Rocacorba Daily: Monday April 8

Good morning and welcome to another edition of the Rocacorba Daily. This morning we've got a wrap-up of last night's cracking edition of Paris-Roubaix, results from a handful of other races that wrapped up on the weekend, and a handful of other interesting bits and pieces that should help ease you into this Monday morning. Enjoy!

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Good morning and welcome to another edition of the Rocacorba Daily. This morning we’ve got a wrap-up of last night’s cracking edition of Paris-Roubaix, results from a handful of other races that wrapped up on the weekend, and a handful of other interesting bits and pieces that should help ease you into this Monday morning. Enjoy!

Mission accomplished for Cancellara at Paris-Roubaix

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) has claimed his third victory at Paris-Roubaix in a stunning win last night that wasn’t guaranteed until he reached the Roubaix velodrome. Coming onto the track with Sep Vanmarcke, Cancellara positioned himself behind the Team Blanco rider and sprinted for the line, taking the win by a bike length.

Cancellara’s teammates built a solid foundation for their Swiss team leader, controlling the race for the opening 200km, never allowing a break to gain any significant advantage. A group of eight did eventually get away though and it was left to Cancellara to bridge the gap on his own.

On sector 6 of the race’s famous cobbles, where Cancellara had crashed in reconnaissance the other day — the Bourghelles à Wannehain — Spartacus joined the leading group and then attacked again, heading off in search of Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Vanmarcke who had moved away from the lead group.

Just before sector 5 there were four leaders in the race — Cancellara, Vanderbergh, Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Vanmarcke. When Stybar and Vanderbergh collided with spectators their chances of victory were over and it was left to Vanmarcke and Cancellara to ride to the famous Roubaix velodrome together.

With his Tour of Flanders win last week, Cancellara headed into the race as the clear favorite and in the position of having everyone ride against him. Cancellara said:

“When I see how in this race everyone was against our team, against me, I just had to do a selection. The team came into a little bit of difficulty because we lost a few guys because of bad luck. But that’s Roubaix. It’s always nice to win alone but today there was pure fighting until the very end. I could not believe it when I crossed the finish line. My legs and my head wanted to bring me here.”

As Cancellara talked reporters through the finale in the press room afterwards, he sat slumped in his chair with his chin resting on his knee, even closing his eyes while his responses were translated from English to French. “I went over my limits like never before to cross the line first today,”

Click here to see the full results and a highlights video from the 2013 Paris-Roubaix.

Collisions cost Vandenbergh and Stybar Paris-Roubaix podium spots

The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team went into the Carrefour de l’Arbre cobbled sector with two men in the four-rider breakaway: Stijn Vandenbergh and Zdenek Stybar. But in a short period of time, both riders had unfortunate encounters with spectators, costing them a chance at a podium finish.

Vandenbergh eventually crossed the line last in a group that sprinted for eighth place on the velodrome, suffering from a wound on his left elbow and hip and blood spattered on his left leg.

“I know that I can win this race one day,” said Vandenbergh. “Today I had a really good chance for the win or a podium result at least. Cancellara was the strongest man out there. It’s sad that I missed out on a podium result because of the crash. I’m really disappointed.”

Offredo crashes out of Paris-Roubaix

One of the more spectacular crashes from yesterday’s Paris-Roubaix happened to FDJ rider Yoann Offredo.

FDJ manager Marc Madiot said of Offredo:

“He was at the tail of the peloton, he’d just asked me for a bike change. Before I could respond, he had not seen that the peloton was splitting to go each side of a traffic island and he hit the sign at full speed. He hurt himself badly, he’s wounded on his chin, his knees, his ribs. That’s how it ended for him…”

Paris-Roubaix in quotes

We’ve gone through the press releases sent out about Paris-Roubaix by the various teams and put together a collection of quotes from riders and team directors. Click here to see what the likes of Cancellara, Terpstra, Stybar, Chavanel, Phinney and more have to say about how the epic race unfolded.

Quintana wins the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco

Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has won the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) after finishing second to Tony Martin in the 24km final stage time trial on Saturday.

Quintana started the day six seconds behind compatriot Sergio Henao (Sky) on the overall classifaction but Henao finished 40 seconds behind Quintana, just holding on to take third place ahead of Simon Spilak (Katusha).

Henao’s Australian teammate Richie Porte (Sky) finished fourth on the day to ensure he took second overall. As expected, Martin of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team won the stage convincingly, finishing in a time of 35 minutes 5 seconds. The German was 17 seconds quicker than Quintana, with Spaniard Benat Intxausti (Movistar) coming in third a further 15 seconds back.

Click here the full results from stage 6 and the overall classification in the Tour of the Basque Country.

Porte takes out stage 5 of Pais Vasco to secure second overall

Richie Porte finished second overall in the Tour of the Basque Country, a result that was secured with this fourth place in the final stage time trial. But Porte also won the fifth stage which featured 10 categorised climbs and which was marred by torrential rain, sleet and even some snow.

Porte’s Sky team spent almost the entire day at the front of the field, first reeling in a breakaway, and then controlling the race for Porte.

The final climb of the day came 6km before the finish and it was on the way down after that climb that a select group of riders, including Porte, came together. Porte attacked with 1.5km to go and was able to hold off the surging group to take the win.

Click here to see the full results from stage 5 of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco.

Ellen van Dijk wins the Energiewacht Tour

Dutch rider Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-Lululemon) has taken out the six-stage Energiewacht Tour by 1:21 over compatriots Loes Gunnewijk (Orica-AIS) and Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) after a dominant performance in the ITT on stage 3a.

Van Dijk won the 21.1km time trial by 51 seconds over Lisa Brennauer to set up the overall win but in many ways, the Tour belonged to Kirsten Wild. Wild won four of the available six stages, dominating the rest of the field when it came to the bunch sprints.

Loes Gunnewijk (Orica-AIS), Ellen Van Dijk (Specialized-Lululemon) and Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) atop the Energiewacht Tour podium.

For a personal account of the Energiewacht Tour, check out Orica-AIS rider Gracie Elvin’s blog.

Click here to see the overall results from the 2013 Energiewacht Tour.

Cancellara leads WorldTour rankings

Fabian Cancellara’s victory in Paris-Robaix overnight has seen him leap-frog Peter Sagan (Cannondale) — who didn’t race Paris-Roubaix — to the top of the WorldTour individual rankings.

Cancellara moves to 351 points with the 100 he picked up overnight with Sagan in second and Richie Porte, who finished second overall in the Tour of the Basque Country, sitting in third.

The top 5 on the individual rankings is as follows:

1. Fabian Cancellara (351)
2. Peter Sagan (312)
3. Richie Porte (200)
4. Nairo Quintana (182)
5. Joaquim Rodriguez (144)

Spain (465) leads the national rankings from Switzerland (360) and Belgium (358) and Sky (536) leads the teams rankings ahead of RadioShack-Leopard (466) and Katusha (400).

Click here to see the full up-to-date rankings.

Rick Zabel wins U23 Ronde van Vlaanderen

Rick Zabel, son of famous German sprinter Erik, confirmed he is moving out of the shadow of his old man and creating his own story after claiming the U23 Tour of Flanders over the weekend.

Zabel won the bunch sprint ahead of Dylan Groenewegen (Netherlands) and Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark).

Zabel’s win is a huge coup for the waning popularity of German road cycling — perhaps Rick will be the protagonist to bring German cycling back to the mainstream?

Click here to see the full results from the U23 Tour of Flanders.

The tech of Paris-Roubaix

There’s always a lot of buzz about Paris-Roubaix, not just because it’s one of the toughest and most memorable races on the WorldTour calendar, but because it’s a race that often sees the riders using equipment that you simply wouldn’t see in a regular road race.

This piece in VeloNews runs through the alternate tech and bike setups used at Paris-Roubaix overnight, including tyre pressures, tyre widths and so on.

Click here to read more on VeloNews.

Armstrong asks court to dump SCA lawsuit

Lance Armstrong has asked a Dallas court to throw out a court case by SCA Promotions, the company that paid Armstrong $12 million in bonuses for winning multiple editions of the Tour de France.

SCA Promotions is suing Armstrong to recover the $12 million, suggesting that Armstrong lied under oath about his doping.

Armstrong is trying to have the case dismissed, arguing that the settlement reached between the two parties is legally binding and can’t be appealed.

Click here to

Video: a death-defying MTB ride

And finally, check out this video of a couple of MTB riders on a track where one small slip could prove deadly. Their balance (and confidence) are amazing — I’m not sure I could walk that track without tumbling to my doom.

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