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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Date published:
March 16, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Boasson Hagen sidelined by Achilles problems at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    March 15, 2011, 21:16 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sky's Norwegian star expected to start Milan-San Remo

    Edvald Boasson Hagen's build-up for Milan-San Remo hasn't gone completely to plan as the 23-year-old Norwegian withdrew from stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday due to a tender Achilles tendon. Team Sky's management, however, believes Boasson Hagen will be ready to race on Saturday at Milan-San Remo, the first Monument of the 2011 season.

    "He'd been feeling a twinge in his Achilles so we didn't want to risk making that any worse going into Milan-San Remo," said Team Sky sports director Marcus Ljunqvist. "He was riding okay but we pulled him out at the feed zone because that was where our soigneurs were and they were able to treat him and get him warmed up straightaway.

    "There's absolutely nothing to worry about, though, his form is great and it's certainly not serious, we just wanted to make sure he is 100 percent ready to go on Saturday.

    "He's had a good race [at Tirreno-Adriatico] and it's been great preparation for him. He'll stay in Italy now to do some specialist training with us before taking his place on the start line in Milan - there is no doubt about that."

    Boasson Hagen's manager, Birger Hungerholdt, spoke with him on Monday and confirmed to tv2sporten.no his plan to compete at Milan-San Remo. "Edvald feels in good shape. He'll take it easy for a few days, then the ambition is to attend Milan-San Remo."

    According to tv2sporten.no, Boasson Hagen was examined by Tom Skjønnhaug, the muscle and joint specialist who treated the Sky rider last year when his spring Classic campaign was ruined by an Achilles...

  • Evans, Martin tied in WorldTour

    Cadel Evans (BMC) wields the winner's trident.
    Article published:
    March 15, 2011, 21:55 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tirreno-Adriatico winner takes rankings lead on finishes

    Cadel Evans (BMC) has equalled the WorldTour ranking points total of Paris-Nice winner Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) to take the lead of the sport's top competition.

    The Australian edged the German from the number one position by netting 108 points for winning Tirreno-Adriatico (100 points) with one stage win (6 points) and a third place on stage 4 to Chieto (2 points).

    Martin earned the same tally, with 100 points for the Paris-Nice overall, 6 for his time trial stage win and one each for a fourth and fifth place stage finish.

    Tie-breaking rules count the number of placings to determine the winner, making Evans the world number one. The honour was a surprise for Evans, who in 2007 won the UCI's ProTour overall classification, but he indicated it was too soon to target another overall victory.

    "With the low key start to my season, I would not have predicted this, but I might have hoped for it," said Evans. "It's still early, though. Let's have a look at the rankings again in August or September."

    After wrapping up the overall win in Italy, Evans reflected on the final time trial on his personal web page, www.cadelevans.com.au, noting the improvement of Rabobank's Robert Gesink, who climbed to second overall and went four seconds quicker over the 9.3km course.

    "Gesink seems to have improved his time trialing to another level this year, and today he proved it again. I was ok, took me 2-3km to get into my rhythm, having eight months since my last 'crono', not surprising, but a bit of a worry when you only have 6km to make for lost time. My TT legs...

  • Two options for HTC-Highroad at Milan-San Remo

    Mark Renshaw and Bernard Eisel try to bring Mark Cavendish back to the front after the climb.
    Article published:
    March 16, 2011, 1:07 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cavendish chasing second win of the season

    HTC-Highroad will head to Milan-San Remo with two options for the win – 2009 winner Mark Cavendish and in-form Australian Matt Goss.

    Cavendish's sole win of the 2011 season was on stage 6 of the Tour of Oman but HTC-Highroad sports director Valerio Piva says he feels confident in the Manxman's steady build-up of form.

    "Mark has already won this race and he'll be our leader," he said. "He's motivated, physically he's in pretty much the same condition as when he won it in 2009 and we're sure he'll give it 100 per cent."

    When Cavendish won the race in 2009, it was at his first attempt. The 2011 edition of the Milan-San Remo will be another opportunity for the speedster to face off against former teammate and arch-rival Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) who was overlooked for the race in the past in favour of Cavendish.

    Goss meanwhile has been hard to stop so far this year, with wins coming at the Jayco Bay Criterium series, the Cancer Council Classic and stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia, as well as stage 2 at the Tour of Oman before last week's victory at the third stage of the Paris-Nice.

    "Of course if it comes down to a bunch sprint in San Remo and Mark is there, then we'll be working all out for him," Piva qualified.

    "The important thing is to finish Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice in top condition and that's...

  • Tirreno performance has Hushovd hopeful ahead of San Remo

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) was personally responsible for his team taking the GC lead.
    Article published:
    March 16, 2011, 7:23 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    World champion one card to play for Garmin-Cervelo

    Thor Hushovd's Milan-San Remo preparations are looking good following the Norwegian's strong showing in Tirreno-Adriatico this past week.

    The current road world champion was active throughout the event; whether it was leading out teammate Tyler Farrar for the sprint win or during the lumpy final kilometres of stage four to Chieti, Hushovd showed great form and will be pivotal to Garmin-Cervélo's chances of success in La Primavera.

    "I am very pleased... It went surprisingly well from day two, while at the end the stage were a little tougher. But all in all, this was a very good race," Hushovd told TV2 Sport of his Tirreno-Adriatico experience.

    "My condition is certainly on track, but I knew my form was good, too," he continued. "Working with Farrar went very well and it was nice to help him."

    Farrar and another Garmin-Cervélo teammate, Heinrich Haussler, are also coming into great form ahead of the season's first Monument on Saturday and Hushovd admitted that the three riders will have free rein to play their own cards for the win.

    "Tyler, Heinrich [Haussler] and I get free roles on Saturday, so we'll see who's still there at the end. The last hill before the finish will determine it," he said.

    "I will try to push hard to be in the finale. I'll have to be attacking in the hills and I might hang me on. I wish nevertheless to be at the front, so we'll see how it goes," he added.

  • Nygaard dismisses reports of Cancellara's innovative bearings system

    Stage winner Fabian Cancellara lets loose with the champagne.
    Article published:
    March 16, 2011, 10:48 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Leopard Trek manager says his team does not use Gold-Race materials

    Leopard Trek manager Brian Nygaard has denied reports that Fabian Cancellara is making use of an innovative system of ball bearings that offers gains of up to 2.5 seconds per kilometre.

    A report in La Dernière Heure suggested that Cancellara had been using Gold-Race bearings, developed by Italian Giovanni Cecchini, since 2007. The pioneering technology claims to offer a significant reduction in friction, helping to cause a decrease in lactic acid accumulation and allowing the use of bigger gears.

    However, Nygaard explained that while Cancellara may have been using such technology in the past, the Gold-Race material is not being used by anyone on the Leopard Trek team. Cancellara joined the new squad this season after five years at Saxo Bank.

    “I think there’s a bit of confusion here,” Nygaard told Cyclingnews. “I think they might have been attached when he was still working with Specialized [up until he left Saxo Bank at the end of 2010] but I can guarantee you 100 per cent that we are not working with these people at all.”

    A video on dh.be shows the Gold-Race equipment in action, but Nygaard pointed out that the crankset shown is not one used by the Leopard Trek team.

    “If you look at the video, you can see that the stuff there are fiddling with is not the product that we are using, it looks like old material,” Nygaard said. “But I can guarantee you, I spoke to the mechanics and everything, and we’re not working with these people at all.”

    It is not the first time that...

  • Mario Cipollini’s Milan-San Remo form guide

    Mario Cipollini speaks his mind
    Article published:
    March 16, 2011, 11:10 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Super Mario analyses the chances of Cavendish, Hushovd, Freire and Gilbert

    Mario Cipollini epitomises Milan-San Remo perhaps more than any other rider in the near 100-year history of the race.

    Cipollini rode ‘La Classicissima’ in each of his 17 seasons as a professional, with neither illness nor injury stopping him from setting off for the 300km ride to the Mediterranean coast.

    Milan-San Remo became ‘his’ race after seeing for the first time in 1982 with his father on the Turchino.

    “My brother Cesare was in the early break and my dad was really excited and proud of him,” he told Cyclingnews. “But when we next caught up with the race on the coast in Varazze, Cesare had been dropped and my dad was really disappointed, so much so that we didn’t even go to San Remo to see the finish. That’s when I fell in love with the race and I promised my dad I’d win it one day.”

    Cipollini had to wait 14 years before finally winning Milan-San Remo in 2002, when he made it over the Poggio in the front group and then powered up the Via Roma to win the sprint ahead of Fred Rodriguez and Markus Zberg. He won the world title in the same year and ended his career with 189 victories but victory in Milan-San Remo was the best day of his career.

    “I love everything about Milan-San Remo,” he said. “It’s the way the race is so finely balanced and the how the tension and adrenaline grows during the long ride start from early morning cold in Milan to the finish in the sun in Sam Remo. It’s also close to the date of my birthday on March 22 and so was always a special day for me.”

    Cipollini retired in 2005 but still follows the racing with a critical eye. He spent three days at Tirreno-Adriatico and studied the favourites for this year’s closely.

    ...

  • Boonen resting up ahead of Milan-San Remo

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is used to cold weather
    Article published:
    March 16, 2011, 14:30 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian pleased to have ridden Tirreno-Adriatico in spite of illness

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) believes that he was correct to ride Tirreno-Adriatico even though he was suffering with the flu. The Belgian came down with the illness on the eve of the race and did not contest any of the bunch sprints at the final warm-up for Milan-San Remo, his first objective of the season.

    “It was not ideal but I never considered it a problem,” Boonen told Het Nieuwsblad. “Not starting? Well, physically I didn’t really need the race. My condition in Qatar was already in order.

    “But if I hadn’t ridden here, then everybody would be asking questions. And then you’d have to do some serious catch-up kilometres in training. No, I think it was the right decision, especially now that I’ve survived. And considering my condition was very good so early, it’s not bad that I just rode with the brake on.”

    Although Boonen is no longer suffering from the symptoms of his illness, he admitted that the intensity of the racing in Italy meant that it was impossible to recover completely. He will now rest up ahead of the weekend as he sets his sights on finally capturing Milan-San Remo, where he has twice finished on the podium.

    “It’s really time to take it easy for a day or two to allow my body to recover now that I’m over the illness,” Boonen explained. “I’m glad I survived with all the miles in the legs, so that my preparation for the Classics was not endangered.”

    The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are, as ever, the centrepiece of Boonen’s spring campaign, but the Belgian...

  • Cyclingnews' guide to the 2011 Spring Classics

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) roars with delight as he wins Milan-San Remo
    Article published:
    April 11, 2011, 17:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Your guide to the Classics

    Milan-San Remo

    Milan-San Remo is the first of the Spring Classics and the longest race of modern day cycling, at 298 kilometres. The sprinters have a chance to shine in this race from Italy's fashion capital to the Ligurian seaside town of San Remo.

    Take note of the Le Mànie, Cipressa and Poggio: these climbs typically break up the race by sending the weak sprinters out the back door and allowing the attacking riders to launch a move. If a group makes it to the line expect to see a fascinating bunch gallop along Lungomare Italo Calvino.

    Milan-San Remo, the first of cycling's five Monuments, celebrates its 102nd anniversary this year.

    Preview | 2010 Milan-San Remo | Previous winners | 2011 Results and report

    Gent-Wevelgem

    Known for its climb and dicey descent of the Kemmelberg, which was previously the only difficulty in the race, the course features 16 bergs including the Kemmel and a slightly longer parcours.

    The early part of the race takes place near Belgium's North Sea coast line, which means high winds often shatters the peloton into bits.

    Previous winners | 2010 Gent-Wevelgem | 2011 Results and report