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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Date published:
March 09, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Boom shows his class in the crosswinds

    Lars Boom (Rabobank) on the winner's podium
    Article published:
    March 08, 2010, 18:46 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Paris-Nice leader extends his overall lead

    Lars Boom continued to show his immense talent to the cycling world in Paris-Nice today, when he jumped across solo to the front split created by the Caisse d'Épargne riders with 15km to go into stage 1.

    The day after winning the prologue in Monfort-L'Amaury, the 2008 time trial world champion looked at ease in defence of his yellow jersey as he powered across the gap in the strong crosswinds on the way to Contres. "It might have looked easy but it did really hurt," Boom told Cyclingnews after receiving all the jerseys – yellow, green, polka dot and white – at the podium ceremony.

    "I was only in 40th position in the peloton when Valverde attacked," he added. "It was a very good attack from him. I waited for one moment to go to the left side of the road because of the crosswinds. I took some riders with me. I pushed myself into the wire. But it was important to keep the jersey today.

    "To wear the yellow jersey in a ProTour race makes the effort special. It gives a little bit more of a morale when it's hard. I jumped to the front because of having the yellow jersey but maybe also because I'm OK."

    When Boom is "OK," it means he's absolutely amazing on a bike. But he maintains that his goal for Paris-Nice hasn't increased since he won the prologue and said he came to the French race to prepare for the classics. However, while Romain Feillu and Albert Timmer were up the road, Boom sprinted for the third place that awards one second bonus in the intermediate sprints. "It's pretty good to have gained two seconds on Jens [runner up Voigt]," he commented. "I still want to keep the jersey until Mende. If I didn't jump today, I would have lost the jersey to Jens."

    Rabobank's directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven maintained Boom is not capable of winning the overall in Paris-Nice this year. "On a good day uphill in Mende, Lars would finish about 30th," the Dutchman said. "It's too difficult for him to win...

  • Australian killed in crash during training

    Will Robinson at the 2005 Tour of Tasmania.
    Article published:
    March 08, 2010, 19:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    21-year-old Tasmanian dies after collision with bus

    Tasmanian officials have identified the cyclist who was killed in a head-on collision with a bus on Saturday.

    William Alexander Robinson, 21, the winner of the prestigious Burnie Wheelrace in January, was killed when he crossed the center line on a steep descent in North-West Tasmania and collided with the front of a motor coach traveling in the opposite direction.

    Two other riders also hit the bus, but were treated at a local hospital and released.

    Robinson received medical attention but died at the scene shortly after 11am on Saturday morning. According to reports, he was wearing a helmet when the crash occurred.

    Robinson, survived by his parents David and Pennie, and three brothers, Tom, Edward and James, was remembered by his father in an interview with the Examiner.

    "We are so close and so supportive of each other - and the main part of our family has been torn away from us," Robinson's father said, recalling his victory in the Burnie Wheelrace as the proudest moment of his son's cycling career.

    "We have to keep Will's memory alive and remember him the way he was - and the champion he was."

  • Petacchi injured in run-in with planter

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) is up on his feet and will be taken to the hospital for an exam.
    Article published:
    March 08, 2010, 19:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lampre sprinter uncertain for Tirreno-Adriatico

    Italian Alessandro Petacchi's participation in the upcoming sprinter's showdown at Tirreno-Adriatico may be in doubt after the Lampre-Farnese Vini rider injured his leg during training.

    Petacchi was out training with his teammate Lorenzo Bernucci when he struck a planter that was placed near the roadside and crashed.

    The 36-year-old sprinter received five stitches to his chin and also suffered a bruised right leg and a severely swollen right ankle. In trying to disengage his shoe from the pedal, he also experienced pain in his groin.

    The Lampre team doctor will evaluate Petacchi's injuries tomorrow and make his recommendation on whether he can participate in Tirreno-Adriatico, which begins in Livorno on Wednesday.

    Petacchi also suffered a dramatic crash in the final sprint of the fourth stage of last month's Giro di Sardegna, but was relatively unscathed and went on to finish the race and claim second place on the last stage.

  • Contador bruised in Paris-Nice tumble

    Alberto Contador (Astana) at the start
    Article published:
    March 08, 2010, 20:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Astana leader concerned about blow to his leg

    Alberto Contador was one of several riders to fall victim to crashes on the wind-swept first stage of Paris-Nice today. The Spaniard tumbled to the ground along with Cervelo rider Heinrich Haussler near the 3km to go mark of the stage to Contres.

    "What worries me most is the blow to the leg," Contador said in a press release. "I have a pretty good bruise and it's still burning. I hope to continue the race tomorrow."

    The Astana leader went down as the peloton was chasing flat out after a 15-man move containing overall leader Lars Boom of Rabobank, making the effort to regain the peloton frantic. He was able to regain the main chase group, but dropped from fourth place overall to eighth after losing time to riders in the front group.

    “It happened in a split second," said Contador. “I was on the left riding relatively normally when someone was hooked and pulled me to the left. I've completely broken the front wheel and I've taken a good hit."

    Luckily his teammate Gorazd Stangelj was nearby and gave up his bike to Contador so he could get back to the main group.

    Contador said he will rethink the overall situation, but said he was not concerned about the 17 seconds he lost to Boom. "I'm more concerned about the consequences of the fall. It would have been better not to have lost time, but more important is to see how I recover."

  • Wiggins looks to prove the critics wrong in Tour de France

    British time trial champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in action during stage four.
    Article published:
    March 08, 2010, 23:20 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky rider happy with early-season form

    Bradley Wiggins was perhaps disappointed not to win the time trial stage and secure overall victory at the Tour of Murcia but after a month of early-season racing he must be quietly satisfied with his early form and that he looks set to build on his fourth place in last year's Tour de France.

    This time last year Bradley Wiggins still thought he was only a track world champion and time trial specialist, who was happy to help to help his Garmin teammates target the Tour de France. Now, after his bitter divorce from Jonathan Vaughter's team, he is leader at Team Sky and the hope that he can be the first ever British Tour de France winner.

    Many do not believe Wiggins can improve on his performance last year, but he and everyone at Team Sky are out to prove everyone wrong and they are not bothered who they may upset during the process.

    "Last year was my third Tour and was the first time I'd gone for GC in any stage race. This year… who knows? Let's see how far I can push it. Just having the confidence to go for it makes a difference," he told Cyclingnews during a long interview.

    "Contador is by far the outright favorite for the Tour de France. If he is in the form he was in last year, he is always going to be the favorite, because he’s the best climber in the world. Behind him, Andy Schleck is probably the second best in the world on the climbs and he’s only going to get stronger every year. But behind them, there is this group of riders: Cadel, Frank Schleck, Lance and myself, who could all possibly get on the podium in Paris."

    "But if something happened in the Tour, if Contador crashed out or got sick, there’s always the chance that I could win the Tour de France. I never discount winning the bike race. Who knows what’s going to happen this year. Lance and Contador are on different teams. That rivalry will maybe come out more. Christian Vande Velde will be back in form. RadioShack is...

  • Boonen motivated by new, strong rivals in the peloton

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    March 09, 2010, 9:00 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian sets his sights on record-equalling Classics season

    Quick Step's Tom Boonen says the entry into the peloton of new professional squads such as Team Sky has served to increase his motivation - and satisfaction – for winning.

    The Belgian's season will once again orbit around this year's cobbled Classics, but he has already secured a strong start with number of confidence-boosting victories over Classics rivals like Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo TestTeam) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky).

    "[The new teams] only make it more interesting," Boonen told Sporza's Sportweekend. "I get a lot of motivation from having these men to beat. It used to be only two or three top guys, but now you have more. It is fun to race against those squads. And if I win, it gives me more satisfaction."

    Boonen admitted that this year's Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix will be prioritised above all else this season. The Quick Step captain stands to equal records in both events, with a third Flanders title and fourth Roubaix triumph within his reach.

    "If I can win the Tour of Flanders win again, I would stand on a par with Johan Museeuw, who also won it three times. That would please me," said Boonen, who would join Belgians Museeuw, Achiel Buysse, Eric Leman and Italian Fiorenzo Magni on the list of three-time winners.

    Boonen also paid homage to four-time Paris-Roubaix winner Roger De Vlaeminck, whose record he would emulate with victory on April 11. "That's not motivation, but it would be an honour. He is Monsieur Paris-Roubaix."

    Before his rendezvous in Flanders (April 4) and Roubaix, Boonen will tackle Milan-Sanremo for the eighth time in his career. Despite near misses in the past (fourth in 2006, third in 2007), he said a maiden win at Italian Classic would continue to play second fiddle to his beloved cobbles.

    Despite his nonchalant attitude to success at Sanremo, Boonen admitted that it could play into his favour. "I'm not overly concerned about [Sanremo]. Maybe...

  • Evans, Ballan and Hincapie join forces for Tirreno

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC) leads the breakaway
    Article published:
    March 09, 2010, 10:06 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    BMC signal aggressive strategy in Italian stage race

    BMC Racing Team has signalled that it will go on the attack at this week's Tirreno-Adriatico after it named a strong line-up for the seven-stage Italian race.

    The event will mark the first time the US squad's three marquee signings, Cadel Evans, Alessandro Ballan and George Hincapie, will have raced together under the BMC banner. While it will be Evans' first participation at Tirreno-Adriatico, both Ballan and Hincapie have recorded top-ten finishes in the race, including a third place result for Ballan in 2006.

    Ballan's podium finish in 2006 came as a result of a strong performance in that race's stage five time trial. This year, organisers have removed the test against the clock, a decision that has prompted BMC Sports Director John Lelangue to forecast an aggressive strategy for his riders.

    "I think there are three difficult stages – four, five and six – which are a little bit more hilly and selective. Knowing there is no time trial this year, every stage will be a little bit tricky," Lelangue said.

    Alongside Evans, Ballan and Hincapie, Marcus Burghardt and Karsten Kroon will provide the squad with further potency on the long, hilly stages that will punctuate the race's passage to the Adriatic coast. Burghardt, in particular, has shown strong signs of good form already this year after he finished fifth and seventh in the Tours of Qatar and Oman, respectively.

    Brent Bookwalter, Mathias Frank and Thomas Frei round out BMC's eight-man team.


  • Sinkewitz settles suit with former sponsor

    Patrik Sinkewitz grabs a drink as the pace intensifies.
    Article published:
    March 09, 2010, 10:53 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    German makes unspecified payment

    Patrik Sinkewitz has agreed to settle a suit with a former private sponsor, which had sued him after his suspension for doping. The details of the settlement have not been made public.

    Förstina, a soft drink company based in central Germany, was a private sponsor of Sinkewitz and was running an advertising campaign featuring him when his positive test for testosterone was announced in July 2007. It sued him for more than 300,000 Euros in damages.

    In January, a court in Kassel, Germany, suggested a settlement under which Sinkewitz would pay the firm 80,000 Euros. Although Sinkewitz has now agreed to settle the case, neither side would confirm what the final payment amount was.

    “That is not the public's business,” Sinkewitz' lawyer Axel Scheld van Alt told the dpa press agency. “It only concerns the two parties.”

    Förstina only commented that it was “satisfied” with the outcome.

    Sinkewitz tested positive for testosterone at an out-of-competition doping control in June 2007. The news of the positive control was announced while he was in hospital after a collision with a spectator at that year's Tour de France. He was suspended and later fired by his team, T-Mobile.

    The now-29 year-old co-operated with authorities and received a one-year suspension. Sinkewitz rode for the Professional Continental team PSK-Whirlpool in 2009, but is yet find a team for the current season.