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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, February 14, 2010

Date published:
February 15, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Tour Méditerranéen stage neutralized due to weather

    Article published:
    February 13, 2010, 16:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    Updated: El Fares declared stage winner, GC stays the same

    The unusually harsh European winter called a premature end to the fourth stage of the Tour Méditerranéen due to a risk of freezing rain and snow, and Cofidis' Julien El Fares was declared the stage winner following a meeting of the race jury at the finish in Biot.

    The race finished at the 114km mark near St. Paul en Foret after authorities in the Alpes-Maritimes department warned of inclement conditions ahead.

    Leading up to that point in the race, Julien El Fares (Cofidis) was off the front by 1'15" on the peloton along with Jonathan Thire (BigMat-Auber 93) and Dominique Cornu (Skil-Shimano).

    There was a long discussion of how to proceed. Initially it was thought that the race could continue to the final kilometres under the neutral flag, but then that plan was scuttled for an early finish line.

    Race officials improvised a finish and had the breakaway sprint for the stage win with El Fares taking the victory. However, all of the other team directors protested the decision since it was likely the three-man breakaway would have been caught had the race continued.

    The peloton rode en masse into the finish in Biot, safely passing through the final kilometres despite the warnings of icy roads, but the debate over the stage winner continued after the riders had come in.

    The general classification remains the same heading into the final stage, with Francaise des Jeux's Jussi Veikkanen in the overall lead ahead of William Bonnet of Bouygues Telecom. The race's traditional finish on Mont Faron could also be affected by the unseasonably cold weather.

  • Kelly Benefit Strategies recons Tour of California finale

    Kelly Benefit Strategies riders bomb a descent at 50mph.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2010, 9:49 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    American Continental squad hopeful for 2010 invite

    The Kelly Benefit Strategies team spent the final training day of its Oxnard, California pre-season camp reconnoitring the 33 kilometre circuit to be utilized in the Amgen Tour of California's eighth and concluding stage.

    Thirteen members of the US Continental team spent four hours on Saturday riding to the circuit, completing one lap, and then returning to their home base for the training camp, a beachfront house in Oxnard.

    While much of the country is still facing frigid and snowy weather, the Kelly Benefit Strategies team enjoyed another day of ample sunshine and warm weather which characterized most of its eight-day sojourn in Southern California.

    Some of the riders tested their early season form on the climb of Mulholland Highway, the circuit's stiff ascent which Tour of California riders will negotiate four times. Jesse Anthony, new to the team in 2010, earned bragging rights by being the first Kelly Benefit Strategies rider to crest the top.

    "The course today was beautiful," Anthony told Cyclingnews. "Based on some of the other courses I've raced on I think it's one of the hardest I've seen in the US.
    It's going to super-selective.

    "From watching the race in the past it seems like the last stage is pretty controlled by the leader's team, but if a guy like Andy Schleck or another super-good climber is close to the overall it's going to be hard for a team to control."

    "It isn't an easy circuit race the GC guys can sit in on," Scott Zwizanski told Cyclingnews. "I think there were five or six kilometres of rollers after the [Mulholland Highway] climb before you descend, so any time you climb and then go over rollers before you have a rest that's definitely an opportunity for riders to put distance into others. There's potential for a shake-up, that's for sure."

    While entries for Continental teams in the Tour of California have yet to be confirmed, Kelly Benefit Strategies is...

  • UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis presented in Arizona

    Tim Johnson listens in as teammates speak during the team presentation.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2010, 12:35 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Training camp concludes with fundraiser for UHCCF

    US-based Continental team UnitedHealthcare presented by Maxxis rolled out the red carpet for the official presentation of its fifteen-rider roster at the Radisson - McDowell Ranch Resort/Casino in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday night. The formal banquet dinner and silent auction concluded a successful 10-day training camp that kicked off on February 5 in the nearby cycling hot-bed of Tucson.

    "Everyone seems very excited," Team General Manager Mike Tamayo told Cyclingnews. "The past two days have seen a great reception for the team and bigger than expected. We have an overwhelming presence with the vehicles and the bikes look sharp. The fifteen guys are coming off a solid week of training and all the energy in the air is really good with a positive vibe between all of them. The sponsors see that right away; they're serious about their jobs and they are committed."

    The evening’s festivities began with two highly acclaimed guest speakers. Sister Madonna Buder, who is well known in the triathlon community for her achievements in age group races and Dr. George Brooks, one of the world’s leading exercise physiologists who focuses on metabolism and how the human body uses lactate, fatty acids, carbohydrates, and amino acids.

    Funds raised at the team banquet dinner went to the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF), a public charity that strives to enhance either the clinical condition or quality of life of children who have health care needs not fully covered by their commercial health benefit plan.

    Bike race-announcer Dave Towle lent his voice to the occasion and introduced the fifteen-rider roster: Chris Baldwin, Eric Barlevav, Jonny Clarke, Matt Crane, Marc de Maar, Adrian Hegyvari, Max Jenkins, Tim Johnson, Jake Keough, Roman Kilun, Karl Menzies, Andrew Pinfold, Morgan Schmitt, Rory Sutherland and Bradley White.

    The team’s management company Momentum Sports Group (MSG) announced its new...

  • Farrar content with fourth in opening Oman sprint

    Taylor Phinney and Tyler Farrar relax before the start
    Article published:
    February 14, 2010, 19:41 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    American avoids taking 'crazy risks' in the dark

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) came close to his first victory of the season at the Tour of Oman despite the dangerous conditions of racing in the dark on the Muscat Corniche.

    Farrar managed to latch onto the Team Sky lead out train in the final kilometre and finished fourth behind winner Jimmy Casper (Saur-Sojasun), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) and Belgian Kenny de Haes (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

    Somehow all 126 riders in the race avoided crashing, despite darkness and a near total lack of barriers to hold back the huge crowds that came to see the first-ever major professional race on Oman.

    "It was dangerous out there and you had to take crazy risks if you want to go for the win," Farrar told Cyclingnews after discussing the sprint with new lead out man Robert Hunter who has just arrived in the Gulf for the Tour.

    "I think it would have been much better if we'd done it at four in the afternoon instead of at seven at night. Maybe that would be better for next year's race. It would make it a little safer for everybody."

    "I tried to get up there but I wasn't ready to commit that little bit and take those extra risks in the dark. You can't really see the wheel in front of you when it's this dark and so there's not much you can do."

    "I was debating if I wanted to try and sprint in these conditions because it was just not worth taking the risk. But I happened to be by Team Sky at the end and they went for it. It was suddenly all strung out and pretty safe, so I tried to sit on them and let them lead me out."

    "Casper was right behind them and kind of got Boasson Hagen's wheel from me. I was half in the wind and that probably cost me a little bit in the sprint. But I'm happy with fourth considering the conditions we raced in. The most important thing was not to crash. "

    Farrar and the rest of the field arrived for the six-day Tour of Oman on Saturday. He also rode the six-day Tour of Qatar and is...