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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Date published:
April 10, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Moser and Tafi offer hope after Italian cycling's poor Classics campaign

    Luca Paolini (Katusha) was Italy's top finisher in 21st place in Roubaix
    Article published:
    April 09, 2013, 11:55 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Gazzetta dello Sport speak to former Roubaix winners

    Following a disastrous spring Classics campaign, Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport has tried to understand why riders from the Bel Paese failed to live up to expectations.

    Italian riders have not won a major Classic- one of the five monuments- since Damiano Cunego won the 2008 Tour of Lombardy.

    36 year-old Luca Paolini (Katusha) was the best Italian at Paris-Roubaix. He was in the decisive attack but punctured and finished 21st. Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) had a disappointing spring and was rarely competitive when it mattered. He finished 22nd at Paris-Roubaix and was outside the top ten placing in all the Classics this spring.

    Gazzetta dello Sport spoke to two former Paris-Roubaix winner: Francesco Moser (1978, 1979, 1980); and Andrea Tafi (1999) to try and understand why Italy has lost its love for the Classics. Both suggested that Italian riders need to get a taste of the cobbles at a young age, in the hope they learn how to take on the best Belgian, French and Dutch riders in Northern Europe.

    "I think it's a question of conviction and having the right mentality. Some riders probably think they're always going to be beaten by riders from the north, who have more experience of the cobbles and racing in Belgium. But that's the wrong way of thinking," Moser said.

    "I'll tell you an anecdote. My son Ignazio was close to quitting cycling as a junior. Guess how he rediscovered his enthusiasm? We went to watch Paris-Roubaix together."

    Ignazio Moser seems to be following his father's advice. He has quit Italian cycling to race for the BMC development team. He rode the Under 23 Tour of Flanders at the weekend and went on the attack, being caught just a kilometre from the finish.

    "Riders have to get a taste of the cobbles when...

  • Gallery: Best of the cobbled classics

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) with one of his trademark finishes at Gent-Wevelgem
    Article published:
    April 09, 2013, 13:57 BST
    Cycling News

    All the action from Dwars Door Vlaanderen to Paris-Roubaix

    This year’s spring classics had it all: Fabian Cancellara’s classics comeback, Peter Sagan’s ability to shock, both on the bike and on the podium, a fallen favourite in Tom Boonen, and enough thrills and spills that will relive in the memory for many years to come.

    Cyclingnews looks back at the Spring cobbles, starting at Dwars Door Vlaanderen and Oscar Gatto reeling in a desperate Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) before the line.

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack) announced he was ready for Belgium with a sumptuous performance in E3 Harelebeke, giving his rivals a taste of things to come.

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) rallied at Gent-Wevelgem a few days later, as Omega Pharma QuickStep saw Tom Boonen crash out and Mark Cavendish miss out on a sprint finish.

    At the Tour of Flanders Cancellara took over where he’d left off at E3 and after Boonen crashed out and headed to hospital, his RadioShack rival turned the screw to devastating effect on the Kwaremont and the Paterberg.

    Omega Pharma QuickStep finally saw their hard work pay off with Sylvain Chavanel retaining his Three Days of De Panne title, with Mark Cavendish, Alexander Kristoff, and Peter Sagan picking up stage wins, while the sprinters and in particular Marcel Kittel had their day to shine at the Scheldeprijs.

    Then came Paris-Roubaix. After a tame race at Flanders, mainly due to the course, the cobbles of France’s grandest one day race delivered the most exciting edition of the race in years.


  • Di Gregorio cleared to race and threatens to sue Cofidis

    Rémy Di Gregorio (Cofidis) wins the final stage of the Vuelta Asturias.
    Article published:
    April 09, 2013, 16:25 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Substances found at the Tour were vitamins

    Rémy di Gregorio has been cleared to race by the Court of Appeal in Aix en Provence, France. During the first rest day of the 2012 Tour de France, the French rider was arrested by the police after a raid in the team’s hotel in Bourg-en-Bresse. However L'Equipe have reported that although the French rider may race again, his investigation has not been formally closed yet.

    The French authorities found suspicious products in a car which they linked to the rider. The then 26-year-old rider was provisionally suspended and eventually released by his Cofidis team. As it turns out the suspicious products ended up being nothing but vitamins. After learning about the verdict, Di Gregorio broke the silence for the first time since he was arrested in July.

    “I never doped,” Di Gregorio stated. “I’m still at the same weight of an active rider. I could even ride the Tour de France.”

    The Marseille citizen emphasized his innocence and expressed his hope to return to competition in an interview with newspaper La Provence. The highlight of Di Gregorio’s career so far came in 2011 when he won stage 7 of Paris-Nice.

    “It still hurts that I’ve been punished for so long although I’m relieved that it’s finally over. I was very upset by all the accusations in the media which described me as a villain. It damaged my reputation in the sport. It was a shock wave. That’s why I must say: I never doped! Ever since I was arrested we held our stance.

    “Today, I’m relieved that I’m recognized again as a sportsman and that I can continue my career since the...

  • LeMonds, Betsy Andreu to speak at doping symposium in Austin, Texas

    Greg LeMond
    Article published:
    April 09, 2013, 17:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Targets of Armstrong to discuss emotional, financial costs of doping

    Both Greg and Kathy LeMond, plus Betsy Andreu, will speak at a panel discussion entitled "The Real Price of Winning at all Costs: A Discussion about Elite Cycling" on April 22, 2013 at the University of Texas at Austin, part of the university's Texas Program in Sports and Media's annual McGarr Symposium on Sports and Society.

    The purpose of the discussion, taking place in Lance Armstrong's home town, is to relay "their personal experiences and perspectives regarding the physical, emotional, relational, ethical and financial costs they've experienced and witnessed throughout their engagement with the world-wide, elite cycling community", according to a statement from the Texas Program in Sports in Media.

    Joining the LeMonds and Betsy Andreu are Bill Bock, US Anti-Doping Agency general counsel and principal author of USADA's Reasoned Decision which detailed the evidence of Lance Armstrong's doping regimen, and Reed Albergotti, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal who has written extensively about the investigation into doping carried out by Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.

    The LeMonds and Andreus were prominent targets of Armstrong's campaign to bully and intimidate those who questioned the veracity of his Tour de France victories. Armstrong would ultimately be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from competition following USADA's investigation into Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.

    Greg LeMond, who questioned Armstrong's involvement with Dr. Michele Ferrari in 2001, then faced a lengthy, costly legal battle with the Trek Bicycle Corporation which LeMond ultimately settled in 2010.

    Betsy Andreu, wife of Armstrong's former USPS teammate Frankie Andreu, was present in...

  • Katusha receives Giro d'Italia invitation

    Joaquim Rodriguez and Alexandr Kolobnev will lead Katusha in the classics.
    Article published:
    April 09, 2013, 20:53 BST
    Cycling News

    UCI provides exemption for 207 riders to start

    Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport announced today that Team Katusha will take part in this year's edition of the Corsa Rosa, the 23rd team to receive an invitation.

    Team Katusha was initially denied a WorldTour licence by the UCI for the 2013 season, but after appealing the UCI's decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the court ruled in Katusha's favour on February 15 and three days later the UCI granted the Russian team its WorldTour licence and subsequently re-wrote its own rules which had previously capped the number of WorldTour teams at 18.

    The Giro d'Italia organisers, however, in the interim granted four wild card invitations on January 8 to Pro Continental Teams Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, Colombia and Vini Fantini-Selle Italia who would line-up with the 18 automatically invited WorldTour squads, of which Team Katusha was not a part.

    Rather than un-invite a wild card selecton, on April 2 the UCI granted an exemption to the Giro d'Italia regarding the cap of 200 riders in road races, so that a total of 207 riders representing 19 WorldTour and four Pro Continental teams could compete.

    2013 Giro d'Italia teams:

    Ag2r La Mondiale (Fra)
    Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
    Blanco Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
    BMC Racing Team (USA)
    Cannondale (Ita)
    Euskaltel – Euskadi (Spa)
    FDJ (Fra)
    Garmin – Sharp (USA)
    Katusha (Rus)
    Lampre – Merida (Ita)
    Lotto Belisol (Bel)
    Movistar Team (Spa)
    Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team (Bel)
    Orica - GreenEdge (Aus)
    RadioShack Leopard (Lux)
    Sky Procycling...

  • Gilbert to use Brabantse Pijl as final Ardennes Classics warm-up

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) is using the WorldTour race to prepare for the Ardennes classics
    Article published:
    April 09, 2013, 21:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian seeks third Amstel Gold victory on Sunday

    World champion Philippe Gilbert will captain the BMC Racing Team for Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl, the final tune-up event for the 30-year-old Belgian before the Ardennes Classics commence on Sunday with the Amstel Gold Race.

    Twice a podium finisher at the Tour of Flanders, Gilbert skipped his home country's cobbled Monument this year in order to compete at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, which the Belgian believed would be better preparation for the upcoming Ardennes events which are the primary target of his spring campaign.

    "The first stages were very hard," Gilbert said of Pais Vasco, in which he abandoned during the fifth of six stages. "But I was always there and trying just to follow. I made some good efforts."

    Gilbert has one Brabantse Pijl victory in his palmares, the 2011 edition, and has finished on the podium in 2008, where he placed second to Sylvain Chavanel.

    "I like Brabantse Pijl because it's technical and I can do a lot of efforts," Gilbert said. "I can go deep in this race and still recover in time for Amstel on Sunday."

    Gilbert has found much success in the Ardennes Classics in recent years, most notably with his hat trick of victories in 2011 at the Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Gilbert has also won the 2010 Amstel Gold Race plus finished third in both the 2012 La Flèche Wallonne and 2010 Liège–Bastogne–Liège.

    BMC Racing Team roster for Brabantse Pijl:
    Adam Blythe (GBr), Yannick Eijssen (Bel), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Martin Kohler (Swi), Klaas Lodewyck (Bel), Greg Van Avermaet (Bel), Danilo...

  • Renshaw: I wanted to be more successful as a sprinter

    Mark Renshaw (Blanco) in his second season as a designated sprinter
    Article published:
    April 09, 2013, 22:30 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Could the Australian return to lead-outs with Cavendish?

    At 30 years of age and with the final year of his contract with Blanco underway this is the most important year of Mark Renshaw’s career so far.

    The sprinter-come-lead-out man stepped out of Mark Cavendish’s shadow in 2012 in a bid to leave his old lead-out duties behind him and concentrate on his own successes in the sprints.

    The move has had mixed results: two wins since but a congestion of top-five placings all over Europe. According to Renshaw one reason for the limited number of wins has been the fact he’s continued to provide lead-outs, mainly for Blanco’s other sprinter, Theo Bos.

    “When I came to the team I hoped to have more help in the sprints but Theo gets my service services when we race together so I’ve done a lot of leading-out. The big decision is whether I keep going as a sprinter or go back to leading-out,” Renshaw told Cyclingnews.

    The biggest question surrounding Renshaw’s future appears to be whether he will seek a home - and he’s certainly not ruling out re-signing with Blanco – that needs either his sprinting or lead-out legs.

    “I’ve got options on both sides of the fence. To be honest I wanted to be more successful as a sprinter but I should have known how hard it is to be successful having been on a team with Cavendish, Goss and Greipel. I know exactly what it takes to win and how teams can help.

    “The last race I had was Scheldeprijs and I set Theo [Bos] up for that. The team wanted me to ride for him there and he had really good position but he just didn’t have the legs to finish on the podium.”

    “The team obviously likes Theo because he’s Dutch. They give him all the resources at...

  • Winning expectations for Budget Forklifts at Tour de Perth

    Budget were keen today.
    Article published:
    April 10, 2013, 7:58 BST
    Alex Malone

    Lack of Asia Tour racing will not hold team back, says Watt

    The team of Budget Forklifts is entering the opening round of the Australian National Road Series at the Woodside Tour de Perth without a definitive leader but that shouldn't fool rival teams into believing they arrive unprepared. A mix of training camps and smaller early season races was exactly how they prepared for the start of 2012 and they promptly went about taking out the first three tours at Mersey Valley, Toowoomba and North Western. The expectations for the first race of 2013 that begins on Rottnest Island are equally high, according to sports director Cameron Watt.

    "We have pretty high expectations. We set the bar last year [at Mersey Valley Tour] and we are looking to match that again this year, for sure," Watt told Cyclingnews.

    "It was a little bit the same at the first few rounds of the NRS last year where we were coming up against Genesys and Drapac who were coming off Asia Tour victories; stage wins and overall classifications. They came back for the start of the NRS but in the first [Mersey Valley] one we came 1-3-4 and at the next one [Toowoomba] we came 1-2 on GC and then [at North Western Tour] we took 1 and 4 on GC. So I don't see it as a negative that we haven't had the Asia tours to prepare for this," added Watt.

    Last year it was the dominant and contrasting duo of Mark O'Brien and Luke Davison – who have moved to Team Raleigh and Drapac Professional Cycling respectively – who lifted the team into second spot in the NRS teams rankings but Watt is not dwelling on the loss to other teams.

    "At the same point last year, although Mark O'Brien and Luke Davison were so dominant a lot of people forget that they had...