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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 1, 2010

Date published:
March 01, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Peloton reacts to brutal battering at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

    Dutchman Rick Flens (Rabobank) rides the wet cobbles.
    Article published:
    March 01, 2010, 8:31 GMT
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Traksel’s big day the worst since 2003?

    Storms that ripped through Europe on Sunday demolished the Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne’s field and caused organisers to shorten the race by 20 kilometres. While just 26 riders were able to finish the race, others both present and watching from afar were shocked by the tough conditions.

    Quick-Step's director sportif Wilfried Peeters described the race as a 'hors category' event. "It's not only about being strong enough mentally to fight the elements. If your body can't stand the cold it's just not possible to complete such a race," Peeters said.

    Cyclingnews was speaking to Johan Van Summeren at the finish line when the Garmin-Transitions rider noticed a Team Sky rider coming up the finish straight. It was Australia’s Mathew Hayman, who in 26th position was the final rider to cross the line, almost 14 minutes after winner Bobbie Traksel.

    "There's another one coming in. Wow, that's crazy," Van Summeren said. Van Summeren was one of the 169 riders that withdrew during the race, the Belgian opting to save his energy as he abandoned at Oude Kwaremont.

    Omega Pharma-Lotto's director sportif Herman Frison described the race as a battle for survival. The Belgian ProTour team was one of the stronger finishers in the field, with both Jurgen Roelandts and Leif Hoste finishing the event on a day when finishing was in itself an accomplishment.

    "For our team it was looking good at a certain moment,” Frison told Sporza. “We wanted to take control of the race with Jurgen Roelandts and Leif Hoste. Then the wind came up and some riders can handle that better than others. From then on it was only about making it to the finish line."

    Cervelo’s riders Roger Hammond and Dominique Rollin were also shocked by the conditions. Hammond said the atrocious weather was character building for the team’s riders.

    "There is such a contrast in the weather conditions today to what I was riding," said...

  • Bos thrilled to beat Cavendish for first season victory

    Who's the boss? Theo Bos (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    March 01, 2010, 9:33 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cervelo sprinter to continue to work on climbing skills

    Theo Bos “didn't dare to dream” that he would take his first victory of the season so early in the year. Beating Mark Cavendish to win the Clasica de Almeria “was a super cool experience,” the Cervelo TestTeam rider said.

    "I was sitting on Mark's wheel, saw the line getting closer and went for it," Bos told Sportweek.nl. "Mark got on my wheel, but he could not come around me anymore."

    HTC-Columbia's Cavendish has dominated the sprints in the last two season but is not yet on form. “He is not good now and has weight problems. When he's in top form, I think he's still a bit better than me,” Bos said. “But however you look at it, I have beaten the champion.”

    The 26-year-old Dutch rider, who previously rode for the Rabobank Continental Team, is happy at Cervelo, saying “I notice every day that the plans of the team suit me very well.”

    Bos, who has extensive track experience, including five world titles, said he was happy to see he still had most of the speed from the track. “I haven't really lost that touch. At the same time I realise I can handle the climbs better. Today I rode up alongside Cavendish. I can still improve my climbing, but for now I'm happy."

    Bos will be able to work on those climbing skills in his next race, the Vuelta a Murcia, March 3-7. “That should toughen me up even more,” he said, adding that he is building up to the Vuelta a Espana later this year.

  • Belgians shut out on opening weekend

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma - Lotto)
    Article published:
    March 01, 2010, 9:46 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    No top results for Quick Step or Omega Pharma-Lotto

    The Belgian cycling season may have officially started but the Belgians were shut out of the results in the opening weekend. For the first time ever, there was no Belgian rider on the podium of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and they also missed out in Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne.

    Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere, who has guided home talent to numerous wins in the past, put it simply. "This is a weekend to quickly forget." His top rider and former World champion Tom Boonen had gone into the weekend favoured to win both races, but finished only 59th in the Omloop, after suffering an unfortunately-timed puncture. He abandoned on Sunday, as did most of the field.

    The team's top finisher in Omloop was French rider Sylvain Chavanel, who crossed the line in 20th place, and on Sunday Belgian Wouter Weylandt who finished 12th.

    "The internationalisation we all called for has gradually broken through," Lefevere told sportwereld.com. "It is increasingly difficult for Belgian teams to win big races. But I draw no conclusions after two races. Ask me again after Liege-Bastogne-Liege."

    Marc Sergeant, Lefevere’s equivalent at Omega Pharma-Lotto, was happy with the weekend because his riders “did what we had asked: rode offensively and displayed initiative.”

    His team's best finishers were Philippe Gilbertt in the Omloop, at 26th, and Jürgen Roelandts at 15th in Kuurne. Sergeant expected more, especially in the Omloop.

    “In hindsight, perhaps Gilbert rode with too much panache,” the team manager said. “The attack on the Lange Munte was not the best decision, after he had chased for 15 kilometres. But Gilbert is simply that way. He rides instinctively.”

     

  • Armstrong returns to action in Murcia

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) after the final stage of his second Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    March 01, 2010, 14:22 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    RadioShack, Astana announce line-ups

    Lance Armstrong will return to racing this week, taking on the Vuelta Ciclista a la Regiona de Murcia. The race through southeastern Spain runs Wednesday, March 3 through Sunday, March 7.

    Armstrong, now riding for Team RadioShack, has not raced since the Tour Down Under in January. Since then he has been training in the United States and France. He last rode the Murcia race in 2004, finishing 23rd overall.

    The seven-time Tour de France winner leads a strong team in Spain, including two-time Tour de France runner-up Andreas Klöden.

    Team Astana has also announced its squad for Murcia, featuring five Kazakh riders. The other two riders are veterans Josep Jufre of Spain and Italian Paolo Tiralongo.

    RadioShack for Vuelta a Murcia: Lance Armstrong, Daryl Impey, Andreas Klöden, Jason McCartney, Gregory Rast, Jose Luis Rubiera and Haimar Zubeldia

    Team Astana for Vuelta a Murcia: Alexandr Dyachenko, Valentin Iglinsky, Josep Jufre, Roman Kireyev, Bolat Raimbekov, Paolo Tiralongo and Andrey Zeits

  • Rollin thrives in bad weather in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

    Dominique Rollin (Cervelo Test Team)
    Article published:
    March 01, 2010, 18:28 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Canadian impervious to Belgian storms

    Dominque Rollin is fast becoming somewhat of an expert in racing in poor conditions and he put those skills to the test in a storm affected edition of Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne on Sunday.

    The race was won by surprise package Bobbie Traksel who broke clear early on in the race and won a sprint battle between his two breakaway companions, Rick Flens (Rabobank) and Ian Stannard (Sky).

    Behind the three leaders Rollin’s Cervelo TestTeam was the most aggressive team. First they sent Thor Hushovd and Jeremy Hunt up the road and in pursuit of Traksel’s group before Rollin launched his attack over the remnants on the peloton, trying to bridge across to his two teammates and Hayden Roulston (HTC-Columbia).

    However the chase proved futile. First Hunt suffered a hunger knock before Hushovd, realising the race was lost, sat up and allowed Roulston to continue alone. Rollin eventually caught the Norwegian and secured fifth place on the line to record his best results of the season.

    "It was a crazy day on the bike," he said at the finish.

    "The wind just got stronger and stronger and it got colder and colder. It reminded me of a couple of other big days I had on the bike and I did have the legs today. It was a great ride by the guys, we had four guys up there but I think the weather got the better of most of us unfortunately. The performance was there and I'm looking forward to Paris-Nice to sharpen everything for the rest of the classics."

    Unlike many of the riders who lined up for the race Rollin came into the event knowing that the harder conditions would suit his style of racing. He famously won a stage of the Tour of California in 2008 during brutal conditions that saw over twenty riders either fail to start or abandon the race.

    This year Rollin will aim to claim his first win on European soil and build on his consistent results in the Classics.

  • Ricco believes the tifosi are on his side

    Riccardo Riccò
    Article published:
    March 01, 2010, 18:44 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    His partner Rossi pleas for him to get back together

    As the days tick down to the end of his two-year ban for doping, Riccardo Ricco is trying to rebuild his relationship with the Italian tifosi who supported him so passionately before he tested positive for CERA.

    Ricco's ban ends on March 17. His Ceramica Flamina team has not been invited to ride Milan-San Remo and so Ricco is likely to return to racing at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali in his home region of Emilia Romagna.

    Despite his sins and even after he split from partner Vania, who also tested positive for CERA in January, Ricco believes that many Italian tifosi still loyally support him because they are simply not interested in doping.

    "I can't expect people to believe in me now, I've got to prove it out on the road," he said in a video interview recorded by the Italian Cycling Pro magazine.

    "I don't think the tifosi are interested if there's doping (in cycling) or not. They're interested in the battle and competition. I don’t think real tifosi are interested in doping. If someone is a fan of Ricco, they still are now, even if he's made a mistake or not."

    "I was a fan of [MotoGP pilot] Valentino Rossi even when he didn't pay taxes in Italy. For me a champion is a champion. I think my real fans see me as a 23-year-old who made a mistake but who can't wait to see him race again. That's how I see it. Of course there are other kinds of cycling fans but that's the way I see things."

    Vania pleas for Ricco to return

    Ricco has been based in Sicily in recent weeks, training hard for his comeback but also staying away from Vania Rossi, having broken off their relationship by text message according to the Italian reports.

    She wrote an emotional letter to Ricco and allowed it to be published in Gazzetta dello Sport at the weekend. She pleaded for him to come back and insisted she's innocent.

    "We've got a beautiful baby that needs a mum and...

  • Riders look back at Belgian opening weekend

    Belgian Nick Nuyens (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    March 01, 2010, 20:53 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Benelux riders not entirely satisfied with weekend efforts

    Belgian and Dutch riders had a mixed reaction to the weekend's races, with both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne being won by outsiders.

    Nick Nuyens of Rabobank, who has won both races in the past, finished 55th on Saturday and joined the majority in not finishing on Sunday.

    The 29-year-old rode well on Saturday, but was thrown back by three punctures – once early, once descending the Taaienberg, and then again near the end of the race. “That was crap! Because the legs were super. So you see, even with super legs, you aren't assured of anything,” he told sportwereld.be.

    As for Sunday, Nuyens had not fully recovered from the previous day. “And this: that lousy weather! I just froze.”

    Philippe Gilbert of Omega Pharma-Lotto had to settle for 26th place in the Omloop. He crashed during the race, coming away with “a few abrasions to my knee and elbow.” But the timing of the crash was bad, as there were only 40km to go, and it caused him to lose touch with the leaders.

    Would he have been able to beat eventual winner Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky)? “Well, you never know. Flecha was really strong. I wanted to ride with him into Gent, because I'm faster than him in the sprint. But he just rode away from me.”

    The 27-year-old did not ride Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, and instead returned home to the better weather in Monaco.

    The best Belgian finisher in Kuurne was Davy Commeyne of Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, who is better known as a cyclo-cross rider. That experience may have given him an advantage on Sunday.

    “I've been through a lot in terms of weather, but that beat everything!” he told sportwereld.be. He rode for a long time in the lead group. Then the rains came. “It was as if the world was drowning. And when Traksel, Stannard and Flens got away, the motivation for our group was gone. I tried...

  • Team Holowesko Partners team ready for 2010

    Alex Howes won both the U23 road and criterium championships in 2009 and returns to Team Holowesko Partners in 2010.
    Article published:
    March 01, 2010, 21:48 GMT
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    Team camp complete, U23 squad's season to kick off at San Dimas

    Team Holowesko Partners, the U23 development team for US ProTour squad Garmin-Transitions, has big shoes to fill in 2010 after the success of last year's squad, but the return of key riders coupled with an influx of young talent has the team poised for an encore performance.

    The 2009 team dominated the U23 national championships, sweeping the road events with Alex Howes winning both the road race and criterium and Peter Stetina repeating as time trial champion.

    Later in the year Danny Summerhill finally claimed an elusive U23 championship in cyclo-cross to add another stars-and-stripes jersey to the 2009 tally.

    While Stetina has graduated to the big leagues, riding with Garmin-Transitions this season, Howes and Summerhill return to Team Holowesko Partners as seasoned campaigners, brimming with confidence.

    Team Holowesko Partners has completed its team training camp in and around Boulder, Colorado in mid-February, the first gathering of the entire 2010 roster. Despite having snow for the first few days, the 16-rider development team put in the miles as well as conducted team building exercises and cross training.

    Morale is high on the team, which welcomed eight new riders to the ranks. Most of the Team Holowesko Partners riders live in the vicinity of Boulder, Colorado, which helps instill camaraderie and a sense of team, "We have a good group of guys and the camp went very well," Howes told Cyclingnews. "With that kind of youth on your team it's impossible not to be motivated."

    The team's goals for 2010 are succinctly detailed by director Chann McRae. "It's all about winning championships," McRae told Cyclingnews. "The difference between second and first is big. Most people don't know that to pull off wins is a whole different thing than getting second place."

    Not only did the team post impressive results in the U23 ranks in 2009, but they made their presence felt throughout the...