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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Date published:
March 09, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Unlucky Haussler has Milan-San Remo in sight

    Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) took the green jersey after placing second in the sprint
    Article published:
    March 08, 2011, 22:00 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Crash and mistake in final sprint don't affect his ambitions

    Heinrich Haussler was fuming at the end of stage 3 of Paris-Nice after he narrowly missed out on the stage win, coming in second to his compatriot Matt Goss. But he was reassured the day after a crash that his knee is fine before Milan-San Remo, and was consoled by claiming the green points classification jersey.

    "I landed on my kneecap again, this just shouldn't happen," Haussler told Cyclingnews on the start line of stage 3 in Cours-Cosne-sur-Loire. "After the crash, I was really worried but I had no pain."

    The Australian had a few bruises, some of them being on his hands. "I don't wear gloves because I don't like that," he said, but he finished stage 3 with gloves. "I had to."

    The fast man from Garmin-Cervélo berated himself for making a critical mistake in the finale, which cost him the win. "I hesitated and it cost me the victory," he said. "I don't believe myself that I hesitated. I was waiting for Greg (Henderson) to go but he was looking at his gear, maybe he had a problem with his chain or something. I waited too long and Goss went. By the time I got going, it was too late."

    Haussler complained about the hectic finale in Nuits-St-Georges but certainly not about his condition, as he looks very comfortable on the bike these days. "I just came down from altitude training I was doing before Milan-San Remo," he said.

    The Australian purposely skipped the Belgian week-end of Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in order to train in the mountains. After a year 2010 marred by knee injuries, he's totally focused the Italian classicissima he completed in second position two years ago.

  • "Disappointed" Pellizotti says he's quitting cycling

    Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) pushes on
    Article published:
    March 09, 2011, 1:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Banned Italian hits out at "poorly managed" UCI

    Following the Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision to uphold an appeal by the UCI to ban Franco Pellizotti for two years, the Italian claims he wants "nothing more of cycling".

    In an interview with Spanish cycling website Ciclismo a Fondo, Pellizotti has hit out at the sport's governing body claiming it's "poorly managed, with the leadership continuing to do what they want, applying rules as they wish."

    Pellizotti was identified as a rider of interest by the UCI's Biological Passport before last year's Giro d'Italia but was then cleared by the Italian Olympic Committee in October.

    The man known as ‘Il Delfino' says at that point in proceedings, he believed that the matter would be dropped.

    "I'm disappointed with the sport and with justice," he said. "I do not accept this penalty, but what I can do? This is the cycle... The leaders do what they want and will continue because they are allowed to do so. They are powerful, very strong and nobody says anything against them. I just cannot do anything."

    Pellizotti's legal team had requested an urgent verdict and the arbitrators took just five days to reach their decison. His ban is expected to last until May 2012. Fellow Italian Pietro Caucchioli was also given a ban, with CAS confirming the two-year suspension issued by the Italian Olympic Committee.

    As an extra penalty, CAS has cancelled all of Pelizotti's results from May 17, 2009. He will lose his second place at the Giro d'Italia (he finished third but Danilo Di Luca was subsequently disqualified for doping), his stage victory at the Tour de France and his king of the mountains jersey. He has also been fined 115,000 Euro.

    The 33-year-old says he is now walking away from...

  • Paris-Nice pileup injures Sagan, Maes, Roelandts

    A crash in the sprint on stage 3 was caused when Peter Sagan touched wheels with Geraint Thomas out of the final turn.
    Article published:
    March 09, 2011, 2:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    Riders to continue after last kilometre tumble

    A tricky Paris-Nice finish in Nuits-Saint-Georges left three riders in bandages following Tuesday's stage 3. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), winner of two stages in last year's Paris-Nice, went down in the final turn with 300m to go and went down, causing a chain-reaction pileup.

    "Fortunately [Sagan] was not injured apart from abrasions to the knee and his left hand," said Liquigas-Cannondale director Stefano Zanatta. "Pity, because Peter was in a good position and the finish lent itself to his explosiveness."

    Sagan is still recovering from five stitches he received in his hip as a result of a crash in the Classica Sarda last week.

    Two Belgians were also scraped up in the incident. Nikolas Maes (Quick Step) couldn't avoid the Slovak's airborne bicycle and tumbled head-over-tail into the barriers, taking down Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jurgen Roelandts in the process. However, while the crash was dramatic all three riders finished the stage and are expected to continue the race.

    Maes escaped without fractures, but will decide if he will continue in the morning. "I was setting up the exit from the corner when suddenly I was on the ground due to a bike that hit my wheel," Maes said. "I ended up against the barriers and the pain was immediately very strong. It’s a shame because I was in a good position for the sprint. In this moment I have a lot of pain but I hope to take the start tomorrow," said Maes after his hospital visit.

    Roelandts' director Herman Frison said his rider's injuries seemed serious at first, but that the former Belgian champion was stitched up and should be fine. "All in all not too bad. He came away with a small cut to his shoulder and some other abrasions."

    The stage was won by HTC-Highroad's Matt Goss, who managed to avoid the crash to claim his first Paris-Nice victory and the overall race lead. Team Sky's director Sean Yates was hoping to see a repeat by Greg Henderson, winner of stage...

  • Aggressive Voeckler believes a Frenchman can win Paris-Nice

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) launched one of his signature attacks and was followed by Blel Kadri (AG2R)
    Article published:
    March 09, 2011, 9:44 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    National champion inspired by growing TV audiences

    Thomas Voeckler showed off his French national champion’s jersey in the finale of stage 3 at Paris-Nice on Tuesday with a typically audacious attack. Voeckler tried to anticipate the peloton in the final 25km but was caught with five kilometres to go. The sprinters then took control and Australia’s Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) won the stage.

    “It was very much part of the plan to attack,” Voeckler said after the finish. “We’re done with the flat stages and we must remember that Paris-Nice is a race for aggressive riders. There was a climb in the finale of the stage and so someone had to try and take advantage of it. My teammate Cyril Gautier had been away from the start and so it was a good situation for us. I would have had more chance of succeeding if other riders followed the move.”

    Voeckler won stage one at the Tour of the Mediterranean and the overall classification of the Tour du Haut-Var in February and confirmed he is having best ever early season. Thanks to his panache and aggression, Voeckler is still France’s favourite rider.

    “I don’t attack just to put on a show,” he insisted. “It’s not only for the show. Under certain circumstances, such as when there are more riders away or a favourable wind like on Sunday when Thomas De Gendt and Jérémy Roy stayed ahead of the bunch for the win, being offensive can lead to a stage victory. I attack with great determination but I also know that people like to watch me going on the offensive.”

    Voeckler admitted he was aware of the huge rise in the French television viewing figures for Monday’s stage of Paris-Nice. On Monday the finish was seen by 1.236 million people on France Television with an average...

  • Hushovd says race radios are needed for safety reasons

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    March 09, 2011, 10:06 GMT
    Cycling News

    World champion criticises 'old men' of the UCI

    World Champion Thor Hushovd said that radios should be allowed in races for safety reasons, criticising the 'old men' at the UCI who have decided to introduce the ban.

    “I think we should be allowed to use radio communications for safety reasons," Hushovd told "The UCI's ruling comes from “some old men who sit and discuss their way to do things. I don't know why, but it's probably because of age.”

    Hushovd cited a recent example where the radio would have been useful. “There was an ambulance coming in the opposite direction during Strade Bianche last weekend. We need to be told about things like that. It may also be useful to get information on roadworks and dark tunnels. There are things that can be a bit scary at the time, although it can be okay if we know about it."

    Fellow Norwegian Lars Petter Nordhaug of Team Sky echoed Hushovd's sentiments. “The radio plays a key role in safety and for punctures. There will be a lot more control (without them). I would say that (banning them) causes more trouble than improving the racing."

    Hushovd rejected the suggestion that one-way communications should be allowed. “It is just stupid. Should one say to the Formula 1 drivers that they should stop using radio communications too? This is 2011."

    Nordhaug criticised the UCI's understanding of racing. “I think they put too much emphasis on how much the radio is used in relation to the control of the race. It's not like we're robots and do exactly the sporting director says," he concluded.

  • Di Gregorio learning to be a domestique at Astana

    Remy Di Gregorio of France
    Article published:
    March 09, 2011, 10:19 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    French climber finds new motivation by riding for Vinokourov

    French climber Rémy Di Gregorio has often been very active at the head of the peloton during the opening stages of Paris-Nice, embracing a new role as a super domestique at the Astana team after spending six seasons as a pure climber at FDJ.

    The skinny rider from Marseille was once considered the new Richard Virenque. But despite struggling to emerge, he is still ambitious and is still only 25.

    “My job here at Paris-Nice is to help my team leaders”, Di Gregorio told Cyclingnews. “I must make sure that they don’t get trapped in a split. That’s why we race at the front in the finale.”

    Astana has three team leaders for Paris-Nice with Alexandre Vinokourov, Roman Kreuziger and Robert Kiserlovski all potential overall winners.

    So far, Di Gregorio’s is pleased he moved to Astana for the 2011 season.

    “I’ve worked hard during the off-season. I’ve been very serious. I’ve asked myself some serious questions about what I want to achieve during my career. I haven’t looked for an easy way to emerge by choosing to join Astana. But I’ve realised that during my six years with FDJ, I never got the chance to work for some great team leaders. I’m going through the process that I should have experienced at the start of my career. I’m racing in their shadows now but with the aim of coming back in the spotlight later on. I haven’t lost my ambitions, just the opposite: I have the ambition to come back even stronger.”

    Di Gregorio admits that he didn’t live up to expectations at FDJ. He hasn’t won a race since taking a stage at the 2006 Tour de l’Avenir.

    “I didn’t go too badly last...

  • UCI no needle policy a possibility ahead of Giro d'Italia, says Steffen

    Prentice Steffen has a long career in cycling and is an important part of Slipstream's anti-doping stance.
    Article published:
    March 09, 2011, 10:55 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin-Cervélo's anti-doping policy outlined

    The UCI could introduce a unilateral no needle policy before this year’s Giro d’Italia, according to Garmin-Cervélo’s Team Physician, Prentice Steffen. Garmin have a no needle policy, which they introduced in 2008 as an experiment at the Tour de France. In 2010 they made it a full team policy, and each rider within the team is asked to sign a contract which states, “No injections or infusions of any kind will be permitted in any racing, training or resting circumstance, no matter time of year, location, or event.”

    Last week, the day before Paris-Nice begun, Steffen was asked to speak at an assembly of ProTeam doctors, UCI officials including President Pat McQuaid, as well as members of the French police. The meeting covered several topics, including an overview of the UCI’s Biological Passport, police involvement and the possibilities of a no needle stance throughout the peloton.

    “I got a call during the Tour of Qatar from Mario Zorzoli, Medical Director at the UCI, and he had heard that we had a no needle policy and he asked me if I would be willing to talk at a meeting. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be with team directors or doctors but either way I was happy to,” Steffen told Cyclingnews.

    “I can’t say that all the team doctors were present and accounted for but there were over 30 people, Pat McQuaid and members of the French police, Mario and the sport science commission from the UCI.

    “There was a review of Passport data and as time passes the number of results grows as well as the number of riders so there’s more statistical power that starts to look more interesting, so Mario explained some of the numbers.”

    Garmin’s no needle policy...

  • Ivan Basso targets overall success at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    March 09, 2011, 12:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Liquigas-Cannondale leader picks Gesink as a dark horse

    Ivan Basso is targeting overall success at Tirreno-Adriatico but has warned that Robert Gesink (Rabobank) could be the dark house of the race after his impressive victory at the Tour of Oman.

    Basso is almost certain to miss this year’s Giro d’Italia to focus on the Tour de France and so Tirreno-Adriatico is his big goal of the spring. He is already on form and won the GP di Lugano on February 27.

    “To ward off bad luck I’ll say I’m not the favourite but I’m feeling really good. It’s not a secret that this is a race I put a red circle around on my race calendar,” Basso told Gazzetta dello Sport before explaining the factors that are expected to decide who emerges as overall winner next Tuesday.

    “The two time trials will be vital. For me they’re also an important test for the rest of the season. The length of the stages will also decisive, even more than the climbing in them. We’re going to be very tired on Sunday after the stage to Castelraimondo. Time bonuses will also be a factor because you can gain or lose vital seconds every day. I would have been happier if there’d been an uphill finish but it’s not a big deal. But I know I’ll have to suffer more than some of the more explosive riders on some of the stage finishes.”

    This year’s Tirreno-Adriatico begins with a 16.8km team time trial around the Marina di Carrara. Liquigas won the team time trial at the 2010 Giro d’Italia and Basso considers the Italian team one of the favourites for today. Liquigas-Cannondale will start at 15:46 local time, with only Leopard Trek and Acqua &Sapone after them.

    “My teammates are...