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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 26, 2012

Date published:
April 26, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Tour of Poland designed with Olympic preparation in mind

    Peter Sagan won the 2011 Tour de Pologne
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 23:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Route details announced in Warsaw

    The 69th Tour de Pologne was presented today in Warsaw, with details on the seven stages in which 25 teams of 9 riders each will compete. The 1234.7 kilometre WorldTour race kicks off in Karpacz with a hilly circuit on July 10 and concludes with a flat circuit in Krakow on July 16.

    "It all starts off from Karpacz, a historical town in the Tour de Pologne which is back after a few years off the schedule with an immediately gruelling stage on a route suited to climbers," said Tour de Pologne director Czeslaw Lang.

    A 240km long second stage, some flatter sprinter-friendly stages and mountainous days near the end of the race were all designed with Olympic Games preparation in mind.

    "Since it will be held just a few days before the Olympics, the roads of Poland will become an essential passage for those riders who are strongly focused on the 2012 London games," Lang said.

    "It is for this very reason that we have designed the 2012 Tour de Pologne trying to make the race even more spectacular, both for the public as well as the riders, who won't only be here to win but will also want to prepare their legs as best as possible for the Olympics."

    The organisers expanded the field to 25 teams of 8 riders this year, choosing all WorldTour teams, the Polish national team and six wild cards from the Professional Continental ranks.

    Colnago-CSF Bardiani, Caja Rural and Team Type 1-Sanofi are joined by Argos-Shimano, Farnese Vini-Selle Italia and Utensilnord...

  • Bruyneel: Fuglsang capable of top five finish in Giro d'Italia

    Jakob Fuglsang at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 8:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Podium not out of question for Danish RadioShack rider

    Jakob Fuglsang can finish in the top five of the Giro d'Italia, and possibly on the podium, according to RadioShack-Nissan team manager Johan Bruyneel. He does not expect the Danish rider to win the race, but calls a top result “realistic”.

    “It might not be possible for him to win the Giro d'Italia, but I think a realistic goal is to go after the top five. I will be happy with a fourth or fifth place - and if possible, why not also talk about getting on the podium,” Bruyneel told sporten.dk.

    The main drawback may be the hand which Fuglsang fractured in a crash in the Volta a Catalunya the end of March. He said that it still hurts, but has now returned to racing at the Tour de Romandie.

    “I think it's fine now. He has had a delay in his preparation, but it's not necessarily a setback for him,” Bruyneel said. “The Giro d'Italia is a three-week run, and the last week is really hard, and therefore it is better to be a fresh start and strong for the last week. This is what you need for a big stage race, and I think Jacob can handle it.”

    Bruyneel lauded his rider for losing “several kilos” over the winter, echoing sport director Kim Andersen's comments from last December that Fuglsang was too fat to win the Giro. The Dane is 182 cm tall and last year weighed 68.5 kg.

    “Last year he was in good shape, but he had weaknesses on the end of the climbs when it  got really steep, so therefore over the winter he followed a strict diet and came to a good weight. When you...

  • Gadret looking for podium for AG2R in the Giro d'Italia

    John Gadret (AG2R) raises his arms in victory
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 10:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank counts on Haedo brothers for sprint wins

    John Gadret will lead AG2R in the Giro d'Italia, looking to repeat or improve on his top finish from last season.  The Haedo brothers will take on the race for Team Saxo Bank. The Danish team will have more modest expectations this year, as last year's winner Alberto Contador is currently serving a doping suspension and has been stripped of the 2011 title.

    Gadret won the eleventh stage of last year's race, winning the sprint of a group of favourites on a mountain top finish. He finished the race in fourth place overall, but moved up to third when Contador was disqualified.

    He will be supported by Manuel Belletti, Julien Berard, Guillaume Bonnafond, Hubert Dupont, Ben Gastauer, Gregor Gazvoda, Matteo Montaguti and Matthieu Perget.

    Sprinters Juan Jose Haedo and Lucas Sebastian Haedo will feature in the Saxo Bank team. Juan Jose recently won the Grand Prix Denain, for one of the team's rare victories this season. Luke Roberts, David Tanner, and Jonas Aean will help with the sprints, while Anders Lund and Manuele Boaro will look to be in break groups.  Matteo Tosatto will be road captain.

    "Without a pre race favorite or a GC contender in our line-up we will have an opportunistic approach to this year's first Grand Tour. We have tried to put together a group of riders, who can help and support Juan Jose Haedo in the sprints, but also ride aggressively on their own on intermediate stages. Our goal will be to win a stage, and I have no doubts that these guys will make an impact on the race already on the very first stages in Denmark," team owner Bjarne Riis said.

    The team...

  • 2012 Tour of Britain launched

    The 2012 Tour of Britain route
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 11:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hardest ever Tour of Britain

    The ‘hardest ever’ Tour of Britain has been unveiled, with a grueling final stage in the Surrey hills ensuring the winner shouldn't be decided until the last moment.

    It will be first time Britain’s biggest professional cycle race has visited the area, which will see riders arrive atop the cobbled High Street in Guildford. A big omission from the schedule is London, which will still be recovering from the road closures of the Olympic Games earlier in the summer.

    The Tour begins on Sunday 9 September in East Anglia, with Ipswich hosting the Grand Depart. The race winds through Suffolk and Norfolk before finishing on the Norfolk Showground on the outskirts of Norwich.

    Stage two may be another one for the sprinters, starting from Nottingham Castle and heading across the Peak District National Park before a unique finish at Knowsley Safari Park, Merseyside, alongside the elephant enclosure.

    A short hop over the border sees the race return to Carlisle for the first time since 2005 for stage four. 156kms of Cumbrian and Lancastrian roads await, passing through Kendal on its way to a finish on Blackpool Promenade. Organisers will be hoping for a more fruitful return to the seaside town in 2012, after last year's visit was curtailed due to high winds.

    Over 2,000 metres of climbing await on stage five, starting from Stoke-on-Trent’s Trentham Estate and finishing once again in the City Centre, tackling Cannock Chase, the Staffordshire Moorlands and Gun Hill on the way.

    The race returns to the National Trust’s Powis Castle, Welshpool for stage six, a long stage down through mid-Wales to Caerphilly. Riders will tackle the fearsome Caerphilly Mountain twice before the finish outside the world-famous Caerphilly Castle.

    Devon will host the penultimate stage, heading from Barnstaple on the county’s north coast to Dartmouth on the south coast via Dartmoor.

    The final leg in Surrey...

  • Bardet aims for more than top five at the Tour of Turkey

    Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) on the attack.
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 12:41 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Ambitious French rookie confirms climbing abilities

    The third and fourth stages of the Presidential Tour of Turkey saw the emergence of Romain Bardet (AG2R). The 21-year-old Frenchman climbed his way to fifth place overall with strong performances in the Turkish mountains, and is looking to go even higher.

    He finished fifth in the third stage, but was frustrated not to have finished second behind winner Ivaïlo Gabrovski (Konya Torku Seker Spor). He attacked twice near the end, but was unable to get away and finally was passed by three other riders at the end of the climb.

    In the last 2km, I got vertigo”, Bardet said. “It’s my fault. This is new to me. I wasn’t nervous because I race here with no pressure. I have no obligation to perform but that’s still the goal. Considering the legs I had in the climb, I would have liked to do better.

    Romain Lemarchand and Sylvain Georges positioned me well. For them, I would have liked to finish higher than fifth. I don’t know myself as a rider yet. I have to discover my abilities slowly but surely.”

    He first came to notice in the Amstel Gold Race, where he was in the break group for 208 km, caught only with 10km to go. “It was a sign of form, a lot of pleasure and a good experience for the future but that was only a breakaway”, the rider from the Alps told Cyclingnews at the start of the Tour of Turkey in Alanya.

    I’m a real competitor. I ride my bike for raising my arms in the air. Shall I not win a race in my first year pro, it wouldn’t be a drama, but I have a well balanced program that allows me to discover races at the highest level and to get...

  • Critérium du Dauphiné with same teams as Tour de France

    The 2012 route for the Critérium du Dauphiné has been revealed
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 14:33 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Wildcards to Argos-Shimano and three French Professional Continental teams

    The Critérium du Dauphiné is mirroring the Tour de France in 2012, with not only the same top stars but with the exact same teams as the three-week race. Bradley Wiggins, Andy and Fränk Schleck and Cadel Evans are expected to warm up in the Dauphine on the way to their showdown in the Tour.

    The same four Professional Continental teams have received wildcard invitations to the Dauphine as to the Tour de France: the three French teams of Cofidis, Europcar and Saur-Sojasun, and Argos-Shimano, around top sprinter Marcel Kittel.

    They will join the 18 WorldTour teams at both races.

    This year's Dauphine runs a total of 1052 km. It starts on June 3 with a 5.7km long prologue in Grenoble, and ends a week later in Chatel. The fourth stage will be a 53km time trial from Villie-Morgon to Bourg-en-Bresse.  The race also features a climb up the Grand Columbier,which will also appear in the Tour de France for the first time.

    Wiggins won the Dauphine in 2011, ahead of Evans and Alexandre Vinokourov.

  • Women's Tour Languedoc Roussillon cancelled

    Emma Johansson (Hitec Products-Mistral Home)
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 16:52 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Fewer opportunities for Olympic qualification points with French race's end

    The UCI's women's calendar has lost the Tour Languedoc Roussillon, a French 2.2 stage race which was to be one of the final events in which riders could accumulate points toward the nations rankings used to allocate places for the women's road race in the 2012 Olympic Games.

    Race organisers made the announcement to the registered teams today, stating that the race had support from the regional council and its other partners, and said it would give the reasons for the race's cancellation in the coming days.

    The race, scheduled for May 18-23, was the final European stage race before the UCI's May 31 deadline for the qualification of London Olympic Game places. The top five nations in the rankings receive four places in the women's road race, while the next five get three. Currently, Great Britain, the USA and Sweden are in a tight race for the fourth and fifth places behind The Netherlands, Germany and Italy.

    Sweden's Emma Johansson and her Hitec Products-Mistral Home team will now take part in the Tour de Free State in South Africa on May 23-27, she confirmed to Cyclingnews.

    "It is sad that another race is taken off the UCI calendar and that the teams get to know this so late," Johansson said. "I do my best to promote women's cycling and hope my contributions with a positive and open media relation can make a small difference. I know the race organizers do their best and with an difficult economically year cycling also have to take their share."

    Johansson has been the main generator of UCI points for Sweden, together with Emilia Fahlin (Specialized-lululemon), but Johansson's start...

  • Contador close to agreement for Saxo Bank return

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 20:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Banned Spaniard aiming at Vuelta a Espana

    Alberto Contador, currently sitting out a sporting ban for testing positive for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, has indicated he is close to an agreement to return with the Saxo Bank team when his suspension is lifted on August 5, 2012, and said he is aiming at another Vuelta a España title.

    Contador made the statements while visiting the headquarters of Flex, a Spanish mattress maker who is sponsoring a campaign wherein Contador will return to ride the 174km Pau-Tourmalet stage of the 2010 Tour de France on May 18.

    According to Marca.com, Contador said he "couldn't imagine racing with a team other than Saxo Bank", and is closing in on a contract. His previous contract was terminated upon the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision to impose a ban.

    "The support I have been given by the team leaders, Riis ... has been great. For me it's invaluable, of this and my priority is to Saxo Bank. You have to close the deal, but on both sides is fully available and I think will reach an agreement soon. "

    Contador continues to train, and is counting the days until the Vuelta a España, which will get underway on August 18th. "I will use the 101 days I have to go over every stage of the Vuelta very well. I like to leave few things at random, there are many new finishes this year in the Vuelta that I want to learn, which is good because it will make it more attractive to the spectators."

    His first race back will be the