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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 8, 2012

Date published:
March 08, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Evans faces headwind in Tirreno-Adriatico defense

    BMC struggled in the wind, leaving Cadel Evans with 58 seconds to make up on GC
    Article published:
    March 07, 2012, 21:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    BMC loses nearly a minute to GreenEdge in team time trial

    The first test of the year for Cadel Evans ended in a below average grade, with the defending champion's BMC team losing 58 seconds to the stage winners GreenEdge in the opening team time trial of the 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico.

    As the last team off, Evans' team was the squad most punished by a mid-afternoon shift in the winds. The same shift also hurt last year's team time trial winners Rabobank, who were only one second quicker than BMC after starting just ahead of them.

    "This is not what we previously had planned on or hoped for," said Rabobank directeur sportif Frans Maassen. "From the beginning, it did not go well, but I also had the feeling that the wind was picking up during the ride. I don't want to hide behind excuses, but it is certainly remarkable that the last teams did not ride their best. BMC started today as a top favourite, and even finished one second behind us."

    GreenEdge, the winners on the stage, were the 13th team off, and the last team to break 19 minutes. RadioShack-Nissan, the 10th team to take to the course, and Garmin-Barracuda who started third, were the only other teams under the mark: both were 17 seconds off the 18:41 set by the Australian team.

    Fabio Baldato, BMC's assistant directeur sportif agreed that the wind was a factor. "I was at the start and the conditions changed a lot," Baldato said. "The last four or five kilometers it was particularly bad. Plus, we never found a good rhythm."

    Evans is now 12 seconds behind last year's rival in Tirreno-Adriatico, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), while Liquigas-Cannondale contender Vincenzo Nibali is only three seconds ahead.


  • Longsjo Classic returns in 2012 as four-day stage race

    Kyle Wamsley won the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic circuit race in 2008 as well as the overall men's title.
    Article published:
    March 07, 2012, 22:15 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Massachusetts race bounces back after 2011 cancellation

    After suffering a last-minute cancellation in 2011, Massachusetts' historic Longsjo Classic returns to the race calendar in 2012 and once again will be run as a four-day stage race. Racing begins Thursday, June 28 for Pro/1/2 men, women and juniors and will conclude Sunday, July 1. A three-day event, June 29-July 1, will take place for Masters 40+, Women 3/4, Men 3 and Men 4.

    "It's really refreshing to have the race come back with new partners, new sponsors and new cities," the race's Executive Director Ed Collier told Cyclingnews. "After last year's cancellation we received help from places we didn't expect."

    For 2012 new venues have been added and the format of the stage race has been revamped as well. The opening stage on June 28 will be the Rollstone Bank and Trust/Downtown Leominster Criterium, a twilight criterium in Leominster on an 0.8 mile flat, four-corner circuit.

    In lieu of a time trial, stage 2 will be the Fitchburg State University Hill Climb, a 9.1-mile, mass start hill climb to the summit of Wachusett Mountain.

    Stage 3 will be a road race utilizing the traditional, hilly 11.4-mile Princeton Center circuit. The Pro/1/2 and Junior categories, however, will start their races in Worcester, MA in front of the Major Taylor statue at the Worcester Public Library. The racers will make their way 15.9 miles from Worcester to Princeton, including an initial three mile neutral section, where they will join the traditional course.

    The Longsjo Classic will conclude on Sunday with the Workers’ Credit Union Downtown Criterium in Fitchburg.

    While the race had previously been a part of USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar (NRC), the organisers decided not to seek NRC status this year, but the option is open for future renditions.

    "As we move forward through 2012, and look ahead to 2013, we'll certainly take a look at...

  • Gallery: Vanderkitten-Focus rolls out 2012 team

    The team's Focus time trial machine
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 0:01 GMT
    Bruce Hildenbrand

    Sixth year for California team

    The 2012 edition of the Vanderkitten-Focus women's team was presented at the chic 359 State Street concept store in Los Altos on a warm Bay Area March evening this weekend. Team manager Jono Coulter and Vanderkitten creator Dave Verrecchia introduced the squad, in it's sixth year of existence, to an enthusiastic crowd.

    With racers from five different countries, this truly is an international team though their focus will be on the top US domestic events such as the Redlands Bicycle Classic, Cascade Classic and a hoped-for berth in the new Exergy Tour.

    The roster includes returning riders Emily Collins (NZl), Jasmin Hurikino (Aus), Jennifer Reither (USA), Starla Teddergreen (USA), Maura Kinsella (USA) and Vanessa Drigo (Swi). New additions include Kathryn Curi-Mattis (USA), Kate Chilcott (NZl), Ruth Winder (GBr), Courtney Dimpel (USA), Kathleen Billington (USA) and Bridie O'Donnell (Aus).

    Coulter commented on the changes for 2012. "It is a bigger squad with way more depth and way more experience. Kathryn Curi-Mattis coming on board is probably one of the biggest things we could do. Bridie O'Donnell who is the two-time Oceania champion and 2009 time trial champion from Australia is good.

    "Ruth Winder from California has already won a race here this year. Kathleen Billington, always underrated, was fourth in the US last year at National [road race]. Kate Chilcott has already won races this year as well."

    How will Vanderkitten stack up against the high profile teams such as Specialized-lululemon and Exergy 2012? "It's an Olympic year so there will be women from the US racing as hard as possible all over the US. We see us as being the underdogs in every race we enter. I think there are going to be some some opportunities when some of the best women in the world are racing against each other I think we have some new, up and coming riders that can take advantage of some situations."

    The season opener for the team will be...

  • Gallery: Genesys get final tweak up in Tassie training camp

    Alex Carver has a dig on a climb.
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 1:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Flakemore impressive on Mt Wellington tester

    With the season proper just weeks away, Genesys Pro Cycling has been working hard in Hobart, Tasmania completing its second and final pre-season training camp of 2012. The tune-up is primarily about gaining form for the upcoming National Road Series and Asian calendar, but was also scheduled to coincide with supporting two major Tasmanian cycling events - the Mount Wellington Challenge and the Glenorchy Criterium.

    The majority of the team flew in last Friday for the six day camp, and team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston has had them completing a busy schedule of training and community obligations since.

    Saturday saw the team head out for a scenic 150km before the boys attended the opening of the new purpose built criterium circuit in Glenorchy with the team taking the first five places in the main event. Sunday was a relatively light day but did include the Mount Wellington Challenge, a 21km mountain time trial won by team rider Campbell Flakemore in a time of 53 minutes in challenging conditions.

    Three more big days finished the camp, with Christie-Johnston pleased with the condition of the riders as they now look to start 2012 where they left off.

    For a gallery of the team camp, click here.

  • Illness sweeps through Paris-Nice peloton

    American Taylor Phinney (Team BMC)
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 3:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Five riders forced to abandon Stage 4

    Andy Schleck (RadioShack - Nissan) was the first man down with a stomach bug at Paris-Nice, but plenty of others have now followed suit with five riders unable to start Stage 4 on Wednesday.

    RadioShack-Nissan is now severely depleted with Jan Bakelants and Joost Posthuma forced to abandon. According to the team website, Bakelants was ill throughout Tuesday evening and it was never a consideration for him to begin the stage. Posthuma was in the same boat however his condition appeared to improve at breakfast and wanted to be on the start line. His condition then deteriorated en route to the stage depart.

    American Taylor Phinney (BMC) was also forced out while teammate Thor Hushovd was able to continue despite also having a bad stomach.

    "Woke up at 2:30am and threw up everything I ate yesterday... Seems to be a stomach bug going around at this race," Phinney said on Twitter.

    Lotto-Belisol rallied impressively after losing both Adam Hansen and Olivier Kaisen with Gianni Meersman claiming the stage win. Hansen is suffering from a bronchial infection with the Australian expressing his frustration to be leaving the race with Milan – San Remo on the horizon.

    "Ive gone from bad 2 worse," he...

  • Boonen would welcome Cipollini return

    Mario Cipollini visited the Tour de France on Wednesday
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 9:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian "still has the look of an athlete"

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) has lent his support to a possible return to the pro peloton by Mario Cipollini despite the fact that the 45-year-old is not currently registered for dope testing by the UCI.

    "I would say: why not?" Boonen told Het Nieuwsblad. He still has the look of an athlete. "It can work if necessary for the team."

    Cipollini has mooted a return telling Gazzetta dello Sport earlier this week that he wishes to return with the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team, which rides his MCipollini frames.

    "I want to return to racing to come to the Giro and lead out the sprints for Guardini," said Cipollini, who will turn 45 on March 22. "I feel good, and what is a good sign is that I feel an extreme desire to work hard."

    Boonen, whose own form has had a revival in this early season, said that the Italian was his type of sprinter.

    "Mario Cipollini was my sprinter," the Belgian said, having joined Cipollini in the elite 100 wins club this week at Paris-Nice. "I raced against him seven years ago in the Tour of Qatar. I won once in a direct duel and also lost once. I admit, racing against Cipollini was something special."


  • Langkawi momentum the key to Drapac success in Taiwan

    That was tough man: Drapac Cycling teammates Adam Semple (left) and Darren Lapthorne reflect on stage six up the Genting Highlands.
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 10:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Red brigade aim to better four stage wins of 2011

    While they were able to animate the Tour de Langkawi that finished on Sunday, Australian continental team Drapac were unable to come away with that elusive stage win. The team came close twice, in the opening time trial with Adam Phelan, and on stage 5 when Darren Lapthorne was edged in a two-man sprint with eventual overall winner Jose Serpa (Androni-Giacottoli).

    But despite the near misses, the team showed its clearly hitting form early in the year and it'll be hoping to capitalise on that fact when it arrives for the seven day Tour de Taiwan, March 10-16. The team has fond memories of the Asian stage race, now classified as 2.1 by the UCI, having picked up an impressive four stage wins last year. Team manager Jonathan Breekveldt explained that the focus will be on trying to emulate what they did in Langkawi, insisting that the team has been close to wins for a reason.

    "We will continue to use similar tactics and strategy to what was used in Langkawi with Darren looking for a strong GC result and Floris and Rhys looking for success in the breakaways. This netted the team strong results in Malaysia with several podiums and the yellow jersey, something which Darren has worn at the past two tours he has raced," said Breekveldt.

    The selected team have all recently completed the Tour de Langkawi (Amir with the Malaysian National Team) coupled with adequate recovery this week in Kuala Lumpur are in excellent condition and very well prepared for the seven stages in Taiwan.

    The Drapac line up for the Tour de Taiwan: Darren Lapthorne (Aus), Floris Goesinnen (Ned), Rhys...

  • Cavendish and Boasson Hagen lead Sky at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) salutes from the podium.
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 11:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sky teammates to help each other in Tirreno-Adriatico

    Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen rode together for the first time since 2009 as they took on the team time trial Tirreno-Adriatico. Both Team Sky called it a fun situation and hopes to help each other win stages at the Italian race.

    The two previously rode together at Team Columbia-HTC/Highroad in 2008 and 2009.

    “I am very happy to be together with Boasson Hagen again," Cavendish told “We got along well when we were in Highroad, and I look forward to working with him again. He's a great guy both on and off the bike.”

    Boasson Hagen echoed those sentiments. “He is the same as before, so it's fun to ride together. It felt like when we were together last time. As it happens, both Thomas (Lövkvist) and (Bernhard) Eisel were here too, it's just like in the old days. Like old school friends who meet again.”

    The Norwegian's main role at Tirreno is to help lead Cavendish to sprint wins, but the World champion hopes to switch roles and help his younger teammate.

    “It is amazing that he will help me. Edvald is one of the best in the world at this job. But he is also much more versatile than me. So he can win the stages I won't be in his way. And I'll be glad to help him if I can.”

    Thursday's stage two looks more like one for Cavendish than Boasson Hagen, the latter said. “We will all ride for Mark and try to keep the field together in the end. So it is probably me and Chris Sutton to bring Mark up. I don't think I'll be the last man in the train. I will also stretch out the field.”