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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, March 28, 2010

Date published:
March 28, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Mistake costs Pozzato dearly at E3

    Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) goes deep
    Article published:
    March 27, 2010, 21:43 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Italian unable to latch on after missing break

    Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) put up a brave defence of his E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke crown but came up short on Saturday, finishing a creditable but ultimately disappointing fourth. Pozzato had looked strong earlier in the race and when the peloton hit the decisive last 80 kilometres he was never far from the front on most of the climbs.

    His loyal lieutenant for the day came in the form of Serguie Ivanov and the two national champions (Italy and Russia respectively) seemed like they were riding a tandem whenever the camera caught the pair. However Pozzato’s one and only mistake came on the Paterberg and it cost him the race. As Boonen launched what turned out to be the winning move the Italian was too far back to respond.

    "I missed the attack by a split second,” he said at the finish. “I was a bit too far back and thought I'd get across if anyone had attacked. Unfortunately I judged it wrong.”

    Pozzato turned on the turbo chargers soon after and went after Boonen, Juan Antonio Flecha and Fabian Cancellara. He was briefly joined by Sebastien Rosseler (Team RadioShack) who was a survivor from the day’s earlier break.

    The Italian was clearly strong, reducing the gap from around 30 seconds to just 10 by the Tiegemberg, but with Rosseler dispatched and the trio in sight, Boonen was forced to react. The Belgian punched on the pedals, while Pozzato span a smaller gear and the gap stretched out again.

    “They went really hard and when they knew that I was only a few seconds behind, they definitely didn't do anything to help me get on,” he said.

    With less than 20 kilometres to go Pozzato was caught by a chase group containing three Rabobank riders, but he had the strength to claim fourth in a sprint. “I want to thank my team-mates because they raced really well; I was the one who made a mistake,” he said. “I hope to do better at the Tour of Flanders."

  • Goldstein hit by car during Redlands warm-up

    The women head out into the chilly morning.
    Article published:
    March 27, 2010, 21:56 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Extend of injuries unknown; possible broken cheek, wrist

    Leah Goldstein was (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) hit by a car while warming up for the Redlands Bicycle Classic's stage two criterium on Saturday. Paramedics transported Goldstein by ambulance to the Loma Linda University Medical Center located outside of Redlands, California. Doctors have not yet confirmed the extent of her injuries.

    “She was warming up, crossed the street and a women rolled through the stop in a car,” said Lisa Hunt, directeur sportif of Team Vera Bradley Foundation. “I’m not clear exactly what happened but I spoke with the woman who was driving the car, she stopped, and she felt awful.

    “I saw her as they were putting her on the ambulance and she was in a lot of pain,” Hunt said. “She had a lot of facial lacerations and probably broke her cheekbone and she might have broken her wrist.”

    Hunt was preparing her team for the City of Redlands Criterium when she was notified of the incident approximately 30 minutes before the start of the race.

    “Someone told me, one of the marshals, they notified me,” Hunt said. “Fortunately our host family is involved with the race and she is a firefighter. They called the ambulance immediately.”

    Goldstein has been racing bikes for more than a decade and is recognised for her all-round ability in some of the toughest stage races in the world. She is a three-time winner of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, the Israeli National Champion in the road and time trial and a former member of the Canadian National Team.

    “It is all too soon to tell how long she will need to recover,” Hunt said. “She is a strong woman and will probably want to get back on the bike tomorrow.”

  • Armstrong unfazed by unspectacular start at Criterium International

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) races in Corsica
    Article published:
    March 27, 2010, 23:26 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    RadioShack happy with team-mates’ results

    Team RadioShack was pleased with the opening stage of Criterium International, despite Grand Tour winner Lance Armstrong dropping just short of five minutes on the Ospedale climb in Corsica. While Armstrong trundled across the line behind Yaroslav Popovych, RadioShack had already taken second place with Tiago Machado and put Christopher Horner and Ben Hermans into the top 10.

    “My day was not very spectacular, I can tell you that, but I couldn’t expect it to be,” said Armstrong. “It was a bit of a technical and tactical climb with the wind, that’s why we had a lot of surprises.

    “Team RadioShack has to be happy. I didn’t have the best day but it’s good to get a team result,” he added. “Personally I didn’t expect anything else. I did not have many races before like other guys. We’re in March, if we had this discussion in July, yeah I’d be disappointed, but it’s March 20 or whatever.”

    Criterium International is Armstrong’s first race since a charity trip to South Africa, where he contested the Giro del Capo. Gastroenteritis left him out of Milan-San Remo and since Armstrong has spent time in France with President Nicolas Sarkozy and also Laurent Fignon, another former Tour de France winner who is battling cancer.

    “My stomach is still not as good as I’d like it to be,” said Armstrong. “When you’ve got four kids, you always manage to get what they have. At the beginning of today’s stage I thought I’d be really, really good or really bad and it was the latter.

    “Tomorrow it’s not a conventional time trial, it’s a weird day with a morning stage and the time change [daylight savings] but I’ll go as hard as I can,” he added.

    RadioShack team director Johan Bruyneel said Armstrong’s lacklustre performance was expected. “Lance’s condition is not...

  • Evans ready to pounce at Criterium International

    Cadel Evans (BMC) in the Criterium International peloton
    Article published:
    March 28, 2010, 0:38 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Australian 15 seconds down ahead of time trial

    BMC Racing Team’s Cadel Evans is pleased with his fourth place at Criterium International and believes he is amongst the favourites after finishing 15 seconds down on Pierrick Fedrigo. While Evans lost relatively little time in the three stage race, Grand Tour rivals Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong lost 1:13 minutes and 4:51 minutes respectively.

    “I think it was a good day for me,” said Evans. “It was a strange race because of the wind, then the general classification riders marked each other, that’s how the stage win went to somebody else [Frenchman Pierrick Fedrigo].

    “It was a bit of a negative selection at the front,” he added. “It was a very closed race. I understand why Alberto Contador was going for the seconds.”

    Two stages today stand between Evans and a possible victory. The first is a short, flat road stage which is followed by a crucial 7.7km individual time trial held around Porto-Vecchio in south of Corsica, where Evans has a chance to regain the seconds needed to win.

    “The favourites are different now,” said Evans. “I was always keeping an eye on Samuel Sanchez and Chris Horner. I think they’ll be good at the time trial, plus David Millar and Michael Rogers are still in contention. I think the overall classification will be between those four and myself.

    “On Sunday’s morning stage I’ll try to stay out of trouble,” he said. “The time trial is really short. It’s not a bad little course for me as there’ll be a climb at the start. This will be my first time trial of the year, so it could be good but I could be bad. I’ll look at it more as test.”

    Evans recently came third at Tirreno-Adriatico but is still chasing his first win of the year. May’s Giro d’Italia is his first main goal for the 2010 season.

  • Omega Pharma-Lotto disappointed as lackluster season continues

    Greg Van Avermaet (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is red-faced from the effort on the climb.
    Article published:
    March 28, 2010, 2:03 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Illness an issue, but not the sole problem for Belgian team

    Omega Pharma-Lotto continued its poor start to the 2010 with a disappointing display in E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke on Saturday. The Belgium team is without a win this season and in today’s race its highest place finish came courtesy of Greg Van Avermaet in 26th place, 3:16 minutes down on race winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank).

    The team was affected by illness before the race, with Phillipe Gilbert, its leader for tomorrow’s Gent-Wevelgem, forced to change hotels in a bid to stay healthy. However team director Herman Frison wasn’t willing to lay the blame for today’s poor showing on illness alone.

    “We didn’t make any mistakes today. We just had a bit of bad luck and on the Taaaiberg; when Tom Boonen attacked Greg was the first to respond. But on the next climb he wasn’t in the top 10 and that’s a problem,” he said.

    “I don’t know why they were missing. I don’t know,” he added.

    Asked if Avermaet and the team’s other leader Leif Hoste (63rd) were ill, Frison batted the excuse away. “That’s not the problems for Greg or for Leif, the other guys were sick, not these guys,” he said. “We’re disappointed.”

    Lotto has the chance to make amends tomorrow when the team head into Gent-Wevelgem with Gilbert set to lead the team. He did not race at Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke on Saturday.

    “He feels good and he’s been training today,” he said. “Tomorrow is a ProTour race and it’s important for him and the sponsors.”

    Lotto for Gent-Wevelgem: Adam Blyth, Kenny De Haes, Mickael Delage, Philippe Gilbert, Olivier Kaisen, Sebastian Lang, Jurgen Roelandts, Greg Van Avermaet

  • Fedrigo targeting Liège after Criterium International stage win

    Pierrick Fedrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) in yellow
    Article published:
    March 28, 2010, 2:41 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman surprised by Corsican stage win

    Bbox Bouygues Telecom’s Pierrick Fedrigo was surprised to find himself winning the Criterium International opening stage over riders like Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, world champion Cadel Evans and Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez. The 31-year-old didn’t expect such an outcome at the top of the Ospedale in Corsica, but that’s not stopping him from targeting even bigger wins in the future.

    “I’ve had really bad sensations since Paris-Nice,” Fedrigo said. “It was very special because everybody was waiting for Alberto Contador’s attack and it never happened. When David Moncoutié accelerated, I saw Samuel Sanchez sitting back on his saddle and I went.

    “That’s how I found myself at the front,” he added. “I thought a group would come across but with one kilometre to go, the gap was the same and I understood I was going to win.”

    Fedrigo, from France’s Bordeaux region, isn’t new to the spotlight having won Tour de France stages in 2006 and 2009. The former French champion won a Dauphiné mountain stage last year that included the Izoard climb, meaning his performance on Saturday’s Ospedale didn’t come as a huge shock.

    “What I’ve done today I can do at races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège too,” Fedrigo said. “Many cyclists have realised what they are able to do as their career progressed. I have great goals to achieve yet.”

    Fedrigo may have great goals, but he’s not confident of becoming the first Frenchman to win the Criterium International since Laurent Brochard in 2003. “On Sunday morning I’ll enjoy riding with the yellow jersey as much as I can because I should lose it in the afternoon,” he said.

    With only 25 seconds advantage over the likes of Evans and Michael Rogers, he’s clearly not a favourite for the overall win despite his good...

  • Flecha: E3 result a positive sign for Flanders

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) leads Cancellara and Boonen
    Article published:
    March 28, 2010, 2:58 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Sunderland delighted with team’s Classics form

    Juan Antonio Flecha received a pat on the back from senior Team Sky director sportif Scott Sunderland at the end of E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke, on Saturday. The Spaniard finished third on the day after being beaten by Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step).

    Flecha was one of the strongest riders in the race. He matched Boonen’s effort on the Taaienberg and, along with Cancellara, was the only rider to catch the Belgian on the descent of the Paterberg with 40 kilometres to go. The three stayed away until the finish, and although Flecha was unable to beat his breakaway companions, he considered today to be a good day at the office.

    “I’m happy with my performance,” he said at the finish as a sognieur carried away his bike. “You always expect more but you have to be happy one week before Flanders with that kind of form. I was with the best riders today.”

    Coming into the final few kilometres all three riders looked strong but with Flecha being the weakest sprinter, observers waited in anticipation for his attack. However it was Cancellara who went first, staying clear to take the win by three seconds.

    “I knew we’d stay away in the last 15 kilometres and when we had 40 seconds,” said Flecha. “But Fabian was the first one to try and he stayed away.”

    As his star pupil boarded the team bus Sunderland gave his assessment on how the race unfolded. “The boys did a great job,” he said, clearly enjoying his role and the success the team are achieving on the road. “We had Chris Sutton in the front and when he came back he did a big pull for Flecha and the guys worked really well together. We’ll be lining up with the same team tomorrow.”

    “You had head wind there so there was no time to muck around,” he added. “Flecha pulled through his turn and when he did Boonen followed and it opened...

  • Allergies cost Contador hat trick in Corsica

    Alberto Contador (Astana) removes his arm warmers
    Article published:
    March 28, 2010, 6:01 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spanish rider still aiming at time trial win

    After a successful start to the season defending Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was hoping to take his third stage race victory from as many starts at Criterium International this weekend. That hope has been all but quashed after Contador dropped a minute on his rival general classification contenders on Saturday’s opening stage.

    “It’s been a hard day,” Contador said after losing time on the Ospedale climb. “There was a head wind on the climb and I suffered a lot with three kilometres to go. That’s when I told Alexandre Vinokourov to stop pacing.

    “I couldn’t breathe anymore,” he added. “I preferred to finish climbing at my own rhythm. It’s a pity I couldn’t turn the good work of the team into success.”

    In his pre-race press conference Contador mentioned the allergies he usually suffers from at this time of the year. That’s why he never promises to deliver results in spring, although Contador has already won Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice this season.

    “Nobody is unbeatable,” he said. “Physically I’m well, but many factors have to be taken into consideration for winning. I’m not disappointed. I was hoping for another cloudy day like the past two days but there was more humidity and the wind blew the pollens in the air. We can’t always win, that’s the beauty of the sport.”

    While the race’s closing time trial throws the race in Contador’s favour, at just under eight kilometres it’s unlikely to be enough to put the Spaniard back into contention. Despite the odds Contador hasn’t give up his ambition of at least trying to win the time trial.

    “It depends how I can breathe,” he said. “But I’ve done the last kilometre [today] in a more relaxed way in order to preserve some strength for tomorrow’s time trial. I like the course of...