International cycling news round-up (April 24): Kwiatkowski's Classics performance; Rodriguez crashes again; Evans back on top; and more
Marcel Kittel called the first stages of the Tour de France “dangerous” after previewing them in training. The team Giant-Shimano’s German, winner of four stages last year, aims for the yellow jersey in Harrogate on July 5.
“I think the roads are in some parts very dangerous for a peloton of the Tour de France,” Kittel said.
“On the descents when you ride through the more lonely roads in the middle of nowhere they are very narrow and very small with stone walls on both sides, so [when] a very nervous Tour de France peloton fighting for the yellow jersey passes by there can be a very dangerous situation.”
On Tuesday, Kittel previewed stage two to from York to Sheffield with team-mates including John Degenkolb. However, it is unclear which of the two Yorkshire stages Kittel refers to in the report.
“[The stages] have been designed by the race organisers to provide a technical challenge to the peloton,” a spokesman for Yorkshire’s Grand Départ said. “We would encourage the other teams to recce the routes in advance so technically and tactically they are fully prepared.”
Kwiatkowski credits planning for Ardennes Classics success
Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) credited his race programme for his recent success in the Ardennes Classics. He placed fourth in the Amstel Gold Race and third yesterday in Flèche Wallonne.
“I had much more recovery time,” Kwiatkowski said. “Last year, with the weather, the cobbled classics were really hard. I gained experience there, but to be in good shape for the Ardennes, it’s better to skip those.”
Instead of racing the cobbled classics, Kwiatkowski took a break after Milan-San Remo. He took the traditional Ardennes route by racing the Tour of the Basque Country the week beforehand.
Rodríguez recovers from second crash
After crashing and abandoning the Amstel Gold Race, Joaquím Rodríguez fell in Flèche Wallonne. The two incidents set him back ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.
“But I’ll continue to work and fight to be on top at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, my dream race,” he wrote on Twitter. “It was important to finish the race even though I was in a lot of pain. I tried and succeeded in putting in some good work for Sunday’s race.”
Team Katusha’s Spaniard crashed with Damiano Cunego and Fränk Schleck at 3.5 kilometres to go.
Evans back on top in Trentino
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) returned to the top in Italy’s Giro del Trentino. He placed fourth and took the overall lead in the mountain stage to San Giacomo di Brentonico on Wednesday, then increased his lead with a win on Thursday’s stage three.
“It’s a step toward the Giro d’Italia,” Evans said, “for us as a team to go through the competition routine of holding and defending the jersey.”
The 37-year-old leads by 45 seconds over Domenico Pozzovivo. He faces one more stages with a mountaintop finish. “Now,” he added, “I will be the rider that everyone will be looking to beat.”
Modolo leaves ID at home, misses Italy’s World recon
Sacha Modolo missed the Italian national team’s reconnaissance of the world championships course in Ponferrada, Spain, today. He arrived to the airport on Wednesday without his identification and was unable to fly to Spain.
The team continued to train as planned with Luca Paolini, Filippo Pozzato and Oscar Gatto, and return home tomorrow.
Colombia selects Rubiano’s jersey design via Twitter
Team Colombia, based on a Facebook poll, designed Miguel Rubiano’s national championship jersey. Followers had three choices and 10,000 decided on large yellow, blue and red bands.
Rubiano, 29, won the national championships on April 12. He will be able to show off the jersey when the Giro d’Italia starts from Belfast next month.