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First Edition Cycling News, April 5, 2008

Date published:
April 05, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • New Jersey gets new stage race

    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    Two existing races have merged to form a new stage race in central New Jersey. The 2008 Giro...

    Two existing races have merged to form a new stage race in central New Jersey. The 2008 Giro d'Jersey cycling road race will take place June 20-22, 2008. Grown out of the Rock Hill Cycling Classic and the Corner House Grand Prix, the new event has added a time trial to create the three-day stage race.

    Stage details:
    June 20th, - The Ringoes Individual Time Trial. 12 Miles.
    June 21st - Tour of the Millstone River (Public Bike Tour)
    June 21st - The Rocky Hill Cycling Classic 72 Miles
    June 22nd - The Corner-House Grand Prix 28 Miles.

    Events for Masters 35+ and Pro 1,2,3 men are Garden State Cup Team events. NJ Teams who would like to participate in these events should E-Mail the Garden State Cup committee EMG for a password.

    Garden State Cup Teams must register before May 1st. After May 1st these events will then be open to registration to the local cycling community.

    More Information on the stage race can be found at www.eventmg.com

  • Tour of Arkansas debuts

    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    In a year where several American races like the Tour of America, Tour de Toona, and Tour of Virginia...

    In a year where several American races like the Tour of America, Tour de Toona, and Tour of Virginia have either been canceled or are scaling back, several new events have stepped up their game. One such event is the Inaugural Tour of Arkansas. Two events, the former Tri-Peaks Challenge and the Celebrity Classic have joined forces to create the new event.

    Organized primarily by the Mercy Cycling Team, the 2008 event will start three days after the Joe Martin stage race in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Tour will be located primarily in Russellville – just 90 minutes from Fayetteville. These back to back events will enable the riders to participate in two quality stage races in the same state in the same week.

    The race will include four stages over four days for elite men, and three stages over two days for elite women.

    Stage Details:
    Stage 1: Epic Road Race: 110 Miles. 10,500+ feet of climbing
    Stage 2: Dana Merrit Park - Mt. Nebo. 98 Miles, 5,500+ feet of climbing.
    Stage 3: Mount Magazine road race. 97 Miles, 6,600+ feet of climbing.
    Stage 4: Van Buren Criterium

    Official Event Site : www.tour-of-arkansas.com

  • Bajadali: Putting things into focus

    Andrew Bajadali (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast)
    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    Defending Redlands Classic champion Andrew Bajadali and his new team, Kelly Benefit...

    Defending Redlands Classic champion Andrew Bajadali and his new team, Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast, are hoping for some revenge this week after being devastated by a virus during the Tour of California. The ever optimistic 34-year-old spoke with Kathie Reid about the race, his team, and his background.

    You have got to wonder if Andy Bajadali (Kelly Benefit Strategies – Medifast) is experiencing a little déjà vu right about now. For the second year in a row, he is starting the Redlands Classic with a team that found out just weeks before that they were not invited to the Tour de Georgia. Last year, it was "kind of a shock" for his Jelly Belly squad, he told Cyclingnews at the Kelly Benefits team training camp in San Bernardino days before Redlands. He admitted that this year, with his new team, "We were a little devastated again" at the lack of an invite.

    Anyone who knows 'The Baj' recognizes that throughout his career, when faced with professional challenges beyond his control, he has shown an uncanny knack for remaining calm, optimistic, and focused – perhaps especially when situations have demanded a shift in objectives. And he has consistently been insightful and savvy enough to surround himself with people who do the same.

    Last year, Bajadali arrived at Redlands feeling like he "had a point to prove," given the Georgia snub. And prove his point he did. This year he is returning to Redlands to defend his 2007 overall title. This time around he is with a different team, but his good friend and former Jelly Belly team-mate Alex Candelario, will arrive in Kelly green with him.

    Continue to the full feature.

  • France names Olympic track squad

    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    With the end of the Track World Championships, the final criteria for the selection of riders for...

    With the end of the Track World Championships, the final criteria for the selection of riders for the track events of the Olympic Games has been completed. France has become the first nation to announce its provisional selection for the Beijing Games, naming twelve riders on Friday. According to AFP, National selector Patrick Cluzaud proposed the list of names to be considered by the national sport commission on May 22.

    Men's team sprint: Grégory Baugé (US Creteil), Kevin Sireau (Cofidis), Arnaud Tournant (Cofidis). Alternate: Mickaël Bourgain (Cofidis)
    Men's sprint: Kevin Sireau, Mickaël Bourgain
    Men's Keirin: Arnaud Tournant, Grégory Baugé
    Men's team pursuit: (four riders from) Damien Gaudin (Bouygues Telecom), Matthew Ladagnous (Francaise des Jeux), Nicolas Rousseau (AG2R), Christophe Riblon (AG2R) and Fabien Sanchez (Côte d'Azur)
    Individual pursuit: To be decided at the French Championships (3 to 9 July in Hyeres)
    Men's points race: Christophe Riblon
    Men's madison: Jerome Neuville and Matthew Ladagnous
    Women's sprint: Clara Sanchez (Provence)
    Women's points race: Pascale Jeuland (Vienna Futuroscope)

  • Contentpolis' Elías to debut at GP Induráin

    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    By Antonio J. Salmerón The debut of José Miguel Elías with his new professional continental team...

    By Antonio J. Salmerón

    The debut of José Miguel Elías with his new professional continental team Contentpolis-Murcia was delayed by injuries sustained while training last November, but the 31 year-old climber is healed again and excited to return to competition at the Gran Premio Miguel Induráin.

    "I have not been back training for long, and in this sense, I know that it will be very hard for me to adapt to the rhythm of competition, mainly because the season is already started," said Elías, who broke his radius and ulna last fall, to Cyclingnews, "but anyway, this has been something I have been waiting for."

    His Contentpolis-Murcia squad will be led by Manuel Vázquez, who finished in the second in the general classification of the Volta a la Comunidad Valenciana, and also brought his team its first victory during that race's queen stage. Vázquez will be supported by Adrian Palomares, Eloy Teruel, Alberto Rodríguez, Oleg Chuzda, Rafael Serrano, Javier Etxarri, José Herrada and, of course, Elías – all under the guidance of director Ginés García.

    Looking ahead, Elías, formerly of Relax-GAM, did not know his upcoming racing calendar. "After racing in the GP Miguel Induráin, I have to talk with Ginés García on the subject," he said. "I would like to reach a peak in May and am thinking of the Vuelta Ciclista Asturias, in which I finished fourth in the general classification in 2004."

    Elías said his team's main goal is to earn a "wild card" for the Vuelta a España. "My team-mates have had a great beginning of their season. "They had a great performance in their first race, the Volta a la Comunidad Valenciana, as all we know perfectly. But they also showed a very combative spirit in the Vuelta a Murcia, as well as in [Vuelta a] Castilla y León. I think that we have to get into the...

  • Moreno optimistic after debut

    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    By Antonio J. Salmerón Last Sunday at the GP Llodio , Daniel Moreno debuted with his new team Caisse...

    By Antonio J. Salmerón

    Last Sunday at the GP Llodio, Daniel Moreno debuted with his new team Caisse d'Epargne after three and a half years racing with the Spanish team Relax-GAM. The 26 year-old has proven himself a climber, but he can sprint, too, as he demonstrated with his victory at the Escalada a Montjuich in Barcelona.

    With the move, Moreno leaves behind three lengthy months of doubts about his professional future after the demise of Relax-Gam. "My feelings in Llodio were good, taking into mind that it was my first race this year. It was better than expected," he said. "I want to thank Eusebio Unzué for the opportunity given at Caisse d'Epargne – especially as the season is already underway. I want to do my work as well as possible, and also get some victories.

    "I hardly know anything about my new team, but in the Gran Premio de Llodio, I witnessed the seriousness with which things are done here [on the team - ed.]"

    Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Moreno considered his schedule. "I still do not know my calendar for this season, except my next races will be the GP Miguel Indurain, the Gran Premio de Amorebieta and Paris-Camembert. It's obvious that I came to Caisse d'Epargne to work for my colleagues, and if I have any chance, I will take it."

    The Spaniard does not expect to race in the Tour de France. "For this race, all things are already planned by Caisse d'Epargne, but I would like to race the Vuelta [a España], which would be my main goal. Last year I had a great performance. Apart from that, Moreno highlighted the Volta a Catalunya as another target race at which he'd like to do well.

  • Cobo out, Fernández de la Puebla in for País Vasco

    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Monika Prell

    By Monika Prell Last year's Vuelta al País Vasco winner, Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Scott) will...

    By Monika Prell

    Last year's Vuelta al País Vasco winner, Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Scott) will not be able to participate in this year's edition, his team announced Friday. After physical problems forced him to abandon in the Vuelta a Castilla y León, Cobo has just recently recovered and will not be on form to defend his title.

    He will be substituted by the young Spaniard Alberto Fernández de la Puebla. Fernández will form part of the team that will consist of the Spaniards José Ángel Gómez Marchante – now the team's leader – David de la Fuente, Iker Camaño, Ruben Lobato, the neo professional Beñat Intxausti and the two Italians Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli.

  • Cape Epic leaders reflect on survival through partnership

    Jakob Fuglsang and Roel Paulissen
    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Nic Lamond in Oak Valley, Elgin "On my own – in a normal race – I would have pulled out for...

    By Nic Lamond in Oak Valley, Elgin

    "On my own – in a normal race – I would have pulled out for sure," confessed a laughing Roel Paulissen (Cannondale Vredestein) when asked about the sacrifices made to complete the Absa Cape Epic. But he didn't pull out; instead he chose to complete the last gruelling hours of stage six on the bare rim of his rear wheel. And the reason? The man riding right by his side over the past eight days, U23 cross country World Champion Jakob Fuglsang.

    As a result, Cannondale Vredestein now sits atop the podium, cautiously eyeing the nearest competitors from the relative comfort of a nine-minute lead. "Having a good partner is the secret – you can also kill your partner," he mentions quietly, casting his mind back to the spectacular withdrawal of Christoph Sauser's young protégé Burry Stander (of Team Songo.info) after just three days of intense racing.

    The Belgian is a happy man on the eve of his second Cape Epic victory. All that lies in the way is a 62km ride over the last mountain range, before the field drops into Lourensford Wine Estate and the finish line – 966km from the start in Knysna nine days ago. It's a calm end to the frenetic pace with which the two began and have hammered ever since.

    But while Paulissen looked relaxed at the hastily called press conference to catch up with the race leaders on Friday, team-mate Fuglsang was visibly uncomfortable. He is thinking of the desperately frustrating moments in the past few days racing where nothing was going right and victory was looking anything but secure. He may also be thinking about how close he came to winning last year's event, only to be denied by the German team of Karl Platt and Stephan Sahm (Bulls).

    "You are never finished the Cape Epic 'til stage eight," the young Dane reminds Paulissen and the gathered media. At the same time the event has also taught him a patience he didn't posses at...

  • Juan Antonio Flecha: "Trusting that the victory comes"

    Rabobank's 'Jan Anton Pijl' (or Juan Antonio Flecha) rides in the 2006 Ronde van Vlaanderen
    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Admired for his combativity, Juan Antonio Flecha is one of the first names that springs to mind when...

    Admired for his combativity, Juan Antonio Flecha is one of the first names that springs to mind when listing the Classics specialists. This non-typical pavé-craving Spaniard – born in Junin, Argentina – is eager to end his victory drought. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez caught up the 30 year-old while he was in his hometown Castelldefels following the first round of spring races.

    Flecha was second in the 2007 Paris-Roubaix, finishing behind Stuart O'Grady and showing he can produce great performances in spring Classics like the Hell of the North. He is aiming for revenge on France's harsh tracks this April 13.

    "I started racing at the Majorca Tour, Vuelta a Andalucía and Paris-Nice," he began, describing his first months of racing. "I also did Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. The sensations were pretty good, especially in Vuelta a Andalucía. I did a good race, I had a lot confidence for Het Volk, but I was sick that week and the truth is that I did very badly in Het Volk. I wasn't feeling right. In Kuurne I was up at the front, but I wasn't totally recovered yet. It wasn't exactly disappointing because I knew the reason; I knew I had a good condition, but having a sore throat added to add to the cold really hurt my possibilities.

    "Then came Paris-Nice" – Flecha continued in an upbeat tone – "and I was truly happy with my performance. We had to work a lot for Robert Gesink, which did not allow me to shine at all. There were a couple of stages when I had hoped to do well. But I had to work [for the team leader] and my goals in the season are yet to come."

    His main targets are the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. "In terms of personal sensations, I am pretty satisfied about how I am, about how I felt at those races. Indeed, I would liked to be able to say...

  • Melchers returns to Flanders

    Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel after win #2
    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Nic Lamond in Oak Valley, Elgin

    Dutch woman Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel, the winner of two editions of the women's Ronde van...

    Dutch woman Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel, the winner of two editions of the women's Ronde van Vlaanderen will return to the race this year after sitting out the 2007 edition due to injuries. The Team Flexpoint rider will lead her squad for the fifth edition of the event, which is also the third race of the World Cup.

    Team director Jean-Paul van Poppel selected a strong group of women to ride alongside Melchers, with fellow Dutch riders Saskia Elemans, Loes Gunnewijk and Loes Markerink being joined by Norwegian Anita Valen-de Vries and American Amber Neben.

    The women's race starts at 1100 CET from Oudenaarde for a total of 114 kilometres of racing, taking in many of the famous bergs which make up the men's race.

    See also Cyclingnews' full coverage of the women's Ronde van Vlaanderen.

  • Ronde weather to select true Flandriens

    The Koppenberg is dicey in good weather, in rain? Danger!
    Article published:
    April 05, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Brugge, Belgium

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Brugge, Belgium Fans who thought that global warming had ruined the Classics...

    Boonen predicts a race of attrition

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Brugge, Belgium

    Fans who thought that global warming had ruined the Classics and all the hard men of Flanders had grown soft, have no fear. This Sunday's 92nd Ronde van Vlaanderen is shaping up to be a race of epic proportions, the likes of which have not been seen since the 1989 edition. Instead of the nearly summer like conditions seen last year, this season's Ronde should evoke memories of the legendary 70 kilometre escape of Eddy Merckx in the wind and rain of 1969.

    Riders will be chilled by temperatures between 2°C and 6°C, and with rain, hail and a possibility of even snow, Sunday's battle will provide a true Classics spectacle unlike anything the current crop of professionals has experienced in the one-day race.

    Two time Ronde van Vlaanderen champion Tom Boonen feels that the foul weather will change the race, and in his view this isn't a bad thing. In the past ten years, the event has run under predominantly dry conditions, with last year's edition quite like summer. Boonen pointed out that none of the current generation of riders have ever witnessed a Ronde van Vlaanderen with the forecasted rain and cold, at least not as a rider. "I've never done a Ronde van Vlaanderen in such weather conditions. During my first Paris-Roubaix it was bad and Milano-Sanremo from last year in the rain was tough as well.

    "It cuts the chances of some riders in two, but whether I can take advantage of it will be seen after the race. The winner will always be happy with the weather, while the loser will be raging about it in Meerbeke. Personally I don't think I need to be afraid of it, as I'm the type of rider that can stand the cold pretty well," the former world champion mused.

    The conditions look to be a little bit more than a typical cold springtime race. "Extreme cold is something different, and 5°C combined with precipitation is...