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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Date published:
March 28, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Kenda/5-Hour Energy, Gaimon and Guarnier lead NRC

    Phil Gaimon (Kenda/5 Hour Energy) was proud of his team today as he gets ready for another day in yellow.
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 23:00 BST
    Pat Malach

    Tibco leads women's standings after Redlands

    Kenda/5-Hour Energy stormed to the top of the first USA Cycling National Race Calendar standings off the strength of Phil Gaimon's four-day run in the yellow jersey at the series-opening Redlands Bicycle Classic last week in southern California. Gaimon also leads the men's individual standings.

    Team Tibco to the Top followed a similar path to the women's team lead, with individual series leader Megan Guarnier taking yellow on the first day at Redlands and holding it through the end of the four-day race.

    Gaimon won the prologue time trial by three seconds and never relinquished the yellow jersey, fending off multiple attacks on the final day under challenging wet and cold conditions. Bissell Pro Cycling's Paddy Bevin took three-consecutive stage wins at Redlands and secured the second spot in the individual standings, just 22 points behind the leader. Optum-Kelly Benefits rider Alex Candelario, who finished second to Bevin at the stage 2 criterium, sits third overall, while defending champion Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist) is fourth.

    The men's team standings reflect the top three spots in the individual category, with Gaimon's Kenda squad in the lead and Bevin's Bissell team grabbing second, 32 points in arrears. Candelario's Optum team is in third place, 87 points down.

    Kenda director Frankie Andreu said the team laid it all out on the line to bring home the squad's first NRC win and to seize the NRC individual and team leads.

    "It takes a lot of sacrifice to be able to win a big race," Andreu said of his eight-man Redlands roster. "So for Kenda/5-Hour Energy, this is our first big NRC win, and we're pumped. I'm super excited. Phil's super excited, and we're just happy for Kenda/5-Hour Energy."

    Guarnier won the leader's jersey with a...

  • Video: Demol says Boonen, not Cancellara, the favourite for Flanders

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 0:49 BST
    Daniel Benson

    RadioShack-Nissan director warns Sagan has the potential for an upset

    The Tour of Flanders may take place on Sunday but the mind games ahead of Belgium's biggest cobbled race have already begun with RadioShack's Dirk Demol claiming that Tom Boonen (Omega-Pharma QuickStep) is the favourite to win.

    Demol, a winner of Paris-Roubaix and currently directing RadioShack's squad at the Three days of de Panne told Cyclingnews that Boonen is the favourite for a third Flanders win due to his superior sprint. The Belgian rider has been in scintillating form this spring, racking up wins in E3-Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. However arch rival, Fabian Cancellara, has looked strong as well. Three punctures and two crashes destroyed his E3 chances but he was one of the leading riders in the race, almost blowing the race apart before his final puncture and crash.

    His ride in Gent-Wevelgen, where he attacked on the final climb, demonstrated no apparent lasting damage from his crashes and Demol added that the new Flanders route will suit the Swiss ace.

    The route, on paper at least, is widely regarded as tougher than previous years, giving Cancellara a greater chance of playing to his strength and riding his rivals off his rear wheel.

    Demol also tipped Peter Sagan (Liquigas) as a favourite for the race. The Slovak rider had just crossed the line in first place at the first stage of De Panne when this video was recorded and Demol pointed to the rider's sprinting strengths and current form as possible indicators of his potential for Flanders.


  • Video: Mario Cipollini trains with MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss

    Monia Baccaille is the fastest finisher at MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss.
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 3:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Training day at Lake Garda

    Mario Cipollini made headlines recently when he announced his intentions to return to professional cycling and ride the Giro d’Italia aged 45. While it remains to be seen if we will indeed see the Lion King roar again on the big stage, Cipollini has been putting in the miles in recent weeks to prove his mettle.

    He recently joined up with the MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss squad at Bardolino on the ambient shores of Lake Garda for a day of training and tactical discussion. Cipollini of course provides frames to the women’s team, but he was also happy to offer his technical advice to a squad which boasts stand-out talents such as Monia Baccaille, Tatiana Guderzo, Mata Bastianelli and Valentina Carretta.

    “I’m convinced that this movement needs more attention and much more professionalism,” MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss manager Alessia Piccolo said. “For this reason, I hope to have given my girls a nice present by putting a great champion like Mario Cipollini at their disposal. He was very kind in lending himself to the initiative, and passed on a lot to the athletes both in terms of training methods and the life of an athlete in general.”

    The day began with breakfast, where Cipollini passed on his nutritional advice, and he then led a stretching and core exercise session before joining the squad in a training ride on Lake Garda. Their work-out included a number of sprint drills, and Cipollini concluded the day by passing on some of his extensive knowledge on forming a successful sprint train.

  • Video: Stuart O'Grady in the week of the Tour of Flanders

    Stuart O'Grady (GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 4:55 BST
    Barry Ryan

    GreenEdge veteran feeling the benefit of a busy race schedule

    Stuart O'Grady (GreenEdge) managed to avoid racing the Three Days of De Panne for the last 18 years of his prestigious career – until now.

    The 38-year-old spoke to Cyclingnews before the start of Stage 1 of the Belgian race where GreenEdge began the day a man down with Jens Mouris ruled out with bone bruising.

    "I can't complain, everything's going to plan so far this season, everything's progressing pretty well," O'Grady said as he builds towards Sunday's Tour of Flanders.

    Having spent nearly 100 days racing in 2011, this season is unlikely to be much different – something the Paris-Roubaix winner says is both a symptom and a benefit of being competitive at his age.


  • Chavanel builds for Tour of Flanders at De Panne

    An attack from the field by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 7:05 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Opening stage proves less selective than expected

    The box office names may be at home resting their limbs ahead of Sunday's Tour of Flanders, but Omega Pharma-QuickStep's best supporting actor Sylvain Chavanel was happy to test himself on stage one of the Three Days of De Panne.

    The French champion put in a fierce acceleration on the slopes of the Leberg, and his teammate Niki Terpstra was also an active presence in the lead group, but Omega Pharma-QuickStep's recent sequence of wins on the cobbles was ultimately interrupted by Peter Sagan's (Liquigas-Cannondale) ferocious sprint in Oudenaarde.

    "We tried but we didn't have a sprinter in the main group. The only sprinter we have here is Chicchi but it was a bit hard for him today," Chavanel told reporters near the finish in Oudenaarde's picturesque main square. "Afterwards we tried to see what we could do, but the finale came down to a sprint."

    After missing Milan-San Remo due to bronchitis, Chavanel offered firm reassurances about his recovery with a fine second place at Dwars Door Vlaanderen last week. Widely expected to be among the candidates for overall victory at De Panne, he explained that the opening stage had proved to be less selective than a cursory look at the roadbook would have suggested.

    "It was an interesting circuit but there was very little wind so you couldn't really make a selection today," he said. "I wasn't super today. I showed myself a bit and I tried to make the race of course, but you had teams that were shutting things down, like Liquigas and Astana. I wanted to make an acceleration on the Leberg but a group of ten riders came with me, including around four Astana."


  • BMC reveal 2012 Tour of Flanders squad

    Alessandro Ballan is one of many options for BMC.
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 10:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Gilbert recovered from tooth infection, Phinney misses out

    BMC have announced their line-up for Sunday’s much anticipated Tour of Flanders. The team will be led by 2007 race winner Alessandro Ballan, Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet. Marcus Burghardt, George Hincapie, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär and Thor Hushovd make up the rest of the squad, while the American Taylor Phinney – who had been on the long list – misses out.

    The team have notched up just one win this season thanks to Cadel Evans at the Criterium International and have struggled with their Classics campaign.

    Gilbert has suffered with a tooth infection and finished in 39th place in Gent-Wevelgem last weekend. The Belgian national champion may be well off the standards he set in 2011, when won 19 races but Van Avermaet and Ballan have both shown flashes of form in recent weeks.

    Full BMC line up for the Tour of Flanders:

    Alessandro Ballan (ITA)
    Marcus Burghardt (GER)
    Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
    George Hincapie (USA)
    Thor Hushovd (NOR)
    Manuel Quinziato (ITA)
    Michael Schär (SUI)
    Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)

  • Gallery: Van Petegem on the Tour of Flanders course

    Peter Van Petegem is proud of his Flanders roots
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 11:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Two-time winner shares his experience

    With two Tour of Flanders wins under his belt (1999 and 2003) and a childhood spent growing up in the east of the region, few men are more qualified than Peter Van Petegem to analyse the route and climbs for this year's race.

    The 2012 edition of the Tour of Flanders takes place this Sunday (April 1) on a significantly altered course that has caused much controversy, mainly to do with the exclusion of the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen (Kapelmuur) climb, and the finish in the town of Oudenaarde instead of Meerbeke. Van Petegem, now 42, retired from professional cycling in 2007. As you'll see from our gallery and from his comments on the route, his passion for the sport still burns brightly.

    The Oude Kwaremont

    "For me, it is the slope that you can compare most with the the Muur," Van Petegem told Het Nieuwsblad. "Naturally, Oude Kwaremont is more like it than anything else. It is nowhere near as steep, but much longer and this ultimately equals the two out. On the first pass you need to be in a good position when you arrive. You should know that the Tour is not won on the climbs but in the flats. That is the real fight. At this stage of the race it is especially important not to waste energy. That Old Kwaremont is tough indeed."

    The Paterberg

    "While I find the Kwaremont to be more suited to a pure power man like Cancellara and Boonen, the Paterberg is a better climb because it is explosive," he said. "I compared the Old Kwaremont to the Muur, but the Paterberg definitely a lot harder than the Bosberg, the final climb in the past. If anyone drops the hammer here, there won't be any recovery. It's all the time uphill...

  • Millar doesn't fancy Olympics as Team GB's "black sheep"

    David Millar (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 13:38 BST
    Cycling News

    British rider speaks out ahead of CAS hearing next month

    British rider David Millar's doping case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport is set be be heard next month and its outcome will decide whether or not he will be eligible to represent his country at the London 2012 Olympics this summer. Millar was suspended from professional cycling for two years and banned for life from the Olympic Games following a positive test for EPO in 2004. The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has subsequently ruled that his Olympic ban is unenforceable but the British Olympic Association (BOA) are appealing against that ruling at CAS next month.

    Since his ban the Garmin-Barracuda rider, who has multiple stage victories at all three Grand Tours on his palmares, has been an outspoken critic of doping and has worked closely with several organisations to help them clean up the sport. Now, in an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, he stated that he thinks cyclists deserve a second chance as much as anyone else but that he wouldn't want to compete in the London Olympics under a cloud.

    "It [doping] was the difference between going to a race and hoping to win and going to a race and guaranteeing to win," he said. "The reason I did it is because I knew I could get away with it.

    "People do make mistakes and I think they should be punished. But they should be forgiven and given the opportunity for a second chance. We are human beings. Why should sports men and women get punished harder than people in the normal world?

    "I am quite happy looking forward to 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. That will be a much more joyful experience than me going to the...