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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, February 26, 2010

Date published:
February 26, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Navy SEALs test Jelly Belly-Kenda at training camp

    Mike Friedman and Brad Huff look back over the city during a training ride.
    Article published:
    February 25, 2010, 13:36 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Jelly Belly signs on for two more years

    The men of the Jelly Belly presented by Kenda team stood and saluted a Navy SEAL command at the Coronado base located on the southern California Pacific seaboard last week. The objective was to bring the riders together in the popular form of team bonding traditionally used by CSC, now Saxo Bank.

    “Team building is the in thing now at the training camps because it goes straight from the camp and on to the bike,” Van Haute said.

    The SEALs organised challenging relay events that involved carrying heavy cinder blocks along the beach and relying on teammates to carry the other to safety. The motto: No one left behind. The punishment: Taking a dip in the freezing waters of the Pacific Ocean.

    “They put us through the ringer for about three hours on the beach,” Van Haute said. “The guys had to pay attention to what the SEALs are talking about when they were talking to you; it’s very real military.

    “We did team exercise is the cold water and had to make sure everyone came out and that we didn’t leave anyone in there,” he added. “It was interesting, very good and it was all team oriented stuff that they made us do. There was a lot of discipline involved.”

    Training days were few but resembled the old school-style regimen that involved long hours in the saddle. “We did three or four long rides,” Van Haute said. “The theme for the camp this year was slow, long distance training. The rides extended for a couple of hours more than what they had planned and everyone got to talk to each other.”

    The team has had its medium term future assured after candy company Jelly Belly renewed its title sponsorship agreement through to 2012. Directeur sportif Danny van Haute praised the team’s revamped roster after its first training camp for the year held in San Marco, California.

    “I have seven new riders, which is a plus because you...

  • Beloki back in racing as DS with Cafés Baqué

    Joseba Beloki
    Article published:
    February 25, 2010, 14:40 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Official announcement due at Friday's team presentation

    Spain's Joseba Beloki, whose racing career fizzled out in the wake of the Operación Puerto affair, is set to return to the sport by accepting a role as coach and assistant directeur sportif on the Cafés Baqué under-23 team.

    Beloki, who finished on the Tour de France podium on three consecutive occasions, is hoping that the role might lead to a similar position on a top level pro team in the future, but for the moment is relishing the chance to pass on his knowledge and experience to Cafés Baqué’s young guns.

     “I’ve always been very passionate about every aspect of cycling, I’ve enjoyed training youngsters and Baqué have given me the chance to do this,” Beloki told El Diario Vasco. “I got the qualifications needed to be a directeur sportif in 2008 and I’ve always been interested in every aspect of training and physiology.”

    In his new role, Beloki will assist Cafés Baqué team manager Rubén Gorospe, an ex-pro with Banesto and brother of former Euskaltel boss Julián Gorospe. “I will try to learn all I can,” said Beloki, whose first appearance in the team car will be at a race at Zumaia in the Basque Country on Saturday. “It’s not the same being a director as being a rider. You see things very differently from the car. I’m really
    excited about it.”

    The riders Beloki will be coaching and managing are all aged between 19 and 21. “There’s a group of 12. When I am able to I will go out training with them. Most of the work I do with them will be focused on the middle part of the season and Tours of Navarra, Bidasoa and Alava.”

    Beloki admitted that his long-term goal is to work for a team further up cycling’s hierarchy. “But now is not the moment for that, it’s not the right time because I don’t want to be away from home all...

  • Hushovd down but not out of Omloop

    Thor Hushovd (Cérvelo Test Team) began his 2010 season at the Volta ao Algarve.
    Article published:
    February 25, 2010, 15:03 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Illness hampers defending champ's training

    Despite losing valuable training time due to illness Thor Hushovd will defend his title in this year's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday. Hushovd has been struck down by three colds this season and heads into the weekend's double of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne knowing that repeating his 2009 victory will be a long shot.

    However, the Norwegian has targeted Paris-Roubaix as his number one spring goal and claimed that Cervélo TestTeam is one of the best, if not the best, Classics teams.

    Hushovd himself has struggled with form and fitness, whereas last year he won Cervélo's first ever race in the Tour of California and backed that up with a sprint win in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

    "I've lost too much training to fight for the win but if I'm there for the sprint anything can happen. We have four or five guys that can win this race," Hushovd told Cyclingnews from the team's Classics base in Gent.

    "I'm going to ride, though. I've trained all winter but I lost a few days to illness at the training camp in Portugal and had nine days off the bike. That's a really long time and I lost form from that. I have to fight to get back that good feeling.

    "I just hope to finish both races so that I've got two hard races in my legs. That's my only goal."

    Cervélo will line up with Heinrich Haussler, Andreas Klier, Roger Hammond and Martin Reimer in its ranks and Hushovd believes that the depth and team ethos mean that any rider could potentially come away with a win this weekend.

    "I think we have the strongest Classics team. Perhaps not on a one-on-one basis but as a group we are one of the strongest. We saw that last year, we were always there. As a group we just go out there to have fun and we don't work for just one leader. Everyone has their chance. We race to win as a team," he said.

    Hushovd's next races include

  • Wild a favourite for Het Nieuwsblad

    Sweet victory for defending champion in Qatar, Kirsten Wild (Cervelo Test Team)
    Article published:
    February 25, 2010, 18:15 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Dutch rider starting Classics season in good form

    Kirsten Wild heads into Het Nieuwsblad as a clear favourite but despite mounting expectations on her shoulders, the 27-year-old is confident and relaxed that she can claim her second win in the race, after triumphing in 2008.

    Wild won 15 races in 2009 and kicked off her 2010 campaign with a stage win and the overall victory in the Tour of Qatar earlier in the month. Now ranked as the second highest female cyclist in the world, the Dutch rider is starting the Classics season in good form.

    "My form is going according to plan. I feel good and so does the team, and I think we can make a nice race but there are a few good competitors," said Wild. "It could be a really hard race. Emma Johansson and Chantal Blaak are very strong. But with good tactics, I hope it can come down to a sprint but I think I can win without it coming down to one. However there are girls in my own team that can also have a good result."

    While Cervelo's men had a successful 2009 debut, with 29 victories, they were arguably overshadowed by their female counterparts who shot to the top of the team's world rankings, overhauling Columbia in the process. However, along with that success has come added pressure, but according to Wild, she and her teammates are leaning to thrive in the atmosphere.

    "Of course you feel pressure. Last year we went to Qatar as a new team and everything you won was a bonus, but now if you don't win it's like you've taken a real loss. Yes, there's pressure, but it's good that you can put pressure on yourself. I'll just do my thing and hope that's good enough."

    After Het Nieuwsblad, Wild will target the rest of the women's cobbled races, before honing in on the national championships in June and then the Worlds in Australia. "I like all these races here in Belgium," she said. "With all the bad weather, the cobbles the wind and the small climbs, it's great, so I go here with positive conditions."

  • Rogers breaks seven year drought in Andalucia

    Overall race leader Michael Rogers (HTC - Columbia) on the podium.
    Article published:
    February 26, 2010, 0:55 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    First stage race victory since 2003 Route du Sud

    Australia’s Michael Rogers has claimed his first stage race overall victory since 2003, holding on to a 19 second lead at the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol. Rogers’ general classification victory in the Spanish race is his first since winning France’s Route du Sud in what was a successful 2003 season from the Canberra rider.

    After taking Andalucia’s lead in the penultimate time trial, Rogers lead home the first major group on the final stage to take third place – and the general classification win – behind compatriot Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) and stage winner Francisco Centoso (Carmiooro NGC). "It was a pretty tough day but the team were super and we never panicked," said Rogers.

    The victory is a boost for Rogers who has been hampered for much of the past three years by injury and illness. He crashed out of the 2007 Tour de France while leading the race on the road, breaking his collarbone which brought his season to an early end. Since then Rogers was struck down by the Epstien Barr virus not once but twice, as HTC-Columbia owner Bob Stapleton revealed at Tour Down Under this year.

    "I'm very happy. I worked hard this winter and changed just about everything I could training-wise, and it seems like the training changes have been working," said Rogers.

    While it’s been a long time between overall stage race victories for Rogers, he’s come close on plenty of occasions. Most recently he finished third at last year’s Tour of California, and claimed top 10 finishes at the Tour Down Under, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

    Since his 2003 win he’s finished in the top three at seven stage races, including California, Tour of Missouri, Sachsen Tour, Eneco Tour of Benelux, Volta a Catalunya, Regio-Tour International and Tour de Suisse.

    Rogers has also enjoyed plenty of time trial success since winning the Deutschland Tour, Route du Sud and Tour...

  • Halliday breaks humerus in New Zealand

    Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan National Team) crashes heavily on a slippery descent, as did defending champion Amber Halliday (bike but not rider pictured).
    Article published:
    February 26, 2010, 1:28 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Australian champion jersey debut delayed by injury

    Australian Time Trial Champion Amber Halliday will miss the opportunity to wear her national champion jersey for the first time in competition after crashing out of the Women’s Tour of New Zealand. Halliday and Japan’s Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan National Team) crashed on the final descent during the race’s second stage.

    While initial reports suspected Halliday of a broken collarbone, the rider confirmed she has in fact fractured her humerus and had suffered a dislocated shoulder in the crash. She also lost skin and suffered bruising in the crash, which is believed to have occurred when the riders hit a white line on wet roads near the bottom of the descent, around 12 kilometres from the finish line.

    Halliday was hoping to honour the green, gold and white jersey with a victory on today’s 11 kilometre individual time trial at the race she won overall on debut last year.

    Last year’s Women’s Tour of New Zealand was the former professional rower’s first International Cycling Union (UCI) ranked road race. With little known about Halliday within the peloton at the time, she was able to sneak away and win the 125 kilometre stage to Admiral Hill solo, setting up her overall victory.

  • Jayco-Skins’ Matthews hoping for successful year abroad

    Michael Matthews from the Australian Capital Territory.
    Article published:
    February 26, 2010, 2:31 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Langkawi next on Australian’s radar

    Jayco-Skins Michael Matthews has enjoyed a strong start to his season, something he hopes will continue when he resumes competition at Le Tour de Langkawi next week. Matthews believes his early season racing, plus an Australian Institute of Sport training camp leading into the Malaysian race, will hold him in good stead for the 2.HC event.

    “I should be going pretty well by Langkawi because I’ve had a few big tours now leading up to it, so I should be pretty much going by then,” Matthews told Cyclingnews.

    Matthews started the year on a high, finishing on the podium in both the Under 23 time trial and road race at the Australian Open Road Championships. The results were a pleasant surprise for the Canberra rider, who wasn’t sure of his form heading into the Ballarat race.

    “The year has started off really well,” he said. “I wasn’t too confident going into the nationals as I hadn’t done much training since Oceanias where I won the time trial and road race. I thought I had worlds [qualification] planned out from there so I just got a little base going after that.

    “I’d had a pretty long year and hadn’t had any rest all year, so after Oceanias I thought I’d have a week or two off and I’ve just been bringing my form back up slowly since then,” he said.

    Matthews will return to Australia after Langkawi, where he will remain until March 22 when he heads to the AIS base in Italy.

    While he’s had early season form, which led to a Tour of Wellington stage win, it’s later in the season Matthews has his eyes set on. He’s targeting Ronde de l'Isard, Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt U23 and Tour de l'Avenir with the hope his form will last through to the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Championships in Melbourne, Australia at the season’s end.

    “There’s a couple of tours...

  • Haussler: I only need one race win this year

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) in the points jersey
    Article published:
    February 26, 2010, 3:47 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Cervelo facing Classics without riders in top form

    This time last year Cervelo TestTeam was riding on the crest of a wave after Thor Hushovd won a stage of the Tour of California and Heinrich Haussler claimed two stages at the Volta ao Algarve. But in 2010 the team head into Saturday’s Het Nieuwsblad without a win and both Classics superstars lacking their top form.

    While Hushovd is recovering from illness, Haussler is on the comeback trail himself after suffering a knee injury in Algarve last week. Yet despite the lack of results for the men in black, Haussler is full of confidence that he can walk away with a Classics win this year.

    “We’ve not had a win yet but had a bit of bad luck in Oman,” Haussler told Cyclingnews. “It’s not been as smooth as last year. Last year leading up to this race I’d won two stages in Algarve but I don’t need to win small stages in those races now. For me I only need to win one race this year.”

    Haussler has already publicly stated that he will be at his peak for the Tour of Flanders, a race he podiumed at last year. For him, this weekend’s racing will be about gaining valuable training miles before Paris-Nice, where he’ll look to again train hard.

    “I’ve not got the form to win this weekend lets put it like that,” he said. “I had to pull out in Algarve so I don’t have the hard training in my legs. Also I’ve not been able to prepare for this race. If everyone else is at a high level it will be hard but I didn’t come into the season to win this race.

    “The form is there but I don’t want to make a big drama about my knee,” he added. “I’m scared to go deep in case it hurts again. There was a chance of not racing this weekend and if it’s not good enough I won’t race but I should be okay.”

    Haussler was the revelation of last year’s Spring races, finishing on the podium in Milan...