With less than a week until the Tour de France, the past weekend saw nations around the world host their national championships with fi’zi:k riders dominating the global podia…
Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) warmed up for the Grand Depart by winning his maiden French national title, outsprinting teammate Nacer Bouhanni, the 2012 champion. Démare reigned supreme over the 251.7km Futuroscope course, commenting after the race: ‘Nacer’s victories at the Giro d’Italia have boosted me. I understand what he feels now.’
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) provided less of a surprise as he defended his Slovakian title – making it a fantastic four in a row for the fi’zi:k rider. The Slovakian road race championship is run alongside the Czech championship, and Sagan finished clear with Czech winner Zdenek Stybar – 51 seconds ahead of the next Slovakian, Peter Velits.
Over in Abergavenny, Wales, Team Sky (aboard their fi’zi:k saddles) made it a one-two on the 186km Monmouthshire course with Peter Kennaugh outsprinting teammate Ben Swift to the title. The finish resembled a track meet, Kennaugh shadowing Swift’s every move before timing his final attack to perfection.
There was another Team Sky one-two in the time trial championships, Sir Bradley Wiggins claiming his third national TT title by beating Geraint Thomas into second. Movistar and fi’zi:k’s Alex Dowsett was third.
Dowsett’s teammate at Movistar, Adriano Malori, went two better in Italy, scorching to a 51min 26sec time around the 40.9km route from Taio to Malé. He beat Team Sky’s second-placed Dario Cataldo by 1min 10sec.
Movistar’s success continued over in Spain as Ion Izagirre won the national road race championships. The 200.8km Ponferrada route held no fear for Izagirre as he held off his more illustrious Movistar companion, Alejandro Valverde, for the win. Izagirre will hope he can repeat the result in the World Championships, to be run over the same course later in the year.
fi’zi:k’s CV of national victories was completed by Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin-Sharp), who won the Dutch road race title. On a rain-soaked day in Ootmarsum, Langeveld proved strongest over the 243km course.