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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 22, 2010

Date published:
April 22, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Mattia Gavazzi positive for cocaine

    Mattia Gavazzi (Colnago - CSF Inox) on the podium.
    Article published:
    April 21, 2010, 18:44 BST
    Cycling News

    UCI provisionally suspends Italian pending B-sample

    Colnago CSF-Inox rider Mattia Gavazzi has been provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union following a positive doping control for cocaine.

    The 26-year-old Italian tested positive for the drug after the prologue of the Settimana Lombarda on March 31, 2010. He won stage two of the race two days later.

    He can now either accept his suspension or request analysis of the B-sample.

    Gavazzi has had problems with cocaine in the past, having served a 14-month suspension as an amateur in 2004. The Italian federation subsequently ordered him to go through a rehabilitation program.

    Mattia is the son of Pierino Gavazzi, who won Milan-San Remo in 1980 and five Giro d'Italia stages.  He is not related to Francesco Gavazzi of Lampre.

  • Ag2R-La Mondiale on the attack at Flèche Wallonne

    Ag2r-La Mondiale sign on
    Article published:
    April 21, 2010, 19:55 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Champion's mountains classification win a comfort for Roche

    Ag2R-La Mondiale captain Nicolas Roche finished well out of contention in 30th at Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, but the French team was able achieve a well-deserved podium appearance with Dimitri Champion securing the climber's competition at the race.

    The French road race title holder Champion formed part of the race's major breakaway group, joining Giuseppe Palumbo (Acqua & Sapone), David Loosli (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Benjamin Gourgue (Landbouwkrediet) and Stephane Auge (Cofidis) on the attack after 44 kilometres. Champion was one of the last members of the original group to be swept up by the peloton as the race went over the Mur de Huy for the penultimate time.

    "It was good to have him out there - I think he won the mountains classification today so that's good for him personally and for the team to get on the podium," Roche told Cyclingnews after the race. "[The team making the podium] is a satisfaction. We did a good race. We tried and I just didn't have the legs for the last bit at the finish."

    Ag2R's Blel Kadri added a further presence at the front end of the race as he joined a three-man chase group that was able to link up with the original lead group 38 kilometres from the finish.

    Although he entered the race as his team's protected rider, Nicolas Roche admitted Champion's mountains success and Kadri's own attacking ride was some comfort for his relatively lowly result. "That's why we were active, because I wasn't so sure about how I'd get up here [the Mur de Huy]," he said. "It was good to give the guys a go and Dimitri wanted to go up the road."

    Flèche Wallonne was just the second Classic of Roche's season, his first coming on Sunday at the Amstel Gold Race, where he finished 33rd. Despite a strong start to his season, including a series of top-ten results at Paris-Nice and the Tour of Catalunya, the 25-year-old is realistic about his expectations for the last race of the 2010...

  • Wiggins makes it safely through chaotic Flèche Wallonne debut

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is riding the Ardennes Classics
    Article published:
    April 21, 2010, 21:10 BST
    Stephen Farrand and Richard Tyler

    Sky rides extra after Classic, Ardennes a warm-up for the Giro d'Italia

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) finished a minute behind Cadel Evans at Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, but was just glad to have made it to the finish in one piece after almost being caught in a high-speed crash in the finale of the race.

    Wiggins finished 67th, having worked to set up teammate Thomas Löfkvist for the race's famed finish atop the Mur de Huy. However, his role in Löfkvist's eventual 23rd place finish was cut short when he was caught behind a crash involving Ivan Velasco (Euskaltel-Euskadi) with three kilometres to go.

    "It was mad. I nearly got killed at the end there when that Euskaltel rider crashed into the middle of the road," Wiggins told Cyclingnews at the finish in Huy. "I was sort of at the front and his bike came my way and I just thought I was going to go. I slammed on the brakes and I was at the back then, and that was it."

    This year's Flèche Wallonne represented Wiggins' first participation in the mid-week Classic. Despite showing signs of early-season form with third place overall at the Tour of Murcia last month, he admitted that his inexperience at the event and the nature of the course had led him to play the role of domestique for his teammate, Löfkvist.

    "I'd never done this race, so I didn't really know what to expect," he said. "That was a really hard race - really, really hard. Up, down, left, right, also the speed and the crashes made it a tough one. There was no one cruising around today. I was going to have a go to try and set Thomas up for the finish - It wasn't really a finish for me.

    "We'll get ready to go for [Liège-Bastogne-Liège], it's good to get an idea of what these races are all about."

    Riders in Belgium, minds on Italy

    While their rivals retired to their team buses for the return journey to their respective team hotels, Sky's riders remounted their bikes to add a few extra kilometres to the 198...

  • Easton broadens new Haven line

    Easton's new Haven stem uses a Top-Lock clamp to reduce flex at the bar-stem interface plus a special shape to reduce point stress on the bar.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 0:05 BST
    James Huang

    Include bars, stems and seatposts

    Easton showed at Sea Otter a new collection of Haven handlebars, stems and seatposts to go along with the all-mountain alloy and carbon wheelsets it had released previously.

    The new Haven bar will be offered in both alloy and carbon versions, both with the same 711mm width, 9-degree backsweep, and 20mm rise. The Haven Carbon bar is cross-country light at just 170g but also fairly reasonable, too, at US$150. Easton's precision TaperWall butting and shaping technology keeps the aluminum version at a still-impressive 265g and surprisingly attainable US$80 cost, plus there will be two color options as well.

    Also coming soon is a matching forged and machined aluminum stem with a large 40mm-diameter extension and wide handlebar clamp to resist torsional flex – a key feature when using wide bars. The handlebar clamp area will also feature Easton's Top-Lock faceplate design and DST shaping for reduced point stress and better bar durability.

    Easton will offer the Haven stem in 55, 70, 85, and 100mm lengths, all with a 0-degree rise. Weights range from 138-160g and suggested retail price is US$100.

    Rounding out the Haven mini-group are aluminum and carbon fiber seatposts. The 270g alloy Haven post is identical to Easton's standard EA70 model but with a different finish while the 240g carbon one boasts a specific lay-up schedule and thicker walls relative to its EC70 cosmetic cousin to better withstand hard-core trail use. Easton will make both available in 27.2, 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters, all with a 400mm length and 0mm offset.

    As with the rest of the Haven components, pricing is fairly reasonable at US$90 for the alloy post and US$130 for the carbon one.

  • Mellow Johnny’s to contest Gila again

    Former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong rides the Koppenberg with his team-mates.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 10:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Armstrong, Leipheimer and McCartney to ride in New Mexico

    Professional road riders Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Jason McCartney will bring the Mellow Johnny’s name back to the SRAM Tour of the Gila this year. Gila co-director Jack Brennan was delighted with the announcement that the trio would travel to New Mexico’s Silver City to contest the race’s 24th edition.

    “This is really cool,” he said. “I could not be happier about the direction of our race, the fact that Levi and Lance are coming back, and that the fields are stacked with North America’s best riders. This will be a showcase of talent.”

    Armstrong will once again use the event as preparation for his Grand Tour objectives, while his main general classification rivals stick with their tried and true preparation races in Europe. Armstrong has had a difficult start to the year after being dropped on Criterium International’s first stage and plagued by stomach issues that impacted on his schedule for Milan-San Remo then Circuit de la Sarthe and the Classics season.

    “Not only do the state and the local fans embrace this race, but the terrain, competition, and timing is perfect. We are looking forward to taking the start in Silver City, it’s a great event,” said Armstrong. “It is also a great opportunity to ride with our U23 squad and check in on their development.”

    Leipheimer won last year’s race after the ProTour riders were granted an eleventh hour reprieve, allowing them to start the race. The riders had originally entered under the Astana name last year however they were unable to contest the event in their ProTour kit due to International Cycling Union (UCI) regulations that prevent top level riders taking part in lesser ranked events. By agreeing to race under the name of Armstrong’s bike shop, Mellow Johnny’s, they were allowed to enter the event.

    The Mellow Johnny’s trio will take on full squads from the...

  • McCauley leaves team to focus on Commonwealth medal

    Gordon McCauley wins the Elite Men's National Time Trial Championship in a time of 50:10.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 11:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Time trial victory the sole aim for Kiwi

    New Zealand’s Gordon McCauley has announced he’s parting ways with the Subway-Avanti Pro Cycling Team to focus on the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India later this year. McCauley will focus on winning the time trial title at this year’s Games, held straight after the UCI World Championships in October.

    “Since breaking the national [time trial] record at this year’s elite nationals I have had real belief I can win another medal at this year’s games,” said Mcauley. “I have had great opportunities with the Subway-Avanti team and I’ve really enjoyed my time with the team and consider them all good friends, but I need to be selfish to achieve my medal goal.”

    At the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, four years ago McCauley finished in third place, taking the bronze medal. McCauley’s choice comes despite the fact he’s joint leader in BikeNZ’s National Points Series, a position he’s not expecting to defend.

    “I wouldn’t be able contribute to the team as the Commonwealth Games got closer as I will be in full on time trial mode, and that just wouldn’t be fair to the team,” he said.

  • Frei fires A sample positive

    Thomas Frei (BMC Racing)
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 11:38 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC Racing withholds Swiss rider after EPO result

    Swiss rider Thomas Frei has been withheld from competition by BMC Racing team management after he returned an A sample positive for the banned blood booster, EPO.

    The 25-year-old had finished ninth in stage two of the Giro del Trentino, won by Italian rider Riccardo Riccó, to move into sixth overall. Frei was withdrawn from the event immediately pending the return of his B sample.

    "It has come to our attention that Thomas Frei has been informed that he was tested A positive regarding the use of EPO," said BMC Racing President Jim Ochowicz in an official statement.

    "As a consequence, the BMC Racing Team and its members have made the decision to withhold Thomas Frei from competition, in accordance with the BMC Racing Team's own policy."

    This latest development comes after Alessandro Ballan was withdrawn from competition due to being named in the Mantova investigation that involved the Lampre team, the squad from which he moved late last year.

    BMC Racing management has constantly reiterated that the move is no indication of the Italian's guilt and it has done likewise with the finding on Frei. "This should not be seen as pre-determination of guilt. The rider will now have to personally address the accusation," Ochowicz added.

    It's bittersweet news for the team, which yesterday celebrated its first Classics win when Cadel Evans took the La Fléche Wallonne title. The squad will now focus on its Liège - Bastogne - Liège campaign, which has been hampered by an injury to Dutch rider Karsten Kroon, who fell during yesterday's event.

  • Kroon suffers facial fractures in Flèche Wallonne crash

    Karsten Kroon (BMC) after a frightening crash.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 11:51 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC rider hopes to recover for the Tour of California

    Karsten Kroon is fortunate to have escaped serious injury following a high-speed crash during yesterday's Fléche Wallonne. He suffered facial fractures and wounds in the nasty pileup that also claimed RadioShack's Yaroslav Popovych but hopes to recover in time to ride the Amgen Tour of California in mid-May.

    BMC management said that the Dutchman was able to join his teammates for a celebratory dinner last night following Cadel Evans' victory ahead of Joaquin Rodriguez and Alberto Contador, although he then struggled to sleep and updated Cyclingnews on his injuries via email during the night.

    "Unfortunately I have fractures, 3 to be precise, in my face. Broken nose, broken cheeckbone and broken sinusbone.... Also some stitches. I look ridiculous but I think it will heal good and pretty fast. Hope to be back in Tour of California!" Kroon wrote at four o'clock in the morning.

    The crash occurred approximately 75km from the finish, when Team Milram's Dominik Roels came down on a bend, taking out several riders, including Kroon, as he slid across the road. The German hit the rail barrier hard, suffering multple cuts and bruises. Kroon came off even worse and waited for medical assistance with blood running down his face.

    "His face is extremely swollen and his eye is totally closed," said BMC Racing team director John Lelangue. "We will need a few days for the swelling to go down, then we will see how things will go."

    It was terrible timing for Kroon, who had hoped to again challenge for victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège after missing out at last Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, where he finished ninth. He will now return home to recover with his family. "We'll definitely give him time to recover and come back to a normal level," Lelangue added.