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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 8, 2013

Date published:
April 08, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Phinney falls short but remains positive for future Roubaix challenges

    Taylor Phinney (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 07, 2013, 18:22 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Van Avermaet once again saves BMC's blushes

    BMC's all star line up creates headaches when it comes to expectations. Before Paris-Roubaix, Taylor Phinney made it clear that the team would be putting all its efforts behind Thor Hushovd, despite the American being labelled as the biggest threat to Fabian Cancellara's tilt for a second Flanders-Roubaix double and a week off racing with a knee injury.

    After the 254km cobbled classic was done on Sunday afternoon, and as he began to take stock on the grass in the Roubaix velodrome, Phinney made an admission.

     "It's always hard in a team like this to all be motivated for one single goal and one single rider."

    Phinney had finished in 23rd position, 3:13 behind Cancellara, Hushovd in 35th 16 seconds further back while the team's Mr Consistent, Greg Van Avermaet only just missed out on the podium, in fourth place having been beaten by Niki Terpstra in the sprint.

    "We kind of have the guy that you don't expect on the team as the one that gets the results in every one of these classics," Phinney said of Van Avermaet who in recent weeks also claimed third in Gent-Wevelgem and seventh at the Tour of Flanders.

    Phinney had been in a group of four that went up the road early in the piece along with Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen, Geraint Thomas and Astana's Borut Bozic, only to be chased down by RadioShack Leopard. A two-time winner of the under-23 edition of the race, Phinney admitted that the move perhaps had given something away regarding his emotional connection to The Hell of the North.

    "I was like, oooh this is a nice move but it's so far away from the finish," the 22-year-old admitted. "I think yeah, maybe I was just a little bit too excited this morning."

    When RadioShack made the catch on his group, a counter attack came from Stuart O'Grady (Orica GreenEdge), Mathew Hayman (Sky), Gert...

  • Vanmarcke expects to lose sleep over Paris-Roubaix final sprint

    Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) had to settle for second in Paris-Roubaix
    Article published:
    April 07, 2013, 19:33 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Blanco rider wishes he had timed sprint differently

    Coming into the 111th edition of Paris-Roubaix, most riders would have signed on immediately to be able to finish as the runner-up behind Fabian Cancellara. However, the actual runner-up, Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco), cried tears of disappointment after being beaten by Cancellara in a two-man sprint on the Roubaix velodrome.

    "Before the race, I would've been ok with second, but not if you're leading the race at 200m from the finish, and then still with 50m to go. Maybe in a few weeks I'll be happy, but now I'm not," said an emotional Vanmarcke.

    "I won't sleep for a couple of nights, and I'll keep riding this sprint again and again. I know everybody will be proud, and I should be proud too but I'd much rather have won."

    "Cancellara couldn't get rid of me on the cobbles nor later with his attack at 4km from the finish. The last kilometres, I really started to believe in getting the cobble [trophy] and that makes it really painful that he passed me in the last 20 metres. He was beatable. I came as close as half a metre, so it was possible to beat him but I didn't manage to do it."

    Vanmarcke is suited for the northern one-day races. Though only 24, the Belgian rider already has an outstanding record. When he debuted as a pro in 2010, he sprinted for the win in Gent-Wevelgem, falling just short behind Bernhard Eisel but holding off Philippe Gilbert, George Hincapie, Daniel Oss and Jurgen Roelandts. In 2011, he made his debut in the Hell of the North as part of the Garmin team with Thor Hushovd and Johan Vansummeren. Young Vanmarcke did most of the work until deep into the finale, which eventually ended in win for Vansummeren and a 20th place for himself. Afterwards Vanmarcke...

  • Disappointment for Thomas and Sky at Paris-Roubaix

    Geraint Thomas (Sky)
    Article published:
    April 07, 2013, 20:23 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Welshman on difference between classics and stage racing

    While the winner soaks up the accolades on the podium in the centre of the track, the beaten men of Paris-Roubaix travel along a Via Dolorosa by the name of Avenue Alexandre Fleming, the side street that leads from the velodrome to the sanctuary of the team buses.

    A downbeat Geraint Thomas wheels to a halt for a television crew and is immediately swarmed upon by a group of journalists eager to pick over the bones of Sky’s disappointing Classics campaign, while all around them, broken spirits pedalling broken bikes ghost by in ones and twos, their faces muddied and haunted.

    Thomas had entered the race with hopes of a podium finish, but his challenge ended when he crashed on the cobbles at Tilloy with 73 kilometres still to race and he crossed the line some 14 minutes down in 79th.

    “I was just too far back going into one of the sectors and there was a crash in front of me and that was it,” Thomas said. “There’s nowhere to go, especially on cobbles. You try to brake but it’s just not the same as on a normal road. It’s frustrating.”

    Sky scarcely fared better as a unit. While Mathew Hayman played a prominent role in a mid-race break, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Ian Stannard were marked absent and only Bernhard Eisel (12th) was still involved when the decisive moves developed in the final hour.

    “I don’t know what happened out in front or anything but it’s another frustrating day again, what can I say,” said Thomas, who was also a faller in the finale of the Tour of Flanders last weekend. “Obviously last week, there was nothing I could have done about it but today I should have been further forward. I learnt the hard way I guess. It’s just frustrating.”

    The...

  • Collisions with spectators cost Vandenbergh and Stybar Paris-Roubaix podium spots

    Stijn Vandenbergh (Team Omega Pharma - Quickstep) leads Sep Vanmarcke (Team Blanco ProCycling team)
    Article published:
    April 07, 2013, 21:10 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Carrefour de l'Arbre cobbles shatter Omega Pharma - Quick-Step dreams

    The Carrefour de l'Arbre is a Paris-Roubaix stretch of pavé where dreams can turn into reality or nightmares. Despite going into it with two of the four men in the final key breakaway, the Omega Pharma - Quick-Step team emerged devastated at the end of the 2,100m cobbled section.

    Stijn Vandenbergh was suddenly knocked off his bike upon colliding with a spectator and soon after, Zdenek Stybar came unbalanced after his own encounter with a spectator. Of the remaining two breakaway riders, Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack Leopard) went on to beat Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) in the sprint.

    After crossing the finish line as the last man of a group that sprinted for eighth place on the velodrome, Vandenbergh was unable to say a word for a long time. With a wound on his left elbow and hip and blood spattered on his left leg, he processed the difficult reality of what had happened.

    "I know that I can win this race one day," said Vandenbergh. "Today I had a really good chance for the win or a podium result at least. Cancellara was the strongest man out there. It's sad that I missed out on a podium result because of the crash. I'm really disappointed."

    As soon as the peloton hit the first pavé sectors, Vandenbergh was spotted up front. The Belgian also led the peloton into the much-feared Trouée d'Arenberg. Then, his teammate Gert Steegmans put in a strong effort to feature in a breakaway for about 75km.

    "The team rode a perfect race. We were always present up front, also with Gert Steegmans," said Vandenbergh. "We had the upper hand in the final and that was ideal."

    At 50km from the finish, Vandenbergh surged forward on the cobbles of...

  • Aggressive Gaudin surprises at Paris-Roubaix

    Damien Gaudin (Europcar) puts in a dig
    Article published:
    April 07, 2013, 22:03 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    More bad luck for Chavanel

    Damien Gaudin (Europcar) had never won a race before this season, but after winning the prologue of Paris-Nice and the GP Cholet last month, the Frenchman continued his hitherto unparalleled purple patch with fifth place at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

    It was the second time in as many seasons that Europcar had produced a surprise actor in the finale at Paris-Roubaix - Sébastien Turgot was second last year - and it continued Jean-René Bernaudeau's team's recent tradition of producing some wholly unexpected performances on the big occasion.

    Gaudin lost out to Niki Tersptra and Greg Van Avermaet in the sprint for third place behind winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard), but he was swarmed by French reporters when he rolled to a halt past the finish and lay down on the grass of the Roubaix velodrome.

    "I think I had good legs because to finish fifth in Paris-Roubaix you have to be good," Gaudin said between deep breaths as his soigneur wiped the mud away from his face. "It's a pity because I was playing it out for the podium but I had cramps in the finale, and I had to take on the finale au courage. But it was a super day for me.

    Gaudin has pedigree, of course, in that he won the under 23 version of Paris-Roubaix in 2007 but the rouleur from Beaupréau had never before performed to such a level in a major Classic with the professionals before now.

    Certainly, Gaudin showed few inhibitions with when he jumped alone from the main peloton to a break with 50km to go, and then immediately attacked by himself. Gaudin was soon brought to heel, but he accelerated again on sector 6, with 28km remaining.

    "If I had raced à la pèdale and tried to follow, it would have been difficult because I'm not the best rider...

  • Paris-Roubaix debutant Clarke relishing role at Argos-Shimano

    Will Clarke (Argos-Shimano) pushing through a chilly day at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
    Article published:
    April 08, 2013, 0:45 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian makes it to velodrome at Hell of the North

    Will Clarke's debut season with Argos-Shimano has so far taken him from his home WorldTour event, the Tour Down Under, to Belgium, to the mountains of Catalunya then back to Belgium for The Ronde and then earlier this week, the Scheldeprijs. Each time, there's been a different role to play with variety indeed proving to be the spice of Clarke's life after two often trying years.

    On Sunday, he made his debut in Paris-Roubaix, one of nine Australians on the start line in Compiegne. In theory, it's a race that should suit his abilities as a powerful rouleur, especially one who is unafraid of chancing his luck in a breakaway.

    Clarke made his debut at the sport's top level as a stagiaire for Ag2r La Mondiale having graduated from the highly-successful Praties squad in Australia in 2010 before joining Leopard - Trek for 2011. When the Luxembourg project merged with RadioShack at the end of that season, Clarke endured a nervous wait before signing on for new ProContinental outfit Champion System for 2012. It was an unsettled season for the Tasmanian but with Argos-Shimano, Clarke has found the perfect environment.

    "The variety is great," Clarke told Cyclingnews. "If it's a harder stage we've also got freedom to be in the breakaways which is what I like doing and then on the sprint stages I might be riding on the front to control the break or trying to help in the lead-out also.

    "We've always got a job to do and it's always fun."

    While Clarke admits that his Flanders debut was not quite his finest day on the bike, the experience has not dampened his enthusiasm for the race they call The Hell of the North.

    ...
  • Langeveld goes full gas at Paris-Roubaix

    Sebastian Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge) en route to a fifth place finish at E3 Harelbeke.
    Article published:
    April 08, 2013, 2:44 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Orica GreenEdge rider satisfied with seventh place

    "At the end, everybody has a story," said Orica GreenEdge's Classics specialist, Sebastian Langeveld after Paris-Roubaix on Sunday afternoon.

    The Dutchman had finished the 111th edition of Paris-Roubaix in seventh place. Wiping away the dirt caked on his face and arms, it was his eyes that told of his effort as he spoke to the surrounding media.

    The best card that Orica GreenEdge had to play was set up by a resurgent Stuart O'Grady who had done a mountain of work in a four-man breakaway between sectors 22 and 17 before being caught. Langeveld had taken to the start line in Compiegne having finished fifth at E3 - Harelbeke and 10th at the Tour of Flanders a week ago.

    "It was a really hard race," Langeveld said. "There was not a moment where... it was always full gas. I had to wait a little bit with Stuey in the front but for the rest I was pretty isolated. It was good to have Stuey there."

    With multiple teams looking to upset the defiant strength of Fabian Cancellara, BMC, Europcar, Blanco and Omega Pharma-Quick-Step threw everything they could at the Swiss and his RadioShack Leopard lieutenants on guard at the front of a rapidly depleting peloton. With 45 kilometres to go, a group of just over a dozen men went clear, with Cancellara making the move too. When the Swiss rider went back to his team car, so too did some of his markers, allowing Langeveld to be in clear space up ahead with Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), Damien Gaudin (Europcar) and Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco).

    "I didn't ride to be ahead of Cancellara but to get the best result possible," Langeveld explained, saying that it was a chance that had to be taken. "One should not race against someone."

    ...
  • Cancellara: I went over my limits like never before

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack) couldn't stand up after crossing the line
    Article published:
    April 08, 2013, 6:53 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Swiss pips Vanmarcke in Paris-Roubaix sprint

    Fabian Cancellara was isolated when he needed to be surrounded and he had company when wanted to be alone at Paris-Roubaix. Yet even though his race didn’t follow the script verbatim, it still had the expected ending, as Cancellara claimed a third victory to follow those of 2006 and 2010.

    With 50 kilometres to go, Cancellara’s RadioShack Leopard teammates had all been dropped from the main peloton and he was forced to take matters in hand himself to stay in contention across the cobbles. But when he entered the famous old velodrome in Roubaix at the finish, Cancellara still had Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco Pro Cycling) to contend with in the sprint.

    Cancellara’s previous in such situations was not encouraging. He twice lost the race in sprints on the track, in 2004 and 2008, and those traumas must surely have been on his mind when he slowed almost to a standstill on the banking and manoeuvred Vanmarcke to the front.

    “I tried to play the game on the track, the last thing I wanted to do was lose in a moment like that,” Cancellara said. “We did it like a track stand. The only moment I was a bit scared was when it went slow on the banking, but I tried just to do it. I had the full cramps all over and then I just pedalled as hard as I could.”

    It was Vanmarcke who led out of the final bend and Cancellara did not overhaul him until the last 50 metres, after summoning up a desperate lunge to nip past him beneath the grandstand. “I was probably just happy that the race was finished and that the fight was finished,” Cancellara said. “I could just sit on the grass and breathe and come back to planet Earth. This last hour was just pure fighting and I...