspect the tracks, just one day to walk them and one practise run, getting to know the trails inside out was entirely out of the question. Attacking stages that were up to 20 minutes long at racing speeds was a real wild ride into the unknown.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Ines on Day 1: “It’s proper alpine, mega steep, with tight switchbacks right from the start and then really fast sections straight through meadows with massive boulders all over the place. You have to concentrate 100% all of the time and just stay off the brakes – that’s the key to going quick here.”

How would you describe the first day? Brutal. But that’s what we expect from Enduro. Crashes, flats and all mechanicals imaginable got the better of many riders right from the gun. Just getting to the finish with bike and body in one piece was a challenge in itself. Fortunately, Joe, Ludo and Ines kept it clean and consistent, choosing the right lines to avoid any problems with solid top-10s firmly in their sights going into day two.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Our mechanics had to work late into the night to get the bikes back into shape for Sunday, but even having everything running perfectly wasn’t enough to avoid mishaps out on track. Ines hit the deck hard going through one of the many challenging rock sections during the first stage on Sunday morning, putting her out of contention to defend her strong overnight position. It was unlucky, but things like that happen. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t.

Joe and Ludo found their rhythm quickly and were able to put down some good runs. Having given it everything, Joe was rewarded with 10th and Ludo 16th, solid results on terrain that wasn’t ideally suited to their riding styles.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Joe after the race: “Coming into the French round there are always a lot of surprises over the whole weekend. How the courses are set out, what the format’s like and the racing itself. But it was all good and really fun for me. On a personal level, I gradually got faster and faster over the whole weekend, so I feel lucky to finish with another top ten.”

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

After tackling the high mountains surrounding Valloire, it’s time to take a breather, rest some tired legs and get rid of the arm pump from all that downhill. In three weeks-time we’re hopping over the border to Italy for more action at Round 4 in La Thuille!

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Movistar Team Dominates Route du Sud!

  June 23rd, 2014 | 11:40 | Onlineredaktion

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.

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The Strive Diaries: Entry 2 – Enduro’s Coming Home!

  June 4th, 2014 | 15:48 | Canyon Onlineredaktion
Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Even though we’re now into the second season, there are times when the Enduro World Series (EWS) feels like a completely new experience. This was our first big race without Fabien. Still wrapped up in a back brace in Nice, Fab had his fingers crossed for us over the weekend and is raring to get back on the bike.

A brand new destination for the EWS also added to the excitement, especially racing in the homeland of Top Chief Joe Barnes. Anyone who has ever competed in front of a home crowd has experienced that extra hit of adrenaline you get. Joe was no exception. Having grown up on Scottish trails, Joe knew exactly what lay in store and was unsurprisingly one of the bookies’ favourites for the podium before the race.

Armed with thick jackets, heaters and every waterproof clothing product going, we were slightly disappointed when the weather didn’t play ball. Despite Thursday practice being a total wash out, the sun shone down for the rest of the weekend to the surprise of pretty much everyone. Thursday’s mud bath gave way to mostly dry trails for the start of the race, so all that was left to contend with were tons of roots, tight tree-lined trails and mad steep sections. Add to that over 100 km of racing and 3000 metres of altitude gain over two days, EWS Round 2 was anything but a walk in the park.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Homeboy Joe just missed out on the top step after the first day, lying in second place overnight with the top riders mixed up all over the place in the rankings. It was impossible to pick out any of the big favourites. Ludo was also one of the riders to have a patchy first day and found himself down in the middle of the pack.

Ines after suffering through Day 1:
“It’s brutal, especially the long pedal sections. You’re totally spent and then after that you’ve got massive drops with trees everywhere to duck through while avoiding all the roots – it completely finished me off!”

With just a few hours to recover overnight, the second day kicked off with an 8.30 start and headed straight for the famous Glentress Trail Centre. Ines was able to defend her 5th place on the flatter, pedal-intensive stages. Unfortunately, Ludo was never really able to find his rhythm in the deep dark woods and ended up back in 34th.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Wearing number 10 but with a less than ideal start position because of seeding after Round 1 in Chile, the stage was set for the final day showdown between Joe and Nico Lau. The sounds of battle echoed around the Scottish hills as Joe turned himself inside out for every second available. Spurred on by a home crowd and the local racers, the timings at the end showed third place for the Top Chief, and with it a historic first ever podium for a British male in the Enduro World Series!

Joe on going in to Day 2:
“Starting the second day my body felt quite tired after the first day, but I came down and I hit just one left-hand corner – just got it perfect. It’s moments like that when you think – “Oh yeah, there you go! That’s what you gotta do!” I was really pleased just for that one moment, but then I set the pace for the whole day. So, I was really happy about that.”

The EWS organisers got it spot on again when choosing a new location, just like in Chile. Scotland is a stunning country and makes a fantastic addition to the racing calendar. Friendly locals, a mad riding scene, cool trails and even nice weather made it an awesome experience for everyone.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Joe after the race:
“It was so good to have all the Scots out cheering and it really felt like a home race. I’m really happy with 3rd place.”

Looking back at a race that definitely raised the bar in terms of difficulty, there are still a few tweaks to be made here and there to get right to the top of the leader board… Bring on Round 3!

Stay tuned for a special edition of the Strive Diaries coming your way in mid-June!

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

  June 2nd, 2014 | 15:51 | Canyon Onlineredaktion
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)

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Quintana Climbs into Pink after Mountain Attack

  May 28th, 2014 | 12:03 | Canyon Onlineredaktion
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.

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

  May 8th, 2014 | 14:23 | Canyon Onlineredaktion
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)

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Ardennes Roundup: Dominant Week for Valverde!

  April 28th, 2014 | 13:22 | Onlineredaktion
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!

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

  April 23rd, 2014 | 17:47 | Onlineredaktion



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!”

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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

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