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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, April 1, 2011

Date published:
April 01, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Raging bull Rosseler seals De Panne victory

    Sébastien Rosseler (RadioShack) zips up the leader's jersey.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 23:00 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian pleased with first GC win

    After three windy stages near the North Sea in the Three Days of De Panne, it was Sébastien Rosseler (RadioShack) who powered ahead in the closing time trial in De Panne. The stout stalwart from Stoumont simply squashed the opposition in a 14.7km long time trial that suited his abilities to perfection and he grabbed the overall victory in the process.

    In the first half of the course, Rosseler used his power in the tailwind sections to go ten seconds faster than teammate Michal Kwiatkowski, and on the way back into the headwind to the finish, the 29-year-old Rosseler had enough left in the tank to put four more seconds into Kwiatkowski and his main rival Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM).

    “Westra had been so impressive during the first three stages that I didn’t even think about the overall win. I would have been pleased with a top 5 result,” Rosseler said in the post-race press conference while sipping from a blond Ename beer. “I deserved that one, didn’t I?” Rosseler smiled.

    The overall win in the Driedaagse is his first stage race victory, although he’s been in the mix for the win in races like the Tour of Belgium, the Eneco Tour and the Four Days of Dunkirk several times. “As far as I know it’s my first GC victory,” he said. “I’ve been on the podium several times because I was often good but not in top form because of some crash.”

    With that, Rosseler switched focus to what has been hampering his career: crashes and injuries. “Crashes have kept me from making more progress in my career. Last year I was selected for the...

  • Video: Is Cancellara beatable at the Tour of Flanders?

    Johan Museeuw supports Boonen
    Article published:
    April 01, 2011, 0:06 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Vaughters, Sergeant, Museeuw and Eisel talk

    With the Tour of Flanders just a few days away and Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) starting as the race favourite Cyclingnews picked the brains of some of cycling's most knowledgeable experts as to how to beat the reigning champion

    Marc Sergeant – Omega Pharma Lotto

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     Bernhard Eisel - HTC-Highroad

    The Austrian is coming into form having suffered with illness in last week’s Gent-Wevelgem. He believes Cancellara doesn’t have a weakness at present but HTC will be looking to exploit any holes in the Swiss rider’s armour.

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  • Danes hail chance of Giro d'Italia start in 2012

    Matti Breschel (Rabobank) chats with race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2011, 8:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Breschel eager to ride, Rasmussen to raise money in hopes of invitation

    Danish cyclists have greeted the news that the Giro d'Italia may start in Denmark in 2012 with enthusiasm. Matti Breschel of Rabobank called it “something special,” while Michael Rasmussen of Team Christina Watches started making plans to move his team up to Professional Continental status in the hope of a wild card invitation.

    On Thursday, Danish website speculated that a press conference on Friday by the mayor of Herning, Denmark, was organised be to announce the Giro 2012 start. Herning is the hometown of Bjarne Riis, the only Dane to have won the Tour de France and owner of Team Saxo Bank-SunGard.

    “If such a big race like the Giro d'Italia starts in Denmark, then it is clear that you want to ride it. It is something special to be at the start here at home,” Breschel told DR Sports.

    The Rabobank rider has only ridden the Giro once, in 2007. “It is a very hard race and in recent years has not had particularly good weather,” he said. “But if it started on Danish soil, then it will definitely be worth riding.”

    Rasmussen needs 30 to 40 million Danish Kroner

    “If it is true, then it is a golden opportunity for Danish cycling and for us in particular," Rasmussen told His plan is to raise enough money this summer to move his team up to Professional Continental status and work for a wild-card invitation.

    “A realistic estimate is that by mid-August we will have raised from 30 to 40 million, so we can provide a bank guarantee to the UCI, which means that we can find such good riders that we can come...

  • Flanders route changed after cobbles theft

    The Tour of Flanders podium: Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) and Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2011, 9:38 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Ronde to miss Koppenberg after thieves remove section of cobbles for driveway

    The organisers of the Tour of Flanders have announced that the route of this Sunday’s race will have to undergo a late change after thieves stole a significant section of cobbles on the fearsome Koppenberg climb. Belgian police have revealed they have received information suggesting that the cobbles were stolen to order and may have already been spirited out of the country. They believe the cobbles are destined for the driveway of a fan of the Belgian Classics.

    The ultra-steep and narrow Koppenberg did not feature on the Flanders route for many years because of the dangerous state of the cobbles on its 25 per cent slope. Following renovation work, the climb returned to the Flanders itinerary in 2002, but was dropped again in 2007. More extensive renovation work saw it return in 2008. Unfortunately, the quality of the new cobbles is believed to have resulted in this week’s theft.

    Speaking to the media in Ghent, Belgian police detective Tom Bliboos said they had received information suggesting that a shadowy underworld figure known only by the nickname “Makka Pakka” is behind the theft. Residents close to the Koppenberg report hearing strange noises coming from the climb in the middle of Wednesday night. 

    “Locals say there were strange lights from the climb and an occasional trumpet sound,” said Det. Bliboos. “They thought it was kids messing around and did not call the police until it was too late. The theft was run like a military operation. Aside from the theft of the cobbles, the thieves barely left a trace apart from a well-used sponge with which they may have been planning to polish the stones.” 

    A tip-off suggests that the stones may be destined for a new home on a driveway in Wales. “We’ve been told that a bike fan with the initials IG and living in the village of Llepiggle funded the operation,” explained Det. Bliboos. “He is said to be a huge...

  • Boonen wants sprint against Cancellara in Tour of Flanders

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) on the podium with the obligatory champagne.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2011, 9:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian confident again, hopes for bad weather

    With two days to go before the 95th Tour of Flanders, Belgium's supreme Classic, Quick Step's Tom Boonen seems to have digested Fabian Cancellara's ultra-strong showing at the E3 Prijs and recovered confidence. While the Leopard Trek leader and defending champion of the event is undoubtedly the greatest favourite for the Ronde this Sunday, Boonen took last Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem and remained in his homeland this week, closely reconnoitering the parcours of 'Vlaanderen's mooiste'.

    Last year, Cancellara had dropped the Belgian on the Muur van Geraardsbergen, even though Boonen "had never ridden up the climb as fast as that day," according to Bjorn Leukemans of Vacansoleil, who told L'Equipe that Boonen came to that conclusion after timing his ascent off a YouTube replay.

    This year, the Belgian is determined not to let 'Spartacus' ride away once again. "This time, I will try to hang onto his wheel without grasping his saddle," he joked. "And if ever we get to the finish together, it wouldn't be a problem as he's never beaten me in a sprint. Anyhow, I feel reassured now, and I'm not afraid anymore."

    In fact, Boonen's confidence did not come from his Wevelgem win, but rather from this week's training rides. "I wasn't at my best in Wevelgem," he admitted. "Even if I won, I wasn't good. But [during his recon ride on Wednesday], I had very good sensations, which I hadn't had since my crash last year in the Tour de Suisse."

    Now, the two-time victor of the Ronde hopes for typically Belgian weather conditions, with "wind and rain", which...

  • Flecha would be happy with Tour of Flanders podium

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky Pro Cycling)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2011, 10:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky rider not fixated on winning

    Juan Antonio Flecha will tackle the Tour of Flanders for the tenth time on Sunday and will aim for the podium in a race he says he rides “for fun.”

    I will try to win, but would be happy with even second or third,” the Team Sky rider told Het Nieuwsblad, according to

    He has finished in the top ten only once, as third in 2008. “Results don't always reflect how well you ride,” he noted.

    "I was often strong but only twelfth or so. I never really ride for results, I ride for fun. I go to the course to have fun. Therefore, there will always be a big smile on my face after arrival. Even if I finish second or third. "

    And if he doesn't win, he won't worry. "Oh, no. Whether I win or not, that does not change the person I am."

    "I'm Flecha and I will still be Flecha, even if I never win a big cycling monument. Does that make you a better person? Sunday I won't say, 'I must win.' I will just do my best, 110 percent."

    The Spaniard said that he was not concentrating on top favourite Fabian Cancellara of Leopard Sky. I don't focus on one man. I don't think: 'I want to beat Cancellara.' This is a race, not a jungle where the animals gather to show who has the biggest muscles. It doesn't matter who that is. I just try to win the Tour. "

  • BMC to Tour of Flanders with five Top Ten finishers

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2011, 11:37 BST
    Cycling News

    American team's strength in numbers

    With a roster featuring five riders who have finished in the Top Ten at the Tour of Flanders in previous years, American squad BMC will rely on a wealth of experience in the Belgian Classic coming up next Sunday.

    Alessandro Ballan, four times in the Top Ten including his victory in 2007, said there is strength in numbers. "We have more than one rider able to do well, so we have to use this strategy," Ballan said. "The key points will be the Kwaremont and from there on, every point could be critical, up to the Muur."

    The squad's other Top Ten finishers at Flanders are George Hincapie (five times), Karsten Kroon (two), Greg Van Avermaet (one) and Marcus Burghardt.

    Moreover, BMC directeur sportif John Lelangue said the squad is peaking just at the right time. "They're in really good condition and since the beginning of the year, they have been riding well as a team," he said.

    Rounding out the roster will be Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär and Danilo Wyss.

  • Updated: Giro d'Italia 2012 start in Denmark confirmed

    The 2011 Giro d'Italia presentation in Turin
    Article published:
    April 01, 2011, 23:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Washington, DC still hopeful of a start in coming years

    The prologue and first two stages of the Giro d'Italia 2012 will be held in Denmark, it was confirmed Friday morning.

    Washington, DC had bid to become the first city outside of Europe to host a Grand Tour. Robin Morton of g4 Productions, who is working with the DC organising committee, had previously indicated to Cyclingnews that there were a number of unsolved issues which would eliminate Washington's chances for the coming year, but that the city still had good chances in the future.

    Following Friday's announcement, Morton announced via press release that the prospects of the Grand Tour race heading the United States' capital was still "alive and well."

    "A number of months ago, RCS (the organizers of the Giro d'Italia) and the Washington, D.C. stages working group concluded it best to reposition the possible start of the Giro d'Italia in Washington, D.C. after 2012," he explained. "RCS and the Washington, D.C. working group continue to work on this historic sports initiative and believe that the obstacles previously preventing a grand cycling tour from starting outside Europe can be overcome."

    The Danish media had speculated earlier that the Italian Grand Tour would make its Scandinavian debut next year.

    "We look at this agreement with great pleasure. From the most northern spot where the Corsa Rosa or any other historical stage race has ever started, a grand opening of the Giro d’Italia will take place. Thanks to the aims of the organising committee in Denmark and the positive experience in The Netherlands in 2010, we believe that the three stages that will be held in Herning and Horsens will support the global image and excellence of both the Giro d’Italia and Danish cycling," said Angelo Zomegnan, Giro d’Italia Director.

    The Giro will get underway on Saturday, May 5, with an individual time trial...