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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Date published:
March 26, 2013, 11:00
  • Gallery: UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team at Coppi e Bartali

    The UnitedHealthcare team relaxes in the bus before the start of the team time trial.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 20:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    US Pro Continental squad amidst spring European campaign

    The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, a US-based Pro Continental squad, has been in action in Europe this spring, most recently at Italy's Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali stage race, encompassing six stages in five days from March 20 to 24.

    Photographer Jonathan Devich has been travelling with the team and has provided this behind the scenes look at UnitedHealthcare's Italian campaign.

    Highlights for the team include a pair of top ten finishers in the opening stage (Alessandro Bazzana for third, Kiel Reijnen for seventh), Lucas Euser's solo attack in the uphill finale of stage 3 plus Philip Deignan's 11th place general classification result, 3:27 behind overall winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida).

    Click here to view the photo gallery.

  • Tanner hoping for Ardennes start

    The Blanco team will head into Gent-Wevelgem with a number of options
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 23:01
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    More than just a lead-out man at Blanco

    David Tanner was supposed to spend the weekend racing in the comparatively balmy climes of Corsica for the Critérium International, instead, he was attempting to keep warm next to a coal fire at the team presentation ahead of Gent-Wevelgem in below-zero temperatures.

    A late addition for the Blanco team due to injury, the 28-year-old wasn't sure what to expect.

    "I didn't feel tip-top through Paris-Nice," Tanner told Cyclingnews. "The week after I really come up good and I feel like I have great form at the moment. The only problem is that when it gets this cold, I can't go basically. I don't seem to have the same feelings."

    It was not a great day for Blanco, with just Lars Boom (23rd), Maarten Tjallingii (48th) and Maarten Wynants (53rd) among the field of 70 that finished the race.

    The untold story of how Tanner arrived at Blanco is this. Last August at the Eneco Tour, during his second season at Saxo-Tinkoff, Tanner launched a blistering attack on the peloton in the final two kilometres of the third stage to Genk which was all together in anticipation for a bunch sprint finish. Tanner's surge off the front caused the Rabobank team, which was working for Theo Bos, to scramble with Graeme Brown and Mark Renshaw forced to the front earlier than what is generally ideal for the Dutch speed man. The plan had been to drop Bos off in position at 200 metres to go but on this day he had an extra 300 metres to contend with and had to search for a wheel elsewhere. Bos won the stage, Tanner was swept up at around 600 metres before the finish, but with the team on the hunt for a rider to set up the lead-out ahead of Brown, Rabobank found their man.

    "Mark is good friends with him and was pushing him," Brown explained to Cyclingnews earlier this year. "It was almost logical. If he could go off the front, then he could be in the front."

    The role of lead-out man is not something that Tanner, a former stage winner at the Tour of Utah and genuine all rounder, will be restricted to, culminating in some opportunities of his own later in the season, most likely at the WorldTour events in Quebec and Montreal. He began the year playing a large hand in the overall win of Tom Slagter at the Tour Down Under, appearing immediately at ease in his new surroundings.

    "It's worked out really good," Tanner admitted. "When there's a sprint, I'm 100 percent helping Mark but the team have also seen that I can help the climbers and I can also do things in the races that are good for me. It's a perfect place for me."

    With Gent-Wevelgem over and done with, Tanner is bound for the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco where not only is he looking forward to some warmer weather in the Basque Country, but also a better indication of his form, keen to earn a spot in the Blanco squad for the Ardennes Classics, his favoured terrain.

    "Whether I have a role to play there in helping the other guys or not I don't know yet," he explained. "I have to wait a little bit. It's not that often that I'm going to be able to play my card so when I do get a chance I have to make the most of it.

    "At this stage we have a very strong team with TJ Slagter, Bauke Mollema... I'm just going into those races with the goal of doing the best I can for the team."

  • High expectations for Gatto at Driedaagse De Panne

    Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini) rode his knicks off in Dwars door Vlaanderen
    Article published:
    March 26, 2013, 01:05
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dwars door Vlaanderen winner to lead ahead of Flanders assault

    In form and on the radar after his win at Dwars door Vlaanderen, Oscar Gatto has been handed leadership at the upcoming VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde. The Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad is heading into the three-day Belgian race expecting results ahead of Sunday's Tour of Flanders.

    The man charged with achieving those results is the in-form 28-year-old who was part of the chasing group that sprinted for 8th-place at Milan-San Remo, eventually taking 20th - the best placed rider from one of the most visible outfits in the professional peloton.

    "It will be an important week in which we expect a lot from Gatto, who has no excuse: he is our leader, won a beautiful classic and legs, strength, head and attitude to impress at the Tour of Flanders," said team manager Luca Scinto to tuttobiciweb.it.

    The Italian is a former stage winner at the Giro d'Italia and his win may have come as somewhat of a surprise at Dwars door Vlaanderen but he has proven himself at the cobbled classics in the past. Last year Gatto was part of the early breakaway at E3 Harelbeke and looked likely to fight it out for the win until a broken rim ended his chances as he watched the race pass him by while waiting at the side of the road for a replacement.

    This year however, Gatto has really shown himself as a race-winning contender for Belgium classics and with his bad luck seemingly put aside, he could be one to look for in the coming days and at Ronde van Vlaanderen.

    Gatto should have enough support in the demanding 531km tour which may present opportunities for fast-man Francesco Chicchi who took two victories at Tour de Langkawi, along with winning the sprinter's jersey while the experienced Belgian Kevin Hulsmans is also included in the line-up.

    "The next three days will have to measure and confirm Gatto's condition Sunday we will be hungry and ready to fight with the best riders in the world," added Scinto.

    Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad for VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde: Rafael Andriato (Bra), Francesco Chicchi (Ita), Francesco Failli (Ita), Mauro Finetto (Ita), Oscar Gatto (Ita), Kevin Hulsmans (Bel), Pierpaolo De Negri (Ita) and Mattia Pozzo (Ita).

     

     

    Tags:
    spring classic
    Ronde van Vlaanderen
  • Greipel reflects on a freezing Gent-Wevelgem

    Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) bundled up at the start
    Article published:
    March 26, 2013, 03:08
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lotto Belisol refuel motivation for Flanders, Roelandts expect to lead

    Missing the decisive split at Gent-Wevelgem did little to sound the alarm for André Greipel but when Lotto Belisol's breakaway representative Jens Debusschere returned to the main field after puncturing the squad sparked into action. The chase over the final 30km was however, fruitless and instead the German would win the 22-man sprint that raced into the finish for 11th-place.

    In a day marred by mechanicals and crashes Jurgen Roelandts was the worst off with the Belgian having to abandon after running into the back of an official race vehicle. He was making his way through the convoy after receiving a wheel change when he collided with the car. Roelandts however, should be on the start line for Tour of Flanders and according to Greipel, is still expected to lead the team in the cobbled monument.

    With brutal conditions at Milan-San Remo still fresh in the mind of the 'Gorilla', Greipel is now hoping for better weather in the upcoming Driedaagse De Panne before lining up for in support of his teammate for De Ronde.

    "After Milan-San Remo this [Gent-Wevelgem] was the second race in the freezing cold," Greipel wrote on his personal site. "After all the work from the team it would have be good to earn more, but that is cycling," he added.

    "Now we look forward and hope especially for some milder temperatures at Driedaagse De Panne. We need to refuel the motivation a little ahead of the weekend and Tour of Flanders, the next great classic. As far as I can already tell, Jurgen Roelandts will be out leader."

    Teammate Roelandts has reportedly recovered from the fall however, he will miss the three-day Belgian race ahead of Sunday's classic.

    "Again another update regarding hit by a car mirror yesterday in #gw [Gent-Wevelgem].Didn't had any wounds, just some headache.Should be fine for Sunday #rvv [Ronde van Vlaanderen]," said Roelandts on Twitter.

    "Always happy to go to a dentist and be out again in 5 min. At least my teeth were still in yesterday," he added.

    Tags:
    Ronde van Vlaanderen
  • Explosive efforts crucial for Mollema at Amstel Gold

    Bauke Mollema (Blanco) bites down during Stage 5 at Tirreno
    Article published:
    March 26, 2013, 05:09
    By:
    Cycling News

    Improvement on display up Col d'Ospedale at Critérium International

    Bauke Mollema's overall result at Critérium International may have seen the Dutchman finish six seconds shy of the podium but his third-place atop the 14km Col d'Ospedale on Stage 3 has provided him with the confidence he needs ahead of Amstel Gold and more specifically shown he can handle the longer climbs crucial to performing and leading Team Blanco at the Tour de France.

    Mollema crashed out of last year's Tour on Stage 11 to La Toussuire and was then forced to take significant time off the bike ahead of the Vuelta a España but this year he will again focus on taking on a leadership role in the French grand tour.

    Robert Gesink and Mollema will co-captain Blanco at the three week race but the former will have the fatigue of the Giro d'Italia in his legs.

    It may be that Mollema becomes Blanco's number-one if Gesink tires in the final week but he'll need to get through the challenging first three days around Corsica, where the Critérium International was held, before coming to any conclusions on his expected results.

    "It is good to have been here [Corsica] once already," he told cyclingonline.nl. "It is a difficult island. The road is rarely straight and flat. The first week is always very nervous, but here will it will be worse. The team leaders will have extensively explored the stages before the start."

    Aiming at the Ardennes and more specifically Amstel Gold, Mollema says his results this year - sixth-overall at Tour Méditerranéen, third in Ruta Del Sol, second at Vuelta a Murcia and second-place on the tough Stage 5 at Tirreno-Adriatico - have given him a renewed sense of confidence ahead of the tough week of one-day classics and of course, the Tour.

    "This year I have been performing very well on shorter climbs and especially in the short explosive work. Now I also know that I can handle a climb of fourteen kilometers. It gives me confidence ahead of the Tour de France."

     

  • Video: Fabian Cancellara's E3 Harelbeke winning Trek Domane

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Leopard)
    Article published:
    March 26, 2013, 06:15
    By:
    Cycling News

    RadioShack Leopard rider's choice for Tour of Flanders

    After Fabian Cancellara’s emphatic win in E3 Harelbeke last Friday Cyclingnews visited the RadioShack Leopard hotel just outside of Brugge for the lowdown on the rider’s bike: the Trek Domane.

    Trek’s road team liason Jordan Roessingh takes us through Cancellara’s winning bike. It’s essential the same bike that the RadioShack rider used during last spring until his untimely crash at the Tour of Flanders. The main difference is an updated Shimano groupset.

    Ahead of the Tour of Flanders, Roessingh, who bases himself full-time in Luxembourg takes Cyclingnews through the bike’s set up.

  • Ferrari and Cavendish to clash again in De Panne sprints

    Roberto Ferrari (Lampre - Merida)
    Article published:
    March 26, 2013, 07:32
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lampre resting Pozzato and Petacchi ahead of Flanders

    The man who caused former world champion Mark Cavendish distress and pain with some erratic sprinting during last year's Giro d'Italia, Roberto Ferrari, will once again be in the mix and looking for success when the Three Days of De Panne (Driedaagse De Panne) begins in Belgium today.

    Lampre-Merida management had already planned for Filippo Pozzato and Alessandro Petacchi to skip the race, so they can train for Tour of Flanders.

    "The change of cyclists was in our program: Pozzato and Petacchi will train in Italy ahead of the next goal at Tour of Flanders," team director Fabrizio Bontempi told tuttobiciweb.it.

    The Manxman has raced against the Italian once this year, at Tirreno-Adriatico, however neither of them managed to win a sprint. Cavendish wore the race leader's jersey after taking out the team time trial with Omega Pharma-Quick-Step but the upcoming three-day race will give the next opportunity to bump shoulders.

    "Roberto [Ferarri] gave his contribution to the team superbly in Coppi e Bartali, despite a bruise on his side that was caused by the crash in Milano-San Remo. He could be competitive thanks to his mix of stamina and speed," added Bontempi.

    Ferrari is yet to throw his hands in celebration wearing the Lampre-Merida colours but the Stage 11 winner at the 2012 Giro d'Italia is coming off a solid block of racing that may see him in the mix during the expected bunch sprints. He will need to use all of his positioning skills to be competitive against a field warming-up for Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen.

    In addition to Cavendish, who has already picked up five individual wins this year, the experienced Italian will go up against Gent-Wevelgem winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Milan-San Remo victor Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka), Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol), Leigh Howard (Orica GreenEdge), Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) and Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) to name just a few. 

  • Ciolek back in action at Driedaagse De Panne

    Gerald Ciolek (MTN - Qhubeka) wins Milan-San Remo
    Article published:
    March 26, 2013, 10:38
    By:
    Cycling News

    Milan-San Remo winner looking for more sprint success in Belgium

    Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) is back in action at the Driedaagse De Panne, looking for more success in the expected sprint finishes after beating Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Leopard) to win the first major classic of the 2013 season.

    Ciolek's MTN-Qhubeka team did not secure wild card invitations to the E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem and so the German sprinter has been training at home while many of his rivals suffered in the cold.

    “I have been back on the bike since (last) Wednesday so I only took two days off after Milan Sanremo,” Ciolek said in a press release from the team.

    “I recovered pretty quickly. I must admit that I didn't celebrate that much either, so I had two relaxing days with my family and friends.”

    Ciolek's victory at Milan-San Remo was a huge boost for the new Professional Continental team which helps promote child bicycle use in Africa. However Ciolek and the team are hungry for further success this spring.

    "Of course, a victory like Milan-San Remo provides you with a certain degree of confidence, but then again I know that we should go to the races with the same attitude as before, and don't put too much pressure on the team. At the same time, of course I am not going to sit back in the race,” Ciolek said.

    Driedaagse De Panne consists of four stages of racing during the three days: three road stages and a final 14km individual time trial.

    Also in the MTN-Qhubeka team for Driedaagse De Panne are Andreas Stauff, Bradley Potgieter, Martin Reimer, Martin Wesemann, Youcef Reguigui and Jani Tewelde of Eritrea.