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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 7, 2012

Date published:
June 07, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Saxo Bank surprised by JJ Haedo's abandon in Critérium du Dauphiné

    Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) gets his first win of 2012 in the GP de Denain
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 11:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Argentinian sprinter dropped on all climbs

    Team Saxo Bank was taken by surprise at Juan Jose Haedo's abandon during Tuesday's second stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    “We had no prior idea that anything was so wrong with JJ that he should be forced to give up,” team sports director Dan Frost told

    “On the contrary, we had counted on getting the maximum out of him tomorrow (Wednesday), when the riders go out on the only stage in this race that can be said to be suitable for sprinters.”

    Haedo had shown problems on the first stage, being dropped on the first long climb: “He came up again on the descent, but had to let go when it again began to go up, and that was how it ended. He was simply drained of strength,” said Frost.

    Frost added that the stage was not particularly sprinter-friendly. "It must also be said that it developed into a hard-edge stage. It was run hard from the start, and it was hilly terrain all day, so it was certainly not the ideal time to have a crisis.”

    Haedo has one win this season, the GP de Denain Porte du Hainaut in April. It is one of only three wins for the team this year, with the other two going to sprinter Jonathan Cantwell.

    The team will now see if Cantwell “has a chance tomorrow (Wednesday). We will then at least ride for him, if the field is together at the finish,” Frost said.

  • Schlecks to Riis, Contador to Bruyneel?

    Alberto Contador, Andy and Frank Schleck are presented before the race.
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 12:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian media indicates major moves may be afoot

    Will Andy and Fränk Schleck return to Saxo Bank and Bjarne Riis, with Alberto Contador then going to Johan Bruyneel and Team RadioShack-Nissan? indicated that such a deal may be in motion.

    Officially, however, teams and riders are not allowed to start negotiating new contracts or have official contact until after August 1. Despite this, the Italian website said the deal “is at a very advanced stage...”

    The swap of riders would serve both teams, the report says. Riis needs riders who can bring in UCI points and possibly sponsors, which the Schlecks are capable of doing.

    RadioShack-Nissan and Bruyneel has the sponsors and the points but want a rider who can win the Tour de France. “A perfect portrait of Alberto Contador,” the website pointed out.

    The Schlecks and Riis did not have a good relationship after they left Saxo Bank in 2010, and the same is said to be true of Contador and Bruyneel after their time together at Astana.

    But now, reports, all are ready to forgive and forget. “Riis is ready to embrace the brothers, and Contador prepares to land in America.”

  • No clear Tour de France favourite according to Indurain

    Miguel Indurain (right) was the first rider to win five Tours in a row
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 14:51 BST
    Cycling News

    Five-time winner sees it as wide open

    Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain has said that this year's race, which starts on June 30, will be one of the most open in recent memory. The Spaniard stated that defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) sets the standard for the rest of the field, but that he was far from a certainty to win. He also predicted that the key for the main GC contenders will be to stay in touch during the first couple of weeks, especially those who will start the race at less than 100 percent.

    "There is no clear favourire for this Tour, but the benchmark will be Cadel Evans, last year's winner. This Tour will be open," Indurain said on Spanish website

    "There's still time left [before the start] and some riders will certainly improve. In addition, the hardest part of the Tour will come at the end, and until then it will serve as stepping stones towards improving their shape. The same has happened in the recent Giro [d'Italia], where everything was played out in the last week. Many enter the race at 80 percent and improve with the passage of time."

  • Gilbert speaks out against Belgian press

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 18:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Struggling BMC rider says they lack compassion

    Without a single win to his name this year, it is safe to assert that Philippe Gilbert's much-talked about transfer to BMC at the end of last season has so far failed to work out as expected. After a stellar season in 2011 in which he swept up high profile victories and the Velo d'Or award, Gilbert has endured a miserable time on the road this year.

    A huge star back in his native Belgium, the 29-year-old has experienced the highs of lows of being an icon over the last 12 months or so. And it appears that the strain of it all is starting to take its toll after he took aim at the Belgian media in the French newspapers this week. Gilbert is currently in France riding in the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he lies in 20th position after two stages and the prologue.

    "The Belgian press is hard for athletes," Gilbert is quoted in Sporza as saying. "They can build you up to the sky and then afterwards they discount you when you drop. There is no compassion. For my family it is sometimes difficult."

  • Kreuziger gets a second chance in Tour de Suisse

    Roman Kreuziger (Astana Pro Team) wins the stage
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 19:00 BST
    Cycling News

    2008 winner looking to redeem himself after disappointing Giro d'Italia

    Roman Kreuziger will get a second chance to prove his worth to the Astana team management by leading the squad in this week's Tour de Suisse.

    Kreuziger came under criticism from the team's management with his lacklustre performance in the Giro d'Italia classification. Although he came away from Italy with a stage win at l'Alpe di Pampeago, hopes for bettering his fifth place in 2011 were dashed when he lost 11:26 on stage 17 to Cortina d'Ampezzo.

    Switzerland could provide some redemption for the Czech rider. He has had ample success here, having won the 2008 edition over Andreas Klöden while racing with the Liquigas team and placing third in 2009.

    "We will be assessing Kreuziger's form in the initial stages," said Astana directeur sportif Dmitri Sedoun. "I spoke with Roman over the last few days and he seemed very motivated. Not only does he love this race, where he shone at the start of his cycling career, but he also especially likes this year's parcours.

    "There will be many decisive stages in this year's race. Of course, there is Friday's 34km time trial with hardly any flat road and then, in the last two days, two high-mountain stages finishing in Arosa and Sörenberg. The first group stage on Sunday 10th will also be important with the summit finish in Verbier; anyone who wants to fight for the general classification cannot let themselves get dropped on the last climb."

    Kreuziger will be joined by Assan Bazayev, Francesco Gavazzi, Jacopo Guarnieri, Tanel Kangert, Fredrik Kessiakoff, Robert Kiserlovski and Dmitriy Muravyev.

    "We will line up at the start with a very complete team," Sedoun said. "Apart from Roman, we...

  • Masciarelli quits Astana over health problems

    Francesco Masciarelli (Astana) worked hard all day
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 21:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Benign brain tumor causing hormonal issues

    Italian Francesco Masciarelli has ended his season and his contract with the Astana team after discovering he suffers from a benign tumor on the pituitary gland in his brain, according to

    The 26-year-old has not raced since the Tour Down Under, and after visiting with several doctors, he was diagnosed with a microadenoma - a condition present in 0.1 percent of the population which can impact, among others, the growth and thyroid hormones that are important for physical fitness and recovery.

    Masciarelli said, "When I put my body under physical strain, it suffers too much stress because the hormones do not work as they should and it causes a failure. I consulted several doctors and thanks to the collaboration of doctors in the center of the Olympic Committee (CONI) we are trying to find a solution to this unfortunate situation."

    Masciarelli started his professional career in 2007 with the Acqua e Sapone squad, winning the Tour of Japan in his first season and the Giro del Lazio in 2008. He was 16th overall in the Giro d'Italia in 2009 and won the Mont Faron stage of the Tour Méditerranéen in 2010 before switching to Astana.

    Because there is no plan yet for treatment, Masciarelli does not know when or if he can return to competition. "I think this season is over now, considering my condition and my inability to compete. Along with managers and staff at Astana, I terminated my contract with the team. I did not want to be a burden for those who gave me confidence and have been very sympathetic towards me in this situation."

  • Julich leans toward Phinney in US Olympic selection

    Bobby Julich will not try to get the silver after Tyler Hamilton gave back his 2004 Olympic gold
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 21:48 BST
    Daniel Benson

    American not pushing for 2004 silver

    In just over a week USA Cycling will decide on its Olympic line-up for the London 2012 Games. While the battle for the nation’s one spot in the men’s time trial is set to come down to a choice between David Zabriskie and Taylor Phinney, former Olympic medallist Bobby Julich believes that the selectors should edge on the side of the younger rider, Phinney.

    Julich made the podium in the men’s time trial in 2004 and is now part of Sky’s management team where he focuses on developing and nurturing some of their brightest talent and while he admits that the choice between Zabriskie and Phinney is close, his opinions holds that the US should look at long term success.

    "It’s really going to be a tough decision and it’s really unfortunate that we can't bring two guys like we did in 2004 and 2008," Julich told Cyclingnews.

    "It’s going to be so hard for the selectors and I don't envy them at all, but I think it boils down to one thing: do you want to keep riding the same horses that you've ridden or do you want to start developing for the future and I think Taylor Phinney can make a good argument for himself. He’s a gamer and can raise his level to win. He did that at that under 23 worlds and at the Giro. Okay those distances are not the same as the pros but I think that’s what we have to start looking at that."

    "Talyor Phinney has a huge future and Dave Zabriskie isn't close to retiring either but maybe he would be finished by the next Olympics, so to get a guy like Taylor who has maybe got two or three more Olympics ahead of him, may be this would be the opportunity to put him in there. With all respect to Zabriskie and all concerned, I’d go with Phinney."

    Julich acknowledged...

  • Canada names Olympic long team for women

    Clara Hughes (Specialized-Lululemon) kept riding steady tempo in the break.
    Article published:
    June 07, 2012, 0:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Hughes, Whitten top contenders for London team

    Cycling Canada named its 2012 Olympic Selection Pool for the women's road team, listing nine riders who stand a chance to fill the country's three spots for the London Games.

    Canada qualified three places for the road race and two for the time trial, but riders who compete in the individual test must take part in the mass start event as well.

    Clara Hughes (Specialized-lululemon), Tara Whitten and Veronique Fortin (Tibco), Julie Beveridge and Karol-Ann Canuel (Vienne-Futurescope), Leah Kirchmann, Joelle Numainville and Denis Ramsden (Optum Pro Cycling) and Rhae Shaw (Exergy-Twenty12) make up the long team for Canada.

    If chosen, London will be the sixth Olympic Games for Hughes, who competed first in Atlanta in 1996, winning bronze in both the time trial and road race, and then again in 2000. She also participated in the Winter Olympic Games in speed skating in 2002, 2006 and 2010 and won gold in 2006.

    Whitten, a former omnium world champion, is already slated to compete on the track.

    The High Performance advisory committee will nominate athletes for the Games, and make the decision public on June 21.

    "This is an incredibly exciting time for cycling in Canada. The air is supercharged going into the Olympics and with that we will have a team adding to the atmosphere," said Denise Kelly, coach of the women's program at Cycling Canada Cyclisme. "This is a very talented pool of athletes to choose from with the goal of reaching the podium. I feel very honoured to be the coach of the women's team."