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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 1, 2013

Date published:
April 01, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Disappointing Tour of Flanders for Team Sky

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) has high hopes ahead of the Tour of Flanders.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2013, 21:45 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Boasson Hagen best-placed in 17th

    Team Sky endured a disappointing day at the Tour of Flanders with Edvald Boasson Hagen finishing in 17th after Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) had blown the race apart on the on the final ascents of the Kwaremont and the Paterberg.

    When the Swiss rider attacked he was swiftly followed by his expected challenger, Peter Sagan (Cannondale), with Boasson Hagen the best of the rest as the Norwegian tried to remain in contention.

    However, the Sky rider was unable to keep the pair in sight on the Kwaremont and eventually helped formed the chase group that would decide the minor placings. Sky's co-captain, Geraint Thomas, crashed before the second climb of the Kwaremont and although he regained contact with the peloton, was unable to respond when Cancellara threw down the gauntlet. The Welshman eventually finished in 41st place, 2:49 behind Cancellara.

    "I think everyone did what they could but Cancellara was really strong and he took more than a minute in the last 12 kilometres. Edvald was there on his wheel but Cancellara was just going too fast," Sky's team director Servais Knaven said at the finish.

    Sky's marginal gains approach to the sport of cycling has seen them take a number of unorthodox approaches to training and racing. From dedicated warm-downs, weather pattern strategies for prologues, their "guru" Tim Kerrison, to the less orthodox position of simply signing riders with a larger check book than most teams.

    However, this winter they made the unique decision of basing their Classics squad in Tenerife for long periods, and despite promising results in the races leading up to Flanders they were left empty handed. The island has been typically used by grand tour riders.

    Mat Hayman, who finished on...

  • Horner to miss the Vuelta al Pais Vasco

    Christopher Horner (RadioShack - Nissan)
    Article published:
    March 31, 2013, 22:35 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack rider in the US after treatment on his knee

    The Radioshack-Leopard team has named its line-up for the Vuelta al Pais Vasco that starts on Monday, confirming that Chris Horner will miss the race due to a knee problem.

    The 41-year-old American pulled out of the Volta a Catalunya two weeks ago, revealing via Twitter that he had 'tweaked something on the steep climbs in Tirreno.' In a press release, the RadioShack-Leopard team said Horner was suffering with suffering with an iliotibial band friction syndrome.

    He traveled to Basel in Switzerland last week for treatment and is now recovering at home in Bend, Oregon. He is expected to be back in training next week and is likely to focus on being at his best for the Amgen Tour of California in May.

    Horner won the 2010 edition of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and was second in 2011. In his absence, Andreas Kloden, Maxime Monfort and Haimar Zubeldia will lead the RadioShack-Leopard team in the six-day race.

    Andy Schleck continues his slow comeback from his 2012 injury and personal problems by riding the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Completing the RadioShack-Leopard team are Matthew Busche, Laurent Didier, Ben Hermans and Jens Voigt.

    Kim Andersen and Josu Larrazabal will share directeur sportif duties for the race that begins on Monday with a 156km road stage around the town of Elgoibar.

  • Bittersweet Tour of Flanders for Langeveld

    Sebastian Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge) ascends the Paterberg.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2013, 23:55 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Orica GreenEdge Dutchman 10th, but hoped for more

    Sebastian Langeveld's 10th place at the Tour of Flanders was bittersweet. It was an improvement for the Orica GreenEdge Classics specialist with regards that unlike last year, he finished the race. In a dramatic crash, Langeveld hit an onlooker when riding on the bike path next to the road, colliding at full-speed. However, given his solid form in the lead-up to the second Monument of the 2013 season, there was no doubt that he had hoped for more.

    "Top-10 isn't too bad," Langeveld told Cyclingnews. "I think condition-wise and form-wise I deserved a better result. Top-10 is better than nothing."

    Heading into Flanders last year, Langeveld had the form but not the confidence to go with it. That all changed, though, given his recent performances where he'd finished in 23rd at Milan-San Remo and then fifth place at E3 Harelbeke after having ridden in the front group of riders that were off the back of the efforts of eventual winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard).

    Orica GreenEdge knew that to have any chance, they would need numbers in the three-lap finishing circuit and to some extent they succeeded, with Baden Cooke and Fumiyuki Beppu sticking with Langeveld until late in the proceedings.

    "Jens Keukeleire had a flat tire in a really bad moment, just before the first time up the Kwaremont I think, but in the end that doesn't make a big difference to the result," the 28-year-old Dutchman said. "I'm really happy with the performance of the team; they helped me where they could...Everybody played their role and did their job. Jens Mouris helped me in the beginning. Mitch Docker was really aggressive in the start watching the big...

  • Tour of Austria's future in doubt due to financial problems

    Mother nature threw a little bit of everything at the Tour of Austria today.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2013, 9:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Cycling federation to meet this week to discuss possibilities

    The Tour of Austria is facing a possible cancellation, due to financial reasons. Race organisers face a shortening of the race, a one-year pause, or could decide to hope for the best and carry it out as usual. A lack of sponsors and the increased costs of security and television coverage are causing the problem.

    The UCI 2.HC race is scheduled to be held June 30 to July 7 this year. The course for the eight stages has not yet been announced. The Austrian cycling federation is scheduled to meet on Thursday, April 4, to discuss the race's future.

    “From the organizational side, certain costs keep getting higher, things over which we have no influence, and on the other had, it keeps getting more difficult to find sponsors,” said race director Ursula Riha.

    Security has become an expense problem, she said.  “We ride more than 1000 kilometers all across Austria and last year we had at least 1000 people involved whose only job was to take care of blocking the roads. This assignment has come to take a large percent of our budget. Our sport is held on public roads and that doesn't make things easier.”

    In addition, there is the cost of providing televisin coverage, as the international sponsors “demand complete live coverage,” Riha said. “We aren't in a stadium, where you can just put up a camera and go. We ride from Point A to Point B and need motorcycle and helicopter cameras, as well as other planes, relay stations, and so on.”

    The Austrian cycling federation will meet on Thursday to decide whether to shorten the race to five stages, hold it as usual or cancel it for this year. Riha said that she was “clearly for holding it as planned. Shortening it by several days wouldn't save us a lot of money. And a cancellation would have wide-reaching effects for cycling in Austria – especially for the teams and sponsors who would thus lose their international stage at the...

  • Resurrection for Devolder at the Tour of Flanders

    Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard) is a two-time Tour of Flanders champion
    Article published:
    April 01, 2013, 10:47 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Two-time winner helps Cancellara to his second win on Easter Sunday

    If there’s one rider in particular that 2013 Tour of Flanders winner Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack Leopard) should thank then it’s probably his teammate Stijn Devolder. Cancellara’s triumph on Sunday means that he joins Devolder on two wins in Vlaanderens mooiste.

    After some rough years in which Devolder struggled to keep up the level he reached in winning De Ronde in 2008 and 2009, the Belgian moved back to his roots by joining the RadioShack team of his mentor Dirk Demol. On Sunday afternoon, Devolder rode an incredibly strong race. He bounced back from an ill-timed puncture and went on to pace the peloton alone for about ten kilometres ahead of the final approach to the Kwaremont, keeping them within touching distance of the breakaway move, which paving the way for Cancellara’s eventual victory in Oudenaarde.

    “It’s the most beautiful race in the world and arriving here solo is great,” Devolder said. After crossing the finish line, the 33 year-old was a happy man. For once he didn’t have to hide away from the press after yet another lacklustre performance. A two-year spell at Vacansoleil-DCM didn’t bear any fruits and Devolder went through hard times after being confronted with the death of his friend Wouter Weylandt. This season, however, Devolder has shown glimpses of his talent and after last week’s training camp in Spain he came back to Belgium and rode an impressively strong Tour of Flanders.

    “It’s the first time I’ve finish the race on this new course. Last year I had to abandon after a hard crash. I’m happy that I could play my role in the finale of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Is it my resurrection on the highest level? Yes, I think so. I’ve ridden a good...

  • Lefevere disappointed to miss out on WorldTour points

    Chavanel, Terpstra and manager Patrick Lefevere await the arrival of Tom Boonen
    Article published:
    April 01, 2013, 12:11 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep will have to anticipate Cancellara at Paris-Roubaix

    Patrick Lefevere has quite a record when it comes to racing the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix and the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team manager was doubtless hoping for a record-breaking fourth win in the Ronde for his team leader Tom Boonen.

    After a troubled build-up, the Belgian champion quickly crashed out of the race, sustaining injuries which also sideline him for Paris-Roubaix. The team’s second leader Sylvain Chavanel wasn’t able to take over the reins in Boonen’s absence. Despite showing excellent form a few days ago by winning the Three Days of De Panne, the Frenchman was blown backwards when eventual winner Fabian Cancellara attacked on the Oude Kwaremont.

    “The team rode well but once again it was proven that you have to have team leaders who can finish the job and other very good riders. The guys didn’t ride badly but I think Sylvain is our first man in thirteenth place. Well, thirteenth equals zero [WorldTour] points. At the end of the year those points weigh in massively. These are the races in which we have to do it,” Lefevere said, calculating his loss.

    Lefevere didn’t hold back and figured Chavanel would have been better off anticipating the attack from Cancellara by going along with an earlier breakaway move which included Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol), who eventually went on to finish third.

    “I haven’t spoken with him yet but I think he got the most out of it. If those two take off then you have to be on their wheel and not two or three spots further back in the group,” Lefevere stated. “Sylvain would have been better off by accompanying Jurgen Roelandts in his move, but then again, with the...

  • Vanmarcke draws positives from Tour of Flanders

    Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2013, 14:29 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Belgian pleased with progress of recovery from knee injury

    Sep Vanmarcke will try and take the positive aspects of his Tour of Flanders ride into next weekend's edition of Paris-Roubaix.

    The Blanco leader has been chasing form and fitness since crashing out of Tirreno Adriatico last month. The Belgian escaped surgery on a knee injury but time off the bike during his recovery meant that he has been playing catch up in recent weeks.

    He told Cylingnews last week that the swelling in one of his knees was so bad that he had to cut a hole in his leg warmers in order to ride but he made it through a set of warm-up races to eventually finished the Ronde in 29th place, 2:49 down on winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard).

    "I'm happy with my level now though and I'll get better by next week," Vanmarcke told Cyclingnews at the finish line in Oudenaarde.

    Vanmarcke's race was not without incident. He crashed on the lower slopes of the Valkenberg and his race briefly looked over but a frantic chase saw him back with the peloton.

    "In the beginning everything was going well and then on the Valkenberg I was taking off a layer of clothing and I crashed. I couldn't move it and I felt it swelling. Then after a couple of minutes I was able to get back on the bike and I tried to make the best of it."

    After remounting and chasing back to the bunch, Vanmarcke linked up with his Blanco teammates with Lars Boom also keen to be factor in the race finale.

    "I just made a little mistake before the last time up the Kwaremont. I sprinted to the front and I was on my maximum level when I started the climb. Then Cancellara went full gas and for 200 meters I was really weak. I couldn't follow."

    With 260 kilometres in his legs and no setback to his recovering knee,...

  • Chavanel accepts the law of the strongest

    Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2013, 17:10 BST
    Barry Ryan

    New Flanders course inhibits attacking, says Frenchman

    There is something of the stoic about Sylvain Chavanel and he bore a resigned grin when he emerged from the Omega Pharma-QuickStep bus to talk to reporters after Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

    Chavanel had been tipped beforehand as perhaps the man most likely to upset the Fabian Cancellara-Peter Sagan duopoly, but the law of the strongest prevailed. When Cancellara and Sagan powered clear on the Oude Kwaremont, Chavanel was unable to follow and ultimately finished 13th in the main chase group, some 1:39 down.

    “I don’t think I have much to regret about the way I rode today,” Chavanel said. “The two strongest riders went away. I was on Edvald Boasson Hagen’s wheel when they went away and I was left behind, but they were the two strongest riders in the race.”

    Moments earlier, Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere had told reporters that he would have preferred if Chavanel had looked to anticipate Cancellara and Sagan’s move by going on the attack before the final circuit over the Kwaremont and Paterberg.

    “Could I have attacked sooner? No, because people talk about me a lot now and they’re less inclined to let me get away,” Chavanel said and then laughed hollowly: “I have to accept this position.”

    Chavanel added that attacking from distance [as he did en route to his second place finish in 2011] has become rather more complicated since the introduction of the new course the following year. With its three circuits over the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, the Oudenaarde finish seems to reward raw strength but leaves little room for ingenuity.

    “On the parcours, it played out exactly the way it did last year....