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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, April 6, 2012

Date published:
April 06, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Taylor Phinney on his new BMC GranFondo GF01 for Paris-Roubaix

    American Taylor Phinney (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 7:53 BST
    Cycling News

    American rider takes us through his Paris-Roubaix bike

    Your first Paris-Roubaix deserves a special bike and Taylor Phinney will be hoping his BMC Granfondo is exactly that on Sunday. The second year professional, along with his seven teammates, will all be lining-up in Compiègne with the Swiss company’s new racing model.

    You can read Cyclingnews’ James’ Huang’s expert opinion on the bike, right here but in this exclusive video Taylor Phinney takes Cyclingnews through his new bike and some of the aspects and specifications he hopes will help carry him to a successful race on Sunday.

    Key features on the GF01 include use of BMC's Tuned Compliance Concept, as well as a new concept called 'angle compliance'. As on the TeamMachine SLR01, the new GF01 features specially shaped tube sections to promote directional flex over bumps.

  • Gallery: Paris-Roubaix reconnaissance

    Thor Hushovd (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 10:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Garmin, BMC, FDJ and GreenEdge ride the cobbles

    With just a few days until arguably the biggest one day Classic on the calendar, the roads around Roubaix are become awash with professional riders and team cars.

    Expectations for Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix are reaching almost boiling point with a number of Classic contenders ready to do battle on the fabled pave.

    In Kortrijk, Belgium, this morning, Tom Boonen will limber up with a final training ride on some of the race’s key sections, including the legendary Arenberg Forest. The Omega-Pharma QuickStep leader has been in scintillating form all spring and his confidence will be sky high after his win in Flanders last weekend.

    With no Fabian Cancellara on the start list it’s up to a number of other individuals to bring the fight to Boonen and his all-conquering team. At a press conference on the other side of Kortrijk yesterday, Alessandro Ballan and Thor Hushovd talked up their own chances of victory. The Italian has the better form but Hushovd has shone in Roubaix more often than not and is one of the true rivals Boonen should fear in a velodrome sprint.

    BMC were one of the first teams to ride recon yesterday but they certainly weren’t alone. Garmin-Barracuda and their Belgian duo of Sep Vanmarcke and defending champion Johan Vansummeren were among those testing out equipment and the parcours. GreenEdge, Saxo Bank and FDJ-BigMat were also present, while the likes of Sky, Rabobank, Farnese Vini-Selle Italia and Boonen’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep will train today.

  • Hushovd ready to take on Boonen at Paris-Roubaix

    Former World champion Thor Hushovd (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 13:13 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Norwegian believes in his sprint

    Tom Boonen has looked invulnerable in classics finales over the past two weekends, but Thor Hushovd is confident that he can beat the Belgian in a sprint should the pair arrive together in the velodrome at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

    Hushovd has endured a difficult start to life at BMC since joining the expensively-assembled squad during the off-season, but in spite of those travails, he was optimistic about his chances of living with Boonen on the rocky road to Roubaix.

    “I think I can follow Tom on the cobbles and also I know that I can beat him in the sprint,” Hushovd told reporters in Kortrijk on Thursday. “That’s not that I say I can beat him every time but I think also he is afraid of me in a sprint on the velodrome.”

    At the Tour of Flanders last weekend, Boonen was content to control the attacks Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) and Hushovd's teammate Alessandro Ballan, such was his belief that he would outsprint them in Oudenaarde. Hushovd expects the Belgian to be a little more eager to seize the initiative himself on the pavé this Sunday, in spite of the rapid finish he has at his disposal.

    “I think he’s going to race aggressively. He’s always like that,” Hushovd said. “You never know what’s going to happen so it’s always better to get to Roubaix with as few riders as possible.”

    Hushovd arrives at the second Sunday in April with question marks over his own form, after illness temporarily sidelined him after Paris-Nice last month. Although he has never enjoyed a particularly happy outing at the...

  • Could Floyd Landis face fraud charges?

    Floyd Landis on his stage-winning ride in the 2006 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 13:52 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Floyd Fairness Fund core of case

    Sources have told Cyclingnews that former professional cyclist Floyd Landis is under investigation by US Federal authorities. Landis could face charges of fraud dating back to 2007. In 2006 the American won the Tour de France but tested positive for testosterone after an epic stage win to Morzine. He was stripped of his Tour de France title and despite several attempted comebacks failed to ride in the European peloton again.

    In 2010 Landis made several allegations of organised doping against his former team US Postal, its leader Lance Armstrong and team manager Johan Bruyneel. The allegations were denied and a subsequent federal investigation failed to raise any charges. Landis’s claims had been substantiated by former US Postal rider Tyler Hamilton in a 2011 documentary by 60 Minutes.

    The federal investigation into Armstrong and the US Postal team collapsed this year when United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr stated his office "is closing an investigation into allegations of federal criminal conduct by members and associates of a professional bicycle racing team owned in part by Lance Armstrong."

    The news surrounding a possible federal case against Landis dates back to 2007, when in January of that year he set up the Floyd Fairness Fund. The fund was set up to accept donations to Landis’ legal case as he sought to clear his name. Landis was believed to have raised about $1 million in donations but Cyclingnews understands that the true figure was less than $300,000. In 2010, after his subsequent confession Landis said that he would try and pay back the kindness extended to him once he had the sufficient...

  • Argos-Shimano receives Tour de France wildcard invitation

    Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 16:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Cofidis, Europcar and Saur-Sojasun secure Tour berths

    Team Argos-Shimano has received a wildcard invitation to the 2012 Tour de France, organizers ASO announced on Friday. The other three invitees are the French-registered squads Cofidis, Europcar and Saur-Sojasun.

    Argos-Shimano was invited to the 2009 Tour de France when racing under the Skil-Shimano banner but missed out on wildcards in 2010 and 2011. The team rode last year’s Vuelta a España, winning a stage with Marcel Kittel, and has enjoyed a solid beginning to the 2012 campaign. Argos Oil was unveiled as the team’s new primary sponsor at a presentation in Rotterdam last week.

    General manager Iwan Spekenbrink welcomed his team’s invitation, saying that it was as much as his outfit deserved for its progress over the past number of seasons. “It is a great reward for the hard work of all the cyclists and the entire staff, as well as for our partners’ faith in this ambitious cycling project,” he said.

    A team with a reputation for nurturing young talent, Argo-Shimano’s Tour line-up is likely to be led by a duo of young German sprinters, Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb. Kittel enjoyed a fine debut season as a professional in 2011 and scored victory at Scheldeprijs during the week.

    “We have a strong team and we expect to be able to achieve a stage victory in the sprint or by attacking,” co-manager Sissy van Alebeek said.

  • Leipheimer recovers after getting hit by car

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) was attentive as usual
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 17:24 BST
    Neil Browne

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep still hopeful for Amgen Tour of California

    Recovering in his hometown of Santa Rosa, California, Levi Leipheimer of Omega Pharma-QuickStep spoke to Cyclingnews about his accident and how this will impact his season.

    While out training alone the day before the start of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, Leipheimer was struck from behind by a car, which he estimates was traveling between 50 to 60 miles per hour.

    "I found myself on this big road that I never would ride on and I thought ‘I need to get off this,'" Leipheimer told Cyclingnews. "There was a sign saying 700 meters ahead there was a road to turn (to get off the road), and I was going to take it."

    "I kinda actually visualized it happening (getting hit by the car) about 500 meters before it happened. It was really freaky. My first thought (after the accident) was, ‘Did I just do that to myself?' It was really traumatic."

    Initially there was only soreness and swelling of his lower leg with the brunt of the damage taken by his bike, which was completely destroyed.

    "He (the driver) told the police he didn't see me at all."

    With his plan to race the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco scrapped, Leipheimer returned to the United States for a more comprehensive medical evaluation.

    "You didn't need to be a doctor to see that the fibula was broken. In the x-ray it was easy to see."

    Since then Leipheimer has had three orthopedic surgeons look at the x-ray, and they have said it wasn't a complicated break and should heal on its own.

    "They actually said I could get on the trainer this weekend. It's just a matter of taking care of myself, ease into the riding and go off of the pain. Hopefully I'm not off the bike for very long."

    The reason...

  • Video: Rast on the loss of Cancellara and Paris-Roubaix

    Grégory Rast (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 19:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Swiss domestique 4th last year

    With Fabian Cancellara missing from Sunsday’s Paris-Roubaix, RadioShack-Nissan-Trek has been forced to seek an alternative game-plan. With Cancellara in the team the rest of the squad would have rallied behind the two-time race winner, confident in his ability of capturing his third title.

    But with Cancellara crashing out of the Tour of Flanders with a broken collarbone, the likes of Gregory Rast, Hayden Roulston and Tony Gallopin will be asked to step up and deliver. All three riders finished in the top 25 in Flanders but perhaps Rast is their strongest option. The Swiss rider finished 11th in Paris-Roubaix in 2010 and followed that up with a 4th-place finish last year.

    Rast's last win came in the team time trial at the 2009 Tour de France when riding for Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, but his role has always been as super-domestique. In this exclusive video, Rast talks about the loss of Cancellara and his and RadioShack’s chances for Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.

  • Boonen wants second Flanders-Roubaix double

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quickstep)
    Article published:
    April 06, 2012, 19:37 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Reconnaissance a waste of time for experienced Boonen

    After his Omega Pharma - Quick Step team dominated the first part of the season with 25 wins, manager Patrick Lefevre is heading into the legendary one day Classic, Paris-Roubaix, with the race's top favorite. The team's leader for the Hell of the North race is Tom Boonen, a triple winner of the French event and six-time podium finisher.

    Last Sunday's win in the Tour of Flanders has already made Boonen’s Spring Classics season a success, but during Friday's press conference, it was clear he hoped for even more. With a fourth win in Paris-Roubaix, he would join Roger De Vlaeminck as record holder and would be the first to do the Flanders-Roubaix double twice.

    "The first big goal was achieved, but I'm not more or less motivated for any of these two races. It would be stupid not to think that winning a fourth Roubaix is special. It's not a small thing, and equaling a record from Roger has to be something special," Boonen said.

    Living the life of a favorite

    After the crash by Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan) during the Tour of Flanders, which ruled the strong Swiss contender out for participation at Paris-Roubaix, it's clear that all eyes will be pointed at the 31-year-old Belgian, but Boonen isn't bother about that.

    "The least important thing is to be a favorite. The only thing that matters is to get a good result on Sunday. Things are looking good. I've already had a lot of luck in this race although last year was in high contrast with that. I know this race extremely well and I simply have to be in the mix for the win. These two races were my major goals and all the other races don't matter anymore. The win in Flanders was pleasing,...