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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 25, 2011

Date published:
April 25, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Allergies and mistakes spoil Katusha's chances at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) made little impact at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2011, 3:37 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Kolobnev admits he missed the move that decided the race

    The Katusha team was expected to be a major threat to Phillip Gilbert and the Schleck brothers at Liege-Bastogne-Liege thanks to their strength in numbers but the Russian team left the finish in Ans under a cloud after team leaders Joaquim Rodriguez, Alexandr Kolobnev and Danilo Di Luca struggled.

    Kolobnev finished a close second to Alexandre Vinokourov last year but was only 11th this year, while Rodriguez was further back in 26th place. Kolobnev admitted he missed the decisive attack by the Schlecks on the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons.

    "I wasn't very focused in the very moment when the Schleck brothers attacked. It was a fatal distraction, which conditioned my race," the Russian national champion admitted in a statement issued by the team.

    "I'm sorry because I think I was in a good shape, but for a rider like me, it was important not to lose the best riders' wheel. When I lost them, it was already impossible to close that gap. I'm really sorry, I'm very disappointed with my race because I did everything to be in my best shape for this competition. I hoped to reach a better result, because my shape was good enough to do so."

    Like many riders, Rodriguez was affected by the very high pollen count in the Ardennes caused by the hot weather and lack of rain in the last few days.

    "For me, it was a bad day. I can't say why, but the fact is that today I felt empty, with no energy. I think I suffered the flower-dust allergy more than I expected," he said.

    "It was very hot, and this created a particular weather condition which I suffered a lot. In fact, I couldn't breathe very well. In the end, when I have to change my rhythm, I couldn't because I...

  • Video: Schleck says Gilbert was unbeatable in Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) consults with Philippe Gilbert (Omega-Pharma Lotto) on the road to Ans.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2011, 3:41 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Brothers have no regrets after finishing second and third

    Fränk and Andy Schleck were bitterly disappointed to lose to Philippe Gilbert at Liège - Bastogne - Liège, but believed they did everything they could to try and beat him in the finale of one of the toughest editions of the race in years.

    The Leopard Trek team worked hard to isolate Gilbert and then Andy lead Fränk as they made a double attack on the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons. However, Gilbert was the only rider able to go with them and then made his own attack on the Cote de Saint-Nicolas to stamp his authority on the brothers and show them who was the strongest in the race.

    The sprint in Ans was an easily executed formality for Gilbert, and he pulled out several metres on Fränk, who finished second and the more fatigued Andy, who was third.

    "I don't think we could have done any thing differently," Fränk conceded in a video interview just after his brother had spoken to camera.

    "We attacked together, which we don't normally do. He was unbeatable - the only one who could follow us (on the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons) and there was nothing else we could do."

    "We have no regrets and that's the most important thing. He just wasn't beatable."

  • Roy down with toxoplasmosis

    Jeremy Roy (FDJ)
    Article published:
    April 25, 2011, 9:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    FDJ rider out of competition for three weeks

    French rider Jérémy Roy has finally found out the reason for his mediocre form during the last few weeks: toxoplasmosis. After having started the season perfectly with a victory at the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise, the Française des Jeux sprinter saw his fitness decline for no apparent reason. On Saturday before Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Roy received the test results that confirmed he had contracted the infection.

    "The cause of my long -ill-fitness has been found, and its name is toxoplasmosis," the 27-year-old tweeted. He will have to rest for a few weeks in order to recover, but still decided to race in Liège as was planned.

    "I finished the Doyenne 13 minutes behind the great Phil [Gilbert - ed.], but I finished," he continued. "Now I'll rest to get better. I'll be back at the Nord Alpes Isère Tour." The French stage race is scheduled from May 12-15.

  • Gilbert goes top of WorldTour standings

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) celebrates on crossing the line.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2011, 11:09 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Leopard Trek move ahead of RadioShack in team ranking

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has moved to the top of the WorldTour rankings at the end of a week that saw him complete the hat-trick of Ardennes Classic victories.

    The Belgian’s wins at Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège mean that he enjoys a commanding lead at head of the standings, 120 points clear of his nearest challenger and previous number one Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek).

    Gilbert’s recent haul also sees Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad), Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) all move down one spot.

    Elsewhere in the individual standings, last year’s number one Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) moves from 27th to 11th place, although the onset at allergies at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday dented his chances of moving up still further.

    While the Schleck brothers failed to make their numbers count against Gilbert in the finale of La Doyenne, their efforts were enough to see their Leopard Trek squad go top of the team rankings, with a 38-point buffer over previous leader RadioShack. Gilbert’s spate of wins has also propelled Omega Pharma-Lotto up five places to third.

    The nation standings remain largely unchanged after the Ardennes, with Gilbert’s success further cementing Belgium’s number one ranking ahead of Australia. The Schleck’s efforts move Luxembourg up 16 places, knocking Great Britain into 11th place.

    Countries seeking a full complement of 9 riders at the world championships must be in the top 10 of the standings on August 15th.
     

    WorldTour...

  • Picture gallery: the 2011 Spring Classics

    Paris-Roubaix: Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervelo) struggles to lift his prize.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2011, 13:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    The best of the action from San Remo to Liège

    Philippe Gilbert’s winning sprint on the Côte de Ans on Sunday brought the curtain down on what has been a spectacular Classics season. From Milan-San Remo through to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the past five weeks have seen some memorable performances, from established stars and break-out talents alike.

    Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) held his nerve to take the sprint from a very elite eight-man group at the end of a pulsating edition of Milan-San Remo and that thrilling race would set the tone for the remainder of the Spring.

    While Fabian Cancellara’s crushing display the following weekend at the E3 Prijs appeared to be an ominous portent of what was to come, the Swiss rider was not to have it all his own way on the cobbles, as Nick Nuyens and Johan Van Summeren took surprising but thoroughly deserved wins at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

    If the cobbled classics saw the outsiders come out on top, the hierarchy was firmly re-established in the Ardennes, as Philippe Gilbert stamped his authority all over Flèche Brabançonne, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège to take an unprecedented quadruple.

    For an exclusive gallery of the best of the action from the...

  • Tour of America's Dairyland Women’s Series receives sponsorship boost

    2010 Tour of America's Dairyland final overall women's podium (l-r): Carrie Cash, Sarah Caravella and Tina Schofield
    Article published:
    April 25, 2011, 15:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    $31,000 now up for grabs

    Becker Law Office of Madison, Wisconsin, has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the Women's Pro 1/2/3 and Women's Cat 3/4 Series within the 2011 Tour of America's Dairyland presented by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, June 16-26.

    Through the generous support of Becker Law Office's founder Don Becker, the total combined overall payouts for individual racers in the Pro Women 1/2/3 and Cat 3/4 Women race categories will increase to nearly $31,000.

    Becker, an overall sponsor of the Tour of America's Dairyland in 2010, said he knew he wanted to commit to sponsoring the women's races after witnessing the women's exhibited dedication and athleticism firsthand at the Giro d'Grafton, a USA CRITS race, in 2010.

    "The focus of many cycling races is often on the power of the guys, which is certainly valid. But to see these professional women and mothers out there just pouring it on and holding their own - impressive," said Becker. "I just think they deserve a little more recognition, and Becker Law Office is in a position to give it to them."

    In addition to the spike in payouts, daily winners of the Pro Women 1/2/3 and Cat 3/4 Women races will receive the Becker Law Office pink cowprint Leader's Jersey on the podium.

    Becker, himself an avid cross-country skier, has an extensive history in sponsoring sporting events ranging from local high school teams and recreation programs to charitable bike tours and cross-country ski races, including the American Birkebeiner.

    "These athletes are tremendous role models for our youth. Such enthusiasm and passion should be rewarded," said Becker. "Becker Law Office is proud to be affiliated with Tour of America's Dairyland, and I guarantee it's going to be a fun ride for all the women who race ToAD this year… I may have a surprise or two up my cuff-linked lawyer sleeve."

    In all, over $126,000...

  • Nibali pleased with form at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is in solid shape ahead of the Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2011, 16:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sicilian building towards Giro d'Italia

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) has declared himself satisfied with his pre-Giro d’Italia form after finishing in 8th place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

    While the Sicilian was unable to go with Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Fränk and Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) when they attacked on Roche aux Faucons, he was one of the instigators of a strong chase group that formed on the Côte de Saint-Nicholas.

    “Up ahead they had set a high tempo, behind I just followed my own rhythm and never went into the red,” Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport of his ride up Saint-Nicholas.

    However, the chasers were unable to reel in Gilbert and the Schlecks, and Nibali admitted that he subsequently did not have the legs to contest the sprint for fourth place.

    “I was expecting to do a little better but I arrived exhausted at the sprint,” he said.

    Although overall victory at the Giro d’Italia is Nibali’s primary objective, he explained that he had also been keen to get a result at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. With La Doyenne in mind, Nibali stressed that he was not riding at 100 per cent in the Giro del Trentino during the week.

    “I had some hopes for Liège, I really wanted to do well in this race,” he said. “So I tried to get here as fresh as possible. Already in Trentino I knew that I had an important appointment at the weekend and that the team would be counting on me.”

    With under two weeks to the start of the Giro d’Italia, Nibali will continue his preparation by reconnoitring some of the stages in the Dolomites and last year’s...

  • Nygaard satisfied with string of Leopard Trek podium places

    Brian Nygaard has big ambitions for 2011
    Article published:
    April 25, 2011, 19:16 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Team manager concedes that Gilbert was unbeatable

    The Leopard Trek team left Belgium with an unprecedented string of podium places in the classics but will be remembered as the bridesmaid of the spring after failing to land a big win.

    In the cobbled classics Fabian Cancellara was by far the strongest rider but the lack of team support in vital moments of Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix left him isolated and vulnerable and the other teams made sure he did not win.

    The Leopard Trek team was far stronger in the Ardennes and took control of the racing, but could do little to stop Philippe Gilbert securing his historic trilogy of victories in front of his Wallonne cycling fans. The likes of Jens Voigt, Jacob Fuglsang and Maxime Monfort executed a near perfect race strategy at Liege-Bastogne-Liege but Andy And Frank Schleck did not have the punch to put a 'puncheur' like Gilbert on the ropes.

    Team manager Brian Nygaard was rightly proud of the consistency of his team across both the cobbled and Ardennes classics but admitted he would happily swap some of the podium places for one big victory.

    "I would have liked to have traded some of those podium place in for a victory but if you look at the whole stretch of the Classics, we've been absolutely there in all of them: podium, second, third, in every single Classic. I don't think any team has ever done that," he pointed out.

    "Victory would have been nice but if you have to be satisfied with finding yourself with Gilbert in the form of his life and creating history. Maybe not satisfied with the results but it's always a question of if you've done your best. And I'm absolutely convinced we did our best and our results show that."

    You tip your hat and say...