Patrick Bevin crashes as Caleb Ewan disqualified handing Tour Down Under stage five to Jasper Philipsen

Race leader Patrick Bevin crashed inside the final 10 kilometres of stage five of the Tour Down Under that was won by Jasper Philipsen following Caleb Ewan’s disqualification.

UAE-Team Emirates’ Jasper Philipsen won a dramatic stage five of the Town Down Under as Caleb Ewan was disqualified for three headbutts and race leader Patrick Bevin dramatically kept hold of the ochre jersey.

In an eventful day in the tussle at the top of the general classification, Bevin and second-placed Impey both claimed five bonus seconds each in the intermediate sprints.

But Bevin crashed with nine kilometres to go, sporting rips to his jersey and cuts to his back and right arm; he was seen holding said arm and his right ribs after he crossed the finish line with the peloton after a heroic but pained effort to rejoin.

At the end of the stage in Strathalbyn, Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) was the fastest, beating 20-year-old Philipsen and stage three winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

But 25 minutes after the stage’s conclusion, race commissaires reviewed the final kilometre of the race and decided to disqualify Ewan after overhead camera footage showed that he clearly head butted Philipsen three times in the final few hundred metres.

It meant that neo-pro Philipsen was awarded the victory, his first since joining the WorldTour ranks in the off-season from Hagens-Berman Axeon.

Bevin (CCC Team) goes into tomorrow’s final stage that finishes atop Willunga Hill maintaining his seven second advantage to Impey (Mitchelton-Scott).

He went to hospital after the stage and will be hoping he is fit enough to hold off the expected challenge of third-place Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) who is 16 seconds adrift, Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and other stronger climbers tomorrow.

How it happened

As soon as the neutral zone finished and the 149.5km stage began, three riders jumped off the front to create a break: Jason Lea and Ayden Toovey of UniSa-Australia and AGR2 La Mondiale’s Clement Chevrier.

They were only allowed to ride clear for 40km, though, as stage four winner Impey eyed the bonus seconds at the first intermediate sprint. His Mitchelton-Scott helped bring the trio back, and he duly won the sprint, with Bevin in second place, to go six seconds behind the race leader.

>>> Fabio Aru: ‘2018 was one of the darkest moments of my career’

The peloton remained intact for the second intermediate sprint and this time the positions were reserved between Impey and Bevin, ensuring that the latter regained his seven second advantage on the general classification.

Their mid-stage battle over without any change to the standings, a new breakaway was allowed to form. Toovey returned to the head of the race, joining Matthieu Ladagnous (Groupama-FDJ). They lasted an hour and the peloton was back together with 34km left to race.

Crosswinds made the finale interesting for a number of riders who dropped back, unable to keep pace with Bora-Hansgrohe’s and Team Sky’s fast pace.

At nine kilometres to go, race leader Bevin came down in a crash at the back of the peloton. The New Zealander got straight up but appeared to be limping as he got back onto his bike.

He struggled to catch back onto the peloton but they slowed down in an effort to help him regroup; he settled back into the peloton with 1.5km to go. Meanwhile, Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Lotto-Soudal were in charge at the front, readying their sprinters.

Two right turns followed the kilometre-to-go inflatable, and Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) had the perfect lead-out from teammate Fabio Sabatini. But he failed to press on and Ewan, riding fourth wheel behind Sagan, sprinted off to the right and passed the three in front of him.

The Australian was too fast for his challengers and despite a late charge from Philipsen on his left crossed the line in first place comfortably. Viviani would have been nightly disappointed to have squandered a great chance to add to his stage one victory.

Shortly afterwards, though, Ewan’s win was stripped from him for his headbutts and it was Philipsen who was able to celebrate his maiden WorldTour victory, although its circumstances would not have been how he imagined such a feat.

Results

Stage five: Glenelg > Strathalbyn (149.5km)

1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE-Team Emirates
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
4. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-Quick Step
6. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida
7. Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb
8. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension-Data
9. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky.
10. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana, all at same time

General classification after stage five

1. Patrick Bevin (NWZ) CCC Team, in 17-00-25
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott, at 7 secs
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana, at 16 secs
4. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension-Data
5. Jan Polanc (Slv) UAE-Team Emirates
6. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) (Katusha-Alpecin)
7. George Bennett (NWZ) Jumbo-Visma
8. Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
9. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
10. Michael Woods (Can) EF-Education First, all at 26 secs

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Thwaites joins Vitus Pro Cycling

Scott Thwaites will drop down to Continental level and return to racing in Britain, signing for Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother after his contract at Dimension Data was not renewed.

Thwaites’ career was thrown into jeopardy in March last year when he suffered several fractured vertebrae in a training crash. After a lengthy rehabilitation process, he returned to racing in July but soon explained that his outlook on his career had changed and he was considering doing something away from the sport.

Having known for some time that he would not be getting a new contract at Dimension Data, Thwaites entered the new year without a team, but on Friday it was announced that he will ride for the British set-up Vitus, formerly known as Team Raleigh.

The team is run by Cherie Pridham, who helped Thwaites in the nascent phase of his career when he was on the Merlin development team. 

“I’m delighted to welcome Scott to Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK. Strength-in-depth is the defining characteristic of our 2019 squad, and Scott embodies the unwavering standards demanded of a top professional,” Pridham said.

“It was a pleasure to work with Scott when he was still an emerging talent with obvious potential, and now he has completed nine years as a professional, it’s very satisfying to be working with him again. A rider strong enough to finish two Grand Tours and nine Classics can only be a significant addition to our squad.”

Thwaites joins multiple Olympic champion Ed Clancy in adding top-level experience to Vitus. The 28-year-old rode for Endura Racing from 2010 and stayed after the merger with NetApp in what became the current Bora-Hansgrohe team, before signing for Dimension Data in 2017. As well as riding the Tour de France in 2017 and the Vuelta a España in 2016, he produced some string performances in the Spring Classics, including top 10’s at Strade Bianche, Dwars door Vlaanderen, and Hadzame Classic, as well as podiums at Le Samyn and Nokere Koerse. 

Thwaites will make his debut for the team when they line out at their first race of the 2019 season at the Eddie Soens Memorial on March 9.

The Cyclingnews podcast is brought to you in association with Sportful, Pinarello and Floyd’s of Leadville.

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Bahrain-Merida neo-pro Stevie Williams forced out with pre-season knee injury

The Welshman is uncertain when he’ll make his race debut

Before he has managed to turn a wheel in anger, Welshman Stevie Williams has been forced to delay the start of his season after being struck down by injury.

Along with Harry Tanfield (Katusha-Alpecin), Williams is one of two British neo-pros at WorldTour level in 2019, having signed a two year deal with Bahrain-Merida, but a persistent knee issue has blighted his winter.

Now, while the majority of his new team are at a training camp on the Costa Daurada, near Barcelona, he is at home in Aberystwyth getting treatment.

“It’s been about seven or eight weeks now, that doesn’t seem a long time but when you haven’t ridden bike for that long it is,” 22 year-old Williams told Cycling Weekly.

“When you’re new to a professional team the first thing you want to do is get out on your bike and work as hard as you can to make the first season as good as possible, but ultimately I cannot do that at the moment.

“The hardest part is keeping my head in a good place and trust in the right people and having faith that this will get better. We’ve been making little improvements with bike position, so we have to wait and see now.”

Though clearly chomping at the bit, Williams appears remarkably sanguine about his plight, and his team are not putting pressure on him to return to training.

Stevie Williams in the leader’s jersey at the 2018 Baby Giro (Picture: Bahrain-Merida/ Elisa Haumesser)

“The pain came back when he started training, it’s trying to nail down the cause, but taking a break, changing equipment and shoes,” team performance director David Bailey told us.

“He’s done everything right, he stopped training and only recently with support from different expertise, we think we’ve got it. It’s hard for him to hear now, but these things are often what makes a rider, though it is not the ideal transition.

“It’s difficult to say, but I certainly see him back in training fully within the month.”

Having begun in the sport slightly later than many, Williams’s rise to the professional ranks has been a fast one.

After injury forced him to give up on running and, more importantly football – “I wasn’t going to be the next Ronaldo” he jokes – he took to riding with his local club, Ystwyth Cycling Club, racing for the first time in 2012 aged 15.

“In a 3/4 race I jumped off the front in the crit with about 10 or 15 minutes to go and won it solo, and I thought, ‘yeah, this is fun.’ Ever since I have just loved racing.

Having spotted his talent early on Welsh Cycling have supported him throughout his career as he progressed to the domestic pro ranks with JLT Condor then Dutch Continental team SEG Racing Academy.

“I was on the Welsh cycling talent programme for the last four years and I think that was really beneficial for me. To have that infrastructure down in South Wales and do the track and do road stuff and be taken to junior national races, that really helped.



“For sure joining JLT then joining SEG was definitely a game changer. Once I’d raced in the UK for a couple of years I thought this is great racing and it’s really hard, but the natural style of rider I am, skinny and really light, I knew I wanted to get abroad and do some of under-23 stage races in the mountains. Luckily I was given that opportunity and made it count.”

Though still finding his feet in his first year with SEG, he still managed second place at the hilly 2017 Flèche Ardennaise, while steadily increasing his racing exposure, going from 39 race days in 2017 to 61 days last season, when he achieved his biggest successes.

In 2018 Williams won two mountainous stages and the overall at the Ronde de I’Isard as well as a stage and fifth place at the Baby Giro.

“I do think Isard and the Baby Giro were game changers, but also Liège Bastogne Liège [Under 23 – where he finished ninth] at the start of the year. I wanted to go there and win it of course but the break stayed away, but a one day shows a lot about a rider, what sort of decisions you make and how you race it, but that was an important day for me.”

Now, rewarded with a place on one of the world’s best teams, Williams knows where his priorities lie.

“To get back on the bike as soon as possible!” he laughs. “Also to get as much experience as possible from these riders I have looked up to for a number of years, to understand the different level and put in my mind what is my best attribute in cycling.

“But I am a cyclist and I would not do this if I didn’t want to win races, so if there any opportunities to go for then I will be trying to grab them with both hands.”

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Britain’s Scott Thwaites joins Continental level Vitus Pro Cycling after leaving Dimension Data

The 28-year-old has considered retiring from the sport after suffering a nasty spinal injury

Brit Scott Thwaites has announced he will be stepping down to Continental level after parting ways with Dimension Data.

The 28-year-old has joined British team Vitus Pro Cycling after spending two years at WorldTour level.

Thwaites, from Steeton in West Yorkshire, recently revealed he had considered retirement after a serious spinal fracture derailed his 2018 season.

But instead he will return to the British racing circuit, where he will try to capitalise on his previous Grand Tour and Monument experience.

>>> Brit Scott Thwaites has announced he will be stepping down to Continental level after leaving Dimension Data

Vitus team boss Cherie Pridham said: “I’m delighted to welcome Scott to Vitus Pro Cycling.

“Strength-in-depth is the defining characteristic of our 2019 squad, and Scott embodies the unwavering standards demanded of a top professional.”

Thwaites has first started racing for Pridham back in 2006, before he went onto to ride at the highest level in 2017 and 2018.

During his time at the top tier, Thwaites rode the Tour de France alongside compatriot and team-mate Mark Cavendish, and was beginning to make waves in the Classics.

In 2017, Thwaites finished 10th at Strade Bianche, and 16th at the Tour of Flanders.



But a crash in March 2018, that left him with several fractured vertebrae, took him out of racing for four months.

He was able to return to the peloton with Dimension Data, but in December he revealed he was considering his opportunities outside cycling.

Thwaites has instead opted to return to the domestic circuit, where he previously honed his skills with the Endura Racing team between 2010 and 2012.

Pridham added: “It was a pleasure to work with Scott when he was still an emerging talent with obvious potential, and now he has completed nine years as a professional, it’s very satisfying to be working with him again.

“A rider strong enough to finish two Grand Tours and nine Classics can only be a significant addition to our squad.”

>>> British women’s circuit racing to be held as national series for the first time

Vitus Pro Cycling said they expect Thwaites to be an inspiration to younger riders on the team.

He joins a powerful line up of talent, including youngsters Liam Davies and Tim Torrie, as well as Commonwealth Games medallist Chris Latham and British Cycling Academy graduates Joe Holt and Ali Slater.

Multiple Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy will also be joining Vitus for 2019 after the collapse of the long-standing JLT – Condor outfit.

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Fabio Aru: ‘2018 was one of the darkest moments of my career’

Aru says he’s hoping to put 2018 behind him as he targets Giro d’Italia success in 2019

Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) aims to hit restart in the 2019 season after his “darkest moments” yet cycling in 2018.

The Sardinian abandoned the Giro d’Italia with mysterious problems, crashed and cursed his sponsors in the Vuelta a España, and pulled himself out of the running for Italy’s World Championships team.

“I want to cancel 2018, one of the darkest moments of my career,” Aru told La Gazzetta dello Sport when he reflected on his plan to race the 2019 Giro d’Italia this May.

One year ago, Aru built for the Giro as well. He never found his form and struggled throughout the race to show that spark that allowed him to place second overall to Alberto Contador in the 2015 Giro or win the 2015 Vuelta a España.

He rode steady throughout the 2018 Vuelta, but a crash stood out in the three weeks. He created a media storm when he stood from his fall and began cursing his team-sponsored Colnago bike.

A new season programme, coaches and trip to the US give him a fresh approach to 2019. He will need it because the Giro d’Italia, May 11 to June 2, includes top contenders – from Tom Dumoulin to Vincenzo Nibali – and plenty of time trial kilometres mixed with mountains.



“Mamma mia it’s a beautiful start list… but that’s the way it has been for years now,” he said.

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas, the Welsh winner of the Tour de France last year, is rumoured to start as well. Team-mate Chris Froome won the 2018 Giro, the first Brit to do so.

“I have never hidden that this race is in my heart, you feel unique emotions,” Aru continued.

“The programme is set until the Giro. For the Tour, we’ll see. It is important to start [the season], and immediately.”

He said that his struggles to absorb pasta and carbohydrates well led to some of his problems. He now limits their intake and avoids dairy products.

UAE Team Emirates also shook up the team. New directors Allan Peiper and Neil Stephens arrived and coaches from the University of Colorado now follow the team.

After Aru races in Mallorca, Algarve and Catalonia, he will train at altitude in Colorado, in the US, for his final push towards the Giro.

“We are followed by coaches from the University of Boulder, our head coach Iñigo San Millan has lived there for years. And, coincidentally, I had my first race in the pros, as an stagiaire: it was the Tour of Colorado 2012, I finished second in a stage,” Aru said.

“I’m getting along very well with the new staff and coaches. I like that the human aspect, serenity, is taken into consideration, even before preparation and performance.

“Too many times we talk about numbers, we think too much about the tests and watts, but to reach these numbers you have to feel good and be calm. And now I feel good.”

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Tom Pidcock rides new CeramicSpeed off-road pulleys to cyclocross victory

New British cyclocross champion using low friction pulley system from the Danish brand

CeramicSpeed says that its new OSPW X pulley system is designed for off-road riding and offers 30% to 40% less friction than a conventional pulley system. It’s been used and abused by rising cyclocross and road star Tom Pidcock, who won the British championship while using it on one of his bikes.

The OSPW X system is designed to replace the derailleur cage of SRAM Force 1 and Rival 1 single ring clutched derailleurs on cyclocross and gravel bikes. It uses CeramicSpeed’s low friction bearings, but pairs these to a specially designed pulley tooth profile to produce a cage designed to cope with harsh conditions.

Clutched rear mechs have been shown to generate greater friction in the drivetrain than a non-clutched mech, although that’s balanced out by the more consistent chain tension leading to less chainslap, more consistent chain tension, better pedalling dynamics and less risk of losing a chain.

CeramicSpeed offers a warranty of up to six years on its off-road pulleys, despite the harsh treatment they are likely to get

CeramicSpeed says that the new OSPW X is the first oversized pulley wheel system designed to work with clutched mechs and helps to lower that efficiency gap.

The CeramicSpeed OSPW X pulleys use wide-narrow tooth profiles, like those on SRAM 1’s chainrings, to mesh more closely with the two link widths in the chain. There’s also a new lightweight carbon fibre mech cage.



According to CeramicSpeed’s Executive Vice President Martin Banke: “When we realized our first OSPW System back in 2015, we always knew the product could provide major benefits to the off-road rider.

“We have learnt so much over the years in developing OSPW Systems. Gravel and CX is the natural progression from road. With thousands of testing kilometres banked, this is a brilliant product that is already proven in the harshest environments.”

>>> CeramicSpeed Driven: no chains, no mechs for a super-efficient drivetrain

It will be interesting to see if the CeramicSpeed OSPW X is forward-compatible with SRAM’s rumoured new flagship 12-speed Red eTap 1 groupset and whether there will be a version for Shimano’s two-ring Ultegra RX clutched rear mech.

CeramicSpeed offers a warranty of up to six years on the OSPW X system. Given the damage that muck and water can do when riding off-road, that shows a lot of confidence in the new system’s durability. It claims that its pulleys will last between three and five times as long as a standard cage.

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Cycling cleaner than baseball, rugby and boxing in 2018, according to anti-doping campaigners

A study by the Movement for Credible Cycling has explored the number of doping cases across sport

Cycling’s tainted reputation among world sport may no longer reflect reality, judging by statistics compiled by anti-doping campaigners.

According to pro cycling’s movement against performance enhancing drugs, cycling was cleaner than 12 other sports, including baseball, rugby, boxing and American Football.

The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) – a collection of cycling teams, former riders, and other sponsors trying to clean up the sport’s image – has compiled the number of doping offences across dozens of sport to compare cases.

According to the research, cycling is 13th in the list of sports where doping and corruption are most prevalent, with 17 cases revealed to the public in 2018.

In a statement released alongside the figures, the MPCC said: “We reckon cycling fans will be glad to see that their sport is ranked quite low in this classification of doping and corruption cases, far behind American sports, but also athletics, football and rugby.

>>> Email sent from testosterone supplier to Dr Richard Freeman obtained by BBC

“The one actual trend we can identify is that cycling is getting further away from the top of our doping cases classification.

“Though, cycling fans must mitigate their satisfaction – this is not due to a drop in doping cases, but mainly caused by this new transparency granted by the federations.”



In 2018 there were 17 doping cases in cycling revealed to the public, either by the press or by anti-doping authorities.

By comparison, track and field had the most doping offences confirmed with 98, followed by 83 in baseball and 74 in weightlifting.

Sport Number of doping cases in 2018 (doping + corruption cases)
Track and field 98 (102)
Baseball 83
Weightlifting 74
Football 16 (73)
Equestrian 41
Powerlifting 40
Cricket 7 (34)
American football 33
Rugby 33
Biathlon 14 (27)
Tennis 6 (25)
Boxing 20 (21)
Cycling 17
MMA 16
Crossfit 14
Swimming 9
Wrestling 8
Ice hockey 7
Rugby league 6
Basketball 5 (6)
Judo 5
Bodybuilding 4
Triathlon 4
Cue sports 3 (4)
Alpine skiing 3
Nordic skiing 3
Handball 2 (3)

Football saw 16 offences, while there were 41 for equestrian sports.

The MPCC has compiled these statistics for the last five years, but for the first time has also collected corruption data – cases of match-fixing and financial misconduct.

The organisation said it has not been able to detect a trend in doping within cycling, with figures remaining at a consistent level in recent years.

There were no cases of corruption revealed to the public in cycling last year.

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According to the study, there were two doping cases at WorldTour level, four at Pro Continental and four at continental.

Most offences were in the road discipline (11), with one in BMX, four in mountain biking and one on the track.

A majority of doping offences in cycling were also committed by men – 15 compared to just two in the women’s side of the sport.

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Specialized Allez 2019 range explained

The Specialized Allez range consists of great entry level road bikes and a crit racing machine – we help you choose the right model for you

The Specialized Allez road bike has stood the test of time as a model family, with early versions appearing as far back as the late 1970s.

It’s a well known, and well loved, platform that provided the first springboard into cycling for thousands of riders – and it continues to do so.

>>> Specialized bikes: everything you need to know

Whilst some models within the family are still purpose designed to provide an excellent introduction to cycling, the range also includes some race tuned machines created with full throttle riding at front of mind.

The new 2018 models have been released and are on sale – however, as explained below, the geometry has changed and there are still 2017 models on the market if you’re keen to invest in the older style.

>>> Best aluminium road bikes

The Specialized Allez 2019: highlights and prices

For 2019, the range consists of five key standards – with prices ranging from £630 to £1900.

The three more value orientated models, under the names ‘Allez Elite’, ‘Allez Sport’ and bog standard ‘Allez’ represent the traditional Allez values, whilst the top end ‘Allez Sprint Comp’ model takes on a much more race focused approach.

Being a consistently best selling bike for the American giants – and indeed for retailers all over the world – the Allez has received a lot of design hours.

>>> Is the new 2018 Specialized Allez the best £1000 bike available to buy?

Last year,  the non-sprint Allez models received a major facelift this year. The biggest upgrade was the introduction of a new, full carbon fork, which the brand say weighs in at 350g and mimics one which you would have found on S-Works bikes not too long ago.

Specialized Allez

Full carbon fork, even on the lowest price Allez

The geometry was also adjusted – it’s less aggressive than that which you’d find on models from 2017 and before.

Using ‘wide range geometry’, the set up is designed to be more friendly to first time buyers – allowing a broader group of riders of all shapes and sized to find the right fit. This said, the bike can be slammed to ride much more like the aggressive Tarmac race bike. Alterations include a slacker fork and headtube angle and a longer chainstay for additional stability.

For greater compliance and comfort, Specialized has mirrored the rear end technology we see on the Venge Vias and the new Diverge – the seat stays meet the seat tube much lower down.

The Allez models also include eyelets for mudguards and internally routed cables – along with hydro formed tubing which keeps the weight low.

With the 2018 onwards geometry and mudguard mounts, the Allez models can make good commuters and all sit below the cycle to work voucher threshold.

The Allez Sprint models have a much more aggressive geometry when compared with all other Allez bikes; they’re designed for out-and-out crit racing and disregards comfort in favour of full throttle speed at every avenue.

Specialized

The Specialized Allez Sprint in a custom 5th Floor paint job

The Allez Sprint bikes even feature the ‘Smartweld Technology’ which Specialized first launched in 2013.

Pitched as a welding technique designed to re-invent the way alloy was viewed as a frame material, its a form of welding that moves the joint away from high stress areas, providing, in their words a better “balance of strength, rigidity and weight”. Effectively it makes the front end lighter and stiffer.

Here’s a look at the key models in the range. Since the 2018 bikes are fairly new on the market, there are generally still 2017 bikes around if you’re keen to invest in the more racey geometry of days gone by…

Specialized Allez road bike: £630

specialized allez 2019

Specialized Allez 2019

The entry level E5 retails at £630, sitting at a very wallet friendly price point for a quality road bike.

Specialized has fitted the new top end full carbon fork plus a carbon seat post – these will reduce vibrations from the road and cut the overall weight.

The levers an derailleurs are Shimano Claris 2000 STI – giving you eight gears with a Sunrace 11-32 cassette and 50/34 rings on a Shimano RS200 crankset – this gear set up offers you lots of options in the hills but the wide spaced cassette will feel clunky to racers who want to find the ideal cog.

The brakes are Tektro calipers, with Axis Sport wheels and 25mm Espoir Sport tyres – these are all reliable and trustable, though far from premium.

Specialized Allez Sport road bike: £850

specialized allez 2019

Specialized Allez Sport 2019

Moving one step up the run, the Allez E5 Sport comes in at £850 and features the same frame as the entry level model, with refined components that will drop a little off the wight and make shifting crisper.

The shifters and derailleurs are Shimano Sora, this time with a nine speed 11-32 cassette – one extra gear is afforded by the slightly higher end set up.

The compact chainset comes from Praxis whilst the same Axis Sport wheels are used.

Specialized Allez Elite road bike: £1050

Specialized Allez 2019

Specialized Allez Elite 2019

Topping out the Allez E5 family, dressed in a blue and red or plain black paint job and improved components, is the Elite model for £1050

The key distinguishing feature is the addition of Shimano 105 shifters and an 11-32, 11 speed cassette. The greater number of gears will provide smaller gaps between gears whilst still leaving plenty of downshifting potential in the hills thanks to the same wide ratio. A Praxis bottom bracket and chainset still comes with a 50/34 compact chainset.

As per all models, the saddle, stem, bar tape and handlebars are all provided by Specialized – who invest heavily in their BodyGeometry technology designed to offer a more anatomically optimised experience.

Specialized Allez Sprint Comp road bike (£1700) and Sprint Comp disc bike (£1900)

specialized allez 2019

Specialized Allez Sprint Comp 2019

Specialized Allez 2019

Specialized Allez Sprint Comp Disc 2019

The sprint comp disc is much like the comp, but with one very obvious differentiator: hydraulic disc brakes, which match the Shimano 105 groupset. These will provide superior stopping, particularly in the wet.

There’s two frameset only models, with some celebratory paint jobs in homage to the Allez Sprint’s crit racing heritage.

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Defending champion Daryl Impey wins stage four of Tour Down Under

2018 race champion Daryl Impey of Mitchelton-Scott sprinted to victory on stage four of the Tour Down Under

Defending champion Daryl Impey beat current race leader Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) to win stage four of the Tour Down Under.

The Mitchelton-Scott rider beat Bevin just before the line in Campbelltown after a reduced peloton had brought back a select group of star-studded climbers just in time for a sprint finish.

Bevin’s second-place earns him six bonus seconds and he increases his lead in the ochre jersey to seven seconds from Impey. Third-place on the stage Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) sits 19 seconds adrift of the New Zealander.

It had looked like one of the pre-race favourites would come out on top in the undulating stage, with Wout Poels (Team Sky), George Bennett (Team Jumbo-Visma), Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Michael Woods (EF-Education First) attacking on the final climb.

But they were eventually caught and when it came down to the sprint it was the South African champion Impey who had the fastest legs.

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How it happened

Riders would have appreciated the drop in temperature at the beginning of the stage, and once they got going a breakaway of six formed. It consisted of Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida), Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ), Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale), Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar) and Nicholas White (UniSA-Australia).

The group enjoyed a lead of over five minutes, but their advantage dipped to one minute with 20km remaining. It was then that local rider Scotson and breakaway specialist De Gendt jumped clear of their escapees, hoping to extend their time gap on the 10km downhill on Gorge Road. The six, however, were soon back together.

Fifteen kilometres from the finish and Scotson tried his fortune again, setting an incessant pace. Only Pernsteiner and eventually Sütterlin could keep up with him, with his other breakaway companions unable to close the gap.

>>> Chris Froome shares first monster ride of 2019 on Strava

As the new leading trio turned onto the Corkscrew climb with 7.5km left, the peloton behind were rearranging themselves to protect each teams’ general classification riders.

Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) soon moved off the front of the peloton but found it hard to gain time on the remaining leader Pernsteiner. At 6.4km, stage three winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was seen dropping out the back of the peloton.

At the same time, Poels of Team Sky attacked on a left-turning hairpin in the road, bringing with him fellow GC contenders Bennett, Porte and Woods. The latter then overtook Poels but was unable to shake off the other three.

They all crested the top of the climb together and began the descent with an eight second lead over the chasing group. At 2,000m from the finish, though, the leaders were swamped up by the Mitchelton-Scott-led peloton and they all made it into Campbelltown as one group.

Sanchez was at the front of the 20-man pack as they took a turn to the right into the final 500 metres. The Spaniard hesitated in sprinting at first, looking back, but he then went full-gas.

He was unable to power away, though, and Bevin quickly latched onto his back wheel. The race leader then swung to his left and charged beyond Sanchez. But Impey was directly behind and darted further to the left to speed past Bevin and take the win. It was the second successive stage Sanchez had finished on the podium but not the top step.

Results

Stage four: Unley > Campbelltown, 129.2km

1. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott, in 3:03.27
2. Patrick Bevin (NWZ) CCC Team
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana
4. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) (Katusha-Alpecin)
5. Rubén Fernández (Esp) Movistar
6. George Bennett (NWZ) Jumbo-Visma
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE-Team Emirates
8. Michael Woods (Can) EF-Education First
9. Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
10. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky, all at same time

General classification after stage four

1. Patrick Bevin (NWZ) CCC Team, in 13:23.30
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott, at 7secs
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana, at 19secs
4. Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
5. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension-Data
6. Jan Polanc (Slv) UAE-Team Emirates
7. George Bennett (NWZ) Jumbo-Visma
8. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) (Katusha-Alpecin)
9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE-Team Emirates
10. Michael Woods (Can) EF-Education First, all at 21secs

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Patxi Vila: Bring Peter Sagan to the finish line and you have a problem

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took his second stage in as many years in Uraidla on Thursday at the Tour Down Under. The Slovakian fended off a challenge from Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez and defending champion Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott).

The 146-kilometre course featured one categorised climb and seven hilly laps through the town to the east of Adelaide. It amassed nearly 3,500m of elevation gain over the route and was likened to an Ardennes Classic at the start line in Lobethal.

The stage was expected to be one of the first GC shakeups of the race, and although Sagan won the stage into the same town last season, it was on a very different parcours and the Slovakian wasn’t the top pick of the day. Bora-Hansgrohe coach and directeur sportif, Patxi Vila admitted even the team weren’t expecting Sagan to take the stage.

“We’re getting used to this sort of result but it’s surprising actually,” Vila said to reporters after the stage. “We never thought he could be able to win today, I mean we thought the effort would be too hard, so it wasn’t something we thought about.

“The race went smoothly until three laps to go, and then the last three laps were one hour of racing at full gas. The temperature was not so high today so at this moment it’s OK, whatever you feel. Our goal was to have Jay [McCarthy] in the front group for GC and with Peter, we left it up to him and how the race was looking, and it was a good race for us in terms of pacing. We were one of the first teams to come to Australia, so I think the adaption to the heat we have is a bit better than other teams so that also paid on our side.”

Though Vila did not expect Sagan to be in the mix for the victory, as the race began to crescendo in the final two laps of the course it became clear that a number of puncheurs including Impey, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Michael Valgren (Dimension Data) and Sagan could all be in the mix for the stage, alongside the main GC protagonists.

Despite late attacks from Kenny Elissonde (Team Sky) and Michael Woods (EF Education First), no single team could control the race, leaving Sagan, Impey and Sanchez to battle out the stage in a sprint.

“If you bring Peter Sagan with 10km to go and there’s only a couple of one-kilometre climbs, you have a problem. I mean, he’s a winner, he’s a racer, and he likes to race to win. Once he sees the finish line is close then the other teams have a real problem.”

Sagan’s surprise stage victory will be a welcome one for Bora-Hansgrohe and although the team brought Jay McCarthy – who has twice finished in the top five on GC at the race – as their overall contender, Sagan could be an outside bet. It will depend on how the GC riders race if he can stay in contention on the Corkscrew and Willunga Hill climbs in the coming days – alongside a final stage for the sprinters on Saturday – the three-time world champion could continue to raise eyebrows.

“Our plan was more to see how he was today and try something tomorrow but now I think we actually need to change our plan,” said Vila. “Tomorrow is 2.4 kilometres of really steep climbing that will be around 9-10 minutes of climbing, which will be a different story than today. Today was a load of bumps, just two or three minutes but tomorrow will be really hard.”

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