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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 19, 2010

Date published:
April 19, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • De Waele: "A great result"

    Bert de Waele (Landbouwkrediet) led out the sprint but faded to 4th ahead of Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
    Article published:
    April 19, 2010, 8:13 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Fourth place phenomenal effort for Landbouwkrediet

    For Belgian squad Landbouwkrediet the 45th Amstel Gold Race proved to be a happy hunting ground, with Bert De Waele's fourth place and Sebastien Delfosse's ride in the early breakaway the obvious highlights.

    De Waele finishing ahead of the likes of Cunego and the Schleck brothers wasn't exactly what he expected, however. "Those guys are just a little bit... they are a lot better than me; one has to remain realistic," he said after the race.

    "For our team this has been a great day. It's only Bert Scheirlinckx and me who can save something because we can ride the finale. The other guys in the team know they have to come up with something to gather publicity, that's why we had Delfosse in the breakaway," he explained.

    De Waele laughed when asked if he had a super day. "If you can ride along between those great riders then you're certainly having a super day, especially for a rider of my level. Hopefully I can confirm this on Wednesday or next Sunday," he added.

    The surprise attack from the Landbouwkrediet rider surprised many, not least of all himself. "It's true that I was still near the front after the Keutenberg [penultimate climb] whereas last year I got dropped on the top of that climb.

    "On the descent I suffered from cramps because they were riding very fast to catch the leaders. I thought that I would be dropped at the foot of the Cauberg - further proof that I'm too modest.

    "Suddenly I saw that there was a gap. I thought: why not give it a shot. If they wanted to win they had to pass me. The least I could do was try," De Waele said. His opportunistic effort delivered him the best result at the highest level in his career.

    De Waele knows he's capable of a good performance in hillier one-day races and the Flemish rider said it's confirmation of what he's suspected for some time. "Last year I rode a magnificent world championships race, earning my selection in the team in a great way. It's not the first...

  • Bannan faces tough task with Australia’s worlds selection

    Cadel Evans and Maxime Monfort early in the race
    Article published:
    April 19, 2010, 8:14 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mapei joins 2010 UCI World Championships as major sponsor

    Selecting Australia’s representatives for this year’s world championships will be a difficult task according to Cycling Australia’s national high performance director Shayne Bannan. With the International Cycling Union World Road Championships set to be staged on home soil in Geelong, Australia, the governing body faces a tougher than usual selection.

    Normally staged in Europe, the opportunity to fight for the rainbow jersey Down Under is a once in a lifetime chance for the riders. The opportunity has most Australian professionals aiming for a spot on the squad.

    “Our first camp is in Italy next week,” said Bannan. “The easy part will be the championships, the hard part will be selecting the team. It is going to be very hard to select the teams in the men’s, women’s and under 23’s.”

    Bannan added that while Cadel Evans and Michael Rogers have played down their chances of adding more rainbow jerseys to their respective collections that neither rider should be discounted. Evans is the reigning road race champion while Rogers has claimed multiple time trial titles throughout his career.

    “Michael and Cadel may be playing down their chances but there is a time trial that will suit both of them, yes the road race might suit an Allan Davis or a Simon Gerrans, but I wouldn’t be discounting the likes of Michael or Cadel,” Bannan said.

    The 2010 World Road Championships organising committee has announced that Mapei has signed on as the major sponsor for this year’s event. Mapei Group Giorgio Squinzi said his passion for the sport came from his father when announcing the sponsorship.

    Mapei has had a long association with the Australian national cycling team and the AIS high performance programs through technical and scientific support provided by Mapei Sport’s research and service centre in Castellanza, Italy.

    “This...

  • Amstel Gold Race: From behind the lens

    The peloton enjoyed lovely clear skies for the Amstel Gold Race
    Article published:
    April 19, 2010, 8:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cyclingnews captures the drama from Maastricht to Valkenburg

    As Icelandic volcanic dust continued to be scattered over Europe, Philippe Gilbert blew the dust from Omega Pharma-Lotto's 2010 season with a stunning win in the Amstel Gold Race.

    His ferocious attack in the final 600 metres netted the Belgian team its first win of the year and Gilbert another Classics triumph following his stellar late-season run in 2009 during which he won the Coppa Sabatini, Paris-Tours, Giro del Piemonte and the Giro di Lombardia.

    Cyclingnews photographers including Bettini, Fotoreporter Sirotti and Elmar Krings were on hand to capture all the action from the 45th edition of this beloved Classic, which showcases the picturesque Vaulkenburg region and the passion of Dutch cycling fans.

    Alexander Kolobnev tries in vain to hold off the sprinting bunch behind.

    Katusha's Alexander Kolobnev (above) came agonisingly close to victory after a spirited late-race attack that sprung from a five-man selection in the final 11km. He was caught in the final kilometre by a fast-charging peloton.

    The market in Maastricht was packed.

    Need visible proof of the passion for cycling that exists in Holland? Look no further than Maastricht on Amstel Gold Race day.

    Another windmill

    Warning: token windmill shot from Dutch race...

    The peloton takes on the Cauberg for the first time.

    OK, so it doesn't look that hard, but you...

  • California key for HTC-Columbia

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) at the start of the 2010 season at the Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    April 19, 2010, 8:20 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    American race the priority for home ProTour squads

    It appears that HTC-Columbia is one of several American ProTour squad prioritising next month's Amgen Tour of California over the traditional focus of May, the Giro d'Italia.

    Bob Stapleton's team is one of several American ProTour outfits sending its big guns to the Californian event, which has changed calendar slots for 2010, moving from February to May and now clashing with the first grand tour of the year.

    "There's been quite a lot of discussion in the team concerning which race is the most important race for us," said HTC-Columbia rider Michael Rogers, who will be heading to California to spearhead the team's general classification effort.

    Having made his Giro d'Italia debut last year, Lance Armstrong will head Team RadioShack's squad on home soil, with Garmin-Transitions also likely to send an illustrious roster boasting the likes of Christian Vande Velde to its home event in what is a definite trend amongst the 'local' ProTour teams.

    Celebrating its centenary year last season, the Giro d'Italia hosted a field with massive star quality in 2009 - in particular, the interest shown from non-Italian squads. It appears that in 2010 the Italian event will return to its more traditional local focus, with national orientation playing its part on both sides of the pond.

    "Obviously, being an American team, the Amgen Tour of California is a very important race for us; we've had very good success in the last couple years, and we'll probably split our best riders between the two races," continued Rogers.

    History has shown that fighting battles on two fronts with the hope of success is a difficult, if not impossible task, and Rogers knows the team has its work cut out ensuring that good results can flow from both events.

    "I'll be going to the Tour of California, as will Mark Cavendish, and [Andre] Greipel will be going to the Giro d'Italia - it's certainly not an easy thing to divide a team into two and have our...

  • Cavendish admits fame has been a burden

    Mark Cavendish and his HTC-Columbia teammates roll to the start
    Article published:
    April 19, 2010, 8:22 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    HTC-Columbia sprinter confident he will return to the top

    Mark Cavendish is confident he will retake his place as cycling's dominant sprinter after a torrid start to his 2010 season.

    The 24-year-old HTC-Columbia rider has experienced a series of well documented interruptions to his early-season racing. He has battled to regain form after complications arose from pre-season dental surgery and most recently revealed the tension that exists with his teammate and fellow sprinter André Greipel.

    In a revealing interview with British newspaper The Sunday Times, Cavendish expressed his belief that he will return to the form that saw him win 27 races in 2009, including six stages at the Tour de France. So far this season, Cavendish has only recorded one victory, compared to eight wins by this time last year.

    "It might not be this year but I know I can get back, and then no-one will remember this [period]. So it’s just putting up with it, just getting through it. I have real downers, really big downers," Cavendish admitted.

    He revealed that his well publicized dental problems had come after he defied medical orders and returned to training too soon after having work done to straighten his teeth in Paraguay. A subsequent infection and three-week lay-off destroying his hopes of early season success.

    "I was on antibiotics for 10 days and they wiped me out. I had diarrhea. I couldn’t eat. I was lying in my bed for days and lost so much weight. I couldn’t train for three weeks and lost so much muscle that it knocked me right back. If I could turn back time, I would stick with my teeth [laughs]. I am not normally vain but that was the one thing that got me," he said.

    While the dental issues have had a specific physical impact upon Cavendish's season start, he admitted that pressure has been building since his dominant display at last year's Tour de France. The break down of his relationship with his then fiancée, the serious accident of his close...

  • Rabobank disappointed at another lost Amstel Gold Race

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) hoped for a sprint.
    Article published:
    April 19, 2010, 10:14 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch team again fails to win home race

    Rabobank went into Amstel Gold Race determined to win it, but yet again came up short. “Our goal was first place. Now we are standing here with empty hands and did not win our home race,” Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker admitted. “We are extremely disappointed.”

    Rabobank is the only Dutch team in the ProTour and Amstel Gold Race is the only Dutch Spring Classic, it is “surely on of the most important races for us in the spring. We have to also accept that everyone in the Netherlands is disappointed. But that's only logical,” Dekker said on the team's website.

    Coincidentally, Dekker was the last Dutch rider and Rabobank rider to win the race, in 2001. Before him, Rabobank's Michael Boogerd won in 1999.

    The race went as planned for the team – at least until the climb to the finish atop the Cauberg. Robert Gesink and Oscar Freire were co-captains. “We had agreed that if Robert was not at the front at the Keutenberg, then we would go for Oscar. And that plan worked out well.”

    Not well enough, though. Freire was unable to conquer the Cauberg or get anywhere near winner Philippe Gilbert. The team's highest finisher was German Paul Martens, 11th at 11 seconds, with Freire 17 seconds down in 14th place and Gesink was 23rd at 1:38.

    "It's especially disappointing when the plan you create is well executed and only the final outcome is missing," said Dekker.

    Freire won Milan-San Remo, one of the year's most prestigious races this year, but Dekker said that the team is not satisfied with its rides in the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Amstel. "We still have to deal with this. We must also not let our heads hang, because it is not that everybody has bad legs. We just need to find a way to convert our good performances into results. We have to have more to show than we have done in these three races."

    Freire says he would have to be...

  • Volcano continues to disrupt riders' travel plans

    Alberto Contador (Astana) signals the third Castilla y Leon victory of his career
    Article published:
    April 19, 2010, 12:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Contador on his way to Belgium, Greipel stuck in Turkey

    The knock-on effects of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull continues to affect professional cycling, as the riders try to find alternative ways of traveling to and from races. Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Luis Leon Sanchez and Oscar Pereiro all are already on their way from Spain to Belgium for Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne, Kurt Asle Arvesen found himself stuck on an oilrig in the North Sea and many of the riders who completed the Presidential Tour of Turkey are struggling to get home.

    Contador had barely any time to celebrate his overall win in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon on Sunday before setting off on his northward 1800km road trip to Belgium. The Astana rider started out with a 900km drive from Santiago de Compostela, Spain, to Pau in France, where he spent Sunday night. From there he is due take a five-and-a half hour train journey to Paris today, and will then make the final leg to Liege by team car The trip, which would normally take two and a half hours by plane, will take almost two days.

    The two-time Tour de France winner was joined by one-time Tour de France winner, teammate Oscar Pereiro, who twittered a photo of himself in a train that was so crowded, people were sitting in the middle aisle. “Go travel!” he said. “Car 9 hours yesterday, now 6 hours by train and two in the bus to Liege! This is full of people, what chaos!”

    Alejandro Valverde, of Caisse d'Epargne, was supposed to have ridden Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, but was unable to get to the Netherlands. He is now traveling to Belgium b car, along with teammates Luis Leon Sanchez and Luis Pasamontes. No travel details were announced, but the three are expected to arrive in Liege today.

    HTC-Columbia scrambling to move riders to and from races

    Andre Greipel was able to win five stages of the Tour of Turkey, but was unable to out sprint the volcano. The HTC-Columbia sprinter caught a late night flight to Istanbul...

  • Tour of Turkey victory boosts Visconti's career

    Giovanni Visconti (ISD-Neri) kept his overall lead.
    Article published:
    April 19, 2010, 12:29 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    ISD-Neri still hoping for a Giro d'Italia invitation

    By winning the Presidential Tour of Turkey, Giovanni Visconti might have found the important stepping-stone he needed to restart his career and finally live up to the expectations placed on his shoulders ever since he was a talented and successful under 23 rider.

    The former U23 European road race champion started his professional career under the wing of Paolo Bettini, who helped him win the Italian championship in 2007. He was predicted to be as a future classics winner but three years on, he has still yet to win a major classic.
    After riding for De Nardi, Milram and Quick Step, Visconti was reunited with his mentor Luca Scinto in 2009 as team leader at the ISD team. The team often struggles to secure invitations to major races but that may change after Visconti's success in Turkey.

    "This win in Turkey will help me believe in the potential that Luca always repeats I have for winning big races,” Visconti said in Alanya after sealing victory.

    “Wearing the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia two years ago certainly made me understand how to defend a lead in a stage race but it’s kind of a strange feeling for me to win a Tour for the first time. It’s nice that it comes at a national Tour as well. In a couple of years, I hope to fight for GC in the Grand Tours. Before that, I want to try and win other one-day races. I mean I want one of the real big ones.”

    Visconti insists he has no regrets and is not angry about his ISD-Neri team not being invited to this year’s Giro d’Italia. The team's management is still hoping for a last minute invitation because the Italian team has been put on the reserve list by organisers RCS. For that reason, they won’t let the Le Tour de Langkawi winner José Rujano join another team until Angelo Zomegnan’s final word on invitation on May 3. The Venezuelan has been rumoured to be in discussion with Footon-Servetto for a middle-season...