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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, April 12, 2013

Date published:
April 12, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Gasparotto ready to repeat his Amstel Gold Race success

    Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) checks the competition enroute to victory at the Amstel Gold Race
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 13:54 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Astana rider insists he is not involved in the Dr. Ferrari investigation

    Amstel Gold Race is not one of cycling's monumental Classics, but for Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) the race in the Limburg hills of the southern Netherlands is the biggest day of his season.

    He loves the only Dutch one-day classic and the race route seems to suit him perfectly. He can handle the twisting course and dozens of short climbs and yet still have the speed to sprint for victory.

    Last year he beat Jelle Vanendert and Peter Sagan in the sprint atop the summit of the Cauberg, timing his effort to perfection. A week later he was third at Liege-Bastogne-Liege behind teammate Maxim Iglinsky and Vincenzo Nibali – who was then riding for Liquigas but is now a teammate at Astana.

    Gasparotto will wear number one this year and be the leader of the Astana team for the Ardennes Classics along with Iglinsky.

    "I think I'm going better than I did last year, I was stronger at Paris-Nice than I was at Tirreno-Adriatico last year, and so I think my base is pretty good," Gasparotto told Cyclingnews from his home in Lugano.”

    “Of course, it's never easy to repeat a great season. Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara proved that recently but I've trained hard and done everything I can to be at my very best for the Ardennes week. I want to be up there, I want to prove that I can do something in the hilly Classics."

    Gasparotto went to Teide on the island of Tenerife, immediately after Milan-San Remo for a block of intense and high quality training. He is a regular at the Hotel Parador, high on the slopes of the volcano at 2200 metres.

    He struggled in the cold and rain at the recent Tour of the Basque Country after training in the heat of Tenerife but avoided catching a cold.

    "I looked after myself and avoided getting sick, so I didn’t waste all the hard work I'd done," he...

  • Devolder concludes Spring Classics with fun race at Brabantse Pijl

    Stijn Devolder (RadioShack - Leopard)
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 16:40 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Unlucky Roubaix ride still on his mind

    With a strong performance at the Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday, the Spring Classics campaign from Stijn Devolder (RadioShack-Leopard) came to an end. There will be no Ardennes for the 33-year-old Belgian, who was very disappointed that he wasn't able to support teammate Fabian Cancellara in Paris-Roubaix last Sunday. After a solid first part of his season, in which Devolder showed that he's on the way back into full form, he will aim next to win a race during the second part of the season.

    "The most beautiful races, the races on pavé, are behind us. It was very good for me and the team," said Devolder. "The first goal was to get back at a high level and help Fabian Cancellara. Today, I wanted to race one last time, without thinking and to find out for myself how good I am. I conclude my spring campaign with a good feeling. I hope to reach my second goal during the next part of the season: winning a race again."

    During the Brabantse Pijl, Devolder didn't plan to attack as early as he did. With 50km to go, he reached the top of the Ijskelderlaan climb at the head of the peloton and ended up getting a gap. At that moment, he was trailing the breakaway group by more than a minute.

    "Sörensen accelerated. I took over, and suddenly I had a gap. It was difficult because there's no race radio, and you don't know where you are. Once I heard I was only half a minute behind the leaders, I kept going. I did it solo because I didn't even know there was another group coming up behind me. That's a pity because it would've saved me a lot of energy," Devolder said.

    In the finale,...

  • Gasparotto in collision with truck

    Enrico Gasparotto (Astana)
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 18:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Defending Amstel champion escapes without serious injuries

    Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) was hit by a truck while out training ahead of this weekend’s Amstel Gold Race but has escaped serious injury.

    The defending champion was motor pacing around with Astana Pro Team directeur sportif Stefano Zanini when a delivery truck pulled out of a driveway unexpectedly to turn left across the road. Zanini was able to stop the scooter but Gasparotto wasn’t able to avoid a collision with the truck and then the pavement.

    The rider luckily escaped serious injury and will still look to start Amstel this weekend. After the collision, despite bruises, Gasparotto was able to carry on training, completing a four hour rider. He wasn’t taken to hospital.

    "It was impossible to brake. We were going 45 maybe 50k on a little bit of a descent, and it was impossible not to crash. I was very, very lucky that there was no real damage. My body is a little bit hurt, and my bike was not so good. I have a little bit of pain right now, but today is Thursday, and I can go to the osteopath tonight and everything should be good by Sunday," Gasparotto said in a press release.

    "For me this is the most important week of the year, and I want to have good races in the Ardennes, so I continued my training session and that was all I could do. I yelled at the driver that this is my job, I don't go out on the bike just for fun, and he has no idea the sacrifices we make to be professionals. But Zaza is a big man and he was really angry, and I really thought he was going to hit him,” he added.

    Zanini said he was angry at the driver, but happy that Gasparotto was apparently unhurt.

    "The crash happened in the first hour of training, and we stopped to yell at the driver for about 20 minutes. But Gaspa got back on his bike and rode at the same level for the rest of the...

  • Blanco head into Amstel Gold Race with Mollema and Slagter as leaders

    Bauke Mollema (Blanco) bites down during Stage 5 at Tirreno
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 20:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch team working to find a new sponsor

    Amstel Gold race has always been an integral date within Dutch cycling calendar, but this year the race takes on a more significant role with two of the nations top teams searching for sponsorship for 2014.

    Blanco, the follow up team that replaced Rabobank after they exited the sport in 2012, are currently talking to several interested parties to fund the team for next year and come into Amstel with one of their strongest squads, and are well aware that a win would do their sponsorship search no harm at all.

    The team have not won the race since Erik Dekker beat Lance Armstrong to the finish line in 2001, but in Bauke Mollema and Tom Slagter the team have two riders with significant chances.

    “I haven’t really raced in a couple of weeks and I am not sure exactly where I stand but in the period before that, I felt very strong. On top of that, I’ve been able to train very well the past few days. What Sep did strengthens me as well. Secretly, I am already looking to Luik-Bastenaken-Luik which is more my race, but I believe I can also do well in the Amstel,” said Mollema, who was 10th last year.

    Slagter has never ridden the race but has started the season strongly, winning the overall at the Santos Tour Down Under in January.

    “The routes suits me: it somewhat comparable to the stage I took in Australia. It’s just a hundred kilometres longer and different group of riders. I am going to follow my instincts on this one. If I think I can play a role in the finish, I’ll go for it. If not, I’ll try to make myself useful to the team in another way – tagging along up front or supporting Bauke."

    Team Blanco for Amstel...

  • Sutherland firing up for Amstel Gold Race debut

    Rory Sutherland makes his return to the WorldTour for 2013 with Saxo-Tinkoff
    Article published:
    April 12, 2013, 2:20 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Saxo-Tinkoff recruit re-learning the ways of the WorldTour

    Three words: Amstel Gold Race. Rory Sutherland reacts in a way that leaves little doubt regarding his enthusiasm for the first event of the Ardennes Classics.

    "Yeah!" the Saxo-Tinkoff recruit exclaims down the phone to Cyclingnews. "Finally! Finally!"

    Riding Amstel Gold Race on Sunday has been 13 years in the making for the 31-year-old who after six seasons of toil primarily in America under the UnitedHealthcare banner, is back full-time in Europe. Four seasons with Rabobank in their Continental and ProTeam squads was never going to net the Australian a start in Holland's biggest race, with preference going to local riders so this one has been a long time coming. While with the Dutch team, Sutherland lived just across the Belgian border from the Amstel start in Maastricht so the roads will be very familiar.

    "If you do any hard stuff [in training] you probably go across to Limburg and the Cauberg, that area," Sutherland explained. "It's just gorgeous. It really appealed to me.

    "I'm sure riders like something like Roubaix or Flanders because it suits them really well, Amstel and the area with those power climbs generally suit me pretty well so it gives you more motivation."

    Sutherland will part of a starting line up that includes Roman Kreuziger and Nicolas Roche so it's more than likely that he will earn a wildcard role in the Saxo-Tinkoff team this weekend before focusing on a dedicated support role at La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday with Alberto Contador back in action. While he's itching to be racing this weekend, Amstel Gold Race is...

  • Anderson reinvigorated by victory at Tour de Perth

    All smiles for Jack Anderson after winning Stage 1 at the Woodside Tour de Perth
    Article published:
    April 12, 2013, 3:29 BST
    Alex Malone

    Former Endura rider loving life back home with Budget Forklifts

    Taking out the opening stage at the Woodside Tour de Perth was not about trying to repeat the early success that Team Budget Forklifts experienced in 2012, according to the day's winner Jack Anderson. This season is not about living up to the expectations from season's past, it's about giving his best, providing guidance and advice the younger riders on the squad and just continuing to enjoy life on the bike again - something which Anderson says he had lost at the end of his second year with Endura Racing.

    One season spent racing with the Team Sprocket in 2010 and then two years with Endura Racing in the UK almost spelled the end of Anderson's career, that was until his he decided to pack up and return to Australia to race with his former Budget Forlifts squad. The Queenslander considered retirement at the end of 2012 but with a life now balanced between racing, training and working Anderson is enjoying cycling as much as ever.

    "I'd had enough of racing over there," he told Cyclingnews. "The main reason was that I just wasn't enjoying it anymore. It became my job. I was pretty close to hanging it up all together.

    "It's nice to get some enjoyment out of racing again. It's not my full-time job anymore, I've got a full-time job in Brisbane so to come away here is a completely different atmosphere to racing on a pro team that's for sure.

    "It's like anything; if you enjoy what you do you will never 'work' a day in your life. Unfortunately last year I wasn't really enjoying it and it did become work so now I'm reinvigorated. I still loved the sport but so many people have said to be that they've never loved the sport so much until they have retired from professional cycling. That's certainly proven to be the case because now it's really nice, I'm enjoying it a lot."

    The team's sports director...

  • Official Giro d'Italia 2013 Programme on sale now

    The 2013 Giro d'Italia Guide
    Article published:
    April 12, 2013, 5:33 BST
    Cycling News

    The complete guide to this year's race

    The Official Giro d'Italia 2013 programme is on sale now as both a magazine and iPad edition. You can order your copy from You can also check out our free stage by stage video guide on YouTube.

    This year's Giro looks set to be one of the toughest of recent years, but will this boost the competition or have exhausted riders playing the survival game? If anyone would know, it's the men who designed each stage who are interviewed in this 172-page preview to Italy's very own grand tour.

    Along with maps, profiles and analysis of every stage is the lowdown on all the teams taking part. The riders in with a chance of getting a podium place are profiled and there's some incredible photography of great Giro moments from each decade. It's everything you need to be an armchair expert on what could well be the most demanding stage race of the year.

  • Gerrans' bid for Amstel Gold glory backed by experience

    Simon Gerrans proved too good at the end of the stage at Volta a Catalunya
    Article published:
    April 12, 2013, 6:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica GreenEdge leader motivated after wins at Catalunya and Pais Vasco

    He may have chosen to enjoy a quieter start to the year and with it deny himself the opportunity to win a second Milan-San Remo but Simon Gerrans said from the start the Ardennes Classics would be one of his major targets for the year. With just days before the start of the first of three classics, Amstel Gold Race presents the former Australian national champion with his first shot at glory and he could just be in the condition to contest the win come Sunday.

    Gerrans has picked up three wins this year starting with a relieving stage victory atop Willunga Hill at the Santos Tour Down Under and while he was unable to defend the title he won in 2012 - due to illness suffered earlier in the week - he made up for his inability to win the race for a third time by taking out the queen stage ahead of Tom Jelte-Slagter. It was also a day for the Australian fans who flock to Adelaide each year to celebrate a little harder and later into the night with the Willunga stage held on Australia Day.

    Now, with just a few days left before the start of an eight-day, three-race campaign that includes Amstel, Flèche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège Gerrans says he's as motivated as ever to take to the top step of the race that has delivered a third-place before - in 2011 when a dominant Philippe Gilbert begun his clean sweep of the Ardennes classics.

    "Our team for Amstel raced together at Pais Vasco," said Gerrans on his team site. "We took two stage wins and helped Pieter Weening earn sixth...