fi'zi:k's riders dominate nationals

As is tradition, the weekend prior to the Tour de France saw the world’s best riders compete on a domestic level in search of national honours. And what a weekend it turned out to be for fi’zi:k-sponsored riders…

With due respect to the home of arguably the greatest sporting event on the planet, we start our national review in France where Arnaud Démare, aboard his fi’zi:k Arone VS saddle, won the road championships for the second time. The 25-year-old FDJ rider headed the sprint in a small peloton, holding off second-placed Nacer Bouhani and Jérémy Leveau in third.

The 248km route, which comprised numerous loops of the 15.5km-long course that began and finished in Saint-Omer, saw a number of early attacks but the FDJ-led peloton never let the attackers fully off the leash. It was an effort Démare praised after the race.

‘We have a super team who went 100% for me today,’ said the Frenchman. ‘I was very good and the team was strong.’

In the Isle of Man, local hero Mark Cavendish (fi’zi:k Arione) was officially black-flagged with 14km to go as the race commissaires were worried about riders being lapped, but Cavendish looked strong in his continued recovery from glandular fever.

But not as strong as Dimension Data team-mate Steve Cummings (fi’zi:k Antares R1), who added the British road title to the time-trial crown he won earlier in the nationals. The 36-year-old managed to overhaul a four-man breakaway group, which included Team Sky’s Pete Kennaugh (fi’zi:k Antares VS Carbon), to become the first man to do the double since David Millar back in 2007. Not bad for a rider who’s spent the past few months battling to come back from a fractured collarbone, sternum and scapula.

In Spain, fi’zi:k-sponsored Movistar dominated proceedings with Jesus Herrada (fi’zi:k Aliante) holding off team-mate Alejandro Valverde (fi’zi:k Arione VSX), who’d made a race-defining break with 7km to go.

‘Alejandro controlled the closing kilometers,’ Herrada said after the race. ‘He took the responsibility of dragging the group to the bottom of the climb. I only had to sit on his wheel and save energy for my winning attack.’

There was also national road joy for AG2R La Mondiale’s Oliver Naesen (fi’zi:k saddle, R1B Shoes and bar tapes) in Belgium, while Michel Kwiatkowski (fi’zi:k Antares VS Carbon and Team Sky) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (fi’zi:k Antares VS and Dimension Data) both won national time-trial titles.

Meanwhile, in Switzerland, the celebrations were led by fi’zi:k’s Silvan Dillier, who led home a BMC Racing Team 1-2-3 to top the podium to earn his first national title. The 26-year-old was part of a four-man breakaway, then soloed away the final 60km to put more than 2 minutes into Stefan Küng and Kilian Frankiny.

Now, all eyes turn to Germany for the Tour de France prologue on Saturday 1 July.