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Latest Cycling News, April 18, 2008

Date published:
April 18, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Wheel & Sprocket looking for riders for Nature Valley

    Article published:
    April 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    The Wheel & Sprocket Pro Development Team has been invited by the organisers of the 2008 Nature...

    The Wheel & Sprocket Pro Development Team has been invited by the organisers of the 2008 Nature Valley Grand Prix to bring a men's Midwest regional development team to this year's race, held every June in Minnesota, United States. Wheel & Sprocket Pro Development was selected because of its mission to provide developing racers the opportunity to compete at the highest level of the sport. The team is looking for four U25, category 1 cyclists to complete its roster for this year's event.

    To learn more about this opportunity or to apply to join the team, please visit www.teamwheelandsprocket.com/NVGP. All applications must be submitted by May 2, 2008.

  • Tinkoff return to Italy for Trentino

    Article published:
    April 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    On Sunday, April 20, the Tinkoff Credit Systems squad will be returning to race in Italy. The team...

    On Sunday, April 20, the Tinkoff Credit Systems squad will be returning to race in Italy. The team is ambitious to support Luca Mazzanti in another bid to repeat his 2005 winning performance. Supporting Mazzanti are Daniele Contrini, Alexander Khatuntsev, Walter Pedraza, Evgeni Petrov, Ivan Rovny, Yauhen Sobal and Nikolai Trusov.

    On the following Tuesday, April 22, the team will also participate in the Giro del Trentino starting in Arco di Trento and concluding on April 25 in Peio Terme. The President of Tinkoff Credit Systems, Oleg Tinkov will be on-site to watch the team after a brief appearance at Paris-Roubaix. The Trentino squad will be directed by Dimitri Konishev and Claudio Cozzi with Mazzanti being replaced by Ilya Chernetsky for the Giro del Trentino, as Mazzanti is expected to participate in the Belgian Classics, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    "The team has very high expectations of the riders," sports director Dimitri Konishev explained, "as we now participate in monumental events in many countries, asserting every effort to breakaway. Our riders are in good condition, and we are confident that they can hold their own against the best."

  • More team line-ups for the Ardennes Classics

    Article published:
    April 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Spanish teams Caisse d'Epargne and Saunier Duval have announced their respective rider line-ups for...

    Spanish teams Caisse d'Epargne and Saunier Duval have announced their respective rider line-ups for the upcoming Ardennes Classics in Southern Belgium and the Netherlands. Starting this Sunday with the Amstel Gold Race, followed by the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday and La Doyenne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège the following Sunday, Caisse d'Epargne's line-up will be the same for all three races.

    Team captain Alejandro Valverde will be joined by José Vicente Garcia, David López García, Alberto Losada, Oscar Pereiro, Joaquím Rodríguez, José Joaquín Rojas and Luis León Sánchez in his attempt to renew his 2006 victories of Flèche and Liège.

    Saunier Duval, on the other hand, opted for three different team compositions. The Amstel Gold Race, to be held Sunday, will see Riccardo Riccò, Eros Capecchi, Jesús Del Nero, David De La Fuente, Josep Jufré, Rubén Lobato, Aurélien Passeron and Alberto Fernández De La Puebla at the start line in Maastricht. On Wednesday, in Flèche Wallonne, Jesús Del Nero, Aurélien Passeron and Alberto Fernández will be replaced by Gómez Marchante, Rubens Bertogliati and Leonardo Piepoli. The same men, except for Bertogliati, who will again be replaced by Del Nero, will be in Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday, April 27.

    South African team Barloworld also communicated its rider selection for the Amstel Gold Race this Sunday. Team manager Claudio Corti's line-up for the event will be based around Moisés Dueñas, who showed signs of improvement in two recent stage races, Christian Pfannberger, who won the Giro del Capo, and Hugo Sabido. Also riding are John-Lee Augustyn, Giampaolo Cheula, Marco Corti, Christopher Froome and Carlo Scognamiglio.

  • Xavier Florencio: Ready for Amstel, Flèche and Liège

    Spaniard Xavier Florencio, 28, is looking forward his Ardennes Classics target
    Article published:
    April 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    The Ardennes Classics are coming and Spain's Xavier Florencio, winner of the 2006 Clásica San...

    The Ardennes Classics are coming and Spain's Xavier Florencio, winner of the 2006 Clásica San Sebastián, is ready to show his ability to be among the top contenders. Like countrymen Juan Antonio Flecha and Oscar Freire, the 28 year-old of Team Bouygues Telecom is a Classics specialist riding for a non-Spanish team. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez spoke with the well-mannered rider while he was in his hometown Tarragona, Spain.

    After starting his year in Australia's Tour Down Under and Spain's Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana - where he finished third overall - a crash spoiled Xavier Florencio's ride in the Paris-Nice. "I didn't do very well because of a crash I had the previous week [in the Clasica de Almeria]," said Florencio with complete honesty, explaining his performance in the prestigious French race. "I hurt my hands because I wasn't using gloves, and with the temperature we had those days, I had my hands and my knees infected. I didn't feel good until the last two days [of Paris-Nice].

    Xavier Florencio feels at home in the French ProTour Team, Bouygues Telecom, that he joined with the beginning of the 2006 season. "I get along well with everyone" - noted the fast-finisher - "directors, assistants, riders. There is a good environment.

    "First, I thought it would be difficult to be part of a French team considering I am Spanish. Little by little, I adapted myself to the whole group and everything goes fine now."

    "I was very fit and had been excited to start Paris-Nice. I couldn't finish the job in Vuelta a Valencia; I couldn't win one stage to finish the job. I took third place in the general [classification], second in one stage, two third places and the regularity classification, which makes me happy. The next day, in the Clasica de Almeria, I crashed and...

  • High Road youngsters dominating win list

    Up-and-coming sprinter Mark Cavendish has a bright future ahead of him
    Article published:
    April 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Susan Westemeyer The Team High Road men have notched up a total of eight wins since March 30,...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    The Team High Road men have notched up a total of eight wins since March 30, with six of them going to the team's talented youngsters. Kim Kirchen, at the ripe old age of 29, took two stage wins in the Volta al País Vasco to break the youngsters' streak, but in one of those stages, he pipped 22 year-old team-mate Morris Possoni at the finish line.

    The dominant rider at the moment is 22 year-old Mark Cavendish, who uses his explosive power and speed to win sprints. After winning gold in the Manchester Track World Championships in the Madison with High Road team-mate Bradley Wiggins, he turned his attention to road racing and promptly won the second stage of the Driedaagse van de Panne, coming out of nowhere to win by two bike lengths. And since that was so good, the "Manx Express" did it again the next morning, once again beating Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) but this time by only a few centimetres.

    "Mark is really exceptional," said directeur sportif Alan Peiper. "Nothing seems able to take away his self-confidence. Other sprinters lose their self-belief quickly, but what makes Mark so exceptional is that his morale remains so solid come what may."

    After a disappointing Gent-Wevelgem, "Cav" blasted back in the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen, pipping a very surprised Tom Boonen on the finish line. "It was a super sprint. He was a little bit too far back but did two sprints: One to get up to Erik Zabel and then another to beat Boonen. He was clearly the fastest in the final metres," according to directeur sportif Tristan Hoffman.

    Cavendish himself noted that "some people sprint until 300...

  • Cycling reform: Paris meeting concludes

    Article published:
    April 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Coming up on Cyclingnews will cover the 96th Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen - 1.HC live on April 15 at...

    Two days of discussions over the reform of pro cycling at the French Olympic Committee in Paris have come to end. Approximately 40 participants, including the head of the International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC) Victor Cordero, the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) Eric Boyer, the French Cycling Federation (FFC) President Jean Pitallier and representatives of Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), debated in what they called a "International forum for the future of cycling." The meeting took place on Wednesday and Thursday this week without the participation of the International Cycling Union (UCI), which declined the invitation to the event.

    At the end of the discussions, a "declaration for a new start in cycling" was signed, which asks the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as well as the national governments for support. Amongst other points, the participants agreed on the setting up of a new elite cycling calendar in 2009, which would include the "historic" races but be more "open" than the ProTour, as well as the creation of points licence for the teams, which would feature proportional sanctions to every infraction of anti-doping rules.

    "We agree on what we want," said teams representative Boyer about the different roles of race organisers, teams and riders. "Now, we have two choices: Either we tell the UCI that it has its place within the framework we conceived or we acknowledge the fact that it did not reply to our extended hand. I prefer the first option."

    However, the proposed framework is still "subject to further, more detailed reflection." The concluding document, according to L'Equipe, was sent to the UCI on Friday. "With this forum, we wanted to show that a common conception of cycling is developing, even if we don't consent on everything. Now, we will move forward with or without the UCI, as we did in...

  • New format for the Vuelta?

    Victor Cordero thought about ways to make his race more exciting for the public
    Article published:
    April 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    The Vuelta a España may be introducing a radical new format in an attempt to make the race more...

    The Vuelta a España may be introducing a radical new format in an attempt to make the race more exciting. Race director Victor Cordero has proposed a first week of "play-offs" for the race sometime in the future.

    "We could have a first five or six-day phase with flat stages, mountain stages and a time trial," Cordero said at the "International Forum for the future of Cycling" in Paris on Thursday, according to the Reuters news agency. "We could have team standings to select the 16 teams to continue the race."

    After eliminating the first few teams, the remaining squads would have the option of bringing in new rides for the rest of the race. "The riders taking part in the playoffs would not necessarily be the ones participating in the rest of the race," he added.

    The move would be aimed at making the first week of the race more entertaining. "Usually, the first week of a Grand Tour is not very interesting," he admitted. The Spaniard further suggested that the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia could eventually also adopt the proposed format.

    In any case, the use of the "play-offs" will not be implemented right away. "We have stages planned in the Netherlands in 2009 so it would not possible before 2010," Cordero said. "Moreover, we still need to discuss it further."