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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 19, 2010

Date published:
March 19, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Farrar doesn't see himself as a San Remo favourite

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) is still looking for his first win in 2010
    Article published:
    March 18, 2010, 11:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    American rider hopes to make up for crashing out in 2009

    Tyler Farrar will spearhead Garmin-Transitions’ attack on Milan-San Remo on Saturday and will be looking for revenge after crashing out of last year’s race.

    Farrar has had a steady but unspectacular start to his 2010 season, with two second places and two third places under his belt, but despite heading into the race without a win, the American feels that he’s closing in on his best form.

    “I had really good sensations all the way through Tirreno. Luck really wasn’t on my side to get a stage win but I felt good and I’ve put in some fine tuning in the last week. I’m as good as I’m going to be,” he told Cyclingnews.

    Farrar had somewhat of a breakthrough year in 2009, winning thirteen races, including his and Garmin’s first road stage in a Grand Tour, but the American is quick to distance himself from what he perceives as the true race favourites. A combination of inexperience and competitiveness at a race distance of 300K makes him cautious of his chances.

    “It’s one of the most important races of the spring so all the guys capable of winning will come to that race with their A game. I don’t personally see myself as favourite, mainly because I haven’t proven myself at this distance before.

    “If it was 200K I’d think of myself as a favourite but at 300K it’s still something kind of new. It’s a big objective and I’ve done everything I can to be in the best shape possible but it will be a bit of  a test to see if I can last the distance.”

    Farrar crashed out last year, fracturing his collarbone, but Garmin has strengthened its team in the off-season, signing riders that could potentially form one of the strongest lead outs in the peloton. Robbie Hunter and Murilo Fischer both signed and will start San Remo on Saturday in a bid to support Farrar.

  • Hushovd sees Milan-San Remo as "bingo"

    Heinrich Haussler, Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd on the 2009 Milan-San Remo podium
    Article published:
    March 18, 2010, 14:03 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Uncertain form, calls for rain make Saturday a gamble

    Thor Hushovd is hoping for rain to compensate his uncertain state of form, and is eyeing Milan-San Remo with a mix of doubts and ambitions after failing to win the last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday.

    "It was hard the first few days," the Norwegian told Cyclingnews about the ‘race of the two seas'. "But I was going better by the end. I'm feeling much better than in the past few weeks, but I'm still not sure how my form is really."

    It was a very different start of the season for the Cervélo rider who stormed to victory at the Tour of California and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February last year.

    This time around, he was not able to take part in the Etoile de Bessèges and he was forced to pull out of the Volta ao Algarve during stage 4 of the Portuguese event. "Because of a stomach upset in January, I was sick for five days, then I had a very bad flu at the end of January and I was off for nine days," Hushovd recalled. "I lost two important weeks of training."

    However, he blamed his tactics and not his condition for the missed opportunity in the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico when his Cervélo team led him out without success. "They did a very good job, but I went too early," he said.

    Without a solid results so far this season, the man who came third in San Remo last year doesn't appear anywhere in the Italian forecasts for Milan-San Remo on Saturday. According to the bookmakers (SNAI), Tom Boonen is the hot favourite quoted at 9 while Fabian Cancellara, Oscar Freire, Alessandro Petacchi, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Daniele Bennati, Filippo Pozzato and defending champion Mark Cavendish are at 12.

    In Thursday's pagelle (predictions) of La Gazzetta dello Sport, Boonen is noted 9 (out of 10), Boasson Hagen 8.5, Petacchi, Pozzato and Bennati 8, Freire 7.5, Philippe Gilbert and Cancellara 7, Stefano Garzelli 6.5 and Cavendish 5, but Hushovd isn't even...

  • Bernard Sainz jailed 12 months for doping

    Frank Vandenbroucke (Cofidis) en route to his first Vuelta victory on stage 16.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2010, 14:59 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Former French soigneur known as 'Dr Mabuse' found guilty on appeal

    Former cycling soigneur Bernard Sainz, widely known as "Dr Mabuse", has been jailed for a year for doping riders after losing an appeal in France.

    The late Frank Vandenbroucke and former Cofidis rider Philippe Gaumont were amongst his many clients and agreed to pay Sainz huge cash bonuses if they won major races. Sainz is said to have worked in cycling as far back as the early seventies.

    Sainz was put on trial after police stopped him in February, 2002 for speeding in Belgium and found suspicious medicines in his car. He claimed he had been to see Vandenbroucke. When police searched Vandenbroucke’s house they found EPO and other drugs. Vandenbroucke famously claimed they were for his dog.

    Both Vandenbroucke and Gaumont gave evidence during the original trial, describing Sainz as a ‘diabolic guru’ and a ‘formidable doper’.

    Sainz, who gained the moniker Dr Mabuse while working with race horses in the eighties, was found guilty of inciting doping and illegally acting as a doctor in April 2008. During the appeal, the French public prosecutor asked that Sainz receive a three-year sentence with a minimum of 18 months in jail.

    The judge showed some leniency but Sainz immediately said he would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Armstrong confirmed for the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe

    Article published:
    March 18, 2010, 16:00 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Seven-time Tour winner to ride short French stage race in early April

    The organiser of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe Pays de la Loire stage race has confirmed that Lance Armstrong will compete in this year’s race as part of a busy April racing schedule in Europe before he returns to the USA for the Tour of California.

    The RadioShack team said it is not yet 100% sure Armstrong will ride the four-day, five-stage race but his name has been included on the official entry list.

    The 58th edition of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe Pays de la Loire kicks off with a 184km road race stage and includes a 6.8km individual time trial on the split-stage second day. The race begins just two days after the Tour of Flanders, on Tuesday, April 6 but would provide Armstrong with a vital extra block of racing in early April. He rode the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe Pays de la Loire in 1999, 2001 and 2003, winning stage four in 1999.

    Armstrong is currently at his European base in the south of France and will ride Milan-San Remo on Saturday. He will then face former teammate and Tour de France rival Alberto Contador at the two-day Criterium International (March 27-28) and ride the Tour of Flanders (April 4). He is also set to ride the Amstel Gold Race (April 18), Fleche Wallonne (April 21) and Liege-Bastogne-Liege (April 25).

    The list of team for the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe Pays de la Loire also includes AG2R-La Mondiale, Caisse d’Epargne, Francaise des Jeux, BBox Bouygues Telecom, BMC, Cofidis, Cervelo TestTeam, Colnago-CSF Inox, ISD-Neri, Saur-Sojasun, Skil-Shimano, Adria Mobile, Big Mat-Auber 93 and Bretagne-Shuller.

  • Euser returns to racing in San Dimas and Redlands

    Solvang proved to be a sunny training ground for the Spidertech boys.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2010, 7:00 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    SpiderTech enjoys training in sunny Solvang

    Lucas Euser will rejoin the pro peloton with his new team SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy at the San Dimas Stage Race this weekend, his first race back after colliding with a car last May. The team united for a few days prior to give its riders a chance to test their legs over the mountainous terrain around Solvang, California.

    "I haven't raced since my accident but I've been training hard, working really hard in the gym and staying on top of my rehab by doing the necessary things to get better," Euser told Cyclingnews. "These first races are going to be a challenge and remind me of what I was doing before. I'm up for that challenge."

    Euser raced for Garmin-Slipstream last year but his season was cut short when he collided with a car while out for a training ride in Girona, Spain. His injuries included broken ribs and finger, and a shattered patella.

    "By no means do I have any personal goals or aspirations," Euser said. "I want to get though it and get the racing back in my legs to see how my knee handles it. If it doesn't handle it then I'm going to have to reassess. This process is new for me because I've never had an injury like this so I need to look at the big picture and see how I'm going to be going. Right now things seem to be on track."

    SpiderTech is Canada's sole UCI Continental team and signed Euser to its program in January. He is a valuable addition to a team that has its sights set on becoming the nation's first Pro Continental outfit.

    "It's a team effort and I want to earn their respect," Euser said. "I don't want to come in and tell anyone what to do. To earn their respect I have to show that I can work for them first. We also have a great group of guys who are eager to race and are going really strong right now."

    The eight-man squad entered to compete in the San Dimas Stage Race and the Redlands Bicycle Classic held the following weekend include Euser, François Parisien, Bruno...

  • Ricco to face Giro d’Italia snub?

    Riccardo Riccò
    Article published:
    March 19, 2010, 9:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Reports in Italy suggest the Cobra could be without an invite

    According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Riccardo Ricco has little chance of starting the Giro d’Italia this year. The claim comes on the back of recent comments made by the Giro’s promoter Angelo Zomegnan.

    Zomegnan didn’t use Ricco’s name but his comments during a meeting with sponsors were meaningful: “At the 2010 Giro d’Italia, there will be riders in quarantine”, he said.

    “In the past we have put our faith in riders who didn’t deserve it, as time showed later on [referring to Danilo Di Luca whose team was invited to participate to Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico in 2008 while his case after the 2007 dope control at the Zoncolan was still pending].

    “From this experience, we learnt that whoever has to be invited to the Giro will have to be patient for a certain period of time.”

    The organising newspaper concluded that Ricco’s new team Flaminia will not be invited to the Giro this year.

    Flaminia were denied a start at the Giro in the last two years. The ‘Cobra’ will return to competition next week at the Coppi-Bartali week

    Riccò has rarely shown sign of remorse for his doping but has publicly asked for forgiveness as his ban comes to an end. Last month he told the press that the fans are behind his comeback.

    "I don't think the tifosi are interested if there's doping (in cycling) or not. They're interested in the battle and competition. I don’t think real tifosi are interested in doping. If someone is a fan of Ricco, they still are now, even if he's made a mistake or not."

    "I was a fan of [MotoGP pilot] Valentino Rossi even when he didn't pay taxes in Italy. For me a champion is a champion. I think my real fans see me as a 23-year-old who made a mistake but who can't wait to see him race again. That's how I see it. Of course there are other kinds of cycling fans but that's the way I see...

  • Liquigas, Caisse, Lampre and Milram name Milan-San Remo line-ups

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini)
    Article published:
    March 19, 2010, 10:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Bennati, Petacchi looking for success in mass sprint

    Liquigas is sending all of its top stars to Milan-San Remo, while Caisse d'Epargne is leaving Luis Leon Sanchez at home. Team Milram will see the return of Linus Gerdemann in the race.

    Daniel Bennati, Vincenzo Nibali, France Pellizotti and Roman Kreuziger will spearhead the four-pronged attack of the Italian team. The team purposefully kept all its options open. Bennati “will be our leader in a sprint finish,” said Directeur Sportif Mario Scirea on the team's website. “Nibali, Pellizotti and Kreuziger will be there to keep the tempo up in the climbs and to follow breaks.”

    The team is not taking youngster Peter Sagan, who last week won two stages at Paris-Nice

    Caisse d'Epargne will not feature Luis Leon Sanchez, but go with his fellow Spaniard Jose Joaquín Rojas Gil as captain in Milan-San Remo. The 24-year-old has brought in numerous top ten finishes this season and most recently finished 13th overall in Tirreno-Adriatico. In 2008 he finished 33rd in San Remo.

    Alessandro Petacchi will hope to repeat his 2005 Milan-San Remo victory, this time for Lampre-Farnese Vini. But the team is also sending Damiano Cunego, who could play a joker role.

    “Milan- San Remo is a main race for our team and with Petacchi, we will fight for the victory,” said Giuseppe Saronni, the team's general manager, on the team's website. “Cunego's presence will be important, too, because he could be the team joker in cast of attacks from other top riders before the sprint.”

    Linus Gerdemann has recovered from the intestinal problems which forced him out of Tirreno-Adriatico and will lead Team Milram on Sunday. He has two victories on the season, including the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. “Linus could be a surprise here,” said directeur sportif Christian Henn. “Basically, we have a team that is good for a surprise, and we have no pressure on us because of all...

  • Armstrong out of Milan-San Remo due to illness

    Lance Armstrong crosses the line in 9th place.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2010, 11:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fumiyuki Beppu to take American's place

    Lance Armstrong will not ride Milan-San Remo, Team RadioShack announced Friday morning. The seven-time Tour de France winner is “suffering from acute gastroenteritis,” the team said. He will be replaced by Japanese rider Fumiyuki Beppu.

    "It would have been good to have Lance in the line-up for the start but we prefer not to take any risk," said team director Johan Bruyneel. "It would not be very intelligent to let him start in a race of almost 300K, while not being healthy."

    Armstrong's most recent race appearance was at a charity race in South Africa. His next scheduled race is the Criterium International, March 27-28.

    Team RadioShack for Milan-San Remo: Fumiyuki Beppu, Daryl Impey, Markel Irizar, Geoffroy Lequatre, Dmitriy Muravyev, Gregory Rast, Sébastien Rosseler and Tomas Vaitkus