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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 14, 2010

Date published:
May 14, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • McEwen suffering with knee problem at the Giro

    Robbie McEwen is one of the Giro's favourite sprinting sons and was looking for a win on stage two.
    Article published:
    May 13, 2010, 20:17 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Bursitis leaves veteran Aussie sprinter in pain

    Robbie McEwen came off the Katusha team bus to speak to Cyclingnews after the stage to Novi Ligure with an ice bag wrapped around his left knee and clear signs of pain on his face.

    The sprinters had failed to catch the three-rider breakaway before the finish and McEwen had finished thirteen on the stage, but it was the pain in his knee, caused by a tendon bursitis, that he was worried about.

    "It's swollen up after the team time trial. Sitting on the time trial bike, going that hard at that speed puts the knee under enormous pressure. It felt a little bit tight at the start and it blew up during the stage," he told Cyclingnews, clearly worried about the problem.

    "It's quite swollen and we're going to look at it when we get to the hotel. I've got ice on it and it's under compression to get the swelling down because the tendon is quite sensitive and there's fluid in there."

    McEwen admitted it is a problem that has affected him several times this season, as he has made his successful comeback from his terrible crash in 2009.

    He fractured the tip of his left tibia after crashing into a road sign during the Tour of Belgium. He has recovered well but his knee still causes him some problems.

    "It's something I've had to deal with several times this season. When it does get sore it's always the same thing. It's bursitis around the knee tendon and the fluid aggravates everything," he said.

    McEwen hopes that he can carry on in the Giro but did not sound optimistic.

    "I hope so. We'll see if we can get it to go down and ease the pain. At the moment it’s really, really uncomfortable," he said.

  • New Zealand’s Bevin gets Bissell ride

    Patrick Bevin (Bici Vida) makes it two-for-two, outsprinting Junior Track World Champion Cameron Karwowski (Southland Times) and William Bowman (Benchmark) to win stage two.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 0:33 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Junior champion joins American squad

    Under19 New Zealand and Oceana Road Champion Patrick Bevin has been signed by American squad Bissell. Team manager Glen Mitchell described Bevin as a promising sprinter when announcing his signing.

    “Patrick has shown outstanding results as a junior rider, and his transition to the elite level has been very promising,” said Mitchell. "We first took note of his abilities while racing against him in the Tour of Southland last year, and we have been watching him closely since then.

    “The opportunity to bring him to Bissell presented itself and we are very excited to have signed him to the team,” he added. “His strength in the sprint finish is a welcomed skill and one that we will target for improvement, as he integrates into the team and the professional level of the sport.”

    Bevin caught Mitchell’s eye when the team traveled to New Zealand for the Tour of Southland. His stage and overall victories at the Cherry Blossom Cycle Classic and fifth placing on a SRAM Tour of the Gila stage since arriving in the United States of America helped convince the team to sign him.

    Bevin will join two other New Zealand riders at the Bissell squad in the form of Peter Latham and Jeremy Vennell.

  • Dates confirmed for Down Under

    Race director Mike Turtur.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 4:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Swiss meeting sets ProTour opener’s date

    A meeting of the International Cycling Union’s PoTour Council in Switzerland has confirmed the dates for next year’s Tour Down Under, in Adelaide, Australia. The race will be held from January 16 – 23, 2011, as the ProTour’s opening round announced Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur.

    “The 2010 Santos Tour Down Under was the biggest and most successful race yet and we are looking forward to another great event in 2011,” he said. “The race has become an integral part of the global racing calendar and continues to grow in popularity.

    “Thousands of visitors from across the world came to Adelaide in January to see cycling legends like Lance Armstrong and Cadel Evans compete on our roads,” he added. “I'm sure the 2011 race will generate just as much excitement and anticipation among cycling fans.”

    This year the event attracted over three quarters of a million spectators and approximately 40,000 visitors from interstate and overseas, according to South Australian Tourism.

    The format remains unchanged for 2011, with a pre-race criterium to be staged on Sunday, January 16, before the UCI ProTour race commences on the following Tuesday.

  • HTC-Columbia director credits Giro break

    Stage five winner Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) uncorks some bubbly after his first Grand Tour victory.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 4:21 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    McEwen blames the road book

    Stage 5 was a missed opportunity for sprinters to win at the Giro d'Italia. Losing teams like Lampre, HTC-Columbia, and Garmin-Transitions, blamed each other for not having closed the gap to breakaway riders Yukiya Arashiro, Julien Fouchard and stage winner Jérôme Pineau.

    "What can I say? We chased as well," a visibly angry Andre Greipel said at the finish. HTC-Columbia directeur sportif Valerio Piva explained: "Lampre controlled it most of the time. If you pull the bunch and bring the gap down to three minutes, it means you want to make it but you put yourself in difficulty because who would come and help? He [Lampre DS Fabrio Bontempi] never came and asked for help. We have contributed to the chase with 60km to go. Garmin also did."

    It came down to the usual dilemma. "If you close the gap too quickly, there is a risk of another attack," Piva added. "Some people say the ear pieces control the race. Today is the proof that it's not the case if the guys have the legs to stay away. It's their merit to have done it. They have been underestimated."

    Katusha's Robbie McEwen agreed, praising the trio despite denying the Australian of a potential stage win. "The guys in front did a superb job to stay away," he said. "Lampre pulled, HTC pulled, Liquigas was riding during the day. We did a little bit at the end. Garmin had a couple of guys there. There was enough people working but the guys in the front were just too strong. The pace was on the whole day."

    The Australian sprinter pointed to a miscalculation in the race manual. "Everyone underestimated the finishing circuit," he said. "It was nothing like in the book. The book said it was one small hill with 30 metres difference but we had about 10 hills on that circuit. The profile was not even close."

    Lampre's team manager Giuseppe Saronni added: "We don't have the capacity to keep the race under control but also a super team like HTC doesn't. The reason why we haven't...

  • Gutiérrez making late return at Picardie

    José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne)
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 6:22 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Spaniard will train at altitude for Tour

    Iván Gutiérrez will return to competition at this week’s Tour of Picardie in France, after a long period away from racing due to allergies. The time away from competition leaves the Caisse d’Epargne rider in a race against the clock to be ready for the Tour de France in July.

    “The last race in which I participated was the first stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe,” said Gutiérrez. “I had to quit the race because I was suffering too much from allergies which started a few weeks before. Together with my tem we decided that it was not useful to go on like that and that the best thing to do was to rest and recover before starting racing again.”

    Gutiérrez isn’t the only rider to suffer from allergies in the early season. Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has struggled in some races due to the issue, while Tour Down Under winner Allan Davis also recently mentioned allergies had been an issue for him.

    “Now in great part thanks to the rainy weather of the last days, the allergy is disappearing and I feel rather well. It is time to come back in the bunch,” he said. “I believe my level is now rather acceptable and I hope that my participation in the Tour of Picardie will give me a chance to be confident again and also to recover the good sensations I had at the beginning of the European season in Paris-Nice.”

    While the Tour de France is less than two months away Gutiérrez is planning a strong training block to be ready in time for the Grand Tour. The three time Spanish time trial champion, who has also claimed the nation’s road title on one occasion, also listed the national championships as an important goal over coming weeks.

    “A soon as the race finishes I will go and train in altitude to prepare the Tour of Switzerland, which will be the final preparation before the Spanish championships and the Tour de France,...

  • Vermeltfoort to Rabobank in 2011

    Johan Le Bon (Bretagne - Schuller) in front of Coen Vermeltfoort (Rabobank Continental) and Jetse Bol (Rabobank Continental)
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 7:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Two-year contract, move up from Continental team

    Coen Vermeltfoort will ride for Rabobank's ProTour team after moving up from its Continental team at the end of the season. The team announced that he has signed a two-year contract, starting in 2011.

    The 22-year-old missed virtually all of last season due to mononucleosis. However, this year he has put in many strong performances, topping off a number of top ten finishes with the victory last month in the Belgian race Zellik-Galmaarden.

    He had seven victories in 2008, including Paris-Roubaix Espoirs and the Ronde van Drenthe, as well as stage wins in the Tour de l'Avenir, Olympia's Tour, and the Tour de Bretagne.

    "I am extremely happy, after all the bad luck I've had,” Vermeltfoort said. “I can only say a huge thank you for the confidence in me. Now it is for me to repay that trust. I am convinced that the Rabo Cycling Team is the right environment for me to further develop as a cyclist. "

    “Coen fits well within our team and our vision for the future,” said Rabobank sport director Erik Breukink. “It's a guy who has good end speed and is now ready for the next step. We will give him time to grow as rider and work with him to develop his talent.

  • Gilbert to lead SpiderTech in Tour of California debut

    The SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy team
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 12:20 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Canadian squad looks for stage wins

    SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy is well-prepared for its debut appearance at the Amgen Tour of California set to begin on Sunday, May 16, in Nevada City. The squad's sprinter Martin Gilbert is gunning for the chance to test his legs against some of the best sprinters in the world.

    "I am really happy about that," Martin Gilbert told Cyclingnews. "I think  it's a step in the right direction for the team. When this team started up two years ago, the plan was to grow to the top level in a five-year time frame. The invitation to the Amgen Tour of California falls in accordance to this plan. We now have more credibility and we can race against the big guys in the big races."

    Gilbert will lead a team of eight men that include David Boily, Eric Boily, Guillaume Boivin, Lucas Euser, Bruno Langlois, Francois Parisien and Andrew Randell. "The team will focus on stage wins," Gilbert said.  "Our objective is to win a stage and although difficult, we will try hard for it."

    Last year, the Canadian outfit made an impression on the professional peloton when Gilbert won the seventh and final stage of the Tour of Missouri from a bunch sprint. Gilbert believes that his result may have turned heads but it
    was their consistently solid performances that sealed the deal for an invitation to the Amgen Tour of California.

    "I think the stage win put some weight but it's a lot more than that," Gilbert said. "In the big American races like Missouri and Philly, the team raced well and proved that we have our place in those races. We have good sponsors that support us and as a team we have a good image and we are well respected."

    SpiderTech achieved success in early season UCI 2.2 races like the Vuelta Ciclista a Cuba, Vuelta Ciclista al Uruguay and the Vuelta Mexico Telmex, winning stages in each event.

    "We are well prepared," Gilbert said. "We have already raced three tours this year, Cuba, Uruguay and Vuelta Telmex. Also,...

  • Julich turns directeur sportif at Amgen Tour

    Bobby Julich
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 13:16 BST
    Daniel Benson

    American confident Riis will find a new sponsor

    Bobby Julich will be one of Saxo Bank’s directeurs sportifs at the Amgen Tour of California, where the team will line-up with the majority of their Tour de France team. The squad is currently on the hunt for a sponsor for next year, but Julich believes that winning the Tour of California won't be the deciding factor in any negotiations with possible suitors.

    Julich, who rode for the team before retiring in 2008, has been with the squad as a Rider Development Manager ever since, but will drive the team’s second car at the American marquee race.

    “Bjarne asked me back a few months ago if I'd drive the second car at California,” Julich told Cyclingnews. “It was a favour and it was hard to say no, and of course with it being a race that I’d like to promote it’s great for American cycling, so I agreed. But now I know how much work it takes to get everything achieved.”

    Julich prepared for the make-shift role in March’s Paris-Nice where he drove the team’s car for two stages.

    “Our mechanic helped me that day and my experience as a rider helped too. I finished with no dents on the car and no one was hurt. I’ll always think like a rider and put their wants ahead of my own, but I think at times, to be a directeur you have to be take risks and that’s not my style.”

    “I was able to call the race and to motivate guys. I’m good at that but when it came down to a tactical stand-off as a rider I was always the first to fold my cards and do the lion's share of the work. I wasn’t tricky, I was too honest with the workload and tactics and I think sometimes you have to be hard and nasty and gamble.”

    Saxo Bank head into the Tour of California with their Tour de France team, minus Fränk Schleck, who will ride the Tour of Luxembourg instead. With just over six weeks until the start of the Tour de France, the Danish...