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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, April 9, 2011

Date published:
April 09, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • De Wilde out of intensive care after Scheldeprijs crash

    Sjef De Wilde (Veranda's Willems - Accent) is assisted by medics after a crash
    Article published:
    April 08, 2011, 22:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Neck and back injuries stablised for Veranda's Willems-Accent rider

    Sjef De Wilde, the rider who was injured in the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday, was moved out of the intensive care unit his team announced today.  Injuries to his neck and back were stabilized but he remains in the hospital to be treated for head injuries, the Team Veranda's Willems-Accent said.

    De Wilde crashed in the final sprint on Wednesday, going through the barricades on the side of the course. He was then immediately taken to hospital, where ultimately one fractured vertabrae, a light brain hemorrhage and a concussion were diagnosed.

    “I just spoke to Sjef for the first time,” team manger Bill Olivier said.  “He is optimistic and has been talking about rehabilitation and returning to the peloton.”

    The 29-year-old “has now been allowed to sit up and is able to take solid food".

    The head injuries continue to need extensive care.  “It is primarily the concussion and the effects of the severe impact on the head that still require further follow-up,” Olivier said.  “Currently, Sjef is still struggling to concentrate and also has problems with his short term memory, both due to the heavy blow.”

    Olivier added that the rider's helmet absorbed much of the impact, “otherwise the consequences may have been much worse.”

  • UCI to enforce rule barring pros from non-USA Cycling events

    Michael Creed in action during the final stage of the 2010 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic.
    Article published:
    April 08, 2011, 22:50 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    American Cycling Association and Oregon Bicycle Racing Association speak out

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) has informed teams it will strictly enforce its rule prohibiting men and women professional riders from participating in events that are not recognized by a national federation. According to Chief Operating Officer of USA Cycling, Sean Petty, a letter was sent to all UCI team managers on March 14.

    "It applies to UCI men and women’s teams and communication should have gone to all registered UCI teams, men and women," Petty told Cyclingnews. "We sent a second email to the UCI team riders informing them of this rule just in case the team directeurs hadn’t gotten the word out. We are starting the racing season and we wanted to send it out as a reminder of the participation rules which we shared with their team directeurs in our email note in March."

    The UCI's Code 1.2.019 states, "No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI."

    In addition, rule 1.2.021 states that, "Breaches of articles 1.2.019 or 1.2.020 shall render the licence holder liable to one month's suspension and a fine of 50 to 100 Swiss francs."

    The US currently has a total of 19 UCI-sanctioned men's and women’s teams that includes four ProTeams, two Professional Continental, 10 Continental teams and three UCI-sanctioned women’s teams, and many of the riders make their base in the USA for at least part of the season and use local races for training.

    "I’m not sure how long this rule has existed for but it has been there a while because it is a fundamental directive from the UCI, that everyone with a license must compete in events that are sanctioned by a federation," Petty said. "For non-USA Cycling sanctioned events there is no variance, they are simply the rules and the UCI teams and riders are obliged to follow those...

  • Bruised Boonen sees early selection in Paris-Roubaix

    Three-time Paris-Roubaix champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    April 08, 2011, 22:51 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian triple winner hopes for duel with 'Superman' Cancellara

    Two days before Paris-Roubaix, Quick Step's star Tom Boonen is still trying to work out the pain from his crashes in Wednesday's Scheldeprijs before attempting a record-equaling fourth win on the vélodrome in Roubaix.

    Boonen spoke to the press in Kortrijk after doing his reconnaissance of the pavé in France and said he would be back in top form for Sunday's race.

    Boonen paid another visit to the chiropractor on Friday to work out the last of the soreness from the mid-week battering "There are some bruises in the bodywork but those should be fixed by Sunday. Of course it's better not to crash. My saddle probably hit my thigh and that muscle is stiff. I crashed on my backside and that's all blue.

    "I was suffering a little bit during the reconnaissance, especially on the cobbles but the second day after a crash is always the worst. I'm assuming it'll be all right by Sunday. It causes a bit more headaches in the build-up for Roubaix but without pain I'll be one of the main competitors," Boonen said.

    After an exciting Tour of Flanders where he narrowly missed the podium, Boonen expected that a solo move like the one from Cancellara last year would be out of the question for the 2011 edition. "There's a lot of headwind so a solo doesn't seem possible to me; it'll be harder to be alone in front."

    The Quick Step team showed good tactics in the Tour of Flanders which eventually led to the defeat of Cancellara, although it wasn't a Quick Step rider who clinched the deal. "Hopefully it'll be a scenario like last Sunday. It'll be hard to improve on our tactics especially against superman," Boonen enjoyed using the new nickname from Cancellara.

  • UCI signs up Tour of Beijing for four years

    Mr Li, Director of the Beijing Sports Bureau and UCI President Pat McQuaid sign an agreement for a new stage race to join the UCI WorldTour
    Article published:
    April 09, 2011, 1:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Chinese event part of push to globalise cycling

    The UCI has announced that it has signed a four-year agreement with the organisers of the Tour of Beijing, the newest event in the 2011 UCI World Tour.

    The inaugural running of the Tour of Beijing is scheduled to take place October 5th-9th, and is part of the UCI's efforts to spread professional cycling's top events around the world.

    "The Tour of Beijing is a significant step in the UCI's policy of the globalisation of cycling," said UCI president Pat McQuaid.

    "Like other countries in this continent, China is fast establishing an important place for itself in the world of cycling, and we are extremely satisfied to be able to finalize this project – which represents a great achievement for the whole Asian cycling movement – in cooperation with Beijing's authorities. I'm sure UCI's know-how and Chinese's enthusiasm will make this new event a very successful one."

    Vice Mayor of the Beijing Municipal Government, Liu Jingmin said his city was keen to repeat the success enjoyed during the cycling events of the 2008 Olympic Games. "The Tour of Beijing is a legacy of these Games. Our city is honoured to be part of the UCI WorldTour and proud to once again welcome the world's elite cyclists."

    The first major world (nee ProTour) event to be organised outside Europe was the Tour Down Under in Australia. After an aborted attempt to add the Gran Prix of Sochi in Russia to the tour, the UCI last year added two one-day events in Canada, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal to the otherwise European calendar.

    The Tour of California has been reportedly seeking to join the World Tour, but objections over the exclusion of the USA's top domestic teams and other factors have delayed its entry.

    Teams have threatened to use the UCI's desire to globalise the sport against it over the issue of banned...

  • Cooke "more ready" than ever to lead Saxo Bank-SunGard in Paris-Roubaix

    Former Tour de France green jersey Baden Cooke has stepped back up from his Professional Continental squad to a ProTour outfit in Saxo Bank for this season.
    Article published:
    April 09, 2011, 2:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Team says the pressure is off following Nuyens' Flanders win

    Former Tour de France green jersey winner, Baden Cooke heads into tomorrow's Paris-Roubaix as Saxo Bank-SunGard's team leader.

    The team says that following last week's victory by Nick Nuyens in the Tour of Flanders and earlier in Dwars door Vlaandern, the pressure is off and it's up to the tough 32-year-old Australian to see if he can crack it for his first race win since 2007.

    "I'm a bit of a mixture of between [being] nervous, excited and really motivated," Cooke told SBS' Cycling Central this week.

    "It's a race that since I was a little kid, I've watched and was really amazed by it. I've done it a few times now and know how unbelievably hard it is and how torturous it can be so this year I think I'm more ready than I ever have been before to be at the front."

    Cooke was part of a key chase group mid-race during the Tour of Flanders following the Molenberg. He finished the race in 87th, 15:28 back on Nuyens.

    The Australian has come close to the top spot on the podium on several occasions already this season nabbing fourth on the second stage of the Volta ao Algarve; fifth in the Dwars door Vlaandern and 10th in Gent-Wevelgem.

    "Nick [Nuyens] pretty much saved our spring classic season with his wins in Dwars door Vlaandern and Ronde van Vlaandern so we enter Paris-Roubaix a little differently than usual," explained team sports director Tristan Hoffman.

    "I put my biggest hopes into Baden [Cooke] who is feeling strong and he is really tough in these kind of races. He has been working so hard for...

  • Sinkewitz challenges human growth hormone positives

    Patrik Sinkewitz (ISD - Neri) after winning the Giro della Romagna.
    Article published:
    April 09, 2011, 3:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Says questioned blood value could have a natural cause

    Patrik Sinkewitz has sworn to fight the latest doping charges against him, saying he feels unfairly treated. The German also questioned the results of the tests, although he acknowledged that fighting the establishment would cost not just time but also a lot of money.

    The UCI said that Sinkewitz tested positive for human growth hormone, the first cyclist to do so, in March. The B sample was also positive. Sinkewitz has denied using HGH or any illegal substance.

    A “recognised Italian scientist”, whose name he did not release, reviewed the process and has confirmed the cyclist's suspicions, he said on his personal website.

    No substance was found in my body. Instead this deals with one single blood value. This value has never before been detected in me, established in me or analysed. There is therefore nothing to compare this value to.”

    The test for HGH is “used only by the UCI,” and experts have told him that the blood value which was found in his sample and ruled positive “is not at all unusual and can have a natural source,” Sinkewitz added.

    He knows it won't be an easy fight. “I don't have my head in the clouds. I will continue to fight for fair treatment, but in light of my past, there won't be many people who really believe me,” Sinkewitz admitted.

    “In addition, my fight has its limits. To present the substantiated scientific evidence will not only cost me much time, but will also entail an enormously high financial expenditure.”

    But he will...

  • Roux set to deliver after Sarthe victory

    Anthony Roux speaks to the media following his stage win
    Article published:
    April 09, 2011, 4:31 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    FDJ expects him to be the next French big gun

    After being sidelined with no possibility of racing or training for five weeks due to a heel injury at the end of February, Anthony Roux was relieved to get his first win of the year at the end of stage 4 of the Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire. He was even happier when he claimed the overall title in Bonnétable.

    "To watch Paris-Nice on TV with an injured foot was unbearable", Roux recalled. "I had prepared the season well and I wasn't able to race. It was hard to accept it." The 23-year-old came back for the Criterium International at the end of March and finished tenth of the individual time trial, which seems to be his speciality.

    "He can also do well at the Ardennes classics", his team manager Marc Madiot told Cyclingnews. "He's got a really big engine. Everyone remembers how he won stage 17 in the Vuelta a Espana two years ago. He was in a breakaway and resisted by himself to the return of the bunch. This is the real indication on what he's able to do."

    Last year, Roux made his debut at the Tour de France but didn't encounter any success. He became famous on French TV for Madiot's instructions to not remain the lanterne rouge. He struggled to finish fourth from the bottom but not last on GC. "He has discovered the suffering of the Tour", Madiot remembered. "It was a very good learning experience for him. He's not a climber, we all know that, but in the climbs of the Ardennnes, except the Mur de Huy in the Flèche Wallonne, he can do well with the physique he's got. He arrives in good shape at the right time."

    At the Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire, Roux enjoyed being escorted by a very dedicated team with the experience of FDJ recruit

  • Cancellara unconcerned by new cobbles at Paris-Roubaix

    Fabian Cancellara is the focus of all attention going into Paris-Roubaix
    Article published:
    April 09, 2011, 6:14 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Swiss rider moves to downplay criticism of Nuyens and Boonen

    Fabian Cancellara does not believe that the new section of pavé immediately after the Forest of Arenberg will make a significant impact on the outcome of Paris-Roubaix. Speaking at Leopard Trek's pre-race press conference in Kortrijk on Friday, the Swiss rider also moved to downplay criticism he had made of Nick Nuyens and Tom Boonen in the aftermath of last weekend’s Tour of Flanders.

    Cancellara tested the new cobbled section at Millonfosse-Bousiginies on Thursday morning as he and his teammates reconnoitred the course, and he did not see enough to alter his thinking substantially ahead of the Hell of the North.

    "There are cobblestones again sooner after the Arenberg, but they’re not so special and not so hard," Cancellara said. "When you look at last year, the sector we had afterwards for almost 4km was pretty long and harder. In the end, it’s all about how the race pans out. It depends on whether there’s a small group or not. But before that you can’t really say, we have to make the race before that."

    In the wake of his ultimately failed attack on the Leberg at the Tour of Flanders, Cancellara had told reporters that he had sought not only to win the race, but to mark its history by riding the perfect race. He refused to be drawn on the precise nature of his tactics for Paris-Roubaix, but he acknowledged that a hard race would suit him better than a tense, tactical one.

    "The best thing would be to have all the favourites at the front early," he said. "It's always hard to know what the best scenario is. Obviously you hope that the others have a weak moment and you have the best day. That's the dream, but dreaming is one thing…

    "In the end it's Roubaix, I'm for sure not the only one who wants to...