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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 25, 2013

Date published:
March 25, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Nuyens cancels spring campaign

    Nick Nuyens (Garmin-Sharp) trains on the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad route.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 9:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Garmin rider still having problems with hip

    Nick Nuyens has decided to sit out the rest of the spring season. After having to abandon the E3 Harelbeke on Friday, he said that he would take a long break to try and solve the problems still associated with the hip fracture he suffered more than a year ago.

    “I had no choice,” he told sporza.be.  “I couldn't do anything to help the team. You can't even speak of a spring.”

    Ironically, the 32-year-old, who won the Tour of Flanders in 2011, joined Garmin-Sharp this year to lead them in the spring classics. However, he fractured his hip in a crash at Paris-Nice in 2012, and underwent surgery in September.

    "The muscle in my hip is still too weak,” he said. “I can not push on my pedals and then you compensate. It's a chain reaction."

    "I'm now a strength program together with physiotherapist David Bombeke. I need that muscle training separately, because the bike is impossible. I know what I must do."

    The situation leaves him with “a lot of frustration. I could follow the peloton with difficulty. Up until the Omloop I felt good, but since then it has only diminished. The burden was too much.”

    Nuyens is not sure where he will go from here. “I must now shift my focus and find other goals. I must admit that I have doubts about myself but I must be patient and persevere. Everyone assures me that I will come back to my level."

  • Roelandts hit by race organiser's car at Gent-Wevelgem

    Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) bundled up at the start
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 10:28 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tough day in the saddle for Lotto Belisol

    While André Greipel finished just outside the top 10 in Gent-Wevelgem, it was an otherwise forgettable day for Lotto Belisol with Jurgen Roelandts hit by a car driven by the race organisation. The misfortune has left team boss Marc Sergent hoping for "a miracle" for the remainder of the classics season.

    Roelandts suffered a puncture with around 50km remaining in the weather-shortened race, and having taken a wheel from teammate Frederik Willems, rejoined the chase only to collide with the vehicle. The 27-year-old attempted to continue but suffering from headaches and feeling groggy, he was forced to abandon.

    "He hit his head," Sergent told Sporza. "I saw him cry of pain, disappointment and misery. I do not know if his Tour of Flanders in danger. It remains to be seen. "

    Jens Debusschere had featured in the main breakaway of the day, only to also fall back also due to a puncture just before the 30km to go mark. The remnants of the Lotto Belisol team responded by moving to the front of the chase, but their efforts were in vain with little support on offer given the teams at the head of the race.

    "I am the first to say if we are not good enough, but this is different," said Sergent. "We will hope for a miracle for next week."

     

  • Schleck: I was never dead

    Andy Schleck (RadioShack - Nissan)
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 11:21 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Luxembourger finishes first stage race of season

    Andy Schleck finished his first stage race in almost twelve months when he completed the Critérium International on Sunday and afterwards the RadioShack Leopard rider said that rumours of his demise as a rider were greatly exaggerated.

    “I was never dead, just maybe asleep but it was a nice day today,” Schleck said after completing his first stage race since the Circuit de la Sarthe last April.

    Although Schleck finished almost 22 minutes down at the summit of the Col de l’Ospedale on Sunday, he did at least play an active part in the racing on the final stage of the Critérium International, briefly joining a mid-stage break in the company of Thomas Voeckler (Europcar). Schleck explained that he was hoping to help his teammates Bob Jungels and Andreas Klöden break Team Sky’s stranglehold on the race.

    “We went out there today and had a plan to fight, we didn’t want to let Sky have an easy time of it,” Schleck said on the team website. “We had Laurent [Didier] in the break and then I jumped to the group to try and make the race hard with Jens [Voigt]. In the end, it didn’t work but when you come to the finish and you have done something, or tried to execute a plan, it’s a good day.”

    After a troubled start to the season that saw him fail to finish the Tour Down Under, Tour Mediterranéen and Tirreno-Adriatico, Schleck will doubtless have been pleased to have stemmed that steady flow of abandons. By the time Schleck crossed the line, however, Chris Froome was already home, hosed and in the yellow jersey, and he will be mindful that he is still a long way off the level required at the Tour de France in July.

    “I can...

  • No second win for Eisel in Gent-Wevelgem

    Bernhard Eisel (Sky Procycling) was third in 2012
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 12:26 GMT
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Sky rider makes decisive split in cobbled classic

    There wasn't much to do against the domination of young Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in the 75th edition of Gent-Wevelgem. Team Sky tried their best to reach out for the win in the Belgian Spring classic but fell short. The team's Norwegian champion Edvald Boasson Hagen tried with an acceleration on the cobbled Kemmelberg climb but was countered by the Slovakian winner. Former winner Bernard Eisel featured in the decisive 11-man breakaway move but failed to repeat his 2010 victory in the Sky jersey on Sunday afternoon.

    Right after the start - which was in Gistel instead of Deinze due to the cold weather conditions - Eisel featured in the first of several echelons which were formed due to the cold crosswinds. Later, when the riders entered the hill zone at the Belgian-French border, Eisel was riding attentively near the front of the race too. Shortly before hitting the final batch of three climbs Eisel reacted on an attack from Heinrich Haussler (IAM). At the finish the Austrian rider talked Cyclingnews through his race.

    "I was in a second group that went to the front. At a certain point we saw it split. We just kept riding," Eisel said, describing how the breakaway was formed. The peloton got back on their heels just before the Baneberg climb but over there it split again.

    "We kept the pace high and that was it. It ended up being the decisive move which would battle for the victory."

    Finishing the job isn't easy and having the in-form fast man Sagan in the group didn't make Eisel's task easier. Having another rapid finisher like Boasson Hagen in the peloton allowed Eisel to skip doing most of the work in the group.

    "In the end it was clear the peloton was not going to come back. For me it was easy because I had fast guys behind me. I...

  • Boonen to test knee at Three Days of De Panne

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quickstep) crashed in Gent-Wevelgem
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 15:11 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep also with Cavendish and Chavanel

    Tom Boonen will test his injured knee at the Three Days of De Panne, team Omega Pharma-QuickStep has announced. The former world champion injured his right knee in a crash during Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem.

    Boonen crashed with about 70 kilometres left in that race. He was on the bike path on the pavement, when another rider jumped on to the bike path and caught his wheel. Boonen tried to continue riding but soon abandoned.

    “The Belgian champion trained on the hometrainer this morning and assuaged any doubts as to whether or not he would participate in the race,” the team said in a press release.

    “The knee is still slightly swollen and it hurts, but I really have to work on my racing rhythm this week as well, prior to the Ronde," said Boonen. "We'll take it day by day and see how I feel.”

    Boonen was not originally scheduled to race the Three Days of De Panne, but wanted to add it to gain more racing kilometers before the Tour of Flanders this coming Sunday.

    The team will be looking to Mark Cavendish to win sprints in the race. The Briton has won four stages there, two each in 2008 and 2009. He has not ridden the race since then.

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep will also be sending Sylvain Chavanel, Iljo Keisse, Nikolas Maes, Gert Steegmans, Niki Terpstra and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck.
           

  • De Gendt builds towards Tour de France

    Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil) won the final stage
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 16:03 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian with first season win for Vacansoleil

    Thomas De Gendt rode in Vacansoleil-DCM's first season victory on a day when he started out with “no good legs”. Things got better as the final stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya went along, and he won the sprint of a small break group to take the win.

    The closing stage concluded with eight laps of a circuit course in Barcelona, which included a short but sharp two-kilometer climb. De Gendt bridged up to the remnants of an early break group with 22km to go, and ultimately proved to be the fastest of the five-man group.

    “On Sunday I didn't have good legs at first, but I felt better each lap,” he told sporza.be. In the group, “I felt the strongest and the fastest. Such a small group is good for me. Those with me were not the fastest riders. All the pieces fit together.”

    Bringing in the team's first win is “a relief,” he said. “We always ride to win, but failed each time. The zero stayed behind the name of Vacansoleil too long.”

    Despite it all, the Belgian is still not at the top of his form. “Personally, I'm still not on my top form that I had last year in the Giro [d'Italia]. It can still get better. I will save it for the Tour [de France]. In the Basque Country and California, we will test our team. Hopefully everything will point toward July.”

  • Sagan new leader of WorldTour

    Ride 'em cowboy: Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wins Gent-Wevelgem
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 18:08 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spain remains top nation, Sky continues to lead team standings

    After moving into the UCI WorldTour individual rankings lead with a runner-up finish Friday at E3 Harelbeke, Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) extended his lead in the rankings with a solo victory at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.

    Sagan celebrated his first UCI WorldTour Classic victory by pulling a wheelie while crossing the finish line.

    "It's great to have won. This race perhaps isn't a monument, one of the biggest Classics, like Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix but I'm still very happy," he said.

    The Slovakian champion scored 80 points for his victory at Gent-Wevelgem, increasing his points total to 232. Classics rival Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard), who soloed to victory at the E3 Harelbeke, is second overall with 151 points.

    Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) is third in the individual ranking with 144 points after he finished second overall in the Volta a Catalunya stage race in Spain. The week-long stage race was won by Ireland's Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), with Italy's Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) third overall.

    Martin scored 100 points for his overall victory and debuts at eighth overall in the individual ranking.

    Team Sky continues to lead the team ranking, while Spain stays on top of the nations ranking. Team Sky has a total of 407 points. Katusha is second with 268 points and RadioShack-Leopard is third with 266 points.

    ...
  • Lefevere: There has never been organised doping on my team

    Patrick Lefevre with a fresh haircut
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 19:22 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    "Thank God we made decisions," says Omega Pharma-QuickStep boss

    Patrick Lefevere has given his most revealing interview yet over doping allegations levelled at him, telling Het Nieuwsblad that he has made certain decisions but that systematic doping has never been part of his regime.

    Speaking to Jan-Pieter de Vlieger from Het Nieuwsblad, Lefevere said, “I've made decisions. I was in the car with doctor Yvan Vanmol the other day saying, 'Thank god we made decisions,' otherwise we would also be hanging from a tree by now.”

    Lefereve has been in charge of Belgium’s biggest squad since the early 2000s and before that he was a senior director sportif for Mapei. Under his guidance a number of riders including Richard Virenque, Johan Museeuw and Michele Bartoli have all found success, with Tom Boonen being the latest star of Lefevere’s newest squad Omega Pharma QuickStep.

    He has been accused of doping riders in the past but won a case against Het Laatste Nieuws in 2003 after the paper ran an article that included the title “Lefevere, 30 Years Of Dope”

    “There's never been organised doping use in my team,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

    In recent months, Lefevere has been criticised for his stance on the Lance Armstrong affair after a rider on his 2012 team, Levi Leipheimer, testified against Armstrong and confessed to his own doping past. USADA handed Leipheimer a reduced suspension despite it not being his first doping violation and Lefevere subsequently fired the rival. It was a move at odds with Lefevere’s past having welcome Virenque into his team the previous decade.

    “Last week a Belgian book titled 'Who still believes those cyclists' came out and said there was and now you will start talking about omertà. But the thing is: if I fire Leipheimer, I am omertà in the US. And if I don't fire him, I'm omertà in Europa.”

    Lefevere also discussed rumours linking his...