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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, April 5, 2013

Date published:
April 05, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Gallery: Paris-Roubaix reconnaissance

    Andre Greipel leads his Lotto Belisol teammates on some pavé recon.
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 2:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Cancellara crashes on the Hornaing

    A number of teams headed out for a reconnaissance mission over parts of the 2013 Paris-Roubaix parcours, with two-time winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) crashing for the second time in two days.

    The overwhelming favourite for Sunday's race was on the Hornaing sector of cobbles near Wandignies-Hamage with teammates on Thursday morning when he crashed. He sat in the RadioShack team car alongside directeur sportif Dirk Demol for the next part of the reconnaissance, but was back on his bike again by the sector at Orchies.

    Meantime, Lotto Belisol, Sky, Vacansoleil-DCM, Blanco, Argos-Shimano and Astana were also out in force, with this gallery capturing the action.

  • Paris-Roubaix last chance for Pozzato

    Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) chasing on the Paterberg
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 4:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian yet to tick off any major targets for 2013

    This weekend's 'Hell of the North' offers Filippo Pozzato once last chance to achieve one of his major season goals. The Italian, who switched to Lampre-Merida this year had outlined three major targets ahead of the 2013 season: Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. So far he has missed two from two and Sunday is his final chance in what has been a lean classics campaign for the 2012 Tour of Flanders runner-up.

    "In the beginning of the year I had three major goals: Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix,” he told Sporza. "Sunday is my last chance to score, I have to seize the last chance."

    Pozzato's lead-up to the cobbled races appeared to be on track when he won his first race of 2013 at Trofeo Laigueglia and backed up a few weeks later to take second-place at the inaugural Roma Maxima - a race in which the former Italian national champion believed he had won before realising Blel Kadri from Ag2r La Mondiale had remained out front to take a solo victory.

    Failing to feature in the winning bunch at Milan-San Remo was perhaps not a fair assessment of his form considering the gruelling conditions the riders had to endure. The peloton was exposed to ice-cold wind and snow with the race disrupted by the stoppage which occurred at the base of the Tacchino Pass. Pozzato would finish in 33rd-place despite initially marking the move that contained Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Fabian Cancellar (RadioShack Leopard) and eventually crossed the finish line with the group that raced for 8th and would pick...

  • Contador holds on while contenders slip away at Pais Vasco

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) digs deep in the final kilometres of the stage to Eibar
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 6:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Saxo-Tinkoff leader becoming stronger, says Maudit

    It was a wet and demanding day on Stage 4 at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco but for Alberto Contador it was simply another day ticked off in what is still very much a open battle for the overall Basque title that concludes in two days time.

    The tough finish in the Basque Hills to the town of Eibar saw last year's winner Samuel Sanchez lose more time but the Saxo-Tinkoff leader has, according to sports director Philippe Maudit, every bit the chance of taking his third title when the race concludes with a 24km time trial around Beasain on Sunday.

    "It was a good but very cold and wet day for us," said Maudit on the team site. "Alberto, however becomes stronger and stronger while other riders had a hard time in the cold and on the much tougher stage than yesterday's.

    "Tomorrow's stage will be very hard to control for any team and we're aiming to do a good result on the most demanding day of all here," he added.

    Contador's most recent victories at the WorldTour race were in 2008 and 2009 but it appears the Spaniard, currently sitting in fourth overall, 10-seconds behind the race leader Sergio Henao (Sky) could be eyeing his next victory with the final race against the clock better suited to the likes of Contador and third-placed Richie Porte (Sky) who sits on the same time as the Saxo Tinkoff rider.

    The fast and technical final to the 151km stage was always going to be difficult in the trying conditions and while Contador would normally be suited to the nasty finish, he was not able to follow the final acceleration of Nairo Quintano (Movistar) who attacked shortly before the final right-hander just before the line.

  • Sarthe win just in time for Rolland before Liège–Bastogne–Liège

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) is a potential winner at the race
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 7:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Europcar rider targeting La Doyenne ahead of Tour

    He is yet to become a prolific winner but Pierre Rolland can take confidence ahead of some of his biggest season goals now that he has finally knocked-up his first victory of the year. The 26-year-old Frenchman put his time trial skills on show to do it, and in taking the stage win at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe appears likely to capture his first overall title since turning professional with Credit Agricole in 2006.

    "It really was cold," joked Rolland after his victory. "But because the stage was always climbing or descending there was a chance to warm up a little."

    Rolland attacked inside the final 25km and then powered away from his breakaway companions towards the end of the 'queen' stage, time trialling the final 7km to the finish line in Pré-en-Pail.

    His win is no doubt a reward for the blocks of racing and training already completed this year. The two-time Tour de France stage winner is currently in his next phase in the lead-up to an assault on Liège–Bastogne–Liège and with 30 days of racing already in his legs this year, he could be one to watch when La Doyenne comes around.

    "I'm feeling better and better. I've worked hard with my trainer to ensure that I'm ready coming into this important stage of the season. You could say that this victory arrived at just the right time for me with Liege-Bastogne-Liege coming up. It is a reward for the hard work I have put in," said Rolland on his team site.

    Rolland thanked his teammate Thomas Voeckler for marking the chasers that attempted to bring the Frenchman back into contention but it was too late. Rolland would take...

  • Women’s Giro Rosa confirmed for 2013

    The Giro Rosa 2013 logo
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 9:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Race cut to eight days but set for early July

    The women’s Giro d’Italia has been confirmed for 2013, with organiser Giuseppe Rivolta announcing that the race will be known as the Giro Rosa and be held over eight days from June 30 to July 7.

    Rivolta was the organiser of several previous editions of the race and race director for the last three years. He has created a new company to run the event and has been awarded the rights to run the race for the next four years by the Italian Cycling Federation.

    The race has traditionally be ten days long but has been reduced to eight days for 2013 due to a clash with the Mediterranean Games, which will see national teams in action. Rivolta has said the Giro Rosa will start in Puglia, in the south of Italy, and end in Lombardy.

    “I am excited to start this adventure. I would like to thank the Italian Cycling Federation for supporting our team a lot. This year we are working to develop the event, which remains the most important stage race in women's cycling all over the world,” Rivolta said in a press release.

    “I'm finalising the last route details, but I can reveal that Giro Rosa will go from the south to the north of Italy and will cross eight regions in eight days. My staff and I will do our best so that the Giro Rosa 2013 will not disappoint people’s expectations.”

    Marianne Vos won last year’s race, when it was known as the Giro Donne, ahead of Emma Pooley and Evelyn Stevens.

    Final race details and the teams invited to race are expected to be announced in the next few days.

  • Gallery: Bianchi reveals Infinito CV endurance bike

    The new Bianchi Infinito CV
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 11:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Bike launch ahead of Paris-Roubaix

    Bianchi has a new vibration damping concept that it claims could revolutionise endurance cycling. Just days before Paris-Roubaix, Bianchi officially launched the new Infinito CV, with Vacansoleil-DCM’s cobbles specialist Juan Antonio Flecha on hand to talk about his role in the creation of the bike.

    We spotted the new bike with the team at last week's Tour of Flanders, but today Bianchi revealed the frameset's use of Countervail, a patented material developed between Bianchi and US company Materials Science Corporation (MSC), and exclusively used for cycling applications by Bianchi. Termed ‘Vibration Cancelling Composite Technology,’ the key feature is a viscoelastic carbon layer embedded between standard carbon layers at critical areas of the frame and fork – although Bianchi wouldn’t say where.

    Countervail (CV) is also used by NASA in aerospace applications, but that won’t help you on the cobbles. Bianchi’s use of CV is designed to cancel vibration before it reaches the rider, not through a suspension movement, but by viscoelastic damping. This does not make the frame more flexible, Bianchi claims.

    To demonstrate the material's performance, Bianchi had two open-ended seat stays mounted on a plate attached to a motor vibrating at around 60-80Hz — an approximation of riding over 15cm-wide cobbles at 38-40kph. One seat stay was of conventional carbon construction, the other contained the CV layer. Both used the Infinito CV mold. When a ping pong ball in a clear tube was held against the stay with all normal carbon fiber, it kicked, hopped and bounced, around 5cm above the stay. But when placed against the CV stay there was barely any visible vibration. Shown as oscillations on a graph, the vibrations put through the CV reduced to almost nothing around 60% faster.

    Bianchi say the Infinito CV weighs around 950g for a 55cm frame, +/-...

  • Armstrong stopped from competing in Master swimming championships

    Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 13:02 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    FINA block Texan’s attempt to sidestep his doping ban

    Lance Armstrong has been stopped from competing in the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships after the International Swimming Federation (FINA) stepped in and ruled he is ineligible to compete in events sanctioned by the world governing body. 

    Armstrong was scheduled to take part in freestyle races over 500 yards, 1,000 yards and 1,650 yards against swimmers in the age-related championships in his home town of Austin in Texas.

    After the reports about Armstrong's intentions to compete emerged on Wednesday, FINA, asked the organisers of the swimming event in Texas not to allow Armstrong to compete. FINA said in a statement that athletes convicted of doping offences were not allowed to enter competitions sanctioned by the world governing body.

    "He doesn't want to cause any more harm to any more organisations. His interest was around fitness and training. In light of FINA he will not be swimming," organiser Rob Butcher told several news agencies.

    There was no reaction from Armstrong on his Twitter feed to FINA’s actions.

    Armstrong was banned from competition for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and stripped of his seven Tour de France victories after a detailed investigation. Throughout his professional career, he vehemently denied doping but then confessed in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey.

  • Big Bear time trial shakes up Redlands format

    Men's Redlands TT podium (L-R): Tom Zirbel, 2nd; Chad Haga, 1st; David Williams, 3rd
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 14:30 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Pure climbers suffer in flat, windy test

    The newly introduced 12.5km time trial in Big Bear Lake has switched up the natural order of events at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Where in previous years climbers would come to the forefront of the overall standings immediately in the short, uphill prologue, the opening stage at nearly 7000ft of altitude instead favored powerful riders who were acclimated to the thin air.

    Chad Haga (Optum Pro Cycling) and Alison Powers (Now and Novartis for MS), both residents of Colorado, prevailed in the stage: Haga beat his own teammate Tom Zirbel to take top honours, but the men's standings are still fairly tight. Haga has 10 seconds over third placed David Williams - but his 5 Hour Energy team has four riders within 30 seconds of the lead, and Optum has come only with a team of six riders because the rest of the squad is racing in Spain.

    "The race is hard to defend with eight guys," Zirbel said. "With only six we are going to have to be creative."

    There is still plenty of incentive for the other teams to fight to overthrow the current leaders: The race will head back down to the valley for three stages - a long circuit race with a sharp climb, a fast criterium and a shorter circuit with a technical, hilly course - and in both the men's and women's races there are a maximum of 42 seconds worth of time bonuses still up for grabs for riders able to sprint for intermediate bonuses and the stage finish.

    "The time bonuses make the lead difficult to defend," Zirbel said. "Our only hope is that there are several other teams who want to win the overall, and we can get some help to chase down dangerous breakaways."

    One of the teams that will look to make up the lost ground will be Jamis-Hagens Berman. Ben Jacques-Maynes, who won the time trials at the Valley of the Sun and...