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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 14, 2011

Date published:
April 14, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Riccò wants to make a comeback

    Riccardo Ricco
    Article published:
    April 13, 2011, 15:13 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian suggests his illness was caused by a virus

    Riccardo Riccò has announced he intends to make a comeback, insisting he has a right to race just like other riders embroiled in alleged doping scandals.

    Riccò was speaking in Rome after being questioned by the Anti-Doping Procura investigators for 90 minutes.

    “I still feel like a rider and I want to race again,” he told the Italian ANSA news agency. “I’ve got nothing to hide. I’m looking for a team that will allow me to carry out my profession again.”

    Riccò announced his retirement in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport on March 12, just over a month after he was rushed to hospital with life threatening kidney problems.

    “The support of the tifosi has made me change my mind and if I’m allowed, I’d love to race straight away,” Riccò said. “There are a lot of riders in the same position as I am that are racing.”

    Asked if he was referring to Alberto Contador, he said: “Yes but Italian riders too. I’ve been training for about a month, now I want to find a team.”

    Italian police are still investigating what caused Riccò’s illness, after the doctor who first treated him in the Emergency Room reportedly claimed that the Italian rider had admitted to undergoing a blood transfusion. Riccò again denied any wrong doing.

    “I don’t remember anything about when I was taken to hospital. I was more dead than alive,” he said.

    “They’ve only told me I had a virus. The doctor will have to explain what he said.”

    Riccò’s lawyer Fiorenzo Alessi claimed that he had the right to race.


  • Kenda/5-hour Energy announces Tour of California roster

    Ben Day (Kenda p/b Geargrinders) out of the saddle on the climb.
    Article published:
    April 13, 2011, 19:08 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Andreu selects a blend of experience and talent

    Kenda/5-hour Energy announced its team for the Amgen Tour of California, held from May 15-22. Directeur Sportif Frankie Andreu selected the eight-man team that will be led by Australia’s Ben Day.

    The team also includes Chad Hartley, Jake Rytlewski, Jim Stemper, Luca Damiani, Phil Gaimon, Roman Kilun and Shawn Milne. Andreu selected the team based on riders' previous experience in racing the eight-stage event along with individual ability to climb and time trial, two disciplines that will play a key factor in this year’s route selection.

    “While he always consults me, he had the reigns on this one,” said Chad Thompson, team manager. “But, the team balance we chose was to lean toward climbers and a team that can succeed in the mountainous event. We have a bit of everything on this team with sprinters, all-rounders, climbers and time trialists but with the ambition of keeping our goals realistic at the Tour of California, we opted for strong support for Ben and Phil to reach their goals while contending at the tour.”

    “We have a bit of Tour of California experience on the team,” he said.

    “Day obviously has the most, followed by Kilun and Milne. It did weigh in Frankie's decision a bit, but we do have a rider or two that has done it, who will not be attending this year. They are all good enough, but we needed the right mix to help support Ben in a true race of attrition. He has been top ten before, and nearly won stages on two separate occasions.”

    Day, who recently won the San Dimas Stage Race, is a proven top ten contender at the Tour of California, placing eighth in 2007 edition while racing for the now disbanded US team Toyota United. Thompson is confident that his team will be capable of a strong performance in the overall classification and in animating each stage.

    “We are very confident from a domestic team level to participate in America's...

  • Gilbert gets confidence boost at Brabantse Pijl

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) outsprinted Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil DCM) quite handily.
    Article published:
    April 13, 2011, 20:20 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian's victory bodes well for Ardennes Classics

    Half a week after Paris-Roubaix and half a week before the Amstel Gold Race, the Brabantse Pijl/Flèche Brabançonne figured as a missing link between the pavé Classics and the Ardennes Classics. Though many Ardennes protagonists weren't present in Leuven, Belgium there was one contender who left his mark in the Brussels area: Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

    The Walloon impressed with a solo counter-attack to reach the decisive breakaway group of six riders, before being the only rider able to follow Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) deep into the finale. In the sprint Leukemans wasn't a match for Gilbert, who grabbed his fourth win of the season.

    "Already from the start of the season it's been my goal to be in top form for the upcoming week," said Gilbert. "I didn't start my season too bad and won two, three races along the way. Every week my form has gone up a notch and I'm approaching the level I'm supposed to be at, being 100 percent in Liège.

    "It's a completely different race compared to the one here, much harder. Of course it's pleasant to be good today as it gives me confidence for the upcoming week. Now I know that I'm good and that I can count on my team; I need them to support me. Now I know that they'll be strong enough to assist me on Sunday and especially next Sunday in Liège-Bastogne-Liège."

    When the decisive breakaway was formed Gilbert was nowhere to be seen. A little later, however, the 28-year-old Belgian showed off his good form with a blistering attack on the partly-cobbled climb of...

  • Lefevere satisfied with Quick Step Spring Classics campaign

    Patrick Lefevere speaks with Tom Boonen on stage.
    Article published:
    April 13, 2011, 21:38 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team manager confident Boonen will stay with team for 2012

    Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere has said he is satisfied with the Belgian team’s cobbled classics campaign, despite their disappointing performance in Paris-Roubaix, where crashes and mechanical problems wrecked their race.

    Tom Boonen won Gent-Wevelgem and finished fourth at the Tour of Flanders, while Sylvain Chavanel finished a close second to winner Nick Nuyens and ahead of Fabian Cancellara.

    "Before the winter everyone said we weren't the team we once were and that the best riders had left. But I think we did pretty well in the Classics." Lefevere told Cyclingnews at the Brabantse Pijl.

    "We had six riders in the front group in Waregem (Dwars door Vlaanderen), I think we were the best team in Gent-Wevelgem and Tom won. In Flanders we were close and I think Terpstra was the strongest rider after Cancellara in E3 Harelbeke. Maybe he wasn't the tactically smartest one but he was strong. It was a pity he crashed in De Panne and broke his collarbone.

    "Paris-Roubaix was just crazy. I don't think we've ever had that much bad luck in Paris-Roubaix and there wasn't much we could do about it. Riders flatted at really bad times, Tom had his problems in the [Arenberg] forest and then Chavanel crashed twice. The only rider in the front was Gerald Ciolek but then he flatted too. It was the first time I felt really helpless in a race. We didn't get a result but I couldn't say anything to the riders against so much bad luck."

    Lefevere is already thinking about 2012. All the team sponsorship contracts ends this year, as does

  • Lewis shows his form in Brabantse Pijl

    Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad)
    Article published:
    April 14, 2011, 0:28 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    HTC-Highroad rider faces the Ardennes Classics before the Giro

    Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad) showed good form at today's Brabantse Pijl, and is primed to tackle the Ardennes Classics before the Giro d'Italia. Lewis tried to get across to the breakaway at today, but admitted that he had left it one climb too late to join the break that went on to decide the race.

    Eventually winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) jumped across to the six-rider attack with a surprise surge on the footpath of the main climb. Lewis tried to go just after but was pulled back. He eventually finished 31st, in the main pack that finished 2:19 behind Gilbert.

    "With Gilbert up the road and all the other big teams up there too, I knew that as it, and so I had to try to go across to them. But I waited one hill to long and the gap was too big to get across," he told Cyclingnews.

    "It was hard out there. It was brutal finishing circuit. There was a headwind on the flats and then there were the hills and cobbles. It’s not really for me but I tried."

    The South Carolina native rode the Vuelta Pais Vasco before travelling to northern Europe for the Ardennes Classics. After his spell north he is set to ride the Giro d’Italia with team leaders Mark Cavendish and Marco Pinotti.

    "I was a little sick at Pais Vasco last week but I went home and recovered well," he explained.

    "My form is good. I’m really looking forward to Amstel and Liege-Bastogne-Liege and then the Giro d’Italia. Before them I’m riding the GP Denain tomorrow too. It’s all go but all good."

  • Jonker confident ahead of Team Jayco-2XU's NRS debut

    Team Jayco-2XU bound for their debut at the Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania
    Article published:
    April 14, 2011, 6:36 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    New Australian team launched in Brisbane

    Australia's newest professional cycling team, Jayco 2XU was launched on Wednesday night in Brisbane ahead of their debut at the Mersey Valley Tour which is the opening race of the Australian National Road Series.

    Sports director Patrick Jonker told Cyclingnews at the launch that the opportunity to try and duplicate the success he found last year with Virgin Blue RBS Morgans was just too great to pass up.

    "Given our roster and the talent that we have available, I'm confident we can match it with the likes of Drapac, Genesys and Budget Forklifts," he said. "But there's a lot of hard work that will need to be done before we reach that level of dominance that we reached last year with Virgin Blue. So for me, it's going to be a huge task and I'll be spending a lot of time with them on the motorbike following them at training. For a few months, we'll be doing everything that we can to get these guys in the right frame of mind and be up there winning NRS races."

    The team's aim is to be a "pathway" for club or state-level riders who have the potential to perform at the highest level nationally to teams like GreenEdge or Australian Continental teams. It's not just about riders who are rebounding like Chris Jongewaard but also for riders like Rhys Gillett who are just at the beginning of their careers.

    With the launch held at Brisbane's BMW dealership and the team's corporate supporters in attendance, one of the first questions that sprang to mind was: how was Jonker going to manage expectations for a team carrying an unrivalled amount of sponsors and their cash? Jonker was part-bullish, part-guru in his response.

    "I'm lucky," he told Cyclingnews. "I've always had a lot of luck. We'll be successful. I'm not a great coach. I haven't got that much experience...

  • Dunn injured in hit and run accident

    Megan Dunn (Honda Dream Team) broke her wrist in December
    Article published:
    April 14, 2011, 7:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Dual Commonwealth gold medallist disappointed in driver's actions

    Australian dual Commonwealth gold medallist Megan Dunn has had a lucky escape after she was hit by a car while on a training ride in Dubbo last weekend.

    Dunn's back wheel was clipped by a ute, knocking her to the ground. Disturbingly, seeing that the 19-year-old was able to move the driver slowed before leaving the scene of the accident.

    "My bike was broken and I couldn't ride it, my hand was cut up and I honestly thought they'd just panicked and driven off and they'd come back to see if I was alright and give me a lift back, but they didn't," Dunn told the ABC.

    "It's really disappointing because it could've been one of the younger cyclists and they could've been seriously injured and I was just left there on the side of the road.

    "For a cycling accident I walked away pretty fine but they didn't know that."

    Dunn suffered a broken nose a required stitches to her hand. She had been recovering from a bout of glandular fever while earlier this year, a fractured wrist interrupted her summer campaign.


  • Tanner fractures elbow in first stage of Castilla y Leon

    David Tanner is a new rider for Saxo Bank.
    Article published:
    April 14, 2011, 7:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Aussie Saxo Bank rider off the bike for three weeks

    A crash 25 kilometres from the finish line in the opening stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon has left Australian Saxo Bank Sungard rider David Tanner with a broken elbow, according to a team media release.

    An x-ray following the incident confirmed the damage which will leave the Tour of Utah stage winner sidelined for several weeks.

    “The timing couldn't have been any worse,” Tanner said. “My condition is superb and I was really eager to help Alberto [Contador] getting another victory here in Castilla... But this is part of the game. Being up front where the action is, is always dangerous.”

    Tanner will wear an arm cast for the next two weeks before starting training again in 21 days.

    The 26-year-old signed a two-year contract with Saxo Bank Sungard at the start of this season. He achieved his best result of the season earlier this month, finishing 10th at the Hel van het Mergelland.