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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Date published:
April 01, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Devolder showing form of old ahead of Tour of Flanders

    Stijn Devolder will be hoping he can avoid the tarmac for the rest of the race
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 18:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian champion a capable understudy for Cancellara

    After a Classics drought that has spanned half a decade, two-time Tour of Flanders champion Stijn Devolder appears to have recaptured his form of old, and he could be the Trek Factory Racing team's second line of defense behind defending champion Fabian Cancellara in the cobbled Classic this Sunday.

    Devolder won the Tour of Flanders with back-to-back solo efforts in 2008 and 2009, but since then he's struggled to find the form to repeat those feats. In 2012, he showed flashes of brilliance at the E3 Harelbeke, attacking twice in the final 10km, but was so anonymous during the rest of his time with Vacansoleil that his team refused to renew his contract.

    Since moving to Radioshack (Trek) in 2013, however, Devolder has made a steady progression back to the ranks of champion, first winning his national road race title last season, and then finishing just off the podium in the Driedaagse van West Vlaanderen.

    During the build-up to the Tour of Flanders, Devolder has been aggressive in the Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Harelebeke and in Gent-Wevelgem, where he escaped with BMC's Sylvain Dillier and Andrey Amador (Movistar) with 20km to go, and was only caught in the final kilometer.

    "When [Silvan] Dillier went it was intuitive of me to go too, there were no more climbs left so no more strategy for us either," Devolder said. "It's too bad that behind the others collaborated well. Dirk [Demol] and Luc [Meersman] from the...

  • Stannard out with fractured vertebrae after Gent-Wevelgem

    2014 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Ian Stannard (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 19:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sutton injures knee, returns to Spain

    Team Sky will be down two men for the coming races after crashes felled both Ian Stannard and Christopher Sutton in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. Stannard is the worst off of the pair: team doctor Phil Riley confirmed this afternoon that Stannard has a fracture to one of the vertebrae in his back.

    "Ian has a fracture in one of his vertebrae as a result of his fall," Riley said at TeamSky.com. "The fracture is stable and he will undergo a review with a UK-based neurosurgeon this week, as well as having an MR scan. That should allow us to find out more information following his CT scan."

    Stannard, the winner of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, was one of the team's leaders for the Classics, and was disappointed to be sidelined for the Tour of Flanders on Sunday and next week's Paris-Roubaix.

    "I won't know how long I'm out for until we speak to the specialist, but it's not going to be in time for the Flanders or Roubaix," Stannard said. "You can't rush and injury like this and I've just got to rest up now. Once I've spoken to the specialist I'll have a better idea of what I can and can't do, and then I'll be able to focus on my recovery.

    "I'm gutted not to be riding in those races and it's going to be really hard to watch them on TV. To be honest, I haven't had time to really think about it yet because it's been pretty painful 24 hours.

    "They are only bike races at the end of the day - and there'll be plenty more chances to ride them in the future."

    Stannard went down in a dramatic crash as the peloton sped toward the Baneberg climb in the last 60km of Gent-Wevelgem. He disappeared almost entirely into a ditch alongside the road, only emerging with...

  • 2014 Tour of Britain route unveiled

    Stage 8 of the 2014 Tour of Britain
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 20:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Summit finish in Wales, Bath to debut in 2.HC event

    Organisers of the Tour of Britain announced the details of the 2014 edition's route for the newly-minted UCI 2.HC category event.

    With the upgraded status brings more difficulties, and riders will be challenged by the hardest summit finish to date when they tackle stage 3 ending atop The Tumble in South Wales.

    "This year's Tour of Britain is set to be the biggest and best yet and is a fantastic way to showcase the event's new, upgraded 2.HC status," British Cycling's Cyclesport Director, Jonny Clay, said.

    "The Tour of Britain will not only deliver on every level for cycling fans, giving them the opportunity to see the best teams and riders in the world competing on their door step, but it is also a great day out for people of all ages. Watching the race from the roadside is free, allowing thousands of spectators to get caught up in the excitement of the event passing through their city, town or village."

    Seven new towns will be included in the race this year, including Bath (home of Cyclingnews publishers Future Plc), Brighton and Bristol.

    The Liverpool and London city centres will bookend the route, with the September 7th opening stage featuring a ten-lap, 130km stage starting and finishing on The Strand in Liverpool.

    The battle for the race leader's yellow jersey will go down to the final day in central London, with a split stage consisting of an individual time trial, followed by a circuit race on the same 8.8km loop finishing on Whitehall.

    In between, the riders will travel 197km from Knowsley across North Wales to Llandudno on stage 2, and then hit their first major obstacle on stage 3, when they race 150km from Newton to the 6km climb known as The Tumble, above Abergavenny.

    Bristol to Worcester, an 182km stage 4 follows, and will take in the steep 1000m climb up Bridge Valley Road to the finish on Clifton Downs.

    The Devon stage, tackling the Haytor on Dartmoor climb that...

  • CONI seeks ban for Paolo Savoldelli

    Paolo Savoldelli dons his fourth leader's jersey
    Article published:
    March 31, 2014, 21:58 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian facing 2 years plus 8 months

    The anti-doping prosecutor for the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has requested a ban for the retired Italian cyclist Paolo Savoldelli of two years and eight months in length

    The CONI made the announcement today, stating, "the measure was introduced in response to the request of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to open disciplinary proceedings against him", but made no reference to the actual events that precipitated the recommended ban.

    It had been speculated that Savoldelli was one of the redacted names ("Rider 1") in the testimony provided by former teammate Tom Danielson to USADA on the doping programme in place at Discovery Channel.

    Danielson described how "Rider 1," a fellow Ferrari client, had organised a system for obtaining EPO during the 2006 Giro d’Italia. "I went to Rider 1 and asked him if he could help me with EPO for the race but he said that he had only enough for himself," Danielson said.

    Savoldelli did not deny that he had been a client of Dr. Michele Ferrari, telling Gazetta dello Sport in February, "I collaborated with him in the past, but that was well-known and I didn't hide it."

    Ferrari was given a lifetime ban by the US Anti Doping Agency as part of its investigation into doping at the US Postal Service team. Savoldelli raced toward the end of the team's existence while it was sponsored by Discovery Channel in 2005 and 2006.

    Savoldelli himself guessed the charges could be in relation to the statements of Danilo Di Luca made on television earlier this year.

  • Thibaut Pinot gains confidence in Catalunya

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 0:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Yvon Madiot satisfied with FDJ's efforts

    Having failed to finish th first two stage races he entered in 2014, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)  persevered through the rain and cold at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya placing 13th overall, 1:20 behind winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Pinot was 15th on both of the two mountainous stages.

    The 23-year-old Pinot pulled the pin on the Tour of Oman earlier in the season due to a fever and then also withdrew from Tirremo-Adriactico on Stage 4. Director sportif for the Spanish race, Yvon Madiot was pleased by the efforts of his rider

    "Thibaut came back into the game and if we were told that earlier this week [of his performance] after his difficult start to the season, we would have been okay," Madiot told FDJ.fr's website.  "While he did not score any WorldTour points, thirteenth place overall and repeated efforts, [Pinot is] recovering well and it is a pleasure."

    The final stage of the race was won by Astana's Lieuwe Westra but strong efforts by Cédric Pineau and Thibaut almost brought the Dutchman back to set up a bunch sprint finish.

    "Thibaut had good legs but the others did not want to work with him. Maybe they were not able," Madiot said.

    The next race for Pinot is the Tour of the Basque Country next week where he will look to improve on his Catalunya performance as he builds for the Tour de France in July.

  • Avanti top of NRS leaderboard ahead of Adelaide Tour

    The 2014 Tour de Perth overall winner, Joe Cooper (Avanti)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 1:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hungry Drapac bringing strong squad to South Australian race

    Avanti Racing Team will start the second National Road Series (NRS) race of 2014 as the top team with the top rider after Joe Cooper successfully defended his Tour de Perth crown. Mitchel Lovelock-Fay's third place overall also propelled the men in blue to the top of team aggregate standings.

    Cooper took the lead following dominant display in the Rottnest time trial on stage 3 overhauling a 1:07 deficit to race leader Tim Roe (BudgetForklifts)  to move into yellow by just 4 seconds. The former Kiwi national time trial champion leads the individual standings on 15 points with Roe on 13 points and teammate Lovelock-Fay in third on 9 points.

    Having finished as the top team in the NRS for last four years, Avanti Racing are keen to make it five in a row. Budget Forklifts will be ensure that Avanti have a battle on their hands for the title while UCI Pro Continental Drapac Pro Cycling will also present a tough challenge as will a handful of other strong Australian squads.

    The Adelaide Tour is devoid of a time trial or hill top finish with tactical racing set to feature as a result. There is also no time trial at the race to the disadvantage of Cooper but Avanti will have a strong team of eight riders to challenge for the overall victory including last year's overall NRS winner, Jack Haig.

    Neil Van Der Ploeg won the final stage of the race last year when riding for the search2retain p/b health.com.au team while George Tansley (Euride Racing) was the overall winner.

    Avanti Racing for Adelaide...

  • Fränk Schleck happy with Criterium International form

    Frank Schleck (Team Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 5:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Trek Factory Racing placed two riders in top-ten

    The team plan for Trek Factory Racing on the final stage of the Criterium International was simple. Fränk Schleck was to get to the final 14km climb of the race as fresh as possible and challenge for the win and overall victory.

    The team tactics played out as planned with the team working cohesively but Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) was the strongest rider on the day, beating Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) to the win but it was the Frenchman who won the overall. Schleck was fourth on the stage and ended the race sixth overall.

    "It was good to see the team work the plan so well," said director Kim Andersen. "Everyone followed the plan 100% that we talked about this morning. Matthew Busche was fantastic - very, very strong on the climb. Andy [Schleck] did a very good pull on a climb early on, to break things up. Everyone did the job they should today."

    On the final climb Busche paced the leading group with Bob Jungels and Fränk Schleck sitting in behind the American and the six kilometres to go, the attacks started exploding the front group.

    Four riders emerged at the front, including Fränk Schleck, who launched attack after attack trying to shake free of the other three which included Frank, Peruad and Thiago Machado (NetApp Endura).

    "I felt I was the strongest in the climb and...

  • Mark Cavendish ruled out of De Panne

    Mark Cavendish on the podium after winning stage 6 at Tirreno-Adriatico, the British champion's second win thus far in the 2014 season
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 10:47 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    British champion still recovering from illness

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has pulled out of the Three Days of De Panne, due to stomach problems that he picked up at Milan-San Remo.

    “I am really disappointed. Sunday I felt better and I was able to train well, but Sunday night I was sick again and had diarrhea,” said Cavendish in a team press release. “I am in no shape to start, especially because I can’t eat or drink anything.”

    The Manxman travelled to Belgium to take part in the stage race, where he was set to face off against Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), but dropped out after seeing the team’s doctor this morning. “He was sick last night and he spent all night on the toilet and he was not ready for the start,” team directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters told Cyclingnews at the start of the first stage.

    “The doctor was with him this morning and he had a very bad night. He arrived yesterday from London and said that he wanted to race, last night but he had stomach problems.”

    This is the second consecutive race that Cavendish pulled out of. He skipped Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, in an attempt to return to full health for the remainder of the classics. He picked up the illness during the wet and cold Milan-San Remo, where he sprinted to fifth.

    “For his form this is not good. He needs a race like this. It’s nice weather, nice race. When you are sick you lose form,” said Peeters. “I hope so for next week in Scheldeprijs. We have lost three days he has not raced from Milan-San Remo until now. He wasn’t racing in Gent-Wevelgem and he isn’t racing now. Hopefully he will be ready next week, but first we must get him back to training.”

    Boonen on the up

    Cavendish is not the only Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider to be suffering this week. Tom Boonen injured his thumb at E3...