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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Date published:
March 20, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Horner skips Volta a Catalunya to heal minor injury from Tirreno

    Chris Horner celebrates his race lead at Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 21:37 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    RadioShack-Nissan rider's next target is Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco

    After a stellar start to his 2012 season with a second place overall finish at Tirreno-Adriatico, Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan) had intended to next compete at the Volta a Catalunya, which began today. However, the 40-year-old American has opted to skip the Spanish WorldTour race to provide some healing time for a minor injury suffered at Tirreno-Adriatico.

    "I have a little bit of a break period," Horner told Cyclingnews. "I have a little problem behind the knee that I'm resting up. It's just a tendon below the hamstring that was sore from Tirreno-Adriatico. I'm waiting for that to heal. That will give me a week's rest that I wasn't planning."

    Tirreno-Adriatico was Horner's first race in approximately eight months after a crash ended his 2011 Tour de France, and ultimately his whole season. Prior to starting Tirreno-Adriatico, Horner's last day of competition was stage 7 of the 2011 Tour de France on which he suffered a broken nose, cracked ribs, concussion and a blood clot in the lung which forced a premature halt to his 2011 campaign.

    Horner was justifiably pleased with his performance after a lengthy break from racing.

    "It's a good way to come back," said Horner. "It doesn't leave too many doubts as to whether the blood clot did some permanent damage, that's for certain."

    Horner has had two previous experiences at Tirreno-Adriatico earlier in his career, with two DNFs to show for it, but the 2012 parcours proved to be particularly appealing.

    "I did it in 1997 and 2005 and both times it sent me to the hospital, so I didn't have a really good track...

  • No room for Hoste at Paris-Roubaix

    Leif Hoste (Accent Jobs) was 60th
    Article published:
    March 20, 2012, 0:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Accent Jobs miss out on invite, NetApp the beneficiaries

    Leif Hoste's Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's team will not be riding this year's Paris-Roubaix ending the Belgian's hopes of a return to the French monument at least for another year.

    Hoste has enjoyed a decorated career of near on 15 years and has been a regular performer in the cobbled classics. Between 2004 and 2007 he finished runner-up in the Tour of Flanders three times, and has also finished in the top 10 of Paris-Roubaix twice. He's considered to be among the best riders of his generation never to have won a classic.

    His 2011 was scuttled after a career-threatening crash in the Three Days of De Panne, but having recovered he joined Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's in the hope of refinding his classics mojo. Paris-Roubaix had initially been one of the 34-year-old's ambitions but though that's no longer possible, his team will be starting at the Tour of Flanders.

    Paris-Roubaix organisers ASO have instead opted to invite Bretagne-Schuller (Fra), Cofidis Le Crédit En Ligne (Fra), Farnese Vini-Selle Italia (GBr), Project 1t4i (Ned), Saur-Sojasun (Fra), Team Europcar (Fra) and Team NetApp (Ger).

    For NetApp it's the second big coup for the team after previously sealing a ride in the 2012 Giro d'Italia organised by RCS Sport, and the Tour of Flanders, and fortifies their relationship with the race after debut in last year's 'Hell of the North'.

    "We are honored to have the opportunity to ride in Paris - Roubaix once again. Within a week we will be present at two monumental cycling events.

    "Our showing last year earned us a great deal of...

  • Redlands organisers geared to go for 2012 event

    Francisco Mancebo ( with his overall GC win and yellow jersey.
    Article published:
    March 20, 2012, 3:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Opening round of NRC to light things up

    North American professional bicycle racing gets underway at the Redlands Bicycle Classic this week, the opening round of the 2012 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, and the anticipation could not be any more amplified. All racers and teams are locked-in and geared-up to launch hostilities on the roads of Redlands beginning Thursday March 22nd with the prologue time trial.

    Returning champions Francisco Mancebo, riding for the newly-branded Competitive Cyclist team in the men’s field as well as returning women’s champion Amber Neben, representing the newly formed Specialized-Lululemon will both feature in the 2012 event, after dominant peformances last year in Redlands helped set them on the track to strong NRC performances.

    Twenty-seven men’s teams will be queuing up to comprise a robust peloton of 200 riders and no fewer than 90 women spread across 12 teams will contest the 2012 race. Bissell, Kenda/5-Hour Energy, Competitive Cyclist and Bontrager-Livestrong bring plenty of quality to the men's field, while the expected battle between Specialized-lululemon and Exergy TWENTY12 in the women's race will also be enthralling to watch.

    "We are very proud to have so much excitement surrounding our event," says Race President, Dan Rendler. "So many applications come from all across the globe for teams that want to participate in our race, we are proud to have such large pelotons of talented riders hitting the streets of Redlands for another great year of racing."

    Complete List of Teams Competing

    Elite men

    Bissell Pro Cycling
    BMC-Hincapie Development Team
    Bontrager Livestrong
    California Giant / Specialized
    CashCall Mortgage
    Champion Systems p/b Stans No Tubes/CRCA
    Competitive Cyclist Racing Team
    RBS Morgans - Altitude Technology Solutions

  • Added sweetness in Pollock’s Taiwan win

    Rhys Pollock (Drapac Cycling) kisses the trophy of the final winner
    Article published:
    March 20, 2012, 4:40 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Drapac rider’s greatest coup comes after close calls

    Rhys Pollock's general classification win at last week's Tour de Taiwan, was in many ways a relief. The Drapac rider broke through for the biggest victory of his career, but the end result was about more than just a highlight for the palmares.

    Pollock claimed the yellow leader's jersey on Stage 3 and never relinquished it, eventually completing the race with a two second gap on Kam Po Wong (Hong Kong Team). His was a victory borne of persistence.

    Late last year, Pollock took both the stage win and the overall lead on day one of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour – after seven years of attempting to step onto the podium. He retained the yellow jersey until three laps of the punishing Arthurs Seat climb on the penultimate day, where he failed to match the likes of Jack Bobridge (Garmin-Cervelo) and Nathan Haas (Genesys) who stole his prize. Despite knowing that at the 'Sun Tour' he would be an unlikely eventual winner, five months on in Taiwan, it was a series of events that played on Pollock's mind.

    "I did say to Agostino [Giramondo, directeur sportif] after we'd won Taiwan, that if I had of lost it on the last day I would have been devastated," Pollock admitted to Cyclingnews.

    Pollock capitalised on the form he hinted at during the Tour de Langkawi in February. Despite being slightly hampered by a back injury, Pollock and his Drapac team put in aggressive performance highlighted by Darren Lapthorne's stint in the overall lead.

    "I still managed to get in a few breaks," Pollock said of his Langkawi experience. "We had one close call where we got caught with about 200 metres to go which was pretty scarring but I sort of made up for that in Taiwan.

    "If I do one tour and have five to six days in between it...

  • Chavanel back to racing at in Dwars Door Vlaanderen

    Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is using the race as Paris-Nice training
    Article published:
    March 20, 2012, 9:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    French champion healthy again after bronchitis

    After having had to skip Milan-San Remo due to bronchitis, Sylvain Chavanel (QuickStep) has decided to come back to racing earlier than previously planned. His initial race schedule did not include the midweek Belgian semi-classic Dwars Door Vlaanderen, but the Frenchman was eager to return to competition as he feels completely healed.

    "Initially, I hadn't planned to race this Wednesday," Chavanel explained to L'Equipe. "But missing Milan-San Remo because of bronchitis has changed my plans. I've been able to rest and heal properly at my home, so now I feel ready to take on these first Flandrian competitions."

    The French champion had suffered respiratory problems during Paris-Nice, which continued after the stage race. In accordance with the team's medical staff, it was decided that he should not race in Milan-San Remo, concentrating instead on getting healthy again.

    Dwars Door Vlanderen, a one-day event to Waregem which Chavanel won in 2008, will be a first appetizer for the upcoming series of Flemish Classics. The riders will face no less than 13 climbs distributed along the route, including the Oude Kwaremont and the Patersberg, two key ascents in the next Tour of Flanders.

    Alongside Chavanel, Gerald Ciolek, Gert Steegmans, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Iljo Keisse, Matthew Brammeier, Niki Terpstra and Nikolas Maes will take the start in Roeselare.

    "It's an important race in which we will line up a squad that can bring results," said sports director Wilfried Peeters. "The race is just a few days before Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, so it will be also a very important test for us. In the finale the route is very challenging. The Nokereberg climb is located at only six kilometres from the finish so it could be a crucial point in the race.

  • Valverde believes he can win the Tour de France

    Points classification leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
    Article published:
    March 20, 2012, 10:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hopes for "grand duels" against Gilbert in Ardennes Classics

    Having come back to racing this year after a doping suspension, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is also back to winning ways. With four victories and a podium spot at the Tour Down Under as well as Paris-Nice in his pocket, the Spaniard's balance sheet in late March is more than promising in view of his real targets this year, the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France.

    Valverde did not expect such a successful return to competition, but he told L'Equipe that he trained as hard during the last year as when he was competing. "I knew I had good shape as I had trained well at home, but I didn't think I would be able to do such a good season start. But during the suspension, I did exactly what I did before. I trained regularly, and I had two peaks of form during the year. I trained as though I was competing, but without competing."

    Turning his attention towards the Classics season, Valverde admitted that Philippe Gilbert (BMC) would be the man to beat after what the Belgian showed last season. "To me, Gilbert was the best rider in the world last year," the Spaniard continued. "I would love to be able to deliver a grand duel against him in the Ardennes Classics. I'm sure this would also be great for the spectators."

    On top of his other prestigious victories, Valverde won Liège-Bastogne-Liège twice in his career, and the Flèche Wallonne once. Gilbert took all three Ardennes Classics last year, on top of his first victory of the Amstel Gold Race in 2010.

    But Valverde, who also has the overall 2009 Vuelta a Espana to his account, sees himself as a contender for the Tour de France this year. Even though the 2012 parcours has widely been branded as one for the better...

  • Offredo: my whereabouts sanction was too severe

    Article published:
    March 20, 2012, 12:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman sidelined until 2013

    Yoann Offredo has said that his one-year suspension for three violations of the whereabouts system was too severe, although the FDJ-BigMat rider has accepted that it was not unjust to sanction him for the offence.

    Offredo missed three anti-doping controls within an eighteen-month period and was handed a one-year ban by the French Cycling Federation in February. The riders' association CPA has pleaded his cause, as one of the missed tests was his team management's fault, but the suspension still took effect.

    “The decision isn’t especially unfair because there are rules, for everybody. I’ve never called the whereabouts system into question, but only the proportionality of the sanction,” Offredo told L’Équipe. “I find it hard to accept being sanctioned to the same extent as a rider who doped. I find it hard to understand why the commission didn’t take my good faith into consideration, or my exemplary biological passport.”

    Offredo has until April 5 to decide if he wishes to appeal the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but in any case, the Frenchman will miss out on the spring classics, where he had been touted to continue his progress from the past two seasons. He admitted that he avoided watching Saturday’s Milan-San Remo, a race which he ignited twelve months ago with an attack on the descent of the Cipressa, en route to a 7th place finish.

    “It’s hard because I had been thinking about it for a year. Since the last Milan-San Remo, I thought of this year’s one, and every day in training, I had Milan and the Poggio in the back of mind,” he said. “I’m not...

  • Bayern Rundfahrt announces final ten teams

    One final white flag to start the 2011 Bayern Rundfahrt before the race packs up for next year.
    Article published:
    March 20, 2012, 12:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Five Pro Continental teams and five German Continental teams round out field

    Five Professional Continental and five Continental teams round out the field for this year's Bayern Rundfahrt, taking place from May 22-27. At least three of the Professional Continental teams are still in the running for a start in the Tour de France, the race organisers pointed out. 

    The Professional Continental teams are Team NetApp, Topsport-Vlaanderen-Mercator, Saur-Sojasun, Europcar, and Project 1t4i.  The five Continental teams are all from Germany:  Eddy Merckx Indeland, Heizomat, NSP-Ghost, Thüringer Energie and Nutrixxion-Abus.

    These ten squads will join nine previously announced WorldTour teams: Euskaltel-Euskadi, FDJ Big Mat, Garmin-Barracuda, RadioShack-Nissan, GreenEdge, Katusha, Lampre-ISD, Sky and Saxo Bank.

    “We are staying true to our principles of having the absolute world's best at the start, but also giving young German riders a chance,” said race head Ewald Strohmeier. “This mixture promises a race that we can look forward to.”

    The race's new sport director, Helmut Bölts, who won stages at the event in 1993 and 1994, agreed. “We shouldn't underestimate the smaller outfits. The Continental teams come with their best riders and will do everything to make lift tough for the top stars. For most of them, the Bayern Rundfahrt is the absolute season highlight.”

    The teams have not yet announced who will ride, but the race is hoping for such riders as Germans Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb and Roger Kluge from Project 1t4i, or Thomas Voeckler from Europcar.