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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 27, 2014

Date published:
March 27, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Lefevere unhappy with UCI's plan to restructure WorldTour

    Patrick Lefevere is confident about his team
    Article published:
    March 26, 2014, 20:43 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider prefers larger teams

    At the finish of Dwars door Vlaanderen, Omega Pharma-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere was not happy about the recently announced WorldTour restructuring to be done by the UCI. He said he did not like it that teams would be shrunk from the current 30 riders each to 22 riders each.

    "I'm not very enthusiastic. I preferred the situation like in the Mapei-days, when we had about 40 riders," said Lefevre to Cyclingnews at the team bus in Waregem, Belgium. "Then we were able to bring in young riders like Fabian Cancellara and [Filippo] Pozzato and work with them with our usual staff."

    "Now I'll have to negotiate deals with young riders but tell them they will be riding in my B-team. They say they'll allow transfers from B to A, but I'll have to see that. I can understand that they split calendars."

    When asked if it was still possible to negotiate the reforms, Lefevere laughed. "You know how they work at the UCI. They supposedly talk with everybody, but at the meetings there's six people from the UCI, two from the teams - if they're present - and two from the organizers which is ASO. They're OK with it as they have 63 GrandTour race days," Lefevere said.

    The Belgian doesn't believe that the team representatives would support his view on things. "The teams are represented by Luuc Eisinga, who raised himself up as president, manoeuvring through everything, and by Alfonso [Galilea] from Movistar. If you know the culture at Movistar, then you know it's the first time they have a rider who's riding a one-day Classics over here," Lefevere said.

  • Chavanel: Nothing to be done against Terpstra at Dwars door Vlaanderen

    France's Sylvain Chavanel smiles as he waits for the start
    Article published:
    March 26, 2014, 21:27 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman takes 5th place in Waregem

    At Dwars door Vlaanderen years ago,Sylvain Chavanel was the foil who helped his then-Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammate Niki Terpstra slip away to victory. This time around – and now in the colours of IAM Cycling – Chavanel was a rival trying to follow Terpstra on the Paterberg, but he admitted afterwards that the Dutchman was simply in imperious form as he claimed the win in Waregem.

    "There was nothing to be done against Terpstra today," said Chavanel, who finished the day in 5th place, near the front of the chasing group that came home 17 seconds down on Terpstra.

    "I didn’t have good sensations at all at the start, but eventually everything improved as the day went on. So this 5th place finish augurs well and I’ll take it without any regrets."

    During his time at QuickStep, Chavanel was regularly sent out on the offensive ahead of the finale in the Classics as his personal ambitions were often sacrificed in the service of Tom Boonen. At IAM Cycling, by contrast, the role of early attacker falls to others, and on Wednesday Chavanel was delegated to keep his powder dry for the final salvoes.

    Aleksejs Saramotins was part of the day’s early break, and was still off the front when Terpstra launched his winning move over the crest of the Paterberg. "He tried to follow Terpstra up the Paterberg, but he just didn’t have the reserves for an effort like that," said directeur sportif Eddy Seigneur. "That didn’t prevent him from providing invaluable assistance to Chavanel in the lead-up to the final sprint."

    Chavanel had been one of the first riders to follow Tom Boonen when he launched a testing effort on the slopes of the Taaienberg with 52 kilometres to race – Boonen was compensating,...

  • Stannard draws positives from Dwars door Vlaanderen showing

    2014 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Ian Stannard (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    March 26, 2014, 22:30 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Sky rider back in action after missing Milan-San Remo

    When Ian Stannard rolled to a halt outside the Sky team bus after Dwars door Vlaanderen, he described his performance to directeur sportif Servais Knaven with a flip of the hand and a shrug. "I was just that little bit out of position," he said, more as a statement of fact than of regret. For a man who dreams of Paris-Roubaix, the Waregem race is as much a test site as an objective.

    After an untimely puncture just ahead of the Oude Kwaremont, Stannard managed to battle back on and then set the tempo at the front of the main bunch on the climb itself, but he was ultimately unable to follow when Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) launched the winning move over the summit of the following Paterberg.

    Stannard finished the day in 15th place, part of the large chasing group that came home 17 seconds down on Terpstra. "It was alright, it wasn't too hard of a race, you could tell that from the size of the group at the end and everyone was still quite fresh," Stannard told Cyclingnews. "But when Niki got away, people really couldn't decide whether to chase and then how hard to chase, and that was it."

    As a non-WorldTour race, radio earpieces are not permitted at Dwars door Vlaanderen, but while the delay in relaying time gaps and the lack of immediate direction from the team cars behind arguably helped Terpstra to open out his advantage initially, Stannard felt that it was Omega Pharma-QuickStep's policing of the chasing group that allowed the Dutchman to stay out in front.

    "When you had so many QuickStep guys there, everybody knew that if you pulled it back another one of them would attack," he explained. Indeed, the finale's one concerted chase group, which included...

  • Trentin and Renshaw out of E3 Harelbeke

    Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
    Article published:
    March 27, 2014, 0:00 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Riders ill after gruelling Milan San-Remo conditions

    The tough weather conditions which the Milano-San Remo peloton encountered for nearly 300 kilometres on Sunday may cost several riders their Spring Classics season.

    Some teams opted to give their San Remo riders a longer break to allow them to regain strength. Other riders have gotten ill.

    Matteo Trentin and Mark Renshaw were taken off the Omega Pharma-Quick Step roster for the E3 Harelbeke due to illness.

    "Trentin had fever. These guys have swallowed a lot of dirty stuff. As precaution we're not letting them race on Friday," Omega Pharma Quick Step director sportif Wilfried Peeters told Cyclingnews on Wednesday.

  • Rodriguez prevails on Catalunya's first mountain finish

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) in the leader's jersey at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    Article published:
    March 27, 2014, 1:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Katusha rider takes over GC lead with first victory of 2014

    Joaquim Rodriguez proved the class of the star-studded Volta Ciclista a Catalunya peloton as the Katusha captain both won the first mountain finish of the Spanish WorldTour and took over the race lead in today's third stage. Today's stage win is Rodriguez's first victory of the 2014 season and is the team's second win at the WorldTour level in recent days following Alexander Kristoff's win on Sunday at Milan-San Remo.

    The 34-year-old Spaniard, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya champion in 2010 and runner-up last year, used his trademark uphill acceleration to deadly effect inside the final kilometre as he first neutralised an attack from 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) and then powered away from the likes of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) to win at La Molina.

    With the steepest pitch of the 5.3km finishing ascent in the last 500 meters, Rodriguez put five seconds into runner-up Contador, nine seconds into Quintana, 11 seconds into van Garderen and 13 seconds into Froome on the stage. As no time bonuses are awarded for mountain finishes Rodriguez leads his four closest rivals on general classification by the same margins with the peloton facing an even tougher mountain finish tomorrow on the hors catégorie ascent to Vallter 2000, a 12km climb rising to 2,200 meters at the finish.

    "Tomorrow will be the queen stage and harder than today, but also a good day for me and I can ride in defensive mode," said Rodriguez. "I took five seconds today. That is not so much, but when the favorites stay together, I will keep my advantage. Before today I never thought...

  • Betancur out of Catalunya

    Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) in the maillot jaune at Paris-Nice
    Article published:
    March 27, 2014, 2:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Colombian suffers fever on Stage 3

    Paris-Nice champion Carlos Betancur has withdrawn from the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and will not take the start line for Stage 4 with his Ag2r-La Mondiale team.

    The Colombian was 67th on the 162.9km stage to La Molina, 1 minute 50 seconds down on the time of Joaquim 'Purito' Rodriguez (Katusha), who won his first race of 2014

    Betancur suffered a general infectious syndrome which led to fever requiring antibiotic treatment and the 24-year-old will now enjoy a small period of rest in order to recover.

    There will be no Giro d'Italia for Betancur this year as he has stated that his goal for 2014 is to win the Tour de France's best young rider jersey. Betancur was the best young rider at last year's Giro. 

  • Devolder's Dwars door Vlaanderen marred by crash

    Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing) leads Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Nicki Sorensen
    Article published:
    March 27, 2014, 4:00 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian champion worried about injured knee

    In the absence of Trek Factory Racing's Classics specialist Fabian Cancellara at Dwars door Vlaanderen, Belgian champion Stijn Devolder was motivated to bring home a good result for the team. While the 34-year-old Belgian figured prominently in the race finale, his strong outing was tempered by a hard crash earlier in the day.

    After 110km of racing Devolder crashed hard but managed to get back in the peloton. With 20km remaining to the finish Devolder attacked on the Vossenhol climb and tried to bridge across to solo race leader Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). The Belgian was soon joined by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Nicki Sorensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) but the chase could draw no closer than 15 seconds to Terpstra before they began losing time. The quartet would ultimately be swept up by the peloton inside of two kilometres remaining with Terpstra holding off his pursuers for the solo victory.

    After the 200km-long race Devolder reached Waregem knowing he had good form but without a result and with a lot of worries about his right knee.

    "A the foot of the Kattenberg (second climb of the day in Mater halfway through the race) a rider in front of me collided with a car and he took me down with him," Devolder told Cyclingnews at the finish. "My right knee worries me a lot. If you're riding there's enough blood circulation but after a night of sleep it can be all swollen. I've had a bursa membrane inflammation on my knee before and I fear that it's a bit similar now. I hope it will not affect the upcoming races. Hopefully I can start on Friday [for E3 Harelbeke]."

    Devolder will undergo further investigation in the hospital on Wednesday evening,...

  • MTN-Qhubeka invited to Tour of Flanders

    The 2014 MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team
    Article published:
    March 27, 2014, 5:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Late call up for South African team

    Pro-Continental team MTN-Qhubeka have been given a late call up to race the Ronde van Vlaanderen for the first time. Despite relying on invitations to the biggest races on the calendar, the African team has now been selected to race at four of the five Monuments with Paris-Roubaix yet to feature in its racing calendar.

    The official announcement was made late on Tuesday evening that  MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will race the Ronde van Vlaanderen, ensuring they are the first African Pro-Conti team to take part in the race.

    Team principal Douglas Ryder was grateful for the invitation, stating that the "Tour of Flanders is the highlight of cycling in Flanders, it is an absolute honour for Team MTN-Qhubeka to be on the start line in the heart of cycling.

    "The race has everything from cobbles to climbs, wind and rain, only the strong survive this race to the end and we will be hoping that good fortune shines on us to be in the front at the end."

    The 2014 edition of the race takes place on April 6 over a distance of 259km including 17 Hellingen climbs and 6 separate cobble sectors. 

    Last year's winner of Milan-San Remo, Gerald Ciolek, the team captain stated earlier in the week that his career goals include a stage win in the Tour de France and victory at the Ronde van Vlaanderen. While the team won't be racing the Tour this year but their at this year’s edition of the Ronde gives the German the chance to achieve one of those goals.