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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 19, 2012

Date published:
March 19, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Mansilla tests positive for EPO

    Race leader Luis Mansilla crosses the finish line in Osomo.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2012, 12:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sample from Tour of Chile could lead to ban

    Chilean Cycling's plans for the London 2012 Olympics have been thrown into disarray with the news that star rider Luis Mansilla tested positive for EPO after stage five of the 2012 Tour of Chile last January. The shock news comes more than two months after the race, where Mansilla won two stages.

    Mansilla is central to Chile's plans for London 2012, where he had been expected to feature both on the track and on the road. Now the Chilean national team is facing up to the prospect of going to the Olympics and also 2012 Track World Championships in Melbourne next month without the services of one of their best riders. Mansilla was part of the Chilean squad that travelled to the Pan American Track Championships earlier this month, but he was sent home early from that competition to receive the news of his positive test.

    Chilean national team coach Victor Garrido called the developments "a sad day for Chilean cycling" and if Mansilla's counter sample is also revealed to be positive he is facing up to the possibility of a two-year ban. The rider is maintaining his innocence.

  • Cavendish's Milan-San Remo hopes fade on Le Manie

    Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) was dropped early on
    Article published:
    March 18, 2012, 13:12 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    World champion distanced with 90km to race

    Perhaps fittingly given the casino that sealed San Remo's status as the Riviera resort of choice at the dawn of the last century, Milan-San Remo has often been considered something of a lottery. Its lengthy route adds an intriguing balance to the battle between sprinters and attackers, and the members of each clan must ride their luck and roll the dice over the capi that punctuate the run-in to the finish.

    While being dropped on the Poggio or the Cipressa is always an occupational hazard for the sprinting fraternity, however, Mark Cavendish (Sky) must have felt as though he had been turned away at the door when he was distanced on the climb of Le Manie with over 90km still to race. That disappointment can only have been accentuated by his status as world champion - his rainbow jersey was hardly in breach of the dress code at the business end of a classic.

    As is increasingly his wont when defeated, Cavendish was in no mood for talking when he rolled to a halt at the finish. He had abandoned before the Poggio and he clambered straight aboard the Sky team bus, his expression as dark as the clouds that had circled over the summit of the Passo del Turchino on Saturday morning.

    Instead, it was left to his loyal teammate Bernhard Eisel to pick up the pieces and explain to the gathered reporters how the Manxman's dream of winning Milan-San Remo in the rainbow jersey had unravelled.

    "He didn't have the legs, that was the only thing," Eisel said bluntly, before adding a mitigation of sorts. "He did have to change a wheel before the Turchino."

    Keen to distance the sprinters and prepare the ground for Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Sagan, Liquigas-Cannondale set a fearsome pace on the 4.7km climb of Le Manie....

  • Stellar field set to race in the Volta a Catalunya

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) won Paris-Nice ahead of Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
    Article published:
    March 18, 2012, 19:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Andy Schelck, Wiggins, Valverde and Leipheimer raring to go tomorrow

    The UCI World Tour rolls into Spain tomorrow for the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, with some of the world's best stage race riders lining up at the start line to put their endurance qualities on the line after the one-day excitement of Milan-San Remo on Saturday. All 18 Pro Tour teams will be present when the 138km stage one gets underway in Calella and will be accompanied by five wildcard teams.

    Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins will be amongst the favourites following his historic victory at Paris-Nice earlier this month. The 31-year-old became only the second Briton (after Tom Simpson in 1967) to win that race since its inception in 1933 and will continue his preparations for his assault on the Tour de France in the Spanish province.

    He is joined there by Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan), second across the line in the last three stagings of the Tour de France, and the man who has been awarded the 2010 race following Alberto Contador's disqualification. Further rivals to Wiggins in the seven-stage event include Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who has returned from suspension with a bang this year and won the race in 2009, and Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), who has also been in excellent early season form.

    The 92nd Volta a Catalunya concludes with its seventh stage on Sunday March 25 in the Catalan capital of Barcelona.

    23 teams for the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

    Ag2R La Mondiale
    Nicolas Roche (Irl)
    Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra)
    Romain Bardet (Fra)

  • Quintero thankful to be alright after viewing San Remo crash footage

    Carlos Quintero (Colombia-Coldeportes) is attended by RCS Sport paramedics and team doctor Massimiliano Mantovani after his crash on the descent of La Manie.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 0:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Colombian cleared to leave hospital after final checks

    Carlos Quintero (Colombia-Coldeportes) admits he was lucky to come away relatively unscathed from his crash on the descent of La Manie in Saturday's Milan-San Remo, with the Colombian cleared from hospital today with no further injury other than his fractured left clavicle.

    Quintero was initially knocked unconscious by the crash, with the on rush of medical staff and team doctor Massimiliano Mantovani stirring fear to broadcasters that Quintero's injuries were quite severe. Having had a night to collect himself and view television footage of the accident Quintero reflects that he was lucky to be alive.

    "I watched the video of my crash on YouTube, and it scared me," said Quintero. "I only remember losing my line on the descent and then flying into a flower bed, nothing else.

    "Thank God, I was as lucky as I was."

    The Colombian will sit out of competition for at least the next 15 days, but the team hopes he'll be available for the very busy schedule ahead of them over April which includes; La Fleche Wallonne, Giro del Trentino and the Tour of Turkey.

    Colombia-Coldeportes next two races are the Coppi e Bartali and the Criterium International. Full teams for both races are below.

    Criterium Internaional: Darwin Atapuma, Esteban Chaves, Fabio Duarte, Felipe Laverde, Wilson Marentes, Jarlinson Pantano, Victor Hugo Peña and Jeffry Romero.

    Coppi e Bartali: Robinson Chalapud, Javier Gonzalez, Juan Pablo Forero, Frank Osorio, Dalivier Ospina, Michael Rodriguez and Juan Pablo Suarez.

  • BikeNZ already eyeing 2016 Olympic tilt

    Josh Atkins of PowerNet on his way to winning his first Tour of Southland
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 3:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Pure Black Racing, national body join forces

    While the focus is firmly fixed on the London Olympics, BikeNZ has begun development for the Olympic Games in 2016.

    They have named an eight-strong team in partnership with Pure Black Racing to compete on the roads of Europe, with the aim of the group forming a nucleus working towards the Rio Olympics on both the track and road.

    It forms a major part of new partnership for BikeNZ, Pure Black Racing and Avanti who joined forces to create an international road racing development program.

    "This is another important step in forging our partnership" said Greg Cross, Business Director of PureBlack Racing. "A lot of work has gone in since we announced the partnership in January to put this program together in a relatively short time."

    The BikeNZ track endurance riders included in the group comprise Scott Creighton, Cameron Karwowski and Pieter Bulling. Christchurch rider Alex Frame, currently involved in the preparation camp for next month's world championships, will join the group later.

    The squad includes two members of the Pure Black Racing development program in Aucklanders Dion Smith and Taylor Gunman, who rode for the team last year.

    BikeNZ will tap into some of the kiwi talent on professional contracts for the Under-23 Nations Cup campaign in the Netherlands and Belgium next month, as well as high ranking UCI races in Germany and Ireland. Dependant on availability from their professional teams and on the specific needs at each race, riders including Patrick Bevin, Tour of Southland winner Josh Atkins and national under-23 champion Michael Vink have indicated their interest.

    The squad will also compete on the track, road and criterium circuit in the United States for sixth weeks in June and July.

    "Certainly our High Performance focus is...

  • Goss: GreenEdge doing a "pretty good job" in first year

    Matthew Harley Goss (GreenEdge Cycling Team) kept his race lead
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 5:05 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    New team sticking to the game plan

    Matt Goss believes that WorldTour neophytes GreenEdge are measuring up to expectations, at least those set by the team, in their first few months.

    Goss, speaking to Cyclingnews before teammate Simon Gerrans' victory at Milan-San Remo on Saturday afternoon, said that there was little to complain about.

    "In the team respect we've done fairly well so far, we've won the national title, Down Under, pretty much everything in Australia," he said. "We've won the team time trial in Tirreno which is a huge thing being a brand new team and having never ridden together, never used this equipment and then to come out and win the way we did and have the jersey there.

    "While doing that we've had a team in Paris-Nice with Gerro who just missed out on a stage win and was unlucky to crash on the second opportunity for a stage win for himself," Goss continued. "I think that for a brand new team there's not a lot that people can pick at at the moment. We've been performing well."

    Question marks over the performance of GreenEdge followed the outfit from Gerrans' narrow overall win at the Tour Down Under to Qatar and Oman, while the opening WorldTour race raised some eyebrows for the way the ochre jersey was won.

    Phil Anderson, the man by and large responsible for Gerrans' love of the bike having lived next door in the town of Mansfield in Victoria, viewed the GreenEdge tactics as being "risky" especially with the stage and then overall result on Willunga Hill so close to not falling in Gerrans' favour.

    "Seeing Simon isolated on the circuits at the end was a very dangerous...

  • Route changes for 2013 Milan-San Remo?

    Simon Gerrans wins Milan-San Remo ahead of Fabian Cancellara
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 10:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    Organisers want to make race finale harder

    Traditionally a sprinter's race, the route of Milan-San Remo has been changed significantly twice since its inception in 1907. First, in 1960, organisers added the Poggio climb to the event, and in 1982, the Cipressa. The reason for both changes was the same: make the race more selective in order to ensure possible attackers a chance of victory.

    Now, it seems the time has come again. After this weekend's victory of Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) over Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan), observers in Italy have pleaded for the finish to be set up at the very foot of the Poggio, so that the strongest man will be rewarded instead of the one with the fastest finishing speed. Even though a three-man escape group prevailed over the bunch, Cancellara was widely seen as having been the strongest, deserving the win instead of seeing it taken by Gerrans, who held onto the Swiss' wheel for the final ten kilometres before coming round him in the last 150 metres.

    Moreover, the race being Italian, organisers would like to see an Italian rider take the honours. "It's true that we have experienced an attractive finale, but once again the Poggio has not allowed Vincenzo Nibali [third-placed - ed.] to make the selection," organiser Mauro Vegni told L'Equipe. "But a race that doesn't give an attacker the chance to finish it off alone is not a race anymore. We'll have to modify it, to make it a bit harder."

    According to L'Equipe, organisers are currently thinking of two measures: First, on the Cipressa, the race will be deviated mid-way up on another road, which features steeper gradients. Secondly, the finish line will be located at the bottom of...

  • Degenkolb delighted with top five finish at Milan-San Remo

    John Degenkolb (Project 1T4i)
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 11:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    Zabel praises German sprinter and predicts future success

    John Degenkolb and Project 1t4i went into Milan-San Remo with the goal of having at least one rider in at the finish. They accomplished even more than that, with Degenkolb taking fifth place, only two seconds behind the leading trio. Not only that, he had two other teammates in the first chase group.

    “For me personally, the top ten would be an enormous success and a great dream,” he said last week.

    “I am very satisfied with this result,” he said on his personal website. “Of course, there will soon be questions of whether I think I can win in the future.” He is not thinking that far ahead at the moment, deciding rather to simply enjoy his fifth place in his first stab at Milan-San Remo. “It was a wonderful race with an exciting finale and I showed that this race suits me.”

    Degenkolb was at the front of the first group chasing the eventual podium of Simon Gerrans, Fabian Cancellara and Vincenzo Nibali. “I was in something of a tough spot in San Remo,” he said. “Ahead, three riders were gone and I opened the sprint behind them. I had to take the risk that someone would come from behind.” Peter Sagan of Liquigas did exactly that, taking the sprint of the field.

    He was praised for his performance by none other than four-time Milan-San Remo winner and former German sprint start Erik Zabel. “Directly in fifth place at his first Milan-San Remo – and that was at just 23 years of age. That can become his race someday,” the Katusha directeur sportif said.

    He did not do nearly as well in his first go at the race. “I started here at 23, too, but I think I finished five minutes after the winner, as about...