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First Edition Cycling News, April 11, 2008

Date published:
April 11, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • De Goede happy and successful at Equipe Nürnberger

    World Cup Leader Suzanne De Goede (Equipe Nurnberger)
    Article published:
    April 11, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Susan Westemeyer Suzanne de Goede (Equipe Nürnberger) took the lead in the women's UCI World Cup...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    Suzanne de Goede (Equipe Nürnberger) took the lead in the women's UCI World Cup last Sunday, placing sixth in the Ronde van Vlaanderen round. The Dutch rider is now looking forward to defending her World Cup leader's jersey at the Ronde van Drenthe this weekend, and says that wearing the jersey "is really cool!". De Goede is excited to wear the prestigious shirt in her home country this weekend. "We are going to try and do a good race with the team Saturday, to get a good result and keep the jersey."

    The Dutch rider, who will celebrate her 24th birthday next week, is new to the team this season, and brought in its first victory of the year, with the first stage of the Women's Tour of New Zealand. "That felt good, of course," she told Cyclingnews. "I wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand for some early racing to get ready for the Spring Classic season in Europe. And we did some good racing with the team, so then it is fun to get a win in one of the first races of the season!"

    She rode for T-Mobile Team last season, an experiment which just didn't turn out right. "I have always been in the same Dutch team since I started cycling and last year was my first year in an international team. I found out after some time that T-Mobile was just not the right team for me, so that's why I wanted to go to a different team," she explained why she left after only one year. "I still had some good results and races, but not as in the years before. That shows that something was different for me as in the years before. I found out in the middle of the season that I have exercise-induced asthma, and also the change of teams was maybe not perfect for me."

    De Goede feels comfortable in the Nürnberger team. "We work really good together, have strong riders and we also have...

  • Quick Step warns of bus tour fraud

    Article published:
    April 11, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Someone in Belgium has found a new way to make money out of professional cycling, but not in a legal...

    Someone in Belgium has found a new way to make money out of professional cycling, but not in a legal way. Team Quick Step this week issued a statement warning that someone named Marnic is approaching people on the street, introducing himself as the team bus driver and as rider Wilfred Cretsken's brother-in-law. The man offers to show fans the team bus for 100 Euros.

    "This person has nothing to do with the Quick Step team and is a fraud!" the team has warned. "Please don't believe this man, you will not see him again after the payment and you will lose your money."

  • Double success for High Road

    Luxemburger Kim Kirchen (High Road), 29, wins
    Article published:
    April 11, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team High Road continued its string of good results on Thursday, this time taking the top two spots...

    Team High Road continued its string of good results on Thursday, this time taking the top two spots in the Tour of the Basque Country's stage four. Luxembourger Kim Kirchen had the dubious task of contesting the sprint victory just as the bunch was catching a breakaway including his own team-mate, Morris Possoni, but the young Italian held on for second ahead of David Herrero (Karpin Galicia).

    Thursday's win was Kirchen's second sprint win in three days after his victory on stage two, and the team's director, Valerio Piva was pleased with the end result. "It was clear that Morris' group was going to be caught with 250 metres left to go and Kim couldn't brake and risk another rider going past him," explained Piva. "We didn't want that to happen. Even if it's a shame for Morris, it's far better than Kim wins than we lose the stage completely."

    "Kim is clearly in flying form," he added. "Taking one win in a bunch sprint is sometimes written off as a fluke, but if he takes two, particularly in a race as hard as the Tour of the Basque Country then nobody can say that."

    The win comes on the same day that the women scored its second victory in a week, with German Ina Teutenberg out-sprinting her rival compatriot Regina Schleicher (Equipe Nürngerber) in the Drentse-8 Dwingeloo. Teutenberg's triumph comes after High Road's Judith Arndt took the women's Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday.

    "We are very happy," said women's team director Ronny Lauke. "Winning is always something special but it was especially great to see Ina have such a good race after being sick last week."

    The team has another World Cup round on Saturday at the Ronde van Drenthe, and is hoping to carry the momentum through to this race. "We have a very good feeling in the team right now," Lauke added....

  • Steegmans out of Paris-Roubaix

    Article published:
    April 11, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Gert Steegmans will not ride in Paris-Roubaix because of the continuing after-effects of a crash two...

    Gert Steegmans will not ride in Paris-Roubaix because of the continuing after-effects of a crash two weeks ago. The Quick Step rider injured his back when he crashed in Dwars door Vlaanderen and landed on a tractor. He is still in a lot of pain, the team noted, and the decision was made in consultation with the medical staff.

    "It's a very serious problem, which made it impossible to participate," the 27-year-old said. "Yesterday I had a constant pain during Gent-Wevelgem. Therefore I decided, together with my medical staff, to drop out."

    "It's a pity for the team," said team manager Patrick Lefevere. "Gert is an excellent rider for Paris-Roubaix, but we may not take any risks. That's way we took this decision. The medical tests of the next days have to prove what is causing the pain. With the right treatments he will be back soon."

  • Curse of the rainbow jersey continues to afflict Bettini

    Article published:
    April 11, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    World Champion Paolo Bettini is continuing to have bad luck, which could be blamed on the famed...

    World Champion Paolo Bettini is continuing to have bad luck, which could be blamed on the famed 'curse of the rainbow jersey'. The Quick Step rider crashed on a wet descent in the fourth stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco on Thursday, and was forced to pull out of the race.

    "It had just started to rain," Bettini explained, "In order not to run any risks I backed off from the group a little to get my rain jacket passed to me from the team car. For a second I had to take my hands off the handlebars whilst I put the rain jacket on. In that instant Alexandre Botcharov came speeding past me hitting my front wheel which sent me flying into the air. We were doing about 60 kilometres per hour downhill!"

    After picking himself up, Bettini got back on his bike and rode for a further 20 kilometres but in the end was forced to stop because of the pain he was in. "I just wasn't able to stay on my bike any longer," the Italian added.

    Bettini suffered scrapes to his left and right gluteus and badly bruised his left hip. He will leave Spain on Friday morning and on Saturday will undergo further tests and x-rays in order to rule out the possibility of any fractures, his team announced Thursday.

  • Riders ready for Roubaix rumble

    A close up of the Trouée d'Arenberg
    Article published:
    April 11, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    With Paris-Roubaix just days away, teams are solidifying their rosters and riders have already...

    With Paris-Roubaix just days away, teams are solidifying their rosters and riders have already headed out to the Arenberg forest to get their bones accustomed to the jarring which will be inflicted upon them on Sunday. The race organisers have also reconnoitred the route, and have found almost all of the pavé sectors to be up to the task.

    Christian Prudhomme and Jean-Francois Pescheux previewed all 28 sectors on Thursday. "Apart from the end of the first sector (of pavé) at Troisvilles, which should be cleaned up ahead of Sunday, all of the cobblestones are raceable," Pescheux told AFP.

    Whether the cobbles hold up to the rain which is expected throughout Sunday remains to be seen, but this year's edition will most certainly not be a repeat of 2007's hot, dusty and dry race which proved perfect for the Australian winner, Stuart O'Grady.

    O'Grady, who suffered severe injuries in the 2007 Tour de France, admitted that he is not up to the kind of form which won him the race last year, but his team-mate, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo winner Fabian Cancellara, who won Paris-Roubaix in 2006, will be up to the task. Cancellara previewed the cobbles of the Arenberg forest on Thursday.

    Silence-Lotto bands behind Hoste

    Silence Lotto team director Marc Sergeant announced the squad for Paris-Roubaix at a press conference on Thursday. The squad will have Leif Hoste as its leader, with Greg Van Avermaet also being a protected rider. Hoste was full of confidence after a 200-kilometre training ride on Wednesday, and barring mechanical problems, has high hopes for Paris-Roubaix.

    The Silence Lotto squad did its reconnaissance of Sunday's parcours, beginning with the first pavé sector at Troisvilles through the Bois de Wallers (kilometre 170) on Thursday afternoon, while some riders went up to Roubaix.

    Hoste, who had bad luck in the Tour of Flanders, is hoping to find himself in the group of...

  • Hell's pavé strikes its rhythm

    Australian Stuart O'Grady wins the 2007 Paris-Roubaix – this Sunday the weather is expected to be a lot colder than last year's summer-like conditions.
    Article published:
    April 11, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    By Gregor Brown The 'Hell of the North' arrives this Sunday, April 13, with a pavé-thumping rhythm...

    Hard-men line-up this Sunday for the 106th 'Hell of the North'

    By Gregor Brown

    The 'Hell of the North' arrives this Sunday, April 13, with a pavé-thumping rhythm that will draw in cycling enthusiasts by the thousands. Riders will line-up in Compiègne (north of Paris), cheered in the Place du Palais as they start their 259.5-kilometre march to Roubaix. A journey of tight and precarious roads – including 52.8 kilometres in 28 leg-snapping pavé sectors – will comprise the 106th edition of the Paris-Roubaix.

    Paris-Roubaix draws its Monument status from over 100 years of hosting the race over the treacherous roads that are rarely seen in modern-day cycling. Past cycling heroes like Roger De Vlaeminck, Rik van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser and Johan Museeuw, and modern day warriors like Magnus Backstedt, Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara, have fought back the pain of the pavé to conquer this 'Queen of the Classics' and etch their names in the annals of cycling history.

    Paris-Roubaix is one of cycling's five 'Monuments' in a list that also includes Milano-Sanremo, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Giro di Lombardia.

    The road conditions are such that only the specialists even bother showing up to contest the event, organised by Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). There are sectors of pavé rutted so deep and that present so many hazards that they risk ruining a rider's season or even career – just ask Museeuw about his run through the Trouée d'Arenberg in 1998.

    And with so many dangers it is not only skill, but luck that comes into play to reach the finale in Roubaix – case in point is USA's George Hincapie, who has battled the roads so many times only to be thrown off into the...