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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Date published:
April 22, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Scarponi steps up a gear at the Giro del Trentino

    Michele Scarponi (Astana) struggles up the final climb
    Article published:
    April 21, 2014, 18:20 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Astana rider back in action before a Giro and Tour double role

    Michele Scarponi's season steps up a gear at this week's Giro del Trentino as the veteran Italian stage racer begins his final preparation for a long summer that includes leading the Astana team at the Giro d'Italia and then helping Vincenzo Nibali at the Tour de France.

    After years as a Grand Tour team leader at Domina Vacanze, Liberty Seguros, Androni Giocattoli and Lampre, mixed with bans for blood doping while a client of Dr Fuentes and then for working with Dr. Michele Ferrari, Scarponi has taken a step down as he approaches his 35th birthday in September. Yet seems happy to be at Astana after a difficult final year with Lampre because of the still on-going investigation in Padova into Dr Ferrari.

    "Age catches up with everyone even if I like to joke about it but there are always new challenges in life," Scarponi said of his new role during the Giro del Trentino pre-race press conference on Easter Monday in a rainy Arco, north of Lake Garda.

    "I'm a dad to twins but that gives me extra motivation, it doesn't make racing harder. It's harder than ever to do well and gets results because racing is always hard. Now tiny details are important and so I'm disciplined about everything I do."

    To find his own version of marginal gains, Scarponi recently spent two weeks with several teammates, including Nibali, at altitude on Mount Teide.

    "This year, I'm doing the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, so I've started the season slowly but Trentino is an important test to see how I'm going. I want to do well. I'm lacking some racing but hopefully I'll have that in my legs by the end of this race."

    The mountains of the Giro del Trentino

    Scarponi won the Giro del Trentino in 2011. He then finished...

  • Barguil and Dumoulin headline Giant-Shimano team in Flèche

    Warren Barguil (Team Giant-Shimano)
    Article published:
    April 21, 2014, 20:36 BST
    Cycling News

    French climber takes aim at Classic

    Warren Barguil headlines the Giant-Shimano team for the upcoming Flèche Wallonne. The French climber finished 20th in the Tour of the Basque Country after a stellar ninth position in the overall of the Volta a Catalunya. After some rest the young French rider is ready for the Ardennes Classics.

    "We head to Flèche Wallonne with a view to getting Warren is as good a position as possible at the foot of the steep finishing climb of the Mur de Huy which suits his characteristics as a climber," sports director Christian Guiberteau said. 

    With Tom Dumoulin the Dutch team have another rider in form. The Dutchman netted his first professional victory in the Criterium International three weeks ago and finished 20th in his home race: the Amstel Gold Race. 

    "Dumoulin is also in good shape for the Ardennes Classics and we will look to keep him protected for as long as possible too. It is promising for the future to be heading into the race with two strong, young talents in the early stages of their careers, but who are already proving capable of challenging with the best."

    Giant-Shimano had a strong showing in the recent cobbled Classics campaign with a victory in Gent-Wevelgem for John Degenkolb and a second place for the German in Paris-Roubaix. In total, the team has 17 victories so far delivered by six different riders.

    The strength of Giant-Shimano as a team is also something Guiberteau expects to be vital in the Flèche Wallonne. "Teamwork is always important in these types of races for both positioning and also because anything can happen. The team have proven that this is one of our strong qualities so far this spring and they will look to continue with this here," the Frenchman said.

    Next to...

  • Evans looks to progress and impress at the Giro del Trentino

    Cadel Evans (BMC) is one of several options for the team
    Article published:
    April 21, 2014, 21:15 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    BMC leader treats the four-day race as a dress rehearsal for the Giro d'Italia

    Cadel Evans (BMC) will look to test his form and specifically his climbing ability in this week's Giro del Trentino in Italy as the days tick down to the Giro d'Italia - his big Grand Tour goal of the 2014 season.

    Evans turned 37 on Saint Valentine's Day but attended the pre-race press conference with the same enthusiasm as when he made his Giro d'Italia debut back in 2002.

    Evans and Michele Scarponi (Astana) were the only riders present at the pre-race event. They have two very different palmares but happily swapped praise and friendly provocations.

    "I'm here to work for my first big goal of the season: the Giro d'Italia. The Giro del Trentino is always a good way to test your form for the Giro thanks to the mountains and the TTT. It's a dress rehearsal for BMC this year," Evans said.

    Evans started the 2014 with a bang, finishing second at the Australian national championships and then won a stage and was second overall behind Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) at the Santos Tour Down Under. He struggled at Tirreno-Adriatico and quit the race after the key mountain stages but worked hard at home and finished seventh overall at the recent Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

    "I started the season almost with a win at the Tour Down Under. I couldn't hold that form when I came back to Europe but it was important to stay healthy and do some hard work. I was where I wanted to be at Pais Vasco. I didn't go close to victory but I feel I'm getting there," he explained.

    This will be a test of my climbing in the big mountains. I'll be looking for results. I'm sure Scarpa (Scarponi) will be a favourite but so will the others."

    Giro d'Italia team

    The BMC team for the Giro del Trentino includes four teammates that...

  • Moreno to lead Katusha at Flèche Wallonne

    A jubliant Daniel Moreno (Katusha)
    Article published:
    April 21, 2014, 22:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Rodríguez will support despite Amstel Gold crash

    Defending champion, Daniel Moreno will lead Katusha at Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, as the team aim for their third consecutive victory at the Belgian race.

    Moreno was a late bloomer for the Katusha team, preferring to work for others rather than take the pressure of being a leader, but has become a serious contender in recent years. He stormed to victory on the Mur de Huy last year with a stinging attack in the final 200 metres last season. The 32-year-old has been performing well this season and finished ninth at Amstel Gold.

    The 2013 victor will be ably assisted by his teammate and compatriot Joaquim Rodríguez – winner of the 2012 race - who will take part despite crashing out of Amstel Gold. There were fears that Rodríguez had broken his ribs but he escaped with only some bruising. The Spaniard is still suffering the effect of the crash, and is unlikely to be a real contender for the victory.

    “I spent a good and long night and our osteopath treated me very well, that’s why I decided to do this test. The first 30 minutes were very painful, but afterwards it went better. The major problem remains the efforts on the climbs. There is a difference between performing on training and in the race. I am a bit afraid of the Mur de Huy, but we will see,” Rodriguez said in a team press release.

    While Rodríguez is determined to support the rider who has so often done the same for him, he still has his own personal ambitions for later on in the week. “On the one hand I feel it as an obligation towards my teammate and last year’s winner Dani Moreno to support him. On the other...

  • Sam Bewley aiming for Bayern Rundfahrt return

    Sam Bewley looking pretty relaxed ahead of the stage
    Article published:
    April 22, 2014, 1:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica-GreenEdge rider fractured hand at Roubaix

    Orica-GreenEdge's Sam Bewley crashed out of Paris-Roubaix and suffered several injuries as a result . The 26-year-old, who started his season at Le Tour de Langkawi building his form for the Queen of the Classics and his first Monument, had his race ended by a team car getting a little too close for comfort.

    "I had just had a flat tire, and I was making my way back through the cars as we approached the Arenberg Forest. The team cars had all come to a bit of halt on the right, so I moved up on the left hand side of the road," Bewley explained on his team website.

    "As I passed on the left, one of the team cars must not have seen me. They pulled out of the line of stopped cars without any warning.

    "It was a pretty narrow road, and I had nowhere to go. Luckily, I managed to swerve out of the car’s way and jump up on the curb. I thought I was going to make it through but the other side of the curb dropped away into a car-park so that's when it all went pear shaped."

    Bewley made his way into the race ambulance but rather than being driven to a near-by hospital, he ended up at the finish as he explained.

    "I figured we had missed the boat on any urgency to get to hospital so when we got to the finish I told the ambulance staff I was going to the bus for five minutes. I wanted to see my teammates, and I wanted to find out how they had gone in the race. The ambulance then took me to hospital," Bewley said.

    Having hit the ground hard, Bewley had multiple reminders of the crash over his body, suffering grazes and fractures including a bizzare ailment and his second fracture of 2014.

    "I suffered a mean looking black eye and some grazes. My ear needed a couple of stitches in the upper lobe. The major injury is two displaced...

  • Drapac looking forward to Presidential Tour of Turkey debut

    Wes Sulzberger (Drapac) claims the stage win
    Article published:
    April 22, 2014, 2:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian outfit ready for second encounter with WorldTour teams in 2014

    As a Pro-Continental team Drapac Pro Cycling have been handed the opportunity to embrace the 'continental' with a maiden appearance at the 50th Presidential Tour of Turkey from April 27 to May 4. This is the second time in 2014 the squad will be against WorldTour teams having raced the Tour Down Under in January.

    The Australian team are sending eight riders to the 2.HC race who will all fly over to the country that straddles Europe and Asia having just completed a training camp on Queensland's Gold Coast.

    Directeur Sportif Henk Vogels believes the team is more than ready for the race and the riders are fit and raring to go.

    "From all reports via our Director of Performance, Keith Flory, all riders are in top condition," Vogels said.

    The eight stage race covers a total of 1254km starting from Alanya on the Mediterranean coast as the race heads north to Istanbul. 27-year-old Wes Sulzberger, is the only rider who has ridden the race and last did so in 2011 when riding for Francaise des Jeux.

    "The tour has changed a bit since 2011 with hilltops in this year's race," said Sulzberger who won the opening stage of the Adelaide Tour earlier this month. "It's going to be a challenging one for GC."

    Wouter Wippert, who recently won the OCBC Singapore Criterium, adding to Tour de Taiwan and New Zealand Cycle Classic stage victories, will be the protected rider in the sprint train for the first two stages as he goes up against the likes of Andre Greipel (

  • Team Sky looking for joy at La Flèche Wallonne

    Nathan Earle (Team Sky) driving the pace at the Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    April 22, 2014, 3:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Numerous changes to squad for mid-week race

    After a joyless Amstel Gold Race in which Edvald Boasson Hagen was the best finisher in 39th place 36 seconds off Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Team Sky turn its attention to the 194km La Flèche Wallonne looking for a better result. The team will have to do without last year's second place getter Sergio Henao who has been taken off Sky's roster due to test anomalies.

    There are several changes to the team for the second of the three Ardennes races including the outgoing Geraint Thomas after a long Classics campaign and will now enjoy a period of rest.

    With Boasson Hagen also having a break,  the recent winner of Stage 2 and the overall victory at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, Peter Kennaugh, is handed his debut in the Ardennes.

    Sport Director Nicolas Portal explained the squad changes on the Team Sky website for Flèche Wallonne. "They all gave it 100% and you can't ask for any more than that. Christian [Knees], Danny [Pate], Ian [Boswell] and Josh [Edmondson] were really good today and Nathan [Earle] did a lot of work as well," Portal said.

    "We couldn't give Edvald as much support as we'd wanted in those last 20km though, and that showed when those last attacks went on the Cauberg.

    "We have Pete [Kennaugh], Mikel [Nieve] and David [Lopez] coming in [...] for...

  • Stephanie Morton still 'stoked' about OAM honour

    South Australian pair of Felicity Johnson and pilot Stephanie Morton won gold in the Para women's sprint final.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2014, 5:20 BST
    Aaron S. Lee

    Australian track specialist sets sights on Glasgow

    Recently awarded Order of Australia (OAM) "for service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games", Stephanie Morton can vividly recall standing atop the podium in London with tandem 1km time trial teammate Felicity Johnson.

    "Winning gold in London on the tandem with 'Flick' was such a massive milestone and I still remember the moment like it was yesterday," Morton told Cyclingnews from her Australian Institute of Sport training base in Adelaide. "Even now I get goose bumps when I think of standing on top of the podium, watching the Australian flag rise in sync with the playing of our national anthem. It was crazy."

    Morton, the team's pilot, along with 40-year-old Paralympian Johnson, were joined on Australia Day by fellow Australian gold medal athletes also awarded the prestigious award, including cyclists Carol Cooke (T2 individual time trial), pilot Scott McPhee and his tandem 4km individual pursuit teammate Kieran Modra AM, as well as David Nicholas who captured gold in the C3 individual time trial and bronze in the C3 individual road race, while Susan Powell won gold in the C4 3km individual pursuit and silver in the C4 individual time trial.

    "London was very special to me, as I had my mom, dad, uncle and little brother all fly over from Australia to watch," said Morton. "There was lot of pressure going into the Games as world record holders and world champions, so to finally look up and see that 'No.1' next to our names was just absolutely awesome and for Flick as well, as the whole reason I was there was to help her realise her dream of going to London and going to the Paralympics and winning gold.

    "I was just stoked how everything worked out for us and I still am."

    Morton, who took the 2013 national titles in the keirin, individual sprint, and team sprint (with Rikki Belder), scored an upset win at the 2014 Australian track cycling championships by beating Olympic sprint gold...