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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, March 7, 2010

Date published:
March 07, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Iglinskiy pounces to Strade Bianche win

    Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) wins the sprint to the line
    Article published:
    March 06, 2010, 18:12 GMT
    By:
    Richard Moore

    Teide training camp helps Kazakh defeat Löfkvist and Rogers

    Scoring "the most beautiful win of my career," Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) entered Siena's famous Piazza del Campo on Saturday afternoon to claim the Montepaschi Strade Bianche title from a three-man escape that included the defending champion, Thomas Löfkvist (Team Sky), and an on-form Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia).

    This trio proved themselves the strong men from an eleven-rider lead group, with Iglinskiy's win coming after he performed a late and audacious overtaking maneuver in the final 200 metres, seizing the initiative - and the lead - from Löfkvist on the final approach to the Piazza.

    It was a move that the Kazakh rider timed to perfection, after he had pounced on Löfkvist as the Swede attacked at the foot of the final climb, inside the final kilometre, then trailing him over the top as the bumpy, uneven road wound around the back of the Piazza.

    He made his race-winning move as the road narrowed, squeezing through the tiniest of gaps on the inside. It bordered on dubious, too. As Iglinskiy drew level, he and Löfkvist's shoulders seemed to touch; had the Swede deviated from his line, both might have gone into the barriers. But Löfkvist held his line and Iglinskiy held his nerve, with the Kazakh doing well to control his bike as he entered the final corner at speed, before crossing the line a couple of lengths clear.

    "It's the first time I've ridden this race, so I had never seen the finale," said Iglinskiy. "I knew where I had to get to the front, and then I used the tyres to get around the final corner; I had to brake hard in the [final] curve not to crash.

    "It is the most beautiful win of my career," added the 28-year-old, who counted stages in the Tour of Romandie in 2008 and the Dauphine Libere in 2007 as his best wins before Saturday. "And I am happy because it such a beautiful race."

    Iglinskiy arrived in Tuscany almost directly from a training camp at altitude on the island of...

  • Fly V Australia touches down in Beverly Hills

    Riders on Fly V Australia pose with Team Owner Chris White (fifth from left) outside the Montage hotel.
    Article published:
    March 06, 2010, 21:23 GMT
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Continental team concludes California training camp in style

    The Fly V Australia Professional Cycling Team rolled out its team launch in style at the luxurious Montage in Beverly Hills on Friday night, concluding a weeklong training camp held in nearby Agoura Hills, California. Technical Director Ed Beamon painted a picture of what's to come for the Continental outfit in the not so distant future.

    "The vision of the team is to develop Australia's first ProTour team, first Tour de France competitive team," Beamon told Cyclingnews. "That is not an overnight process. The ultimate goal for this year is to prepare to have a Pro Continental team in 2011.

    "That encompasses a lot in developing and strengthening business partnerships, the organization of the team, our ability to function on the road, polish the presentation aspect of the team and obviously, our ability to be athletically competitive," he continued. "That is the broad brush of what the goals and objectives are for the team."

    The final event was staged in the high-class banquet rooms on the top floor of the Montage Hotel. Some 140 people attended the presentation that started with a cocktail hour and hors d'oeuvres. Queensland's Trade Commissioner Peter Beattie directed the evening's festivities starting with presenting dignitaries and VIPs from Virgin Blue V Australia.

    Managing Director Chris White gave an inspiring speech that revisited the team's past success, outlined its present goals and described his vision and direction of the Fly V Australia Professional Cycling Team.

    The evening was capped off by presenting 10 of the 15-man roster, individually escorted on stage by models outfitted as V Australia flight attendants. The 2010 team includes Alessandro Bazzana, Hayden Brooks, Jonathan Cantwell, Jai Crawford, Darren Lill, Ben Day, Charles Dionne, David Kemp, Aaron Kemps, Jay Thompson, Ben Kersten, Bernard Sulzberger, Darren Rolfe, Dave Tanner and Phil Zajicek.

    Returning talents included Kersten, winner...

  • Brändli retires from women's peloton

    Prologue winner Nicole Brändli (Team Bigla)
    Article published:
    March 07, 2010, 9:49 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider won three Giros, three World silver medals

    Nicole Brändli has announced her retirement from pro cycling. The Swiss rider has won the women's Giro d'Italia three times and has won three silver medals at the World Championships.

    “After serious consideration, I will not start in the coming season,” she wrote on her website. “After 10 years of professional sport, I need time to think about what I really want to do in the future.”

    Brändli, 30, has ridden for Acce Due O, Red Bull- Frankfurt, Edil Savino, Prato Marathon Bike and S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox. She has been with Bigla Cycling Team since 2005.

    Brändli won the Giro d'Italia in 2001, 2003 and 2005. In 2002 she finished second in both the World Championships road race and time trial, and in 2001 she finished second in the Worlds time trial, only .41 seconds behind winner Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli.

    She had earlier said that she would retire after the Mendrisio World Championships in 2009, then decided to make her final decision this spring. The Giro d'Italia was an attractive prospect this year 2010, with its difficult course passing through Switzerland.

    But a number of factors convinced her to stop, Brändli told the Swiss website Bazonline.com. “But it would have been a big effort,” she said. “I didn't have enough goals. And I'm not getting younger. Plus I would have had to change teams again, since Bigla stopped.”

    When asked to pick her biggest success, she chose not her three Giro victories, but last year's third place finish in the Italian race. “I had to pause after surgery and didn't know, how it would go. So I was very happy my third place, even though it wasn't a win. But personally I found it almost more important than the three Giro wins.”

    Brändli admitted she has not been on her bike since November. “I have done other sports, to keep myself fit in case I did decide to come...

  • Last chance for Rabobank in Murcia

    2009 Murcia champion Denis Menchov finished second in the time trial.
    Article published:
    March 07, 2010, 10:51 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team satisfied with Menchov's time trial after three second places

    Rabobank took its third second place in a Tour of Murcia stage on Saturday, as Denis Menchov finished second in the time trial. Earlier in the race, sprinter Graeme Brown had finished second in the first and second stages.

    Menchov, who won the race last year, finished the 22km time trial 33 seconds behind winner Frantisek Rabon of HTC-Columbia, who also took over the general lead. Menchov is second overall, 38 seconds down.

    Rabobank Directeur Sportif Adri Van Houwelingen was surprised at the outcome on Saturday. “The difference between Rabon and the rest of the field is almost absurdly high", he said on the team's website. “Certainly we thought Rabon would ride for the GC yesterday, but we didn't consider him a danger. Everyone assumed he would lose some time on the climb, but he didn't.”

    In general, though, the team was happy with Menchov's performance. “We mainly drew our comparisons with Wiggins and Klöden,” Van Houwelingen said. Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) finished third, at 48 seconds, and Andreas Klöden of RadioShack was fourth, 52 seconds down. He called those two riders “real specialists for this discipline. More so than Menchov, and yet he rides away from them. That's good, even if it is so early in the season."

    For Sunday's closing stage, the Dutch ProTour team expects another mass sprint finish, and this time they expect to finish higher than second. “We will bring Graeme Brown into position,” Van Houwelingen promised.

    At least this time, Brown will not be beaten again by Robert Hunter. The South African dropped out of the third stage to attend the birth of his second child.

  • Contador predicts close Paris-Nice prologue

    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne) leads Alberto Contador (Astana) on the day at the 2009 Paris-Nice where he snatched the lead from the two-time Tour de France winner
    Article published:
    March 07, 2010, 13:15 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Astana rider gets new Specialized TT bike

    Alberto Contador beat Bradley Wiggins by seven seconds to win the 2009 Paris-Nice prologue but predicted a much closer race this year.

    Contador held a press conference in Paris on Saturday with Specialized's Mike Sinyard and revealed he will ride a new version of Specialized's Shiv time trial bike. He was forced to use an older model at the recent Volta ao Algarve race because the original Shiv did not perfectly conform to recently enforced UCI bike rules.

    "I really like Paris-Nice and it's held in a time of year when I'm usually on good form. It is also a small test for the Tour de France, with high stress stages, a very similar course, especially in the flat stages, and with a high level of competition. Among the first races of the season, I think it's probably the most important," Contador said.

    "The prologue will be a good test for me. I'll give it the maximum and hope to do well, but wining or losing will be a matter of two or three seconds because there are other riders who are very strong. There is a big group of favorites, like Millar, Vande Velde, Samuel Sanchez, Luis Leon Sanchez, Chavanel and many others. I hope to have a good day, but the differences will be minimal."

    "It's a hard course, even if it's only 8 km, you can make some time differences on some riders. Regarding the bike, there's a big difference. This is the 'Shiv, which I trained on at home and it's completely different to the bike I used in the Algarve. They are different because this bike is more evolved; it's faster in the wind tunnel, lighter and more rigid. There are many factors that change and all for the better."

    Contador win Paris-Nice in 2007 but cracked last year and was beaten by Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne). Contador admitted the defeat taught him a lesson.

    "That was a very important stage and is one of those days where you learn many things because it is precisely when things go wrong when you can learn some lessons....

  • Kennaugh set for quick return

    Neo-pro Peter Kennaugh is wrapped up against the cold.
    Article published:
    March 07, 2010, 16:56 GMT
    By:
    Richard Moore

    Team Sky neo-pro crashed out during Strade Bianche

    Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) crashed out of the Strade Bianche race on Saturday, fracturing his collarbone but his prospects of making a quick return to racing appear good with the news that the fracture is a simple break.

    A Sky spokesperson confirmed to Cyclingnews that Kennaugh doesn’t need surgery and he will return to the Isle of Man to recover. The spokesperson added that as neo-pro the team will give him plenty of time to recover and have not set a time for him to return.

    Like his Team Sky team-mate Kurt-Asle Arvesen, who suffered the same injury at last month's Tour of Qatar, the 20-year old neo-pro will resume training as soon as possible. Kennaugh's next scheduled race is the Tour of Catalunya, starting on 22 March. He will be ruled out of that but a comeback sometime in April is not impossible, given that Arvesen will return to racing on Wednesday, just over four
    weeks after his crash in Qatar.

    Kennaugh crashed on one of the white dirt roads that give the Strade Bianche its name and its unique appeal. It was on a descent, with 70km of the race remaining, that the Isle of Man rider took a tumble, with his left collarbone taking the brunt of the impact.

    "He's a strong little guy and I'm sure he'll be back soon," said Team Sky's sports director, Marcus Ljungqvist, after the race. "That's how it goes. It's bad news for Peter but, as Kurt has shown, you can come back quickly from an injury like this, and Peter will, I'm sure."

    Ljungqvist was satisfied with Team Sky's showing, which continued the new squad's consistent run in the first big one-day races of the new season. After Juan Antonio Flecha's victory in the previous weekend's Het Nieuwsblad and Ian Stannard's third in the following day's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Thomas Lofkvist placed second in Siena on Saturday, with Flecha, who also featured in the day's decisive break, also among the front-runners in eighth.

    “It was both good and...

  • Steegmans crashes out of Paris-Nice with broken collarbone

    Steegmans (RadioShack) would end the day in hospital
    Article published:
    March 07, 2010, 20:41 GMT
    By:
    Jonathan S. Brand

    Belgian ruled out of Spring Classics

    RadioShack's Gert Steegmans, who suffered a concussion two weeks ago in Portugal's Volta ao Algarve, had more bad luck when he suffered a broken collarbone in a crash during the Paris-Nice prologue on Sunday.

    It is believed that today's strong winds played a part in the crash, which occurred halfway through his race as Steegmans was riding at 75kph on a downhill section of the course. Steegmans is scheduled to have surgery at a hospital in Belgium on Monday.

    RadioShack directeur sportif, Dirk Demol, said, "Gert crashed on the descent of the first of two climbs, just on the fastest part where everyone was riding more than 70kph. There was an opening of maybe 20 meters between a house and a hedge. I saw the wind coming. Leaves and tree branches flew in the air and a second later Gert was lifted in the air too. He was blown away from the road and tumbled over and over many times. It was a terrible crash.

    "I've never seen such a thing in my life. It took 12 minutes for the ambulance to arrive while we waited and could do nothing. Gert was screaming all the time. He seemed to have broken more than one thing. This is very bad news for him. He would have been our leader in the Classics."

    On the bright side, RadioShack had two strong performances today from Americans Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner, who finished third and sixteenth respectively. For a while, Horner was in seventh place overall.

    "It was a decent run for me today on this Classics-like course," he said.

    Despite the loss of Steegmans, who won two stages of Paris-Nice in 2008, the team will work in support of Leipheimer.