What does the BMC rider pack for the Tour of Flanders?
Heading into Sunday’s Tour of Flanders Adam Blythe is as excited as any young professional rider could be. The 23-year-old is a keen Classics rider and sprinter who thrives on the pave, bergs and competitive nature of the race.
The British BMC rider is based in the centre of Kortrijk with his teammates and has a central role to play in BMC’s early tactics for the race.
In this exclusive video with Cyclingnews, Bylthe takes us through his suitcase for the race ahead and talks about the life of a pro, living out of a suitcase and travelling the world.
The BMC team head into the Ronde with Greg Van Avemaet and Thor Hushovd – Blythe’s roommate for the race – as their team leaders.
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) has now also confirmed that he will ride the Corsa Rosa, before going on to ride the Tour de France.
With just over a month to the start of the race in Naples on May 4, the big five contenders talk about their love for cycling, how they started in the sport and reveal the riders who inspired them in this video produced by race organiser RCS Sport.
The video includes footage of all five riders in action at the Giro d'Italia and other races. It is perfect teaser for looks set to be one of the best ever editions of the Giro d'Italia.
Boom pulled out of Harelbeke and finished in the main bunch at Gent-Wevelgem but told Cyclingnews that with a week of training in his legs, a higher placed finish could be in his grasp.
Boom has skirted with success in the Classics since devoting his time to the road - top-tens in E3 Harelbeke, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix - but he has fallen short of a podium.
This weekend Boom and his Blanco teammates come into Flanders with low expectations. Boom endured a disappointing Gent-Wevelgem while co-leader Sep Vanmarcke is still battling back from a recent knee injury.
"The legs are better than last weekend, I hope. I'm going to do my best but you never know. I feel better than Gent-Wevelgem. I thought I was ready for it after Tirreno but I had a shit feeling all day but I kept fighting," Boom told Cyclingnews.
"I've trained hard this week and I hope it's going to be a little bit better."
While Blanco continue to search for a sponsor both in the Dutch sector and on the international stage, Boom and his teammates are tasked with pulling in the results. A podium at Flanders would certainly be a bonus considering how much the team has struggled in recent weeks. They began the season with a bang with victories at the Tour Down Under and two stages at the Volta ao Algarve. Boom himself chipped in with a stage at the Tour du Haut Var and Tour...
RadioShack Leopard manager ahead of Tour of Flanders
Fabian Cancellara showed his strength by soloing to victory at E3 Harelbeke last week, but RadioShack-Leopard team manager Luca Guercilena is aware that his rider will also need to display his tactical intelligence if he is to repeat that triumph at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
Two years ago, Cancellara won in similarly emphatic fashion at E3 Harelbeke, but was heavily marked a week later, as he went on to finish in third place at the Tour of Flanders. Guercilena has worked closely with Cancellara since the Swiss rider left the Bjarne Riis stable before the 2011 season, and he is well-placed to assess Cancellara’s condition ahead of the biggest objective of his season.
“I think that over the course of the past three years, Fabian has always arrived at the classics at the same level,” Guercilena told Cyclingnews. “He was excellent this time last year and he’s at a very good level again now.”
No one can step into the same river twice, of course, and Cancellara came into this year’s Classics campaign seeking reassurances after crashes ruined his 2012 season, first at the Tour of Flanders and then in the Olympic Games road race. The early signs from Milan-San Remo (where he finished a close third behind Gerald Ciolek and Peter Sagan) and Harelbeke are encouraging. Guercilena suggested that concentration was a keyword for the Cancellara of 2013.
“Given the injuries he had last year, maybe there isn’t the same certainty that there was about his condition last year, but then again, maybe that was something that led to him making errors,” Guercilena said.
The team has been ravaged by injury and illness in recent weeks, with David Millar, Ramunas Navardauskas and Jack Bauer crashing or going home sick. Martijn Maaskant has struggled to deal with a knee injury, while new signing Nick Nuyens was forced to end his spring early after further complications with a persistent hip injury.
It has left the team desperate to fill rosters, let alone pick up results, with only Johan Vansummeren able to finish Gent-Wevelgem last Sunday.
The former Paris-Roubaix winner may have crossed the line in second last place a week ago but he will lead the team in Flanders, with Farrar picking up the baton for Scheldeprijs.
“It hasn’t been the greatest Classics season for our team so far but it’s not finished yet and the most important races are still to come,” Farrar told Cyclingnews on the eve of Flanders.
“Johan is our best Classics rider for these races now. We had some injuries and sickness and it’s worn on our team a bit but we’ll do everything we can to help him at Flanders and again at Roubaix.”
At the directors’ meeting in the centre of Bruges on Saturday evening Geert Van Bondt put a brave face on the team’s predicament but with so much bad luck and injuries the former pro rider has the difficult task of picking his riders’ morale up and getting the best out of them in the coming races.
However, Vansummeren has form in rescuing the team, having soloed to a Paris-Roubaix win in 2011 when the team had underperformed when expectation had been far...
"With a little bit of luck, if things come back together like last year then it could even be a podium," Haussler told Cyclingnews with confidence on the eve of De Ronde.
Haussler's been here before, legs with the ability to propel the bike over the cobbles, "spinning", he calls it. Power free and easy. A sensation that you know you've got within 100 metres of hitting the cobbles. In 2009 while riding for Cervélo Test Team, he finished runner-up to Stijn Devolder in a spring that also included a second place at Milan-San Remo, fourth at Dwars door Vlaanderen and seventh at Paris-Roubaix but at age 25, it was more about smashing his race through every race, admitting that tactics were not front of mind.
"In 2009 I thought, 'this is going to happen every year', but that wasn't the case," he said. "It's maybe once in a lifetime that you have legs like that. So I'm maybe doing it a little bit smarter and it's definitely going to be a hard race tomorrow."
Haussler was, however, being guided by the likes of Classics specialists Roger Hammond and Andreas Klier while on Cervélo and he's now sharing that knowledge with his less-experienced teammates on IAM Cycling.
"I want the team to be good, I'm just passing that on," Haussler told Cyclingnews. "We're maybe not, as a team, as...
Twelve months ago, Scinto was coaxing the best out of Filippo Pozzato, since departed for Lampre-Merida, and their union almost produced the richest of dividends when Pozzato finished second at De Ronde. This time, Scinto is looking for a similar showing from Gatto, a rider he feels was both inspired and over-awed by Pozzato's presence on the squad last year.
"I think Gatto has the potential of a champion but he still has to show his real value," Scinto told Cyclingnews in Bruges' Markt on Saturday afternoon. "He's a very strong rider but last year he had a bit of bad luck and I think Pippo's charisma shackled him a little bit too. He says it didn't but I think it did shackle him quite a bit actually."
Gatto's most famous win to date came at the Giro d'Italia in 2011, when he attacked in the finale and held off a fast-closing Alberto Contador and the peloton to win in Tropea. Scinto reckons that Gatto and his team will have to show similar invention if they are to prevail on Sunday.
"We have two possibilities. If we ride just for a position, then I'm sure that we will get a significant one, but if we ride to win, we'll have to invent something. And with Gatto, we'll look...
Defending champion taken hospital, out of Paris-Roubaix
Defending Tour of Flanders champion Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma QuickStep) crashed out of the race after just 19km, suffering injuries that have ruled him out of Paris-Roubaix and so virtually ending his Spring classics campaign.
The three time Ronde winner was taken to hospital but x-rays revealed he did not have any fractures. Boonen fell on his left side, injuring his left knee, elbow and hip but he was able to board the ambulance without assistance.
"Boonen has a contusion at his left hip, as well as a wound on his left elbow. He also has a contusion and a wound on his right knee that required a few stitches, according to the team.
"I was behind Stijn (Vandenbergh) and we were riding on the side of the group," Boonen said in a statement from his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team.
"The speed was really high. The peloton swung a bit on the left and we were following, when suddenly I hit a plastic sign on the road. In a moment I went on the ground. I couldn't even breathe at the beginning. I understood immediately that something wasn't good. I had pain especially on the left side of my body. Then I saw also a deep wound on my right knee and I understood that my race was over."
In agreement with the team medical staff, it was decided that Boonen won't ride Paris-Roubaix.
"It's really not an option" Boonen said.
"It's hard to renounce a race like that, but I really can't ride. I have a lot of pain and in the next days for sure it won't be better. Unfortunately 2013 is not really my year, not my number. I had too much troubles this year and than this. Now I really have to be careful with my physical problems. The elbow and the hip are really swollen and painful, all the left part of my body is sore."
Omega Pharma-Quickstep team manager Patrick Lefevre confirmed the...