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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, June 4, 2011

Date published:
June 04, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Evans ready for Critérium du Dauphiné

    Cadel Evans (Team BMC) took his second stage race of the season
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 21:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian will assess form for Tour de France

    With victories in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie already under his belt this year, Cadel Evans (BMC) can target season's primary goal with a peaceful mind: the Tour de France.

    In preparation for the Tour, the 34-year-old Australian will line up Sunday to contest the Criterium du Dauphine and perhaps secure victory in a race he's finished second overall three consecutive years from 2007 to 2009.

    In 2010, the BMC team leader had set his sight on a Giro and Tour double, but it proved to be too much to handle. This year, Evans opted for a lighter programme. And while Evans rejects the favourite tag for the Criterium du Dauphine, he will be the man to beat on a race that is tailor-made for him.

    "Since the Tour de Romandie, I trained and rested with the Tour de France in mind because it is my big objective." he said.

    "I went to a training camp at altitude and checked out a few important Tour de France stages. I will check out some others after the Criterium du Dauphine. It will be an interesting race to assess my form and that of other riders who were not on the Giro. I'm not going there with great expectations. It is a test, not an objective."

    However, Evans is not a newcomer to the race and he also checked out a few important stages: Sunday's prologue in St-Jean de Maurienne (he won the Nancy prologue in 2009), Wednesday's time trial in Grenoble and the final two stages in the mountains.

    "Obviously, depending on how the race goes, I could get carried away as it happened to me in the past already. I like this race and its mountains but I did not check out all the stages in...

  • Bronzini and Cliff-Ryan will work together for Liberty Classic victory

    World champion Giorgia Bronzini (Colavita Forno d'Asolo) will make her Liberty Classic debut on Sunday.
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 22:15 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    World champion to make her Philadelphia debut

    World Champion Giorgia Bronzini (Colavita Forno D'Asolo) will compete for the first time at the UCI 1.1-ranked Liberty Classic held on Sunday, June 5 in Philadelphia.

    The Italian is hoping to add her name to the list of legendary sprinters to have won the race, but is also confident that her teammate Theresa Cliff-Ryan could do the same.

    "I would be happy to win this race for sure, because so many great sprinters have won it," Bronzini told Cyclingnews. "I feel very good with this team and I'm sure that if I am not very good at the end of the race, Theresa will be there and she is in good form right now. Together we can do a very good result for the team."

    Petra Rosner won the first edition of the Liberty Classic in 1996 and went on to win the race on six other occasions. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Highroad) won the race four times, including last year. However, she will not be returning to defend her title and has chosen to compete in the World Cup event held on the same day in Spain. Former world champion Regina Schleicher also won the race from a bunch sprint.

    The women will complete four laps of a challenging circuit that includes the steep 800-metre ascent of the Manayunk Wall for a total 92.8 kms. The circuits are 23.2 kms in length and will finish around Logan Square.

    "I have read about this race and some of my teammates who have done this race before have explained to me what kind of race could take place on Sunday," Bronzini said. "I have not seen the course yet, maybe I will, but I know that there is a steep climb and you have to get over it with power. I think it is a similar climb as the one on the world championship course in Melbourne.

    "I do think it is a good course for me but I am not in very good form right now," she added. "Maybe I...

  • Voigt a hard man on the bike, a softie at home

    Jens Voigt (Leopard Trek)
    Article published:
    June 04, 2011, 0:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hard work and humour combine in German veteran

    Jens Voigt is a hard man on the bike, but a self-confessed “mega-softy” at home.The German discussed a variety of issues in answering fan questions on the Leopard Trek team website.

    “All day long I walk around with a sword, shield and armour, ready to fight whatever comes across. That’s professional cycling,” he said. “When you’re home, you want to drop it all and open up to your family. I don’t like fighting at home. I want harmony at home.”

    The 39-year-old is no softie on the bike, though. What does he think when he makes tempo pulling the peloton along for endless kilometers? "Sometimes you think: why me? And on a good day, you think: Yeah, I’m going to make everybody behind me suffer like hell!”

    When he first started, though, “I had no idea of how good I was. That’s why I wanted to become professional: to see how far I could get. I tried everything, to see what suited me best: the mountains, the sprints, the breakaways, etc. When I discovered I was an all-rounder, I tried to maximise my efficiency in that.”

    Many fans know him for his breakaways, and the “most epic” one “was Paris-Bourges in 2003. I was out of contract at that time, so I didn’t have high hopes, nor big motivation. The race was on a Thursday and I remember we partied until really late on the Monday, in Toulouse. And on Wednesday we did some training and after 5 minutes I stopped at a coffee shop and told the boys I would wait for them there. The next day, in the race , I got dropped at least three times. But I got myself together, jumped across to the breakaway and won the race. That was pretty cool.”

    Voigt has also had his share of wins, and the one of which he is proudest is his win in the sixth stage of the...

  • Menzies looking to continue UnitedHealthcare's winning ways

    All's good in Malaysia: Karl Menzies (United Healthcare) from Australia had no plans to increase the tempo before the climb up Genting - nice one Karlos!
    Article published:
    June 04, 2011, 2:45 BST
    By:
    Alex Hinds

    Blue Train hunting for another win Philadelphia

    When it comes to criterium racing, UnitedHealthcare seem to have found a winning formula. Jake Keough, Hilton Clarke and Robert Förster are all fast, but the real linchpin may well be Karl Menzies. The Australian has won plenty of races in his time, most recently in the Sandy Springs Challenge, but is more than happy riding in one of the key support roles going in to the TD Bank International Grand Prix.

    "All year I've been up there; each win we've had has been a team effort but I think my skill set is more suited to leading out. As far as the team goes - that's been my role," Menzies told Cyclingnews. "We've all worked well together all season and hopefully that translates to another win on Sunday."

    'Working well together' may well be an understatement. In May's Speedweek series the 'Blue Train' dominated. Ominously, the team has only bolstered its ranks for Sunday's race, bringing in a number of all rounders to give the team plenty of options.

    "We've got a quality team here, some good sprinters and other types of riders. But in the last five years the race has come down to a bunch sprint. With that in mind, we're still focused heavily around our few good sprinters and lead-out train," commented Menzies.

    If it does come down to the sprint the likely choices for the team will be in the forms of Keough and Förster. Both have shown their pedigree so far this season with a number of wins, but Menzies was cautious about...

  • Injured return for Quick Step this weekend

    Patrik Lefevere and Marc De Maar at the Quick Step presentation.
    Article published:
    June 04, 2011, 8:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    De Maar, Maes back at Dauphiné, Tour De Rijke

    Eying a Tour de France start, Marc de Maar will make his return for Quick Step following an infection that kept the 27-year-old out of the Giro d'Italia.

    De Maar was forced to abandon the Tour of Romandie with a urinary tract infection that had left him feeling fatigued. The last few weeks have been spent in high-intensity training in a big for fitness before the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    "The objective is to try to ride a good race," said DS Tom Steels. "There will also be some veterans from the Giro d'Italia on the team, and we're counting on the conditioning they acquired during the pink race. We're lining up for the start with two young guys, Jan Tratnik and Julien Vermote, who just finished a two-week, high altitude retreat with other riders from the team in Font Romeu, in the Pyrenees. It will be interesting to see how Julien adapts to the race after the specific work we did in the mountains."

    Neo pro Vermote joined the team at the start of the season from Quick Step's satellite outfit, Team Beveren 2000.

    Meantime, in Holland, Nikolas Maes will return for the team at the Tour De Rijke following a fall in the Handzame race, which resulted in severe trauma to his pelvis.

    "Finally, I can get back to racing," explained Maes. "It's hard to stay away from competition for so long. After the fall I had to rest for five weeks, now I've been working out for about six weeks. I started slowly, because I still had a few aches and pains but now the situation has...

  • Rodriguez hopes to take advantage of Giro form in Criteriulm du Dauphine

    Second place finisher Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha)
    Article published:
    June 04, 2011, 11:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Katusha rider looks to mountaintop finishes for stage win

    Joaquim Rodriguez is going directly from the Giro d'Italia to the Criterium du Dauphine, looking for the stage win he couldn't get in Italy.  The Katusha captain finished fifth overall in the Giro.

    He wants to “take advantage of the form I built up after three weeks to see if I can't win the stage that escaped me in the Giro,” he said on his personal website.

    “The truth is that I have rested enough.  I trained almost every day and yesterday I did four and a half hours with some intensity. After a race as hard as the Giro, it is logical that you are tired, but it also true that once your engine is warm, you have to take advantage of what you have from those three weeks.”

    The Dauphine course suits Rodriguez, he said. “It has four mountaintop finishes, which gives me four chances. And it has a 42 km time trial, and after the closing time trial of the Giro, in which I was greatly improved over other time trials, I will be able to test my progress in this discipline.

    He will be supported at the Dauphine by Vladimir Goussev, Mikhail Ignatiev, Sergei Ivanov, Vladimir Karpets, Alexander Kolobnev, Egor Silin and Yuriy Trofimov.

  • Hushovd finds delayed Contador decision frustrating

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) didn't seem to mind the chilly start
    Article published:
    June 04, 2011, 11:22 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    World champion wants a stage and yellow jersey in Tour de France

    World champion Thor Hushovd finds the Alberto Contador situaiton “frustrating,” and is amongst those who don't understand why a final decision has not yet been made. The Garvin-Cervelo rider said it is unfair not only to Contador but also to all the riders in the field.

    “Obviously it's frustrating. Especially in the sense that no one - including us cyclists too - don't understand. We don't understand why a decision can't be made. Can't you just give a yes or no,” he told dagbladet.no.

    Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol during last year's Tour de France. The Spanish federation dismissed the charges, and the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency have appealed that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. That hearing has been postponed until the beginning of August.

    “It's a shame that it won't be done before the Tour de France. It will only create negative publicity about both Contador, the Tour and cycling in general, both before and during the Tour. And that's the only thing anyone will talk about if he wins,” said Hushovd.

    “What if he loses at CAS?  Will he lose his victory if he wins (the race), or will he keep it? Is it so unfair to the others. There are questions there all the time.”

    The Norwegian took a racing break after the Spring Classics, with his first race back the Amgen Tour of California, which he had to abandon due to illness. His next race will be...

  • Basso resumes racing at the Dauphiné

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) at the start
    Article published:
    June 04, 2011, 13:47 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Zero ambition for the Italian at the Alpine stage race

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas) will be racing again at the Dauphiné, starting with the 5.4-km flat prologue in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne on Sunday. It will be the first time the Italian has put a race number on his back since the Tour de Romandie, one month ago. He’s still on the road to recovery since he crashed in training in Sicily on May 17.

    Basso travelled to France on Friday with his Australian teammate and regular training partner Cameron Wurf to ride an Alpine stage of the Tour de France prior to taking part in the Dauphiné. “I’ll go and see some more stages after the Dauphiné, so I’ll have a clear picture of the Tour de France in the Alps”, to told Cyclingnews.

    “I’m still in the process of recovering from my crash,” Basso said. “It’s been a real halt in my preparation for the Tour de France. I’ve resumed training slowly. I’ve been struggling quite a lot since. I’m getting better but my form is far behind where I wanted to be.”

    At the Dauphiné, Basso will race against riders who have made the top ten of the Giro d’Italia and who will want to capitalize on their current form, like Joaquim Rodriguez (5th) and Kanstantsin Sivtsov (10th). Among the GC contenders of the Tour de France, hot favourites for the Alpine race are Cadel Evans, Samuel Sanchez, Robert Gesink, Tony Martin, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Bradley Wiggins, Alexandre Vinokourov and defending champion Janez Brajkovic.

    “I wouldn’t say that my ambitions for the Dauphiné are limited, they are non existent,” Basso made clear.

    “I’m coming to look for the right race rhythm for the Tour de France. This is an...