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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, February 17, 2012

Date published:
February 17, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Sánchez on 2010 Tour de France podium

    Fearless descenders Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) tried to put time into their GC rivals.
    Article published:
    February 16, 2012, 11:29 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Says he has no feelings about being placed 3rd following Contador’s DQ

    Euskaltel team leader Samuel Sánchez is set to return to race action this weekend at the Vuelta a Andalucía after an off-season when he underwent surgery to repair a nagging hip injury and, more recently, was promoted to third place in the 2010 Tour de France as a result of his friend Alberto Contador’s disqualification from that race.

    Speaking to La Voz de Asturias as the prepared for Andalucía at a training camp in Alicante, the 2008 Olympic road race champion laid out his plans for the season, which he hopes will include the defence of his Olympic crown in London this summer. “I can’t wait to get back to racing because this winter seems to have been especially long due to the bad weather. I’ve spent a lot of time travelling to southern Spain in order to train and now it’s time to see if I’m on the right track again,” he said.

    Sánchez is confident his winter preparation will set him up for another good season, especially having recovered particularly quickly from his mid-November surgery. “The surgeons managed to cut down the post-recovery period quite incredibly. Just 10 days after the operation I was able to get back on the home trainer,” he explained. “I hope that the first win isn’t too far away because this is going to be a complicated year and I want tackle it in the same positive way as usual.”

    Following Andalucía, the Euskaltel team leader, who turned 34 last week, is scheduled to ride the Vuelta a Murcia, the Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta al País Vasco, then rest for a time before starting his build-up to the Tour, which is set to include an appearance at the Critérium du Dauphiné. His hope is that...

  • Lefevere happy with Omega-Pharma 'facelift'

    General manager Patrick Lefevere at the Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling Team press conference
    Article published:
    February 16, 2012, 13:52 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Belgian team enjoys early success ahead of Paris-Nice goals

    Patrick Lefevere admitted that his team needed a "facelift" for 2012, but he is pleased with how Omega-Pharma Quick Step has adopted to the host of changes made during the winter.

    The team brought in over a dozen wins this year, including Zdenek Sybar’s success in cyclo-cross, with Levi Leipheimer, Andrew Fenn, Tom Boonen and Francesco Chicchi also posting winning results.

    “We have 15 wins this season if you count the wins from Zdenek Stybar,” Lefevere told Cyclingnews.

    “They all count and I’m very happy. It shows that the team has worked very hard over the winter and I hope that we can keep going like this. We have some new riders and some new staff, but the team is going well. Maybe we needed this small facelift though.”

    In the off-season, Lefevere was one of the most active managers in the transfer market. Having had a disappointing 2011 and with a shortage of WorldTour points, the team hired a raft of riders including Leipheimer and Tony Martin. While the American has hit the ground running, Martin has had a slower build-up. A slight knee injury over the winter disrupted his training but he is currently racing the Vuelta ao Algarve, in Portugal.

    As the defending champion he will be looking to make a strong showing, but Lefevere admitted that the time trial world champion may have to wait until next month’s Paris-Nice before finding his best form.

    “Maybe he’s a little bit behind last year but he’s hoping to be ready for Paris-Nice. That’s the first major...

  • Video: Knaven on Mark Cavendish

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) on the podium for his first win of 2012.
    Article published:
    February 16, 2012, 16:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former teammate is now a team director

    Former Paris-Roubaix winner Servais Knaven settled into the role of director sportif at Sky over a year ago, and the Dutchman has made the transition from bike to team car appear seamless. Popular with the riders, knowledgeable on race tactics and still hungry for success, he’s the archetypal team player.

    In 2012, he has been reunited with Mark Cavendish. The two rode together just as Knaven’s career was beginning to wind down and Cavendish began his trajectory to the top of the sport.

    Both men are currently at the Tour of Oman where Cavendish is on the hunt for stage wins, and in this exclusive video Knaven talks about the world champions form and fitness.

    He also describes Cavendish’s character and how it has developed since his first year as a pro. Finally, with one eye on the Olympics, Knaven details Cavendish’s chances ahead of London 2012.

  • Kittel repays Project 1t4i's support with win in Oman

    Marcel Kittel (Project 1t4i) on the podium as stage winner
    Article published:
    February 16, 2012, 18:34 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    German sprinter building form for Paris-Nice

    After showing its faith in Marcel Kittel off the bike in recent weeks, Project 1t4i put its trust in him on the road on Thursday, and the young sprinter responded by galloping to victory in front of a top-class field on stage 3 at the Tour of Oman.

    When a report on the ARD television station linked Kittel to a blood doping investigation in Germany in late January, the response from his Project 1t4i team was to declare its outright support for their rider. The team confirmed that Kittel did receive UV treatment from Dr. Andreas Franke at the Olympic Support Point in Erfurt in 2008, but insisted that it was to treat an illness.

    Iwan Spekenbrink's team also pointed out that Kittel was not under investigation as a suspect and that the method in question was not prohibited at the time. In spite of that vote of confidence from a team noted for its commitment to credible cycling, Kittel admitted that he had been affected by the furor surrounding the television report.

    "When I saw my name on German television, it was really a shock and it was definitely one of the hardest days of my life," Kittel said after his win in Oman. "The whole week and still here again, I think a lot about that, but I also tried to explain myself as well as possible.

    "I spoke with a lot of newspapers to make clear what happened there because I have nothing to hide, and I got 120 percent support from my team. I hope that's clear now for everyone."

    Kittel opened his season at Étoile de Bessèges the week...

  • USA CRITS Championship Series unveils 2012 schedule

    Luke Keough (Team Mountain Khakis presented by SmartStop) continues to lead the USA Crits Series.
    Article published:
    February 16, 2012, 19:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Four new events part of 11-race series

    The 2012 USA CRITS Championship Series returns for its sixth year, encompassing 11 top-shelf criteriums throughout the country and offering $50,000 in overall prize money.

    This year the series welcomes four new events to its race line-up including the 2012 kickoff - the inaugural Delray Beach Twilight Festival on March 10 in Delray Beach, Florida.

    "We're beyond excited," said Delray Beach Twilight Festival race director Chelsea Midlarsky. "Since we're a first year event, it's an honor to kick off the series. We have a great one-kilometre course that will go through our prime shopping and restaurant district during our high tourist season. It's going to be a great way to introduce cycling to a lot of people who don't know the sport."

    From Delray Beach, the series continues with another new event one week later on March 17 - the Athlete Octane Old Pueblo Grand Prix in Tucson, Arizona. The Presbyterian Invitational Criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina is the third stop on the USA CRITS schedule, taking place this year in April instead of July.

    America's most beloved criterium follows Charlotte, when professional cycling returns to downtown Athens, Georgia for the 33rd Terrapin Twilight Criterium. The series then heads north to St. Louis for the return of the Tour de Grove, to be followed by another brand new USA CRITS event - The Lake Bluff Twilight Criterium just outside of Chicago.

    Also returning to the USA CRITS fold this year is the Rockstar Games Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic in New York City. Cincinnati, Ohio's Hyde Park Blast is stop number eight followed a week later by the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

    The racing then shifts to the western part of the country with the return of the Exergy Twilight Criterium in Boise, Idaho, before wrapping up with the USA CRITS Finals held in Vail, Colorado.

    "We're excited to be a part of the USA CRITS Series this year," said Tour...

  • Cavendish and Team Sky frustrated in third Oman stage

    Mark Cavendish heads for the start
    Article published:
    February 16, 2012, 21:50 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    CJ Sutton on a technical finale

    Sprinters rarely take kindly to defeat and the best of the current generation is no exception. When Mark Cavendish (Sky) crossed the line a frustrated eighth on stage 3 of the Tour of Oman on Thursday, the Manxman headed promptly and silently for his team car.

    Cavendish appeared to be hemmed in during the final sprint, and he was a forlorn spectator as Marcel Kittel (Project 1t4i) cruised to victory up ahead. The world champion already has two wins to his name this season, but was clearly disappointed to have missed out on the chance to add to that tally in Muscat.

    While Cavendish sat in his tent, stewing over the whys and wherefores of his defeat, his teammate CJ Sutton talked reporters through the finale of a day that ended in disenchantment for Team Sky.

    The Australian was charged with leading Cavendish out in the finale, but he explained that the technical nature of the run-in made it difficult to form a cohesive unit. As the road narrowed inside the final 10 kilometres, the battle for positions become ever more intense.

    "I wouldn't say we got lost, we just lost a few positions," Sutton said. "It was all just a bit of a blur really, trying to look behind and make sure Cav was there and safe on the wheel. We did everything we could, it just wasn't good enough.

    In the closing stages of the race, Cavendish had Sutton and Matt Hayman for company, before Jeremy Hunt succeeded in chasing back on after a puncture. Although they managed to keep Cavendish in contention, it seemed that no team had the numbers to dictate terms as the race reached its climax.

    "I was just trying to keep...

  • Cyclingnews and Bontrager partner to broadcast Hullabaloo in Waterloo

    Watch the Hullabaloo in Waterloo live on Cyclingnews on February 20, 2012.
    Article published:
    February 16, 2012, 23:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Live streaming video of bicycle drag races at Trek headquarters

    Cyclingnews and Bontrager have partnered to broadcast what has been dubbed the "Hullabaloo in Waterloo" on February 20, 2012; a bicycle drag race pitting the burgeoning talent of Axel Merckx's Bontrager-Livestrong UCI Continental team against Bontrager's Waterloo, Wisconsin-based development and engineering team.

    The event, to be live webcasted on Cyclingnews beginning at 4pm US CST will transform Trek Bicycle's office atrium into a sprinter's stadium as it plays host to a spirited Pros vs. Joes competition.

    "I'm really looking forward to seeing Madison for the first time," Said Bontrager-Livestrong rider Lawson Craddock. "Oh yeah, and I guess we have to race some old guys at the factory or something."

    "Youth will be served? No, youth is going to GET served," replied Bontrager Brand Manager and Hullabaloo promoter Michael Browne.

    Watch the blow-by-blow broadcast live on Cyclingnews to witness who will have the fast-twitch fitness to take the title home.

    Watch live video from trekbicycle on
  • RideClean/ elite women's team launches for 2012

    Erica Allar (Ride Clean) USA Crits Series Leader.
    Article published:
    February 17, 2012, 1:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Strong focus on USA Crit Series and National Crit Calendar

    RideClean/ elite women's team will roll up to the start line for the first time in 2012 with two time Olympian and 22 time national track champion Jame Carney as team director.

    "The four of us have very lofty goals," team captain Erica Allar said. "Our ceiling of development is still very high and the new structure of the RideClean/ Elite Women's Team creates a great platform for us to impact women's cycling in a way that it so desperately needs."

    The RideClean/ Elite Women's Team’s main focus for 2012 will be the USA Crits Series and National Crit Calendar races. They plan to kick off the season, with Allar as defending USA Crits Series 2011 Champion, in Delray, Fl on March 10.

    "Our goals this year are fairly well focused," sponsor’s Steve Lisa said. "Primarily, we wanted to get Jame enough support so that he could put a team of top-notch women in the peloton with Erica as the lead rider.

    The ultimate goal is to give Erica the best shot possible to repeat as the women's USA Crit Series champion. In addition, the team plans to double up when possible with the NCC."

    The new team takes the place of RideClean/’ regional men's team.

    "We are really excited to be an elite women's team this year knowing that there are not as many women's teams as there are men's," Allar said. "I am very excited about our potential."

    The RideClean/ Elite Women's Team’s Roster

    Erica Allar - 2011 USA Crits Series Champion
    Colleen Hayduk - Third Omnium National Track Championships and second in Under 25 category for USA Crits Series
    Hanan Alve-Hyde - Third National Track Championship Scratch Race
    Lenore Pipes - Guam National Team Member and seventh overall 2011 USA Crits Series