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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, March 13, 2011

Date published:
March 13, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Schumacher admits to mistakes, looks to rehabilitate both himself and German cycling

    Stefan Schumacher made his 2011 debut with Miche at the Challenge Calabria.
    Article published:
    March 12, 2011, 10:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    German now riding for Italian Continental Team Miche

    Stefan Schumacher has admitted to having “made mistakes” in the past, but now says that he wants to win back the sympathy and trust he has lost. By riding and winning clean, the Miche-Guerciotti rider also hopes to do his part to restore German cycling.

    “The situation of cycling in Germany right now is certainly not easy. A lot has gone wrong the last few years and also I have made mistakes,” Schumacher told Cyclingnews. “Looking back, I could surely have done this or that differently.”

    Schumacher won both time trial stages at the 2008 Tour de France whilst riding for Team Gerolsteiner. He signed with Quick Step for the following season but in October 2008 it was announced that he had tested positive for EPO-CERA when blood samples from the Tour were re-tested. He later also tested positive for EPO-CERA at the Beijing Olympic Games.

    The German rider was suspended for two years, although he continued to deny the charges. He started riding again last August with the small Italian Miche team.

    “As to what must change, I can only speak for myself: through transparency and openness I will endeavour to win back the trust and sympathy which I have lost,” Schumacher claimed. “I want to win and to show that I am doing it cleanly.”

    “I hope that this way I can do my part to help the sport, even though I know that I can't do much. There are still many enthusiastic cycling fans in Germany – and they have the right to a great sport.”

    Returning to racing after sitting out for two years is not...

  • Riccò reveals he will never race again

    A pensive Riccardo Riccò (Vacansoleil) before the start.
    Article published:
    March 12, 2011, 12:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian denies blood doping and criticises the world of cycling

    Riccardo Riccò is back on his bike but has revealed he will never race again and has denied he was rushed to hospital because of a botched blood transfusion.

    Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport after journalist Luigi Perna tracked him down to his home in Formigine, near Modena, Riccò said his career was over and slammed the world of cycling, saying it makes him sick.

    Ricco was rushed to hospital on February 6 after feeling ill over night. The doctor who first treated him is reported to have told police that Ricco’ admitted to transfusing blood that he’d kept in his fridge.

    Riccò is still waiting to be questioned by Italian police and his medical records are still being studied by a legal expert but he was sacked by the Vacansoleil team after a rapid internal investigation.

    Gazzetta dello Sport published a photograph of him wearing a yellow jersey under a black gillet. He seemed to have put on several kilogrammes but appeared healthy and smiled for the camera.

    “I ride my bike just for fun. I started a week ago. I go out when I want, not every day. It’s nice and is relaxing. I talk with friends and stop for a coffee,” Riccò said.

    “I’ve no desire to race again. Not at all. I’ve moved on. The cycling world disgusts me, it makes me sick. Everyone in it disgusts me. They wanted me to stop when I made my comeback. Now I will: Riccò has stopped. Leave me alone.”

    Denies admitting to blood doping

    Riccò claimed he has already been found guilty by the media but denied ever admitting to emergency doctors that he had undergone a blood transfusion.

    “I’m waiting to be...

  • Wiggins pleased with Paris-Nice performance

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) finished second behind Martin
    Article published:
    March 12, 2011, 18:51 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Olympic champion to target Criterium International

    Bradley Wiggins’ strong ride in Friday’s 27km time trial and Saturday’s tough hilly stage in rain means the British rider is set to finish on the podium in Paris-Nice and confirm he is still Team Sky’s team leader for major stage races.

    Wiggins finished eighth, just a few seconds behind Rémy Di Gregorio (Astana) in Sophia Antipolis, and is now 41 seconds behind race leader Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) and just five seconds down on Andreas Klöden (RadioShack).

    “After the disappointment of last year, I’ve looked after myself all winter,” Wiggins told Cyclingnews before the start line of stage seven in Brignoles.

    “I wanted to go well early this season. It was always the plan that I’d be ready for Paris-Nice after riding the Tour of Qatar and the track in Manchester.”

    “Yesterday was just a good time trial for me. I’ve always been a good time trialist. The course was good for me as well but Tony (Martin) is phenomenal at the moment. I probably haven’t got the legs to drop him in the climb, so I’m happy with my third place. I now don’t want to do something stupid and lose my position.”

    Wiggins said he feels “a huge improvement from last year” when he finished a disappointed 24th at the Tour de France.

    His next races are Milan-San Remo, Criterium International and Paris-Roubaix. The two-day, three-stage race in Corsica at the end of March will be a big goal because it includes a key time trial stage. After riding on the cobbles at Paris-Roubaix, he then begin to focus on his build up for the 2011 Tour de France,

    “After Paris-Roubaix, I’ll give all for the Tour de France”,...

  • Trek-Livestrong starts season at Redlands Bicycle Classic

    Trek-Livestrong: the names on the door
    Article published:
    March 12, 2011, 19:21 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Under 23 team combines Europe and domestic racing

    Trek-Livestrong will be well-prepared to contest a combination of domestic events, including the NRC Redlands Bicycle Classic, and international events following a weeklong training camp held in Solvang, California. The 14-rider squad took advantage of the spring-like weather for long rides through the Santa Ynez Mountains and Valleys.

    "We can do a little bit of everything from Figueroa Mountain to the valley roads so we really had a lot of climbing and a lot of flats," said Team Director Axel Merckx. "We only had one day of rain and weather-wise; it made for a very good training camp. We averaged about four hours per day of riding."

    "The main purpose of camp was to get ready for our team that will race at Redlands Bicycle Classic and for the riders that will be going to Europe with the US National Team for the April campaign over there," he said. "We really wanted to use the camp as a kick-off to get ready for the new season."

    This year's roster underwent several changes as older riders such as Alex Dowsett, Jesse Sergent and Taylor Phinney received contracts from ProTeams. The team has three returning riders, Gavin Mannion, Nathan Brown and Charlie Avis and 10 new recruits, Ian Boswell, Lawson Craddock, Dale Parker, Ryan Eastman, Joe Dombrowski, Robin Eckmann, Carter Jones, Michael Vink, Josh Atkins, Joe Lewis and George Bennett.

    "Things went really well at camp," Merckx said. "The main part of the day was used for training, they had rubs in the afternoon and at night we always had a bit of a meeting about our sponsors, training, nutrition, how to get ready for the season and gave them the guidelines for the season."

    "It was the first time and probably the last time that the whole team will be together," he said. "I think it was really good team spirit and they all got along really well. The guys have great mentalities and also a lot of work ethic and they are wanting to do well this year."

    Riders from...

  • European Cycling Union supports UCI over radio ban

    Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek) wearing his illegal radio at the start of the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca
    Article published:
    March 12, 2011, 20:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    UEC President Wojciech Walkiewicz sends letter to federations

    While USA Cycling has announced it will allow race radio to be used in National Racing Calendar events this season, the European Cycling Union has backed the UCI on a gradual elimination of their use.

    Cyclingnews has seen a letter sent by the UEC president Wojciech Walkiewicz to all the European National Cycling Federations, which specifies that the UEC supports the UCI on the race radio ban.

    Wojciech Walkiewicz refers to a speech UCI President Pat McQuaid made at the recent General Assembly of European Cycling Union in Zrece, Slovenia, but there are no details of what McQuaid said or the sway he may have had on the UEC members.

    The UEC is continental federation that represents 48 country members and organises the European Cycling Championships.

    Wojciech Walkiewicz is from Poland and became the new chairman of the UEC in 2009. The UEC recently voted David Lappartient of France and Igor Makarov of Russia as the two new European representatives to the UCI Management Committee.

    Just a few weeks before the elections, the UEC announced that Russian oil and gas company Itera had agreed to come on board as a sponsor. Makarov has been the head of Itera since 1992.

  • Scarponi chasing overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) celebrates his stage 4 win
    Article published:
    March 12, 2011, 21:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lampre-ISD talks about the Lampre-ISD one-two in Chieti

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) likes the tough finish to Chieti. He won in the little hilltop town at last year’s Tirreno-Adriatico and won again this year with a powerful attack that left riders of the calibre of Cadel Evans (BMC), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Danilo Di Luca (Katusha) and new teammate Damiano Cunego struggling behind him.

    Scarponi won the stage ahead of Cunego to give Lampre-ISD a one-two on the stage. More importantly, he also pulled back 12 seconds on Robert Gesink (Rabobank), meaning he still has a shot at overall victory. Lampre-ISD had a disappointing opening team time trial in Marina di Carrara on Wednesday, losing 37 seconds to the flying Dutchmen. However now Scarponi is just 15 seconds back from Gesink, with Evans and Basso at just five and three seconds, with two more difficult stages before Tuesday’s final 9.3km time trial.

    “I wished every race finished here,” Scarponi joked during a video interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

    “There were a lot of big names up there today but I got first and Damiano got second, so it’s a great result for us. We’re not first overall but we’ll try and win it.”

    “We didn’t have a clear plan in the finale. Damiano was feeling good too and so we shared the work. We understand each other in a split second. He perhaps knew I was going to attack and I was hoping he’d control the others. That’s what happened.”

    Sunday’s second 240km stage heads north from Chieti to Castelraimondo and will be another hard day in the Apennines. Monday’s sixth stage is from Ussita to Macerata and passes through Scarponi’s home town. He knows the roads well and will try to...

  • Maaskant fractures seven ribs in Paris-Nice crash

    Heinrich Haussler (Gamin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    March 13, 2011, 10:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Haussler rides on despite several spills

    19 riders retired from Paris-Nice during Saturday’s stage as the wet and twisting roads of the south of France sparked some high-speed crashes and made for a tough day in the saddle.

    Both Heinrich Haussler and Martijn Maaskant crashed, making it an especially tough day for the Garmin-Cervelo team.

    Haussler went down several times, including once into a wall, but managed to finish the stage and keep the green points jersey. He won the first sprint on stage seven, extending his lead, and now has a 20-point advantage on nearest rival Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) and so should secure victory in the special classification during today’s final stage.

    Maaskant was not so lucky. He crashed hard on the descent of the Cote de Gourdon, 60km from the finish, and is reported to have fractured seven ribs. It was rumoured he was also diagnosed with a collapsed lung when taken to hospital but team manager Jonathan Vaughters said this was inaccurate in a twitter message.

    However Vaughters confirmed that the fractured ribs would mean Maaskant would not recover in time to ride the cobbled classics.

    Maaskant joined Vaughters team in 2008 and finished fourth in Paris-Roubaix and was fourth in the 2009 Tour of Flanders.

  • Cavendish shrugs off question about his form for Milan-San Remo

    Robbie McEwen (Radioshack) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) didn't feature in today's sprint.
    Article published:
    March 13, 2011, 11:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    HTC-Highroad sprinter insists he’s ready for La Classicissima

    Mark Cavendish has shrugged off questions about his form for next Saturday’s Milan-San Remo, insisting that he is feeling good despite missing out in the two sprint finishes at Tirreno-Adriatico.

    Cavendish has only one victory to his name this season: the final stage at the Tour of Oman. He proved he had the speed and sprinting tactics to beat Thor Hushovd, Andrea Guardini and Theo Bos that day but sat up in both sprints at Tirreno-Adriatico after losing position and his lead out.

    Cavendish finished in the main gruppetto on Saturday’s 240km hilly stage to Chieti and faces another long day in the hills during Sunday’s 244km stage. He admitted he was tired but insisted his build-up for Milan-San Remo was on track.

    “I’m a little tired and it’s not warm here but I’m ok,” he said in his ever-improving Italian during a Gazzetta dello Sport video interview.

    “This is my last race before San Remo and my preparation is going perfectly. I’m ready.”

    Cavendish claimed that his form is as good as in 2009 when he won Milan-San Remo at the first attempt but he avoided naming who he thinks will be his rivals for San Remo.
    “I look at my form and not at the other riders,” he said. “We’ll see what happens next Saturday.”

    Cavendish has already studied the finale of the race before Tirreno-Adriatico and may return to ride the Poggio and the Cipressa again when Tirreno-Adriatico ends on Tuesday.