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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, April 4, 2010

Date published:
April 04, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Team Type 1 successful in Tour du Maroc

    Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1
    Article published:
    April 03, 2010, 14:24 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Morroccan event part of extended overseas calendar

    Team Type 1 is finding success at the Tour de Maroc, a 2.2-ranked, 10-day stage race that began in Settat on March 26. Sprinter Aldo Ino Ilesic captured a second victory for his team during stage seven on the city streets of Tanger and took over the points classification lead.

    All-rounder Valeriy Kobzarenko kicked off the team's success when he finished second in the opening stage and is currently sitting in second place in the overall classification after stage seven. Ilesic is leading the points competition after winning stage four and seven and Chris Jones placed second in stage six. Furthermore, the team is leading the overall team classification.

    "I am not completely surprised by the results of the team thus far in this event because I know that the team prepared," said directeur sportif Michael Carter. "I am very happy that the team has done as well as they have. They are racing as the top professionals that they are, so in one way it is no surprise to see the results that they, as a team, are achieving.

    "Again, it is also fantastic to see them do so well," he added. "I am confident that the team will be able to use this race as a springboard to have the very best year for Team Type 1!"

    The north African stage race is one of several internationally UCI-ranked events Team Type 1 will be participating in this season, a bid to bring the team to a worldwide platform. Upcoming overseas races include the Circuit des Ardennes International and Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste - Trophee des Granitiersin France and the Tour of Korea.

    "We elected to participate in the Tour of Morocco because of the reputation and also the UCI ranking as a 2.2," Carter explained. "The race also fits well into our program for the year, and it made very good sense to do everything we could do to gain an invitation into the race."

    "While it may not be on the level of a 2.HC, it's still important for any team that participates," he added....

  • Close encounters on the Koppenberg

    George Hincapie leads his BMC teammate Alessandro Ballan up the Koppenberg.
    Article published:
    April 03, 2010, 14:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Photo gallery: Fans and pros meet in pre-Flanders training

    The most appealing aspect of the sport of cycling is the ability for fans to get close to both the riders and the challenges they face in competition, and there is no better example of this than the Koppenberg in the days before the Tour of Flanders.

    Cyclo-tourists and amateur racers monopolize the course of the Ronde van Vlaanderen on the day prior to the professional event when the organisation hosts the tourists' Ronde, but on Friday before the big events, the two groups mingle on the Belgian cobbles.

    Imagine the thrill of struggling up the Koppenberg - a behemoth of a climb, rife with slippery 'kasseien' and grades of up to 22%, perhaps even walking your bike - only to have 2007 winner Alessandro Ballan come flying past with US champion George Hincapie on his wheel. A few lucky enthusiasts experienced just that on Friday.

    Enjoy this photo gallery from Sirotti and imagine you were there.

  • Cancellara confident before Flanders

    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) strikes again
    Article published:
    April 03, 2010, 15:23 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Saxo Bank rider convinced he can drop Boonen

    Fabian Cancellara is the favourite to win the Tour of Flanders and he seems to know it.

    Just like at last year's world championships in Mendrisio, he appears to on the form of his life, but in his home country of Switzerland he let the emotions of going for the world title get the better of him and ruin his tactics, but he said he has learned his lesson.

    After his emphatic victory at e E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke last Saturday, his first major win in Belgium, has boasted his confidence for the Tour of Flanders, without affecting his vision of the race.

    Cancellara knows he cannot win in a sprint but is convinced he can drop his rivals on Sunday, just as he dropped Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) in the finale at e E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke.

    Cancellara has already won Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix and wants to add another monumental classic at the Tour of Flanders to his impressive palmares.

    "I've been trying to win the Tour of Flanders for many years. I've always done something wrong up to now but I've always learned from my mistakes," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "After winning Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo, this is the one monument classic that I'm missing. Later I'll try and win Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy but first of all I want to win Flanders."

    "I feel better than in previous years. I've already won a big race in Belgium and I'm really proud of that. What I did at Harelbeke was special - I saw that I can go with Boonen on the climbs and then drop him on the flat. At Flanders' we'll also have (Matti) Breschel and he's an important second card we can play at Saxo Bank."

    Cancellara was sorry that Pozzato would not be able to ride due to illness but was glad it meant one less rival to follow during the race. According to Gazzetta, Cancellara told Pozzato he was the only rider he was scared of as the...

  • Flecha suited to Flanders

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) was happy with his win.
    Article published:
    April 03, 2010, 16:09 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Team Sky's Spaniard aiming for the win on Sunday

    Juan Antonia Flecha will be Sky's undisputed leader in tomorrow's Tour of Flanders after Edvald Boasson Hagen pulled out through injury earlier in the week.

    The Spaniard heads into the race with good form after finishing third in last week's E3 Prijs, behind Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step). Tomorrow he'll compete against both riders again, as well as their teammates Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) and Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank).

    Despite both Quick Step and Saxo Bank having strong teams, Flecha believes that each team offer different threats. According to Flecha, Quick Step have two cards to play, but Saxo Bank has a solo leader in Fabian Cancellara. Matti Breschel has had a strong spring but the Spaniard believes that the Danish team are bluffing when they claim to have two leaders.

    "They have to. I'm sure Fabian wants to win at all costs. I'm not saying he's not a team player - of course he is - but I know Fabian too and I know when he wants something and that's the way it's going to be tomorrow," said Flecha.

    "It's a nice combination to have with both of them though. They've been racing together many years so they know each other a lot. I can't say but I think Fabian will try tomorrow. They're in the same team and Breschel is one of my favourites but if he wins it's because it's a tactical thing and he goes in a move and no one is looking for him. It's not like in Wevelgem where Fabian let him go and win. That's not going to happen, for sure."

    Tom Boonen and Stijn Devolder have both won the race twice but Flecha thinks that the Belgian team have a different make-up to Saxo Bank.

    "It's different. You don't see Boonen and Devolder working together during the season and you only see Devolder on fire for one or two weekends in a season. With Breschel and Fabian it's different. You see them doing more."

    Devolder has been written off by many in the last few weeks, showing little. However...

  • Rossi still facing investigation for possible CERA use

    Vania Rossi and partner Riccardo Riccò
    Article published:
    April 03, 2010, 16:51 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Suspicions remain despite negative B sample

    Vania Rossi's B urine sample was declared negative for CERA on Friday, but the Italian Olympic Committee has confirmed they will still investigate the case and will use other evidence and expert advice to try and ascertain if Rossi may have taken the blood-boosting drug.

    The Rome ant-doping laboratory confirmed the negative result to the Commitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano on Friday, revealing there was a clear difference in the test results. The Rome lab is reported to be the first in the world to detect CERA in urine instead of blood and the difference in the two results could be due to natural degrading of CERA in urine.

    Rossi's A sample was analysed on January 10, while the B sample was only analysed two and a half months later.

    "There was a significant amount of CERA in the first test, so much so that there we no doubts at all; in the second test, evidently because of the degrading of the urine over time, the amount (of CERA) wasn't within the limits established by WADA," the head of the Rome lab Francesco Botrè told Gazzetta dello Sport on Saturday.

    Some of Rossi's supporters believed the negative test will end any suspicions about her, but the Italian anti-doping investigator Ettore Torre moved quickly to say he will continue to investigate why the A sample tested positive for CERA.

    "We're going to examine the case in the next few days, with the support of our own experts, so that we can make a complete evaluation of the case and take any eventual action," he told Italian media.

    It may be difficult for Torre to accuse Rossi of failing a dope test because there is no confirmation of a B sample. However the presence of CERA in the A sample could be enough to allow the investigators to accuse Rossi of attempted doping, which can still be punished with a two-year ban. She may also still be investigated for doping offenses under Italian law and risks disciplinary action from the Italian army,...

  • Reimer answers Cervélo's call for Flanders

    German champion Martin Reimer (Cervelo)
    Article published:
    April 03, 2010, 17:00 BST
    Richard Tyler

    German champion to make Ronde debut on Sunday

    Martin Reimer will replace the injured Heinrich Haussler in the Cervélo TestTeam line-up at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. The German rider has recovered from a crash at last week's Gent-Wevelgem and has been drafted in to support the team's now sole captain, Thor Hushovd.

    Reimer, 22, was told he would race as part of Cervélo's Flanders team on Tuesday, after the withdrawal of both Heinrich Haussler and Andreas Klier from the remainder of the Classics season. He said he hopes he can play an active role come Sunday, but in what will be his first appearance at the Belgian race, expectations have not been set unreasonably high.

    "I was first reserve [for Flanders]," Reimer told Cyclingnews. "We were a little bit unlucky with Heinrich and Andreas, and so I've been called in. I don't think I have pressure on me – I'm the youngest in this selection for Flanders and the sports directors have said, 'do your best and do your best for Thor'."

    Although he says he will now enter Flanders with "good legs", doubt had been cast over Reimer's continued presence at the Classics following a crash at Gent-Wevelgem last weekend. Tests early this week on the parcours for Flanders gave the green-light for him to take his place on the start line in Bruges.

    "I crashed after 27 kilometres [at Gent-Wevelgem] and I'm not sure exactly how it happened. I think another rider must have hit my front wheel and I crashed into a traffic sign. My shoulder hurt badly and the race doctor said, 'it's broken for sure', but, fortunately, it turned out not to be the case.

    "On Monday I went out to see whether it would be possible to ride with my shoulder the way it was, but from day-to-day it got better and better. I couldn't sleep the first two nights after the crash because of the pain, but my legs are feeling good now. I had the same feeling at Gent-Wevelgem."

    Reimer admitted that his first taste of the Flanders...

  • Weather and course knowledge crucial in Flanders

    In 2008, snow and hail pelted the riders early on and turned the cobbled climbs into slippery slopes.
    Article published:
    April 03, 2010, 19:33 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Wind, wet and cold will test contenders to the max

    The weather forecast ahead of the 94th edition of the Tour of Flanders is promising - promising that is for riders who love the typical April Flemish weather: cold, wet and windy.

    With scattered rain showers and even hail predicted, temperatures not expected to make it over 10° Celcius and squalls up to 65 km/h coming from the east/south east, the conditions could throw a random element into the racing.

    Those weather should result in an automatic selection between normal professional cyclists and true flandriens; a popular cycling term used to describe the legendary stubborn Flemish laborers of the road.

    The course leads the peloton towards and then along the coast during the first thirty kilometers, where headwinds should discourage early attackers during the first hour of racing. As always, there will be a fierce battle to make it into the early breakaway which will be the first thing viewers see when the television coverage begins.

    Upon leaving the coastline in Oostende and turning inland, the top favorites will have to ride attentively because there will be crosswinds torturing the peloton for about fifty kilometers. The stronger teams might want to make use of this section to see whether everybody's well awake on Sunday morning. It wouldn't be the first time that a favorite is distanced early on by ending up riding in a second or third echelon.

    90 kilometers into the race the course heads due east where riders will encounter the first cobbled sections including the passage through Desselgem, village of the Ronde 2010. Desselgem was the home town of the iconic Belgian rider Alberic Briek Schotte, winner of the Ronde in 1942 and 1948. Exactly six years ago Iron Briek passed away on April 4, which was then also race day of the Tour of Flanders. The small town is hosting a series of activities, making it an interesting stop along the course for many fans.

    For the riders there's no time to stop as the...

  • Neben joins team USA for Flanders

    Amber Neben (USA National Team) on her way to winning the fourth stage.
    Article published:
    April 04, 2010, 3:28 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Former world champion fills in for ailing Phillips

    Former world time trial champion Amber Neben will join the USA National Team as a last-minute replacement for the UCI World Cup races this month. Neben, the winner of a stage at the New Zealand women's tour and the Redlands Classic jetted to Belgium on Friday to meet the team in time for the Tour of Flanders.

    "Amber Neben is filling in at the last moment because [Jessica] Phillips is sick," explained team director Manel Lacambra, who is expecting the last-minute travel to weigh on Neben for the first race.

    "She will be tired because of the travel, and jet lag, but she is always a world class rider. We will try to play and profit from all options with all the other girls, but Neben will certainly be a natural leader and focus for our team."

    Neben is currently without a team, having signed with the former Equipe Nuernberger before it lost its new title sponsor and was unable to fulfill its contractual obligations. The team, reformed as Noris, will start Tour of Flanders without Neben and its other lost signing, Nicole Cooke, who will ride with the British National Team.

    Neben will stay in Europe for the Grand Prix de Dottignies and Unive Ronde van Drenthe World Cup before returning home to California.

    USA team for Tour of Flanders: Andrea Dvorak, Janel Holcomb, Sinead Miller, Amber Neben, Lauren Tamayo and Alisha Welsch.