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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 29, 2013

Date published:
March 29, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • RadioShack, Omega Pharma-QuickStep name Tour of Flanders teams

    Tom Boonen tests out his legs on stage 1
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 16:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Stybar to make debut in Brugge

    The Omega Pharma-Quickstep and RadioShack-Leopard teams will be supporting two of the main favourites for the Tour of Flanders: Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara, with teams named today.

    Boonen's well-balanced squad contains two strong back-up leaders in Sylvain Chavanel and Niki Terpstra, both of whom have shown good form in the recent Belgian races.

    The team will also have Stijn Vandenbergh, runner-up from the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and one of the riders who has spent the most kilometers in breakaways so far this season.

    Gert Steegmans, Iljo Keisse and Michal Kwiatkowski will provide powerful engines to control the race for their captains, while former cyclo-cross World Champion Zdenek Stybar will make his debut in the race as a potential wildcard contender.

    Boonen's rival Fabian Cancellara will be well-supported by former race winner Stijn Devolder, Yaroslav Popovych, who took 9th in Gent-Wevelgem, and domestiques Danilo Hondo, Markel Irizar, Gregory Rast and Hayden Roulston. The team's young rider Tony Gallopin, 24th in last year's edition and a part of the main chase group behind Boonen, will get a chance to improve upon that result.

  • Video: Cancellara on his love for the Tour of Flanders

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 17:48 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    2010 Ronde champion a perennial favourite

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) will line up for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders as a red hot favourite to win his second Ronde. The 32-year-old’s career has been built on a combination of time trialing domination and one-day success, with the Tour of Flanders providing him with both agony and ecstasy.

    Cancellara’s first Tour of Flanders came in 2003 but his first top-ten would have to wait until 2006. In 2009 he famously snapped his chain on the Koppenberg and was ruled out of contention but he bounced back a year later to take a memorable win, mercilessly dropping Tom Boonen on the Kapelmuur.

    A year later and despite being in a similarly rich vein of form he was forced to settle for third place as Nick Nuyens used brains over brawn to capture a thrilling victory.

    After crashing out of Flanders last year with a broken collarbone, Cancellara is back for revenge and after his startling win at E3 Harelbeke he's poised to be one of the most important animators in the race. Win or lose, there’s little doubt that Cancellara will leave his mark on Flanders once again.

    In this exclusive video with Cyclingnews, Cancellara describes why the Tour of Flanders is such a special race and what a rider needs to win one of the most demanding races in cycling.

  • Holm on Sørensen's doping admission and the Danish Coffee Club

    Former pro Brian Holm is currently a directeur sportif for Omega Pharma-QuickStep
    Article published:
    March 29, 2013, 9:14 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Former pro respects Sørensen's results

    It was hardly surprising when earlier this month Rolf Sørensen admitted to the world that he used drugs during his career. The former winner of the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège released a statement stating that EPO as well as cortisone were regular staples of his regime.

    At the Three Days of De Panne fellow Dane Brian Holm, now a director at Omega Pharma-QuickStep, told Cyclingnews that despite the admission he still respected Sørensen as a rider.

    Both men rode together during the stimulant-heavy 1990s, while Holm admitted to his past drug use in his 2002 autobiography.

    During the 1990s Danish cycling was on the march. Sørensen, Holm and Jesper Skibby were household names, forging careers in mainland Europe when Scandinavian riders were forced to relocate to Spain and Italy in a quest to turn professional. Bjarne Riis sent the nation into raptures in 1996 when he became the first man from his homeland to win the Tour and Holm was a Telekom teammate.

    The Danish contingent was nicknamed the ‘Danish Coffee Club', first by Phil Anderson, and their numbers grew to roughly half a dozen. They would ride together at the back of the bunch together and despite riding for different teams, they would often celebrate each other's wins as if they wore the same jerseys. On the bike camaraderie would extend to off the bike situations, too. Mess with a member of the Coffee Club and you'd find six angry Danes on your case or on your back wheel the next day.

    "It's dead now. It doesn't exist any more. It's history," Holm told Cyclingnews at De Panne.

    Unlike most of the Danish riders at the time...

  • Schumacher confesses to doping

    Stefan Schumacher (Christina Watches)
    Article published:
    March 29, 2013, 10:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Gerolsteiner manager, doctors knew of practices, German claims

    Stefan Schumacher has confessed to doping during his career, naming EPO, growth hormone and corticosteroids. He also laid blame on his former team Gerolsteiner, saying team manager Hans-Michael Holczer knew what was going on, and that the team doctors actively helped.

    Schumacher tested positive for EPO at both the 2008 Tour de France and the 2008 Olympics, and was subsequently given a two-year ban by the German Cycling Federation. Until today he has consistently denied ever having doped.

    However, in the German news magazine Der Spiegel, he said “I used EPO, also growth hormone and corticosteroids.” He started doping in his early twenties. “I went along with the system. I am not proud of it, but that's the way it was.”

    Schumacher rode for Team Gerolsteiner from 2006 to 2008, when he brought in his major victories, including two stages each at the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, and time in the leader's jersey in both races. He also won the Amstel Gold Race in 2007.

    Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer was not as innocent as he claimed, according to Schumacher. “He was aware of what was going on around him,” the German rider said. In addition to Schumacher, his Gerolsteiner teammates Bernhard Kohl and Davide Rebellin also tested positive for EPO-CERA in 2008; Kohl at the Tour and Rebellin at the Olympics.

    “The allegations concerning my connivance with Schumacher's practices are totally baseless," Holczer told Cyclingnews.

    The Gerolsteiner team doctors was actively involved in the doping practices, Schumacher said. “Anybody could just take most of the things right from the medicine...