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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 18, 2011

Date published:
April 18, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Team Sky don blood red glasses for World Haemophilia Day

    Alex Dowsett wears his special blood red Oakleys in support of World Haemophilia Day
    Article published:
    April 17, 2011, 12:48 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Oakley and Sky support Alex Dowsett’s campaign to raise awareness about haemophilia

    Team Sky’s riders at the Vuelta Castilla y León will take to the start line of Sunday’s final stage wearing blood red Oakley Jawbone glasses to show their support for World Haemophilia Day. The initiative was inspired by Sky’s Alex Dowsett, who has the disease and acts as an ambassador for the World Haemophilia Society.

    “World Haemophilia Day was coming up and I’d been chatting with the British Haemophilia Society as well as the World Haemophilia Society about what I can do as an ambassador,” Dowsett told Cyclingnews.

    “There’s an event on at Silverstone motor-racing circuit which I can’t attend, but I spoke to (Sky PR chief) Fran Millar and asked if there was any chance I could wear something red on the 17th, and the response I got was incredible."

    “Oakley came on board and said they would supply the team all with red Oakleys to mark the day. They are a blood red colour to mark the occasion. In addition, the Sky Velo Club, which is made up of members of the Sky team as well as of Sky Television, are doing the Marmotte sportive this year in support of the Haemophilia Society, which is going to raise about £1,500 for it. That money will all go to charities in Bangladesh.”

    Dowsett explained that parents whose have children with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders tend to be extremely protective of them, but he believes that this approach may not be the best when it comes to keeping haemophilia manageable.

    “It’s fairly unheard of for athletes to have haemophilia because of the nature of the disease. The tendency is for parents to wrap their kids up in cotton wool, which I think is exactly what you shouldn’t do....

  • Pooley out of Flèche with fractured collarbone

    An attack by Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo) was inevitably marked by the bunch - given her penchant for solo wins on hard courses
    Article published:
    April 17, 2011, 16:40 BST
    Richard Moore

    Defending champ crashes in training

    Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo) will be unable to defend her Flèche Wallonne title on Wednesday, having suffered a fractured collarbone during training.

    The accident happened close to her home in Switzerland last Tuesday. “It was a stupid crash on a bike path,” said Pooley.

    “Someone pulled out in front of me while I was training, and I was pretty sure it was serious as soon as it happened,” she continued. “As I stood up I could feel the bones move in my left arm. Fortunately it happened right outside the hospital, but it was a stupid crash and not a great time for it to happen with Flèche Wallonne coming up.”

    The sense of bad timing is compounded by Pooley’s strong start to the season, with her solo victory in the opening World Cup, Italy’s Trofeo Alfredo Binda, followed by tenth place in a race less suited to the Englishwoman’s strengths: the Tour of Flanders.

    “I was very pleased with the first couple of World Cups,” Pooley said. “I had a very bad experience at Flanders a few years ago. It wasn’t great this year from a team perspective, and I’d have preferred if one of my teammates had won, but from a personal point of view it was encouraging.

    “I didn’t expect to stay in the front group, but that showed me how far I’ve come in three years. I knew what was happening in the race, what I was doing and even the cobbles weren’t too bad.

     “I’m never going to be a cobbles specialist, I’m not built for it,” added Pooley, whose 50kg frame puts her at a distinct disadvantage on such roads. Yet her performance in Belgium also suggested, perhaps, that recent efforts to improve as a rouleur and sprinter could be starting to pay off.

    “I think everybody works on their weaknesses, it’d be silly not to,” she said. “I’m never going to be a true...

  • Hesjedal slowed by stomach problems at Amstel Gold Race

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) bested his four breakaway companions to win the Amgen Tour of California's final stage.
    Article published:
    April 17, 2011, 18:11 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Cervelo back to earth with a bump after Roubaix win

    Ryder Hesjedal finished second in last year's Amstel Gold Race and was the team leader for Garmin-Cervelo this year but stomach problems wrecked his race, even causing him to stop and use the toilet in a house along the race route.

    The Canadian finished just two seconds behind Philippe Gilbert last year. This year he was next to last in the official result, finishing 141st at 14:14.

    Brazilian sprinter Murilo Fischer was Garmin-Cervelo's best finisher in 28th place, 2:20 down on Gilbert and Gabriel Rasch was 51st at 2:29. Christian Vande Velde finished 90th at 6:03.

    Hesjedal finished just ahead of the broom wagon and was understandably disappointed after his strong form at the recent Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

    "It came on during the race in the about the last hour. I felt great and it’s just unfortunate. It's a wasted opportunity when it happens. But when your stomach goes, you lose a lot of liquids," he told Cyclingnews looking pale and drained of energy.

    "It got worse when I went hard on the climbs. Then it eased and I thought I was okay on the flat roads but then I couldn't keep going. I had to use somebody house along the roadside in Holland and deal with it. When you've got to go, you've got to go."

    Hesjedal wasn't sure of the exact cause of the problem but hoped to recover quickly and regain his form for the two remaining Ardennes Classics: Fleche-Wallonne on Wednesday and Liege-Bastogne-Liege next Sunday.

    "I don't know what caused it. It's not super uncommon to get with all the sugars you take on board and all the drinks. If we knew how to prevent it we would," he said.

    "This is the first out of three. I feel fine apart from my stomach and so I want to bounce back and show myself, especially in...

  • Gilbert is the new Superman

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega-Pharma Lotto) takes Amstel Gold Race
    Article published:
    April 17, 2011, 18:59 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian supreme in Amstel Gold Race

    If Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) was the Superman of the pavé-classics then Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is the Superman of the short uphill finish. On Sunday he blew the opposition away on the Cauberg at the Amstel Gold Race.

    The 28-year-old Belgian is racking up the wins in these type of races with last year's Amstel Gold Race and his two victories in the Vuelta Ciclista a España (Malaga and Toledo) as the best examples of his capabilities. Ever since the suspension of Alejandro Valverde he's arguably the best rider in the world in the short uphill finish.

    In this year's Amstel Gold Race Gilbert stormed away from the competition on the Cauberg, copying last year's move. Once again it allowed him to take all the time in the world to celebrate his victory. The runner-up, Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), didn't make it on the finish photo.

    “This is the most important week of my season and since Wednesday I've had super sensations. The team was super strong too which helped me mentally to economise my energy. Only during the last three kilometres I had to work a bit to get back to Andy Schleck,” Gilbert said. “He went at the right moment but I still had Jelle Vanendert and I was confident he could keep him under control. When the gap was up to 16 seconds I got worried. I asked the Rabobank guys to work but they didn't. Anyway, as a top favourite it was my responsibility so I pulled too.”

    Fast finisher Oscar Freire (Rabobank) was also present in the lead group that caught back Schleck while storming up the Cauberg. The Spaniard heralded the performance from...

  • No regrets for Andy Schleck after his Amstel Gold Race attack

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) on the climb to the finish
    Article published:
    April 17, 2011, 20:18 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Leopard Trek rider caught 500 metres from the finish

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) knew he had little or no chance against Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) in the final surge to the line on the Cauberg and so went on the attack over the top of the Keutenberg climb in his bid to win the Amstel Gold Race.

    With only Jakob Fuglsang with him in the front group after his brother Fränk and Fabian Cancellara crashed and lost contact, he knew he had to play his best card and so tried a lone move with 12km to go. And it almost paid off.

    Schleck stayed away until five hundred metres from the finish line but Philippe Gilbert had carefully kept him under control and then mercilessly swept past Schleck and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on the way to victory.

    Schleck tried to salvage something from his brave effort but finished 11th at 28 seconds.

    "I wanted to win, I didn't want to finish second or third, so that's why I tried something. I'm not going to beat Philippe Gilbert in the sprint on this finish. So that's why I put everything on one card," Schleck said after the race.

    "I think it was a pretty good moment when I went. It's a key point in the race and when Fränk won (in 2006), he went there. But I never got more than 15 seconds and I was going flat out. When they passed me with five hundred metres to go, I was like 'phew', I lost everything, and wasn't able to do the sprint because I'd just done a time trial for 12km."

    A change of plan

    Leopard Trek had hoped to out-number and out-smart Gilbert and Omega Pharma-lotto on the climbs and twisting roads of southern Holland just as Garmin-Cervélo had done...

  • Rodriguez fooled by Gilbert in Amstel Gold Race

    Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha Team) was strong but couldn't do anything once Gilbert went
    Article published:
    April 17, 2011, 21:26 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Purito expects to best the Belgian in Flèche and Liège

    A rider should probably be happy if he can finish as runner-up behind the impressive Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) in the Amstel Gold Race. Spanish cycling star Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) realized there wasn't much more he could have done to beat Gilbert, who powered past him in sight of the finish line. It's not the first time the Spaniard has gone head-to-head with Gilbert and lost on an uphill finish as the Belgian also bested him to win stage three of the 2010 Vuelta a España

    "It's not my nightmare to meet him in a race. In a race with a finale like today he's the strongest and you can only try to follow him. On Wednesday [at Flèche Wallonne], though, the roles are turned around and I'll be the favourite," Rodriguez said.

    As often, deep into the finale of the Amstel Gold Race the race would be decided on the final ascent of the Cauberg, the famous climb in Valkenburg. Tour de France star and former Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) was leading the race after an attack on top of the Keutenberg. Gilbert's teammate Jelle Vanendert did most of the work in the twelve-man chase group but suddenly Gilbert started pulling too.

    "I thought he was loco or super strong," Rodriguez said as it was clear that Gilbert was wasting energy just before they were about to reach the tough final climb. The group was closing in on Schleck and the Luxembourger was soon to be caught on the Cauberg when Rodriguez launched a surprise attack.

    "I thought it was...

  • Cunego unperturbed by doping investigation

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) was disappointed not to get the win.
    Article published:
    April 17, 2011, 23:50 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Lampre-ISD leader ready to accept changes at team

    Damiano Cunego has said he is not worried about the outcome of the doping investigation that recently ended in Mantova but has welcomed the idea of a change of management at Lampre-ISD as the team tries to recover from the news that most of the riders, staff and team management are embroiled in the investigation.

    A total of 32 people are involved in the investigation, including past and present Lampre riders, directeur sportif, team manager Giuseppe Saronni and Mantova pharmacist Guido Nigrelli.

    Mantova public prosecutor Antonino Condorelli revealed details of a two-year investigation last week and under Italian law, a judge will now decide which of the 32 people named will go on trial. A decision is expected within the next two months.

    "I'm not worried. Because I've nothing to worry about," Cunego told Gazzetta dello Sport defiantly.

    "I know I've always worked consciously and I've always followed the rules. I can say that and my career and my behaviour confirm it."

    Cunego said he didn’t even have a lawyer last week when he won the Giro dell'Appennino race in Italy. But it appears he is being assisted by Norma Gimondi, the daughter of former Giro d'Italia and Tour de France winner Felice Gimondi. However he insisted he has not formally been informed that he is under investigation.

    "I don’t know exactly what is going on because I haven't received any formal notification," he said.

    Cunego ready to accept a revolution at Lampre

    The Lampre-ISD team is expected to undergo a revolution in the next few days as a consequence...

  • Routley delivers Spidertech's first podium in Europe

    Will Routley following his Tro-Bro Léon experience
    Article published:
    April 18, 2011, 1:14 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Canadian champion eyes at the Tour of Turkey after Tro Bro Leon

    Canadian national champion Will Routley has grabbed an exciting result as he finished second to Europcar's Vincent Jérôme at the Tro Bro Leon - the Breton version of Paris-Roubaix in the west of France featuring 32 kilometres of gravelled roads in the middle of farmland and alongside the coast of the English Channel.

    "This is an awesome race", Routley reacted to Cyclingnews. "I've loved it! The first time I had heard of what this race is about was from a 50-year-old fun rider a couple of days ago when I was training near Carcassonne, where we have our team base", explained the 27-year-old from Spidertech.

    "I switched from mountain biking to road racing only at the age of 21", he continued. "So I felt comfortable on the dirt, even when I've had to chase back after two flats."

    His big regret was to not have conducted the final two-man sprint smartly against Frenchman Jérôme. Routley opened the sprint with more than 300 metres to go in a slightly uphill finale.

    "I'll be reviewing this sprint a few times", said the rider from British Colombia. "I had a little bit of cramp, that's why I lost confidence and sprinting too early. I should have waited until the last minute. Canadians are known to be too nice guys… When I won the national championship last year in Edmonton, it was also a two-man sprint with Andrew Rendell, who is now my team-mate but he wasn't at the time. It was a similar finish as today but I sprinted much better."

    "I'm still learning as a pro cyclist", he added. "I enjoy short and steep climbs but I suffer in the high mountains. I like the kind of cycling we practised today. It was difficult all day and I kept going. I'm sort of a rouleur, but maybe I'm too small for a rouleur. What I love to do on a bike is a six-hour solo ride....