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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 19, 2012

Date published:
January 19, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Howard to focus on the road in 2012

    Cool shades are a plenty at GreenEdge with Leigh Howard and Simon Clarke (rear) sporting examples.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 3:41 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    22-year-old hoping to build consistency with GreenEdge

    With track palmares that most riders would dream of and a fast developing career on the road, Leigh Howard can hardly complain that his professional cycling career has not been fruitful. However, now that his key event on the boards, the Madison, has been removed from the Olympic programme, Howard will participate in the track world championships in Melbourne as his last non-road event of 2012.

    At just 22 years of age Howard is in his third year in the WorldTour, and after two seasons with HTC-Highroad, where he mainly held a lead-out role, the Australian is hoping to start winning a little bit more in 2012 with GreenEdge.

    "I’ve definitely spoken a lot with Whitey, and I see myself as the second sprinter behind Gossy," said Howard to Cyclingnews. "There are a lot of really good riders like Allan Davis and Aidis Kruopis as well, but I’ll definitely be one of the top sprinters in the team and have quite a free role for most of my races.

    "I’ve got a lot of work to do to prove that I deserve to be there, but I’ve said time and time again that my main goal for this season, that I just want to win bike races. It doesn’t matter which ones they are I just want to be back on the winner’s podium – that’s the next step to being a top sprinter."

    Howard made a big personal landmark last year when he rode his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, after an at times frustrating year with crashes and injury.

    He’s currently in Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under, the debut for his team in the WorldTour. Howard is not quite at his best this early in the season and as such will be doing his best to help Gossy in the sprint and Gerrans win the...

  • Roelandts out of hospital

    Jürgen Roelandts happy to be at the Lotto-Belisol dinner table again
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 9:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hopes to return to racing at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Jürgen Roelandts has left hospital and will fly home with his Lotto-Belisol teammates this coming Monday. The Belgian was eager to get back on his bike as soon as possible after recovering from crash injuries suffered earlier this week, possibly as soon as Tirreno-Adriatico in March.

    Roelandts was the most seriously injured in a crash involving multiple riders in the finale of the Tour Down Under's first stage, suffering a fractured cervical vertebra.

    He doesn't remember the details of the crash. “Don't ask me how it happened,” he told the Nieuwsblad.  “There was so much dust I couldn't see where or what I was riding.  My helmet was broken.”

    Doctors at the hospital in Adelaide gave him a neck collar to wear for six weeks, forbidding him from riding during that time. “I'll see what the doctors say in Belgium, but I hope to ride Tirreno (March 7-13). That way I will have a spring race.”

    He told the Belgian newspaper that he hopes to back on his bike training as soon as the jet lag from his flight back home wears off.

    Even when he was first injured, Roelandts found a way to communicate with the world - posting a photo of himself in the hospital emergency room on his Twitter account. “You should know: I had just been given morphine for pain and felt a bit euphoric. That makes you a little weird,” he wrote.

    His teammates have done all they can to help Roelandts. Andre Greipel dedicated his stage three win to him, and tweeting a photo of him at the team dinner table Thursday.

  • Gallery: Tour Down Under view from the road

    Large crowds were on hand to watch the race
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 10:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    See what the riders saw during stage 3

    Germany's Andre Greipel has dominated the early part of the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under, winning two out of the three stages so far, as well as the pre-race criterium. Greipel's latest victory in stage 3 earlier today restored his lead at the top of the GC and it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his position as the race enters its later stages.

    Stage 3 ran from Unley to Victor Harbour, south of Adelaide, and the riders will have been relieved that the weather had cooled. Temperatures were high during the opening two days but today they peaked in the mid-20s. There was still bright sunshine though as you will see from our latest gallery of close-to-the-action shots, which show how the stage unfolded from the perspective of the riders.

  • Video: Phil Anderson's analysis of Tour Down Under stage 3

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) on the podium with his second stage win in two days
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 11:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cycling legend on Greipel, Matthews and Tanunda

    Andre Greipel won his second stage of the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under, his third win of the week including the Down Under Classic – it was the final confirmation, if any was still required, that the Lotto Belisol man is indeed the best sprinter in the peloton at the first WorldTour event of the season.

    Phil Anderson takes a look at Greipel's chances for the general classification, the Rabobank leadout train and the potentially tricky Stage 4 into Tanunda where time gaps are expected to form in build up to the Tour's queen stage on Willunga on Saturday.

    Experience the world’s most iconic cycling events riding alongside one of cycling’s true legends, Phil Anderson. Phil and his team lead a suite of cycling tours to the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, la Vuelta, and more. To find out more visit or email

  • Matthews and Renshaw still working on their leadout

    Michael "bling" Matthews (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 12:16 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Rabobank frustrated at TDU, fail to land podium spot at Victor Harbour

    The fragility of a leadout was there for all to see on Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under with the best-laid plans of Rabobank unable to secure a hoped-for victory for an in-form Michael Matthews.

    The team rode a tactically perfect race with at least one of their riders always patrolling the front on the run in to Victor Harbour. The shorter distance, cooler conditions, and easier parcours had made the stage purpose built for a sprint finish and after the peloton was left wanting yesterday the same was not going to occur today.

    Michael Matthews was to be the team's sprinter, with Mark Renshaw having conceded the lead role in favour of the former under 23 world champion after his impressive showing at Stirling, which sprung him right up in the general classification.

    "With so many points on offer here at a ProTour race, and Michael a great chance to finish high up on GC at Willunga we have to go for the bonuses with him," said Renshaw.

    And so it was; Graeme Brown and Tom Leezer put Renshaw and Matthews in prime position as the peloton squirreled through the technical finish but with the victory beckoning, Matthews lost the revered lead-out man's wheel. This was unbeknown to Renshaw, however, who could hardly turn around while travelling at 70 km/h.

    "If he had've been on my wheel he would've won by ten bike lengths, but that's bike racing," said Renshaw, who added that it was natural that things didn't go perfectly in their first combination together.

    "We still have to sync a little bit – we're definitely not on the same level as myself and Cav but that comes with time."

    For his part Matthews was devastated, he copped a lot from certain members of his team at the...

  • Saxo Bank denies Garzelli signing

    Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) wraps up after the finish
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 13:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    No place on the Danish team for another veteran

    Team Saxo Bank has denied that Stefano Garzelli will join the Danish team. It had been reported earlier this week that the former Giro d'Italia winner would sign with Saxo Bank in the spring.

    “I can deny it,” Saxo Bank spokesman Anders Damgaard told “There is absolutely nothing to the story.”

    Earlier this week the Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Garzelli would remain with his current team Acqua & Sapone through Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, then sign with Saxo Bank to ride the Giro d'Italia. Both his agent and Acqua & Sapone have also denied the story.

    Garzelli, 38, won the Giro in 2000. He said that he might retire this year after it was announed that his team did not receive a wildcard invitation.

    One reason that Garzelli will not join Saxo Bank is that the Danish team has no place for another veteran. It currently has 29 riders, and a WorldTour team may have 30 riders, if two of them are neo-professionals. Saxo Bank has only one neo, Rafal Majka, so if it hires a 30th rider, it would also have to be another neo.

    Coincidentally, the 22-year-old Majka has been named to lead Saxo Bank at this year's Giro. The Polish climber, in his second year with the team, made his Grand Tour debut at last year's Vuelta a Espana.

  • Rodriguez planning to beat Gilbert in the Spring Classics

    Fresh from the Giro d'Italia, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was in the mix on stage two of the Dauphine.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 14:31 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Katusha rider reveals contract discussions with Garmin

    2012 marks Joaquim Rodriguez’s third year with Katusha and the 32-year-old Spaniard is as motivated as ever to win a Spring Classic. Rodriguez discussed why he’d chosen to stay at the Russian team and revealed that he’d had past negotiations with a number of teams, including Garmin.

    Last year Rodriguez finished second in both Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallone and on both occasions was the runner-up to Philippe Gilbert. With a new season underway Rodriguez is confident that he can bump the Belgian off his perch, pointing to preparation, as well as pointing out that even though Gilbert was on a different level last year, that form is hard to maintain for consecutive season.

    “He wasn’t unbeatable, he was just better than everyone else. If he comes into the races this season it will be tough. I’ll have to change my tactics to confront him but it’s all about preparation. If you look at Davide Rebellin, he won the triple in 2004 and then the next year he really didn’t do anything,” Rodriguez told Cyclingnews.

    Katusha’s tactics won’t all depend on the strength and form of Rodriguez though. Along with his climbing abilities the team have Daniel Moreno, and secured the services of Oscar Freire in his final season. The Spanish trio will look to rattle Gilbert and his BMC team by anticipating attacks.

    “We have three really strong riders with me, Freire and Moreno. The first race is Fleche Wallone and we’ll have a really aggressive tactic there, go early and go as hard as we can. So if there’s a group that goes away without Gilbert that’s...

  • Video: Bruyneel names Andy Schleck as "logical" team leader

    Johan Bruyneel will attempt to work the oracle with Andy Schleck in 2012.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 16:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team boss also says RadioShack-Nissan will have to gamble in 2012

    In an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews, RadioShack-Nissan directeur sportif Johann Bruyneel has revealed that he sees Andy Schleck as the "logical" choice to lead the team next year, regardless of his relatively young age.

    Schleck has finished second in the last three editions of the Tour de France and Bruyneel, who has overseen 13 Grand Tour victories in his time as a manager, said that Schleck's recent performances in cycling's biggest race meant that he was best qualified for the job.

    Bruyneel also said that he was confident in the team's ability to pull together and apply pressure to the rest of the peloton in 2012 but also stated that RadioShack-Nissan will need to gamble at times if they are to pull off the big wins that they are looking for.