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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 19, 2012

Date published:
March 19, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • U23 world champion Démare looking forward to Gent-Wevelgem

    Arnaud Démare (FDJ-BigMat) wins GP Le Samyn.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 11:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    FDJ sprinter takes fourth win of the season in Cholet

    Arnaud Démare of FDJ-BigMat not only finished last year wearing the rainbow jersey of the Espoir category, he has also started the 2012 season in style, already taking his fourth victory in Cholet-Pays de Loire on Sunday. Nothing seems to be able to stop the 20-year-old in his first year as a pro. He won a stage in the Tour of Qatar, the GP Samyn, a stage of the Three Days of West Flanders and now the French Cup event in Cholet.

    Démare came into the finish in a small breakaway, which also included his teammates Pierrick Fédrigo and Mickaël Delage. "There was a big crash behind us and a gap opened up without us really wanting it," he told L'Equipe. "We outnumbered the others so we didn't think twice. Pierrick and Mickaël gave everything for me, so I couldn't disappoint them. I suprise myself every day, but right now, I do believe in myself enormously."

    It is his fast finishing speed, combined with a cool-headedness in races that makes the talented Frenchman special, according to his directeur sportif. "He confirms his abilities at every race," FDJ director Thierry Bricaud explained. "Every time he's at the start, you get the impression that he will win. And the most impressive thing is that he knows how to handle this situation."

    According to Bricaud, Démare has a bright career in front of him. "I don't think that we've already seen the whole extent of his talent. We will have to let him grow. Just like Kittel and Degenkolb [the rising stars of German sprinting - ed.], he's part of those riders who win as soon as they get the occasion."

    Now FDJ and its new star are looking forward to the Belgian Classics, convinced that Démare...

  • Basso fit to start in Catalunya

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas Cannondale)
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 12:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Veteran Italian has recovered from Paris-Nice fall

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) has recovered from a nasty fall at Paris-Nice earlier this month and has won his fitness battle to be on the start line at the Volta a Catalunya this afternoon. The two-time Giro d'Italia winner finished in seventh place at the Volta a Catalunya last year and will be hoping for another consistent effort over the course of the next week.

    Basso suffered a crash on the second stage of Paris-Nice on March 5, suffering injuries to his ribs. He battled on through to the sixth stage but ultimately succumbed to the pain and pulled out of the race 100km into the stage. Medics and team bosses feared that Basso's ribs may have been fractured, but that is fortunately not the case. Now, after a period of rest, he is ready for the challenge of the Volta a Catalunya - but admits that he has one eye on the Giro and will be using this event to get some miles under his belt.

    "Along with the team, I have confirmed my presence in Catalunya," Basso said. "The current situation allows me to be competitive for the general classification, but for the preparation it is important to build up miles in the race. the first goal is to not be bothered by my ribs and then grow along the way. This is the time to grit your teeth and think of the Giro d'Italia."


  • Hushovd out of Volta a Catalunya due to illness

    Thor Hushovd (BMC) was dropped from the breakaway.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 13:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Norwegian will ride Belgian races to prepare for Paris-Roubaix

    Thor Hushovd's plan was to ride Milan-San Remo and the Volta a Catalunya as warm-ups for his first season highlights early next month, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. It hasn't worked out that way, as illness has forced a change in the planning.

    The BMC Racing Team rider suffered through Paris-Nice with the stomach problems that affected so much of the peloton. Then, instead of heading to Italy, he headed towards bed with fever and chills.

    “Obviously this is not very favorable,” his personal coach Atle Kvålsvoll told

    The former world champion is feeling better and in fact resumed light training over the weekend, but it is too early to start racing again in Catalunya. “He has started training but it is not prudent to let him ride a stage race in the condition he is in,” Kvålsvoll said.

    Instead of Italy and Spain, Hushovd will head directly to Belgium, and will  take on the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke on Friday and Gent -Wevelgem on Sunday.

    “It is of course undesirable to change the race program so late,” Kvålsvoll admitted. “We would rather have done without this illness.”

    Kvålsvoll still thinks Hushovd has good a chance to finally take his long-hoped-for win in Paris-Roubaix.  “If he trains well, gets through the races in Belgium and has another week of good training, he should still be well prepared. We'll see when we come to Flanders.”

  • Taaramae out of racing with mononucleosis

    Rein Taaramae (Cofidis)
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 15:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Unfortunate setback for Cofids rider

    The reason behind Rein Taaramae's current state of fatigue has finally been found: the Cofidis rider is suffering from a mononucleosis infection (glandular fever). The first symptoms of the illness appeared a few days before Paris-Nice, a race in which Taaramae finished fourth and won the best young rider jersey last year. But this season, the Estonian was transparent at the event, even though he had finished second behind Alejandro Valverde at the Ruta del Sol just a few days earlier.

    Medical analyses performed last week confirmed suspicions of the infection. Taaramae has now been sent to his home in Estonia, where he will rest for at least ten days before taking up light training again, depending on the outcome of further analyses.

    Team manager Eric Boyer did not know when his key rider would be able to come back to racing. "This is a viral illness qualified as benign, but it has untypical symptoms as is the case with Rein," Boyer said. "One consequence is an important fatigue but it's unfortunately not possible to predict how long it will take. The fatigue ranges from three weeks to three months."

    Taaramae, who was scheduled to take part in the Volta a Catalunya starting this Monday, has thus been replaced. The 24-year-old's big objective this season, the white jersey of best young rider at the Tour de France, may well be compromised.

  • Paris-Roubaix announces 25 invited teams

    Spectators in the Arenberg Forest try to catch a glimpse of the oncoming riders.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 15:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Seven wildcards in addition to 18 WorldTour squads

    The Amaury Sport Organisation (AS), the organiser for Paris-Roubaix, has announced today the 25 teams which will comprise the field for the "Queen of the Classics" on April 8, 2012. As the race is a part of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) WorldTour, all 18 ProTeams automatically receive invitations. The peloton will be completed by seven Professional Continental teams who have garnered wildcard invitations.

    All four French Pro Continental teams earned invitations, Bretagne-Schuller, Cofidis, Saur-Sojasun and Team Europcar, while Farnese Vini-Selle Italia, Project 1t4i and Team NetApp round out the wildcard selections.

    The 2011 edition of Paris-Roubaix was won by Johan Vansummeren in a solo victory, with Fabian Cancellara winning the sprint for second from Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank Cycling Team), Grégory Rast (Team RadioShack) and Lars Ytting Bak (HTC-Highroad) 19 seconds later.

    ProTeams for Paris-Roubaix

    AG2R-La Mondiale (Fra)
    Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
    BMC Racing Team (USA)
    Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
    FDJ-Big Mat (Fra)
    Garmin-Barracuda (USA)
    GreenEdge Cycling Team (Aus)
    Katusha Team (Rus)
    Lampre-ISD (Ita)
    Liquigas-Cannondale (Ita)
    Lotto Belisol Team (Bel)
    Movistar Team (Spa)
    Omega Pharma-Quickstep (Bel)
    Rabobank Cycling Team (Ned)
    RadioShack-Nissan (Lux)
    Sky Procycling (GBr)
    Team Saxo Bank (Den)
    Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team (Ned)

    Pro Continental wildcard selections for Paris-Roubaix

    Bretagne-Schuller (Fra)
    Cofidis, Le Crédit En Ligne (Fra)
    Farnese Vini-Selle Italia (GBr)
    Project 1t4i (Ned)
    Saur-Sojasun (Fra)
    Team Europcar (Fra)
    Team NetApp (Ger)

  • Operacion Skype: Rider’s evidence leads to doctor’s arrest

    Overall winner David Garcia Dapena
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 17:45 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Spanish ex-pro’s information results in detention of Colombian doctor

    Spanish police have arrested a Colombian doctor and charged him with doping offences as a result of information given by a Spanish ex-pro, allegedly supplied with a doping product by the doctor in question. Alberto Beltrán Niño, who has worked with a number of professional teams over the past decade, including Selle Italia, Kaiku, LA Liberty Seguros and Xacobeo-Galicia, was arrested on March 8 at Madrid’s Barajas airport as he was about to board a flight to Colombia.

    The doctor was subsequently transferred to Barcelona, where the investigation into his activities has been running since September 2010. According to El País, the investigation, dubbed Operación Skype, was set up in the wake of former Xacobeo-Galicia rider David García’s positive test for EPO at the 2010 Vuelta a España.

    García, who received a two-year doping ban, decided to cooperate with the authorities and is reported to have provided them with evidence that he bought the product Retacrit (EPO zeta) from Beltrán following the 2010 Vuelta stage into Vilanova i la Geltrú, just to the south of Barcelona.

    El País says that, when detained, Beltrán was found to have two new generation doping products in his possession: AICAR and TB-500. Police also seized computers and numerous memory sticks, which have still to be checked. Beltrán is now facing two years in prison for alleged doping offences.

    Beltrán has long been a controversial figure within the sport. In April 2001, when he was working as a doctor on the Italo/Colombian Selle Italia team, police stopped his car on the motorway near Modena and found a substantial amount of doping products. Beltrán claimed...

  • Freire "couldn't give more" in Milan-San Remo

    Oscar Freire (Katusha) is the picture of calm at the start.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 18:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Three-time winner now turns to Dwars door Vlaanderen

    Even though he finished seventh last Saturday in Milan-San Remo, Oscar Freire (Katusha) wasn't disappointed not to have made the podium. One could argue that the three-time winner of the event would have wanted a better result in what may well have been the last 'Classicissima' he rode in his career, but Freire did not have any regrets about his racing on the day.

    "I did the best I could," the Spaniard told Biciciclismo after the race. "I couldn't do more because, unfortunately, my legs did not respond as I had hoped. So, when the final escape formed, I realized that it was impossible to take their wheel."

    The eventual winner Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge), Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and their motor-pacer Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack) took off towards the end of the Poggio climb, and while the remaining riders and sprinters were well-organised in the chase, the trio held off a narrow margin of a few meters until the very end.

    "In any case, I was with the chase group as I thought we'd sprint in the finish. So even if I had felt in my best shape, I wouldn't have gone with Nibali, Cancellara and Gerrans. Our strategy was perfect, we only came across an incredible Cancellara who, in the finale, basically enabled Gerrans to win.

    "This may have been my last Milan-San Remo, but I'm not disappointed. I don't have any regrets in my career, like I said before - I couldn't have given more of myself," added the triple World Champion.

    Freire, who was able to console himself with the victory of one of the first criteriums in the season, the Ronde d'Aix en Provence on Sunday, will now turn to the Belgian half-Classics, starting with Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.

  • Colavita continues women's program with espnW

    Team Colavita poses for a photo
    Article published:
    March 19, 2012, 20:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    US elite team to tackle NRC

    Following the disbanding of the 2011 UCI Colavita/Forno d'Asolo team last year, Colavita, one of the longest-running sponsors of women's cycling in the USA, has announced it will continue with a small elite team in 2012 with sports broadcaster ESPN as a co-sponsor.

    The team will race as Colavita-espnW, helping to promote ESPN's emerging business devoted to serving female fans. The team will be led by six-time US national champion Tina Pic and Jamaican Olympian Iona Wynter Parks, and will roll out for the first time at the SRAM Tour of the Gila on May 2 in Silver City, New Mexico.

    "I knew a new business that focuses on supporting female athletes would be a perfect fit for this unique opportunity," said John A. Profaci, Vice President of Marketing for Colavita. "Assembling a team is always challenging, but I'm confident we have recruited a great squad of cyclists capable of representing our new team effort having leadership skills on and off the bike."

    The team will include Kathryn Bertine, a three-time national champion of St. Kitts and Nevis, Olympic hopeful and columnist for espnW, Canadians Moriah MacGregor, Leah Guloien and Joanie Caron, Jamie Bookwalter, and Mary Zider.

    "We'll be out there to win, but at the same time we will celebrate the women we race with by shining a light on their accomplishments. When we highlight one female racer, we all move forward," said Bertine.

    The Colavita/espnW Pro Cycling Team will focus on NRC and select UCI events, including:

    SRAM Tour of the Gila (May 2-6; Silver City, NM)
    Gatineau Grand Prix (May 18-21; Gatineau, Quebec
    Exergy Tour (May 24-28; Boise, ID)
    Liberty Classic (June 3; Philadelphia, PA)
    Nature Valley Grand Prix (June 13-17; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN)
    Cascade Classic Stage Race (July 17-22; Bend, OR)
    Tour of Elk Grove (Aug 3-5;...