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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 2, 2012

Date published:
March 02, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Team Type 1-Sanofi, Colombia-Coldeportes react to Ardennes invites

    Groups of Team Type 1-Sanofi riders broke out for the day in the sunny Tucson weather.
    Article published:
    March 01, 2012, 17:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Managers say recognition is more than welcome

    ASO's decision to award invitations to Team Type 1-Sanofi and Colombia-Coldeportes to their portfolio of spring races has been welcomed by both team's general managers. Team Type 1 will ride both Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Flèche Wallonne, whilst Colombia-Coldeportes will only attend the latter.

    Having both missed out on Giro d'Italia invitiations from RCS sport, and seemingly unlikely to pick up a Tour berth, the places come as a boost to the team's sponsors, and general ambitions for this year and next.

    Colombia-Coldeportes team manager Claudio Corti:

    "This invitation, as well as the other one we received – show that we are going in the right direction: we are just a month into our first professional season, but our work and racing style is receiving credit and appreciation from some of the most important race organizers in the world. The riders are excited with the attention they are collecting from all over the world, and are working harder and harder in order to repay this trust with great commitment and – hopefully – some good results."

    Team Type 1-Sanofi team manager Vassili Davidenko:

    "Yesterday the Tour of Poland, today Fleche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. You can't imagine how thrilled we are, a Pro Continental team from the US, to be headed to these races. With Sasha Serebryakov last week in Belgium we showed how strong we are in the sprints, and with Julien El Fares at Haut Var the week before we showed how strong we are in the hills."

  • Froome to miss Paris-Nice due to illness

    Chris Froome (Sky)
    Article published:
    March 01, 2012, 21:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Zandio replaces Briton in Sky line-up

    2011 Vuelta a Espana runner-up Chris Froome (Sky) has been removed from the British ProTour squad's Paris-Nice line-up due to illness. The 26-year-old Briton picked up a chest infection in his debut race of the 2012 season, the Volta ao Algarve, and withdrew after the third stage.

    Froome is still recovering, it was announced on, and as a result Spaniard Xabier Zandio will replace Froome in Sky's eight-man Paris-Nice roster.

    "Chris has not yet recovered from the chest infection he picked up at the Volta ao Algarve," said team doctor Richard Freeman. "He's improving and it's nothing serious but by skipping Paris-Nice this gives him ample time to recover.

    "The team felt this was the best approach for the rider and he'll be back to his best in no time."

    Paris-Nice is the second event on the UCI WorldTour calendar and the first of the season on European soil. The eight-day stage race begins Sunday, March 4 in Dampierre-en-Yvelines, France with a 9.4km individual time trial. The race concludes on Sunday, March 11 with another individual time trial, a 9.6km parcours to the top of the Col d'Èze.

  • Big weekend looms for RadioShack and BMC in France and Italy

    The BMC team is strong, even without Hushovd and Gilbert
    Article published:
    March 02, 2012, 1:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Paris-Nice and Strade Bianche first major tests of the spring

    The European season is now fully underway with RadioShack-Nissan and BMC stretched to near full capacity as they prepare for races in three countries over the weekend.

    Paris-Nice will give both teams their first chance to impress in a European WorldTour race, after strong showings in the Santos Tour Down Under. Andreas Klöden, Andy Schleck and Fränk Schleck will combine for the first time at the WorldTour level when they line-up together for the "Race to the Sun". Having only once raced together in the Trofeo de Mallorca this year, the week long stage-race is sure to be a good gauge for how they'll work as a team later in the year.

    BMC's line-up has a classics flavour to it, with former world champion Thor Hushovd riding in France in preparation for Milan-San Remo, and the cobbled one day races later in the month. The team does bring young American Tejay van Garderen, who is considered as possibility for a high GC finish, but they'll be taking things day by day.

    "There are a lot of stages with a lot of opportunities and we have a team that can do something in all of them," said BMC director sportif Verbrugghe.

    BMC's star recruit Philippe Gilbert will be riding the Strade Bianche with the Belgian set to lead the team as defending champion in Italy. RadioShack-Nissan's classic's hope Fabian Cancellara will also be there, 'Spartacus' having won on the gravel roads once before in 2008.

    RadioShack-Nissan will also taking on racing in Belgium to complete a heavy schedule for the team. 3 Days of West-Flanders will be a good chance for Jesse Sergent to impress in the time...

  • Cycling Australia reforms Olympic and Worlds selection panels

    Matt Goss was not happy with silver
    Article published:
    March 02, 2012, 2:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    All teams now to have a third sitting independent panel member

    In a clear move to increase the transparency of rider selection for the elite and under 23 men's and women's national teams, Cycling Australia has appointed an additional independent member to each of the existing selection panels. Trade team directors Allan Peiper (Garmin-Barracuda), Kristy Scrymgeour (Specialized-lululemon) and Andrew Christie-Johnston (Genesys) will act as off-siders on the panels for the elite men, elite women and under 23 teams respectively.

    Under the Cycling Australia charter, the organisation is obliged to fill the selection panel with the national performance director, the relevant head coach for the discipline, as well as at least two other board appointed selectors. 

    Kevin Tabotta (High Performance Director) is thus an automatic member of each panel, with Rik Fulcher and Brian Stephens the board's nominations to fill the compulsory independent slots. All three will sit on the selection panels for the three road teams, with the addition of Matt White (Men's Road Coordinator), Martin Barras (Women's Head Coach) and James Victor (Under 23 Head Coach/AIS director) in their respective disciplines.

    Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredericks gave a vote of confidence in the current panel by reappointing the incumbents, but added that it could only help the panels to have another independent member.

    "As I have said before we are very fortunate to have such experienced selectors who we know have the best interests of the sport at heart," said Fredericks. "All those appointed to the role are well qualified to apply the selection policy with the key objective of selecting teams that are best able to achieve results.

    "Kristy is a former international cyclist and two time Australian champion who now heads Team Specialized - lululemon, one of the world's top professional women's teams. Andrew, on the other hand, plays a significant role in the development of talented young Australian riders through his...

  • Van Rensburg hoping to do the double at South African championships

    Janse van Rensburg (MTN - Qhubeka) salutes as he takes the win on stage 2 of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Geelong
    Article published:
    March 02, 2012, 4:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    All-rounder on a high after time trial victory

    MTN Qhubeka's Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg, one of South Africa's next generation of cycling stars, dominated the elite men's time trial at the South African national championships in Nelspruit on Thursday, installing himself as an early favourite for Sunday's road race.

    The 23-year-old Pretoria resident was elated with his victory after a dedicated preparation to get himself in the best possible condition for the event.

    "It's quite special to be the South African time trial champion," said Van Rensburg. "The team trained here in Nelspruit two to three weeks ago and we knew the course really well.

    "Since the start of the season I knew that I could win this, and the preparation has paid off. The course was undulating and quite hard. I realised that if I was in trouble on the course, that I would not be able to make up the time again, and fortunately I managed to pace myself well."

    The South African picked up several top-10 GC results while riding for MTN-Qhubeka last year, as well as a stage win at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, where he edged fast-men Baden Cooke and Steele Von Hoff in a tough finish in Geelong. Encouraged by his performances he's been raising his ambitions higher over the past 12 months, and is even confident of doing the double come Sunday's road race.

    "I'm feeling quite positive for Sunday," said Van Rensburg." Some of the pressure to get a result has been relieved now, I'll do my best."

  • Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico crucial for GreenEdge

    The GreenEDGE kit.
    Article published:
    March 02, 2012, 5:42 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    White on the weight of expectations and anonymous racing

    Paris-Nice, closely followed by Tirreno-Adriatico marks the point on the calendar where GreenEdge's ambitions are put to the test in Europe for the first time in their inaugural season. Key personnel such as Matt Goss and Simon Gerrans will both be in action as their campaign for Milan – San Remo and the Ardennes ramps up.

    Despite coming away with the overall win at Tour Down Under and the Australian National Road title with Gerrans, the WorldTour neophytes have come under fire for a lack of podiums, however sports director Matt White says that the GreenEdge roster is not under-performing.

    Asked to give his appraisal of GreenEdge's 2012 season to date, White told Cyclingnews that he would give his troops seven out of 10.

    Following their Australian campaign, GreenEdge went to Qatar and Oman where Aidis Kruopis and Baden Cooke delivered minor placings on stages, while the Lithuanian finished top 10 on general classification. Another group raced at the Tour of the Mediterranean where neither a stage nor a general classification result ensued. Simon Clarke then delivered fifth on the two stages of Haut Var, as well as on GC, but it was GreenEdge's performance on the opening weekend of the classics last weekend where people started to ask questions of the team. One word that was used to describe the performance...

  • Paris-Nice a dry run for the Tour de France, says Monfort

    RadioShack-Nissan teammates Markel Irizar and Maxime Monfort
    Article published:
    March 02, 2012, 10:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    RadioShack fields Schlecks and Klöden in Race to the Sun

    Maxime Monfort believes that RadioShack-Nissan has no fewer than six general classification contenders in its line-up for Paris-Nice, which gets under way in Dampierre-en-Yvelines on Sunday.

    “It’s clear that Fränk [Schleck] and Andreas [Klöden] are the two leaders, and along with Andy [Schleck], I’m the fourth protected rider,” Monfort told Le Quotidien. “After that, on our team we also have Linus Gerdemann and Jens Voigt, who are both capable of going in a winning break. So that makes six riders capable of appearing on the GC. Our team could be a Tour de France team…”

    Monfort feels the nature of the route of this year’s Paris-Nice may offer some pointers for what is to come in July. While the Col d’Eze time trial and the rolling stage to Mende appear to be the decisive stages, he warned that every day would require vigilance.

    “Above all it will be a good practice for the Tour from a tactical point of view,” he said. “You’ll have to know how to surprise. You’ll have to be smart at the precise moment when the race breaks up. You’ll have to know how to take the right decision and stay ready, because the right decision will have to be taken in a split second.”

    “You can plan around [the Mende and Col d’Eze stages – ed.], but it’s a mini Tour de France and that’s what’s very interesting. You could get caught out in echelons on Monday’s stage or by the uphill finish on Tuesday. Looking at it close-up, you have the impression that it could all kick off every day.”

    The Belgian spends a sizeable...

  • País Vasco organizer "more optimistic" on race’s future

    Defending Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco champion Chris Horner (RadioShack) on the decisive Alto de la Antigua ascent.
    Article published:
    March 02, 2012, 11:44 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Says he has been overwhelmed by the offers of support and encouragement

    After several days when it appeared that this year’s Vuelta al País Vasco and Clásica de San Sebastián might not take place, the race organization has said it is “more optimistic” about the future of both events. Jaime Ugarte, president of the Organizaciones Ciclistas Euskadi, has revealed that he hopes to provide more precise details about the future of these two WorldTour events, perhaps as soon as today [Friday].

    “There is nothing fixed in place as yet, but I can say that we have get several irons in the fire in different areas and we are more optimistic than a few days ago,” Ugarte told El Diario Vasco. “In fact, we should have something more concrete to reveal later today.”

    Ugarte added that he and his organizing team had been overwhelmed by the encouragement and offers of support they have received over the past week since details emerged about the financial difficulties faced by the two biggest races in the Basque Country. The OCE needs €150,000 to make sure that both events go ahead this season. This will also guarantee their place on next year’s international calendar.

    Ugarte admitted he has been overwhelmed by “the show of support we have received, of affection, of encouragement from fans, from public institutions, from private companies. The truth is that many people have shown their interest in the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Clásica de San Sebastián, and in the situation we currently find ourselves in… We want to thank everyone for the show of support we have received and we are delighted by the response that we have had from fans in the Basque Country.”

    He said that the race organization team had been particularly impressed by the response from cycling’s ruling body. “UCI president Pat McQuaid is...