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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 11, 2013

Date published:
March 11, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Dwars door Drenthe and Novilon EDR Cup cancelled

    Smiles all around as NetApp-Endura teammates Andreas Schillinger, Alexander Wetterhall and Markus Eichler (L-R) swept the top three places at the Ronde van Drenthe
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 12:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutch races fall victim to the snow

    Sunday’s Dwars door Drenthe and Novilon EDR Cup races have been cancelled due to the snowy conditions in the Netherlands. Overnight snowfall and sub-zero temperatures meant that the organisers were left with little option but to cancel both the men’s and women’s races, in consultation with local police and the race jury.

    “It snowed overnight and particularly in the region of Emmen, where the men were going to start, it is impossible to race,” organiser Femmy van Issum told De Telegraaf. “It was not an easy decision to take when everything was ready, but the safety of the riders is paramount.”

    World champion Marianne Vos had won her third successive women’s Ronde van Drenthe in low temperatures and heavy rain on Saturday. In the first round of the World Cup, Vos out-sprinted fellow countrywoman Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) to take the win, while Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) came home in third.

    Alexander Wetterhall (NetApp-Endura) won the men’s Ronde van Drenthe. The Swede attacked 30km from home and won by 46 seconds from his teammates Markus Eichler and Andreas Schillinger.


  • Froome: It's not over till it's over

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) moved into the race lead
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 17:52 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky leader stays cautious despite taking Tirreno-Adriatico lead

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) pulled on the blue leader's jersey and sprayed the crowd with prosecco at Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday but refused to say he had victory in the bag, knowing that Alberto Contador will try to attack on Monday's final hilly stage and then give his all in the Tuesday's final 9.2km time trial.

    Froome now has a 20-second advantage on both Contador and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) but refused to fall into the trap of saying the race is won.

    "One thing I learnt from racing against the likes of Contador is that it's really not over till it's over," he said in the post-race press conference.

    "I'm expecting they'll throw everything at us tomorrow. Then in the time trial I'll have to give everything till we get over that finish line. 20 seconds is a good buffer but it's by no means over."

    Super Team Sky

    Froome and his loyal teammates again followed the Team Sky race plan, setting an infernal pace on the climb to crack Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) before Froome took over in the finale.

    The team took control on the Passo Lanciano and then Dario Cataldo, Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran formed a black and blue train, seeming to flatten the steep gradient of the two final climbs and reduce the front group to just a select few overall contenders.

    The pace cracked Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) on the first ramp, Kwiatkowski was forced into to the red on the climb to the finish and even Nibali was put on the ropes and would lose nine seconds. It was, yet again, perfect application of a carefully studied game plan.

    "The team did a fantastic job again and if I'm wearing the jersey, I owe it to them," Froome said.

    "It was a very hard...

  • Rodriguez bounces back with stage win in Chieti

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on the attack
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 18:42 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard enjoying the close racing at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) bounced back from a bad day on the climb to Prati di Tivo, using his favourite terrain to show he deserves a place at the top table of cycling along side Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali.

    'Purito' was disappointed after losing 43 seconds to Chris Froome on Saturday and so any chance of a podium place at Tirreno-Adriatico. Despite his bad day, he found the power to attack hard when the gradient to Chieti touched 19%. Importantly he also had something left in his legs to stay away all the way to the line.

    "I was a bit disappointed yesterday. I thought I was going well but I'm 33 years old and so I don’t get pissed off when I have a bad day, I fight back. I knew that I had a chance to make up for it today and I did," Rodriguez said.

    "It was important for me to win. I won a stage last year, and others stages the past so I like it as a race. This year the best riders in the world are here and so to beat them is great for my self confidence."

    "When there's a climb like that, I know I'm the favourite. I suppose it's like how Cavendish feels when there's a sprint and when Cancellara does a time trial. But it's not easy to win here. It was the same finish as last year, the same final kilometres. I went where I was dropped last year, so I knew it was the toughest point."

    Froome's race to lose

    Rodriguez tipped Froome to win Tirreno-Adriatico but warned him that Monday's hilly stage around Porto Sant'Elpidio will be difficult to control.

    "Froome's got a 'squadrona' – a strong team. You can see that it’s a team that works well; they signed guys with similar style, powerful riders who can ride well on the climbs and make it difficult for other riders to attack. However tomorrow is more suited to our kind of team than theirs," he warned.

    "It's a tough...

  • Contador learns from his mistakes at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) attacks on Prati di Tivo.
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 19:00 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard to chase every second in final two stages

    Alberto Contador may not win Tirreno-Adriatico but he revealed that taking on Chris Froome in Italy has given him vital insight on how Team Sky performs in stage races. It is information that could prove vital when he faces Team Sky's calculated and clinical way of racing in July at the Tour de France.

    Contador has been forced to go on the attack and even after time bonuses but has been out gunned by Froome and the work of his teammates Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran.

    Contador got the better of Froome in last year's Vuelta Espana, but did not ride the 2012 Tour de France because he was still serving his ban for doping. Now he is able to watch close up, how the British team imposes their calculations and carefully planned tactics.

    "Whatever the final result, this race has been really useful for me because I'd only ever seen how Sky work on television, never in person," he revealed after pulling on the red points jersey.

    "I'd never seen it from on the bike and seen the numbers on the SRM. I think in some ways this will help me to plan the tactics for the Tour."

    Contador will have to produce something special to beat Froome at the Tour de France and at Tirreno-Adriatico.

    He pulled back seven seconds thanks to winning the late intermediate sprint placed 4.6km from the finish and then by taking third on the stage in Chieti behind Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Bauke Mollema (Blanco Pro Cycling Team). Yet he is still 20 seconds behind Froome on the general classification after losing 22 seconds at Prati di Tivo.

    "I'd hope to perhaps impose the race in a different way but yesterday was not my best day," he admitted.

    "If the race had gone differently, maybe we could have more options now. But tomorrow will be...

  • Porte new leader of WorldTour after Paris-Nice victory

    2013 Paris-Nice champion Richie Porte (Sky) resplendent in yellow on the final podium.
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 22:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sky best team, Spain top nation

    Sky Procycling’s second victory in as many years in Paris-Nice, thanks to Australia's Richie Porte, sees the British team return to the number one spot for the UCI WorldTour teams, with Porte crowned the new leader of the individual ranking.

    Australia’s first ever victory in the "Course au Soleil" - the Race to the Sun - came after Porte seized the overall lead on the race’s one mountain summit finish at the Montagne de Lure on Friday. He then followed the example of Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Paris-Nice champion, by taking the final time trial at Paris-Nice, reinforcing his now definitive advantage in the overall classification.

    Porte’s win and two stage victories enables him to become the new UCI WorldTour leader, albeit by a margin of just two points over the previous number one, Santos Tour Down Under champion Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling Team). Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), second in the final time trial at Paris-Nice and second overall after Porte ousted him from the Paris-Nice lead on Friday, is third in the UCI WorldTour’s classification.

    The WorldTour individual rankings will surely undergo another major change at the end of Tirreno-Adriatico, the third WorldTour event of the 2013 season, which concludes on Tuesday. Only then will a clear series of early front runners emerge.

    One team that seems to be continuing exactly where it left off in 2012 is Team...

  • Video: search2retain set to make their mark in Asia in 2013

    The 2013 search2retain powered by squad
    Article published:
    March 10, 2013, 23:39 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Deal struck with Continental team OCBC Singapore

    Australian domestic outfit search2retain powered by enters their fifth season in existence with renewed confidence and a rider exchange deal with Singaporean Continental team OCBC which will see some of their squad take on the UCI Asia Tour.

    Search2retain p/b came agonisingly close to joining the Continental ranks for the 2013 season only to fall short of the required funding when a sponsor reneged on a signed contract. According to team boss Peter Shandon, the arrangement with OCBC Singapore more than makes up for any disappointment over the gut-wrenching turn of events.

    "There are multiple continental teams in Australia, all fighting it out for the invitations to Asian races, and it's one spot," he told Cyclingnews at the team's season launch at Bikelab in St. Kilda. "It's an elegant solution. We know of instances where an Australian team has won a race and not got an invitation back the next year. That's crazy."

    While the opening event of the 2013 Australian National Road Series (NRS), the Tour de Perth, remains some weeks away, there is a real sense that the team is very much on move, thanks mostly to a string of encouraging results towards the end of last season and over the domestic summer, along with some savvy recruiting.

    Over January, Neil Van Der Ploeg finished second in the sprint classification at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour while the ride of Cal Britten really impressed, placing 15th on the grueling Arthurs Seat to launch himself into the general classification's top-20. The following weekend at the Cycling Australia Road National...

  • Vanmarcke suffers torn bursa in Tirreno - Adriatico crash

    Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) goes on the attack
    Article published:
    March 11, 2013, 1:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    More bad news for Blanco

    The classics campaign of Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) is in doubt after the Belgian crashed before the end of the neutral zone on Stage 5 of Tirreno - Adriatico on Sunday. He suffered a rupturing of the bursal sack in his right knee, causing heavy swelling.

    Vanmarcke won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with Garmin in 2012, and then followed that performance up by finishing top-10 in Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke.

    The 24-year-old had been sitting in 54th overall prior to his abandonment, with his best result of the race coming on Stage 3 where he finished in 12th place.

    "First news is that the bursa of my knee is torn," he tweeted on Sunday evening. "First days will decide if operation is needed. Tomorrow new research in Antwerp.

    "The only thing I'm hoping is that the classics aren't over. Last 5 months were all focus and dedication, and then this shit happens."

    Should his fitness allow it, Blanco had been planning for Vanmarcke to share leadership with Lars Boom over the cobbled classics. Vanmarcke’s injury comes just 24 hours after teammates Wilco Kelderman, Mark Renshaw and Robert Gesink were forced to withdraw from Paris - Nice.


  • Porte to lead Sky at 2014 Giro?

    Race leader Richie Porte (Sky) won the final time trial to seal overall victory.
    Article published:
    March 11, 2013, 4:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    First Australian to win Paris - Nice

    Richie Porte (Sky) extended his overnight 32-second lead over Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) by 23 seconds to create history at Paris - Nice on Sunday, claiming his second stage win en route to being crowned 2013 champion at the prestigious French race.

    Porte blitzed the final stage 9.6km up the Col d'Èze in a time of 19:16, just three seconds slower than that of teammate Bradley Wiggins when he won the event in 2012. For the 28-year-old, the first Australian to win Paris - Nice, it was also an opportunity to turn the tables on what had so far been bad experiences, told he was too heavy three years ago and then crashing during last year's race.

    "I just never thought or believed that I could win Paris-Nice," Porte said following his win. "For me personally I've never had a nice experience at this race so it's a massive monkey off the back to come here and win it.

    "I can't believe it. The first Aussie to win such a big race and it's just an honour to have my name up there with Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin and all the big champions.

    "I woke up this morning and I knew that I had good legs. After the armchair ride that I got from the team yesterday - as well as on stage five and for the entire week - I knew I'd be in good shape. The guys were just incredible this race."

    Porte took the yellow jersey from Talansky on Stage five following his win on the La Montagne de Lure on Friday and never looked back.

    Taking the lead for Sky at Paris - Nice was a rare opportunity for Porte, who will resume his role as a trusted domestique at the Critérium International later this month. While the event was not his first GC win since joining Sky - Porte won the Volta ao Algarve last year - he is hoping that his strong showing at Paris - Nice will lead to him being given the nod at next year's Giro d'Italia.