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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Date published:
March 27, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Mattia Gavazzi receives two-and-a-half-year ban for cocaine positive

    Stage winner Mattia Gavazzi (Colnago - CSF Inox)
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 0:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Savio acquitted of supplying drug by National Anti-Doping Tribunal

    Colnago CSF-Inox rider Mattia Gavazzi has been hit with a two-and-a-half-year ban for his positive doping control for cocaine by the Italian National Anti-Doping Tribunal.

    The then 26-year-old Italian tested positive for the drug after the prologue of the Settimana Lombarda on March 31, 2010. He won stage two of the race two days later.

    Gavazzi was given a six-year-suspension by the tribunal but due to his cooperation with the CONI investigation, the ban was reduced. Having been back-dated to his positive test, Gavazzi will be eligible to race September 30, this year.

    During his evidence, Gavazzi accused his former manager at the Diquigiovanni-Androni team, Gianni Savio, of providing him with the drug however Dr. Francis Plotinu who chaired the hearing deemed that the rider's testimony was not "credible".

    Gavazzi has had problems with cocaine in the past, having served a 14-month suspension as an amateur in 2004. The Italian federation subsequently ordered him to go through a rehabilitation program.

    Mattia is the son of Pierino Gavazzi, who won Milan-San Remo in 1980 and five Giro d'Italia stages. He is not related to Francesco Gavazzi of Astana.


  • Doubts over Boom’s ability to start Tour of Flanders

    Lars Boom
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 6:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Multiple-time Dutch champion suffering from sinus infection

    Lars Boom (Rabobank) is in a race against time to be fully-fit for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

    The 26-year-old is suffering from a sinus infection.

    "Now I have a course of antibiotics," he told De Telegraaf. "Wednesday I'll go explore the course, because I still want to know what the new finale will look like."

    The 2012 Tour of Flanders will not be including the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen climb after race organisers announced that they have designed a new finale for the race, which will now finish in Oudenaarde instead of Meerbeke, where it has ended since 1973.

    Boom is hoping to have recovered in time for Paris-Roubaix the following week, where he finished 12th in 2011.

    "I do not know whether I'm all right, but next week in Paris-Roubaix, I expect that to be sure, " he explained.

    The current Rabobank squad for the Tour of Flanders is: Lars Boom, Carlos Barredo, Matti Breschel, Tom Leezer, Bram Tankink, Maarten Tjallingii, Dennis Van Winden and Maarten Wynants.


  • Chavanel heads Omega Pharma-QuickStep at Three Days of De Panne

    Sylvain Chavanel, Niki Terpstra and Koen de Kort on the podium of Dwars Door Vlaanderen
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 9:47 BST
    Cycling News

    "Perfect preparation" for Tour of Flanders

    With Tom Boonen back to his winning ways, Belgian team Omega Pharma-QuickStep are on a roll. But with only a few days to go until the Tour of Flanders, Boonen's teammates Niki Terpstra and Sylvain Chavanel are also showing great form, having taken the win and second place at the Dwars Door Vlaanderen half-Classic last week. Chavanel, who finished second at the Tour of Flanders last year, is also looking forward to "Vlaanderen's Mooiste" next Sunday, even though all eyes will once again be on Boonen. The French champion has chosen to fine-tune his shape at the Three Days of De Panne this week, joined by Terpstra.

    "It's a race that some riders neglect, but it's important when approaching the Tour of Flanders," Chavanel told L'Equipe as he came back to Belgium from his French home on Monday afternoon. "It's a fast race, there are some cobbles and a stage including some Belgian climbs - it's good to get back into the atmosphere before Sunday."

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep are also sending Michal Kwiatkowski and Francesco Chicchi to the event. "As always, it's going to be a difficult race with tense stages and lots of athletes vying to stand out," explained directeur sportif Tom Steels.

    "Already the first stage will cover a challenging route. The second stage with the Kemmel is suited for sprinters. Our men going for the classification, Kwiatkowski, Chavanel and Terpstra will have to stay out in front every day so they can play their cards in the final time trial (14.7km). The squad's recent performances have motivated our guys. They are all ready to give a good race."

  • Merckx indicted in corruption case

    Eddie Merckx is in Adelaide as a guest of the Santos Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 10:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Cycling legend's bike company allegedly involved in corrupt deals

    Eddy Merckx has been indicted in a corruption case involving his bike company, Eddy Merckx Cycles, and the local police service of Anderlecht, a Belgian municipality. On Tuesday, La Dernière Heure revealed information according to which police commissaire Philippe Boucar was suspected to have informed Merckx about the purchase of 48 bicycles from a competitor of Merckx Cycles, as well as the prices paid. In return, Boucar is alleged to have bought a Merckx bike at an advantageous price.

    According to the paper, the indictment was delayed so that cycling legend Merckx could be received at the Elysée Palace by French president Nicolas Sarkozy and be awarded the Legion of Honour.

    A Brussels court in charge of the case, presided by judge Jean-Claude Van Espen, is investigating the dealings of several commissaires and regional police officers.

  • NetApp reflects on its domination of Settimana Internazionale

    Jan Barta (Team NetApp) holds his prize high
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 11:28 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Teamwork and self-confidence the keys to success

    Team NetApp fought long and hard to establish itself in its first Professional Continental year in 2011, but has finally achieved its breakthrough. It turned the recent Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali into a "NetApp festival,“ as Sport Director Jens Heppner said, with the riders saying the teamwork was the deciding factor.

    It started when Cesare Benedetti got into the break group of the first stage and finished second. The second half-stage the next day was the team time trial – the first one for the team, and a test for its appearance in the Giro d'Italia.

    The small German team not only passed the test but aced it, winning by nearly 8.5 seconds and propelling Benedetti into the overall lead. He held on to that lead for two stages, until the penultimate stage. There his teammate Bartosz Huzarski took it over by finishing third out of a break. Jan Barta topped things off by winning the closing time trial to take the overall title, with Huzarski second.

    Heppner admitted to being surprised by the team's performance. "I knew that the team could accomplish something and with some luck could bring in some very good results, but I had never come close to believing in a NetApp festival!“ he told Cyclingnews.

    "It was only a question of time until the breakthrough came. The potential has been there for a long time, but the self-confidence and a bit of luck were missing,“ he continued. "After the win in the team time trial, the guys saw how good they actually are and were able to directly use that form in the next stages.“

    Benedetti, 24, has been...

  • Andy Schleck to be honoured as 2010 Tour de France winner

    Christian Prudhomme on stage at the 2012 Tour de France presentation.
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 12:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Race director Prudhomme intends to hold official ceremony

    Andy Schleck of team RadioShack-Nissan is to receive official honours for the 2010 Tour de France victory, following the disqualification of Alberto Contador because of a doping-related suspension. Race director Christian Prudhomme has told Belgian newspaper Le Soir that he was planning to hold an official ceremony in Luxembourg, awarding Schleck with the title.

    "We want the world to know about this, even though we know that Andy Schleck had much rather won on his bike," Prudhomme was quoted as saying.

    It is not yet known when or where the ceremony will take place.

  • Kroon angry at UCI over Contador and his own whereabouts problems

    Karsten Kroon
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 14:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank Dutchman calls Contador's handling “almost criminal”

    Karsten Kroon has nothing good to say about the UCI and doping. He is angry at how the organisation treated Alberto Contador, and the effect of the Spaniard's suspension on Team Saxo Bank. Added to that, he said he has been informed that he has missed doping controls.

    "When I think about the whole situation, it's almost criminal how the UCI has handled the Contador case," Kroon told De Telegraaf.

    "Listen, a month after his positive control in the Tour of 2010, Alberto was personally called by UCI President Pat McQuaid, who told him he wanted to keep that quiet. But then it was leaked by the German television.” Eventually Contador was cleared of the charges by the Spanish cycling federation, but “what does the UCI, who initially wanted to keep the whole incident quiet, do, but appeal.”

    That is still not the end of the story. Not only is Contador suspended, “now they want to take away the Saxo Bank license, and that although Alberto rode for Astana in 2010.” The positive doping control had not yet been publicly announced when team owner Bjarne Riis signed Contador, but “the worst is compounded” by the fact that UCI head Pat McQuaid knew of the positive at that time, Kroon said.

    Kroon is also facing his own problems with the UCI and the anti-doping programme, as his file now states that he has missed two anti-doping controls. “And this is too ridiculous for words,” the 36-year-old said.

    It is not his fault, he claimed. In earlier years the Flemish Community sent out an email every quarter, reminding riders to fill out their whereabouts. This year they did not, and so he filed late. “And since I forgot, there is...

  • Startline Gallery: Day 1 at De Panne

    French champion Sylvain Chavanel (Omega-Pharma QuickStep)
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 15:09 BST
    Cycling News

    At the start in Middelkerke

    It wasn’t so long ago that the Three Days of de Panne were a key feature in any true Classics rider’s season. As a build-up to the Tour of Flanders the race was a key indicator of form, not to mention a genuinely important race target in its own right.

    In recent years the big guns have shied away from the race, using the period up to Flanders as a time of rest and specific training. This year continues that pattern with Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara and Philippe Gilbert all staying away.

    However there are still more than enough reasons to watch the race and keep abreast of its developments. For a start, the likes of Sylvain Chavanel, Stijn Devolder and Peter Sagan are all competing, while the parcours itself is deliberately testing enough to warrant attention. The three-day test concludes with a time-trial but the first stage is often the most crucial.

    This year’s opening is a 201km slog from Middelkerke to Oudenaarde with 12 climbs dotted along the course.

    Last year Andre Greipel attacked from a select group of riders, taking the win and the race lead.