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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Date published:
April 25, 2012, 11:00
  • Nibali close to new Liquigas-Cannodale deal

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) was a popular winner of Tirreno-Adriatico.
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 12:51
    Cycling News

    Italian hopeful of signing big money contract soon

    Liquigas-Cannondale's Vincenzo Nibali is reportedly close to signing a two-year contract extension with the team, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 27-year-old Italian has been at Liquigas since 2006 and is seen as one of the key members of the squad.

    The newspaper states that Nibali's new contract could be worth up to 1.8 million Euros per year and will be a reward for his excellent form over the last couple of seasons. Nibali won the Vuelta a Espana in 2010 and has finished on the podium in the last two stagings of the Giro d'Italia. He has impressed again in recent weeks by winning Tirreno-Adriatico and finishing second at Liege-Bastogne-Liege last Sunday.

    "Liquigas and I are very close to an agreement," Nibali is quoted as saying. "We still have to polish some details, but in terms of the length of the contract and the economics, I would say that we already have. Seeing that it is a very important contract, before signing it I want to talk to my parents."

    The newspaper also stated that Nibali was being courted by both Astana and BMC, but his loyalty to Liquigas will see him choose to renew with them.

  • Boonen continues to lead WorldTour rankings after final Spring Classic

    Boonen corners at Paris-Roubaix in the closing stages
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 14:54
    Cycling News

    Spain top nation, Omega Pharma-QuickStep still best team

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) continues to lead the UCI WorldTour rankings after Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) clinched an impressive solo triumph in the final Spring Classic of 2012, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but the gaps are beginning to close at the top of the table on the 31-year-old Belgian.

    At Liège, Iglinskiy launched a late counter-attack behind lone breakaway rider Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) that proved far more profitable than the 31-year-old Kazakh had anticipated. Rather than ‘just’ claiming the second place result that he had thought was the best possible outcome, Iglinskiy caught and passed Nibali on the long ascent to the finish at Ans.

    As a result, Kazakhstan now has its third Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory in the last seven years. It was also Astana’s second Classic win in a week after Enrico Gasparotto captured the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday - before finishing third at Liège behind Iglinskiy and Nibali.

    Boonen did not compete in the Ardennes Classics and his points total remains unchanged at 366. Nibali, however, jumped from sixth to second with 272 points while Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), seventh at Liège, moved into third place with 252 points.

    Nibali’s strong performance, coupled with Gasparotto’s continuing strong run of results, has at least partly enabled Italy to close the gap on Spain in the nations ranking. While Spain remains in the number one spot with 881 points, Italy has closed the gap and moved into second place at 765 points. Belgium, meanwhile, dropped a spot and holds third place at 674 points after earning a mere four points in the last major Spring Classic

    As for the UCI WorldTour's teams ranking, Nibali’s strong performance has had a clear impact. Liquigas-Cannondale could not overtake Omega Pharma-Quick Step in the number one slot at 547 points, but with 80 extra points in the bag the Italian team has at least ousted Katusha from the second place in the rankings and trails the Belgian team by 33 points.

    However, the biggest mover in the teams ranking is undoubtedly Astana, who with first and third at Liège, not to mention 14th for another Astana rider, Croatia's Robert Kiserlovski, has now made it into fourth place overall. The 152 points earned at Liège gives the team 408 points and moved them from eighth to fourth.

    Now that Liège-Bastogne-Liège has brought down the curtain on the 2012 Spring Classics season, the WorldTour turns its attention to stage racing, starting with the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland, beginning today, April 24, and concluding on April 29.

    WorldTour - Individual rankings
    1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 366 pts
    2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 272  
    3 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 252  
    4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 229  
    5 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 222  
    6 Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team 210  
    7 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team 180  
    8 Michael Albasini (Swi) GreenEdge Cycling Team 172  
    9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 167  
    10 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team 166  
    11 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team 150  
    12 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Barracuda 132  
    13 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 131  
    14 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 112  
    15 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 106  
    16 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 104  
    17 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 100  
    18 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan 96  
    19 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 92  
    20 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 90  
    21 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 86  
    22 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team 78  
    23 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team 74  
    24 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 72  
    25 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 72  
    26 Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan 72  
    27 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 71  
    28 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 70  
    29 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 67  
    30 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha Team 66  
    31 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 63  
    32 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 61  
    33 Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team 60  
    34 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 60  
    35 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling 60  
    36 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 52  
    37 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 51  
    38 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 51  
    39 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling 50  
    40 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling 42  
    41 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 40  
    42 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 40  
    43 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 40  
    44 Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan 33  
    45 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 32  
    46 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Garmin - Barracuda 31  
    47 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 30  
    48 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team 30  
    49 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo Bank 30  
    50 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 24  
    51 Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 24  
    52 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team 22  
    53 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 21  
    54 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling 20  
    55 Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar Team 20  
    56 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team 16  
    57 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 15  
    58 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 14  
    59 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 14  
    60 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin - Barracuda 12  
    61 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 12  
    62 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 11  
    63 Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 10  
    64 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 10  
    65 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin - Barracuda 10  
    66 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 10  
    67 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 8  
    68 Allan Davis (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team 8  
    69 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 7  
    70 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-Big Mat 7  
    71 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 7  
    72 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 6  
    73 Cameron Meyer (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team 6  
    74 Daryl Impey (RSA) GreenEdge Cycling Team 6  
    75 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 6  
    76 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 6  
    77 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 6  
    78 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 6  
    79 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 5  
    80 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team 5  
    81 Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre - ISD 5  
    82 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team 4  
    83 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team 4  
    84 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling Team 4  
    85 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Movistar Team 4  
    86 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 4  
    87 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 4  
    88 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 4  
    89 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 4  
    90 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 4  
    91 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 3  
    92 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 3  
    93 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 2  
    94 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 2  
    95 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2  
    96 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team 2  
    97 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling 2  
    98 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin - Barracuda 2  
    99 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 1  
    100 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team 1  
    101 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale 1  
    102 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 1  
    103 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team 1  
    104 Svein Tuft (Can) GreenEdge Cycling Team 1  
    105 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team 1  
    106 Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing Team 1  
    107 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 1  
    108 Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 1  
    109 Thomas Rohregger (Aut) RadioShack-Nissan 1  
    110 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank 1  
    111 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 1  
    112 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo Bank 1  
    113 Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 1  
    114 Robbie McEwen (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team 1  
    WorldTour - Nation rankings
    1 Spain 881 pts
    2 Italy 765  
    3 Belgium 674  
    4 Netherlands 404  
    5 Australia 315  
    6 Switzerland 258  
    7 Slovakia 229  
    8 United States 153  
    9 Ireland 132  
    10 France 120  
    11 Great Britain 118  
    12 Norway 113  
    13 Kazakhstan 100  
    14 Germany 94  
    15 Czech Republic 78  
    16 Slovenia 77  
    17 Croatia 74  
    18 Portugal 72  
    19 Colombia 65  
    20 Denmark 60  
    21 Austria 51  
    22 Canada 12  
    23 Belarus 8  
    24 Russia 8  
    25 Poland 8  
    26 South Africa 6  
    27 Sweden 6  
    28 Luxembourg 1  
    29 New Zealand 1  
    30 Argentina 1  
    WorldTour - Team rankings
    1 Omega Pharma-Quickstep 547 pts
    2 Liquigas-Cannondale 516  
    3 Katusha Team 502  
    4 Astana Pro Team 408  
    5 GreenEdge Cycling Team 402  
    6 Sky Procycling 366  
    7 BMC Racing Team 350  
    8 RadioShack-Nissan 327  
    9 Rabobank Cycling Team 254  
    10 Euskaltel - Euskadi 252  
    11 Lotto Belisol Team 207  
    12 Movistar Team 205  
    13 Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 202  
    14 Garmin - Barracuda 196  
    15 Lampre - ISD 194  
    16 AG2R La Mondiale 112  
    17 FDJ-Big Mat 72  
    18 Team Saxo Bank 32  


  • McEwen to close career at Amgen Tour of California

    Robbie McEwen before the start.
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 16:10
    Cycling News

    Australian to remain with GreenEdge as sprint coach

    GreenEdge's Robbie McEwen has confirmed he will stop his racing career after the Amgen Tour of California in May. The Australian indicated to Cyclingnews last November that he would convert from racer and sprint coach for his GreenEdge teammates to a completely advisory role at that time of year.

    Currently racing at the Presidential Tour of Turkey, McEwen confirmed to Het Nieuwsblad that he still intends to retire from racing in May.

    "I am definitely done after the Tour of California," McEwen said.

    A three-time winner of the Tour de France's points competition with 12 stage wins there and 12 in the Giro d'Italia, McEwen started his career with the Rabobank team in 1996.

    His contract with GreenEdge runs through 2013.

  • Allar surges to lead in National Criterium Calendar

    Carlos Alzate, Isaac Howe and Kyle Wamsley (Jamis/Sutter Home) made up the Sunny King podium
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 18:03
    Cycling News

    Clarke's lead cut after Sunny King Criterium

    After the third stop on the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar, the Sunny King Criterium, race winner Erica Allar (RideClean/ is the new leader of the women's individual standings.

    Allar took a commanding victory in the Anniston, Alabama event on Saturday to beat Jade Wilcoxson (Optum Pro Cycling) and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), despite being outnumbered by three Optum riders in the five-woman breakaway.

    The previous leader, Presbyterian Hospital Invitational winner Nicky Wangsgard (Primal/MapMyRide) dropped to second overall after skipping Sunny King, while Wilcoxson moved into third.

    Despite missing out on the race win, Optum/Kelly Benefit Strategies took over the team standings thanks to its depth: the team placed six riders in the top 10 and now leads Primal/MapMyRide by four points. Exergy/Twenty12 is third.

    In the men's rankings, UnitedHealthCare's Hilton Clarke retains the overall lead, but lost ground after Isaac Howe (Kenda 5 Hour Energy p/b Geagrinder). won the men's race in Alabama. The 26-year-old is now second ahead of Sunny King runner-up Carlos Alzate Escobar (Team Exergy).

    UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis remains in the lead of the team standings, 69 points ahead of Jamis-Sutter Home, while Kenda 5 Hour Energy p/b Geagrinder closed in on the second spot, and is now only two points in arrears.

    Men's individual standings
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Hilton Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare 180  pts
    2 Isaac Howe (USA) Kenda/5 Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder 161  
    3 Carlos Alzate Escobar (Col) Team Exergy 108  
    4 Alejandro Borrajo (Arg) Jamis/Sutter Home 90  
    5 Jacobe Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare 72  
    6 Kyle Wamsley (USA) Jamis/Sutter Home 70  
    7 Alexey Shmidt (Rus) Team Type 1 62  
    8 Oscar Clark (USA) United Healthcare of Georgia 60  
    9 Robin Carpenter (USA) Chipotle Development Team 54  
    10 Daniel Holt (USA) Team Type 1 52  
    11 Frank Travieso (USA) Wonderful Pistachios 50  
    12 Luke Keough (USA) Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop 50  
    13 Tommy Nankervis (Aus) Competitive Cyclist Racing Team 42  
    14 Colin Jaskiewicz (USA) Champion System p/b Stan's NoTube 37  
    15 Andrew Dahlheim (USA) Bissell Cycling 36  
    16 Luis Romero Amaran (Cub) Jamis/Sutter Home 36  
    17 Demis Aleman (Arg) Jamis Sutter Home 35  
    18 Luca Damiani (Ita) Kenda/5 Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder 27  
    19 Joshua Thorton (USA) ZMotion 26  
    20 Thomas Brown (USA) Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop 26  
    21 Scotti Weiss (USA) VeloShine Cycling Team 24  
    22 Christopher Stastny (USA) California Giant Berry Farms/Specializ 18  
    23 Chad Hartley (USA) Kenda/5 Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder 16  
    24 Emile Abraham (Tri) Rossetti Devo Cycling Team 15  
    25 Jean-Michael Lechance (Can) Rossetti Devo Cycling Team 12  
    26 Karl Menzies (Aus) UnitedHealthcare 12  
    28 John (Jackie) Simes (USA) Jamis/Sutter Home 10  
    29 Brendan Cornett (USA) Locos 9  
    30 Clay Murfet (Aus) Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop 9  
    31 Luis Zayas (USA) 9  
    32 Chris Brown (USA) Litespeed-BMW 8  
    33 Kevin Mullervy (USA) Team Exergy 8  
    34 Shane Kline (USA) Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop 8  
    35 Cesar Grajales (Col) Competitive Cyclist Racing Team 7  
    36 Joseph Schmalz (USA) ELBOWZ Racing 7  
    37 Adrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcare 6  
    38 Gavriel Epstein (Can) Champion System p/b Stan's NoTube 6  
    39 Benjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare 5  
    40 Christian Parrett (USA) Athletix Cycling Benefiting Globalbike 5  
    41 Heath Blackgrove (NZl) ELBOWZ Racing 5  
    42 David Williams (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing Team 4  
    43 Guido Palma (Arg) Jamis/Sutter Home 3  
    Men's team standings
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 UnitedHealthcare 275  pts
    2 Jamis/Sutter Home 206  
    3 Kenda/5 Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder 204  
    4 Team Exergy 116  
    5 Team Type 1 114  
    6 Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop 93  
    7 Chipotle Development Team 54  
    8 Competitive Cyclist Racing Team 53  
    9 Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubes/CRCA 43  
    10 Bissell Cycling 36  
    11 California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized 18  
    12 ELBOWZ Racing 12  
    13 Wonderful Pistachios 11  
    14 Athletix Cycling Benefiting Globalbike 5  
    Women's individual standings
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Erica Allar (USA) RideClean/ 152  pts
    2 Nicky Wangsgard (USA) Primal/MapMyRider Women's Racing 120  
    3 Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strateg 114  
    4 Theresa Cliff-Ryan (USA) Exergy Twenty12 90  
    5 Laura Van Gilder (USA) Mellow Mushroom 82  
    6 Christina Gokey-Smith (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS 61  
    7 Kendall Ryan (USA) Team TIBCO/To the Top 60  
    8 Emma Grant (GBr) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strateg 56  
    9 Annie Ewart (Can) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strateg 52  
    10 Lenore Pipes (Gum) 48  
    11 Sarah Fader (USA) 37  
    12 Amy McGuire (USA) FCS/ Rouse p/b Mr Restore 36  
    13 Lex Albrecht (Can) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strateg 34  
    14 Maura Kinsella (USA) Vanderkitten-Focus 30  
    15 Jacquelyn Crowell (USA) Exergy Twenty12 27  
    16 Courtney Lowe (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strateg 24  
    17 Kristen Lasasso (USA) 21  
    18 Kacey Manderfield (USA) 18  
    19 Cheryl Fuller-Muller (USA) Louis Garneau Factory Team p/b FUJI 16  
    20 Anna Barensfeld (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strateg 12  
    21 Olivia Dillon (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS 12  
    22 Hanan Alves-Hyde (USA) 10  
    23 Robin Farina (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS 10  
    24 Meghan Korol (USA) Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training p/b ABR 9  
    25 Ann Koehler (USA) 8  
    26 Anne Samplonius (Can) NOW and Novartis for MS 8  
    27 Debbie Milne (USA) 8  
    28 Lindsay Myers (USA) Team TIBCO/To the Top 7  
    29 Hannah Miller (USA) 6  
    30 Sara Tussey (USA) 6  
    31 Amy Phillips (USA) 5  
    32 Ashley James (USA) NOW and Novartis for MS 5  
    33 Marianne Holt (USA) 5  
    34 Meredith Miller (USA) Team TIBCO/To the Top 5  
    35 Rebecca Larson (USA) 5  
    36 Alexis Ryan (USA) Team TIBCO/To the Top 4  
    Women's team standings
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 222  pts
    2 Primal/MapMyRider Women's Racing 120  
    3 Exergy Twenty12 117  
    4 NOW and Novartis for MS 88  
    5 Team TIBCO/To the Top 72  
    6 Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training p/b ABRC 37  
    7 FCS/ Rouse p/b Mr Restore 36  
    8 Vanderkitten-Focus 30  
    9 Louis Garneau Factory Team p/b FUJI 16  


  • Gabrovski makes a surprise come back in Turkey

    Stage 3 podium (l-r): Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana), Ivaïlo Gabrovski (Konya Torku Seker Spor) and Danail Andonov Petrov (Caja Rural)
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 19:53
    Jean-François Quénet

    Bulgarian veteran re-emerges with Continental team Konya Torku Seker Spor

    Following his third place overall at the Tour of Morocco earlier this month, Ivailo Gabrovski was considered a potential troublemaker for the nine ProTeams and the 14 Pro Continental teams lining up at the Presidential Tour of Turkey, but the way he soloed to victory in the queen stage to Elmali astonished a few people.

    The 34-year-old Bulgarian was welcomed like a hero by the applause of race director Abdurrahman Açikalin and the crowd yelling "Turkiye! Turkiye!". He carried the Turkish flag on stage since he now rides for local team Konya Torku Seker Spor.

    Gabrovski has been somewhat of a drifter after a promising start to his career, which took off in 2001 when he finished sixth in the Brixia Tour, and second at the GP Camaiore where the photo-finish was needed to declare Michele Bartoli the winner. He won also the Tour de l'Ain and stage 1 of the Tour de Poitou-Charentes (second overall).

    "I've cruised all over the world for racing before I joined this team," Gabrovski told Cyclingnews. "But I developed as a cyclist in France. I'm proud to speak French and I owe everything to [former Festina sport director and now riders' agent] Michel Gros who gave me my first contract with Jean Delatour [in 2000]."

    He has changed teams frequently since then, moving to Oktos when Jean Delatour folded in 2002. He has ridden for Miche from Italy, Hemus from Bulgaria, Flanders and Storez Ledecq Matériaux in Belgium, Hemus again, then Greek outfit Heraklion and Exergy in the USA, racking up 49 international victories.

    While on Oktos in 2003 he was prevented from racing the Driedaagse van West Vlaanderen when he came in over the hematocrit limit. His manager defended him, saying he had a naturally high hematocrit. However, in 2005, he was prevented from riding the world championship in Madrid after failing another blood test conducted by the UCI.

    One of Gabrovski's best prior victories was the 2007 Tour of Turkey, when the race was classified by the UCI at 2.2. "Now it's a race of a much higher level," Gabrovski said of the event, which became 2.1 in 2008 and 2.HC in 2010. "It's a great victory for me and my team."

    "I decided to attack from far out [8km from the hilltop finish] to anticipate the action of the big teams like Astana with Vinokourov. Everyone focused on the final three kilometers. In fact, these were the three hardest kilometers of my whole cycling career. I didn't know that I was increasing my lead continuously [he crossed the line with 1:29 over runner up Alexandr Dyachenko from Astana]. I just gave everything to thank my fans in Bulgaria, the owner of our team and all the people who have believed in me. The support of the Turkish crowd up here also touched my heart."

    Despite riding for a Continental team against more reputed outfits, Gabrovski was confident that he'll keep the Turquoise jersey till the end in Istanbul on Sunday. "I'll defend this jersey at any cost," he warned. His allies during the last five stages might well be the teams of the sprinters. They form the majority of the peloton at the 48th Presidential Tour of Turkey and they'll work for bunch sprint finishes, but ProTeams and Pro Continental teams might as well combine forces to dethrone the leader of a Continental team not submitted to the biological passport.

  • GreenEdge announces Giro d'Italia roster

    Matthew Goss (GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 21:35
    Cycling News

    Aussie ProTeam focused on stage wins in first Grand Tour

    GreenEdge has named its Giro d'Italia roster today and the nine-man line-up has been built with a focus on stage wins, specifically during the first two weeks of Australian team's first Grand Tour. The squad will rally around Matt Goss for sprint finishes, where the 25-year-old Australian will have a strong supporting cast for lead-outs, while other team members will have the green light to seek opportunities for stage wins.

    "We're solely focused on stage wins," said GreenEdge directeur sportif Matt White. "We've said that from the beginning. We definitely don't have anyone for the general classification. Most of our riders will have a chance for individual stage wins, and Matt Goss is our leader for the sprints.

    "I expect the team to be competitive during the early stages," White continued. "We have a strong team for the stage four team time trial in Verona. A dream scenario would be to put Goss in the pink leader's jersey during the first week - either right before or right after the team time trial. There are a few teams with the same goal as us. If we're on the mark very early in Denmark, I'll be happy."

    White condiders the time Goss spends at the Giro as an integral piece of his Tour de France preparation.

    "The Giro is an important race for Matt Goss," said White. "He's got good form at the Tour of Turkey, and the idea is that he'll hit the ground running at the Giro. He'll have a lot of chances for stage wins. The time he does in Denmark and Italy will set him up for the Tour de France, which is the biggest goal for both him and the team."

    GreenEdge will turn to Brett Lancaster, Tomas Vaitkus and Jens Keukeleire, who is making his Grand Tour debut, to play key roles in Goss's sprint lead-out train.

    "Brett and Matt are riding together for the first time at the Tour of Turkey," said White. "We've had a lot of different things happen with our sprint train already this season. Julian Dean was our main lead-out man for Goss, but he hasn't raced much after a broken shoulder in December, and a broken leg in March has taken him out of racing. Brett has put his hand up to fill Julian's spot and he's the right guy for the job. The stress and competitiveness of this race is huge and that's where Brett comes in."

    Also making the GreenEdge roster for the Giro are Svein Tuft, Jack Bobridge, Fumiyuki Beppu, Christian Meier and Daryl Impey. White expects Tuft and Bobridge to play key roles in the team time trial in addition to keeping Goss out of trouble in the peloton. Beppu, who's ridden the spring Classics for GreenEdge, will help to keep Goss protected and will also have the opportunity to go on the attack for stage wins. Impey, who's the second GreenEdge rider to make his Grand Tour debut, will also be given the chance to seek stage wins.

    "It's a big moment, I suppose," said White. "Every race this year has been a big moment because everything we experience is our first. We've already ticked a lot of boxes, and the Giro has always been on the list. We really want to leave with a stage win. Aside from the Tour de France, this is the biggest race of the year. We have a very motivated group going into the Tour of Italy next week."

    GreenEdge roster for the 2012 Giro d'Italia:
    Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn), Jack Bobridge (Aus), Matt Goss (Aus), Daryl Impey (RSA), Jens Keukeleire (Bel), Brett Lancaster (Aus), Christian Meier (Can), Svein Tuft (Can), Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu)

  • Cadel Evans cautious in Romandie prologue

    2011 Tour de Romandie champion Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 22:22
    Cycling News

    Rain slows defending champion

    A late rainfall hampered defending Tour de Romandie champion Cadel Evans's performance in the opening prologue in Lausanne today. The BMC rider was the last off in the 3.34km test, but he fell far short of the time of winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), who posted a 3:29.43. Evans was 19 seconds down, good only for 80th place.

    While the earlier starters including Thomas enjoyed dry roads, rain began to fall in the final 40 minutes of the prologue, impacting last year's stage winner Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) and overall contenders such as Bradley Wiggins (Sky). But via Twitter, Evans seemed to think he had been a bit too cautions in the slick conditions.  "'Don't take any risks' they all said...'Did I make the time cut?'(!)," he wrote.

    With his recent illness, Evans later said he wasn't expecting to be in the hunt for a prime performance today.

    "I don't think with my condition I wouldn't have been close to the specialists today, so the rain slowed me down even more," Evans said in a team press release. "But it wasn't my course or my distance. I hope the weather turns a bit better because I've been sick and so on."

    The Australian's Tour de France preparations have been impacted by a recent sinus infection which forced him to drop out the Amstel Gold race and pull out of La Flèche Wallonne, a race which he won in 2010, and Liège - Bastogne - Liège. Even so, he still has aspirations for the Tour de Romandie.

    "I hope to get some racing in my legs and with a couple days racing, I think I can get a bit better. Then we can see what we can do a little bit later in the week."

  • Tour of Korea falls victim to the weather

    The peloton in action during stage 2 of the 2012 Tour de Korea.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 09:53
    Cycling News

    Stage four cancelled due to torrential rain

    The 2012 Tour of Korea suffered major disruption on Wednesday, with torrential rain resulting in the cancellation of stage four. Rain had fallen overnight across much of South Korea and increased during the morning in the country's southern provinces. Race officials deemed conditions too dangerous for the riders to start the 176km fourth stage between Yeosu and Geochang in the south of the country.

    "Due to adverse weather conditions, Tour de Korea race officials made the difficult decision to cancel today’s fourth stage from Yeosu to Geochang shortly after the race left the neutralized zone," a statement read.

    "Very heavy rainfall, surface flooding and high wind gusts impeded course visibility and caused potentially destabilising conditions in a bunch-riding situation. The possibility of riders taking unecessary risks to complete the stage meant no other decision, other than cancellation, was possible."

    Weather permitting, the race will now resume tomorrow for the 170km stage five between Geochang and the city of Gumi. After three stages, home-based rider Chan Jae Jang (Terengganu Cycling Team) leads the way, though the USA's Alexander Candelario (Team Optum) and Ireland's David McCann (RTS) are both within ten seconds of the South Korean.