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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, April 6, 2013

Date published:
April 06, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Blanco talking to several interested sponsorship parties

    The Blanco squad
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 15:55 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Dutch WorldTour teams hanging by a thread

    Team Blanco’s search for a sponsor continues with the team’s manager confirming to Cyclingnews that negotiations are ongoing with a number of international and Dutch parties.

    Richard Plugge, who took over the position of team director, last December, told Cyclingnews that, “the process is still ongoing but we’re waiting for signatures. It can take two months but the process is still ongoing. There are still a handful of parties we’re talking to, both international and Dutch.”

    “I’m confident, but we don’t have a signature yet. In the end it could be a no from all parties so we have to wait. I can’t predict anything at the moment.”

    “My job is to save the team and that’s what I’m working on. The earlier the better but if it’s later that’s fine too.”

    The team is currently bankrolled by money reserved by their previous sponsor, the Dutch bank Rabobank.

    They pulled out of sponsorship at the end of the 2012 season, ending their 17-year association with the team in dramatic fashion after damaging headlines surfaced from both the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong and US Postal, and the doping practices carried out at the Dutch squad before 2008.

    Only a handful of riders who rode for the team between 1996 and 2008 have confessed, with Michael Rasmussen and Michael Boogerd the two highest in profile.

    The steady stream of doping confessions, coupled with the tough economic situation in Europe, has left Plugge with a difficult task in replacing Rabobank’s funds but he believes that despite the recent doping headlines at home, “abroad it’s less of a problem than it is in Holland.”

    The team has...

  • Roelandts ready to attack Cancellara again

    Jurgen Roelandts leads the Lotto Belisol squad down the Arenberg trench
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 17:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Roubaix suits me better than Flanders, says Belgian

    Lotto Belisol attacked the strength of Fabian Cancellara and his RadioShack Leopard team at the Tour of Flanders and the Belgian team's leader Jurgen Roelandts said that a repeat performance can be expected this Sunday at Paris-Roubaix.

    Roelandts rode to third place behind Cancellara and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) but given the 27-year-old prefers Roubaix to De Ronde, he's hoping for more.

    "Paris-Roubaix suits me better than the Tour of Flanders," Roelandts said during a press conference on Thursday. "It is more technical and more a knock-out race. It is the toughest course of the year. The competition is difficult to control, because there are always many different groups.

    "The team performance at Flanders was very good, we can go confidently to Paris-Roubaix and my third place gives another extra boost. This is my last goal in the pre-season and I'm very motivated."

    The Lotto Belisol squad joined many others on the 254km parcours for reconnaissance on Thursday and will be out once again on Friday morning. Roelandts noted that given the dry conditions, he expects to eat his fair share of dust come Sunday.

    "I will be watched closely after my performance at the Tour of Flanders," Roelandts admitted. "Paris-Roubaix is my race," he continued. "Now it's all against one. Cancellara is the man to beat. I want to do something... I certainly do not start with the thought that I still cannot win.

    "Just like in the Tour of Flanders is my intention to anticipate an attack from Fabian Cancellara. He is hard to beat if he does not have a mechanical or make tactical mistakes. It is up to...

  • Chavanel keen to fly under the radar before Paris-Roubaix

    Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) wasn't able to follow the acceleration of Fabian Cancellara.
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 18:05 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman to lead Omega Pharma-QuickStep

    It was neither the time nor the place to discuss Oscar Wilde's work in any depth, but it's safe to assume that Sylvain Chavanel would beg to disagree with the assertion that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

    Bandied about by all and sundry as the dark horse in the build-up to the Tour of Flanders, Chavanel's standing was such that he was never going to be given the freedom to jump up the road ahead of the finale, as he has done so often during his time at Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

    It's a situation that the Frenchman is eager to avoid at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, and although he is nominally team leader in the absence of the injured Tom Boonen, Chavanel was careful to downplay expectations when he met the press in Kortrijk on Friday afternoon.

    "It's easy to talk about anticipating Fabian Cancellara on Sunday and people were already complaining that I didn't try to do that at Flanders last week, but people talked about me so much beforehand that it was completely pointless for me to make an attack like that," Chavanel said ruefully, a baseball cap pulled down over his eyes. "It was practically impossible, the only way it might have worked is if Tom had still been there, but really it would have been a waste of energy."

    Instead, Chavanel opted to take his chances in the finale over the Kwaremont and Paterberg, but admitted that he didn't have the legs to follow Cancellara and Peter Sagan à la pédale. "I was 4th over the Kwaremont, so I was up there but those two guys were just too strong," said Chavanel, who finished with the main chase group in 13th place.

    Cancellara

    In...

  • Cancellara: "Sitting on my wheel is not the solution"

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) attractes quite a crowd for his pavé recon session.
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 19:05 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Two-time Paris-Roubaix champion confident in his team

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) may be the overwhelming favourite to take his third Paris-Roubaix title on Sunday but the Swiss has warned his rivals that marking him is not the way to combat his obvious strength.

    Cancellara shared the pre-Flanders spotlight with Peter Sagan (Cannondale) but with the 23-year-old wunderkind not racing this weekend, and four-time winner Tom Boonen out injured, the focus has been solely on the RadioShack leader, with the big question being – will Sunday be a contest or procession?

    "Sitting on my wheel is not the solution," Cancellara told a packed press conference on Friday afternoon, in the box seat to claim his second Flanders-Roubaix double having first succeeded in 2010.

    "We saw five strong riders from BMC on Sunday but they could not deliver what they probably should have delivered," he said. "We've seen other teams that have been up there with a lot of riders [at Flanders] but they didn't move. We know which riders and which teams are for sure going to move somehow on Sunday and that's good for us. Probably bad for the others because when they're just looking at us they make a war between themselves."

    Appearing perhaps slightly less fresh-faced as he had a week ago before the media pre-Flanders and with moments where he was not quite as confident, Cancellara did however seem assured by the fact that his team was up to the task at Paris-Roubaix. A crash on Wednesday at the Scheldeprijs followed by another on Thursday during reconnaissance over the 254km parcours no doubt the cause for any hesitation.

    Cancellara explained that if there were any lasting effects from his accident early in...

  • Turgot aims to spring another surprise at Paris-Roubaix

    Sébastien Turgot (Team Europcar) en route to an 8th place finish at the Tour of Flanders
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 21:05 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    France searches for first winner since 1997

    Sébastien Turgot surprised many by swooping to second place at Paris-Roubaix last year and the Europcar rider enters this year's race with ambitions of another podium finish after a solid performance at the Tour of Flanders last weekend.

    Turgot's campaign to date has been a model of quiet consistency – 15th at Milan-San Remo, 10th at E3 Harelbeke and 8th at the Tour of Flanders – but the crux of his spring will be played out this Sunday on the rocky road to Roubaix.

    "The morale is very good, I've prepared well for Paris-Roubaix and all the Classics this year," Turgot told Cyclingnews. "In Flanders I was already up there in 8th place with all of the best Classics riders in the world, so now I'm looking forward to Sunday."

    Turgot's striking progress over the past two years has mirrored the remarkable development of his Europcar team, even if it has not been without its controversies. He risked suspension last summer when he was placed under investigation after apparently recording three violations of the whereabouts system for anti-doping controls, although he was eventually cleared by the French federation.

    Prior to last year, Turgot's stand-out result was third place in Paris-Tours in 2008, and his best display on the pavé had been 14th place in the under-23 version of Paris-Roubaix in 2006. On a slate grey Easter Sunday in northern France, however, Turgot emerged from relative obscurity to land on the Paris-Roubaix podium.

    "That result was a bit of a déclic for me...

  • Devolder ready to support Cancellara's bid for Paris-Roubaix victory

    Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard) is in vintage form this classics season
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 22:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian says there's no plan B for RadioShack Leopard

    It is clear that Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) is the man to beat in Paris-Roubaix, but if the two-time Hell of the North champion hopes to add a third cobbled trophy to his mantle then the support of lieutenant Stijn Devolder may prove critical. Last week at the Ronde van Vlaanderen it was Devolder who kept the breakaway move under control by leading the peloton on his own for about 10 kilometres until the decisive ascent of the Oude Kwaremont. Devolder aims to repeat his excellent performance from Flanders at Paris-Roubaix. The former Belgian champion and double winner of the Tour of Flanders was confident the team would perform well.

    "For our team it's looking great. Two important wins (E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders) are already in the pocket and for Sunday there's no plan B scheduled," Devolder said. It was clear the team was only banking on Cancellara to win the race and nobody else.

    Following his emphatic Tour of Flanders victory last Sunday, Cancellara became the heavy favourite to win Paris-Roubaix, although his chances of success were perhaps tempered by first a crash on Wednesday during the Scheldeprijs and then another crash during a reconnaissance of the cobbles on Thursday.

    "When he crashed we were all worried. It was a loud knock on the ground. Besides the crash from Cancellara the reconnaissance went well. The course was dry now and I prefer it to stay like that. I actually like the dust that comes along with that," Devolder said.

    While it'll be his job to help Cancellara out in the finale, Devolder...

  • Video: Giro d’Italia contenders talk about the Corsa Rosa

    A historic day for Canada as Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) has won the 2012 Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 22:45 BST
    By:
    Cyclingnews.com

    Hesjedal, Wiggins, Nibali, Basso and Sanchez on racing in Italy

    The Giro d’Italia is just four weeks away and this year’s race is set to be one of the best ever editions of the Corsa Rosa, with Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), 2012 winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Ivan Basso (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) all chasing overall victory.

    The 2013 Giro d’Italia starts in Naples on Saturday May 4 and ends three weeks later in Brescia. In between are three tough weeks of racing, with a key mid-race time trial and a final week packed with mountain finishes.

    This video produced by race organiser RCS Sport, includes footage of five riders in action at the Giro d'Italia and reveals their passion for the Corsa Rosa and their memories of each time they have tackled the Giro.

    “The first time I rode was very overwhelming, I crashed hard,” Hesjedal recalled. “For a rider the Giro is an amazing event, for the fans, for the emotion, for the passion for the riders. I’m happy to be there, I’m ready to do it again. I’m looking forward to it.”

    Bradley Wiggins dominated the Tour de France in 2012 but his love for racing and admiration for Italian cycling made him determined to target victory at least once in his career.

    “The Giro represents one of the most historic races. It’s one of the most beautiful races,” he said. “The fans are pure cycling fans; they come to watch the racing. They’re very passionate.”

    Samuel Sanchez said: “I fell in love with the Corsa Rosa in 2005. It’s a great race, with the tifosi along the roadside. Everything was pink. I like racing in Italy because they love the sport,” he said.

    ...
  • Any UCI licensee forbidden from unsanctioned events, says USA Cycling

    Pactimo's Clara Hughes won the women's pro/open division of the Crusher in the Tushar on a 29-inch hard tail mountain bike.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2013, 2:49 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Clarification on 1.2.019 rule will affect all licensed riders

    USA Cycling today issued a clarification on its enforcement of the "forbidden races" rule, and the list of riders barred from participating in "unsanctioned" events now includes all riders with a UCI license.

    A letter from UCI President Pat McQuaid to USA Cycling makes it clear that rule 1.2.019, which prohibits all UCI licensed riders from competing in events that are not sanctioned by a national federation, should not only apply to riders on UCI-registered teams, as a USA Cycling spokesman previously told Cyclingnews, but to all riders who hold a UCI license. Athletes who participate in a "forbidden race" can be fined by their national federation and/or suspended up to 30 days.

    In a statement released simultaneously to its members and to the media, USA Cycling attached a copy of McQuaid's letter and said it has no choice but to enforce the UCI directive.

    "The UCI confirmed that Rule 1.2.019 and the related sanctions in 1.2.020 and 1.2.021 must apply to every UCI-recognized national federation in the world," USA Cycling claimed in its statement. "Therefore, as a member of the International Federation, USA Cycling will comply with the direction from the UCI."

    The UCI letter from McQuaid, dated March 26 and addressed to the presidents of all national federations, stated that the international governing body had become aware that some federations were experiencing difficulties in the interpretation and application of rules relating to "forbidden races." McQuaid's clarification was unambiguous about what the UCI expects from the national governing bodies.

    "No license holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognized by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI," McQuaid stated in the letter...