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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 1, 2010

Date published:
April 01, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Air Force Cycling Classic steps down from UCI status

    The 2009 Crystal City Cup
    Article published:
    March 31, 2010, 21:45 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Pro teams still expected to participate

    Organizers of the Air Force Cycling Classic's Crystal City Cup have elected to step down from UCI-sanctioning and bring the event back to its roots as a high-speed criterium. Despite the reformatting, top professional men's teams are still expected to participate.

    "Invitations have already gone out to teams, and we expect to have nearly every US based pro team again, as well as some foreign teams," said Robert Laybourn of Arlington Sports Inc. "So, even though we will not be a UCI event, pro team participation will not be affected."

    The Air Force Cycling Classic will provide two days of racing beginning with the National Racing Series (NRC) Clarendon Cup criterium on Saturday, June 12 followed by a criterium held in Crystal City on Sunday, June 13.

    "We didn't lose the [UCI] status, we decided to run it as a crit, as we did in 2007," Laybourn said. "The Crystal City BID preferred to run the race, just highlighting the Crystal City area."

    The Crystal City Cup was launched in 2007 as a criterium but jumped up to a UCI-sanctioned circuit-race in 2008 and 2009. The offered the peloton 12 laps on a challenging 12.5-kilometre loop around Crystal City, racing past the US Air Force Memorial, the Pentagon and culminating in down town Crystal City. Last year it was held in conjunction with the Clarendon Cup, formerly known as CSC Invitational and both races were re-cast under the Air Force Cycling Classic banner.

    Arlington Sports, Inc. will offer an Air Force Cycling Challenge Crystal Ride for the public using the same circuit. It is billed as ‘the Peoples Ride' which gives cyclists of all abilities a chance to ride that weekend on the former UCI-sanctioned pro men's course. Participants completing eight laps will be awarded a gold medal. There are more than 2000 cyclist expected to participate this year.

    "We will retain the option of bringing back the UCI course, as we will continue to run the participatory ride in the...

  • Blythe survives brutal day at De Panne

    Adam Blythe (Omega Pharma-Lotto) follows Jens Keukeleire (Cofidis) during the stage two breakaway
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 8:45 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Briton shows himself in Belgium before Flanders debut

    Omega Pharma-Lotto may have missed a stage win at the Three Days of De Panne on Wednesday, but the Belgian team was visible throughout the day with both Philippe Gilbert and Adam Blythe forming part of the race's major escape.

    The two riders were included in the 12-man breakaway that fled the peloton after 24 kilometres. While Gilbert was able to survive through to the final four-man selection, Blythe was dislodged 30km from the finish line, having ridden at the front of the race for almost three-and-a-half hours in frigid temperatures and brutal crosswinds.

    "It was horrible really, very cold, but I heard Phil got second so that was a good result," a shivering Blythe told Cyclingnews after rolling across the finish line more than 11 minutes after his teammate. "The weather today just made it... a long day out."

    Sleet at the finish line gave spectators some indication of the conditions the riders had faced throughout the day's stage. A number of athletes were barely able to stand as their soigneurs scrambled to bundle them up in extra layers. Although able to proceed under his own steam after the finish, Blythe admitted that his eventual exit from the front group had been inevitable since the ascent of the Kemmelberg, 119 kilometres into the stage.

    "On the Kemmel I didn't feel so good and when we dropped down the other side I just held on for as long as I could while Phil was away [with Astana's Andry Grivko]," he said. "[They] came back and I just didn't have anything left - my legs just went, so I just rolled in."

    Blythe confessed that he hadn't started the day looking for an escape and had just been following team orders when the original selection was made. "[The team directors told us to] just follow the wheels really. It was just by chance I was in the break, I didn't mean to be there - I just ended up there."

    Following the two-stage final day of De Panne on Thursday, Blythe will take his position in...

  • Special tech news: Impossible? Think again...

    cc:'s new Air-O frame is said to weigh just 450g thanks to revolutionary internal pressurization technology.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 8:59 BST
    James Huang, technical editor

    Carbon Copy Components shatters 500g barrier with groundbreaking new frame

    Carbon Copy Components ('cc:') - the carbon fibre parts and accessories company founded last year by Cyclingnews technical editor James Huang - has announced the development of a revolutionary carbon road frame that promises to put an end to the weight weenie wars once and for all. Claimed frame weight for the new Air-O is a jaw dropping 450g (0.99lb) - for a large size.

    Rather than jump on the currently fashionable aero bandwagon, the new Air-O (say "aero") eschews drag reduction goals entirely in favour of the proven light-and-stiff formula for faster climbing and more efficient power transfer.

    And in keeping with cc:'s original edict, the frame design is an utterly familiar-looking combination of massively oversized tubes here and frightfully spindly ones there that is wholly lifted from shapes already produced by the likes of Cervélo, Canyon, Specialized and the like for the ultimate blend of lateral stiffness and vertical compliance.

    So if the tube shapes aren't exactly new, how does cc: achieve such an insane weight figure, you ask? The answer is in the frame's very name: it's air.

    One of carbon fibre's inherent structural limitations is that it works best only when loaded in tension. In other words, while the fibres themselves are incredibly strong when pulled and highly resistant to bending, they're conversely very susceptible to compression and so conventional frames generally have to use excess material to deal with ancillary issues such as impact strength and crumpling under clamp-type loads.

    The Air-O's patented 'BlowOut' technology, on the other hand, incorporates a trick fully sealed internal architecture that is pressurized via the built-in Schrader valve.

    Once inflated up to the recommended 300psi operating pressure (a conventional suspension pump is included), all of the fibres in the system are thus acting solely in tension and reinforced pneumatically from the inside so much less material...

  • BMC and Cervélo get Romandie wildcards

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 9:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Swiss teams a natural choice for Swiss ProTour race

    Organiser of the Tour de Romandie has announced that Professional Continental squads BMC Racing and Cervélo TestTeam have been awarded wildcards for the Swiss round of the ProTour which begins April 27.

    Each team has a Swiss association, a contributing factor in the decision to invite each squad to compete in late April. BMC Racing's Cadel Evans (pictured right) also won the event in 2006 although it's yet to be announced whether the Australian will compete there ahead of the Giro d'Italia, which starts on May 8.

    Meanwhile, the Cervélo TestTeam is registered in the trilingual European nation and will likely take a squad capable of contending for overall honours on home turf.

  • Glam, gossip and generalities...

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) was all smiles at the start.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 9:15 BST
    Cycling News

    The month of April starts in less-than-spectacular fashion

    Tom's a good citizen

    Tom Boonen has already won six major Classics, but the Quick Step rider has been shut out of the biggest Belgian race of the year - the Tour of Flanders - since he took back-to-back victories in 2005 and 2006.

    This year, the Belgian star (smiling like a cheshire cat, right)  will have an edge in the cobbled race thanks to some unique cross training over the winter.

    He likes to party - a fact that has been well-publicised over the past two years - and last year tested positive for cocaine in an out of competition test. But Boonen was able to make the most of a bad situation this winter by completing his community service sentence for the offence by working on rehabilitation projects on sectors of pavé (or kasseien in Flemish) used in the Tour of Flanders.

    Boonen, who kept the work a secret from his competitors, lost some 10kg thanks to the hard work digging up the ancient roads and re-laying the stones on some 10km of the route. He not only benefitted from increased core strength and tougher hands that will help him float with ease over the cobbles, but the close inspection of the surface allowed him certain advantages for the race.

    "I may or may not have placed a few stones at odd angles to throw my rivals off their line and maybe cause a puncture on the Kapelmuur," admitted Boonen. "Only I know the perfect line to take! It may just be what I need to finally capture my third Ronde!" (LW)

    Keeping it in the family...

    With Saxo Bank pulling its sponsorship from the team at the end of the year, the future of Andy and Frank Schleck is still uncertain.

    And while the talented duo is allowing Bjarne Riis some time to find a replacement, they have also been talking to some high-level backers in a bid to establish their own team.

    But according to one rider, who preferred to remain anonymous, the reality of setting up...

  • Millar muses over De Panne possibilities

    David Millar (Garmin - Transitions) at the finish.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 9:36 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Race lead within reach but Grivko a tough obstacle

    David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) heads into the final day of the Three Days of De Panne with a strong chance for the overall victory. The Scot sits in fourth place, 12 seconds down, with Andry Grivko (Astana) second overall and his most dangerous challenger.

    Luca Paolini (Acqua e Sapone) leads the race but with two stages - one of which is a time trial - to come, many expect his challenge to wilt during the 14.75km test against the clock.

    Those expecting Millar to ease into the lead in the final stage time trial need only to look at last month's Paris-Nice, however. Over an eight kilometre prologue Millar only put five seconds into the Ukrainian.

    "I'm confident but it's nothing that can be taken for granted," said Garmin-Transitions' Jonathan Vaughters. "Grivko is a tough competitor and a good time trialist. You can see that in the results from Paris-Nice. Mind you, David is riding much better than he was there."

    Millar's bid for the race overall began on stage one when he was instrumental in a group that broke from the peloton with around 100km remaining. He was part of a final group that finished ahead of the bunch, although Millar lost three seconds to stage winner Steve Chainel (BBox Bouygues Telecom).

    That time could be crucial, but during stage two Millar rode a strong race, with his Garmin-Transitions team on the defensive.

    A group containing Grivko attacked after 24km and in conditions reminiscent of Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, stayed clear of a chase group led by Millar.

    "I finished super cold and soaked through but just about closed the final few seconds Grivko had," Millar explained. "Now to get through the morning stage and in the TT beat Grivko... this is far from a given as he is a talented time triallist. Fingers crossed."

    "I expected the worst when I signed up to do De Panne, but today even exceeded my expectations," he continued. "Gale force winds and rain made it nothing less than an...

  • Bazayev to return to Kazakhstan after plastic surgery

    Assan Bazayez (Astana) receives medical attention after crashing in stage one.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 10:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Astana rider's nose almost torn off in De Panne crash

    Astana's Assan Bazayev will travel home to Kazakhstan after undergoing plastic surgery on his nose in Belgium this week. The 29-year-old suffered severe damage to his nose in a crash on the opening stage of the Three Days of De Panne on Tuesday.

    Bazayev crashed on the decent of the Berendries during stage one, his face taking the brunt of the impact as he hit a roadside banking. His injuries were described by several directors in the team cars behind the race as some of the worst they had seen.

    "It looked terrible; there was just a hole in his face." Astana team manager Lorenzo Lapage told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.

    Bazayev was transported to a hospital in Oudenaarde after the accident, where a plastic surgeon from Gent carried out surgery to repair the damage.

    "The hospital in Oudenaarde let a surgeon from Gent operate," said Lapage. "Eighty per cent of Bazayev's nose was torn, but the surgeon has now put it back in place. His nose is obviously broken, but if everything goes smoothly, he will fly back to Kazakhstan on Thursday."

  • Tech exclusive: Colnago developing Da Vinci's flying bike

    Ernesto Colnago shows the only way for the 'ColnaGo-Up' to head... skywards.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 11:25 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Revolutionary transportation more than just a pipe dream

    Colnago founder and managing director Ernesto Colnago sensationally revealed that the Italian bike manufacturer has spent the last few years working towards the production of a prototype of a flying bicycle that is partly based on drawings done by Leonardo Da Vinci in the 15th century.

    Colnago confirmed his development team has been working on this incredible innovation after rumours started to circulate during the recent Taipei bike show.

    Initial designs for the machine that is likely to revolutionise transport planning across the world were based on Da Vinci's plans for a human-powered ornithopter, an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings like a bird. Drawn up in the 1480s, Da Vinci's drawings sketched out a machine in which the pilot lies down on a plank and works two large, membranous wings using hand levers, foot pedals and a system of pulleys.

    Over the subsequent five centuries many attempts have been made to produce a working model of Da Vinci's designs. All have ultimately failed due to over-reliance on human muscle power, primarily in the arms.

    However, Colnago's team of expert engineers have hit upon a simple modification to the Da Vinci's original design that, they say, makes their version of the ornithopter a viable mode of transport. For the moment, they are refusing to give precise details of this modification but it is rumoured to stem from developments made during recent years in recumbent/human-powered vehicles. In other words, Colnago's engineers are producing a machine based on leg rather than arm power.

    Colnago was tight-lipped about when the machine will receive its first public airing but did not deny reports that it would be used during a stage of the Giro d'Italia. Indeed, a number of Italian riders have admitted to taking part in training sessions with the almost silent craft tracking and filming them from above.

    "Unlike race helicopters, you can completely forget it's there," said one...