26 Dec 2016
THE BEST OF 2016 – WITH FSA’S ROAD TEAMS
What a year it’s been for teams riding FSA! Our WorldTour teams having been using their K-Force cranksets, cockpits and brakes to great effect this year. From the one-day Classics to the three Grand Tours and from the Olympics the Nationals and World Championships, here are our ‘best bits’ of 2016…
ASTANA PRO CYCLING
Where better to start than with Astana? The images from 2016 that will stay with us for a long time is of the stunning victory in the Giro d’Italia with Vincenzo Nibali’s comeback, winning stage 19 and overturning a deficit many thought impossible. Astana also took the Giro’s team overall win, with a great collective performance that saw the Dane Jakob Fuglsang (who took second place on stage 2) rolling in 12th GC ahead of Italy’s Michele Scarponi in 16th.
The Tour de France saw stage podiums apiece for dual leaders Fabio Aru (stage 18) and Nibali (stage 20) who also picked up a Combativity award (stage 7), with the team finishing fifth overall. It was encouraging to see the performances of Alexey Lutsenko whose season also included winning stage 5 of Paris-Nice, overall victory at the Tour of Hainan and a third consecutive victory at the Tour of Almaty in his native Kazakhstan.
Astana took team overall sixth in the Vuelta a Espana with Luis Leon Sanchez on good form on home soil, taking second place on stage 2 and fifth position in a tough Points competition, plus a Combativity award on Stage 9.
Outside of the Grand Tours, Diego Rosa picked up a proud silver in the Olympic Road Race, and second in Il Lombardia, while Tanel Kangert scored a stage win and overall victory in the Abu Dhabi Tour. It all contributed to a UCI ranking leap from 12th to 10th.
Next year look out for leader Aru, and breakthrough rider Miguel Angel Lopez who battled injury in 2016 to reveal his potential, which could be amazing.
Cannondale-Drapac’s Michael Woods shows Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez the way at Milan-Torino (all images BettiniPhoto©2016).
CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING
A genuine team performance from the Cannondale-Drapac saw the squad take second place in the Giro, with Colombian Rigoberto Uran’s seventh place GC finish an individual highlight alongside stage podiums for the Italian Moreno Moser (stages 8 and 18) and the American Joe Dombrowski (stage 20).
The Vuelta a Espana saw another Grand Tour podium for the Cannondale team, with third place. The three weeks in Spain also netted a highly respectable fifth place GC for a resurgent Andrew Talansky and stage podiums for the American Benjamin King (stage 4) and another for the combative Moser (stage 9).
Elsewhere Ben King took stage 2 of the Tour of California, Jack Bauer won stage 5 of the Tour of Britain, Andrew Talansky claimed stage 6 of the Tour of Utah on his way to a third place GC, while Alberto Bettiol won the sprinters classification in the Tour of Poland, Davide Villella won the Japan Cup and Uran troubled the podiums at both Il Lombardia and Milan-Torino.
The team effort combined to see Cannondale-Drapac climb to 8th in the UCI ranking.
While Lampre-Merida’s eventual team placing in the Giro was 10th it belies the true story of an eventful May. Italians Sacha Modolo and Diego Ulissi finished third and fourth in the points, with Ulissi matching his fourth in the Intermediate sprints competition and taking third in the Grand Tour’s Combativity ranking.
Modolo’s fight stayed strong for the full three weeks as he took to the podium on three stages (2, 7 and 21), the sprinter just falling short of the Giro stage victories he enjoyed in 2015.
It was Ulissi who took to the top step of the podium in dramatic style on stages 4 and 11: “I came here for a stage win and now I’ve got two, so I’m very happy – for the team as well because they worked very hard,” said Ulissi after stage 11. “It was hard on the climb but I’m going well on the climbs at the moment. I can thank Matej Mohoric and Valerio Conti for setting me up. I didn’t want to wait for the sprint. I managed to save a bit of energy on the down hill bit and was able to use it in the sprint.”
Italian Conti bagged his first Grand Tour win on stage 13 of the Vuelta, while former World Road Race Champion Rui Costa took third at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and top ten overall finishes across the Tour of Oman, Tour de Romandie, Tour of the Basque Country, Tour de Suisse plus top ten finishes at Paris-Nice, La Flèche Wallonne and the Olympic Games Road Race; and Ulissi took the GC win at Czech Cycling Tour, third overall at the Abu Dhabi Tour and top ten finishes at Milano-Torino, Trofeo Laigueglia, Strade Bianche, the Amstel Gold Race, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and La Flèche Wallonne.