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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, April 7, 2013

Date published:
April 07, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Boom unsure how to deal with Cancellara in Paris-Roubaix

    Lars Boom (Blanco) during Paris-Roubaix reconnaissance
    Article published:
    April 06, 2013, 20:09 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Blanco leader aiming for top performance

    The leader of the Blanco team in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday will be Lars Boom (Blanco). The former cyclo-cross world champion has high aspirations after a strong ride last year. The main question is whether to stay with top favourite Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack) or go before the latter attacks.

    “Last weekend things went according to plan; I finished top-10. I’m feeling good now, better than last week, like it should be. What comes up is a very important race. It’s the one on top of my wish list,” Boom said when talking with the media at the team presentation on the Place Charles de Gaulle in start town Compiègne.

    When asked whether he wanted to stay with Cancellara or go earlier Boom hesitated. “It’s a tough question. I would very much like to follow. It’s an expensive gamble you can take. If you’re dropped, there’s still the possibility of closing the gap later.”

    “I don’t know how he’s to be beaten. He’s got so much power. He’s also such a strong time trialist that if he’s got a gap he’ll probably stay away until the finish. For that there are two options: anticipating by attacking earlier or making the gamble that you can stay on his wheel on the cobbles,” Boom said. “You can speculate what you want right now but what matters most is how you feel on the bike on Sunday. If you feel really good then maybe you can follow. If you’re a bit less good then maybe you should anticipate and get away earlier.”

    Last year Boom rode a very strong race. At the end of the race he entered the legendary vélodrome in Roubaix in second place but he eventually left the vélodrome with a disappointing sixth place.

    “I rode a very good race but had a bad sprint. Of course, I think...

  • Serebryakov returns positive out of competition test

    Alexander Serebryakov (Team Type 1 - Sanofi) takes his second win at Taihu Lake
    Article published:
    April 06, 2013, 20:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Russian out of Paris-Roubaix

    Alexander Serebryakov (Euskaltel Euskadi) has returned an adverse analytical finding in an out of competition test from March 18. The Russian racer had been due to start Sunday's Paris-Roubaix, but he has been released by the team with immediate effect. It is not clear what substance he tested positive for.

    In a statement, his team said, “The team is astonished that some riders have not yet understood that cycling should be a clean sport without shortcuts, so it condemns emphatically this type of behaviour.”

    "True to its commitment towards a clean and credible cycling, and in application of the internal rules of procedure consistent with this spirit, the team has decided to immediately expel the cyclist from the team and suspend him of employment and salary."

    Biciciclismo report Serebryakov as saying, "I, Alexander Serebryakov, wish to clarify the matter of my recent positive doping control. I want to make it clear that the team has nothing to do with this situation, and that it is a personal problem that I will try to clarify in the next few days."

    "Team Euskaltel Euskadi and its technical, medical and support staff have always emphasized their commitment to zero tolerance with doping, and their work in favour of a clean, transparent and credible cycling. I deeply regret what happened, and I apologize to the team and my teammates for this unfortunate situation."

    Serebryakov signed for the Spanish team at the start of 2013, having ridden for Team Type 1 last year. The team used to sign only riders from the Basque region but relaxed the policy for this season.


  • Vansummeren believes in second Roubaix victory

    Johan Vansummeren (Garmin) slips clear in 2011
    Article published:
    April 06, 2013, 21:30 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Former winner among those aiming to beat Cancellara

    Two years ago at Paris-Roubaix, Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) made the most of not being a favorite. The tall, Belgian rider snuck away, among a group of low-key riders who stayed away despite being chased by top favorites. The win changed Vansummeren's life, and he'll forever be linked to his successful 2011 Roubaix ride. Despite being a former winner, Vansummeren is not on this year's favorites list, and he is comfortable with that.

    Standing out at a height of 197cm, it was hard not to notice Vansummeren at the traditional teams presentation on the Place Charles de Gaulle in Compiègne, France on Saturday. Still, the Belgian did all he could to get in and out of the obligatory show-up. One question was repeated to him a hundred times: how can overcome Fabian Cancellara and win Paris-Roubaix?

    Vansummeren was clearly fed up by the question. "Cancellara, Cancellara, Cancellara... The easiest answer is: you simply have to get rid of everybody. It's been written in the papers and media for a week now. Always asking: 'What's the plan to beat Cancellara?' The race still has to be ridden. So many things can happen in these races so I think we'll have to anticipate the right moment in the race. I'm not the kind of rider who has to fool around with tactics. If I seize the moment, I have to go," Vansummeren said.

    As a former winner in a similar situation, Vansummeren is a man to take into account. The parallel situation may seem obvious to some, but Vansummeren thinks this year is different, especially with riders like Tom Boonen and Peter Sagan not lining up in Compiègne on Sunday morning.

    "For me, it would've been better if Boonen and Sagan were here. Against Cancellara, it's better if there are more riders who can beat him,"...

  • Durbridge ready to make the most of last-minute call-up for Paris-Roubaix

    Luke Durbridge (Orica - GreenEDGE)
    Article published:
    April 06, 2013, 22:05 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian looking forward to his first Hell of the North

    Luke Durbridge (Orica GreenEdge) got his first taste of the infamous Trouée d'Arenberg on Friday. His sports director, Matt Wilson, left him to the task from behind the steering wheel with a simple "See you on the other side, mate," and the 21-year-old took off down the 2400 metres that captivate and frustrate.

    "I got halfway through and wanted to jump off my bike," Durbridge told Cyclingnews. "I think it's the hardest section, so it was good to do that one and get the hang of it. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

    Durbridge is one of four Australians set to make their debut at Sunday's 111th edition of Paris-Roubaix. He will join Will Clarke (Argos - Shimano), Jonny Cantwell (Saxo - Tinkoff) and Zak Dempster (NetApp - Endura). Durbridge, the current national road champion, earned his last minute call-up to the Orica GreenEdge squad on Thursday, the day after he lost the overall lead at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire. He had taken the Sarthe lead on Wednesday with his repeat success in the individual time trial, for which he also wears the green and gold bands on his skin suit.

    "I think maybe they knew before I went to Sarthe, but they wanted me to concentrate on the race," Durbridge said. With Tomas Vaitkus unavailable due to bursitis on his elbow, the guy they call "Turbo", however young and inexperienced, will be a more than adequate replacement.

    Cobbles and the challenges that racing on their uneven surface brings is not something that comes easily to Australians who don't experience them as their European counterparts do, less so Durbridge having graduated from the national under 23 development program that also combined a successful track stint. The timing was just never right for him to compete in the Nations...

  • Leukemans and Flecha lead Vacansoleil-DCM at Paris-Roubaix

    Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) in the Arenberg forest
    Article published:
    April 06, 2013, 23:39 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Versatile Leukemans a dark horse at this year's Spring Classics

    On the eve of Paris-Roubaix, there is one clear favorite for the win - Fabian Cancellara - and many long shots. One rider popping up on the dark horse list is Bjorn Leukemans. He and Juan Antonio Flecha are co-leaders of the Dutch Vacansoleil-DCM team.

    Leukemans, 35, has been riding most of the Spring Classics, starting with Dwars door Vlaanderen and ending in Liège. In his career, he has earned top 10 results in most of the major spring races, including the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    "I'd rather be good in just one of them and win it. It would give me much more [satisfaction]," said Leukemans. Speaking of Paris-Roubaix, he said, "I love this race. It's the race that suits me most."

    Acknowledging that he is not a favorite, he still has high hopes. "I'm going for a podium or at least a top-10; otherwise, I'll be disappointed."

    Leukemans' co-leader Flecha has come close to the Paris-Roubaix win a few times. "We're both team leaders. It'll be very hard to beat Cancellara but tell me, is it dishonourable to finish as runner-up behind Cancellara?" said Leukemans. "I don't think so. Anyway, with his current form, we'll have to get in a breakaway. When? I'll follow my instincts to seize the moment."

    The Belgian rider explained to Cyclingnews that one reason he has not been in the spotlight so far this season is because he's been bothered by a virus. "I aimed to be good from Waregem [Dwars door Vlaanderen] on but it's only been since the Tour of Flanders that my 'coup de pedal' is back; my heart rate in the morning is back like it should be, too," Leukemans said. "It'll only be when I get on the bike and race that I'll know for sure that my form is...

  • Cantwell to support Breschel in Paris-Roubaix

    Jonathan Cantwell at the start of his first race with Saxo Bank
    Article published:
    April 07, 2013, 2:56 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian to start his first Roubaix

    Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff) will put a strike though the final item on his racing wish list on Sunday, Paris-Roubaix.

    "I guess good things come to those who want it bad enough. I won't say wait because I'd been waiting a long time," he said.

    In his debut season in the WorldTour with Saxo-Tinkoff in 2012, he earned a start in the Tour de France, one that is unlikely to be repeated this time around with Alberto Contador back in business and the focus definitely on the general classification, rather than stage victories. Roubaix was supposed to happen last year as well however, a crash after the finish line at Scheldeprijs left him with a punctured lung and waiting for the day the opportunity would come his way again.

    "I had 18 top 10s [in 2012] and I think when you get to my age you realise that there's not too many years left that you can muck around or have wasted opportunities so every race and every year is important," he explained.

    Last month, he took on a brutal Milan-San Remo for that second strike but what lies ahead for Cantwell, The Hell of the North, has him seriously motivated.

    "I'm geed and I can't wait to get out there tomorrow," he told Cyclingnews at the team presentation at Compiegne. "We did recon two days ago and if I can just finish it, it will be pretty cool."

    It's been a week since Cantwell made his debut at the Tour of Flanders, but it was an experience that continues to confound him.

    "At Flanders last weekend it was just mind-boggling how many cobbles there were and which climb was which. I'm still confused.

    "My job was to try and get into the early break," he continued. "Which I tried pretty hard and as you know it took two hours for the break to go and by that time the guys...

  • Thomas hopes for aggressive Paris-Roubaix

    Geraint Thomas (Sky)
    Article published:
    April 07, 2013, 8:36 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Collective strength crucial on the pave

    The general consensus is that no one man has the legs to take on Fabian Cancellara at Paris-Roubaix and it seems that it will take a collective effort to deny the Swiss rider a third victory on the hallowed velodrome on Sunday afternoon.

    Garmin played their tactical hand to perfection in 2011 by sending Johan Vansummeren up the road while Thor Hushovd locked himself onto Cancellara’s wheel, and Geraint Thomas believes his Sky team will have to be similarly inventive if they are to prevail this time around.

    “Fabian’s so strong that I don’t think anyone wants to wait for him to attack and try to hold to his wheel – and well I don’t think anyone can, so I guess it will be an aggressive race,” Thomas said in Compiègne on Saturday afternoon. “If you look at the way the race was when Vansummeren won, I reckon everyone will be thinking of being aggressive like that.

    “I guess nobody really wants to take Fabian to the last 20k. but there’s a lot of other bike riders in the race and not just him, so it would definitely be the wrong thing just to race against him.”

    In contrast to RadioShack-Leopard, which is built wholly around Cancellara, the Sky team has a more fluid chain of command. Thomas, Ian Stannard and Edvald Boasson Hagen may be the nominal leaders, but Bernhard Eisel and Mat Hayman also have more than a degree of freedom.

    “I think the five of us have got a free hand to get stuck in really – Hayman and Bernie as well,” Thomas said.

    Sky’s much-vaunted pre-classics training camp at Mount Teide has failed to yield a significant return thus far, although there were mitigating circumstances at the Tour of Flanders, where Boasson Hagen (17th) was the highest finisher. A number of riders were struck by...

  • Video: Cancellara on his love for Paris-Roubaix

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) on the Arenberg cobbles
    Article published:
    April 07, 2013, 13:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Race favourite talks to Cyclingnews

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) has a taste for Paris-Roubaix and for the memories of his previous victories. "I like the race, I like the challenge equipment-wise, because the race is just flat with cobblestones," says Cancellara.

    The Swiss rouleur has won Olympic gold and four world titles against the clock, and he reckons that a breakaway at Paris-Roubaix is "sometimes is just an individual time trial : you just have to ride." Although, there is a significant difference at the Hell of North: "But you have to be smart and you have to have luck".

    Winner of Paris-Roubaix in 2006 and 2010, Cancellara considers his second victory as the more beautiful. "My attack came by instinct and it's why everything went so good," he says. "I continued to pedal until the finish line and I get a very nice win."