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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Date published:
March 05, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Kruijswijk happy with performance at Langkawi

    Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin)
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 14:17 GMT
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Belkin rider hopes femoral artery issues are behind him

    Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin) hopes that he can return to the form that saw make the top 10 at the Giro d’Italia in time for this year’s edition of the race.

    Kruijswijk has struggled with his legs over the last few seasons after his femoral artery narrowed, an ailment which prevented blood from flowing through it properly. After having surgery on it last year, the Dutch rider is looking to put his problems behind him.

    "I guess after what I showed two years ago, I should be able to get the same level now. I'm hopeful for that and I'm going to work on it," Kruijswijk told Cyclingnews ahead of stage 6 of the Tour de Langkawi. "Every race from now on, I just want to get some results. I'm not just specifically working towards one race or another, but I am hoping at the Giro I can be at my best level."

    This isn't the first time he has had surgery on his artery. The problem first came up in 2007 and it is entirely possible that it could pop up again. Kruijswijk hopes that he has seen the back of the problem. "I hope that they've fixed it for the rest of my career now. Fingers crossed that they will be good now."

    Kruijswijk is one of several climbers at Belkin competing for leadership roles through out the year. Robert Gesink remains one of their top riders, and Kruijswijk often has to play a support role for him. Bauke Mollema has also barged his way up to the top of the Belkin tree. Mollema put in a solid performance at last year’s Tour de France, finishing 6th overall, and he will return this year as joint leader with Gesink.

    Despite the competition, Kruijswijk believes he will get his own chances. "There are a lot of races and we can't always start...

  • Millar: I started on the cobbles a little late

    David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) has one more season on the road
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 16:45 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    No regrets as Garmin rider faces into final Classics campaign

    The natural centrepiece of David Millar's valedictory season will come in July with the Tour de France start in Leeds and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but before those appointments on home roads, the 37-year-old is taking in a number of races and places around Europe for the final time as a professional rider.

    This past weekend brought Millar to Belgium, where his appearance at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday brought back memories from the early days of his career. The Briton was drafted into the Cofidis squad for the 1997 Omloop Het Volk, as it was then known, for a rare taste of the cobbles, but it would be thirteen years before he returned to Belgium’s Opening Weekend.

    "The sport was different then. I was a pretty fragile 19, 20-year-old. I did Het Volk my first year but you're racing against Museeuw and guys like that," Millar told Cyclingnews. "Although in hindsight, if I was starting my career now, I'd be brilliant for these races because I tick all the boxes for them. I kind of missed that window when I was younger and I went in more in to time trials, stage racing and things like that."

    Indeed, it was not until 2010, his third season at Garmin and deep into the second phase of a career divided by his doping ban, that Millar spent a protracted period racing on the cobbles of Belgium, winning the Three Days of De Panne and performing strongly at the Tour of Flanders. It would be understandable if Millar harboured regrets that he hadn't turned his attention to the pavé earlier in his career, but he insisted that was not the case.

    "I love these races, but I just started them a little bit late," he said. "Still, there's no regrets. I love coming and helping the team in these races because it’s just such an aggressive type of racing, completely different to stage race riding....

  • Cavendish: I'm very happy to be riding in Milan-San Remo

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 17:33 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprinter also targets Ghent-Wevelgem and Scheldeprijs

    Mark Cavendish has confirmed that his spring race programme will include both Milan-San Remo and Ghent-Wevelgem before he takes a break in mid-April after targeting a third victory at the Scheldeprijs race in Belgium

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere told Cyclingnews on Monday that Cavendish would ride Milan-San Remo after race organiser RCS confirmed that this year's race would not include the Pompeiana climb due to lands slides and safety issues. The team has now fleshed out his race programme, adding Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Driedaagse van De Panne in Belgium.

    "I'm very happy to be riding in Milano-Sanremo, on the same route where I watched my heroes race and win when I was a kid," Cavendish said in a press release from the team.

    "In fact, the edition I won in 2009 featured the climb on Le Manie. It will be fun and stimulating to ride on this route, which is making this race the only Classics monument for the sprinters. I'm also very happy to race in Belgium. I've never won Gent-Wevelgem. The route for this race has gone back to how it used to be, too. Driedaagse van De Panne and Scheldeprijs will complete my 'Flemish' schedule, during which I can also count on a squad that's as strong on this type of route as Omega Pharma – QuickStep."

    Cavendish will share team leadership with Tom Boonen in some of the spring races but could have a shot at a second victory in Milan-San Remo and a first victory at Ghent-Wevelgem if the racing stays together and is decided in a sprint finish. Cavendish had a quiet start to the 2014 season but won recently a stage at the Volta ao Algarve.

    The doubts...

  • Win a Team Giant-Shimano jersey signed by Marcel Kittel

    Marcel Kittel (Giant Shimano) powers to another win
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 18:52 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Enter competition today for a chance to win

    Cyclingnews has teamed up with Dutch WorldTour squad Team Giant-Shimano to provide a chance to win a team jersey signed by star sprinter Marcel Kittel. The 25-year-old German has started the 2014 season strong, earning four victories thus far, and one lucky reader will receive a jersey with his autograph on it.

    To enter all you need to do is the following:

    1. Subscribe to the Cyclingnews YouTube channel.
    2. Fill in this form to complete your entry.

    If you've already done step 1, then just fill in the form to complete your entry.

    The competition will end at midnight (GMT) on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, so enter today! The winner will be contacted via e-mail and announced on Facebook.

    And to keep track of how many more victories Kittel and Team Giant-Shimano accrue during the 2014 season, follow the team via the squad's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

  • Valverde to ride Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima

    Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 21:40 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Quintana leads Movistar at Tirreno-Adriatico

    The Movistar team has confirmed that Alejandro Valverde will lead the Spanish team at this weekend's Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima one-day races, but the recent Ruta del Sol winner will miss Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo after the Pompeiana climb was taken out of the race route.

    Valverde showed some impressive form at the recent Ruta del Sol, winning two stages and the overall classification ahead of Richie Porte (Team Sky) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural). The dirt roads of the Strade Bianche traditionally suit the Classics riders but the hilly profile and steep climb to the centre of Siena could also see Valverde in contention.

    He will be backed by Andrey Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Benat Intxausti, Pablo Lastras, Enrique Sanz, Jasha Sütterlin and Fran Ventoso.

    Nairo Quintana will join forces with Valverde and his young brother Dayer for Sunday's Roma Maxima race that starts and ends in the Italian capital. The Colombian climber recently became a father but is set to get his season back on track by testing his form in the hilly one-day race.

    Quintana will stay in Italy to ride Tirreno-Adriatico that starts on the Tuscan coast on Wednesday March 12. Quintana will face Tour de France rivals Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in the week-long Italian stage race, with Saturday's mountain finish on Selvarotonda and Sunday's steep finish in Guardiagrele suiting his climbing skills.

    Quintana will be backed by a strong Movistar team that will also target the opening team time trial. Also in the squad are Amador, Igor Antón, Eros Capecchi, Castroviejo, Alex Dowsett, Intxausti, Adriano Malori.

    Movistar has also...

  • Lotto Belisol names Le Samyn and Three Days of West-Flanders teams

    Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol)
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 0:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kenny Dehaes looking for stage wins at Belgian races

    Lotto-Belisol have announced a youthful squad for two mid-week races starting on Wednesday at Le Samyn and from March 7 until March 9, the Three Days of West-Flanders with Kenny Dehaes the sprinter for both races while veteran Greg Henderson has been selected as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

    The 195km Le Samyn, which starts in Quaregnon, is a race for strong sprinters with five bergs in the first half of the route set to test the riders and after 110km, there are five laps in and nearby Dour which is where the races finishes.

    During the laps, the race encounters the Côte de la Roquette and the Côte d'Audregnies to ensure that only the strongest sprinters will battle for the win with Frenchmen Adrien Petit (Cofidis)and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) favoured to take the win.

    For Lotto-Belisol, Kenny Dehaes will take on the responsibility as the team's sprinter. Dehaes notched four wins including Halle-Ingooigem and the Handzame Classic in 2013 and in the absence of Andre Greipel has proven to be capable back-up sprinter to the German road race champion for the team.

    Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, the Lotto-Belisol sports director, explained on the team’s website the rationale behind the selection.

    "We bring a youthful selection to Le Samyn. We have also chosen to select Greg Henderson for the race. The goal for Greg is to take his place back in the peloton after the knee injury he suffered. The past few years Kenny Dehaes was always very close to the victory," Heynderickx said .

    "But this year we will try to turn things around and win the race. A couple of fast riders should do the lead-out for Dehaes. Once again I am expecting strong teamwork from Cofidis. With Adrien Petit in their selection...

  • BikeNZ announce Andrew Matheson as new CEO

    BikeNZ
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 1:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Replaces Brian Broad in role

    One of New Zealand’s leaders in high performance sport will take on a new role as the BikeNZ's Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Andrew Matheson who was the General Manager Performance and Strategic Investment for High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) will take up the position that had been filled by interim CEO Brian Broad for the past nine months.

    BikeNZ, the umbrella organisation embracing all national bike and cycling organisations, is set to embark on a centralised base for its administration, cycling development and high performance at the new Avantidrome in Cambridge.

    Matheson, who is a former New Zealand rowing representative, was the High Performance Manager for Rowing New Zealand for six years including the Athens and Beijing Olympic campaigns. He became High Performance Director for Rowing Australia and the Australian institute of Sport for four years before moving back to New Zealand in late 2012.

    "I believe BikeNZ is well positioned to move into an exciting and successful new phase and the opportunity to lead this change will be challenging and rewarding," Matheson said.

    BikeNZ Chairman Richard Leggat said the organisation was delighted to have a candidate of Matheson's talent and experience take up the role. "We believe Andrew's proven leadership track record across a variety of national sporting organisations leaves him well placed to continue building on Bike NZ's many successes in recent years," Leggat said.

    "As we move BikeNZ to the Avantidrome in Cambridge, Andrew will be focussed on bringing the various elements of the sport together under one roof whilst driving the delivery of our three year strategic plan.

    "Our high performance arm is well placed to challenge for medals this year in Glasgow, and looking forward to the Rio Olympics and beyond.

    "Our sport on a day-to-day basis faces challenges and a key part of Andrew's role will be to work with our member organisations in...

  • Wilco Kelderman given gc opportunities at Paris-Nice

    Wilco Kelderman rides to the start line
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 3:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belkin full of confidence for the 'Race to the Sun'

    Belkin Pro Cycling travels to France for the first WorldTour stage race in Europe this season, Paris-Nice, full of confidence from their early season performances. Sports Director Merijn Zeeman is hoping the team can continue the good run the team displayed on the opening classics weekend where Moreno Hofland and Sep Vanmarcke appeared on the podium at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

    "The Omloop [Het Nieuwsblad]  and Kuurne [Brussels]Kuurne] were a very pleasant confirmation for us," said Zeeman. "First of all, it was good to see that the men are in a top condition. And besides that, last weekend was the first time this season that we really wanted to be at our best. We worked hard to make the riders into a real team and it was great to see that the men fought the battle together. I really enjoyed it."

    As a prestigious race, Paris-Nice is also an early-season target for big teams such as Team Sky who will be riding in support of Richie Porte who is looking to defend his title from last year. Zeeman is under no illusions that it will be a tough week of racing. "But if we ride as a team, then I'm sure that our current form allows us to get in the mix for a good GC and stage victories," Zeeman said.

    Leading the team’s overall ambitions is 22-year-old Wilco Kelderman who recently placed fifth on gc at the Volta ao Algarve. Kelderman had a breakthrough 2013 as he rode his first grand tour placing 17th at the Giro d’Italia and also claimed his the overall victory at the Danmark Rundt and he is eager to pin a number on his back again.

    "It was really nice what they did. I hope to be good in Paris-Nice...