The Côte de la Haute-Levée will once again test the legs of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège peloton this year after a one-year absence, race organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced today. The ASO has made a final series of inspections to the 257.5km route of the 2011 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, taking place on April 24, and confirmed that the municipality of Stavelot had carried out the necessary road work to allow safe passage for the peloton.
In 2010, road construction forced the ASO to re-route the Belgian one-day Classic, the oldest of professional cycling's five Monuments, away from the Côte de la Haute-Levée and substituted the Col du Maquisard and Mont-Theux in its place.
The Côte de la Haute-Levée, 3.6km long with an average gradient of 5.6 percent, is third in a series of four difficult climbs (Côte de Wanne, Côte de Stockeu, Côte de la Haute-Levée and Côte du Rosier) covered in the space of 25km. With the return of the Côte de la Haute-Levée, the 97th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège will once again have 11 challenging climbs along its route.
The 2010 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège was won by Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), who bested breakaway companion Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) to win La Doyenne for the second time in his career.
La Flèche Wallonne routes same as 2010
The ASO also announced that the 198km parcours of La Flèche Wallonne, taking place April 20, will retain the changes made in last year's edition designed to toughen the finale of the event. As in 2010, the second and final ascents of the finishing Mur de Huy climb will be separated by only 30km and the Cote d’Ereffe, a 2.1km climb with a gradient of 5.9 percent, will be...
Bicycling Studies to prepare students for professional cycling
Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina announced today it is adding a Bicycling Studies minor to its curriculum this year, making it the only school in the US to offer a degree in the sport.
College president, Dr. Barry M. Buxton, is himself a cycling enthusiast who rides with members of the multiple national championship-winning collegiate racing team. He approved the program, which will help graduates enter professional cycling as a career, either on or off the bike.
"My goal is to ultimately have 150 cyclists enrolled at Lees-McRae," said Buxton. "We plan to continue to win national championships, but we also want to prepare our graduates to assume positions of leadership in the business world of bicycling."
"We want to give our talented cyclists another avenue in which to explore the ever-growing and dynamic world of cycling. Our students are talented riders and mechanics, and we want to provide them with opportunities outside of team racing," said Buxton.
Courses that make up the program include History and Principles of Bicycling, Business and Economics of Sports, Nutrition and Athletic Performance and Creativity and Innovation. Students will also complete a field study in cycling and an internship in cycling before graduation.
This program will position graduates to obtain positions in fields such as team management, bicycle design, coaching, education, urban design, training, retail, planning, event promotion, marketing and more.
The Lees-McRae College cycling team won its first national title in 2003, and in the past seven years it has won ten team national championships and many more individual titles.
"It is exciting to see the dream that began with Coach Sean McAndrew now develop into this amazing program, "said Doug Owen, former head coach of the cycling team and member of Lees-McRae's Cycling Advisory Board.. "In 2006 when we took the program to the Division I level, it was only in...
Former winners invited to commemorate with museum opening
The world's highest stage race, China's Tour of Qinghai Lake, will this year celebrate its tenth edition, held from July 15 to 24.
Held on the Tibetan plateau at an altitude between 1800 to 3300 metres, the inaugural winner was American Tom Danielson in 2002, followed by Damiano Cunego, who made the trip with the Italian national team the year before his magical 2004 season in which he won the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Lombardy and was crowned world's number one cyclist.
The organisation of the Tour of Qinghai Lake yesterday hosted a forum of international experts, including UCI commissaires Martin Bruin, Michael Robb and Bill Clinch, to discuss plans to make the race bigger and better in the future.
The Tour of Qinghai Lake is one of the three Asian stage races classified Hors Category by the UCI, alongside Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia and the Tour of Hainan, also in China.
"In the past, our province of Qinghai was often confused with the town of Qingdao in the Shandong province," said Luo Yi Lin, the Vice Governor of Qinghai. "But now, thanks to this race, our province is well known and has attracted more tourists and investors. We wish to increase the reputation of our province even more, especially outside China."
To show the sustainability of the event, race organisers are building a museum of the Tour of Qinghai Lake at the Duoba National Highlander Sports Training Base, located 25km from the province's capital, Xining.
"It's under construction," explained Feng Jianping, director general of Qinghai Sports Bureau. "We plan to open it in October and we hope to receive donations like jerseys from our past winners. We also intend to invite all of them and their coach or relative to attend the celebrations of our tenth anniversary in July.
"A cycling expo and a charity ride will be added to our list of events. We are also working on extending our international media coverage and on a deal with...
Fränk Schleck’s crash didn't affect Dane's 2010 Tour de France role
Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek) is about to start his third season on the road, after moving from Saxo Bank to Leopard Trek. The 25-year-old former mountain biker was initially scheduled to ride the Giro as team leader, but in this video he explains how the decision has been made for him to miss the Giro altogether, and focus on the Tour de France, riding in support of Andy Schleck.
It will only be after the Tour that any decisions will be made about his participation in the Vuelta.
He also talks about his role in the 2010 Tour, and how Fränk Schleck’s crash in the third stage didn’t affect his role in the team. He remains confident that with or without Alberto Contador, Andy will be the rider to beat at the 2011 Tour.
Sánchez for Tour de France podium, Antón to Giro and Vuelta
It will be the 18th professional cycling season for Basque squad Euskaltel-Euskadi, and the team directed by Igor González de Galdeano is hoping to live up to "the age of majority" in 2011. At its official presentation on Thursday in San Sebastián, the team stood united behind its two leaders, Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez and Igor Antón.
Both have great objectives for the season ahead. Sánchez, a regular top finisher at the Tour de France, wants to finally make the leap onto the Paris podium this year, and Antón, who lost the overall lead in last year's Vuelta because of a crash, is eager to return to the event to make amends.
"Even though last year was our very best season ever, with 17 victories, we are looking to repeat or improve this feat," said Miguel Madariaga, president of the Euskadi foundation, to the assembled media. "It is not about surviving anymore, but about finding out just how good we can be."
Having finished in fourth place at the Tour in 2010, Sánchez feels ready for a top three result at the event this year. "My objectives are the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Tour de France podium," Sánchez told AS. "As Contador and Valverde may not be there, there are many candidates for the victory, and I think I can be one of them. But I don't consider myself a podium finisher last year until I know what happens to Alberto."
However, the team's first big goal will be the Giro d'Italia, in which Antón will be the squad's designated leader. Although it will be the 27-year-old's first participation, Antón is motivated to do well. "I'm excited to do my first Giro, as it has a lot of mountains," he said, before speaking about his main season goal.
"But above all, I'm excited to return to the Vuelta. I will give it everything there because I think my time has come. I want to forget last year's crash and think more of the stage I won in...
“That is sad and regrettable,” said NetApp team manager Ralph Denk, to the dpa news agency. The team, which this year moved up to the Professional Continental ranks, is hoping to reach ProTeam status in 2012.
“Of course we would have liked to have ARD and ZDF with us, when we start the Tour for the first time. But fortunately our sponsor is globally oriented and we still have Eurosport, which will carry the race,” Denk said.
The German broadcasters cited declining viewer numbers as a reason for their decision, due in part to doping in cycling.
“That punishes cycling as a pioneer in the fight against doping. I would wish that all other sports would be so consistent,” Denk said.
Hans-Michael Holczer, former team manager of Team Gerolsteiner, agreed. “Their worries about viewer numbers is not a real argument.”
Gerry van Gerwen, manager of Team Milram, which ended in 2010, called the move a “tactical manoeuvre”. He said, “I can't imagine that ARD and ZDF would simply send more than a million viewers, or shall I call them customers, to Eurosport.”
Team leader Moreno returns home from team camp in Mallorca
Spanish team Caja Rural has currently gathered in Mallorca for a training camp, but on Thursday four of its riders were injured in a crash. Javi Moreno, Igor Romero, José Herrada and Egoitz García all came to fall together after descending a small climb and slipping in a curve.
"The road was wet and in the curve there must have been some ice left," explained Moreno to Marca. "In front of me, my teammate crashed and I could not avoid him."
Moreno, who was scheduled to race some of the Mallorca Challenge starting on Sunday, has now left the camp for further examinations in Jaén. Fortunately, the initial diagnosis of a kneecap fracture turned out not to be true, but doctors still need to find out the extent of his knee injury.
"The x-rays in the hospital of Palma did not show any fracture, but doctors still put some wire in my knee to protect it until I get further examinations done in Jaén," Moreno said.
"I hope it's nothing and that I will soon be back on the bike. I wouldn't like to miss out on the Vuelta a Andalucía [February 20-24 - ed.]."
His teammate Romero was less lucky as he suffered a fracture of the head of the radius. Herrada received a strong blow to his wrist and García came away with some scraped skin and bruises
Rabobank is unhappy with the decision by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to do away with the race radio. The riders emphasise that the radios are necessary for their own safety, and Jos van Emden claimed that without race radios, Pedro Horrillo might never have been found after his horrendous crash in the 2009 Giro d'Italia.
The Spaniard fell 60 metres down a ravine on the eighth stage of the Giro, and suffered multiple injuries, including fractures to his upper leg, knee, vertebrae, and ribs, as well as puncturing both lungs.
Fortunately for him, his bike stayed on the road, and teammate van Emden noticed it.
Both he and Horrillo had fallen off the back of the peloton, with the Spaniard ahead of the Dutchman. “In the descent I suddenly saw a bicycle. That was reasonable. At first I thought, 'another tourist who has left his bike and forgotten it,' but in a flash I saw it was a Giant and I recognised the identification tag as being Pedro's.”
Van Emden continued, on the team website, “There was nobody else around and there was nothing behind the guard rail. In a reflex I called out over the radio that Pedro had probably fallen into the ravine.”
The rescue action was started immediately, but van Emden was very shaken. “You realise suddenly that there might be a teammate dying. That was scary and ultimately touch-and-go. Pedro almost certainly owes his life to the race radio. So if you save the life of a man, the debate of abandoning it seems pretty absurd.”
Van Emden said he couldn't imagine riding without race radios. “There are so many dangerous moments I the race where the communication is a very important aspect. ...