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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Date published:
April 25, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Nibali close to new Liquigas-Cannodale deal

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) was a popular winner of Tirreno-Adriatico.
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 13:51 BST
    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, 15:54 BST
    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...

  • McEwen to close career at Amgen Tour of California

    Robbie McEwen before the start.
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 17:10 BST
    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, 19:03 BST
    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...
  • 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, 20:53 BST
    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

  • GreenEdge announces Giro d'Italia roster

    Matthew Goss (GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 22:35 BST
    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...

  • Cadel Evans cautious in Romandie prologue

    2011 Tour de Romandie champion Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 23:22 BST
    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...

  • 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, 10:53 BST
    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.