Remco Evenepoel adds world title to collection with powerful junior time trial ride at Road World Championships

Mike Hall inquest: two other drivers almost hit ultra-endurance cyclist, court hears

Hall was competing in 5,500km race in Australia when he died from massive head injuries after being hit by a car near Canberra

Two motorists almost hit an elite ultra-endurance cyclist on the morning he was killed near Canberra during an extreme race.

Respected British rider Mike Hall was competing in the 5,500km Indian Pacific Wheel Race on 31 March when he died from massive head injuries after being hit by a car.

Related: British ultra-endurance cyclist killed almost instantly, inquest told

Related: Australian cyclist deaths surge and road safety strategy ‘failing’

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World Championships: Dutch fab four rival for women’s time trial title in Innsbruck

The elite women will contest the individual time trial at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck on Tuesday. The Netherlands will field the team to beat with defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten, Anna van der Breggen, Ellen van Dijk and Lucinda Brand.

The women will race 27.8km from Hall-Wattens to Innsbruck. The route is entirely flat for the first 10km to Baumkirchen before kicking up over the short climb. The second half of the circuit is hillier with a climb up to Absam at roughly 18km, followed by a descent and then a rolling section before a fast run-in to the finish line.

Van Vleuten won the individual time trial title in Bergen last year and lines up as the defending champion in Innsbruck. She is the overwhelming favourite to repeat as champion, having won time trials at the Women’s Herald Sun Tour, Emakumeen Bira, Giro Rosa, and in two stages at the Boels Ladies Tour. As the number one rider in the world, she’s also a top contender for the road race, but gives equal value to both races.

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“Most people think that the road race is more important, but I would really like to win the time trial again. It’s an important jersey,” Van Vleuten said. “You don’t get to wear it everyday like the road race, but it’s still a very special jersey to say that you won the time trial.”

Her Dutch teammates, however, shouldn’t be overlooked as contenders because any one of them are capable of securing the rainbow jersey.

Van der Breggen has won the time trial and team time trial stages at the Healthy Ageing Tour with Boels Dolmans earlier this year, along with the team time trial again at PostNord Vargarda.

Van der Breggen and the road race

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

World Championships: Jungels, Dennis, Van der Breggen talk team time trial – Podcast

The 2018 UCI Road World Championships have kicked off in Innsbruck, Austria, in the mountainous Tirol region of the Alps, with the elite women’s and men’s trade team time trails on Sunday.

In this edition of the Cyclingnews podcast, brought to you in association with Prendas Ciclismo, Pinarello and Floyds of Leadville, Kirsten Frattini and Stephen Farrand discuss the winning performances from teams Quick-Step Floors and Canyon-SRAM. It was the final edition of the trade team event, after a seven-year run, before the UCI take steps toward a national team version of the discipline at next year’s World Championships in Yorkshire.

We hear from Quick-Step Floors’ Bob Jungels, BMC Racing’s Rohan Dennis and Boels-Dolmans’ Anna van der Breggen on the official end of the trade team time trial, as they look ahead to the individual event.

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The World Championship shifts into the national team events on Monday; individual time trials and road races for the junior, under-23 and elite men and women, for what will be seven more days of racing.

The World Championships is never strictly about the bike races and so while in Innsbruck the UCI will be announcing the new WorldTour reforms, while at the same time the CPA is set to host an election that will decide its new president.

Prendas Ciclismo have some unique and fantastic new lines. With new retro jerseys like the iconic Peugeot BP, La Vie Claire and Mapei, there’s also a brand new capsule collection celebrating old races like the Baracchi Trophy and Bordeaux Paris. To enjoy great quality clothing without a premium price tag, visit Prendas Ciclismo online at prendas.co.uk.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Commentary: Jan Ullrich’s journey from spotlight to shadow


Editors’ Note: Author Samuel Abt was a long-time sports journalist and columnist for the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. He covered the Tour de France and other professional cycling events for more than 30 years. A resident of the Paris area, Abt retired several years ago. Below, he recounts the battles that German champion Jan Ullrich waged against the spotlight. 

There he stood on the Champs-Élysées in 1997, the East German wunderkind, the last man to be named to his feeble Deutsche Telekom team for the 1996 Tour de France. He finished second in that one. Now, a year later, he wore the yellow jersey of the Tour champion, an immense prodigy at 23, with the cycling world awaiting his next triumphs.

And there he peaked, at 23. Twenty years later, Jan Ullrich couldn’t even wrangle an official invitation to the start of the Tour in his native country.

What happened to Ullrich in those 20 years? What didn’t?

On the positive side, the list is impressive if short: four second places overall to Armstrong in the Tour after his triumph, victory in the 1999 Vuelta a España, a gold medal in the road race and a silver in the time trial at the 2000 Olympics. Add in the 1993 world amateur road race championship and his second place in the 1996 Tour.

On the negative side, the list is far longer and varied: injuries, illnesses, lax training, weight problems, suspensions for using both performance-enhancing and recreational drugs, too-lenient advisers and the Tour buzzsaw named Lance Armstrong. And, most recently, a life that appears to be in chaos.

Ullrich had only lame defenses to offer for such a waste of talent.

Doping? “Almost everyone at the time was taking performance-enhancing substances. I didn’t take anything that was not taken by the others. It would only have been cheating for me if I had gotten an advantage, which was not the case. I just wanted to ensure I had an equal opportunity”

Illness? “It’s not my fault that I got sick. My only mistake was to get sick.”

Weight? “I like to eat. That’s what the winter is for.”

Mea culpa, at early races each spring I eagerly sought out Ullrich and his consigliere Rudy Pevenage to report on what I knew would be the rider’s excess poundage. A sample from 1998: “Two or three more bratwursts, Herr Ullrich? Seconds on the sauerbraten? Again some schlag on your coffee? The answer in every case appears to have been affirmative.

“Ullrich was heavily in demand last winter on the rubber schnitzel circuit. ‘Heavily’ is indeed the word. By the time Ullrich had downed his last dumpling and begun preparing for the racing season, he weighed about 10 kilograms (22 pounds) more than his usual weight of 73 kilograms. It showed too.”

Thereafter I limited myself to short and snide comments, like the 2000 reference to “the boy blimp” or my supposition that Telekom was still buying his uniforms in the stylish stout department. By then, Ullrich, forever chasing first Marco Pantani and then Armstrong, seemed to deserve some slack.

Slack turned soon enough to indifference. Ullrich no longer deserved headlines.

His conviction in 2002 for drunk driving and firing by Telekom made few ripples in the press. His suspension from the Tour a day before the start in 2006 was noted simply in a list of other banned riders. His 2013 confession to doping in Operacion Puerto in Spain and conviction by the Court of Appeal for Sport in 2012 merited a paragraph or two. The court also voided all his results since May 2005, which was meaningless since he had few of interest. Nobody cared about his refusal to return his Olympic medals.

He retired officially in 2007.

When the Amaury Sport Organisation, the Tour’s owners, refused him credentials for the 2017 start in Dusseldorf, Armstrong’s was the rare and laudable voice of protest. To no avail, he pointed out that the owners had invited such French dopers as Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque.

Perhaps Ullrich had bigger concerns: His personal life had become chaotic. He and his longtime companion and their daughter moved from Germany to Switzerland and back again. He broke up with her, got married and moved to Mallorca, Spain.

This summer he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after a brief detention for allegedly assaulting a prostitute. He was released on bail pending an investigation into possible attempted manslaughter. The case came a week after his 24-hour detention in Spain, where he sought to force his way into the Mallorca home of a neighbor and threatened him.

In September, Armstrong flew to Germany to support Ullrich.

“So great to spend the day with this man,” Armstrong wrote on Instagram. “As many of y’all know, I love Jan Ullrich. He was such a special rival to me. He scared me, he motivated me, and truly brought out the best in me. Pure class on the bike.“ His remarks accompanied a photograph of the two men embracing at a swimming pool.

“Fast forward to today and my friend is going through a rough patch,” Armstrong continued. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come to Germany to spend a few days with him. Please keep Jan in all of your thoughts and prayers. He needs our support right now.”

Attaboy, Lance. Will do.

Read the full article at Commentary: Jan Ullrich’s journey from spotlight to shadow on VeloNews.com.

McNulty frustrated at missing medals in Worlds time trial

For the first time in three years, Brandon McNulty (USA) missed the podium in the individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships. The 2016 junior world champion and last year’s silver medalist in the U23 ranks had no answers to the questions of journalists surprised to see him finish 53 seconds behind winner Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) in seventh place on Monday.

“It’s pretty frustrating. Everything felt right, I just wasn’t going fast I guess,” McNulty dead-panned.

One journalist suggested the wind might have changed for the later starters. “It’s hard to say if the wind changed or not. If everyone at the end was struggling then maybe it did. I’m not sure though,” McNulty said.

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Was it the matter of a heavier season of racing and fatigue? McNulty didn’t think so. “I think the power was there, I just don’t know where the speed was. Obviously, I’ve done a lot this year so you never know how you’ll be this time of year. I felt good.

“I think since it’s so late in the year, I had so many goals earlier this year it was hard to solely focus on this – but based on my pedigree I’d like to do well in the TT.”

McNulty started the year with Rally Cycling in the Dubai Tour in February, then did a block of racing in Spain and Portugal where he racked up some solid results including a fifth place overall in the UCI 2.1-ranked GP Beiras e Serra da Estrela. He then went on to his main goal, the Tour of California, where he again finished inside the top 10, in seventh overall.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Israel Cycling Academy sign sprinter Rudy Barbier from AG2R La Mondiale

Israel Cycling Academy are continuing their push toward a future invitation to the Tour de France, adding another French rider to the 2019 roster in the form of sprinter Rudy Barbier from AG2R La Mondiale.

The 25-year-old has ridden with AG2R for the past two seasons following four seasons on French Continental team Roubaix Lille Metropole. Barbier has two professional wins to his credit at the 2016 Cholet-Pays de Loire and the 2017 Paris-Bourges.

“Rudy has a great potential as a sprinter and in helping out in races,” said the team manager Kjell Carlstrom. “We believe he can improve from where he is now with getting more possibilities in races. He can add to the strengths we have in races and add some valuable experience in others.”

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The signing is the second former WorldTour rider to join the team for 2019 after Israel Cycling Academy signed Matthias Brandle from Trek-Segafredo earlier this month as the team continue to grow.

“The desires and objectives in my new team were very obvious for both me and the team, and indeed it was very enjoyable to be presented with this kind of opportunity,” Barbier said. “This will give me a lot of motivation in the months to come.”

After gaining entry to the Giro d’Italia and its historic start in Israel this year, the team have made no secret of their desire to gain an invitation to the Tour de France in the future. In July, Israel Cycling Academy signed their first French rider in 26-year-old stagiaire Clement Carisey. Signing Barbier is another chance to boost their bid for the French Grand Tour.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Worlds: U23 time trial medallists not tempted to step up to WorldTour level in 2019

Mikkel Bjerg of Denmark won his second consecutive under-23 time trial title at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck but despite his success and huge talents, he is in no hurry to step up to WorldTour level. Fellow medallists Brent Van Moer (Belgium) and fellow Dane Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen are a similar age and have also preferred to race at Professional Continental level in 2019 rather take the big step up to WorldTour level.

Bjerg dominated the rolling but fast 27.7km course in Innsbruck, beating Van Moer by 33 seconds and Jorgensen by 38 seconds. He has raced with Axel Merckx’s Hagens Berman Axeon team this season and intends to stay with the US-centric Professional Continental team in 2019. Bjerg revealed that he will also target the Danish Hour Record on October 4. He is a rider of many talents who bears a passing resemblance to former world champion Freddy Maertens but has a mature head firmly on his young shoulders.

“Riding with Hagens Berman Axeon suits me really well right now,” Bjerg explained. “We’re able to do some big WorldTour races like the Tour of California but also under-23 races and smaller races. I think that combination is good for young riders like me. It allows me to ride the finale of some races and even try to win smaller races. Yet you can also show yourself in the biggest races.”

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Van Moer is a stagiaire with Lotto Soudal but has yet to race with the WorldTour team and is no hurry to step up despite looking physically mature for his age.

“I’m 20 years old and I don’t think it’s good to go too early into the WorldTour. It’s a big step and sometimes it’s better to stay in the under 23 category,” Van Moer said.

Jorgensen trains with Bjerg and the two push each to improve. He will ride for the Danish Professional Continental Riwal CeramicSpeed in 2019. The duo have given Denmark a new generation of time trial talent despite competing against riders who have already stepped up to WorldTour level or will do so in 2019 such as Italy’s Edoardo Affini and Callum Scotson (both Mitchelton-Scott in 2019), and Germany’s Lennard Kämna (Team Sunweb) and Ukrainian Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida).

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Worlds: Bjerg defends U23 TT title; Ammerlaan tops junior women TT


The Danes dominated Monday’s under-23 world time trial championships in Innsbruck, Austria with Mikkel Bjerg defending the title he won in 2017 and his teammate Mathias Norsgaard riding to third. Belgium’s Brent van Moer took second to Bjerg in the 27.8km race.

“It’s unbelievable,” Bjerg said. “My whole season has been about preparing for this race. I flew out here 10 days ago and rode the course time and again — I really got it under my skin.”

Van Moer was in the hot seat with the day’s fastest time as Bjerg rolled out of the start gate last in the order.

Bjerg’s title defense never seemed in doubt on the rolling course. At the first checkpoint, he was 24 seconds ahead of Norsgaard.

The second half of the course featured hillier terrain. That’s where Van Moer shined, overhauling Norsgaard to ride five seconds faster.

Unlike his countryman, Bjerg, 19, had plenty left in the tank for the second half of the race, finishing in 32:31.

He ended up 33 seconds ahead of Van Moer with his second rainbow jersey.

“My feeling out there was exceptional,” added Bjerg, who rode for Hagens Berman Axeon throughout the 2018 season.

American Brandon McNulty, who was second in the U23 world time trial championships a year prior in Norway, could only manage seventh place.

Dutch champion Ammerlaan leads the way in junior women’s time trial

Rozemarijn Ammerlaan
Rozemarijn Ammerlaan won the junior world time trial championships in Austria. Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Following up her win in the Dutch junior national time trial championships, Rozemarijn Ammerlaan added a rainbow jersey to her collection Monday. Italian Camilla Alessio was second ahead of Elynor Backstedt.

“It’s a big surprise, I didn’t expect this, words fail me,” Ammerlaan said.

Riding eighth in the order on the 19.8-kilometer course, Ammerlaan nearly matched Backstedt’s fastest early time at the first time check.

“It was very tough, especially the second part which was pretty hilly” Ammerlaan said.

Then, the Dutch youngster closed hard on the hilly final half to beat the Italian by seven seconds in a time of 27:02.

“I didn’t want to know any time gaps, because that doesn’t change anything or let me know if I’m riding any better. I just rode,” Ammerlaan added.

Backstedt, who is the daughter of ex-professional Magnus Backstedt, finished 18 seconds behind in third, riding for Great Britain.

Racing continues Tuesday with the men’s junior and women’s elite world time trial championships.

Read the full article at Worlds: Bjerg defends U23 TT title; Ammerlaan tops junior women TT on VeloNews.com.

Ethan Hayter edged out at Road World Championships as Charlie Tanfield almost misses under-23 time trial race