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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 12, 2012

Date published:
April 12, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Boonen extends WorldTour rankings lead

    Tom Boonen joins compatriot Roger De Vlaeminck as the only four-time Paris-Roubaix champions.
    Article published:
    April 11, 2012, 21:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep top team, Spain best nation

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) confirmed his superiority in the Spring Classics with a record-equaling fourth Paris-Roubaix victory that extended his lead in the individual UCI WorldTour rankings.

    Boonen also became the first rider to ever win the E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the same season and joined Roger De Vlaeminck as the only four-time Paris-Roubaix winners.

    "My legs were good and after the great things I've done in the last two weeks, I was confident of pulling it off," said Boonen. "I wanted to do something extraordinary to mark my fourth Paris-Roubaix victory. I think I did it."

    Boonen scored 100 UCI WorldTour points which increased his total to 366. Milan-San Remo winner Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) is a distant second with 210 points, and Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco winner Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is third with 208 points.

    Boonen's Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad extended its lead in the UCI WorldTour team ranking and now has a total of 547 points. Katusha is second with 382 points and Liquigas-Cannondale is third with 376 points.

    Spain still leads the nation ranking with 717 points but Boonen's success has lifted Belgium to second place with 567 points. Italy is a close third with 566 points.

    The next race in the UCI WorldTour is the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands on Sunday, April 15.

  • Haussler hoping for Tour de France slot

    Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    April 11, 2012, 23:20 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Australian looking to put disappointing Classics form behind him

    At the finish line of Paris-Roubaix on Sunday Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) was ready to close a disappointing chapter in his season and focus on the rest of the year. The Australian finished 32nd in Roubaix, and in doing so, closed out a below-par Classics campaign that never got off the ground.

    "It wasn't good but I'm at least glad that my form picked up a little bit after Harelbeke," Haussler told Cyclingnews.

    "At least a bit of power has come back but I'm still not where I want to be. Another year has passed but I just have to try harder next year."

    Haussler recently criticised his preparation leading into the Classics for his lack of form. Unlike previous years when he slowly built up form in Europe, this season he was forced to race in Australia in order to set up a possible qualification for the national Olympic road team. The new race programme affected his form and fitness, with several bouts of sickness throughout the spring.

    "I'm going to go back to my old school stuff, do altitude training, go cross-country skiing in the winter, don't go to the Tour Down Under and just build up slowly with Qatar and Algarve."

    After a week's vacation in Las Vegas, Haussler will head to Boulder, Colorado for three weeks of intense altitude training but he has already set his sights on a Tour de France place in Jonathan Vaughters's American team.

    "The Olympics don't look too good at the moment, just because of my results," he admitted. "The other guys [in the national team] are that strong at the moment and I need results to qualify, I have no results. So I'd like to do the Tour."

  • Gilbert better, still not great ahead of Ardennes Classics

    Rain falls on Philippe Gilbert
    Article published:
    April 12, 2012, 1:47 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian champ pulls himself from favorites list

    The Brabantse Pijl turned out to be a reasonable test for Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC), and while he did not defend his first of four consecutive wins in the hillier one-day races that follow after Paris-Roubaix from 2011, he did finish near the front of the peloton. Gilbert was 12th some two minutes behind winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), and the Belgian champion fears that he will not be able to keep up with the favorites in the Ardennes Classics.

    Gilbert said he shouldn't be regarded as a favorite for the Amstel Gold Race nor the other Ardennes classics La Fleche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège. "The only goal I have right now is finding back my form from last year. We'll see if it comes or not. It's not fun right now because it's hard to analyze what is going wrong. There can be a lot of reasons. Last year has been extremely hard – both mentally and physically – and there was the team switch. It's normal that you get a whiplash after such a year," Gilbert said. "I'm not hiding away. I'm right where I belong to be."

    The BMC rider put in a few attacks in the latter half of the race, and showed reasonable form when he protected a move from teammate Greg Van Avermaet by marking a counter-attack from Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol).

    Shortly after these accelerations, Voeckler attacked the remainder of the peloton and started his successful solo ride. In the chase on Voeckler there were several attempts to distance the peloton but Gilbert failed to get into the right move while rain and hail tortured the riders. Having Van Avermaet up the road made Gilbert...

  • Ten Dam, Matthews save the day for Rabobank

    Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    April 12, 2012, 5:39 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sánchez punctures, Breschel crashes at Brabantse Pijl

    Brabantse Pijl-La Flèche Brabançonne didn't exactly go to plan for Rabobank, but with two riders – Laurens Ten Dam and Michael Matthews – finishing in the top 10 following an intense finale, the race was able to be salvaged somewhat.

    "Today was a real race of attrition," Rabobank directeur sportif, Frans Maassen told Rabosport.nl. "The course is known as very difficult and the course was hard. There are not many riders who finished today. [Thomas] Voeckler is the deserved winner; he was simply the strongest today."

    The race of Luis León Sánchez effectively hit a dead end with a puncture on the Hertstraat, as did Lars Boom who stayed behind to assist. Matti Breschel crashed, but escaped injury, while the normally reliable Paul Martens had an off day.

    Daniel Schorn (Team NetApp) had been away from kilometre 32 but with Rabobank and BMC leading the chase, his initial companions Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Artem Ovechkin (RusVelo) where unable to keep pace, so the Austrian"s advantage was never more than just over five minutes.

    On the finishing circuit Matthews, Alex Howes (Garmin-Barracuda), Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) and Voeckler took advantage of a fall from aggressor Jérôme Pineau (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) on the descent of the IJskelderlaan and achieved a small gap on the peloton.

    Ten Dam was then part a chase group that went after eventual winner, Voeckler who decisively attacked with two laps to go. The Dutchman finished ninth, 0:01:27 behind Voeckler, while Matthews was a further 27seconds back rounding out the top 10 finishers.

    "They...

  • Greipel: Spring Classics season “frustrating”

    Germany's Andre Greipel
    Article published:
    April 12, 2012, 9:41 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lotto Belisol rider takes break until Tour of Turkey

    Andre Greipel summed up his Classics season in one word:  “Frustrating!” Neither he nor his Lotto Belisol team were able to present themselves as they expected, with his best finish being 12th in the Scheldeprijs.

    The team was hit by injuries and illness, so that it couldn't send its best team to the races. “But one must also without jealousy recognize that Tom Boonen was in a class of his own in the difficult spring Classics, and that therefore there was nothing for us,” Greipel wrote on his personal website.

    A crash after the finish line in Scheldeprijs left him with a sore hand and questionable for Paris-Roubaix, but he was able to ride in “the hell of the north.” Unfortunately “I had to fight against five punctures within 25 kilometers”, and he was able to finish only 77th, at 13 minutes down.

    “All in all, my conclusion: frustrating!”

    The German sprinter now has a racing break before starting up again the Tour of Turkey, April 22-29, where “we hopefully have better cards again.” Last year he won one stage in Turkey, and in 2010 won five stages plus the points jersey.

    Meanwhile, he will relax with his family at home in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, where he moved from his long-time base near Cologne, Germany.

  • Geraint Thomas not flustered by Sutton comments

    Great Britain's Geraint Thomas during qualifying
    Article published:
    April 12, 2012, 10:46 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    British rider insists he's skipping the Tour de France "for the right reasons"

    Welsh rider Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) has moved to diffuse any potential confrontation between himself and his Team GB coach Shane Sutton, after Sutton publicly questioned Thomas' decision to skip this year's Tour de France and focus on the London 2012 Olympics.

    After the dual-purpose rider helped Great Britain defeat arch-rival Australia to gold in the team pursuit at the 2012 Track World Championships in Melbourne last week, Sutton suggested that Thomas had decided to skip the Tour and focus on adding to the gold he won in Beijing in 2008 "for the wrong reasons" - claiming that Thomas was putting his Welsh patriotism ahead of his career and that he should be more selfish.

    Now Thomas has moved to play down any hint of a rift between the two men and has stated that he has no problem with what Sutton said.

    “Shane had told me already what he had said in the interview,” Thomas told Wales Online. "I have known him since I was 14 and he is a straight-talking guy."

    “There are no secrets between us and that is a great way to be. But I am doing things for the right reasons because the Olympics is something I’ve grown up wanting to win. I have always said London was my main 2012 goal and I don’t want to jeopardise my chances. The Tour would have done that and would have split my loyalties. It is an annual event and I am only 25, so I have got a few left in me.

    “But a home Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to have a chance of winning a gold medal is amazing. Being British is part of the reason I am committing to the Games and I won’t deny that. Other nations maybe don’t see the...

  • Tony Martin injured in training accident

    Time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    April 12, 2012, 11:52 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    UPDATE: World time trial champion to undergo surgery next week for jaw and cheekbone fractures

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Tony Martin will be out of action for some time after his team confirmed that he was injured in a training collision with a car near his home in Switzerland yesterday. Martin lost consciousness and was taken to a local hospital before being transferred to the University Clinic in Zürich. Thursday afternoon his manager Jörg Werner told the dpa news agency that Martin had suffered a fractured jaw and cheekbone.

    He is expected to undergo surgery early next week.  "But first the swelling has to go down," Werner said.  Martin hoped to go home over the weekend before returning to the Clinic on Monday.

    The world time trial champion said that he could not remember the accident. "He didn't sound troubled, but rather, optimistic," Werner said.

    The incident comes at the worst possible for Martin, who was in the process of building his form ahead of his big targets in late spring and throughout the summer. The 26-year-old German enjoyed a superb season in the colours of the now-disbanded HTC Highroad team in 2011, winning the world time trial championships, Paris-Nice, the Volta ao Algarve and the Tour of Beijing. He had endured an inconsistent start to 2012 with his new team, but his form at the Tour of the Basque Country earlier this month, where he finished fifth overall, hinted at a return to form.

    Martin's next intended race was the Tour de Romandie, which is scheduled to begin on April 24, but it is not known when he will race again.

     

  • Devenyns says Voeckler was just too strong

    Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quickstep )
    Article published:
    April 12, 2012, 12:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider confident for Ardennes Classics

    Dries Devenyns was in the small group in the Brabantse Pijl out of which Thomas Voeckler took off with 35km to go and take the win. It was a hard race in bad weather, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider said, but it gave him confidence for himself and his team in the upcoming Ardennes Classics.

    “Voeckler was just too strong,” he said to nieuwsblad.be, explaining why there was no serious chase of the Frenchman. “He arrived about a minute and a half ahead of us.”

    The riders also had to put up with heavy rain and even hail during the closing kilometers, making things even more difficult, especially on the cobblestones and “hellinge”.

    Devenyns is now looking forward to the second half of the Classics season. “We will be stronger in Amsel than in previous years, especially when Chavanel and Terpstra come back. Too bad Tom [Boonen, ed.] won't start, because he boosts the level in the team. With him, we stick together more.”

    Voeckler must now be considered a contender for the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, he said. “Not that he can beat Valverde in a sprint, but with a solo he can do it.”

  • WorldTour Individual Rankings