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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Date published:
March 22, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Haussler optimistic for Flanders

    Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) after stage 3 at the Tour of Qatar
    Article published:
    March 21, 2011, 13:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Classics specialist trapped in San Remo but hopeful for form

    Heinrich Haussler has admitted that he missed the decisive attack of Saturday's Milan-San Remo race, but was hopeful for the upcoming Northern Classics starting this week with Dwars Door Vlaanderen in Belgium.

    The Garmin-Cervélo rider finished the Primavera in the first chase group of the attackers, at 23 seconds behind winner Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad), and was not satisfied with his performance. "That was not what I had planned," a disappointed Haussler said on his personal website. He was part of a 44-man lead group in the finale towards San Remo, but eventually saw his chances annihilated on the Poggio climb.

    "I felt good the whole day and on the Cipressa even played with the idea of attacking, but 200 metres before the top of the Poggio it was over. I just could not follow the decisive attack. At the top I was not so far back, but had missed the chance. Since those of us in the chase group did not jump immediately and vehemently to join the leading group, the gap just kept on growing and I was not involved in the outcome of the race."

    Haussler, who already won two stages of the Tour of Qatar this year after an injury-stricken 2010 season, could not put his finger on what exactly went wrong. "I cannot say that I felt bad, perhaps it was simply not my day," he continued, echoing the sentiments of his team management. "But what I certainly must not forget is how the 2010 season went. Because of injuries, I was unable to train much in the spring, rode few races and did not ride any of the three-week Grand Tours. In order to win Milan - San Remo, everything has to come together."

    Fortunately, cycling never leaves the riders too much time to dwell...

  • Voeckler puts Cholet-Pays de Loire win in perspective

    Thomas Voeckler was a worthy winner for the second leg of the French Cup.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2011, 16:06 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    French champion has five wins in 2011

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) continued his fine early-season form with victory at Cholet-Pays de Loire on Sunday. The Frenchman attacked in the finale to hold off a speeding peloton, but after the finish he was keen to keep his performance in context.

    “Things need to be put in perspective,” Voeckler told L’Équipe. “I didn’t attack on the Poggio. Even though I’m very happy to win, this isn’t Milan-San Remo.”

    Voeckler and his Europcar team failed to secure a ProTeam licence for 2011 and were not invited to Saturday’s Italian classic. However, the French champion is currently leading the Europe Tour standings, and consolidated his lead with Sunday’s victory.

    His winning move came just three kilometres from the end, and he explained afterwards that his tactics had been pre-determined.

    “I can hold on for three kilometres, not for ten,” he said. “When I won in Plouay (in 2007), I attacked 2.8km from the end. So I had the idea in the back of my head. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t…”

    Cholet-Pays de Loire marked Voeckler’s fifth win of the current campaign, and came hot on the heels of his two stage victories at Paris-Nice. After a truncated winter of training following his part in attracting Europcar to replace Bouygues Telecom as sponsor, Voeckler admitted to being somewhat surprised by his string of spring successes but acknowledged that his base fitness from 2010 was already high.

    “I’m winning races. Without doubt, I have a reserve [of fitness] thanks to the seasons coming so close together,” he said. “It means...

  • Goss heads UCI WorldTour rankings after Milan-San Remo triumph

    Matt Goss prevails in the 2011 Milan-San Remo.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2011, 17:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    HTC-Highroad top team standings

    Matt Goss’ (HTC-Highroad) Milan-San Remo victory has seen him take a commanding lead at the head of the UCI WorldTour rankings. The Australian inherits the top spot from fellow countryman Cadel Evans (BMC) and teammate Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), winners of Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice respectively.

    Goss has been a hugely consistent performer in WorldTour events in 2011 and that regularity is reflected by the ample margin of his lead. As well as picking up 100 points for winning Milan-San Remo, Goss took stage wins the Santos Tour Down Under and Paris-Nice to bring his total to 203.

    Michele Scarponi’s (Lampre-ISD) strong showings at Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico see him move up to second in the standings, albeit 85 points behind Goss. Evans and Martin remained locked together in joint 3rd place, while Tour Down Under winner Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervélo) lies in 5th.

    It looks as though Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) will be difficult to separate throughout the spring, and the duo head north for the cobbled classics level on 86 points apiece.

    With WorldTour points up for grabs at both Gent-Wevelgem and the Volta a Catalunya in the next seven days, there may well be a significant shake up in the rankings in the coming week, but given his current form, Matt Goss has every reason to be confident of building on his lead in Belgium.

    Goss’ HTC-Highroad squad have a healthy advantage at the top of the team standings, well clear of the early season’s other dominant force, Rabobank. BMC’s leaders Evans and Alessandro Ballan have contributed handsomely to their team’s third place in the standings, while RadioShack lie in 4th.

    At the opposite...

  • 11 major teams considering plans to break away from the UCI

    The peloton in the feed zone.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2011, 21:00 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Vaughters and Zomegnan refuse to rule out the creation of separate professional league

    International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid accused several team managers of plotting to breakaway from the UCI and set-up an alternative ProTour in his open letter to riders on Friday.

    It seems his fears are well founded.

    Cyclingnews understands that at least 11 major teams are considering the creation of new, more commercially driven and innovatively managed structure to run men’s professional cycling.

    This could result in professional cycling following a similar path to that of Premier League soccer in Britain, the NBA in the United States or Formula 1 motor racing; where the sport is run as a business by a private company rather than under the control of an international governing body recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

    The teams are staying tight-lipped on their plans at the moment but any breakaway league would have to include many of the current ProTeams and the major races on the professional calendar for it to succeed.

    Cyclingnews spoke to Angelo Zomegnan, the head of RCS Sports Cycling Events Manager. He admitted he had talked to people involved in the breakaway project but was reticent about giving away any details.

    “I've drank quite a few coffees with lots of different people in the last few days, but the project hasn't been presented to us yet. Before we can really sit down and discuss it, we need to know what they've got in mind,” he said.

    “There is a risk of a breakaway from the UCI, of course there is. But it's early to talk about it and RCS Sport is obliged to stay on the side of the sport that has been created by the national and international federations.”

    Cyclingnews contacted several teams but they refused to...

  • Cunego withdraws from Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) was prominent in the finale of stage six.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2011, 22:20 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Ear infection fells two-time winner on the eve of the race

    Lampre-ISD's Damiano Cunego will miss the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali due to illness, starting tomorrow in Italy, the event he won in 2006 and 2009.

    The 29-year-old Italian rider has been plagued by an inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal in recent days according to the team's doctor.

    "Cunego began to feel bad sensations during the afternoon and then he began to have temperature," Dr Ronchi explained. "It was due to the otitis externa [ear infection] and to a beginning of pharyngitis, that won't allow him to be tomorrow at the departure."

    It was originally thought that he would race, despite his illness, however with the situation not improving the decision was taken to withdraw him.

    Cunego will not be replaced by the team and will take on the five stage race with seven riders.

    Lampre-ISD team for Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali: Alfredo Balloni, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Oleksandr Kvachuk, Enrico Magazzini, Adriano Malori, Daniele Righi and Diego Ulissi.

  • GreenEDGE to team up with Scott Sports

    Scott's new Project F01 aero road bike combines performance attributes of both its Addict and Plasma 3 platforms.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2011, 23:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Naming sponsors due to be announced in June

    Australia's new ProTeam bid, GreenEDGE has announced a multiple-year contract with bicycle and accessories company Scott Sports.

    Under the agreement, Scott Sports, whose bikes were ridden to six stage victories by the HTC-Columbia squad at the 2010 Tour de France, become the official bike supplier to all teams under the GreenEDGE banner; men's elite ProTeam squad, women's pro team and men's Continental road racing team. Helmets will also be supplied by Scott Sports for both pro teams.

    "The main priority in striking a deal with a bike manufacturer was to ensure the team was getting the best equipment that would give the riders an edge on their competitors," said GreenEDGE General Manager, Shayne Bannan.

    "Some of the stages in a race like the Tour de France can last up to seven hours and every little bit of energy that can be saved by having the best equipment can make the difference between first and second place".

    Bannan arrived in Italy late last week to continue his discussions with the UCI with the aim of GreenEDGE gaining a ProTeam licence for the 2012 season.

    "It's all tracking pretty well," Bannan told Cyclingnews from Rome. "We set ourselves various targets earlier this year. One's to concentrate on the structure of the team, where the operations base will be, where the admin base will be. That's coming along pretty well and right through this period we're in discussions with the UCI to make sure we're in accordance with the application process and so on."

    The team is hoping to name first or second name sponsors in June.

    Scott Sports Vice President Pascal Ducrot was quick to praise Bannan and his project.

    "Shayne Bannan has a long and very successful history in cycling as the Australian national team coach. His knowledge, paired with a solid financial foundation, will allow them to build a...

  • The 2011 Santos Tour Down Under largest in event's history

    The Santos Tour Down Under peloton in action during stage 1.
    Article published:
    March 22, 2011, 3:04 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Over 780,000 spectators watched Australia's WorldTour race

    A best-ever field had aided the Santos Tour Down Under to its largest crowd in the event's 13 year history while injecting more than $43 million into the South Australian economy.

    In perhaps one of the most exciting finishes to the event in recent years, Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) claimed overall victory for the opening event of the WorldTour on the final stage, by just two seconds from Matt Goss.

    The Tour's line-up boasted a class field of sprinters which included Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cevelo) and was also the final race for seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong (RadioShack).

    Crowd figures for the six-stage event were up from 770,500 in 2010 to 782,393 spectators while $1,169 was spent by each event specific visitor from interstate and overseas compared to $1,047 in 2010.

    The event also attracted $154.3 million of media coverage and 284 hours of television broadcast

    "The Santos Tour Down Under has enjoyed massive growth since it received UCI WorldTour status in September...

  • Maaskant set to miss Classics, ruled out for six weeks

    The Netherland's Martijn Maaskant (Garmin - Slipstream)
    Article published:
    March 22, 2011, 9:41 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin-Cervelo rider left with seven fractured ribs and punctured lung

    Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Cervelo) faces several weeks on the sidelines after crashing out of Paris-Nice earlier this month. The Dutchman fractured seven ribs, suffered a punctured lung, cuts and bruises and was left unconscious on stage 7 from Brignoles - Biot to Sophia Antipolis.

    Despite being released from hospital last week Maaskant must undergo several more medical tests and visits and early prognosis indicates he will miss between five and six weeks of riding, meaning he will miss the entire Spring Classics campaign.

    “I don’t remember much about the crash,” Maskant told Cyclingnews from his home in Belgium. "All I remember is that my back wheel slipped away but the rest is blank. I woke up in the ambulance and straight away I knew that things were serious. I knew immediately that my ribs were broken.”

    While most of the cuts and bruises sustained have begun to heal, Maaskant faces complications with his lung injury after blood was discovered in the lung.

    “Because of the bruising around my lung there’s a bit of blood in there. I have to work closely with the doctors and I felt awful at the weekend. Things are little better now. The specialist working on my lungs wants to follow me really closely.”

    Maaskant was hoping to ride a full set of Classics this month. Having finished fourth in Paris-Roubaix in 2008 and fourth in the 2009 Tour of Flanders he has been Garmin’s most consistently successful rider in the Spring.

    “The doctors say that I should be riding normally in 5 to 6 week but of course I can't be sure because it depends on my recovery. It's a blow to be out of the Classics.My form was really good, I felt great and looked forward to the Spring so much....