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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 22, 2012

Date published:
March 22, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Lotto-Belisol building for the future

    Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol)
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 17:26 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Belgian team realistic about Classics after loss of Gilbert

    You can only work with the tools at your disposal and Lotto-Belisol's manager Marc Sergeant's body language said exactly that at the end of Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. Their highest placed finisher, Jens Debusschere, crossed the line in 24th place and although Sergeant admitted that this was not a full-strength line-up, he said that his team were building to the future.

    It's a stark contrast to 2011, when Philippe Gilbert who pulled out 25 wins in a scintillating season that ran from January through to October.

    "We didn't expect a lot coming into the race. Lets just say that's a story you'll hear a lot from us in the next few races," Sergeant told Cyclingnews at the finish in Waregem.

    Depsite Gilbert's move to BMC, Lotto by no means has a weak squad, with Andre Greipel and Greg Henderson forming a useful alliance in bunch sprints. However, with the duo resting after Milan-San Remo and Jürgen Roelandts continuing his rehabilitation after a serious crash at the Tour Down Under, Sergeant has limited options at his disposal.

    "We've missed Jürgen a few times already this season and today was a race for him. We didn't have a lot of opportunities for other races. For next weekend we can set up a good team around Andre at Gent-Wevelgem but I'm a little bit afraid for Friday at E3 [Prijs Vlaanderen]."

    Sergeant's practical stance is coupled with a stern belief that despite a lack of results he is building a strong base of riders for the future of his team and Belgian cycling. He pointed to Jens Debusschere as just one of the team's up-and-coming riders.

    "The rest of the squad is made up of young riders and learning at these races isn't an easy task. It's an investment...

  • Chavanel on song at Dwars Door Vlaanderen

    Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 18:20 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman and Omega Pharma-QuickStep tune up for Flanders

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep may have racked up 19 victories in such faraway outposts as Argentina, Qatar and Oman since the turn of the year, but the team’s bread and butter will always be the cobbles of Belgium. With the Tour of Flanders just 10 days away, therefore, it was no surprise to see Sylvain Chavanel to the fore at Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.

    The French champion expertly policed the chasers as his teammate Niki Terpstra soloed to victory in Waregem, and then duly helped himself to second place. After missing out on Milan-San Remo due to illness, Chavanel declared himself pleased with his Belgian workout.

    "I think I took the right decision not to ride Milan-San Remo and take care of my bronchitis," Chavanel said afterwards. "I wasn’t quite 100%, but from talking in the peloton I could see that there were quite a few riders in the peloton who were ill."

    The correctness of his choice became clear at Dwars door Vlaanderen, when, alert to the danger when a 13-man move forged clear without any Omega Pharma-QuickStep representation midway through the race, Chavanel all but glided across the gap in the company of Terpstra shortly before the cobbles at Haarghoek.

    With the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg forming the grand finale of the Tour of Flanders this year, Chavanel was understandably keen to test his legs when the leaders hit the climbs with 35km to go. He strung out the group with a long, steady acceleration from the base of the climb before Terpstra shot clear shortly before the summit, with Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) for company.

    "I wanted to ride the Kwaremont in front, and then halfway up it Niki made the acceleration. At that point he was...

  • Cavendish taken down by bidon in Dwars door Vlaanderen

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 20:20 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Sky sprinter decries careless action by other riders

    Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) crashed in the final 15 kilometres of Dwars door Vlaanderen after a bidon was caught up in his front wheel. Despite no serious injuries his team confirmed to Cyclingnews that they would take no risks, with a hospital exam a possibility for Thursday. Cavendish crossed the line in 58th position and in the safety of the bunch.

    "With 15 to go I had a bidon in my front wheel," Cavendish told reporters at the finish. "It was a Katusha bidon launched in the middle of the peloton."

    Cavendish later posted bitter comments on his Twitter account, describing the event. "200km on Belgium's worst roads. All OK. 15km from finish, peloton's riding easy & a dickhead throws a bottle in my front wheel. Crashed hard.

    "Said it before: EVERYONE involved in a bike race should take a written & practical test to get licence..."

    Team Sky came into the race with a below strength team, fielding 6 riders from a possible 8 slots but team director Steven de Jongh said that the race proved to be a good experience for the younger members of the team, Luke Rowe and Salvatore Puccio.

    On the team’s website, de Jongh added: "The two young guys did a really good race. And while the team didn’t get in the breakaway they were riding really well as a unit which was one of the things we'd asked of them."

  • Video: De Kort hails best result of his career at Dwars Door Vlaanderen

    Koen de Kort (Project 1T4i)
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 20:58 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Dutchman takes third place in Waregem

    Koen De Kort (Project 1t4i) has hailed his third place finish at Dwars Door Vlaanderen as the best result of his career. The Dutchman finished third behind Omega Pharma-QuickStep duo Niki Terpstra and Sylvain Chavanel after an aggressive display on the run-in to the finish at Waregem.

    "It's the first time for me on the podium of a pretty big race like this so it feels very special," De Kort told Cyclingnews after descending from the podium. "I felt confident beforehand but I didn't really expect to be top three, even though I knew it was possible. It's definitely the biggest result of my career so far."

    With an eight-man break including Terpstra and Chavanel already over a minute up the road as the race entered its decisive phase, De Kort's hopes of a high finish appeared already over, but he succeeded in bridging across with a counter move that also featured Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Barracuda) and Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia).

    "We weren't going to be able to wait for very long but I knew that if went on the Kwaremont or just afterwards it would have been possible to bridge across," De Kort said. "That's what we did, on the Paterberg we went across. We had a pretty good group there and when we got to the breakaway."

    By that point Terpstra had motored clear alone, but De Kort set about attacking the chase group in a bid to seal a podium place. "It was over for the win, but we were still riding for second and I was fully focused on that," he said.

    After a pair of tentative moves, De Kort slipped clear with Chavanel for company, and the French champion collaborated once it became apparent that Terpstra had enough in hand to take the win.

    "[Chavanel] kept bridging across...

  • Terpstra speeds to Dwars door Vlaanderen victory

    Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 21:58 GMT
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Dutch rider goes it alone in Belgium

    On Wednesday afternoon 27 year-old Dutch rider Niki Tersptra (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) captured one of the nicest wins in his career at the Belgian semi-classic Dwars door Vlaanderen.

    With a tactical move on top of the Oude Kwaremont Terpstra left a breakaway group behind together with Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator). Soon after that Terpstra stormed forward again on the Paterberg and he left the Wallays behind. After completing a 30 km solo ride he rolled across the finish line in sunny Waregem with nearly a minute on teammate Sylvain Chavanel who was best of the rest.

    It was his first win since the 2010 Sparkassen Giro in a year in which he also took the Dutch road title.

    "Winning the national championships was really nice because you get to wear that special jersey a whole year long. This is a really nice win too. I hope this is the beginning of much more," Tersptra said.

    The winner of the 2011 Dwars door Vlaanderen - Nick Nuyens - went on to win the Tour of Flanders, but Terpstra didn't see a parallel for himself this year. "That's another level with stronger teams which include all their team leaders. There's a man like Fabian Cancellara and we'll have Tom Boonen for our team.

    "If I want to stand a chance then I don't have to wait and see. I have to race flat out because otherwise I feel like I didn't get the most out of it. If I look at my wins they're often captured after an early attack. That it is often a waste of energy? True, but many people will have said that too when I attacked in the Ronde van Vlaanderen street," Terpstra said.

    It hasn't been a perfect early season for Terpstra, who took ill before the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but after a hard...

  • Dean collides with parked car at Catalunya, breaks leg

    Julian Dean (GreenEdge) hit a parked car while trying to avoid a crash.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 22:42 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    GreenEdge "especially distraught" for Kiwi, says Stephens

    Julian Dean (GreenEdge) is facing an uncertain future after he crashed into a parked car on Stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya on Wednesday, breaking his leg.

    The stage race was Dean's first back following a fractured shoulder suffered at the GreenEdge training camp in the Australian Alps in early December. The 36-year-old had been due to return to racing at the Tour of Sardinia which was cancelled.

    Wednesday's accident took place just 10 kilometres into the shortened queen stage. Dean was swerving to avoid riders who had crashed ahead of him on the slippery road, following horrific weather conditions in the Pyrenees, when he collided with a parked car.

    "We are especially distraught about this loss," GreenEdge sports director Neil Stephens explained on the team website. "From a sporting perspective, it's terrible to lose a rider to a crash. From a personal perspective, we really feel for him. He has a lot of bad luck this year, and Catalunya was his first race back after a previous injury.

    "The race took a really nervous start because of a hard climb in the opening kilometres. We went around a slippery right-hand corner, and some guys crashed in front of Julian. In an attempt to avoid them, Julian swerved and he hit a parked car."

    Dean was transported by ambulance from Barcelona to his Valencia base, accompanied by GreenEdge sports director Vittorio Algeri.

    "I have spoken to him and what I do know is that it's a severe break, it's going to need an operation which will possibly be plates, and therefore three to six months," Dean's wife Carole told Fairfax Media.

    "Three months being the very happy end of the scale and six being crap, so basically it's the season."

    The sprint...

  • Exciting line-up of teams named for inaugural Exergy Tour

    Big things are expected of Clara Hughes in 2012
    Article published:
    March 22, 2012, 0:13 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    First 11 teams selected to start on Memorial Day weekend race

    The first 11 teams competing in the inaugural Exergy Tour, the only UCI 2.1 ranked race for ladies in North America this year, have been announced.

    The five-day stage race will start and finish in Boise, taking place May 24-28. It will be one of the last opportunities to provide international ranking points crucial to qualifying for the London Olympic Games.

    Teams will travel to Idaho from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, and across the United States to compete in the event.

    "With a field comprised of several former, current and future national, world and Olympic Champions, we expect the competition level to rival the classic European races and to set a new standard for the highest level of ladies professional bike racing in North America," said Heather Hill,

    Marketing, Communications and Events director. "The Exergy Tour will also be an opportunity for many young, up and coming riders to work with their teammates and prove themselves against the best in the world."

    ABUS-Nutrixxion, Canadian National Team, Exergy Twenty12, Faren Honda, Forno D'Asolo Colavita, GreenEdge-AIS, Specialized-lululemon, TIBCO to the Top, Topsport Vlaanderen-Ridley are the first UCI Pro Teams to be named with NRC Pro Teams NOW and Novartis for MS Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies also set to start.

    "Having won one of my first big races in Idaho, I was thrilled to hear about the new Exergy Tour, said Clara Hughes from Specialized-lululemon. "I love Idaho - the landscape, the people, the energy they've given to the world of female cycling. What a gift to our sport that Exergy has brought with this race. I can't wait for May!"

    Another four teams are expected to be named by April 14.
     

  • Tour Down Under still an economic success without Armstrong

    Simon Gerrans begins the final stage of the Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    March 22, 2012, 1:15 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dates announced for 15th running of Australian WorldTour opener

    South Australian Tourism Minister, Gail Gago has announced that the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under will be held from Tuesday, January 22 to Sunday, January 27 with the traditional warm-up criterium, the Down Under Classic taking place on Sunday, January 20.

    "Fifteen years is a great milestone for the Tour, which has now established itself as the first race on the international cycling calendar and as a leading event on the world stage," Gago said in a press release which announced that the 2012 event once again added a significant boost to the local economy.

    The route for the 2013 event will be released in July.

    The 2012 Santos Tour Down Under was the first since 2008 without the presence of Lance Armstrong who used the Australian race to launch his comeback to the sport in 2009. Australia's Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) won the event from Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Nissan). It was the second time Gerrans had prevailed in the race, having previously taken honours in 2006 riding for AG2R Prévoyance.

    According to the government press release, the 2012 event generated $42.2 million in economic activity and attracted 760,600 spectators, including 36,100 interstate and international visitors.

    "Before he [Armstrong] first rode the Tour, the event generated around $17 million for the state's economy," Gago explained. "In 2012, without his participation for the first time in three years, the event generated more than $42 million.

    "The Santos Tour Down Under benefited hugely from the participation of Lance Armstrong and it's a testament to the event's reputation and the wonderful experience it gives visitors that the level of interest has largely been maintained without his involvement."