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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Date published:
April 24, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Gallery: Francesco Moser jumps in New York race

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    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 16:16 BST
    By:
    Jules Roazen

    Italian legend races Prospect Park's Lucarelli Castaldi Series

    To the delight of the New York City metropolitan racing scene, Italian cycling legend Francesco Moser jumped into the opening race of the Lucarelli Castaldi Series in Brooklyn's Prospect Park this weekend. What follows is an account by Jules Roazen, courtesy NYVelocity.com.

    "Yes, that is Francesco Moser."

    That's how my conversation began with Charlie Issendorf, organizer of the Prospect Park Race series, began.

    Just two days prior my wife had taken me to Lunetta, a local Brooklyn restaurant for my birthday; Francesco Moser and his son Carlo were in attendance there promoting their winery, Cantine Moser. Over a delicious meal the guests chatted with the gregarious (and multi-lingual) living legend and his son. Stories were told by the elder Moser in Italian, Spanish and French throughout the evening. As the wine flowed the local amateur racers began their campaign to get "the Sheriff" to attend Saturday's first race of the spring series in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. "He loves everything related to ciclismo," said Marco Moser. "Perhaps he will come to watch."

    "Watch?" we joked. "He is welcome to race!"

    The former Giro d'Italia champion demurred, citing the need for a bicycle he was familiar with, papers for racing, proper shoes, pedals, his age, jet lag and other excuses well known to racers of all ages and accomplishments. We persisted in good humor, hoping to at least secure his presence on the starting line.

    Imagine my surprise on Thursday morning to get a call from Marco Moser. "Il signore would like to come to the race." After a bit of clarification with my broken Italian the reality made itself known: "Il Signore," "lo sceriffo," three-time Paris-Roubaix winner, former World Champion, et cetera, was asking to line up with the local park amateurs and pin on a number.

    Local racer Victor Ratto arranged for a bike and clothing while any worries...

  • Taaramae fractures elbow after recovering from illness

    Estonia's Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) rides in the day's break.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 17:11 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Yet more bad luck for Cofidis rider

    Following a rather promising start of the season, where he achieved two top three placings, Rein Taaramae experienced a second batch of bad luck at the Vuelta Castilla y Leon last week. After having been diagnosed with mononucleosis (glandular fever) in mid-March, the Estonian Cofidis rider returned to competition at the Spanish stage race, but he crashed and fractured his elbow.

    "A scan revealed an incomplete fracture of the radial head of the left elbow," Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer said in a press release.

    The rider's elbow, however, will not be plastered, and Taaramae is currently able to do recuperation exercises and training on the rollers. "In ten days, he'll be able to start up training on the road again, and return to competition in three to four weeks time, depending on the healing process," Boyer added.

    Last year, the 24-year-old won a stage at the Vuelta a Espana. Taaramae's biggest objective this year is the white jersey of the best young rider at the Tour de France.

  • Colombia-Coldeportes ready to strike at Tour of Turkey

    The Colombia - Coldeportes team is ready to race.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 18:23 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    In-form team fancy their chances on stage 3 climb

    The Presidential Tour of Turkey – now a UCI 2.HC race and possibly part of the World Tour in 2014 –  will this year feature a hilltop finish for the first time since the race entered the big league of cycling. Stage 3 of the 48th edition will end up at Elmali – literally the “apple town” in Turkish language – in the province of Antalya.

    The 13km final climb there has raised the ambitions of the South American team Colombia-Coldeportes compared to last year, when some of their riders took part under the banner of Colombia-ès-Pasion. The 2011 winner of the Tour de l’Avenir, Esteban Chavez, didn’t hide his motivation when he spoke to Cyclingnews.

    “I’m seriously coming into good form," the 22-year-old born in Bogotà said in Alanya. “I was in the first group at the Flèche Wallonne when I got a puncture with 20km to go.” He explained his misfortune to Romain Bardet from Ag2r-La Mondiale who was a very aggressive rider at the Amstel Gold Race one week ago. “We got to know each other at the Tour de l’Avenir," said Chavez of the Frenchman who won stage 5 of the Nations Cup final event last year.

    “We have three guys who can win the Tour of Turkey," said Colombia-Coldeportes’ captain Victor Hugo Peña, who remains the only Colombian cyclist to have worn the yellow jersey at the Tour de France when he rode alongside Lance Armstrong at US Postal in 2003. Still a pro rider at the age of 38, Peña doesn’t include himself in the three Colombians designated for leadership. “[Fabio] Duarte, Chavez and [Juan Pablo] Suarez have a good chance to go for the win," he said. “But the overall classification might not...

  • Vinokourov: Maxim Iglinskiy won Liège-Bastogne-Liège "the Vino way"

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 19:13 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Kazakh's succession is underway

    Alexandre Vinokourov showed up at the start of stage 2 in the Presidential Tour of Turkey in Alanya with a large smile, as did Valentin Iglinskiy because of the win of his elder brother Maxim at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Both Astana riders watched the last fifty kilometres of "La Doyenne" from their hotel room near the Mediterranean coast.

    "We have awaited our first victory for a while but this is a wonderful time for our team," Vinokourov told Cyclingnews.

    Janez Brajkovic opened the team's account at stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya and now Astana has three wins including two major Classics back-to-back with Amstel Gold Race (by Enrico Gasparotto) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    "Our start of the season was far from our expectations but these two Classics have put an end to our hard time," Vino continued. "It proves that Kazakh cycling is not only about myself. I've told Iglinskiy that after what he did yesterday, I can retire quietly."

    The soon-to-be Astana team manager played his part in Iglinskiy's victory in Belgium. "I called Maxim yesterday morning before the start," Vino added. "I had noticed that he had good legs at Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne. ... He rode to perfection. He did it the Vino way! I told him to wait for the Roche-aux-Faucons and go with [Joaquim] Rodriguez. When he did it, I was confident that he'd finish on the podium. He dropped Rodriguez on St-Nicolas and turned the turbo on to catch [Vincenzo] Nibali."

    Vinokourov...

  • Zirbel analyses USA Pro Cycling Challenge course

    Mountains loom as the race gets rolling in the morning.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 21:45 BST
    By:
    Bruce Hildenbrand

    Two summit finishes, high alititude to test the peloton in Colorado

    At first glance, the most striking difference between the 2011 and 2012 editions of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is the length of the stages. Last year's race totaled 509 miles over seven days whereas the 2012 route covers 680 miles - a whopping increase of 25 miles per stage.

    It is normal that as a race matures it offers more challenges for the riders. With two stages over 125 miles, one at 117 miles and three others at 100 miles there are going to be some long days in the saddle.

    But, the significant increase in distance isn't the most notable change to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The inclusion of two uphill finishes, including the climb up to Flagstaff Mountain outside Boulder on stage 6, is what has everybody talking.

    "I think a lot of people are going to be jazzed up for that Boulder finish just because the crowds are going to be enormous. It is going to be a lot about who is feeling good after five hard days of racing," said Tom Zirbel, longtime Boulder resident and member of the Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies team. The team is hoping to secure an invitation, and Zirbel is keen to participate in his home race.

    Last year, the top riders were vociferous in their desire for a summit finish and the race organizers have responded. Besides Flagstaff Mountain, the end of stage 4 features a 2.5 mile, 1000-foot, climb from Avon to the Beaver Creek Ski area.

    What goes up, must come down so with all the climbing, descending skills will be at a premium. "A couple of the stages roll into town on descents. There are some gnarly roads up there. If you are not comfortable, and I think most of the Euro guys are used to...

  • Megan Guarnier aiming at Olympic selection

    American, Megan Guarnier has had a superb European campaign so far in 2012
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 22:45 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    A string of solid European results boosts American's chances

    Megan Guarnier, the TIBCO-To the Top team leader currently ranked number one on USA Cycling's National Race Calendar standings, just may be one of the best US women cyclists you've barely heard of.

    Since racing for a French team in 2009 and then moving to TIBCO in 2010 when team manager Linda Jackson decided to take one of America's top teams on the road to Europe, the 27-year-old 2012 Redlands Bicycle Classic overall winner has quietly been building an international race resume. Her results eventually landed her a spot on the long team of riders hoping to make the final selection for the London Olympics later this summer.

    Guarnier made her biggest splash on the international scene in September of 2011 when she took the overall win at the five-day, six-stage Giro Della Toscana in Tuscany, a result that earned her an automatic berth on the Olympic long team. She started this year with her NRC-opening Redlands Classic win and then immediately headed for Europe, where she finished third out of a six-rider breakaway at the Ronde van Gelderland in the Netherlands. She followed that with a seventh-place finish at the Fleche Wallonne Feminine race won by Specialized-Lululemon's Evelyn Stevens, another Olympic hopeful.

    Guarnier finished seventh, the top US result, at the EPZ Omloop van Borsele in Belgium last weekend racing for the US national team, and is third overall in Belgium's five-race KNWU Topcompetitie Vrouwen series. She...

  • Tour de France favourites clash at Tour de Romandie

    Cadel Evans (BMC) back in yellow, this time at Criterium International
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 10:27 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Evans and Wiggins go head-to-head in Switzerland

    The 2012 Tour de Romandie gets underway in Switzerland on Tuesday with a 3.34km individual time trial serving as the prologue. Four tough stages then follow before the race wraps up in the Alpine town of Crans-Montana on Sunday afternoon. And with the two favourites for this season's Tour de France lining up it promises to be a fascinating few days of racing that could have implications for the biggest prize of all this July.

    BMC's Cadel Evans has been favourite with the bookmakers for this year's Tour de France from the moment he victoriously crossed the line in Paris last summer, ending his hoodoo in road cycling's premier event. The Australian's cosy victory there suggested that the 2012 race would come down to a straight fight between him and Alberto Contador, and the Spaniard's suspension for doping in February of this year, which rules him out of this year's race, only strengthened Evans' position at the head of the betting market.

    But over the last few weeks, many pundits have been talking up the chances of Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky). The 31-year-old Briton finished fourth in 2009 and though he has failed to sparkle in the Tour de France since, the combination of his early season form, this year's course and the firepower of his team has seen his odds for glory at La Grande Boucle tumble. An historic victory at Paris-Nice, the fact that there is well over 100km of time trials in the 2012 parcours and the rude health and versatility of the Team Sky squad has seen Wiggins usurp Andy Schleck as second favourite in the lists...

  • Bruyneel and Andy Schleck disappointed by Classics form

    Johan Bruyneel will attempt to work the oracle with Andy Schleck in 2012.
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 11:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan team looking for improvement

    With the Spring Classics season now done and dusted, RadioShack-Nissan boss Johan Bruyneel is focussing on the rest of the season and hoping that his team can pick up the pace in the next few weeks and months.

    The team headed into March with high hopes, but things took a turn for the worse at the Tour of Flanders when Classics leader Fabian Cancellara suffered a quadruple fracture to his collarbone and missed the rest of the cobbled and Ardennes races. The rest of the squad were unable to pick up the slack in the Swiss rider's absence and Bruyneel couldn't hide his disappointment at the performances of the team, culminating in a dismal showing at Liege-Bastogne-Liege last Sunday.

    “This is absolutely not the result we expected from the team,” Bruyneel told the team website. “If we consider that is the end of the first part of the season, here at the end of the Classics, we are far from satisfied.

    "For the first part of the Spring Classics on the cobbles, I was feeling quite confident with our team and with our leader Fabian Cancellara. We had a good start with Milan-San Remo, but then once Fabian was injured, we lost hope for those Classics. Next we looked to the Ardennes Classics and we hoped to see improvement here. But all of it was far from what we expected. [At Liege-Bastogne-Liege] we had no one in the top 20 and we can’t be happy with that.”

    Bruyneel's comments were echoed by Andy Schleck, who admitted that both he and his brother Frank are struggling so far in 2012.

    "It's still not a good year for us," he said. "It was certainly not as we expected. We often experienced crashes or bad weather but we can not always find...