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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, April 17, 2010

Date published:
April 17, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Mapei backs 2010 road world titles

    Article published:
    April 16, 2010, 19:12 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Squinzi continues support of Australian cycling

    Mapei CEO Dr Giorgio Squinzi and General Manager of the 2010 UCI Road World Championships Michael Palmer today announced that the Italian construction chemical products company will sponsor this year's world titles to held in Geelong, Australia.

    "I think the sponsorship of the world championships in Melbourne is a natural development of the Mapei presence in cycling," said Squinzi from the comany's headquarters in Milan, Italy.

    "We started in 1993 with the creation of our Mapei team, which for eight years out of nine - 1993 until 2002 - was the number one professional cycling team in the world, thanks also to several Australian riders like Cadel [Evans] and Michael [Rogers]," he added, alluding to the presence of the two Australians who have won world titles and for whom September's event on home soil will be a major highlight.

    The team reigned supreme during the 1990s and into last decade, boasting the likes of Paolo Bettini, Johan Museeuw, Oscar Freire and the late Franco Ballerini, accumulating Classics wins and world titles seemingly at will.

    "We stopped in cycling at the end of 2002 but our heart remains very close to the sport and since Varese in 2003 until Mendrisio in 2009 we have been very proud to be the official sponsor of the world championship, which will happen in Melbourne this year," said Squinzi.

    Mapei maintains a strong connection to Australian cycling, continuing its support of the national Under 23 outfit that is based in Varese and has produced the likes of current pro riders Cameron and Travis Meyer, Jack Bobridge, Simon Clarke, Matt Lloyd and Matt Goss.

    Squinzi's also explained that his history with the sport runs deep and personal: "My father was a cyclist in the 1920s and '30s and I have so much passion for this sport - it is absolutely the most beautiful sport.

    This [sponsorship] is to reaffirm our presence in cycling and passion for cycling; I am also an enthusiast of Australian...

  • Amstel versus Volcano Eyjafjallajökull

    Marco Pinotti and the Liquigas riders stop for food during the long drive to Maastricht
    Article published:
    April 16, 2010, 19:16 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Riders forced to drive across Europe to reach Maastricht

    The fallout from the Icelandic volcano has left teams scrambling to find alternative means of transport so riders can reach Maastricht in time for Sunday's Amstel Gold Race.

    Some of the 24 teams on the start list, including the Team Sky and Garmin-Transitions teams, have been in the area since Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl. However other teams and riders have been forced to begin long road trips in cars and buses on Friday afternoon, and book early morning trains for Saturday so they can be sure to make it to the start in time.

    Brussels Airport confirmed that Zaventem would stay closed until at least 10:00am on Saturday morning and other possible airports riders could travel to in northern Europe are not expected to open before that.

    Teams have to officially confirm their line-up for races the afternoon before a race. Some are just hoping to get a minimum number of six riders to Maastricht so they can at least start the race.

    “This is force majeure. Nothing can be done against this,” race director Leo van Vliet said on the Amstel Gold Race website.

    "Several teams have contacted our organization and they are already taking all possible measures so that they can be in Limburg on time. That is clever. My opinion is that the problem will solve itself, but most important is that the ash cloud disappears soon”

    On the road

    Italy's Marco Pinotti told Cyclingnews he left his home in Bergamo early on Friday afternoon and is traveling north to Holland with teammate Michael Albasini and several Liquigas riders on a team bus. They plan to drive to Luxembourg on Friday and then complete the journey on Saturday morning so they can go for a ride to stretch their legs in the afternoon. Pinotti has already posted tweets during his trip. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is also reported to be driving from his home in Lugano to Maastricht, and world champion Cadel Evans (BMC) faces a similar...

  • Fränk Schleck on a hat trick of celebrations

    Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    April 16, 2010, 19:18 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Schleck brothers ready for Amstel, Flèche and Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Boosted by the birth of his first child on Thursday, Fränk Schleck will head into the Ardennes Classics with high morale. The Saxo Bank rider also celebrated his 30th birthday on the same day and along with his brother Andy, he will be looking to make it a hat trick of celebrations for the family with a win.

    Both Schlecks will compete in Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Last year Andy won Liège, while in 2006 Fränk won his first and only Classic at Amstel.

    This year the brothers have split their targets, with Andy aiming for Amstel and Fränk for Liège.

    “We’ll see what happens and how the races go. We’ll take it race-by-race but that situation with Andy winning Amstel and me Liège would obviously be a dream,” Fränk told Cyclingnews.

    The birth of his daughter was meant to take place in May - after the Ardennes - but with her early arrival Fränk is already beginning to feel the strains of fatherhood.

    “I’m a little tired right now as you can expect. I had a rough night and some rough training the day after.

    “I’d just fallen asleep when my wife woke me up and we had to drive to hospital and at 6am Leea was born. That’s pretty cool as it’s a double celebration, as I turned 30 too.”

    Fränk returned home after the birth and trained for several hours with his brother and teammates Laurent Didier and Jakob Fuglsang. The team aim to ride the last 80 kilometres of Amstel on Saturday and despite missing valuable sleep Fränk says he has good morale. However, the Dutch Classic is a bittersweet race for him. Despite winning in 2006, he was forced out of the race last year after a serious crash which saw him taken to hospital.

    “The morale is good, but I don’t know if missing sleep is the perfect preparation. In the last years we...

  • North American teams prep for Amgen Tour of California overseas

    The peloton in action during stage four of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California.
    Article published:
    April 16, 2010, 20:02 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Squads head to Europe, Asia and South America

    Several North American-based Continental teams are opting to travel to Europe, Asia and South America to prepare for the highly anticipated Amgen Tour of California held from May 16-23.

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar offers a selection of high caliber stage races that begin with the UCI 2.2 Vuelta Mexico Telmex held in central Mexico from April 18-25, UCI 1.1 Tro-Bro Leon in France on April 18, UCI 2.2 Tour de Korea held from April 22-May 2 and the UCI 2.2 Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste-Trophee des Granitiers held in France from April 25-May 1.

    Team Type 1 and SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy will be heading south to the Vuelta Mexico Telmex this weekend. The eight-stage race offers higher altitude and prime mountainous terrain suitable for gaining top end fitness.

    SpiderTech will field an eight-man squad that includes Francois Parisien, Keven Lacombe, Martin Gilbert, Bruno Langlois, Lucas Euser, David Boily, Flavio De Luna and Guillaume Boivin.

    "Mexico is UCI sanctioned and therefore important for our team," said the squad's directeur sportif Steve Bauer. "The race is tough, competitive and will provide a challenging preparation for our riders beginning one month before Tour of California and finishing just less than three weeks before that race and we believe this will be the ideal race prior to that. After Vuelta Telmex some of the riders doing this race may opt for Joe Martin as final preparation for the Tour of California or may prepare by training."

    Team Type 1 also will be sending a squad to compete in the Vuelta Mexico Telmex. Its riders include Javier Megias, Valeriy Kobzarenko, Davide Frattini, Chris Jones, Aldo Ino Ilesic, Michael Creed, Shawn Milne and Scott Stewart.

    "It is UCI 2.2 and it's eight days long," said Vassili Davidenko. "There are not many UCI events like that in North America where you compete against the riders from around the globe. The event has great history, is well...

  • Tough break for Milram's Stroetinga

    Wim Stroetinga (Team Milram) was another local rider with a good chance of winning.
    Article published:
    April 17, 2010, 10:06 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dutch rider out for several weeks after GP Denain crash

    Milram will have to do without sprinter Wim Stroetinga for several weeks after the Dutch rider suffered a complicated fracture of his right hand at the GP Denain, earlier this week. It is the third major injury for the team this season.

    The 24-year-old was one of four Milram riders who went down in a crash in the finale of the GP Denain on Thursday. “The crash couldn't be predicted. We have a good sprint train built up and were in an optimal position for the closing sprint. All of a sudden there was a sideways jerk through the field and it caught us,“ said Milram directeur sportif Jochen Hahn

    The fracture was confirmed Friday at a hospital in Amstelveen, Netherlands. Stroetinga will undergo surgery on Wednesday.

    The crash happened about 250 metres before the finish line. “Five riders went down, including four from our team. It was quite a crash. Wim de Vocht lost two teeth, Roger Kluge hurt his back. Artur Gajek had been in a crash earlier and had to abandon. That was not a good day for our team today,“ continued Hahn.

    Earlier this season, Milram lost sprinter Gerald Ciolek when he suffered multiple fractures in a crash at the third stage of the Tour of Qatar. He is expected to return to racing at the Tour of Romandie. Fabian Wegmann broke his collarbone in Tirreno-Adriatico and will ride again for the first time Sunday in the Amstel Gold Race.
     

  • Eeckhout races for a week with broken vertebra

    Belgian veteran Nico Eeckhout (An Post Sean Kelly)
    Article published:
    April 17, 2010, 10:42 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian veteran ordered off the bike for at least ten days

    Niko Eeckhout's reputation as one of the toughest men in cycling was enhanced this week after it was revealed he has been competing with a broken vertebra in his past two races.

    The An Post-Sean Kelly rider crashed at the GP Pino Cerami on April 8, but has continued to race in spite of severe pain. This week, he started Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl, where he helped form the race-winning break, and Thursday's GP Denain. However, he was forced to withdraw from both events, with scans on Friday revealing the fracture in his back.

    "The pain was unbearable," Eeckhout told Sporza. "Every hole in the road caused so much misery on Wednesday and Thursday, and I was forced to pull out of the races. I was despondent, because every time I had good legs. It's all the result of a fall in the GP Cerami early April."

    In his 13th season as a professional, Eeckhout, 39, has been a visible presence throughout the Flemish portion of the spring Classics. His attacking mentality has been rewarded with a number of top-ten finishes, and a second place result at Dutch race Ronde van het Groene Hart.

    Eeckhout has now been ordered to rest for ten days, with further scans to be carried out before a decision is made on when he will return to racing.

    "Niko is not someone who just gives up, so I was already afraid that some day it would be a serious injury," said An Post-Sean Kelly manager Kurt Bogaerts. "He must now rest and then we'll look at things again."
     

  • Gilbert in top form for Amstel Gold Race

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    April 17, 2010, 11:09 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Belgian looks to end Omega Pharma-Lotto's drought in Holland

    Philippe Gilbert is convinced he has hit peak form just in time for the Ardennes Classics and feels he is ready to end Omega Pharma-Lotto team's long drought of results.

    Gilbert did not ride Paris-Roubaix, opting to save himself for the three Ardennes Classics, which are arguably the most important races of the season for the French-speaking Belgian and his team. Gilbert finished fourth in last year's Amstel Gold Race, just failing to go with Serguei Ivanov, Karsten Kroon and Robert Gesink, who fought out victory on the Cauberg.

    "Amstel is actually a lot like the Tour of Flanders but without the pavé. There are narrow roads, corners, short climbs and steep sections," Gilbert told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure after a reconnaissance ride of the final 90 kilometres of the slightly modified race route.

    "It was only last year that I finally managed to get a result, before then I always cracked on the in Eyserbosweg (the 28th of the event's 31 climbs, and one of the steepest at 8.8 per cent). I was just missing a teammate to close the 70-80 final metres that separated us from them at the foot of the Cauberg, otherwise..."

    Gilbert looked strong at Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl, near Brussels. He launched an attack in pursuit of the race's early breakaway but was unable to close the gap and Sebastien Rosseler (RadioShack) took the win, with Gilbert finishing fifth. However he is confident his form is good.

    "It was a great warm-up race on a course that is very similar to Amstel, he said. "I'm less tired than at the same time last year. My form's good. It's definitely not as good as last autumn but without a major Tour like the Vuelta in your legs, that's mission impossible."

    "But I am still in the condition I wanted to be. I delayed the start of my training this winter. I did everything so that I'd be ready now, and that's what happened. I've progressed week on week. I won't be disappointed if I...

  • Work for Cyclingnews, the world's leading cycling website

    Work for Cyclingnews, the world's leading cycling website
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 11:52 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cyclingnews is recruiting a writer for its UK office, based in Bath

    About The Role

    Cyclingnews.com, the biggest cycling website in the world is looking for a staff writer to join its successful team.

    As Cyclingnews staff writer you will write and produce your own news stories, sub-edit and publish stories from your colleagues on the Cyclingnews team and freelancers, research stories from foreign-language outlets, and produce UCI and national level race results. This is a great opportunity to perfect your production skills and also get the chance to write new editorial features, interviews and race reports.

    This role will involve weekend work on alternate weekends and occasional international travel.

    About You

    We are looking for an experienced journalist who is passionate and knowledgeable about road cycling. You will need razor-sharp attention to detail and high standards of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Excellent organisational skills and the ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines are vital. A good standard of written and spoken French is essential and an additional European language would be an advantage.

    What we can offer you

    In addition to a competitive salary, generous holiday entitlement, comprehensive training programmes and additional benefits this role puts you at the heart of the world’s best coverage of the sport of cycling. You will cover events and races on behalf of Cyclingnews, meeting with the biggest teams and riders in road cycling.

    How To Apply

    For more information, a full job description and to apply visit our website.