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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 18, 2013

Date published:
March 18, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Cancellara: Third feels like a win at Milan-San Remo

    Fabian Cancellara was once again incredible strong
    Article published:
    March 17, 2013, 21:33 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    RadioShack rider talks about racing in the snow and rain

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) added a third place to his second places of 2011 and 2012 at Milan-San Remo but insisted he was satisfied with another place on the podium after struggling with the cold conditions that transformed La Primavera to the deepest winter.

    "I'm happy to make it here (San Remo). To battle to win and to bring home a win would have been better and so I was initially upset but in the end, I placed third. It's not bad. I think we can put away any excuses because to arrive here is a victory in itself," he said after the podium ceremony.

    "I'm sorry that it hasn’t been a true San Remo. A true San Remo is the Turchino, Manie and the Primavera. It was not even the spring compared to yesterday."

    Cancellara was part of the front group that formed over the top of the Poggio. He closely marked Peter Sagan but was unable to get away in the final two kilometres and so was condemned to the role of bridesmaid yet again.

    He revealed that like most riders, he suffered moments of pain in the cold and snow in the morning and then again in the heavy rain that soaked the second part of the race.

    "I had a number of problems today. I didn't eat enough after the restart. I would've liked to even gone to sleep in the bus, but of course that wasn't possible," Cancellara said.

    "I had my bad moments before the feed zone, I was so frozen. I went back to the team car and (Team manager) Luca Guercilena gave me back a lot of confidence. That was the key. I brought the result home, it's not a win, but it feels like a win given the situation."

    "We had a plan this morning and I'm one of the leaders of the team so I wanted to finish this. Everyone has done a great job today."

    While some riders climbed off...

  • Defending champion Orica GreenEdge miss out at Milan-San Remo

    Defending champion Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    March 17, 2013, 23:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Crashes and horrific conditions prove too tough for Gerrans and Goss

    Closing out a brutal day of racing in the season’s first monument, Milan - San Remo, the best result Orica GreenEdge would be taking home was Sebastian Langeveld’s 23rd-place. Langeveld sprinted to the line with the group that raced for 8th, 14-seconds behind Gerald Ciolek’s (MTN - Qhubeka) winning breakaway.

    Orica GreenEdge had lined up with the winners of the past two editions, Matt Goss (2011) and Simon Gerrans (2012) but the weather sought to ruin the tactics of the defending champions who were unable to overcome the near inhumane conditions.

    "When the boys got on the bus after the race was stopped in Ovada to bypass the Turchino, it was clear that the race had gone for 10-15 kilometres too long," team director Neil Stephens told "We were in really bad shape. The boys where shaking and shivering. I heard from a few other teams that they had riders that were shaking so badly they had fallen off their bikes.

    "I wanted to tell them not to worry about it - to get off and stay off the bike. Instead, I had to do the opposite. I had to give them warm tea and food, encourage them to take warm showers and get them mentally prepared to go out there again. It was hard on my team and hard on the whole peloton."

    Goss had essentially ruled himself out of contention after crashing shortly before reaching the arrival of the neutral zone in Ovada and after climbing aboard the team bus it soon became clear that his injury would not allow him to challenge for a second...

  • Shock and celebrations for MTN-Qhubeka at Milan-San Remo

    Gerald Ciolek (MTN - Qhubeka) takes the biggest win of his career in Milan-San Remo
    Article published:
    March 18, 2013, 1:37 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Starting San Remo was a victory in the first place, says team boss Ryder

    Speaking to Cyclingnews prior to the start of Milan-San Remo, MTN-Qhubeka team manager Doug Ryder said his team had already achieved a considerable victory by earning the right to line up in the first classic of the season.

    "Some of the guys in that bus have got eyes as big as saucers," he quipped. "They're really up for it, but I don't know how they are going to fare in this cold. The South African guys aren't used to conditions like these."

    Fast forward nine hours and it was Ryder's eyes that were as big as saucers having seen MTN-Qhubeka team leader Gerald Ciolek deliver a tactical masterclass, topped off with a perfectly judged sprint to clinch one of the most incident-packed San Remo's of recent years.

    "How do I feel? I don't know. It's like... incredible," Ryder said as he made a very unexpected dash to the winner's podium to join in the celebrations with his riders and staff.

    "There were six riders in the front and we were the only Pro Continental team, which was incredible in itself. But with Gerald riding with [Fabian] Cancellara and on [Peter] Sagan's wheel - well, we know how good he is and we know how well he's prepared. We knew that if it came to the last kilometre and he was third wheel then we knew that he had a chance."

    Understandably, Ryder confessed he couldn't believe what he had just seen. "When we heard his name on the radio as being up in the first group, we were laughing because it was so incredible. Because we were such an underdog team no one even looked at us really. When Cancellara and the guys were swapping off, Gerald kept going into third or fourth wheel. He never had to ride on the front. Sagan was...

  • Sciandri: No official offer from Italian Cycling Federation

    Fabio Baldato and Max Sciandri are part of BMC's management.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2013, 3:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    BMC director sportif committed to current position

    BMC Racing Team director sportif Max Sciandri is still to receive an official offer from the Italian Cycling Federation in regard to taking over as head coach from incumbent Paolo Bettini. Bettini had recommended the former professional to the role after announcing he would be taking on the position as general technical director within the federation.

    Sciandri had previously signalled his intention to take on the new role but not before seeing out his current duties with BMC until the start of the Giro d'Italia in May.

    "I can't wait to start the new project," Sciandri had told Radio Sportiva. "I expect an intense programme up to the Giro with the team and then I can focus my energies on everything."

    However, Sciandri has released a statement clarifying the situation with general manager Jim Ochowicz also adding his thoughts on the situation. The former Tour de France and three-time Giro d'Italia stage winner has worked with the Great British national team in the past and would be an ideal candidate for the role - despite having received any official communiqué from the federation.

    "I have no official offer from the national federation," said Sciandri to "Until there's an offer, my obligation is with the BMC Racing Team."

    Ochowicz also confirmed the lack of an official offer by affirming his...

  • Vande Velde returns from suspension at Volta a Catalunya

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) moves into yellow after stage 3.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2013, 5:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Garmin Sharp rider says he was compelled to come back and show himself

    Today marks the start of a new chapter for Garmin Sharp's Christian Vande Velde who, along with teammates Tom Danielson and David Zabriskie, will line-up for the first time after serving six-month suspensions. The American trio is returning to racing at Volta a Catalunya after their involvement in USADA's doping case against Lance Armstrong and the US Postal and Discovery Channel teams.

    Vande Velde has spoken out ahead of his first race since racing the two WorldTour events in Montréal and Québec in 2012, where he failed to finish both one-day races.

    The 36-year-old enjoyed one of his greatest career results toward the end of his effective season last year when he won the overall at the US Pro Cycling Challenge and says that it would have been easy just to throw-in the towel and retire but he is determined to return to racing and attempt to lead by example.

    "I didn't want to go away and hide after everything that came out. It would have been really easy for me to say, 'I'm out, I'm done, don't mess with me anymore,' he told ESPN. "I almost felt compelled to come back and show that I'm still proud of what I've done on this team and lead by example."

    Vande Velde, along with his other teammates Zabriskie and Danielson have each dealt with their 'time off' in different ways but the Chicago resident Vande Velde admits that he went through some difficult moments and that being away from things like team training camps were...

  • Fuglsang returns to full health in time for Volta a Catalunya

    Jacob Fuglsang (Astana)
    Article published:
    March 18, 2013, 6:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Astana rider recovered from intestinal trouble during Paris-Nice

    Jakob Fuglsang has recovered from the illness that caused him to withdraw from Paris-Nice just in time to lead his Astana squad at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. The Danish rider failed to finish stage 4 at Paris-Nice won by Michael Albasini (Orica GreenEdge) however, his Kazakh squad has said is on the way back to full health.

    "Jacob Fuglsang rides back into full strength this week at the 93rd Volta Ciclistica a Catalunya in Spain, recovered from intestinal trouble that saw him withdraw last week from Paris-Nice," said a team release.

    Fuglsang has enjoyed a relatively slow build-up to the 2013 season after signing for the Astana squad at the end of last year. The Dane left his former RadioShack squad frustrated after being ruled-out of racing any WorldTour events following the rumours he would be leaving the team at the end of the season.

    The Dane begun his season at the 2.1 Ruta Del Sol where he took three top-ten finishes on the way to sixth overall however, he never appeared to be in contention at his next outing in Paris-Nice. The team has enlisted the services of Agnoli and Gavazzai to support the 27-year-old at Catalunya while Andrea Guardini is back to racing after picking up his first season win at Tour de Langkawi.

    Guardini, along with his supporters, had expected more from the sprinter at the 10-day Malaysian race despite still...

  • Nibali suffers black day in Milan-San Remo

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) suffered in the cold conditions
    Article published:
    March 18, 2013, 8:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    Astana rider drops out due to cold

    Vincenzo Nibali (Team Astana) was forced to succumb to the Arctic conditions at Milan-San Remo and abandon on the descent of the Cipressa, calling it a ‘black day’.

    The 28-year-old came into the race among the favourites having defended his Tirreno-Adriatico title with a combination of ruthless descending and inspired climbing.

    Despite a well-drilled Astana team joining forces with Cannondale on the front of the peloton for much of La Classicissima their leader appeared to be in trouble once the race reached the Capo Melo.

    The race had already been stopped after 117 kilometres due to snow, with an almost two-hour interval before the action resumed 50 kilometres later.

    Although Astana continued to set the pace on the front of the peloton as the race reached its deciding phase Nibali began to drift to the rear of the peloton and towards his team car.

    "Those guys (in the breakaway) were braver than anybody else. Sometimes in cycling you have to know how to lose in order to win,” the Italian said after the finish.

    "This will certainly not be my last MSR. I'm already looking forward. This was just a black day in every sense of the word."

    According to his team Nibali was so cold he could not even hold the handlebars on the descent of the Cipressa, terrain where he would have typically shined had the weather been more favourable.

    "There was a moment when I thought maybe I had chosen the wrong sport," he added.

    With Nibali out, Astana were forced to switch tactics and Maxim Iglinskiy attacked on the Poggio but to no avail. Enrico Gasparotto was the team’s highest finisher in 14th place.

    "Nibali was just cold,” Director Sportif Alexandr Shefer said.

    “He couldn't hold the handlebars safely in the descent, and it was not...

  • Zabel not surprised by Ciolek's win in Milan-San Remo

    Gerald Ciolek (MTN - Qhubeka) wins Milan-San Remo
    Article published:
    March 18, 2013, 10:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Praises fellow German's tactics and form

    Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) may have surprised many with his win in Milan-San Remo, but four-time winner Erik Zabel was not among them. The former sprinter had picked Ciolek as a dark horse , and said the younger sprinter “perfectly put into effect everything he had planned.”

    “He was already very strong in Belgium at Het Nieuwsblad and the Three Days of West Flanders, but perhaps only insiders noticed that,” Zabel told Ciolek finished 11th in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and won the second stage of the latter race.

    In San Remo, however, “Gerald delivered his masterpiece,” Zabel told  “He is very, very strong and rode by far the cleverest of all the favourites. And on the Poggio he made a top impression. Those are the ingredients you need to win a race.”

    Zabel said that he noticed in the Belgian races that Ciolek “once again had the light touch like he had several years ago. Plus, he held on to Sagan, who tried to fill the role of favourite. And then he beat him in the closing sprint and so perfectly put into effect everything he had planned.”

    Now a directeur sportif with Katusha, Zabel looked back at the weather during his rides in the race. “In 2007 there was similar heavy rain, but it was much warmer. But like today, with only 2°C at the start, then rain, snowfall, stopping the race and then the later new start – that has never happened before,” said the 42-year-old, who admitted he was happy to have been in a team car rather than on a bike.