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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, January 15, 2012

Date published:
January 15, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Forum Hot Topic: Who will win the Tour Down Under?

    Simon Gerrans from Victoria was a popular winner of the gold medal in the men's elite road race.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 11:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cyclingnews readers pick Gerrans over Boasson Hagen

    Newly crowned Australian road champion Simon Gerrans is the Cyclingnews forum users favourite to win the Tour Down Under, beating Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen. The GreenEdge rider had nine votes with Boasson Hagen second with eight votes.

    The podium could be rounded out by any one of three riders who received three votes each: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda), and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team).

    Gerrans, who won the race in 2006, is the top choice because for one, he is one of the few who has shown his form already this season. Added to this is the perceived motivation for GreenEdge to win its “homeland” race, which is also its first WorldTour race.

    As froome19 said, “you have to fancy Gerrans with GreenEdge being super motivated to get a result in their first stage race and it's their home race and the fact that on the basis of his victory in the nationals he's evidently on good form (something we can't really say for the other riders).”

    The changed course this year, with its stage finish atop Willunga Hill will also play a role, michielveedeebee pointed out. “You also have the finish on Willunga hill instead of 20 km after they pass it, Gerrans is good on finishes like that and it gives the puncheurs a chance to put some good time in to the sprinters.”

    Runner-up to Gerrans is Boasson Hagen, who “can mix it in the sprints and is strong enough for 'The Hill'”, said nevada. It is a “perfect race for EBH, who usually finds his form pretty fast. He can pick up bonus seconds in the sprints, and unlike Goss he could even win the Willunga...

  • Boonen's desire to make sprint impact

    Tom Boonen will again target the Classics
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 14:24 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Classics star says he's injury free

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) may have appeared to rein in his sprinting ambitions in the last number of years, but the Belgian believes that he can make an impact in bunch finishes again now that his recovery from injury is complete.

    Speaking at the launch of his revamped team in Vilvoorde on Friday, Boonen insisted that his injury woes are now behind him, and revealed that he had hoped to attract Bernhard Eisel to the revamped Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad following the collapse of HTC-Highroad. The Austrian ultimately followed his leader Mark Cavendish to Sky.

    “For the sprints, I still believe it,” Boonen told reporters after the lights had gone up on the presentation. “Now we’re is back on the track, we have a good train and a good quality of riders in the team.”

    Boonen’s two victories in 2011 both came in bunch sprints, at the Tour of Qatar and Gent-Wevelgem. With his wounded knee now back to full strength, the man from Mol is looking forward to testing himself in the sprints, even if he admitted that his lead-out train was still short of a conductor.

    “We’re only missing one guy. We should have a guy like Tosatto or De Jongh who we had before, a guy with experience who can really show these young guys how to do it,” Boonen said. “I was trying to get Bernie Eisel in the team but he didn’t go. That would have been perfect.”

    The former world champion also hinted at problems with his equipment in recent years, and 2012 sees Patrick Lefevere’s team returned to riding Specialized bikes after two years on Eddy Merckx. “The material is back on track, we have really good bikes now, so it will be a lot easier than it was last year,” Boonen said.

    Boonen has not won a stage at the Tour de France...

  • Gallery: Liquigas-Cannondale Sardinia camp

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale) tucks in
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 18:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Basso, Nibali and Sagan lead the line

    After its team presentation in Milan this week, the Liquigas-Cannondale team made its way to Sardinia, Italy for the squad's second training camp in as many months. Like their December camp the Italian ProTour team will spend the majority of the time fine-tuning their form, although this time around a number of riders were absent with the Tour Down Under set to start in the coming days.

    Still, the team's main stars - Ivan Basso, Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Sagan were present on the island. The trio will lead the team towards their major objectives in 2012, starting with the Giro d'Italia. Quite how the team will look come May is still up for debate. Both Basso and the Liquigas hierarchy believe that the two-time winner is better suited to the Giro route, while Nibali has been pointed towards the Tour de France.

    However Nibali has made noises about wanting to start the Giro as well - a situation that played out in 2010 and saw Basso win the overall. Team boss Roberto Amadio has said he will make a final decision after the Spring Classics.

  • Specialized v. Volagi verdict: Choi guilty, Forsman not guilty

    The Volagi Liscio is an outlier at the moment but similarly disc-equipped road bikes may become the norm before too long.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 22:27 GMT
    Matt Pacocha

    Volagi co-founder, Choi, ordered to pay US$1 in damages

    This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

    After more than a week in court, plaintiff Specialized was left with just one charge against Volagi, breach of contract by the two former employees. Just before noon, local time the verdicts came in: Robert Choi guilty of breach of contract; Barley Forsman, not guilty.

    But the message may have been in the sentencing; Choi was ordered to pay just US$1 to Specialized. Volagi (@Volagi) tweeted the verdict via Twitter, "Specialized gets ONE dollar!" also noting that they are allowed to keep the Long Bow flex design, and ‘the color red.'

    "We just got out of the courtroom and we're heading back to our lawyers' [offices], to celebrate," said Choi, when Cyclingnews reached him by phone. "When it's read, ‘for Robert Choi we award on behalf of Specialized,' of course my heart dropped, and then they said the damage award of $1. We hope that the jury is sending a message to Specialized that this was unjust in a way."

    Specialized offered Cyclingnews the following prepared statement from company president, Mike Sinyard: "This lawsuit was a matter of principle and about protecting our culture of trust and innovation. We respect the ruling of the court in our favor. We are very satisfied with the outcome and the damages set at $1.00. We really want to put all our passion and time into growing the sport of cycling."

    According to Choi, he was found guilty due to his actions after putting in for resignation from Specialized. "We formed the company right at the time Barley [Forsman] and I told them we quit," said Choi. "But they enticed me to stay and work, and finish my work; I did that on their behalf, and they used that against us. At the end of the day there was this overlap in...

  • Video: Maclean excited for Santos Women's Cup

    The GreenEDGE women were aggressive at the front throughout the race
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 22:58 GMT
    Jane Aubrey & Alex Hinds

    GreenEdge-AIS rider hoping to carry on form from nationals

    As one of GreenEdge-AIS’s in-form riders Jessie Maclean is looking ahead to this week’s Santos Women’s Cup with appropriate eagerness.

    The series is the official opener to the Tour Down Under with three criterium events taking place between January 15 and 18. What started as a side-show is now very much front and centre for crowds in Adelaide and Maclean explained that she was now really looking forward to getting into it.

    "I'm really excited, we've got a great team and it's always a lot of fun riding in Adelaide at this time of year."

    "I think a series like this – well it's awesome. I think it's a great way for people to be introduced to women's racing."

    Maclean performed brilliantly in the Jayco Bay Classic series, and carried that on into Buninyong where she sacrificed her own ambitions in the service of the team. With so many options for the GreenEdge women in Adelaide, Maclean will be one of many cards the team will be able to play not that she’s bothered.

    "We all get on really well; I think if any one of us wins it’ll be great.”

    Watch the full video interview below

  • Gallery: Riders get the chance to meet Adelaide's 'other locals'

    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 23:49 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour village provides unique experience for the pros

    A select number of the professional peloton were given a very special experience on Saturday in the Tour Down Under village when they were introduced to some of Adelaide's native fauna.

    Koalas, snakes, kangaroos - there was plenty to see and most of the pros welcomed the opportunity to do something different ahead of the race's official opener - the Down Under Classic

    Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) was in attendance, as were many of the GreenEdge women's team including Amanda Spratt and Melissa Hoskins.

    See the full gallery here.

  • Video: Gerrans proud to be riding Tour Down Under in green and gold

    Simon Gerrans from Victoria was a popular winner of the gold medal in the men's elite road race.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2012, 3:46 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    National champion not convinced race will be decided on Willunga

    Australian road champion Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) is one of the pre-race favourites for the 14th Santos Tour Down Under, and told Cyclingnews that arriving in Adelaide, in an Australian team, wearing the national colours was a proud moment.

    "It’s an exciting time for myself and for Australian cycling," said Gerrans. "Everyone is really wrapped with this team and what we’ve done so far, now we just have to continue to build on that."

    Gerrans has showed already that he's arriving at the Tour Down Under in top form. At the national championships in Buninyong he was a level above on the hilly 163.2 kilometre course, sprinting away from Matthew Lloyd (Lampre-ISD) and Richie Porte (Sky) to take the title. The Australian said that though serious questions would have been asked had the team failed to fire, things had worked out to the tee.

    "There was a lot of pressure on GreenEdge leading into the national championships," said Gerrans. "But everyone in the team really knew their role. I was always going to wait for the last few laps, if the race was still together. In the end it was great that I was able to finish it all off the way I did."

    Tour Down Under

    Leading into the Tour Down Under much has been made of the course change on stage five's Old Willunga Hill, which for the first time will include a hill-top finish. Interestingly, Gerrans played down the significance of the stage, citing stages 2 and 4 respectively as potentially more decisive, and pointed to the race's penchant for surprise winners as something always to watch out for.

    "I really don’t think it’s going to be decided on Willunga," said Gerrans. "I think...

  • Boasson Hagen targets Stirling stage at Tour Down Under

    Boasson Hagen at the pre-Tour Down Under media conference where he's making his debut in the race
    Article published:
    January 15, 2012, 4:43 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    All-rounder coy on form but still a favourite for overall

    As one of the pre-race favourites for a tougher Santos Tour Down Under than what has been evidenced in the past, Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen is hoping to make his mark early on in the six-stage event which kicks of the UCI WorldTour.

    Sky has a top line-up at the Australian race with the Norwegian joining in-form locals Chris Sutton, Michael Rogers and Mathew Hayman with Geraint Thomas, Alex Dowsett, and Danny Pate also in attendance.

    Boasson Hagen remained reasonably coy about his own form while admitting that Stage 2, from Lobethal to Stirling had piqued his interest.

    "It's just the first race and I hope to go quite good but it's not the main goal," the 24-year-old explained. "Of course I want to try and win it and see how we can manage to do it.

    "If I manage to get to the podium for the GC and I win a stage it will be a really good start to the year but it's not going to be sad if I don't manage to get on the podium."

    Boasson Hagen, as an all-rounder is said to have a better chance for overall honours than what has been witnessed in previous editions of the now 14-year-old stage race. He joins defending champion Cameron Meyer, Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) as a rider to watch with sprinters the likes of Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) no longer expected to be in the mix when it comes to overall honours.

    "The Willunga stage is going to change it a little bit," the 2009 Gent-Wevelgem winner said, citing the hilltop finish that has been included for the first time for the queen stage. "Still it's a...