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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Date published:
February 29, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Semple the key man for Lapthorne's Langkawi bid

    Oh yeah! Adam Semple (Drapac Cycling) is loving the Tour de Langkawi, although i must have jinxed him as he crashed during stage three.
    Article published:
    February 28, 2012, 22:16 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Australian still confident of strong result on GC as Drapac's other card

    Adam Semple (Drapac) has arrived at the Tour de Langkawi flying under the radar, with the focus on his older teammate Darren Lapthorne providing the perfect foil for his own general classification ambitions. Semple has been given carte blanche by the team, a reward for a consistent 2011 that saw him win two stages in the Tour of Taiwan and a well-earned overall victory in the Tour of Bright.

    The 22-year-old told Cyclingnews that the biggest impediment to success in Malaysia would be overcoming cramps that have plagued him since his arrival in the high humidity of Langkawi.

    "I am confident with my ability to climb with the best here, I have just been working on some hydration issues though, that's my only worry," said Semple. "I sweat ridiculously high amounts of salt so I cramp sometimes after only one hour, and no one knows why.

    "Still, my power numbers are really really good at the moment so that gives me plenty of confidence, I just need to keep hydrated."

    With Lapthorne on top of the general classifcation following Tuesday's 5th stage, Semple will likely be used as the guy up the road to take pressure off Lapthorne on Genting, but concedes that it'll likely be every man for himself on the hellish finale.

    "Darren and I will try to work together wherever possible, and for sure two strong on a mountain is better than one, but at the end of the day when it's 12 per cent and full gas on a climb, there isn't much anyone else can do to 'help'."

    The former AIS rider has given up a month of university to come to Langkawi so he's certainly not here to mess around. If it all comes together he believes a top 10 finish on GC...

  • Fever fells Zabriskie in Malaysia

    American David Zabriskie (Garmin Barracuda) remains in the yellow jersey after the third stage.
    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 0:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    Race lead slips away as Garmim pin hopes to Danielson

    Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) was the big loser of yesterday’s 187.2 km run to Pandan Indah, conceding more than 19 minutes to stage winner Jose Serpa (Androni Giocattoli), his yellow jersey, and any hope of overall honours.

    The American dropped off the back of the bunch at the same point as an injured Adam Phelan (Drapac), with the Australian barely able to use his right knee since a crash on Saturday.

    Initially several teammates were sent back to help Zabriskie, but when it became clear that he was not going to be able to recover, only Raymond Kreder remained to escort him to the finish.

    Competition Director Allan Peiper said the team was still trying to figure out exactly what had gone wrong with the American.

    "We are really not sure what happened to Dave Zabriskie," said Peiper to Cyclingnews. "He had a little fever two nights ago but before yesterday’s stage he seemed okay health-wise. The only other explanation could be some heat stroke or severe dehydration from the really hot days just before. We’re still unsure though. "

    The team is now hoping that Tom Danielson, who has won the race once before back in 2003, will be able to retake yellow after yesterday's disappointment.

    "We will see what happens on Genting, but we’re banking on him," concluded Peiper.

  • Roelandts training on the rollers again

    Jürgen Roelandts happy to be at the Lotto-Belisol dinner table again
    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 9:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    No racing again until at least May

    Jürgen Roelandts is back on the bike again, at least on the rollers. He hopes to get back on the road again this week, but knows he won't be racing again until May at the earliest.

    The Lotto-Belisol rider suffered a broken vertebra and bruised arteries in a crash at the Tour Down Under last month. He was recently hospitalised for a week with a blood clot which affected the flow of blood to his brain. He is currently taking blood thinners to counteract the problem.

    “It's gradually getting better,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “Since this weekend, I have been training on the rollers, twice a day for half an hour. I don't do it every day, but I do try to stay active. In addition I go to the physiotherapist for my shoulder.”

    He still suffers some concentration problems as a result of the blood clot. “That's not serious, but if I make a sudden movement, I realize I am still not myself.”

    Weather permitting, Roelandts hopes to get back on the road this week. “I may not train on my own. I will do so in the company of others. I look forward to returning to cycling.”

    His return to racing will have to wait a while, however. “I must go under the scanner again in early May. Until then I will certainly not race. I will be happy if I get the green light.”

  • Saxo Bank plays the waiting game on WorldTour licence

    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 10:49 GMT
    Cycling News

    Observers offer mixed opinions on Danish team's chances

    Bjarne Riis and Team Saxo Bank had their day before the UCI's licencing commission on Monday, and must now await the group's decision as to whether the team will retain its WorldTour licence.  Alberto Contador's suspension removes a majority of the points the team used for its 2012 licence.

    “We had our hearing with the UCI's licensing committee, where we presented our case,” team spokesman Anders Damgaard told the Ritzau news agency. “We still feel that we have a really good case and we are waiting until the case is resolved.”

    It is not known when the issue will be resolved. Both the chairman of the commission, Pierre Zappelli, and UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani refused to comment on the matter, according to

    Many Danish observers fear the worst for the team. “If your look at the rules in isolation, it pretty obviously dictates that the Team Saxo Bank may lose its license,” journalist and former pro cyclist Alex Pedersen told “Therefore it is a more realistic scenario than the Danes might think.  Although one can certainly argue that it is far from reasonable now that the season is already underway.”

    According to Eurosport commentator Thomas Bay, “It can go both ways. But there is a real danger that the team will lose its WorldTour licence and no longer automatically be able to participate in the Tour (de France).”

    Fellow Dane Brian Holm, a sport director at Omega Pharma-Quick Step, hopes that his rival will keep its licence, saying it “is my impression” that Saxo Bank will do so. “I have not spoken to anyone who does not support Riis in this...

  • Sohrabi to miss Le Samyn due to delayed visa

    Mahdi Sohrabi and Gert Dockx
    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 12:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Iranian to make European debut for Lotto in Three Days of West Flanders

    Mehdi Sohrabi must delay his 2012 European debut for Lotto-Belisol, due to visa problems.  The Iranian  will now start in the Three Days of West Flanders on Friday, instead of Le Samyn on Wednesday.

    The 30-year-old did not receive his visa in time and arrived in Belgium too late for today's race, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

    Sohrabi is making his WorldTour debut this year with the Belgian team. After riding the Tour Down Under last month, he went on to finish second in the Asian championships road race.  He was the top ranked rider in the Asian Tour last year, with 13 wins.

  • Serpa closes in on Le Tour de Langkawi victory

    Jose Serpa (Androni Giocattoli) is the new leader of the 2012 Tour de Langkawi with four stages remaining.
    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 13:12 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Three riders in top 5 for Savio's Androni-Venezuela team

    Put under pressure by his compatriot Victor Niño, José Serpa has been forced to step into José Rujano’s role as captain of Androni-Venezuela at Le Tour de Langkawi but the queen stage saw even greater domination than ever by Gianni Savio’s South American riders. Atop Genting Highlands, his team seem to have secured the overall classification with four days to go, with no fewer than three riders in the top 5 – Serpa is first overall, Rujano second, while Jackson Rodriguez lies in fifth. Nobody seems to threatening them anymore after ephemeral race leader Darren Lapthorne of Drapac and favourite Tom Danielson failed to meet their own expectations on the slopes of Malaysia’s most gruelling climb.

    Savio is on his way to bagging his sixth individual overall win in twelve participations in Le Tour de Langkawi after doing so with Hernan Dario Muñoz in 2002, Freddy Gonzalez in 2004, Ruslan Ivanov in 2008, Serpa in 2009 and Yonattha Monsalve last year.

    “We have seriously prepared for this race,” Savio told Cyclingnews. “We always go to a race to honour the event but in our own way. After the Giro d’Italia, which is our number 1 goal of the year, the race closest to my heart is Le Tour de Langkawi. We’ve had a lot of satisfactions in this race before, that’s why we have put together a strong team again this year. We gave up on the idea of bringing a sprinter even though there were eight possibilities of a bunch sprint finish because we wanted to win both the individual overall classification and the team classification.”

    The main surprise of the Genting stage was Rujano’s incapacity to stay with Serpa and...

  • Rolland doubtful for Paris-Nice

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) savours his first victory of the 2012 season.
    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 14:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman injured knee at Tour du Haut Var

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) risks missing out on Paris-Nice due to a knee injury sustained at last week’s Tour de Haut Var. The Frenchman banged his knee against his stem when his chain slipped and the seemingly banal incident may cost him participation in the Race to the Sun, which gets underway on Sunday.

    “I had never had problems with my knees before, but so be it, that doesn’t mean much,” a frustrated Rolland told L’Équipe.

    Rolland spent over a week off the bike after the Tour du Haut Var, and his first tentative return to the saddle came on the turbo trainer. “I felt a niggle on the rollers, but it was nothing compared to the pain I felt from the vibrations on the road,” he said.

    A scan on Friday revealed a minor lesion on the cartilage of his right patella. After resting for the weekend, Rolland returned to the road on Monday, but admitted that he was still struggling with the injury. He withdrew from Wednesday’s Le Samyn race, and will make a decision on his participation in Paris-Nice after a training ride this afternoon.

    “Paris-Nice is five hours a day, and after a full hour of training, the pain came back,” Rolland explained. “It worries me a little because after ten days, even with rest and physiotherapy sessions, it hasn’t gone away.

    “[Paris-Nice is] the hardest race physically and mentally, with two days of echelons, violent efforts in the cold and a peloton where everybody is in good condition.”

    Rolland is adamant that he will not line up at Paris-Nice if it means he risks compromising the remainder of his season. After winning the best young rider’s jersey at the Tour de France last year, the Frenchman will...

  • UCI considers Basque Country intervention

    The flag of the Basque country.
    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 15:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Plans to save Spain's WorldTour events

    With the Tour of Basque Country, Volta a Catalunya and the Clasica San Sebastián all threatened by financial problems, the UCI has stated that it is “closely following” the economic situation of the three Spanish events on the WorldTour calendar.

    Last week, Organizaciones Ciclistas Euskadi reported that it €150,000 short of the budget necessary to run the two Basque races at WorldTour level this year following the regional government’s decision to reduce its funding commitment.

    In a statement released on Wednesday, the UCI said that it is gathering information “in order to come up with an intervention strategy that can deal with the urgency of the situation” affecting the Tour of the Basque Country and the Clasica San Sebastián.

    A possible solution would be the deployment of the UCI WorldTour reserve fund in order to provide financial backing to the races. In 2010, €30,000 was drawn down to ensure the running of the GP Ouest France de Plouay and it is understood that the fund was again deployed in support of the race in 2011.

    The UCI is more advanced in its involvement with the Volta a Catalunya, reporting that it is already in discussions concerning the governing body’s “possible participation in a sustainable development plan for this event over the coming years, the terms of which are yet to be defined.”

    While the UCI has recently moved to expand the WorldTour by adding another race to the calendar in China at the end of the season, the Tour of Hangzhou, Pat McQuaid insisted that the governing body was not neglecting the sport in its traditional heartlands.

    “Although it is true that the globalisation of cycling is our strategic priority the roots and traditions of this fantastic sport are what make it so rich and we must be capable of...