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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 18, 2011

Date published:
April 18, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Gerrans back to his best with third in the Amstel Gold Race

    Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) is back
    Article published:
    April 18, 2011, 2:26 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Australian looking for more results in the Ardennes week

    Simon Gerrans had a disappointing Ardennes campaign in his first season with Team Sky last year but proved he can be an Ardennes classic contender with third place at the Amstel Gold Race behind Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha).

    He didn't have the kick to go with Gilbert on the Cauberg as he stormed after Rodriguez and then on to the finish line but finished well to take third ahead of Jacob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek), Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank). He was rightly pleased with his performance.

    "I'm really pleased with this third place. Two years ago I was really competitive in these races. Last year I didn't have a really great classics campaign but I'm really wrapped to be back up there at the top end of the race," he said after the press conference.

    "It was quite difficult coming to these races last year and not being competitive after some mishaps leading up to them. But the team backed me in this race again and this is a really for my team, not only Team Sky but also my little team back in Monaco of my coach, my trainer and my wife."

    Gerrans has had a low profile start to the season as Team Sky focused on the cobbled classics and so chose a conservative race strategy.

    "I waited for the selection, then put it on the line and tried to do the best I could on the Cauberg," he explained.

    "I just went as hard as I could from the bottom and perhaps had a little bit longer effort in my legs than the other guys....

  • McQuaid not concerned with breakaway league threat

    Pat McQuaid was on hand in Wevelgem.
    Article published:
    April 18, 2011, 4:16 BST
    Daniel Benson

    UCI set to meet with teams Monday

    UCI president Pat McQuaid has warned 'certain team bosses' that their plans to set up a breakaway league are doomed unless they gain favour from Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), RCS and other race major organisers. McQuaid, who has two-and-a-half years left on his second term as president has also suggested that he may stand for re-election in 2013.

    "It's not a great concern," he told Cyclingnews when asked about the prospect of a breakaway league being formed and being run directly against the UCI.

    "These leagues work well in North America with sports like baseball but that's in an entity of its own. Cycling has unity in that is has 175 federations associated to the UCI. We're the world governing body recognised by the IOC and international framework. That's extremely important."

    Last month Cyclingnews reported that up to 11 teams had considered breaking away from the UCI and it appears McQuaid will address the matter on Monday in a meeting in Brussels between the UCI, current ProTeams, Continental teams and teams looking for ProTeam status in 2012, including GreenEdge.

    "It's all very well for the managers of certain teams at the top level to think they can create a different league or a series amongst themselves for their own personal gain and ambitions and think they can go in a different direction but it's not as simple as that," said McQuaid.

    When asked to clarify which teams were leading the breakaway faction, McQuaid refused to name any of the parties involved, although he had previously linked Radioshack's Johan Bruyneel to the league.

    "I don't want to say but I'm aware of certain team managers. I think they've lost a little common sense as to what their role is. In cycling we have the UCI, the governing body, organisers and you've got teams. What's happened here is that some team managers have...

  • Hermans surprises in Amstel Gold Race

    Ben Hermans (RadioShack) won the Trofeo Inca in Mallorca
    Article published:
    April 18, 2011, 4:42 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian RadioShack man makes the most of opportunity

    Ben Hermans was in the lead group that fought for the victory in the Amstel Gold Race after taking advantage of a leadership role at RadioShack for the Dutch race. The 24 year-old Belgian has impressed in recent races and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

    "The team offered me a free role for this race and I'm happy that I could make use of it," Hermans said.

    When asked about how he witnessed the attacks that decided the race Hermans laughed that he had been too busy suffering to see very much.

    "I didn't see much really, except for asphalt," he said. "I hit the Cauberg in eighth position. I still felt strength in my legs and wanted to sprint for it. Then I saw how Rodriguez attacked and I realized that the top-five was out of reach. I went flat out to crack the top-ten."

    The talented Belgian was happy with eighth place at Amstel Gold Race.

    "I was really pleased that I made it over the Eyserbosweg," Hermans said of the decisive climb after 240km of racing. "On the Keutenberg I was able to keep up more or less easily. Then I knew I would be in the group until the finish."

    Hermans is a man from Hasselt, in the Belgian Limburg region, close to Valkenberg and the Cauberg climb where he rode so well. He grabbed his first professional win this season in the Trofeo Inca and is one of the young riders at RadioShack that is already starting to impress. He is a name to remember. 

  • Matt Lloyd determined to return to racing

    Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma - Lotto) won a stage earlier in the Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    April 18, 2011, 9:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian climber looking for new team after Omega Pharma dismissal

    After having been released by his Omega Pharma-Lotto team, Matt Lloyd has announced that he is looking for another squad to return to racing. Without commenting on the circumstances which led to his contract termination - with the two parties still negotiating - the Australian climber said he wanted to overcome his recent setbacks.

    "I will be back," Lloyd told the AAP. "There's no way I could even think about leaving the sport - it's part of my life, it's what I do.

    The 27-year-old suffered serious injuries twice this winter, once in December, when he was hit by a car in Australia and then again in February near his European home in Italy. The setbacks and difficult rehabilitation may have been part of what caused his difficulties with the team. "I've obviously gone through a stage in January and February that was difficult, with various injuries," he said, without giving further details on what occured.

    Lloyd won the climber's jersey at last year's Giro d'Italia and was supposed to make his return at the Volta a Catalunya in March, but did not take the start the Spanish race. He rode the Vuelta al Pais Vasco but did not start the final time trial and the team terminated his contract just after. 

    Despite his problems, Lloyd was confident that he will find a new team soon.

    "I'm eager to make sure the physical condition continues to develop in a really good way and make sure when I come back I'm the same, if not stronger than I was before," he said.

  • Amstel Gold Race: Rabobank loses out again

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) finished ninth
    Article published:
    April 18, 2011, 10:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Team leader Gesink had cramps in the finale

    "There was nothing we could do against him," said Oscar Freire after he had crossed the line in sixth position at Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, which saw a spectacular Philippe Gilbert repeat his 2010 victory. The Belgian took matters into his own hands in the race finale and overpowered late escapee Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) on the final climb of the Cauberg, leaving Rabobank riders in awe of his superiority.

    "I've not seen this kind of supremacy very often," Freire told Sportwereld. The Spanish sprinter tried his best on the uphill finish but could not prevent his squad's defeat, the tenth since a Rabobank rider last won the only Spring Classic in the Netherlands.

    Yet the team was in an excellent position, with four riders remaining in the top group chasing Schleck. Apart from Freire, there was also Rabobank's top climber Robert Gesink, who it was hoped would do well on the Cauberg. However, the Dutchman cramped on the penultimate climb and ultimately finished ninth.

    "I felt good, but when I wanted to get it on on the Keutenberg my legs cramped all over. What a shame, as it looked good for us with four guys in the first group. But on the Cauberg all of us were so knackered that we couldn't set up a proper sprint. I just couldn't do any better," Gesink told the Telegraaf.

    Rabobank's directeur sportif Erik Dekker, who was Rabobank's last winner of the Amstel Gold Race back in 2001, defended his team strategy not to chase behind Schleck and let...

  • Nibali returns to action at Giro del Trentino

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale)
    Article published:
    April 18, 2011, 11:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Sicilian continues Giro d'Italia build-up after Etna camp

    Fresh from a two-week training camp on the slopes of Mount Etna, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) returns to racing at the Giro del Trentino on Tuesday as he continues his build-up to the Giro d’Italia.

    Nibali has not raced since Milan-San Remo, where he launched an impressive attack on the Poggio before finishing 8th on the Lungomare Italo Calvino. The Sicilian is now understandably keen to gauge his form after his spell at altitude.

    “I have a great desire to get back to racing,” Nibali said, according to Tuttobiciweb. “I am an athlete who loves competition, a challenge, and the Giro del Trentino will be an excellent test location.”

    The four-day Giro del Trentino begins on Tuesday with a flat 13.4km time trial before heading into the mountains, and it includes summit finishes at Fai della Paganella and Madonna di Campiglio.

    Nibali trained in Sicily in recent weeks in the company of seven of his Liquigas-Cannondale teammates. It was his second spell at altitude this season, after a camp on Teide, Tenerife in February.

    “On Etna I worked a lot and I worked hard,” he said. “I can say that I am more than satisfied with the condition that I ended up with.”

    Nibali will face a number of his Giro d’Italia rivals in Trentino, including Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), who was also training on Etna recently, where he had his room...

  • Lampre president confirms continued sponsorship

    The team from Lampre-ISD is presented to the crowd
    Article published:
    April 18, 2011, 12:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Galbusera declines to comment on specifics of Mantova investigation

    The head of Lampre has confirmed that his company will not cease its sponsorship of Lampre-ISD in spite of the team’s implication in the recently-concluded Mantova-based doping investigation.

    Last week reported that 13 past and present Lampre riders and staff could face charges following an investigation into the activities of pharmacist Guido Nigrelli, but Lampre head Mario Galbusera has reiterated his support for cycling.

    “We love cycling,” Galbusera told Gazzetta dello Sport. “This is the sentiment that guides us. And then, there’s so much passion. Problems can happen. They are confronted and resolved so that you can start again better.”

    Galbusera, who is also honorary president of the Lampre-ISD team, declined to comment on the specifics of the Mantova investigation, which is thought to be centred on alleged doping practices that took place in 2008 and 2009. Following the conclusion of the inquiry, 32 people are said to be facing charges, although the parties concerned have yet to receive formal notification.

    “I can’t [comment on it]. I don’t know all the facts, I’m not aware of anything,” Galbusera said. “As soon as things are clear, we will evaluate case by case with extreme attention.”

    According to recent reports in Gazzetta dello Sport, Lampre manager Giuseppe Saronni is to step down from his role if charges against him are formalised, with Roberto Damiani likely to replace him.

    It is also...

  • Aerts to undergo cardiac surgery

    Mario Aerts (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had a visit from his family in Wanze.
    Article published:
    April 18, 2011, 13:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian must treat heart arrythmia with operation

    Mario Aerts has decided to undergo a heart operation in the middle of the cycling season. The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider has been struggling with cardiac arrythmia for years, but now the problem has become worse.

    "I have had problems with my heartbeat for more than ten years already, but the doctors said it was nothing abnormal," Aerts told news agency Belga. "So I never worried about it."

    Recently, however, the 36-year-old noticed that his cardiac arrythmia had increased recently. "When I sprinted up a hill, it got worse. It was more often, too, which started to make me nervous. Doctors in Leuven told me that I could continue racing, but if I fainted I should report it immediately. Well, I don't want to faint on my bike when I'm riding at 60 km/h! I'm 36, and I don't want to take any risks anymore at this point in my career, which is why I'm going to undergo surgery."

    The plan is to insert electrodes to his heart to see whether a heart nerve might be over-active. If this is the case, the nerve will be cauterized and the problem solved.

    The surgery is scheduled for May 24, but Aerts wants to get it done even earlier in the faint hope of still being able to participate in the Tour de France as a helper for Jurgen Van Den Broeck. If everything goes well, he'll be able to take to the bike again one week after the operation.

    "[Doing] the Tour is going to be difficult, even if I can start riding again in May. I haven't been racing since the beginning of March, so it's not going to be easy to get back in top shape. If I don't make it, then it'll of course be a shame for Jurgen Van Den Broeck. I'm his roommate, and we've already been planning all the training camps towards the Tour."