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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 9, 2012

Date published:
March 09, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Wyss joins NetApp

    Geox - TMC 2011 - Marcel Wyss (Geox - TMC)
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 14:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider to strengthen German team in Giro d'Italia

    Marcel Wyss has joined Team NetApp and will look to help the German team in its Grand Tour debut at this year's Giro d'Italia. The Swiss rider previously rode for Cervelo TestTeam and Geox-TMC.

    "Marcel will be a backing to our tour specialists in view of our participation in the Giro d'Italia. In the last two years he has shown that he is reliable in the Giro,” NetApp team manager Ralph Denk said. “Marcel has been a key supporter for his captains, but has also taken advantage of opportunities to have his own success. With this profile he is a great addition to our classification riders of [Matthias] Brändle, [Bartosz] Huzarski and [Leopold] König.”

    The 25-year-old is an all-rounder who time trials well. He rode the Giro in 2010 and 2011, finishing 33rd and 38th. He is still looking for his first professional win, but has shown himself to be a good stage racer, finishing eighth in the 2010 Tour de Romandie and 13th in the 2011 Tour of Austria.

    After Geox-TMC folded at the end of last season, Wyss signed with the Swiss continental team Atlas Personal-Jakroo at the beginning of this year. His transfer to NetApp is effective immediately, and he is expected to make his debut for the team on March 20th at the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali.

    NetApp recently lost American rider Steven Cozza, who resigned his contract due to health problems.

  • USA Cycling announce final team list for NRC/NCC

    Anne Samplonius wins the final stage, but Janel Holcomb collected the overall prize and the NRC lead.
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 17:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Thirty-four domestic elite teams registered for 2012

    Thirty-four men's and women's domestic elite teams will join 16 UCI-registered professional squads already announced, in competition for the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) as well as the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) and vie for the team titles in 2012.

    USA Cycling instituted the elite team status in 2011 in order to bring more consistency and fairness to the NRC and NCC team point scoring. Only riders registered with the elite team can score points toward the team standings, guest riders are only counted toward the individual standings. Racers can compete in national calendar events without being part of a registered team, and will be included in the individual standings.

    On the men's side the 23 elite amateur teams will join 12 UCI Continental teams and two Pro Continental teams in competition for the men's NRC and NCC team titles. The 11 women's elite teams will take on two UCI women's teams for U.S. bragging rights.

    Many of America's top cycling teams, both domestic elite and UCI alike, are set to contest in the 2012 NRC's kick-off event, the Redlands Bicycle Classic in California, March 22-25. The NCC begins the following weekend with the Cigar City Brewing Criterium in Tampa, on March 31.

    2012 USA Cycling teams for NCR/NCC

  • Plaza not happy to return to crash site in Murcia

    Ruben Plaza Molina
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 19:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Leap Year baby hoping to stay healthy for full 2012 season

    It wasn't easy for Ruben Plaza to ride the Tour of Murcia this year, particularly on the first stage where he had to pass by the very spot where he last year flew off the side of a cliff. The Movistar rider is still recovering from the broken tibia, fibula and ankle he suffered in that crash.

    In a horrible example of how the absence of race radios can create dangerous situations, Plaza flew off the side of the road and down a cliff on a 75km/h descent, and not only was he seriously injured, but his absence was not even noted.  “I called out, but with the sound of the bicycles, motorbikes and cars, nobody heard me," he told "Those were moments of anguish. Imagine if I had been unconscious or bleeding to death. I could have stayed there without anyone knowing."  In the end, he was able to crawl, painfully, back up to the road.

    "Risk is part of this profession, but it was hard, after the falls that occurred last year, to go back through the same site. They have no consideration,” he said.  “It makes no sense, I feel helpless. "

    The Spaniard fell ill before the event, and was only able to finish 55th in the opening stage of this year's two-stage event, less than six minutes behind teammate Nairo Quintana, who went on the win the overall title. He was 28th in the next day's time trial, giving him 50th place overall.

    Plaza is very much hoping to ride a full season this year, although he is still not yet 100 percent. "Four months ago I had surgery to remove the plates and screws put in me after the fall, and I still feel some discomfort," he said. "I want a quiet season with the Tour and Vuelta, because for some reason I'm paying for having two...

  • Broken shoulder for Kadri in Paris-Nice crash

    Blel Kadri (AG2R) is attended by medical staff after suffering serious injury in a crash on stage 5 of Paris-Nice.
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 22:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    No fractures Matthews in Tirreno-Adriatico

    Frenchman Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale) crashed out of Paris-Nice today, ending his early-season campaign with a broken scapula. The 25-year-old crashed reportedly after hitting a water bottle during the 178km stage 5 from Onet-le-Chateau to Mende.

    The AG2R team reported that the left scapula will likely not require surgery, but it is still unclear at this time when he will be able to return to competition.

    Australian Michael Matthews (Rabobank) also had a dramatic crash, but escaped without serious injury inside the final 3km of stage 2 in Tirreno-Adriatico. The former under 23 world champion had been sitting comfortably at the front of the bunch just prior to the crash which held up two-thirds of the peloton. Matthews "sustained various cuts and abrasions, a serious laceration on his right arm and a injury to his shin," according to his team. "The laceration on the arm received eleven stitches. The shin injury has also been treated."

    The team did not know whether or not Matthews would return to the race.

    Matthews is using the seven-stage race as preparation for his second tilt at Milan-San Remo on Saturday week. The 21-year-old has been enjoying solid early-season form, breaking through for Rabobank's first win of 2012 at the Clasica de Almeria.

  • Emotional win for Hosking at Drentse 8

    Happy - Chloe Hosking (Specialized - lululemon)
    Article published:
    March 09, 2012, 0:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Good signs for Specialized-lululemon ahead of Ronde Van Drenthe

    Chloe Hosking (Specialized-lululemon) scored the biggest victory of her career to date by taking out the 141.2 kilometre Drentse 8 ahead of reigning world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora - Pasta Zara) and Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo Women Cycling Team).

    The event is a warm-up to Saturday's first race of the World Cup, the Ronde Van Drenthe on Saturday.

    Hosking, 21, edged ahead of her high-profile rivals on the final bend metres out from the finish line with Bronzini ruing bad positioning.

    "I was blocked in the crucial moment and then I had to re-start [my sprint]," the Italian said.

    As for Hosking, there were no such worries as she took the win with apparent ease.

    "I know the big one is on Saturday but this is my first really big European win and I've been over here since 2009 and, the girls were all amazing today so I'm really overwhelmed," a tearfully happy Hosking told local broadcaster RTV.

    The victory follows a solid run of form at the end of 2011 where Hosking finished sixth at the World Championships in Copenhagen and was best young rider in the Holland Ladies Tour.

    The Australian began her international season at the Ladies Tour of Qatar where she finished fifth on the general classification. It followed an appearance at the Jayco Bay Cycle Classic for the Total Rush – Hyster outfit where Hosking won the opening stage and finished third overall.

    Specialized-lululemon will line up on Saturday with Hosking, Charlotte Becker, Lisa Brennauer, Emilia Fahlin, Ellen Van Dijk, and Trixi Worrack.


  • Van Garderen down, but not out after Mende losses

    Tejay Van Garderen in the white jersey at Paris-Nice
    Article published:
    March 09, 2012, 2:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    23-year-old still holds young rider jersey, aims to retake podium

    BMC may have hoped that its perfect team performance on stage 5 of Paris-Nice would give Tejay Van Garderen the leg-up he needed to compete for stage honours in Mende, but despite the best laid plans, it was not to be. The American slipped out of the lead group agonisingly close to end of the tricky finale, allowing Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Simon Spilak (Lampre-ISD) to leapfrog him in the GC standings, where he now sits in sixth.

    Fewer than 15 riders were in the leading group when van Garderen slipped back with 600 meters to go. Limiting his losses he crossed the line 12th, to be 39 seconds behind Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in the overall. Critically he's still within a short distance of non-chrono specialists Spilak and Valverde, and hopes to recapture a position on the podium in the Nice time trial.

    "The team rode perfectly and I wish I could have stayed a bit closer on the final climb," van Garderen said. "But with the time trial coming up [Sunday], I think I still have a good shot for the podium. A couple of the guys ahead of me aren't specialists, so I'm hoping to get the podium back."

    BMC's director sportif Rik Verbrugghe said he was proud of van Garderen's performance on the final twisting, three-kilometer climb that averaged 10 percent grade.

    "This is the first time he's done this climb so it's a good learning process," Verbrugghe said. "He was good, but just not good enough to follow the best riders."

  • Leipheimer respects Sky's Mende performance

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
    Article published:
    March 09, 2012, 4:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    American still well placed in overall standings

    Levi Leipheimer’s fourth on stage 5 of Paris-Nice keeps him in the hunt for overall honours in the 'race to the sun', but the American says that with the strength Sky showed today it may be an impossible task unseating current leader Bradley Wiggins.

    "I have to say that Team Sky did a great job on the climb to Mende," said Leipheimer. "Richie Porte made a really hard rhythm until the last kilometer and then Wiggins took things into his own hands – they were impressive."

    Showing their strength of numbers, Sky also placed Rigoberto Uran in the front group, which had whittled down to less than 10 riders by the time Porte swung off. Despite being well-supported to the base of the climb however, Leipheimer was left to fight it out alone, and ultimately conceded some time to Wiggins through the time bonification on offer.

    He now sits 10 seconds behind the British champion with stage 8’s uphill time trial in Nice now the only real opportunity for him to claw back time. Nonetheless, the Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider remains confident in his own chances ahead of the final test, maintaining he intends to fight it out to the finish against the widely fancied Wiggins.

    "As far as I'm concerned, I think I did a good race today and I'm always in the fight for the win," said Leipheimer. "If nothing strange happens in the next two stages, the race will be decided in the last time trial. It will be important to be there on Sunday fresh and ready to fight."

    Teammate Sylvain Chavanel also had a good ride and now sits 9th on GC. The Frenchman has been suffering from bronchitis all week but has...

  • Millar questions London Olympic Games testing program

    Millar (nearest camera) in action for Great Britain at the 2011 Road World Championships
    Article published:
    March 09, 2012, 9:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Scot believes HGH and EPO could be used outside testing window

    David Millar says that the dope testing regime for this year's London Olympic Games does not go far enough, with athletes considering using PEDs far more likely to do so in the two months leading up to competition.

    Millar will find out next month if he is eligible for selection in the Great Britain team, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport set to rule if the British Olympic Association's stance of a lifetime ban for his EPO use is "non-compliant". It is the only Olympic Committee in the world to hold such a stance.

    The Scotsman has previously indicated that he has "written off" competing at an Olympic Games telling the BBC, "There are certain fights I don't want to fight and that was one of them."

    The International Olympic Committee will begin its testing programme less than two weeks prior to the London Games Opening Ceremony (July 27). Some nations will carry out additional athlete testing, however it is not a program that can be carried out by all 205 competing countries due to cost factors. Millar is adamant that the IOC's measures do not go far enough.

    "For drugs such as HGH and EPO, the window for using them is in the preparation phase, not actually during the Games or just before them," Millar told The Telegraph.

    "They are hormonal-based which aims to make your body stronger to perform and you would be doing it in the two months beforehand, with the idea then to rest up and have a clean system going into the Games. That's how it works.

    "The testing during the Games is a fantastic deterrent but it's a...

  • Domestic elite men's teams
    # Rider Name (Country) Team