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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, March 2, 2013

Date published:
March 02, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • RadioShack bikes stolen at West Flanders

    Carryover RadioShack riders will find themselves on a much quieter looking bike for 2012.
    Article published:
    March 02, 2013, 9:08 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Update: Riders start second stage on spare bikes

    Thieves have struck the peloton again, and RadioShack-Leopard is the latest victim. One of its trucks was robbed during the night, leaving the team scrambling for bikes before Saturday's second stage of the Three Days of West Flanders.

    Update: The riders were able to take to the start, as the team tweeted, "Stage 2 of is underway. All riders were able to start on spare bikes after thieves stole 8 race bikes from the truck overnight."

    “Bad news from our team in Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen: overnight 8 bikes, a bunch of wheels and a tool box got stolen from the truck. We're doing all we can now to get the guys on spare Trek bikes at the start of stage 2!” the team posted on Facebook, Saturday morning.

    Only last month thieves cleaned out a Garmin-Sharp truck at the Tour du Mediterraneen, taking 17 bikes before the queen stage of that race. Other teams offered to supply substitute bikes, but the riders did not want to take on the mountains on unfamiliar bikes, and the team abandoned the race.

     

  • Tour de France: Six teams to fill three wildcard slots

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in action during stage 16.
    Article published:
    March 02, 2013, 10:16 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Katusha status leaves only three invites

    Tour de France organiser ASO has announced that six teams are in the running for the three wild-card invitations to the 2013 edition of the race. They are the Professional Continental teams IAM Cycling, NetApp-Endura, Bretagne-Séché, Cofidis, Europcar, and Sojasun.

    Historically the race has invited four wildcards with all of the elite 18 WorldTour teams receiving automatic entry into the Tour. However the situation changed when Katusha was granted WorldTour status last month by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), leaving ASO with 19 WorldTour teams to invite. CAS’s decision overruled the UCI’s Licence Commission which had declined Katusha’s entry into the top tier of the sport for ethical reason.

    IAM Cycling is a new Swiss team with Heinrich Haussler and Thomas Lovkvist in their ranks. They have already enjoyed success with overall victory at the Tour Méditerranéen after Lovkivst snatched the lead on the final stage.

    The NetApp-Endura squad were formed from two separate 2012 squads and have yet to win this season. Cofidis, Europcar, and Sojasun were all awarded wildcards for the 2012 Tour de France. Bretagne-Séché has yet to compete in a Tour. Each of the six teams will have a chance to appear in ASO's pre-Tour de France races, with Paris-Nice starting this weekend with Cofidis, IAM Cycling, Sojasun, and Europcar on the start list.

     

     

  • Alex Rasmussen to return with either Garmin or Movistar

    Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) took second in the sprint in the GP de Denain
    Article published:
    March 02, 2013, 11:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dane eager to return to racing after whereabouts ban

    Alex Rasmussen is preparing to return to racing when his suspension expires on March 15. His management is in negotiations with two teams, Garmin-Sharp and Movistar.

    "I am definitely ready to get started again, now all I need is to find a team to ride for,” he told feltet.dk.  “I assume that is Garmin, but I have not signed anything yet. I hope it is something that falls into place within a week's time, so I can once again focus on cycling.”

    "I have also talked with Movistar, but where it's going end up, I don't know as it's my manager that controls it. The most important thing for me right now is just to find a team, so I can get a number on the back. So I'm ready to jump at the first and best deal.”

    Rasmussen was given an 18-month ban for violations of the whereabouts requirements. He was riding for Garmin at the time the ban was given.

    The Dane has been training the entire time, “but there is no doubt that I am obviously missing some racing form. So of course, it will be hard at first, but I'm prepared for that since I have not raced for so long. "

    Rasmussen still hopes to be able tor ride Paris-Roubaix, which he said was still his major goal. “I love that race, and it is the race that I would most like to ride of all the spring classics. (...)  Of course, it would be easiest to get to ride it if I end up at the Movistar team, but I felt really good on Garmin, and they do have a strong classic squad and they ride hard at the races, so it's fun to be on such a team.”

  • Gallery: At the start of Strade Bianche

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) gets ready to race
    Article published:
    March 02, 2013, 11:51 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cancellara, Sagan and Evans favourites to win on the dirt roads

    The Strade Bianche race began under blue skies in the village of Giaole in Chianti, with all 111 riders on the start list rolling out to face the 188km of racing, 57 of which are on the spectacular dirt roads. 

    The riders seemed happy to feel the warmth of the Tuscan sun on their faces after the cold in Belgium last weekend. However a strong wind was blowing and will be a factor in the race, when the riders ride across the hilltops.

    Amongst the big-names in action are 2012 winner Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard), Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), Omloop Het Nieuwslbad winner Luca Paolini (Katusha), Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), Peter Sagan and Moreno Moser (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Tom Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling), Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida), Alejandro Valverde and (Movistar). 

     

     

     

  • Rolland leaves Langkawi satisfied despite lack of results

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) is a potential winner at the race
    Article published:
    March 02, 2013, 15:35 GMT
    By:
    Alex Malone

    ProTeams made for European style of racing, says Europcar rider

    Pierre Rolland may not have been able to deliver his Europcar squad the same level of success in the mountains at Tour de Langkawi as did neo-pro Bryan Coquard, who won two sprint stages, but the 2011 Tour de France best young rider is leaving the 10-day race content with his showing.

    Rolland had hoped to deliver a better result than 20th overall in the Malaysian race but was not making excuses for losing time throughout on a number of key stages. He was plainly not good enough, explained the 26-year-old. Being unable to match the climbing dominance of race winner Julián Arredondo was of no concern to Rolland, whose season goals lie in July at the Tour de France.

    "I'm satisified with the race, with how it went," Rolland told Cyclingnews. "Compared to my condition in February it's much better now. In the hills of Cameron and Genting some riders were simply stronger than me.

    "The truth of February is not the truth of the following month so I'm not worried. But honestly, I was hoping for a better result."

    Having raced in Langkawi in 2011 Rolland noticed a definite change in the style of racing, with the addition of five ProTeams and increased numbers of Professional Continental squads making for a more controlled and "European style" of race. It remains one he feels suits his preparation for the Tour. However, he added, the early inclusion Cameron and Genting Highlands did little to keep the race exciting.

    "The number of ProTeams has definitely changed the way it's raced," he told Cyclingnews. "It was a European style of racing this year compared to two years ago when I first did it. It...

  • Sagan happy to help Moser at Strade Bianche

    Peter Sagan and Moreno Moser pulled of a famous 1-2 in Strade Bianche
    Article published:
    March 02, 2013, 17:26 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Cannondale duo create successful Classics partnership

    Peter Sagan crossed the finish line of Strade Bianche celebrating has if he'd won the race himself, clearly happy, at least for now, to share success with his Cannondale teammate Moreno Moser.

    Parts of the Italian media have questioned if the two talented young Classics riders can coexist in the same team. But after Moser helped Sagan win the GP d Camaiore on Thursday, the Slovakian was happy to pay back his Italian teammate and collect the flowers for second place.

    Sagan generously chased down a number of attacks from the chasing group in the finale of the race, ensuring that Moser had enough of an advantage to win alone. Only then did he think of himself, surging away to take second place ahead of Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

    "Our unity is our strength. I was second but I think we've all won today," Sagan told Cyclingnews after celebrating on the podium with Moser.

    "We knew that everyone would be watching me and Cancellara, so we used Moreno as the ace up our sleeve. He managed to get away at the right moment and then took advantage of getting across to the break. He focused on winning, while I controlled things behind. Then I finished things off by taking second place."

    Sagan and Moser will make a formidable duo in the Classics yet their different rider characteristics mean they have slightly different goals.

    Both will ride Tirreno-Adriatico and target Milano-Sanremo. Then Sagan will focus on the cobbled Classics in Belgium, while Moser will ride the Coppi & Bartali stage race before targeting the Ardennes Classics. The only conflict of ambition could come at Milano-Sanremo and Amstel Gold Race.

    "I was happy to control things behind for Moreno," Sagan said, after swapping a smile with Moser in the...

  • Good Saramotins finishes fifth in Strade Bianche

    Latvian champion Aleksejs Saramotins (Cofidis)
    Article published:
    March 02, 2013, 18:49 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    IAM Cycling rider shines in Italy

    Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling) put in a dogged performance in Strade Bianche, escaping the early break and then surviving a flurry of attacks to finish fifth.

    Saramotins, 30, broke clear after 40 kilometres of racing, infiltrating a break that also included Michael Schär (BMC), Maxim Belkov (Katusha), and Giairo Ermetti (Androni)

    The four covered 44.8km in the first hour and quickly opened a gap of four minutes after the first section of dirt road. The gap grew to a maximum of 10:50 after 69km and the second section of dirt roads near Buonconvento.

    IAM Cycling, which is competing in its first season in the Pro Continental ranks were invited to the race as one of the wildcard entries. Keen to make an impression, Saramotins kept in touch with the leaders as they tackled section after section of the dirt roads. Despite clearly struggling whenever the terrain pointed up, Saramotins hung on.

    "I am still happy with my 5th place even though I had hopes of figuring more at the finish. I was really spent by the end, and was pushing my pain threshold to the max. Even though I was not feeling at my best today, I was still able to race in the top three for most of the course even after having had a couple of falls."

    When eventual winner Moreno Moser (Cannondale) came across to the remnants of the break and Ermeti was dropped, Saramotins sped towards the finish with new purpose and belief. Even on the lower slopes of the final climb it looked as though the three riders on Moser’s rear wheel would be engulfed by the surging peloton. Schär was the first to lose contact before Belkov was also swallowed up. However, Saramotins hung onto the chase group that included Fabian Cancellara.

    At the finish, IAM Cycling’s director sportif Marcello Albasini praised his rider’s efforts. "Aleksejs put in a great performance. He managed...

  • Cancellara: The best team won at Strade Bianche

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) sits in and waits
    Article published:
    March 02, 2013, 19:35 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Radioshack rider confident he can improve

    Fabian Cancellara stopped a few metres after the finish line of Strade Bianche, grabbed a drink from his soigneur and then let his head drop as he tried to absorb the disappointment of finishing fourth.

    He is the only rider to have won Strade Bianche twice and was targeting a third victory so that the race organisers would name a section of dirt road in his honour. Instead Moreno Moser entered the record books as the first Italian rider to win the race and Cannondale Pro Cycling Team stole the headlines by dominating the race and finishing first and second.

    Cancellara tried to jump across to Moser in the final 20km of the racing but was isolated in the front group and closely shadowed by Peter Sagan. The Slovakian rider then jumped away to take second place behind his teammate, rubbing salt into Cancellara's open wounds.

    His only consolation was that the dirt roads and steep hills of the Strade Bianche had confirmed that he is on track to be at his best yet again this spring.

    "The best team won today, there's no doubt about that," he conceded sportingly when speaking to Cyclingnews.

    "Cannondale raced well together and took advantage of every moment. I tried to make a selection several times but Sagan and Valverde just isolated me. It was a hard, fast race, with the wind making it harder.

    "To win you needed more than just good legs. I had those. But as I imagined, the race was a bit of a lottery because you can attack at almost any point in the finale, on any climb or corner."

    Cancellara will not ride Sunday's Roma Maxim race. Instead he will rest up for Tirreno-Adriatico, hoping the week-long Italian stage race will add the final touches to his form for the Classics.

    "I'm satisfied with my performance because this was a hard race, harder than last year when...