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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 21, 2013

Date published:
March 21, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Voeckler narrowly denied in Dwars door Vlaanderen escape

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) is about to get caught
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 17:55 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    "It’s not about having the legs, it’s about having the win"

    A strong team performance from the Europcar team in a stormy edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen eventually concluded in pure disappointment for the French team as team leader Thomas Voeckler's late attack was caught back just metres before the finish line in Waregem.

    Voeckler had jumped the ten-man leaders’ group with six kilometres to go, and the charismatic French rider collected a gap of fifteen seconds on his rivals and seemed to head for a nice win in the first of the Flemish one-day classics. Unfortunately for Voeckler the chasing group came closer much faster than the finish line did. The 33 year-old Frenchman was caught back at 15 metres from the finish line and came fifth in Dwars door Vlaanderen. An ecstatic Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) threw his hands in the air instead of Voeckler.

    At the finish line a few men in green, teammates from Voeckler who abandoned the race and took a shortcut to finish town Waregem, watched the dramatic story unfold on the big screen. Anticipating celebrating a big win, they shook their mud-clad heads in disbelief moments later. Voeckler did the same when he entered the team bus.

    “People often say it’s important to have the legs but that’s not true. It’s not about having the legs, it’s about having the win. Today I had the legs but didn’t win. I wanted to win. I just couldn’t keep up the speed. With 50 metres to go I saw I was going too slow,” Voeckler sighed.

    “I’m very disappointed because it’s been a very long time since I’ve raced a Flemish race, probably since 2001. I’ve been fourth at the E3 and eighth in the Tour of Flanders but I’ve never been able to win a race like...

  • Contador to miss Critérium International

    Alberto Contador (Team Saxo - Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 18:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard suffering from flu

    Alberto Contador will not take part in Critérium International this weekend, citing flu. In a statement on its website on Wednesday, his Saxo-Tinkoff team said that Contador had picked up the illness while racing in trying conditions at Tirreno-Adriatico and the GP Nobili in Italy last week.

    “Severe weather suffered in these races with cold and rain most of the days have affected the health of the Saxo-Tinkoff leader,” read the statement. “Alberto Contador, along with Bjarne Riis and team doctors have decided that the best thing to do right now is to recover quietly to resume training as soon as possible.”

    It is expected that Contador will return to action at the Tour of the Basque Country, which gets underway on April 1. The Spaniard has been a consistent performer in 2013 to date as he builds towards the Tour de France. He claimed stage victory atop Mirador del Sol the Tour de San Luis in January, and he has also finished 2nd overall at the Tour of Oman and 3rd at Tirreno-Adriatico.

    Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp) has also revealed that he will miss Critérium International because of flu. The Dutchman plans to return to action at the Circuit de la Sarthe (April 2-5).



  • Gatto makes history with Dwars door Vlaanderen victory

    Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) takes victory in the Dwars door Vlaanderen
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 19:50 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Vini Fantini rider first Italian to win the Flemish one-day race

    Three days after MTN-Qhubeka's Gerald Ciolek won Milan-San Remo, another Professional Continental team prevailed in a marquee one-day race against their better-funded WorldTour rivals as the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad claimed victory Wednesday afternoon in Dwars door Vlaanderen, the first in a series of important Flemish one-day races, courtesy of Oscar Gatto.

    "As a small team you don't get many chances to ride big races," Gatto said. "That's why I was highly motivated. It's nice that I can show that small teams deserve their spot too."

    Gatto, hailing from Montebelluna, is the first Italian rider on the palmarès of the Flemish semi-Classic. "Winning here results in big emotions. The races in Belgium are the most beautiful of all. That I'm the first Italian rider on the list of winners is a nice bonus."

    In the finale of the race it seemed that Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) was heading for victory as he escaped the 10-man lead group in the final seven kilometres of a climatically demanding race. Voeckler seemed to have coped best with the snow and cold which punished the riders all day long. Gatto, however, didn't struggle with the adverse weather conditions. The 28-year-old Italian didn't even wear special clothing despite the near freezing temperatures.

    "The cold was no problem for me," said Gatto, the only rider in the lead group to finish with bare arms and legs. "If you race then you don't feel the cold and in the finale we were going flat out. I didn't need the clothes."

    Meanwhile, Voeckler started struggling in his solo effort and cramped within sight of the finish line. "I expected that Voeckler wouldn't be able to...

  • Hayman confirms Classics form with Dwars door Vlaanderen podium finish

    Mat Hayman (Sky) suffers with a solo attack on the Oude Kwaremont
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 21:22 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Australian a constant presence at the head of the race

    Mathew Hayman continued Team Sky's promising start to the Spring Classics campaign with a third place in Wednesday's Dwars door Vlaanderen. The 34-year-old Australian was a constant presence at the head of the race, instigating several key breaks before sealing a podium place behind Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Borut Bozic (Astana) in a sprint finish.

    "The strongest doesn't always win," Hayman told Cyclingnews at the finish.

    "I gave it everything and got a bit lucky with the third place in the end. It could have been eighth because I was caught on the barricades in the sprint a bit, guys were dying in the end, but I just snuck through."

    The Australian had joined the first significant move of the race just before the Nieuwe Kwaremont at 93 kilometres. The 14-man move fragmented on the next climb, the Kattenberg, with Hayman breaking free with Geert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Romain Zingle (Cofidis, Solutions Credits), Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), Assan Bazayev (Astana) and Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling).

    With 60 kilometres remaining, Hayman and Steegmans opened up a gap with Saramotins eventually bridging too. Hayman put both riders to the sword on the Knokteberg and led the race alone before Omega Pharma-Quick Step sent reinforcements in the form of Stijn Vandenbergh to shadow the Sky rider.

    The pair were then joined by the race winning move that included Gatto but whereas Vandenbergh tired, Hayman, who had been on the offensive for a majority of the stage, continued to pull on the front.

    When Thomas Voeckler launched what looked like a race-winning move on the final climb, Vandenbergh and then Hayman's teammate Ian Stannard reeled...

  • Nuyens: I’m not ready, but I still believe I can win

    Nick Nuyens features in the latest issue of CNHD
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 22:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian classics specialist talks to Cyclingnews HD

    Nick Nuyens has been dealt a few blows in his career, but none have troubled him more than his current hip injury. The Belgian crashed at last year’s Paris-Nice and missed the entire classics season. A year and a new team later Nuyens’ attempts to find form continue to run into hurdles.

    The Garmin-Sharp rider will take on Gent-Wevelgem this weekend. Despite the knockbacks and assertions that he’s not yet ready, he still believes he can win. Nuyens talks to Cyclingnews HD about his road to recovery and his hopes for 2013.

    CN HD: How frustrating was last year, with your injury?

    Nick Nuyens: “Really frustrating, because, in the beginning, nobody thought it was that serious. It was hard to miss the classics. You feel like things aren’t going the way you want them to go, but then it keeps going like that. Condition wise I was good and I felt my body was ready to compete, but I couldn’t use the power. Every time I went on the power my back got twisted, because the muscle on the right side wasn’t strong enough. After a while I went to the hospital, because I’d had enough. They saw the bone was still open by about one and a half centimetres. It wasn’t connected to the bone but to the tissue, in between. The doctor said I needed surgery and two days later I was having surgery.”

    CN HD: Do you feel ready to challenge in the classics?

    NN: “No I’m not ready. I feel I’m on schedule with my recovery, but I still have a long way to go. I need to work on my right leg, because I’m missing power. For more than half a year I was riding with only one leg. In surgery they had to cut the muscle to reach it and that isn’t good for the muscle. To get back is a lot of time and a lot of work, but I feel like I’m in good hands and...

  • Vande Velde suffers fracture after Volta a Catalunya crash

    Christian Vande Velde is finding his race legs again
    Article published:
    March 21, 2013, 0:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Garmin Sharp rider sidelined again after serving six-month suspension

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin Sharp) has been sidelined again from racing after crashing out of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya - just three days since his return to competition following a six-month suspension.

    Vande Velde suffered a hand injury after crashing during the 180.1km queen stage at Catalunya and was taken to hospital for x-rays and further diagnosis.

    "Christian crashed out of today's stage of Catalunya, suffering an injury to his hand. He is currently undergoing x-rays. We will update you as we have more information," read a team statement.

    A fracture to his hand was found following x-rays with Vande Velde almost certain to undergo surgery in the coming days.

    "Christian Vande Velde clipped a motorcycle today at the Volta Catalunya. He suffered a fracture to his 3rd metacarpal and will see a hand surgeon tomorrow, where he will most likely undergo surgery," said an updated team release.

    The 36-year-old had been joined at the Spanish race with fellow riders Tom Danielson and David Zabriske, who were also handed six-month bans following their links to the USADA investigation into systematic doping at the US Postal and Discovery Channel teams.

    Vande Velde had spoken to ESPN shortly before making his return to competition stating that "he felt compelled to come back and show that I'm still proud of what I've done on this team and lead by example". However,...

  • Evans and van Garderen co-captain BMC at Critérium International

    Cadel Evans (BMC) endured a tough day on Prati di Tivo.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2013, 1:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Defending champion Evans using race as rehearsal for Tour de France

    Team BMC will send its two captains Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen to the Critérium International with the intention of delivering last year’s winner Evans to the overall victory. Evans and his budding teammate van Garderen will use the two-day race as a rehearsal to the Tour de France.

    Team management has previously stated that Evans will lead the squad at this year's Grand Boucle while giving the aspiring youngster van Garderen a free role to achieve his general classification ambitions however, the Critérium International may prove to be one of the more decisive moments in the season where, for the first time in 2013, both Evans and van Garderen line-up together. It is also likely to be the only time they race alongside each other before the start of the Tour on 29 June.

    "It's really important for both of us, as it is important to race with everyone whom you ride with at the Tour," said Evans. "I look forward to racing with him and getting to know him a bit better in our steps toward a good performance at the Tour," he added.

    Van Garderen has so far out-shone his elder teammate in terms of results this year with the 24-year-old recently finishing Paris-Nice in fourth-overall while Evans was unable to progress from his confidence-building third-place at Tour of Oman and rounded out Tirreno-Adriatico in 22nd.

    The two-day race features a seven kilometer time trial in the afternoon of the first day on 23 March which will likely suit Evans better than van Garderen.

    "It's short [the...

  • Puerto: Fuentes willing to give up client list

    Eufemiano Fuentes arrives to a mob of press at the Madrid court
    Article published:
    March 21, 2013, 3:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Criminal case to conclude by April 9

    Eufemiano Fuentes, the physician at the center of the blood doping ring uncovered in the Spanish Civil Guard's Operación Puerto has now stated that he would be willing to give up his list of clients to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    According to a report in El Pais, that list includes 39 athletes, a number much smaller than what was speculated in the media based on the more than 200 blood bags uncovered in the 2006 raid on Fuentes' Madrid clinic and other locations.

    "If they felt I was useful and they asked me, I would consider it and would be willing. What I don’t know is if what I would give them would be worthwhile to them or not," Fuentes said at today's hearing. "If, within this cooperation such a list was necessary, they would have it."

    Fuentes, his sister Yolanda and three others are on trial in Spain for crimes against public health over the doping scheme, and are facing up to two years in prison if found guilty of the offence.

    Upon leaving the courthouse, Fuentes took a moment to protest his innocence of the charges. “Everything which I did I did in accordance with the laws in place at the time. In 35 years I have not caused any harm to any patient. To regret having carried out my professional work as best as I could would not make any sense," he said.

    Meanwhile, the UCI's attorney Pablo Jimenez de Parga, called for those involved to be made examples, and given harsh sentences for running "the biggest doping network not only in Spain, but possibly in the whole world."

    "The time has come for everyone to know what kind of a response Spain gives to this kind of behaviour," Jiminez said. "The decision will be scrutinized...