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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 18, 2011

Date published:
March 18, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Colombian Conti squad confirmed for Tour of California

    Huge crowds lined the climb of Mulholland Highway during the 2010 Amgen Tour of California's final stage.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 6:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    Movistar makes history in American race

    Amgen Tour of California organiser AEG has announced that Colombian Continental outfit Movistar Team will ride the 2011 edition, which begins in South Lake Tahoe on May 15.

    It will be an historic occasion for the team, which becomes the first Colombian squad to be invited to America's biggest stage race, which boasts nine ProTeams on the start list in addition to four ProConti squads and six Continental outfits - including Movistar Team.

    The Colombian squad, directed by Libardo Leyton, boasts riders of eight different nationalities, with Colombians Fredy González and Hernán Darío Muñoz, Mexican riders Ignacio Sarabia, Juan Pablo Magallanes, Luis Fernando Macías, and Costa Rica's Gregory Brenes plus Venezuelans José Alarcón and Carlos Galviz.

    The team will prepare for the season in Colombia before its presentation and 2011 debut in national events before the Amgen Tour of California in May.

    AEG added the team onto its already full 18-team roster this week without fanfare. The UCI instituted a new rule in January whereby all Americas Tour races must invite the top three teams from the UCI's continental tour rankings. Movistar was on the list with two other Colombian teams.

  • Matthews' San Remo start another stellar surprise

    Michael Matthews (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 8:00 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Bannan backs young Australian to do the job for Rabobank

    Rabobank neo pro Michael Matthews is perhaps the biggest surprise inclusion of all Australian starters for Milan-San Remo; he'll be one of 12 aiming to continue the stellar start the nation has experienced so far in season 2011.

    Former mentor while the Canberra native was at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Shayne Bannan, said that while it was important not to get too carried away by expectations, the young sprinter's inclusion could only be viewed as a positive.

    "It will certainly be a great experience for him – there's no question," the former AIS head coach and National Performance Director told Cyclingnews from Rome.

    "Given the fact that he's only in his third month as a professional, it's really a great result and I think the team is putting a lot of faith in him in exposing him to these sorts of races early in his career. It's good experience for later on.

    "I'm not necessarily convinced that the motive is for him to win it – they've got Oscar Freire there. I think he'll be learning as much as possible."

    Rabobank will take on Milan-San Remo with a team comprising three-time winner Freire, Matthews plus Lars Boom, Rick Flens, Sebastiaan Langeveld, Maarten Tjallingii, Bram Tankink and Maarten Wijnants.

    "Michael is a very talented individual, he's really motivated and he's had a really good preparation coming into this year," said Bannan. "But I think we should also be cautious not to put too much pressure on him, too early, in his career.

    "It's unknown territory, isn't it? He would never have raced over that distance before. He's never raced Milan-San Remo before, he's only quite young. Then again, he's really surprised us in the past."

    At the Santos Tour Down Under in January, Rabobank director sportif Adri Van Houwelingen suggested to Cyclingnews that the under 23 road race world champion could find his schedule significantly changed following his dream start in...

  • Petacchi confirms he will start Milan-San Remo

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD)
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 9:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian sprinter trained for three and a half hours on Thursday

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) has confirmed that he will start Milan-San Remo in spite of suffering a recurrence of the asthmatic problems that have plagued his early-season preparation.

    The Italian suffered in the cold weather that hit Tirreno-Adriatico last weekend, putting his participation in La Classicissima in doubt. After training fully on Thursday, however, Petacchi confirmed that he will be on the start-line in Milan.

    “I still only feel so-so but I managed to do three and a half hours of training behind a motorbike,” Petacchi told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Obviously it was raining, but fortunately it wasn’t cold.”

    In spite of a hugely truncated start to his season, Petacchi managed second place behind Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) on stage two of Tirreno-Adriatico and he explained that he is trained as well as his circumstances have allowed.

    “My conscience is at peace because insofar as I have been able, I’ve trained to perfection,” he said. “The cold is getting better, the problem is the coughing, which even last night stopped me from sleeping.”

    The 2005 Milan-San Remo winner is philosophical about his chances this time around, however, and he acknowledged that his illness could mean that he is lacking the necessary sharpness in the finale.

    “At this point, things are going the way they’re going,” Petacchi said. “I’ll try even if I’m not at my best. To be at my best I’d need a...

  • Japanese pros riding for earthquake victims

    Fumiyuki Beppu and the Tirreno-Adriatico peloton respect a minutes silence for the victims of the Japan earthquake
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 10:33 GMT
    Pierre Carrey

    Japanese cycling responds to disaster

    A week after the magnitude 9 earthquake and the tsunami which ravaged northeast Japan, the pro riders of the country say they want to race in remembrance of the tragedy.

    Europcar’s Yukiha Arashiro explained that Japanese cycling fans were touched by the victory of his team-mate Thomas Voeckler, Sunday, in the final stage of Paris-Nice. “My squad is now popular in the country,” he told Cyclingnews. “I would like to ride the Tour de France like I did the last two years, and win a stage to pay a tribute to the victims”. Arashiro was 5th on stage 2 in 2009 and 6th on stage 11 last year.

    Aisan Racing Team, one of the five Japanese Continental structures, was racing the Jelajah Malaysia when the disaster happened. “The shocking news left us confused but we decided to continue the race,” team manager Takumi Beppu said. “We thought in this way we could show our courage and blessings to all in Japan, including the victims of disaster.”

    Beppu added that he hopes his team will be ranked first in the UCI Asia Tour this year and claim as many successes as possible, “not only for us, but also for the victims.”

    Beppu’s brother, Fumiyuki, a professional rider with RadioShack, dedicated a message to his countrymen, “You are NOT alone,” and asked some riders to spread it on Twitter.

    A number of them mentioned the Japanese disaster, notably Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek), who wrote on Friday: “Let's all have some thoughts [about] what happened in Japan. Sorry but in these times everybody should realize that our problems are getting very...

  • Rodríguez out of Volta a Catalunya

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 10:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Defending champion to heal knee problem first

     Katusha rider Joaquim Rodríguez has announced that he will skip the Volta a Catalunya, starting March 21. The 2010 winner of the Spanish stage race is suffering from a cyst at the top of his left femur and has to take anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Rodríguez felt the injury building up before Tirreno-Adriatico. "First, I felt discomfort and then the pain increased gradually," he told AS. "Two weeks ago I saw Dr. Casañas in the Teknon Clinic of Barcelona. X-rays showed that there was something and an MRI scan confirmed the cyst."

    The anti-inflammatory drugs with which 'Purito' is being treated have reduced the cyst and stopped the pain, but side-effects include water retention. In Tirreno-Adriatico, Rodríguez said that he already was three kilos above his normal weight.

    "On the longer climbs, I was able to follow the best at a regular pace, but on the short, steep sections my legs exploded and I couldn't perform. As I wasn't able to compete properly, I took the race as preparation, high-quality training," he continued.

    The Spaniard, winner of the 2010 UCI ranking, was deeply disappointed not to take part in Catalunya. "I was very eager to try and defend my 2010 victory, but under these circumstances and following the advice of my doctors, it makes more sense to continue training and taking my medication until next week."

    Rodríguez is aiming to return to competition in the beginning of April at the Gran Premio Indurain, followed by the Tour of the Basque Country.

  • Team Vorarlberg presented in Austria

    Raivis Belohvosciks (Scott - American Beef)
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 12:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Experienced internationals join Continental squad

    Austrian team Vorarlberg presented its 2011 roster on Thursday. The squad, which held Professional Contnental status since last year, has come back to Continental level this season and counts a total of 13 riders.

    Returning riders Josef Benetseder, Dominik Hrinkow, René Weissinger, Reto Hollenstein and Matic Strgar will this year trade in their blue jersey for a new green and red outfit. Newcomers include some experienced riders such as multiple Latvian time trial champion Raivis Belohvosciks, who was last under contract on the Italian team Ceramica Flaminia. Italians Carlo Scognamiglio (formerly at ISD) and Ermanno Capelli (formerly at Footon-Servetto) as well as Enrico Peruffo (formerly at Carmiooro) have also joined the team.

    Young and upcoming talents include 24-year-old Stefan Pöll, Dominik Brändle (21) and Kajetan Fricke (18). "It's a good mix of experienced riders and raw talent," said Team Manager Harald Morscher. "With newcomers Scognamiglio, Capelli and Peruffo, we have added three strong Italians to our team and with riders such as Silvan Dillier and of course Dominik Brändle, we have a few promising riders for the future that we can build up."

    The squad's season goals have been defined as both international and on home soil, with two big objectives being Josef Benetseder's defence of the Tchibo Top Rad Liga title and the Tour of Austria in July.

  • Sinkewitz returns adverse analytical finding for Human Growth Hormone

    Patrik Sinkewitz (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) returned an adverse analytical finding for HGH.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 12:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    German is first cyclist to be suspended for HGH use

    Patrik Sinkewitz (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) has been provisionally suspended after returning an adverse analytical finding for Recombinant Human Growth Hormone at the GP di Lugano on February 27.

    The German is the first cyclist to be suspended after providing a blood sample positive for HGH. UCI press officer Enrico Carpani explained that the validated test for human growth hormone had not been publicised as the UCI wanted to retain an element of surprise in its testing.

    “The UCI has always said human growth hormones were being tested but we didn't want to officially announce the date of scientific validation of the test in order to allow an element of surprise,” Carpani said. “Without making a pronouncement about Patrik Sinkewitz's case, who still can ask for a B sample analysis, we can say that the validation of the human growth hormone test is a major new step in the fight against doping."

    Sinkewitz is provisionally suspended until a hearing panel is convened by the German Cycling Federation, and he has the right to request that his B sample be analysed.

    Sinkewitz tested positive for testosterone during the 2007 Tour de France while riding for T-Mobile, and he subsequently confessed to having undergone blood doping while riding for the team.

    He served a one-year suspension and returned to competitive action with the PSK Whirlpool team in 2009, before joining his current squad last season.

    The Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli team has moved to distance itself from Sinkewitz and said that the German rider will be fired if the positive test is confirmed.

    “The team, which has always followed a strict line in he fight against doping […] will await the counter-analysis before deciding, and is ready to fire the rider on the spot if the positive test is confirmed,” read a statement from the Italian squad read.

    “Moreover, the team underlines the necessity (and launches...

  • Cancellara says repeat of 2008 Milan-San Remo attack will be difficult

    Stage winner Fabian Cancellara lets loose with the champagne.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 13:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Gilbert and Freire the favourites to piece together Classic "puzzle"

    Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) is pleased with his form after taking his first win of the season in the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, but he has admitted that a repeat of the late attack that saw him win Milan-San Remo in 2008 will be a tall order.

    “It will be hard to do the same thing,” Cancellara told L’Équipe. “My rivals are forewarned by now. And in any case, that kind of attack only works once every ten years.”

    The last man to win La Classicissima in similar fashion to Cancellara was Andrei Tchmil in 1999, and only Paolo Bettini (2003) and Filippo Pozzato (2006) have also succeeded in trumping the sprinters at the race in recent times.

    For Cancellara, Milan-San Remo is as much a tactical battle as a race where the strongest man prevails, and he compared mapping out victory to piecing together a puzzle.

    “Starting from the Cipressa, you need to be attentive to everything, observe all your rivals and take everything in,” he explained. “Whoever wins will be the one who has managed to put together the pieces of the jigsaw.”

    While a whole host of riders will line up in Milan with aspirations of victory, Philippe Gilbert’s (Omega Pharma-Lotto) strong showing on Italian roads in recent weeks means that he will be tightly marked. Cancellara acknowledged the Belgian’s fine form, but warned that Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has once again

    “Gilbert above all, he’s been by far the most impressive,” Cancellara said. “If the race finishes in a sprint, I’d see Freire [winning] rather than...