- Article published:
- March 30, 2010, 18:19 BST
- Richard Tyler
Stage one's combativity winner to focus on Flanders
Bert Scheirlinckx was awarded the combativity prize on stage one of the Three Days of De Panne after a brave, but ultimately unsuccessful late-race move. The Landbouwkrediet rider says he will use the remainder of the four-stage race to taper for this Sunday's Tour of Flanders.
Scheirlinckx launched his attack from the eventual race-winning group with 20 kilometres to go on Tuesday's 198-kilometre stage one from Middelkerke to Oudenaarde. With a number of strong riders in the group including Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas), the Belgian had realised he would face stiff opposition from his Italian colleagues.
"I knew that I had to go against all the Italians that were in the break," Scheirlinckx told Cyclingnews after leaving the podium with his trophy. "I knew if I wanted to have a shot at the stage win then I had to go a long way from the finish to surprise them."
As a Flandrian, Scheirlinckx had hoped his local knowledge would help him gain a decisive advantage in the race's closing stages, but his charge was thwarted by a combination of his pursuers and the region's weather.
"It was a hard race. I live in the region so I know the race's course really well. My legs felt really good, so that's the time to race," he said.
"At first I thought the group might let me go, but the Italians anticipated quite fast and I never had more than 30 to 35 seconds, and that's not enough to survive for twenty kilometres in the wind."
With De Panne's last two road stages and individual time trial to be raced over largely hill-free profiles, Scheirlinckx said he will now aim for a trouble-free lead-up to the Tour of Flanders.
"Tomorrow should be a bunch sprint, and it's the same again on Thursday morning. For me the first stage here was my objective, for the rest of the race it'll be trying not to crash or get sick and focus on this Sunday."
- Article published:
- March 30, 2010, 18:21 BST
- Cycling News
Hillsboro-Roubaix, Rock Hill first qualifying races
The first two of six races of the Nature Valley Pro Ride begin next weekend with the Hillsboro-Roubaix (Illinois) Road Race on April 10 near Saint Louis, and the Rock Hill Spring Races on April 10-11 in South Carolina, near Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Nature Valley Pro Ride races are selection events for the Pro Ride program, which gives amateur racers an opportunity to compete against the pros in the Nature Valley Grand Prix as part of a composite team. Selected riders receive free entries, a travel subsidy, housing and team support.
One male and one female rider will be invited from each selection event, starting with Hillsboro-Roubaix and the Rock Hill races.
Like its namesake, the fabled Paris-Roubaix classic in France, Hillsboro-Roubaix favors hardy, experienced riders due to its short, sharp climbs, twisting descents and long, open sections where the wind can be a major factor. But the race's signature feature is its brick roads. Like the pavé of Paris-Roubaix, Hillsboro-Roubaix is often decided on the old-style streets that take their toll on riders and their equipment.
"Despite the challenges of this course – or perhaps because of them – Hillsboro-Roubaix is enormously popular," Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. "That was a major factor in its selection for a second straight year."
While the Rock Hill Spring Races are a new addition to the Nature Valley Pro Ride, they have been a fixture on the Southeastern racing scene for years. Like Hillsboro-Roubaix, the 30-year-old event is enormously popular. The Nature Valley Pro Ride will play out as a two-day omnium, with racers contesting the Patriot's Trail Road Race Saturday and the Winthrop Lake Criterium on Sunday.
"With omnium scoring, the Rock Hill Spring Races will select the best all-around rider, which is a perfect fit for the event they will qualify for," LaPorte said. "The Nature Valley Grand...
- Article published:
- March 30, 2010, 18:51 BST
- Daniel Benson
Breakaway sets Garmin-Transitions rider up for final time trial
David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) won the final time trial in the three days of De Panne twelve years ago, but this year he's hoping to do more than that - he wants the overall title.
The Scot finished seventh in today's first stage, thirteen seconds down on winner Steve Chainel, but with two stages - one of which is a time trial - to come he looks in good shape to secure his ambitions.
"I hope we get through tomorrow well and then I want to win the GC," he said after today's finish in Oudenaarde, Belgium.
Millar joined a group of ten riders earlier in the stage and looked strong on the day's testing climbs. The group were reduced to seven on the Berendries with 38km to go, but Millar sat on Daniel Bennati's (Liquigas) wheel as he set a strong pace on the Valkenberg five kilometres later.
"It was relentless. We went from kilometre zero and it was racing in the cross winds and we didn't stop once. It's very rare that we do that in bike racing. It was an extremely hard day," Millar said.
Millar also made the final selection on the Kruisberg, 16km from the finish, showing that he still had the form he used to such good effect at the Criterium International, where he won the time trial.
"I was very intelligent today. Sometimes when I feel good I get too carried away but I was very calculating today. I really want to win and I used my head. I attacked once and that was it."
Millar and his team will need to switch into a far more defensive mode for tomorrow's stage if he is follow through on an overall win. He'll also need to recover from today's efforts and said at the finish that he was feeling tired from recent racing.
"I was feeling a little tired still from Crit which was probably a good thing as it forced me to ride intelligently and conservatively meaning I was still able to race hard in the final when everybody else was on the hands and knees. Now we have a lot of defending to do till Thursday...
- Article published:
- March 30, 2010, 21:00 BST
- Greg Johnson
Time trial honing the aim for road season
After missing selection for Australia’s UCI Track World Championships squad Luke Durbridge bounced back to win the weekend’s Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania, Australia at the weekend. Despite being the only Jayco-Skins rider contesting the race, a solid time trial set Durbridge up for overall victory by just eight seconds, putting the West Australian in the National Road Series lead.
“It was a good result, I would have liked to have gone to track worlds, but I missed out on the team just one week before they left,” Durbridge told Cyclingnews. “I thought I had good training and form so I may as well go down to Mersey Valley. To come back with a win is just really good.”
Durbridge admitted the victory helped soften the blow of missing out on selection for the Copenhagen, Denmark race. “It did, it did actually, as it gave me something to look forward to,” he said. “It also gave me something I could finish on before having a little bit of a break. I’m having a little break before I go to Europe, so I wanted to finish on a high. To go down and have a really good time trial, then hold on for the win was really good.”
Durbridge will contest the next round of Cycling Australia’s NRS, Canberra Tour, before joining the Australian Under 23 development program at its base in Varese, Italy. With Durbridge heading to Europe to compete on the road for the first time, trying to win the National Road Series will be difficult for Durbridge as he’ll likely only contest three of the series’ seven rounds.
“I’m having about a week off, not long, just over Easter,” he explained. “Then I’ll get into a three or four week road block leading up to the Canberra Tour, then I go from there on to Europe to meet up with the boys in Varese.
“I’ve thought about [defending the NRS leader jersey] if I can go to Canberra and...
- Article published:
- March 31, 2010, 10:31 BST
- Cycling News
Spanish riders dominate UCI world rankings
Spanish riders dominate the latest world rankings released by the UCI, following a fortnight of solid results for riders from that country.
Luis Leon Sanchez continues to lead the standings thanks to his consistent start to the year, with the likes of Oscar Freire winning Milan-San Remo, Joaquin Rodriguez taking out the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde placing in some of the early-season stage races.
Consequently, five Spaniards sit in the top 10 of the latest rankings, with world champion Cadel Evans maintaining momentum in fourth place and Rein Taaramae making his presence felt with an appearance in eighth, the Cofidis rider having previously been in 29th spot.
The big mover was Bernhard Eisel, who moved up 42 places to 15th following his win in Gent-Wevelgem. The Austrian sits just two points behind former teammate Greg Henderson, who coincidentally slipped four places to 14th. The man who took second behind Eisel last weekend, Sep Vanmarcke, was the standout name, his performance helping him break through into the top 20, having previously been unranked in the UCI standings.
Another rider to climb the rankings was Cervélo TestTeam's Xavier Tondo, who shot up to 11th courtesy of a stage win in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. A great performance in that same stage and indeed the race also helped Joaquin Rodriquez to his second in the rankings, the Katusha rider now sitting 80 points behind leader and countryman Sanchez.
It's no surprise therefore, that Spain tops the nations and teams rankings, sitting well ahead of Italy in the list of countries, with Australia still holding onto third place. Sanchez's Caisse d'Epargne maintains its grip as the best squad in the rankings, with HTC-Columbia and now Katusha sitting in second and third respectively.
UCI World Rankings - individuals