TechPowered By

More tech

First Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 15, 2010

Date published:
March 15, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Haussler’s Milan-San Remo thrown into jeopardy

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) dropped out with a knee problem.
    Article published:
    March 14, 2010, 13:18 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Cervélo leader to decide on Monday as knee injury persists

    Heinrich Haussler is likely to miss Milan-San Remo. The Cervelo TestTeam rider was the runner-up last year but has suffered from a knee injury picked up in the Volta ao Algarve. He pulled out of Paris-Nice earlier in the week and despite staying with the team, has been unable to train properly.

    He was on his bike in Nice to watch the final stage of Paris-Nice, having done a short training ride.

    “My knee is not going well at all today, I’ve done 15 minutes on the bike and it’s very painful”, he told Cyclingnews. “If I pedal easy, it’s OK but I can’t stand up and I can’t use any big gear. If it was decided today, I would definitely not be able to do Milan-San Remo.”

    A final decision will be made on Monday after Haussler visits a clinic in Basel, Switzerland where the Cervélo Test Team work on a regular basis.

    “I don’t see how he could start Milan-San Remo”, directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit said. “The doctors will determine whether he needs to rest or to undergo treatment. It’s a pity but we’ll do the race with only one leader, Thor Hushovd. His preparation is going well at Tirreno-Adriatico.”

    Haussler and Hushovd came second and third respectively behind Mark Cavendish at Milan-San Remo last year. It’s rumoured that Dutch sprinter Theo Bos might be a late inclusion in the Cervélo line up for the Primavera, which is going to be decided by the management on Monday too.

  • Millar happy with form after Paris-Nice

    David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) hits the sign-on thug style
    Article published:
    March 14, 2010, 14:33 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Scot on form ahead of Criterium International

    Despite a flat tyre in the finale of Paris-Nice's sixth stage and being unable to stay with the leaders on stage seven, David Millar remains upbeat as he prepares for the Criterium International, 27-28 March.

    The Scot lost almost one minute to Alberto Contador (Astana) in the final stage of the French event, and explained why that was the case. “The last two days have been incredible”, Millar said of the speed of the race. “Paris-Nice is always the hardest race of the season, it’s harder than the Tour de France. There’s no grupetto here. Everybody is super motivated. It makes for a non-stop fight.”

    Millar finished seventh in the prologue and held his own through the difficult mountain stages; although lacking the power displayed by some of the leaders, he is happy with his form at this stage in the year. “I’m very happy with my form,” he explained. “This is my first big effort after the Tour of Algarve and I’m happy with my result so far.”

    With a week of racing now in his legs and 13th secured in the overall classification, Millar will look to carry his form into the Criterium International with the aim of taking the opportunity to go for the win on a new terrain.

    The two-day stage race will be held for the first time in Corsica on March 27-28 with the hilly stage being the opening one.

  • Armstrong ninth in the Cape Argus ride

    Lance Armstrong crosses the line in 9th place.
    Article published:
    March 14, 2010, 14:56 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Texan wraps up charity visit to South Africa with strong ride

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) finished ninth in the Cape Argus mass-ride in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday, giving a lead out to teammate Daryl Impey who finished third.

    Three-time winner Malcolm Lange (Medscheme) won the sprint ahead of Christoff van Heerden (MTN Energade). Behind them 35,000 other riders were expected to complete one of the biggest mass-rides in the world.

    Armstrong started with front group of professional riders, getting up at four in the morning to make it to the start. "Earliest I've ever woken up for a bike race." He said in a pre-ride tweet.

    A strong wind blew for most of the ride and turned into a stiff headwind along the spectacular coast road back to Cape Town. The event often finishes in a sprint but this year 12 riders got away on Chapman's Peak, 36km from the finish, breaking the grip of the MTN Energade team and opening a one-minute gap.

    Armstrong tried to lineout the break in the final kilometre to set up Impey but Lange waited patiently and made a late surge to the line.

    "Lance tried to go with a kilometre to go but I don't think he realised how strong the wind blows down here in the Cape. I think their plan was to make me go early but I waited. With about 150 metres to go I knew I had it," Lange told AFP after the race.

    Armstrong finished slightly off the pace after his effort. He then quickly disappeared, getting a ride on a motorbike to the airport to avoid the traffic in downtown Cape Town.

    The seven-time Tour de France winner spent almost a week in South Africa, training in the sun but also helping promote the Jag Foundation charity and his own LiveStrong Global Cancer Campaign. Many of the 35,000 people who took part in the ride wore yellow in support of LiveStrong.

    "Argus Cycle Tour done! What a cool ride/race. Congrats to @darylimpey on gettin' 3rd. Wind was howling out there. And hats off to all the riders today. Won't be easy in that wind. Cold beers...

  • Contador finds second Paris-Nice win important

    Alberto Contador breathes a sigh of relief after a tough day.
    Article published:
    March 14, 2010, 16:22 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Winning everything is not an obsession for the Spaniard

    Alberto Contador claimed his second overall victory at Paris-Nice, crossing the line on a demanding stage with a sigh of relief after he responded to numerous attacks in the finale.

    His first success in the race in 2007 was also his first stage race victory at the ProTour level, but he was forced to wait three years to gain another title in Paris-Nice after Astana wasn't welcome at ASO races in 2008 and he lost due to hunger flat last year.

    Contador explained that this year's win was special for a number of reasons.

    "In 2007, it was a very important success to get exposure and show who Alberto Contador was," he said in a press conference following the final stage in Nice.

    "It means a lot for me to win again because Paris-Nice is a race with incredible prestige. I learnt a lot from my mistake of last year. To win again signifies my legs responded well this week, although the course wasn't exactly suited for me. It was very fast and the time bonuses was crucial. Gaps were minor. To control the situation was crazy every day. That's why it means a lot to me to have won in such conditions."

    Contador remains unbeaten in 2010 as he won the two races has taken part in – the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice – despite his long absence from competition following the 2009 Tour de France.

    "I love the game of winning," he said. "But it doesn't mean winning everything, anytime of the year, is an obsession." His main goal remains the Tour de France. He's scheduled for the Tour of Catalunya and the Tour of the Basque country, after which he'll decide whether he lines up in the Ardennes classics or not.

    As he was commenting in front of the international media in Nice, his teammates Enrico Gasparotto and Maxim Iglinsky took first and third place at Tirreno-Adriatico respectively. The information came to him as another sign that Astana isn't that weak after all.

    "I've heard a few criticisms about Astana...

  • Kreuziger disappointed to miss out on Paris-Nice podium

    Roman Kreuziger and Peter Sagan (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    March 14, 2010, 18:46 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Pleased with form but amazed with Sagan

    Roman Kreuziger was invited onto the final podium at Paris-Nice to receive the award for best young rider but the Liquigas – Doimo leader was disappointed he had lost third spot on GC prior to the start of the final stage.

    He was knocked off the podium by Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) who gained two seconds in a hot spot sprint, won by his team-mate Peter Sagan.

    “I’m really disappointed”, Kreuziger told Cyclingnews after stage 7. “I very much wanted to make the top three. It’s a pity the race result was decided by time bonus, although I admit Luis Leon was stronger on the climbs than me. The top three is something that remains in the record books but nobody remembers the best young rider of Paris-Nice. I like the white jersey though.”

    Kreuziger, 23, has another two Tours de France to contest the white jersey for which Andy Schleck will still be eligible in 2010 but not in 2011. “I shouldn’t complain too much because I’m obviously happy with my condition and also with my results”, he added.

    Before Paris-Nice, he won the Tour of Sardegna. “Had I been told at the beginning of the year that I’d come fourth at Paris-Nice, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

    Kreuziger first came to attention at Paris-Nice when he finished second in the prologue behind behind David Millar in 2007.

    This year it was the turn of his young Slovakian team-mate Peter Sagan who was the true sensation of the race and won two stages, took fifth in the prologue and the points classification. “He has amazed everybody”, Kreuziger said. “Even in our team, we didn’t expect him to deliver such great results.”

  • World Champion Evans goes on the attack in Tirreno-Adriatico

    Cadel Evans (BMC) on the attack at the finish of stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico.
    Article published:
    March 14, 2010, 19:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian sees weakness in GC leader Scarponi

    Cadel Evans (BMC) moved up to fourth overall at Tirreno-Adriatico after his strong finish on the steep climb to Colmurano on Sunday.

    Evans attacked on the climb and then made a late surge in the final kilometre, preferring to sacrifice his chances of stage victory in exchange for some precious extra seconds.

    With race leader Michele Scarponi struggling on the climb after a mid-stage crash, Evans gained eight seconds on the Italian and is now only 18 seconds from the race lead. Monday's short but intense stage to Macerata includes four hilly laps and another steep climb to the finish, giving the world champion one last a shot at overall victory.

    "When you can get some like Scarponi on the ropes, you go with all you can,' Evans said after the stage.

    "I saw Scarponi in difficulty and could just about make an acceleration. I had Garzelli and I think it was Gasparotto lined up for the finish, then I looked under my shoulder and saw I'd got another Astana guy on the wheel. I thought 'what do I do here?' I could have stopped and played for the stage but get caught by everyone, or continue to try and take time on Scarponi on GC."

    Fortunately Evans went for the second option and gained those eight seconds. Will it be enough to decide the race on Monday?

    "We'll see," Evans said. "I thought that with the way Androni Giocattoli rode at the start there was nothing we'd be able to do, but they really fell apart with a crash on the descent and after the climb. They're don't look quite as solid as I first expected."

    Giro d'Italia reconnaissance

    Evans is riding more races in Italy this season as preparation for a bid for overall victory at the Giro d'Italia in May. Between the Strade Bianche race and Tirreno-Adriatico, he and his BMC teammates tested equipment and studied the roads of several key stages.

    "It went pretty good. It would have been good to go down and see the Terminillo climb,...

  • Moinard's move made him a winner in Nice

    Amaël Moinard (Cofidis) celebrates on the stage winner's podium
    Article published:
    March 15, 2010, 6:20 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman enjoys his biggest career win in Paris-Nice

    Following a 15th place overall in the 2008 edition of the Tour de France, Amaël Moinard wondered how he could improve on that result. The answer? Move from his native Normandy to the French Riviera. And yesterday it paid dividends as the 28-year-old won the final stage of this year's Paris-Nice.

     A stage win at the 2007 Route du Sud being hitherto the highlight of his palmares, Moinard claimed the best result of his career on the Promenade des Anglais, confirming his decision to change base was the correct one.

    "With all the hills around Nice, I found better terrain for training here," he explained. "The conditions for recovering from the racing and training are also better here, with the international airport just around the corner and the sun when I go out on my bike.

    "After my 15th place at the 2008 Tour de France, I felt expectations for me to perform even better. I felt good physically but my mind was too busy with all the questions I asked myself. I was close to winning a mountain stage in the Tour de France last year, I also made the top 20 at the Vuelta a Espana [18th] but for the media, it wasn't significant."

    Therefore Moinard changed his tactics for 2010: "If I target a GC, I might always be on the second curtain," the Cofidis rider said. "I've realised I'd better go on the offensive. Now I take cycling as a game, I'm happy with my life here in Nice, maybe I will not be able to make the top 10 at the Tour de France but I can find other ways to enjoy this job," he added after a podium appearance with his son, Lubin, who is one and half years old.

    The target of the polka dot jersey made him go on the attack for the third consecutive day. He was away with Thomas Voeckler during the final stage. "He made an enormous mistake to attack me at the bottom of the col d'Eze," Moinard continued.

    "I knew if I put myself in the red after the efforts I made the previous days, I'd blow. I also knew after the...

  • Third no trifle for Sanchez

    Who's a good little time triallist? Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) pinches the cheek of Alberto Contador (Astana) on the podium
    Article published:
    March 15, 2010, 7:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Defending champion retains perspective on losing title

    Third on the final podium at this year's Paris-Nice, 2009 champion Luis Leon Sanchez says he isn't disappointed that he couldn't produce a successful defence of his title.

    The 26-year-old made it two podium places for Caisse d'Epargne and an all-Spanish top three, with compatriot and countryman Alejandro Valverde taking second while Alberto Contador added another Paris-Nice title to the one he took in 2007.

    "I was feeling good during the whole race and I would have like to do as well as last year but even if my level was a very good one Alberto Contador was stronger than everybody else and it was really difficult to beat him," said Sanchez after the stage seven finish.

    "I have no regrets because I gave it all every day, just the same as all my team-mates which I want to thank for all the efforts they achieved all through the week."

    A stage winner at last year's Tour de France, Sanchez will form part of a two-pronged attack on this year's grand tours with Valverde, who has a Vuelta a España title to his name.

    Despite ceding his Paris-Nice crown to Contador, Sanchez was pleased with taking the final podium spot, even if he left it late to secure that lowest step on the dais, as it meant Caisse d'Epargne finished the event clearly the best team.

    "Today I sprinted to catch the time bonuses because I knew it was sufficient to climb on the podium together Contador and Valverde. Caisse d’Epargne deserved it," he said.