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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 24, 2011

Date published:
March 24, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Knee pain forces Phinney out of the Volta a Catalunya

    Taylor Phinney shows off his US time trial champion's skinsuit
    Article published:
    March 23, 2011, 19:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Young American still hopes to ride Paris-Roubaix

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) was forced to abandon the Volta a Catalunya on Wednesday after he was again struck by knee pain.

    His pre-season training was disrupted by a knee problem. He rode the Tour of Oman in February and hoped to be back to his best, but he then missed Paris-Nice after suffering a mild concussion in a crash.

    He started the Volta a Catalunya but pulled out mid-way through Wednesday’s third stage to Andorra. He revealed that the pain started during the first stage of the Spanish race but tried to ride on. Despite yet another setback, he still hopes to ride Paris-Roubaix.

    Phinney won both the 2009 and 2010 Under 23 Paris-Roubaix, proving he could be a future winner of the professional version of the cobbled race.

    “By the third climb, my knee had had enough," Phinney said in a press release issued by his BMC team. "One of the hardest things to do in the sport of cycling is to get off your bike, and I fought as hard as I could."

    “I am incredibly disappointed to leave this Volta a Catalunya and go through yet another setback in my first year as a professional, but I am learning from all of these experiences, and am fortunate to have an amazing team around me that is willing to do what is best for me in the long run. In the end, I had to do what was best for my health. I am still hoping to still make the start line for Roubaix."

    Phinney revealed his anguish in a Twitter message: "Very disappointed to have another knee issue derail yet another race for me today here." he wrote.

    "Trying to keep my head up and think big picture but...easier said than done..."

    BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said the pain in Phinney’s quadricep...

  • Cancellara still recovering at Dwars door Vlaanderen

    Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) pushes the pace.
    Article published:
    March 23, 2011, 20:00 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Milan-San Remo effort took its toll

    Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) was unable to reproduce his form from Milan-San Remo in Dwars door Vlaanderen, Wednesday, pointing to a hectic schedule and lack of recovery.

    The four-time world champion and Classics star lined up for the race in Belgium as a potential winner having hit recent form in Italy where he won the time trial in Tirreno-Adriatico and scooped second place behind Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) in San Remo.

    "I think I'm still feeling San Remo in my legs, that's for sure. I didn't have fresh legs or fresh feelings," Cancellara told Cyclingnews from the steps of the Leopard team bus at the finish.

    "I have to be honest with myself, San Remo was really, really hard and then I went home, had a birthday party, then on Monday I had my book event and I wasn't able to ride my bike. I came to Belgium late last night and wasn't able to ride again. You finish San Remo so hard and then you start hard here in Waregem, it's a hard one," he said.

    Despite not feeling 100 percent, Cancellara was an active participant in the race as the peloton tackled a number of crucial climbs. He was ever-present at the front of the race and formed a crack specialist group with Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank SunGard), Tom Boonen (Quick Step), and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky). They were reeled in, but over the top of the Paterberg Cancellara set a blistering pace that split the field again. Ultimately it only led to Nuyens launching his winning move.

    "If you look at the circumstances I'm happy with how everything went at the end of the day. When you're up there you never know what will happen. I knew there were other riders in my...

  • This weekend's rider protests called off

    Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek) wearing his illegal radio at the start of the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 1:52 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    McQuaid and Bugno's meeting results in ceasefire

    UCI President Pat McQuaid's agreement to meet with CPA president Gianni Bugno over the controversial radio ban, has resulted in planned protests for the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen this weekend being cancelled.

    In response to McQuaid's open letter to cyclists, Bugno had written to McQuaid and the UCI asking for a meeting to discuss a number of topics, including doping and the radio ban.

    "Well, almost one year after my appointment as president and after having repeatedly asked for a meeting with you, with a letter dated 14th March 2011, you finally expressed me your availability, under the condition that I withdraw any initiative conflicting UCI," writes Bugno.

    "Is this the friendship that, according to art. 2 of its constitution, the UCI and its president are supposed to encourage between all members of the cycling world?"

    Bugno closes his letter with a "promise to ask the racers to suspend the action planned for March 26th provided that you give us a sign of genuine dialogue."

    This has since been actioned with Bugno informing his constituents of the following: "I ask you to suspend the protest scheduled for March the 26th because after my letter of the 22nd of March, the UCI President Pat Mac Quaid told me and assured his full readiness to meet us in the coming days to listen to our demands.

    "I'll keep you informed on the outcome of the meeting by which we will decide whether to continue our protest actions or not."
     

  • Yet another big-name sponsor for Team Jayco-2XU

    The Team Jayco-2XU kit.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 5:47 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Flight Centre joins fledgling Australian team

    Following the announcement last week of all sponsors, Team Jayco-2XU today announced that Flight Centre has become a major sponsor of the team.

    Team Jayco-2XU, Australia's newest men's professional cycling outfit, is set to compete in the Australian National Road Series which kicks off in April. The level of support achieved is unrivalled in Australian domestic cycling with Flight Centre joining a long list of corporate support from leading Australian and international blue-chip companies including Ausenco, RBS Morgans, Bluescope Steel, Shell, Brisbane BMW, Corpnet, Art Equity and Luescher Teknik.

    General manager Pat Jonker said: "The signing today of Flight Centre demonstrates the willingness of major Australian corporations to back a program that is professional, well structured and above all passionate about the growth and development of talented riders in Australia. I am excited by the prospect of managing the team, and look forward to working with the riders we now have.

    "Who would have thought 10 weeks ago I would be in charge such a program. I certainly don't have to work in a bike shop anymore."

    It's been a big week in the life of the fledgling team with the announcement that South Australia's Ryan Obst, who won the elite men's road race at the Oceania Cycling Championships, will ride with the team at Mersey Valley in April.

     

  • Freire not certain to ride Gent-Wevelgem

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 8:58 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider on antibiotics for respiratory infection

    Oscar Freire's good early season seems to have ground to a halt. After a crash ended his chances in Milan-San Remo last weekend, the Rabobank Spaniard may now have to miss Gent-Wevelgem with a respiratory infection.

    Freire, 35, is being treated with antibiotics, and his participation in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday is not certain, reported De Telegraaf, although the team assumes he will be able to ride.

    The three-time world champion scored early this year, winning two stages at the Vuelta a Andalucia, and was on the Rabobank team which won the team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico.

    He started Milan-San Remo looking for his fourth win, but was stopped by a crash on the wet descent of the Manie climb with more than 80km to go. He was in the lead group at the time, but went down on a curve.

    The Spaniard was not injured, but needed a new bike and a new shoe, and it simply took too much time for the team car to get to him. He never caught back up with the leaders and finished the race 5:23 down, in his worst-ever placing of 94th.

  • Sastre on track for Giro d'Italia

    Carlos Sastre prepares for the training ride.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 9:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard highly motivated despite recent flu

    Six weeks before the start of the 2011 Giro d'Italia, Carlos Sastre may have finished in the last gruppetto at the Volta a Catalunya's queen stage on Wednesday, but the Spaniard said his form is on track for his big objective this year.

    The Team Geox leader and winner of the 2008 Tour de France is highly motivated to take the overall victory at the Italian Grand Tour. "We will go to the Giro d'Italia to fight for the big win," he told Spanish news agency Efe before starting Wednesday's Catalunya stage eventually won by Alberto Contador.

    The reason for his current lack of results, according to Sastre, is a recent illness. "The preparation for the Giro is going reasonably well, but just before coming here I was ill with a flu for two weeks," he added, saying that his strength was "a little short".

    Sastre did not give the setback further importance, as he wants to use the remaining four racing days in Catalunya to increase his power before fine-tuning his form at the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Vuelta a Castilla y León.

    "I think that we will be highly competitive and together with Denis [Menchov], we will have a great team there," he said.

    Deprived of the Tour de France this year, for which it did not receive an ivitation, the Geox team will be spearheaded by Sastre and Menchov at the Giro - two leaders who will aim at taking the top honours. The Russian has already won the Giro and was third-placed at the Tour de France last year.

  • Quick Step and Omega Pharma-Lotto cover up worry over lack of results

    blank
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 10:04 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian teams internally dissatisfied with Dwars door Vlaanderen showing

    Both Belgian ProTeams,Quick Step and Omega Pharma-Lotto, are loudly proclaiming that they are not worried by their poor showings in Dwars door Vlaanderen, and that they are not panicking. However, Quick Step is changing Tom Boonen's racing schedule in a desperate attempt to get WorldTour points.

    Quick Step is the only ProTeam with no WorldTour points after having participated in four 2011 races until now (Tour Down Under, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo).

    Gent-Wevelgem is the next race with WorldTour points.

    Earlier this year Boonen had said he would ride the E3-Prijs Saturday, instead of Gent-Wevelgem the next day. The team has now announced he will ride only the Sunday race this coming weekend.

    “We have taken this decision because our team needs to gather points for the UCI team ranking,” team manager Patrick Lefevere told the Belga news agency.

    “It was not easy to choose,” Boonen said. “I would have liked to have ridden them both. But the WorldTour is really important for the team.”

    Boonen won Gent-Wevelgem in 2004, and has won the E3 Prijs four times, from 2004 to 2007.

    Quick Step has only two victories so far this season, with Boonen winning a stage at the Tour of Qatar and Gert Steegmans winning the Nokere Koerse.

    “No panic” at Omega Pharma-Lotto

    Belgian rival team Omega Pharma-Lotto declared itself officially unconcerned about its lack of success at Dwars door Vlaanderen. “We don't blame the riders for this one day. Anyone can have an off...

  • UCI appeals Contador decision to Court of Arbitration for Sport

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) on the sign-in stage.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 13:56 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    UPDATED UCI decision based on review of Spanish federation file

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) the dismissal of doping charges against Tour de France winner Alberto Contador. The UCI said that its appeal was based on "an in-depth study of the file received from" the Spanish cycling federation.

    Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol during last summer's Tour de France. The Spanish cycling federation originally recommended a one-year suspension, but ultimately cleared him from doping charges.

    The Saxo Bank-SunGard rider had claimed all along that the positive control came from eating contaminated meat, and the Spanish cycling federation accepted his argument. It said that its decision to dismiss the charge was based on a UCI regulatin which says that an athlete can be exonerated if he proves that he had inadvertently ingested a banned product through no fault or negligence on his part.

    Contador did not start his season until after the federation's ruling. He won two stages at the Vuelta a Murcia to take the overall title, and currently leads the Volta a Catalunya after winning Wednesday's stage.

    UCI explains its decision

    The UCI had two main grounds for its decision, spokesman Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews. The UCI respects the Spanish...