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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 9, 2012

Date published:
April 09, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Paris-Roubaix: Terpstra happy, Chavanel disappointed

    Niki Terpstra is Omega Pharma-Quickstep's wildcard
    Article published:
    April 09, 2012, 12:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep in full flight despite Chavanel's bad luck

    On top of Tom Boonen's legendary victory in the 2012 Paris-Roubaix last Sunday, the Belgian's team Omega Pharma-QuickStep was proud to have another rider in the top five, Dutchman Niki Terpstra. And if it hadn't been for an inopportune puncture, the squad directed by Patrick Lefevere could possibly have boasted a third rider in a top spot: Sylvain Chavanel.

    Terpstra, who helped Boonen in his attack more than 55 kilometres from the finish, was glad his efforts paid off and provided him with such a good final placing. Even though he was unable to match Boonen's impressive pace for very long - let alone take a turn - the Dutchman showed great form as he rode the finale together with Sébastien Turgot (Europcar), going after the first chase group including Alessandro Ballan (BMC), Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Lars Boom (Rabobank).

    "I'm kapot," Terpstra told HLN in the finish. "When we rode away with Boonen, I had just done a turn in front and I hadn't recovered from that yet. Tom was riding very fast and once he took ten meters, it was over for me."

    The 27-year-old, who won Dwars Door Vlaanderen recently, had no doubt that his team leader Boonen would be able to stand his ground until the finish, even though there were more than 50 kilometres ahead of him. "Sky could have been there with ten men, it wouldn't have changed anything." As he arrived in the velodrome, Terpstra and Turgot caught the three chasers but the 2010 Dutch champion was unable to sprint. "I had dug too deep to take on that group," he added.

  • Oscar Pujol joins Iranian Continental team

    Oscar Pujol of the Cervelo TestTeam
    Article published:
    April 09, 2012, 13:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Omega Pharma-Lotto rider to Azad University Cross Team

    When Omega Pharma-Lotto split up at the end of last year, the team's star riders naturally knew where they were going to race this season. But one of the squad's less known domestiques, Spaniard Oscar Pujol, was a victim of the situation which saw some of the team's riders join Omega Pharma-QuickStep, and others Lotto-Belisol. Pujol had a valid contract through 2012, but as the team's managing company was taken over and team contingents full, he was left out on the street.

    Now, the 28-year-old is moving to an Iranian Continental team, the Azad University Cross Team, as no other European squad was interested, either. "At my age, you can't live on memories. You have to look to the future and my future now includes experiencing this new cycling. I will have a good calendar in this team, different to the one I've had these past years. I think I can still learn a lot," said Pujol, whose last race with Omega Pharma-Lotto was the GP Montréal. Pujol also rode for the Cervélo TestTeam in 2009 and 2010, making it into the team's Vuelta a Espana roster.

    The Azad University Cross Team includes 15 riders, eight Iranians, three Colombians, one Malaysian and now two Spaniards. It was through the Malaysian rider, Ng Yong Li, that Pujol found his new home. "I knew him from the Tour of Langkawi, we stayed connected on Facebook and he got me in touch with the team management," Pujol continued.

    The Spaniard's first race for his new outfit will be the Tour of Korea from April 22-29. "After that, we'll do the Tour of Azerbaijan from May 11-16, and it's possible that we'll race the Tour of Japan," he added.

  • Martin says form is good for coming races

    Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), satisfied after stage 4
    Article published:
    April 09, 2012, 15:40 BST
    Cycling News

    World time trial champion still looking for season's first win

    Tony Martin is off to a slow start in 2012, but says his form is coming around ahead of the Tour de Romandie. At this point last year he already had five victories, including the overall titles in the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice, but this year he is still looking for his first win for his new team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step.

    Last year, his 12 wins included the Worlds time trial title, and he took both of his stage race overall victories by winning the time trials. This year however, he was second in the Algarve time trial and 25th in Paris-Nice, which was a mountain climb.

    More recently at Pais Vasco the 18.9km test in Oñati proved too mountainous, and he was only able to take third.

    “As expected, the 'mountain goats' were practically unbeatable” in the time trial, Martin wrote on personal website. “I made the best of it with my third place and seven seconds down on Sanchez. There was nothing more I could do.” It was, however, enough to move him from 17th overall to fifth.

    “But more importantly, the race brought me the proof that my form is good and that I am in shape for the coming races.”

    The German's next race is the Tour de Romandie (April 24-29), but he doesn't know yet where he will prepare for it. “It will depend on the weather, whether I head south again or train at home in Switzerland.”

  • Only one dream left for Sanchez after Basque Country victory

    Stage winner and overall Pais Vasco champion Sammy Sanchez celebrates with some champagne.
    Article published:
    April 09, 2012, 17:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Euskaltel leader still wants a Worlds medal

    Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez has little left to dream about in his career, the Spaniard revealed after winning the overall Vuelta al Pais Vasco last Saturday for the first time. And it was not meant to sound negative. "Step by step, I have been realising all the dreams that I had since I was a kid," he said.

    "To be on the podium at the Tour de France, as winner of the mountains competition, to get third overall, even though it didn't happen in the best way [following the doping-related sanction of Alberto Contador in 2010 - ed.], the Olympic medal and now, the Tour of the Basque Country," he told Marca. Sanchez also has five Vuelta a Espana stages to his account, one stage at the Tour de France and the GP Zürich Metzgete in 2006.

    "At 34 years of age, my only dream left is to win a medal at the Worlds."

    Clearly, the Spaniard will be focussing on this year's world championships in Limburg, Netherlands. The course involving several Classic climbs could be perfect for Sanchez, who for now has gained further confidence with his win in the Basque Country.

    The final overall classification was set in stone by a mountainous and technical 18.9km time trial, and Sanchez was able to take the leadership from Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). But he also admitted that he was "a little afraid" of the differences that reigning time trial world champion Tony Martin would be able to establish on the flat parts of the course. In the end, Martin finished third on the day, and Rodriguez ceded 21 seconds to Sanchez, finishing second overall at 12 seconds.

    "The course was dangerous, but it was dangerous for everybody. Everyone takes the risks he wants to take, and all bikes have brakes. I took the...

  • Cooke back to winning in Olympic year

    Nicole Cooke gets her first European victory with Faren-Honda
    Article published:
    April 09, 2012, 18:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Defending Olympic champion building for London

    The defending Olympic champion Nicole Cooke has not been the same prolific winner she was in the years leading up to her Beijing gold medal performance and world title in 2008, but with a stage victory in the Energiewacht Tour this weekend, the British rider is confident that her preparations for the London Olympic Games are on track.

    "To get a win is great as it shows I've still got it," Cooke said according to the BBC News. "I'm very pleased as it always great to have that reference point against the best riders in the world."

    Cooke, riding for Faren-Honda, made the winning breakaway of eight riders on the final stage of the Energiewacht Tour in Schloteren, outside Groningen in the Netherlands.

    After 103.2km, Cooke out-foxed her companions to win the sprint ahead of Belgian Evelyn Arys and German Sarah Düster (Stichting Rabo).

    "I think it is a really good signal to myself and my rivals that when it comes to the sharp end of racing and tactics, I'm up there - and I'm as good as ever of executing a win.

    "It is a fantastic feeling to get my 2012 season going properly. I should be increasing form and building for London."

    The six-stage event was won by Ina Teutenberg, who won two stages and the overall classification thanks in part to the dominating performance of her Specialized-lululemon squad in the team time trial.

  • Rabobank not satisfied with first part of Classics season

    Matti Breschel and Maarten Tjallingii on the Koppenberg
    Article published:
    April 09, 2012, 19:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Team manager Knebel notes that rides continue to fight for top placings

    Rabobank hasn't had a bad early Classics season – but it also hasn't had a good one. In Paris-Roubaix “we were close to the podium. But you're never satisfied because you want to win,” said team manager Harald Knebel.

    Lars Boom was sixth in Paris-Roubaix, Theo Bos third in the Scheldeprijs and Matti Breschel ninth in the Tour of Flanders. “That is all at a good level, but it could have been more,” Knebel told

    The good thing is that “the team continues to fight. That's sport: keep fighting. This is an important season and our riders must go for the wins, like Breschel and Boom."

    "And that's what I want to see, even later in the climbing classics. In the beginning of the season I have not seen it, but this indicates that the level is there."

    However, the team is also taking steps to ensure that things change, but those steps are not public.

    "It's really clear to our team. There are conversations in which we let them know that we expect more,” Knebel said. “But we keep internal."

    "You know when coaching: one time it's a kick in the ass, the next time, a pat on the head. Who we do what to, and when, stays internal.”

  • Knee problems knock Leukemans out of Classics

     Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil)
    Article published:
    April 09, 2012, 21:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Vacansoleil rider fears torn meniscus, surgery

    One of Vacansoleil's main Classics protagonists Björn Leukemans will be out of competition for the remainder of the spring after suffering unresolved knee pain.

    The 34-year-old Belgian began having pain after his 14th place finish at the Tour of Flanders and was forced to sit out of Paris-Roubaix, a race in which he finished fourth in 2007.

    Even after a week of rest and treatment, the continued pain led his team doctors to suspect a torn meniscus. Leukemans will undergo further examinations on Tuesday in an attempt to identify the exact nature of the injury.

    "It is difficult not to ride in the races I worked towards," Leukemans said in a team press release. "My knee doesn't look good at all and the fear of the doctor is that it needs an operation."

    Last season, Leukemans finished in the top 10 of the Amstel Gold Race and Liège - Bastogne - Liège, and his absence leaves a gap in the Vacansoleil roster for the Ardennes Classics.

  • First riders selected for Nature Valley Pro Chase

    The Women's Jerseys: Sports Queen of the Hill/Tria Best Young Rider/Wheaties Sprint Leader Leah Kirchman (Colavita/Formo d'Asolo p/b Cooking Light), Nature Valley Top Amateur Jade Wilcoxson (NVGP Pro Ride), Nature Valley Race Leader Amber Neben (HTC Highroad), Freewheel Bike Most Aggressive Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/To The Top).
    Article published:
    April 09, 2012, 23:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Elite amateurs chosen in Virginia for pro treatment

    Two elite amateurs were selected to compete in the professional races at the Nature Valley Grand Prix in June through qualifying races in the second edition of the Nature Valley Pro Chase.

    Lindsay Bayer, 27, of Reston, Virginia, and Pete Custer, 28, of Washington, DC were selected through their performances in the Jefferson Cup in Charlottesville, Virginia on April 1, and join Trina Jacobson and Connor McCutcheon of California who qualified through the Tour de Murrieta in their home state in March.

    Bayer came in second place to retired pro Kelly Benjamin in Charlottesville, and as the top-ranked amateur she earned an invitation. Custer came 14th in the men's category 1,2,3 event.

    The Nature Valley Pro Chase was started last year as a way to bring new talent into the professional ranks. Jade Wilcoxson and Anna Barensfeld, now with Optum Pro Cycling, and Alison Tetrick Starnes of Exergy Twenty12 all came through the Nature Valley pro ride program, where amateurs are chosen for a fully supported composite team.

    All of the team members receive travel stipends, housing, team clothing, ground transportation, a pre-race training camp, and staff support for their composite teams.

    A total of six riders will form the 2012 men's and women's teams. The remaining four qualifying events are the RBC Tour de Moore in Southern Pines, North Carolina on April 28, the Superior Morgul Classic in Boulder, Colorado May 18-20, the San Jose Omnium in California May 27-28 and the Memorial Weekend Omnium in the Quad Cities region of Iowa/Illinois May 26-28.

    All riders selected during the Nature Valley Pro Chase will be documenting their preparation and experiences at the Nature Valley Grand Prix via the blog and video galleries.