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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Date published:
April 06, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Tour of Flanders from behind the lens

    A shattered David Millar (Garmin - Transitions) recovers after the race.
    Article published:
    April 05, 2010, 23:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    A gallery of memorable images from Sunday's race

    The 2010 edition of the Tour of Flanders was one for the ages as time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) atoned for his disappointing early exit on the Koppenberg last year with a masterful solo victory this Easter Sunday. The Swiss national champion added the third Monument to his palmares, to go along with victories in Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.

    Our photographers were on hand in Flanders to capture the day's events from the start in Bruges through to the finish in Ninove nearly six and a half hours later. Relive the agony and the ecstasy of the 'Ronde' through its numerous bergs, brutal stretches of cobbles and the roaring masses on hand to see their champions battle for one of the most prestigious races in all of cycling.

    We hope you enjoy this gallery of some of our favourite photos from this year's Tour of Flanders.

    Riders roll out of picturesque Bruges for the 94th Tour of Flanders.

    Riders roll out of picturesque Bruges for the 94th Tour of Flanders. Photo: Bettini

    The peloton travels through the Flanders fields.

    The peloton travels through the Flanders fields. Photo: Bettini

    Crowds line a section of cobbles.

    Crowds line a section of cobbles. Photo: Bettini

    The Tour of Flanders tests the logisitics abilities of its teams as mechanics are situated on the course with spare wheels.

    The Tour of Flanders tests the logisitics abilities of its teams as mechanics are situated on the course with...

  • Scarponi on song ahead of another Giro

    Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli)
    Article published:
    April 06, 2010, 7:01 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni in the hunt next month

    Barring illness or injury, Settimana Lombarda winner Michele Scarponi will likely go into next month's Giro d'Italia with lofty ambitions after displaying fantastic early season form in Italian stage races.

    The 30-year-old from Filottrano, Italy, finished a narrow second overall in Tirreno-Adriatico last month, beaten on the final day by countryman and 2000 Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli by virtue of time bonuses and stage placings.

    With Gianni Savio's Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni team again in the hunt for Giro d'Italia stage wins and a solid overall showing, Scarponi's form couldn't have come at a better time. He claimed his second Settimana Lombarda title, having previously won it in 2004 and finishing runner up in 2002.

    He took the leader's jersey in the opening time trial up Colle Gallo and retained it throughout the week, fending off the challenge from a motivated Riccardo Riccò to beat his countryman - fresh from a 20-month suspension - by 22 seconds.

    "Fortunately after all the rain, there was the sun today, especially for the descents that are otherwise very risky," said Scarponi in an interview with Tuttobiciweb after the final stage. "In the finale I knew there was a strong possibility that the group would arrive together and saw that I had a comfortable margin in the standings so I didn't have to kill myself to stay ahead.

    "I got comfortable in the group and waited for the finish line. In the end I tried to help [teammate] Jackson Rodriguez, along with the whole team, which did a great job for me in all stages, but Riccò was the most brilliant and he won the stage," he added.

    Having won the sixth and 18th stages of last year's Giro d'Italia, Scarponi will undoubtedly begin this year's event with big hopes of performing well, aiming for more stage victories and a high overall placing.

    "The condition? It's good; you cannot win a race such as the Settimana Lombarda...

  • Garmin-Transitions trio takes on the Gila Monster

    American time trial champion Dave Zabriskie (Garmin - Transitions).
    Article published:
    April 06, 2010, 8:25 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Organisers hope Armstrong will return

    Garmin-Transitions trio Dave Zabriskie, Danny Pate and Tom Danielson are scheduled to contest the SRAM Tour of the Gila, taking place from April 28 to May 2 in Silver City, New Mexico. A record number of pro men are registered, many of whom are using the higher altitude and mountainous terrain to prepare for the Tour of California in mid-May.

    "We have three guys from Garmin coming to our race this year," said event promotor Jack Brennan. "Zabriskie, Pate and Danielson will be riding but they are riding under the DZ Nuts jersey, Zabriskie's company name. It will be really cool to have them here. It was exciting to see that they registered."

    International Cycling Union (UCI) code 2.1.009 prohibits ProTour and Professional Continental teams from competing in national level events where only UCI Continental teams of the country, regional and club teams, national teams and mixed teams may participate. They are permitted to race with three riders wearing non ProTour team clothing, however.

    "I emailed USA Cycling and the response I got from them was that the Garmin guys are taking the right approach," Brennan said. "The impression I am getting from USA Cycling is that they can bring a three-person team but can't wear their normal team clothing."

    The Tour of the Gila is in its 24th year and recognised as one of the toughest climbing stage races ever seen in the US. The five-staged event includes three mountainous road races, a lengthy time trial and a spectator-friendly downtown criterium.

    Last year the race was close to being cancelled due to a lack of funding in light of the nation-wide economic downturn. SRAM saved the race when it signed on as title sponsor. It was further bolstered by the participation of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and his teammates: three-time Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner.

    Leipheimer won the overall classification ahead of Armstrong, who placed...

  • Stewart savours Flanders experience

    Former World Road Champion Alessandro Ballan leads a group along the highway, en route to the ocean.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2010, 8:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Struggles won't deter BMC Racing debutante

    Despite not finishing his first attempt at the Tour of Flanders, BMC Racing rider Jackson Stewart says he enjoyed the experience of racing in the cycling hotbed that is northern Belgium.

    The 29-year-old Los Gatos native endured a fairly torrid race on Sunday, although he knows it's all part and parcel of the Flanders experience.

    "I just had a few tingles myself - I went off the road once and I got [caught] in a crack once... both times I was chasing back on and I got caught behind two crashes all around the same time and then it came down to the legs," said Stewart.

    "I couldn't close the gaps, so soon I was out of the [convoy] cars."

    Stewart is a relative newcomer to European racing, although the former Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada team member is one of BMC Racing's maintstays - he rode for the squad when it was a Continental team racing in the US. It's his fourth season with the outfit and with its elevation to Professional Continental status he now gets to ride some of the world's biggest events.

    Personal bad luck aside however, Stewart savoured the experience at a significant race. "It was pretty exciting. I wanted a little more from it but it was pretty exciting and it was good to see the team ride really well," he said.

    "It's gotta be the biggest race I've done in Europe; the number of spectators, the hype behind it and how excited everyone is to watch it is something I've never seen before."

  • Boonen: Paris Roubaix will be a war

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) arrives alone in Ninove more than one minute behind Cancellara.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2010, 9:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank and Quick Step set to clash again

    Tom Boonen went into the Tour of Flanders looking for his third victory, but instead had to accept second place behind Fabian Cancellara. “Of course I'd rather win,” the Quick Step rider said. “But Fabian is currently in one of the best periods of his life.” However he will look to reverse the result in Paris-Roubaix, which he said would be “a war” between Saxo Bank and Quick Step

    The moment of truth in Flanders came on the Kapelmuur, with about 20 kilometres to go. The pair had broken away with some 40 kilometres to go on the Molenberg.

    “It was no secret that this was the place to attack,” Boonen told sporza.be. “I had taken the lead to see what was happening. He didn't react very hard. When he passed me I had to drop. Cramps shot up my right leg. I hoped I would get my rhythm back again quickly but he took 20 seconds off of me in one kilometre. What should I do? Kill him?”

    Boonen continued, “I was going 55 km/h down to Ninove, but he must have reached at least 60. Then you must resign yourself to the fact.”

    The former world champion is now turning his attention to next weekend's Paris-Roubaix, which he has won three times, including the last two years. “I accept the situation. Sunday I have another chance. In recent years I have often shown that Paris-Roubaix is a little better for me.” .

    Boonen has mixed expectations for the weekend, not knowing what the weather will be like, but knowing how the race will be. “I do not know what weather they predict. I've heard that it would be bad again on the weekend. We'll see. It promises to be war between Saxo Bank and Quick Step."

    At least he still has his sense of humour. When asked about his streak of second places in Milan-San Remo, E3 Prijs Harelbeke and Tour of Flanders, he responded, “That means I am the most consistent rider in the world.”
    ...

  • Team Saxo Bank ready to open talks with two potential sponsors

    Fabian Cancellara celebrates on the podium.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2010, 9:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cancellara and Haedo ease pressure

    Saxo Bank team director Trey Greenwood is ready to begin serious negotiations with two companies who might be willing to take over when the bank stops its sponsorship at the end of this year.

    “We are optimistic and not just in general. I am very optimistic about a few specific companies, two global companies, although of course we still keep all doors open to potential sponsors, " Greenwood told the Danish website sporten.dk.

    ”We are not in concrete talks with the two yet, and things have been a bit quiet over Easter,” he added. “But actual negotiations are the next step, and my impression is that they are quite close. Whether it ends up that one run with the whole sponsorship, or they both come on board as co-sponsors, I don't know. But both solutions are certainly possible and each has their strengths,”

    Greenwood finds the situation so encouraging that he added, “I believe that we have an agreement before the Tour. It is certainly our goal.”

    It is even possible that the new sponsorship could start with the Tour de France this summer. That would not only give the new sponsors exposure at the Tour, but enable the team to work on extending rider contracts as early as possible.

    The recent wins by Saxo Bank riders, including Cancellara in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday and JJ Haedo in Rund urn Köln on Monday, are having their effect on Greenwood's work. “Let me say this, that it is both easier and more fun to call the two companies and other potential sponsors again this week,” he said.

     

  • New doping investigation in Italy revealed

    Spanish Guardia Cival holding drugs after dismanteling an alleged doping network in Valencia, November 24, 2009
    Article published:
    April 06, 2010, 13:27 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Gazzetta dello Sport claims that 54 people could be involved

    Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that a new doping investigation by Italian police in Mantova could involve 54 people relating to events in 2008 and 2009 seasons. The paper compares the investigation to the 1998 Festina affair, the blitz by police at the 2001 Giro d’Italia and the Operacion Puerto investigation in Spain.

    According to Gazzetta, the investigation is based around the small town of Mariana Mantovana, in centre of northern Italy. The paper specifically names Guido Nigrelli, a cycling coach and horse trainer, who has often worked with Lampre riders and has a long-term working relationship with team manager Giuseppe Saronni. Negrelli was listed as a coach of the Mapei-Bricobì team Saronni managed in 1998. According to Gazzetta, he was involved in a 2001 investigation into the supply of blood diluting drug Emagel. He was also named as one of the 52 people investigated after the police raids at the 2001 Giro d’Italia in San Remo.

    The Italian newspaper suggests the investigation could also be linked to the Humanplasma lab in Vienna, Austria, that was investigated for blood doping after Gerolsteiner rider Bernhard Kohl tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. However Humanplasma director Lothar Baumgartner told the APA news agency that he had never heard of Mariana Montavana “and I don't know anything”.

    Petacchi's homes searched for five hours

    In a separate article, Gazzetta dello Sport also reported that the search of Alessandro Petacchi’s home and two properties owned by his wife lasted five hours. “The document they left me says nothing was found. But even when you’re not worried, it’s not something you expect to happen,” Petacchi told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Various drugs were reportedly seized in Bernucci's home, including Albumine that can be used to dilute blood and Sibutramine, the same weight loss...

  • Armstrong out of Amstel Gold Race

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) returned to the Tour of Flanders for the first time in eight years.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2010, 13:34 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    American to return home to train, spend time with family

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) has again altered his 2010 racing schedule and will skip the Amstel Gold Race on April 18.

    Armstrong, 38, rode in Sunday's Tour of Flanders, finishing in the first large chase group. He is currently competing in the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de la Loire, which had been added to his race schedule in early March.

    RadioShack press officer Philippe Maertens confirmed to Cyclingnews on Tuesday that Armstrong will return to the United States following the French stage race.

    "After Sarthe he will go back home to the United States to train and spend time with his family," said Maertens.

    The seven-time Tour de France winner had indicated earlier this winter that he would ride the Dutch Classic. He has ridden Amstel four times, finishing second in both 1999 and 2001.