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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Date published:
April 16, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Team Colombia letting fans decide Rubiano's national jersey

    The jersey choices on offer to fans to decide which jersey Miguel Ángel Rubiano will wear this season
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 0:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Three choices on offer

    Following Miguel Angel Rubiano's success in Cartagena where he claimed his maiden Colombian national road race crown, Team Colombia, in cooperation with its technical supplier Nalini, are letting fans decide the final design of his jersey. 

    After receiving several messages and suggestions from fans through social networks, Team Colombia's General Manager, Claudio Corti, has launched an unprecedented initiative of releasing three national jersey designs with Rubiano to wear the most popular of the three.

    "We know very well how strong the Colombian national pride is, and the importance this symbol has for all our South-American supporters," Corti said. "So we wish to hear their opinion too. We set up three possible options for Miguel's new jersey and the fans will be able to get us their feedback on Facebook and Twitter.  The one that gets the most preferences, will be Rubiano's jersey at the Giro d'Italia."

    The options for fans to choose from are: a white jersey with the Colombian tricolor on the chest, a black one with yellow, blue and red stripes on the shoulders, and one that mirrors the Colombian flag colours on the whole jersey.

    To vote, fans can comment and like the selected option and on Twitter by using the hashtag #RubianoTricolor with the poll to end on Wednesday, April 16th, at 23.59 CET.

  • Matthias Brändle ready for La Flèche Brabançonne

    Mathias Brändle (IAM Cycling) in the breakaway
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 1:30 BST
    Cycling News

    IAM Cycling looking for success in the Ardennes

    IAM Cycling's cobbled Classics campaign ended with team failing to land a major victory. The team was handicapped with Sylvain Chavanel and Heinrich Haussler both afflicted by illness but the Swiss based team is now turning its attention to the Ardennes with two 1.1 warm up races on the agenda.

    Matthias Brändle has spent the past fifteen days preparing for the busy week ahead of racing and is excited to pin a number on his back again at De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne, the warm up race before the big three Ardennes Classics – Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège.

    Brändle's last race was the Critérium International where he helped teammate Mathias Frank to a stage win and second place overall and makes his return to racing with two races in two days.

    The two 1.1 races take place on Wednesday and Thursday staring with La Flèche Brabançonne in Belgium and GP de Denain in Northern France.

    "I trained very well at home. On Sunday, before I settled down to watch Paris-Roubaix where we didn't have much luck, I took a long ride. On Monday I took an easier ride just to spin the legs and then on Tuesday I will join the team to race two totally different events," Brändle said.

    "Then I'll...

  • Lotto Belisol looking for the podium at Brabantse Pijl

    Tony Gallopin has moved to Lotto Belisol for 2014
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 4:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Offensive racing key to a good result

    The first half of Spring has come and gone and with it the cobbled Classics. The peloton now turns it attention to the hills of the Ardennes and as Lotto Belisol's cobbled campaign was below its usual high standard, the Belgian team enters De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne with a podium place in mind.

    "When will I be satisfied? We have a team that's good uphill. Considering the qualities of our men, we aim for a podium place," sports director Bart Leysen said.

    "Some guys have just returned for the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. The question is if they will have recovered enough. Tony Gallopin is the one who ought to be the most fresh physically. But as I said, we have other strong riders in the team."

    Gallopin and Jurgen Van den Broeck will share the leadership role for the 203km race which starts in Leuven and finishes in Overijse. Bart De Clercq and Jelle Vanendert will skip the race with their focus on upcoming races while sickness keeps Tim Wellens out.

    There will be no title defence by Peter Sagan (Cannondale) although last year's runner-up Philippe Gilbert (BMC) is down as a starter. The team has identified Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Wout Poels as the top favourites.

    "I'm convinced we have to race offensively. Only that way we can strive for a good result. Men like Pim Ligthart or Tosh Van der Sande can early on open up the real race," said Leysen suggesting that ensuring representation in the break will make it easier to achieve the team's...

  • Gilbert to lead BMC at Brabantse Pijl

    Phil Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 7:00 BST
    Cycling News

    2013 winner begins Ardnennes campagin

    Last year Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) duelled for victory at De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne. In 2014 the Slovakian road race champion is forgoing the defence of his win. Without the presence of Sagan, Gilbert will be the only past winner of the race on the start line in Leuven.

    Gilbert won the race in 2011 ahead of Björn Leukemans and then went on to clean sweep the three big Ardennes classics - Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    As a warm up for the big three, De Brabantse Pijl is an indicator for who is in form and who are the riders to watch over the coming week. Since becoming just the second rider to win all three of the Ardennes classics, Gilbert's best finishing position during the Ardennes week is third at the 2012  La Flèche Wallonne. The 31-year-old also won the 2010 edition of Amstel Gold and will be looking to use Brabantse Pijl as a final tune up before the 251km Dutch race on April 20.

    Gilbert will be backed by a strong team as BMC and the rest of the peloton makes the transition from the cobbles to the cotes. Having ridden Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, Swiss road champion Michael Schär turns his attention to helping out Gilbert while the...

  • Boasson Hagen considering his future at Team Sky

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) leads Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 10:47 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Norwegian hoping to ride the Giro d'Italia

    Edvald Boasson Hagen's agent has revealed that there is only a 50 per cent chance that the Norwegian rider will stay at Team Sky for 2015, with several teams, including Fernando Alonso's new team, apparently interested in securing his services, despite a lack of results in the recent cobbled Classics.

    According to the Verdens Gang newspaper, Boasson Hagen hopes to have his future secured before the Tour de France. It is not clear if he will be part of Team Sky's squad for this year's Tour and Boasson Hagen has recently told that he hopes to ride the Giro d'Italia after Team Sky opted not to send a team to this year's Tour of Norway (May 21-25).

    Birger Hungerholdt told Verdens Gang that Boasson Hagen is happy at Team Sky but listed the criteria any new team has to offer his client. These included peace of mind, good teammates, an English speaking team, a good programme and the chance to ride for himself in some races.

    "There are many teams that have shown interest. We've an ongoing dialogue with some of them," Hungerholdt told Verdens Gang.

    Boasson Hagen has been a cornerstone of Team Sky since the creation of the team in 2010. He has won 19 races with the team, including the Eneco Tour, the Vattenfall Cyclassics race, the GP Ouest France-Plouay and two stages at the 2011 Tour de France. However he has struggled to be competitive in the major Classics.

    Targeting the Giro d'Italia

    With Team Sky's squad expected to be built around Chris Froome and his hopes of a second Tour de France victory, Boasson Hagen knows he faces a battle to secure one of the nine places in the team. Hence the idea of riding the Giro d'Italia....

  • Ekimov denies that Kristoff and Paolini are to leave Katusha

    Luca Paolini (Katusha)
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 12:55 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Russian manager says both riders are under contract for 2015

    Viacheslav Ekimov has flatly denied reports that team leaders Luca Paolini and Alexander Kristoff will leave the Katusha team in 2015.

    Several Belgian media outlets reported that the two Classics riders were set to join the new Alonso team after refusing to extend their contracts. However Ekimov moved quickly to point out that both riders are under contract with Katusha for the 2015 season.

    "In the press there was inadequate information about Luca Paolini and Alexander Kristoff. I would like to clarify the situation; both the aforementioned riders have signed contracts with the Katusha team until the end of 2015," Ekimov told the Russian news agency R-Sport.

    "Furthermore Luca, and Alexander feel perfectly at home at Katusha and there's no talk about them possibly leaving the team."

    Kristoff confirmed his talents as a sprinter and Classics rider by winning Milan-San Remo and finishing fifth at the Tour of Flanders. 37-year-old Paolini is a close friend of Alonso's team manager Paolo Bettini and was his road captain when Bettini was Italian national coach. Paolini won a stage in the 2013 Giro d'Italia and wore the race leader's pink jersey for several days.

  • Italy hoping for success in the Ardennes

    Astana teammates Michele Scarponi and Vincenzo Nibali at the squad's presentation in Italy
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 16:30 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Gazzetta dello Sport laments Italians' poor results on the cobbles

    Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport was happy to celebrate the end of the cobbled Classics season and look forward to the Ardennes races this week after one of the worst spring campaigns for Italian riders for many years.

    An Italian rider has not won one of the big five cycling monuments since 2008 and Gazzetta dello Sport has described this spring as the worst for Italian riders since the second world war. Only six Italian riders finished Paris-Roubaix, with Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) in 50th, 6:44 behind winner Niki Terpstra. Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) has taken the best results by an Italian so far in the Classics, with his sixth place in the sprint at Milan-San Remo.

    "At last, we've stopped racing on the cobbles and are back on asphalt roads," Claudio Ghisalberti wrote as the introduction to his story on the start of the Ardennes races.

    Gazzetta dello Sport is hoping that the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Diego Ulissi and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) can do much better in the Ardennes races.

    Nibali will study the cobbles that features in this year's Tour de France on Thursday before heading to the Netherlands for Sunday's Amstel Gold Race.

    The first of Ardennes Classics will be a shakedown for the Sicilian after two weeks of intense altitude training on Mount Teide in Tenerife. Nibali finished second in the 2012 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and is hoping to perform well after a spectacular but under par early season.

    Lampre-Merida failed to make an impact on the cobbles with Filippo Pozzato but hope that world champion Rui Costa can do well in the Ardennes. The Italian team also has Diego Ulissi and Damiano Cunego...

  • inCycle video: Giant-Shimano riders practice descending skills

    Oscar Saiz
    Article published:
    April 16, 2014, 19:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Former downhill mountain bike pro Saiz teaches better techniques

    Oscar Saiz, former downhill racer and current coach, worked with the Giant-Shimano team's riders to improve their descending skills. Saiz, who has also worked extensively with Giant's mountain bike pros, assessed the road riders' descending techniques.

    "There are more guys who are quick down the hill and they are taking that advantage," said Saiz. "For me, it's also safety issue, and it can be career ending to crash."

    "The important thing is knowing how to read the road quickly. You need to guess what's coming next. What's the next corner going to be like? You have to assess how a guy is braking on a bike. I give them a few messages to take home and practice every day."

    With racers reaching speeds up to 100km/hour, good reflexes and proficient skills can make the difference between winning and losing.

    Pro rider Luka Mezgec said, "It's important for every type of rider. You can win the race on the downhill and you can also lose it. I was a mountain biker before this and I really like this kind of stuff."

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