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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Date published:
March 24, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Omega Pharma-Lotto still looking for first victory

    Philippe Gilbert guides his Omega Pharma-Lotto troops
    Article published:
    March 23, 2010, 17:43 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mattan: "They don't have any real winners in the team"

    The cobbled classics in Belgium are about to begin and yet again the Omega Pharma-Lotto team is under pressure after failing to win a race so far this season.

    The Belgian team and the Eukaltel-Euskadi team are the only ProTour teams that are still without a win in 2010. According to Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure, of the 39 ProTour and Professional Continental teams, only eight have not won races so far this season. Omega Pharma-Lotto and BMC are the only major classics team that still lack a win.

    Several Omega Pharma-Lotto riders have gone close to victory but there always seems to be another sprinter who beats them to the line. Jurgen Van den Broeck finished second twice in the Ruta del Sol, while Mickael Delage and Jurgen Roelandts were second on stages at the Volta ao Algarve. Team leader Philippe Gilbert tried an attack on the Poggio during Milan-San Remo, but is not a sprinter and finished ninth.

    Last year Gilbert saved the team's season with a run of four consecutive victories, including the Tour of Lombardy, and Cadel Evans won the world title in Mendrisio. However, the Australian used a get-out clause in his contract to move to the new BMC team.

    Former professional rider Nico Mattan believes the reasons for Omega Pharma's lack of victories is simple. Mattan will be providing his unique, entertaining but often blunt insight on the Spring classics for Cyclingnews.

    "The problem for Omega Pharma is that they don't have any real winners in the team," he told Cyclingnews.

    "They've got Philippe Gilbert, he's a star, but he's more for the hilly classics like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy. To be honest I don't think he'll ever win a cobbled classic like the Tour of Flanders.

    "Leif Hoste has gone close to winning the Ronde van Vlaanderen three times but I can't see how he can ever win it either. It's the same for the other riders. If Jurgen Van...

  • Holowesko Partners brings best team back to Redlands

    Alex Howes won both the U23 road and criterium championships in 2009 and returns to Team Holowesko Partners in 2010.
    Article published:
    March 23, 2010, 20:13 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Development team aiming to repeat strong performances

    The Holowesko Partners Under-23 Development Team surprised themselves when they won the best team title at the 2009 Redlands Bicycle Classic. This year, the young men are back and confident that an overall title amongst the top professional men's teams in the nation is attainable.

    "We will take a crack at it again," said Alex Howes, the Under-23 US National Road and Criterium Champion. "We are coming to race, not to be pack fill. We have to set the goals high. Last year when we won it that was a big surprise for us so maybe we will surprise ourselves again this year."

    The Redlands Bicycle Classic's four-staged event kicks off the National Racing Calendar (NRC) on March 25-28 in California. There are 26 participating teams that total nearly 200 racers. Holowesko Partners will field eight riders eager to make an impression amongst the pros.

    The squad includes Howes, Peter Salon, Caleb Fairly, Taylor Sheldon, Andrei Krasilnikau, Lachlan Morton, Danny Summerhill and Raymond Kreder.

    Howes had a break out year when he won the road race and the criterium at the U23 national championships held last year in Bend, Oregon. He proved to be a formidable competitor in the professional peloton when he won the fifth and final stage of the Tour of Utah and hopes to have an equally strong performance at the Redlands Bicycle Classic this weekend.

    "We want to have a good showing to start out with, like everyone else," Howes said. "Our main goal for the team this year is to try to gain some experience for the new guys. For a lot of the guys on the team this will be their first NRC race."

    Holowesko Partners lost two marquee riders in Peter Stetina and Kirk Carlsen who were promoted to its big brother ProTour team Garmin-Transitions this year. Directeur Sportif Chann McRae is eager to develop the next cycle of young talent at stage races like the Redlands Bicycle Classic, Tour of the Gila, Cascade Cycling Classic and the Tour of...

  • Campagnolo announces global demo program

    Campagnolo Test Center demo bikes will be equipped with the company's latest 11-speed groups and versatile 2-Way Fit clincher wheelsets.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2010, 1:26 GMT
    James Huang

    Program for 11-speed groups and 2-Way Fit wheels

    Campagnolo's diminishing presence in the highly cost-driven OEM market has prompted the launch of a new global demo program designed to introduce the company's components and wheels to a greater number of potential customers that might otherwise only be able to sample Shimano or SRAM. Designated test bikes will be equipped with various Campagnolo 11-speed drivetrains plus 2-Way Fit clincher wheels, which work with either tubeless or conventional tube-type road tires.

    "We are very strong in the aftermarket but sometime it is not easy to test a Campagnolo-equipped bike in the US because OEM is almost all equipped Shimano or also SRAM", said Campagnolo Group Communication Manager Lerrj Piazza. "We want to let people understand the quality of our products and we think that the best way to do it is by touching them."

    The Campagnolo Test 11 program has already been in effect in Benelux since February and will continue on through May. Consumers in the UK should be able to demo Campagnolo-equipped bikes right around now through June and the US/Canada market will continue the program through July.

    Certified Campagnolo Test Centers are listed on the Campagnolo web site and are fairly limited in number at the moment. Piazza says that more locations are being added daily, however, and the final list should be solidified in about a week.

  • Inflamed achilles tendon hinders Boasson Hagen

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    March 24, 2010, 9:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Talented Norwegian plays down effects of injury

    After a great start to his 2010 season, Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen has revealed he is suffering from an inflamed achilles tendon, although he hopes to recover in time to defend his Gent-Wevelgem crown on Sunday.

    The 22-year-old Norwegian felt a slight pain in his achilles tendon during last weekend's Milan-San Remo. He had gone into the event as one of the favourites after taking the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and displaying some stellar early-season form at the Tour of Oman but stomach problems meant he was dropped on the Cipressa and he finished 106th.

    Both Team Sky and Boasson Hagen were quick to downplay the injury but he admitted that he will have to avoid serious training this week in the hope the problems heals before the northern Classics begin. "It is not really serious, but it is annoying," he told "I must take it easy for the next days and hope that it goes away by itself. tself is fit to start so I can stand in Gent-Wevelgem."

    Boasson Hagen cemented his place as one of cycling's biggest talents by winning Gent-Wevelgem ahead of Liquigas' Aleksandr Kuschynski. While the achilles injury may hamper his preparation for this year's edition of the race he'll still return to the Belgian classic as one of the favourites. He is expected to travel to Belgium today to meet with Team Sky doctors and management.

    "I haven't discussed my participation in the E3-Prijs Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem with Sky management yet," he continued. "They will take a look at it when I arrive in Belgium and then make the decision. I hope at least to ride in Gent. It's perhaps not the most important races this year, but I'd like to ride."

  • Boonen adds Gent-Wevelgem to weekend schedule

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) looks disappointed after finishing second
    Article published:
    March 24, 2010, 9:38 GMT
    Susan Wesetmeyer

    Quick Step rider to take on the full Flemish Week

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has changed his mind and added Gent-Wevelgem to his racing schedule. He will now ride both races of the opening weekend of the Flemish week, the E3 Prijs on Saturday and Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. The Flemish week opens today with Dwars door Vlaanderen, which Boonen will also contest.

    The Belgian team announced Boonen's participation in both weekend races on Tuesday evening and said it would announce the rest of its line-up on Thursday.

    This year Gent-Wevelgem has a new place on the racing calendar, moving from the Wednesday after the Ronde van Vlaanderen to the Sunday before it.

    Boonen had prevously announced he would ride only the E3Prijs but skip Gent-Wevelgem. He has won both races in the past, the E3 Prijs every year from 2004 to 2007, and Gent-Wevelgem in 2004. His next races will be the Driedaagse van de Panne and the Ronde.

  • Skil-Shimano, Vacansoleil shut out of Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Fleche Wallone

    Several Skil Shimano riders
    Article published:
    March 24, 2010, 11:13 GMT
    Susan Wesetmeyer

    Indication of no invitation for Tour de France?

    The Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil have not been invited to the Giro d'Italia, and they have now learnt  that they have also not been invited to neither Liege-Bastogne-Liege nor Fleche Wallonne. Both races are organised by ASO, who also organise the Tour de France, and could be an indication that they may also miss out on a place in this year's Tour de France.

    Both of the Dutch Professional Continental teams were invited to Liege-Bastogne-Liege last year. With both the Giro and the Tour de France starting in the Netherlands this year, they had hoped to be invited to the two Grand Tours. ProTour team Rabobank is the only Dutch team to be invited to the Giro, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Fleche Wallone.

    The lack of an invitation to the Ardennes classics is a particular blow to Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland, who had made them one of his major goals this year. The 26-year-old last year finished twelfth in both the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Vuelta a Espana in 2009.

    The same 25 teams will ride both Liege-Bastogne-Liege (April 25) and Fleche Wallonne (April 21).

    Team Milram (MRM)

    Omega Pharma-Lotto (OLO)
    Quick Step (QST)
    Landbouwkrediet (LAN)
    Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator (TSV)

    Team Saxo Bank (SAX)

    Caisse d’Epargne (GCE)
    Euskaltel - Euskadi (EUS)

    United States
    BMC Racing Team (BMC)
    Garmin-Transitions (GRM)
    Team HTC-Columbia (THR)
    Team RadioShack (RSH)

    Team Sky (SKY)

    AG2R La Mondiale (ALM)
    Bbox Bouygues Telecom (BBO)
    Cofidis, le Crédit en ligne (COF)
    Française des Jeux (FDJ)

    Acqua & Sapone (ASA)
    Androni Giocattoli (AND)
    Lampre-Farnese Vini (LAM)
    Liquigas-Doimo (LIQ)

    Astana (AST)

    Rabobank (RAB)

    Katusha Team (KAT)

  • Top German riders to Frankfurt race on May Day

    Stage winner André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) celebrates on the podium.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2010, 11:15 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Wegmann, Greipel, Martin to “Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt”

    The German race “Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt” can look forward to top teams and top riders again this May 1. Defending champion Fabian Wegmann of Team Milram is expected to ride, as are HTC-Columbia's Andre Greipel and Tony Martin.

    So far the race, formerly known as “Rund um den Henninger Turm”, can boast of three ProTour teams (Milram, HTC-Columbia and Rabobank), as well as seven Professional Continental and six Continental teams. It is negotiating with six more teams, and hopes to have 20 teams at the start.

    Wegmann broke his collarbone in a crash in Tirreno-Adriatico, but is expected to be able to race in Frankfurt. HTC-Columbia sports director Rolf Aldag said that his team would bring star sprinter Andre Greipel and all-rounder Tony Martin, who last year wore the best young rider jersey at the Tour de France for 12 stages.

    The teams confirmed for the race include, in addition to the three ProTour teams, Professional Continental teams Vorarlberg-Corratec, Landbouwkrediet, Topsport-Vlaanderen, Colnago CSF Inox, Skil-Shimano, Vacansoleil, and CCC Polsat Polkowice. The Continental teams, all from Germany, are LKT Team Brandenburg, Seven Stones, Team Heizomat, Team Kuota Indeland, Team NetApp and Team Nutrixxion Sparkasse.

  • Wrubleski targeting mid-season form

    Alex Wrubleski (Webcor) happy
    Article published:
    March 24, 2010, 13:05 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Canadian’s season starts at Redlands

    Alex Wrubleski will return to North American bike racing at this weekend’s Redlands Bicycle Classic, after spending one year abroad with Columbia-HTC. The Canadian all-rounder has rejoined Webcor Builders Women’s Professional Cycling Team for this season and expects to be in top form come mid-summer.

    “I’m pretty psyched to be back here and have a more relaxed schedule and a lot less traveling,” Wrubleski said. “I was on Webcor two years ago and I knew it was a well managed team, so it wasn’t a hard decision to come back. I still like racing over in Europe and it’s not like I won’t go back but, for now, racing in North America is what I want to do.”

    The Canadian, who has two road and one time trial national championship to her name, turned heads when she won the 2008 Redlands Bicycle Classic. She used her climbing and time trial skills to establish most of her lead, but it was her savvy speed in capturing time bonuses that sealed the deal, winning the overall title by one second ahead of American Mara Abbott.

    While not in peak form herself, Wrubleski hold high hopes for Webcor Builders’ chances of winning the race. “Redlands definitely suits my strengths,” Wrubleski said. “There is some climbing and bonus sprints. Personally I don’t think I’m at my fitness level to be able to win it this year. That’s not to say that one of my teammates isn’t at that fitness level. Katheryn [Mattis] has been racing for the last month and she is fit right now. We have a few other riders that are fit right now. I still think we can do well here.”

    Wrubleski’s teammates include former US Road Champion and World Cup race winner Katheryn Mattis, Austrian Andrea Graus, American talents Lindsay Myers and Ally Stacher along with three additional Canadians Gina Grain, Erinne Willock and Joelle Numainville.

    Webcor Builders held a...