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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 4, 2013

Date published:
March 04, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Pozzato left embarrassed after Roma Maxima mix up

    Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida)
    Article published:
    March 03, 2013, 17:55 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Lampre-Merida rider thought he had won the sprint

    Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) threw his arms in the air thinking he had won the Roma Maxima race, only to discover a few seconds later that Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) had managed to stay away and win the first edition of the new-look Italian race.

    After chasing hard to catch the main peloton and then a five-rider chase group inside the last kilometre, Pozzato was unaware that Kadri was still away and was convinced he was sprinting to win.

    "I'm gutted not to win but it happens…." Pozzato said.

    "When I got back on I thought there was only the five guys up front an so when we caught them and fought out the sprint, I put my arms up because I thought I'd won. When I saw that my soigneur was hiding instead of celebrating, I knew there was something wrong…"

    With race radios not allowed in UCI Europe Tour level races, the riders competing in Roma Maxima had to rely on the official motorbike blackboard and their own teams for race information.

    "Most sports are happy to accept the advantages of new technology, but cycling likes to ignore them. But this isn't the moment for a debate about radios. I made a mistake. When I got back on, I asked Cunego who was up front and he told me Nibali was in a move. They sat up with a kilometre to go, I felt strong and so went or it."

    Pozzato could only laugh at his own mistake and accept some ironic congratulations from his teammates. He had at least shown some form and a fast finish as Milano-Sanremo approaches.

    "The only consolation is that my form is good and so now I'm going to work even harder at Tirreno-Adriatico and hopefully get a result at Milano-Sanremo, and the Belgian classics," he said, still shaking his head in a mix of embarrassment and disbelief.

  • Gaudin wins game of inches to spring surprise at Paris-Nice

    Damien Gaudin (Europcar) in the lead after the Paris-Nice prologue
    Article published:
    March 03, 2013, 20:03 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman takes first professional victory

    The margin of victory was tight and the scope for error was non-existent, but Damien Gaudin (Europcar) emerged triumphant from the game of inches in Houilles to claim a surprise win in the prologue of Paris-Nice on Sunday.

    After more than five years of trying, it all came down to a fraction of a second for the Frenchman, who held his nerve to take his first professional win, edging out Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM).

    “Today was the first time I ever took so many risks in a race and I think I needed to,” Gaudin said afterwards. “Chavanel was only a few hundredths of a second behind, I think, so if I’d braked any more I wouldn’t won. It still hasn’t sunk in, it’s just a lovely surprise.”

    The consensus beforehand was that the technical 2.9 kilometre time trial might throw up a surprise winner; a sprinter perhaps, someone who might thrive on the repeated explosive accelerations required by the course’s 13 corners. The name Damien Gaudin was certainly not on anyone’s lips before the start, but his pedigree over a similar distance on the track – he is the reigning French pursuit champion – meant that he harboured quiet ambitions of his own.

    “I’m used to racing the pursuit and doing a lot of track, so it’s a similar effort in a lot of ways: a violent effort,” said Gaudin, who has also won a slew of national titles in the team pursuit and Madison over the years for good measure.

    On the road, however, Gaudin’s results have been rather more modest, with a second place finish in the prologue of the 2011 Tour of Luxembourg behind Fabian Cancellara perhaps the stand-out performance before now. Gaudin boasts a similar physique to Cancellara – “a rider who makes me dream, a specialist,” he said – and that result was...

  • Kelderman shines in Paris-Nice opener

    Wilco Kelderman (Rabobank) in the white jersey
    Article published:
    March 03, 2013, 21:17 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    I’m here to help Gesink, says Dutch youngster

    Robert Gesink leads Blanco Pro Cycling’s challenge at Paris-Nice this week but it was his young teammate Wilco Kelderman who turned heads in the opening prologue around Houilles, finishing fourth, just two seconds off winner Damien Gaudin (Europcar).

    Still only 21 years of age, Kelderman has already set about building a reputation for himself as a solid climber and an especially fine time triallist. He demonstrated his abilities in the longer form of the discipline at last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, when he finished 4th in the 50km time trial at Bourg-en-Bresse, and he showed that he is scarcely lacking over shorter distances in the outskirts of Paris on Sunday.

    No fewer than 13 corners were shoehorned into the technical 2.9 kilometre course, but Kelderman put together an assured performance on the short but sharp test to stop the clock in a shade under 3:40. That was enough to top the leader board for much of the afternoon and while his time would eventually fall just short, he had the consolation of taking possession of the white jersey of best young rider.

    “I won the prologue at the Tour de l’Ain in 2011 when I was with the Rabobank Continental, and that was a very short time trial too, so I knew that I could go really well today,” Kelderman told Cyclingnews after descending from the podium.

    Before the season began, Kelderman told Cyclingnews that he was looking to be at his best for three WorldTour races in the opening half of the season – the Tour Down Under, Paris-Nice and the Giro d’Italia, where the second-year professional will make his Grand Tour debut.

    Kelderman was as good as his word in Australia in January, finishing sixth overall and helping teammate Tom...

  • Giro d'Italia debut part of bigger picture for Haas

    Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) put in a strong performance on the climb in Genting Highlands
    Article published:
    March 03, 2013, 23:56 GMT
    Alex Malone

    Garmin Sharp rider "could have won Langkawi" with time trial

    Bouncing back from a difficult start to the year at the Tour Down Under, Nathan Haas (Garmin Sharp) can take solace from his performance at the Tour de Langkawi, riding aggressively until the final kilometres in an attempt to leapfrog from sixth to fifth overall. The Australian was unable to improve his position but demonstrated huge inroads from his neo-pro season, attributing the Australian National Road Series for his "never give up" attitude. It's this unsparing approach he'll no doubt utilise as he plans his maiden ride at the Giro d'Italia this year.

    Haas's role at the 10-day race was to primarily to support Garmin Sharp teammate Peter Stetina, who rounded out the race in fourth and while doing so managed to finish sixth - a significant improvement from 46th overall this time last year.

    Starting the final stage with a seven-second deficit to fifth-place Meiyin Wang provided the 'sniff' Haas needed to go on the attack. He contested the intermediate sprints, picking up bonus seconds along the way but fell short by three-seconds as the peloton crossed the finish line at Kuala Terengganu.

    "We come from Australian racing which by nature is aggressive and we never give up," Haas told Cyclingnews. Something I learnt from Genesys back in the day was you just have to fight for every second. If they are there then you just have to do it.

    "Wang wasn't ready for it again today, he's not quick enough to get the jump. It was kind of cool to keep moving up but unfortunately I think I needed a time split at the end. He was smart enough to stay on my wheel and kept with me over the line. He kept fifth but I like to have fun in a race and never give up," added a satisfied Haas at the finish.

    Haas had arrived at the 2012 edition of Langkawi fresh-eyed and willing to do whatever required to support...

  • Kiwi Collins claims Wiggle Honda's first win

    Emily Collins (Wiggle Honda) wins the women's Omloop van het Hageland by a wheel
    Article published:
    March 04, 2013, 1:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    Omloop van het Hageland biggest victory of 22-year-old's career

    The rise of Emily Collins (Wiggle Honda) continued over the weekend with the young New Zealand rider taking out the Omloop het van Hageland for the biggest win of her career so far.

    In a bunch sprint to the finish, the 22-year-old topped Shelly Olds [TIBCO To the Top] and an in-form Emma Johansson [Orica-AIS] who had led a dangerous breakaway attempt in the closing kilometres of the 122km race.

    Collins held her nerve, following the wheels of the chase mounted by the team of Specialized-lululemon, to eventually edge out her rivals on the line.

    "I really didn't have a clue what was happening out there," the Collins explained. "I was following Specialized-lululemon's train. I was lucky to come out of the wheel when it came out apart. I am really shocked to win my first UCI race. I didn't feel too good the whole race so I didn't expected this. It's the first win of our team and my teammates did a tremendous job today.

    The win by Collins is the first for the new team, with Wiggle Honda’s only other result of the season so far coming with a third place for former road world champion, Gorgia Bronzini on Stage 3 of the Ladies Tour of Qatar. Rochelle Gilmore, who both rides on the team and owns the team said she was not surprised that Collins won.

    Collins gave a hint of her form at last week's Le Samyn Des Dames, winning the sprint jersey and rounding out the top 10 across the finish line.

    "I noticed Emily's talent in Europe late last year and I put a lot of effort into providing Emily with the environment she would need in order to reach her potential," Gilmore said. "Emily needed a team that believed in her and I certainly did.

    "The other members of the team have played a huge part in setting Emily up for her first international win! Simon [Cope - directeur sportif] is a very smart operator and is very involved with his...

  • Limited support for Renshaw at Paris-Nice

    Blanco sprinter, Mark Renshaw (Blanco)
    Article published:
    March 04, 2013, 3:20 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Australian looks to continue winning start to season

    Mark Renshaw is aiming to continue his solid start to the season at Paris-Nice, but with his Blanco team built around the general classification ambitions of Robert Gesink, the Australian is aware that he will have limited support in the sprints this week.

    Renshaw claimed his first victory of the campaign at the Clasica Almeria last weekend, which was also only his second since joining the then-Rabobank set-up ahead of last season. Confidence is perhaps a more important part of a sprinter's make-up than it is for any other rider, and after a couple of near-misses at the Tour Down Under in January, Renshaw admitted that he was relieved to get off the mark in Spain.

    "It's important to start the season with a win," Renshaw told Cyclingnews. "I was close in Down Under so I knew I was in good form but it was nice to confirm that with the win - and now I've got a couple of good chances coming up this week."

    Those two chances come early at the Race to the Sun, on the opening two road stages on Monday and Tuesday before the terrain becomes significantly more rugged at the tail end of the week. While the presence of Steven Kruijswijk, Wilco Kelderman and Gesink means that Blanco has one of the strongest teams in the race for the general classification, it also leaves Renshaw with just one designated helper in the sprint finishes, his fellow countryman David Tanner.

    "We're coming here with a strong team for the general classification so that makes it quite difficult for me in the sprints as the support is limited," Renshaw said. "But hopefully David Tanner can help me out in the sprints and we can do something here."

    Renshaw was speaking shortly after completing the...

  • Italy hails the next Moser generation

    Moreno Moser (Cannondale) wins the 2013 Strade Bianche in style
    Article published:
    March 04, 2013, 5:47 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Strade Bianche winner to target the Ardennes rather than Paris-Roubaix

    Gazzetta dello Sport celebrated Moreno Moser's victory at the Strade Bianche race by crowning the Cannondale rider as the next great of the Moser family.

    "E' un vero Moser" - "He's a real Moser" the Italian sports newspaper headlined a double-page spread on the race, revealing how 30 family and friends had traveled from Palu' di Giovo in the Dolomites to Siena to cheer Moreno to victory.

    Until now Moser was famous for his 'fuciliata' - a late attack, made famous by Francesco Moser's rival Giuseppe Saronni. But his aggressive long-range attack to win Strade Bianche and his ability to hold off a pursuit by big-name rivals, reminded many of the way Francesco Moser attacked alone to win Paris-Roubaix and many of his other career victories.

    Moreno Moser played down the racing similarities with his uncle but admitted they have similar characters. He was born on Christmas Day 1990 and so is still only 22. He was the youngest rider to finish Strade Bianche and the first Italian winner.

    Gazetta dello Sport suggested that Moser is leading the way for a new generation of young Italian riders. Giving Italian cycling signs of a successful future on the horizon, rather than just signs of decay.

    Fortunately Moser is intelligent enough to not let any pressure or expectation affect him or inflate his ego. He is happy to enjoy his success.

    "It's great to win. When you're in the race and focused on what you're doing, it’s difficult to enjoy it but when you can savour victory like I did by winning alone, that's pretty cool," he said.

    "I've always liked Strade Bianche and when I rode it last year, I promised myself I'd come back and win one day. I didn't expect it to happen so soon but it's great it did."

    "Some people didn't believe in us as a team after the...

  • NetApp-Endura would see Tour de France wildcard as reward for hard work

    Team NetApp-Endura for 2013
    Article published:
    March 04, 2013, 10:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    Would be first German team to ride since 2010

    Team NetApp-Endura is in the running for a wildcard invitation to the Tour de France, and team manager Ralph Denk said it would be the reward for the team's “hard work and continual development.” The Professional Continental team made its grand tour debut last spring in the Giro d'Italia.

    Last week the Tour organizer ASO announced that six teams were up for three wildcard invitations to the 100th Tour this year. They are NetApp-Endura, IAM Cycling, Bretagne-Séché, Cofidis, Europcar, and Sojasun.

    “Our team stands for a new generation of cyclist,” Denk told Cyclingnews.  “We haven't gone this route only in these current difficult times, but have been doing so for four years.

     “This young team with clean riders would certainly not go to the Tour de France to win. But we are confident enough to help shape the best cycling race in the world. At the Giro d'Italia last year we proved that we are good for a surprise at a Grand Tour.”

    He continued, “I would be very happy if our hard work and continual development would be rewarded. After two years without a German team, our partiipation in the 100th Tour would be something very special for the German fans. The media reports in Germany from the Giro last year showed how much attention a race can generate.”

    NetApp merged with the British Continental team Endura Racing for the 2013 season, but has remained a German-based team.