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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, March 26, 2012

Date published:
March 26, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Van Impe announces immediate retirement

    Kevin van Impe (Quickstep) covered in dust
    Article published:
    March 26, 2012, 1:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    30-year-old 'relieved' to have made his decision

    Kevin Van Impe has announced his retirement from professional cycling with immediate effect, just months into his contract with Vacansoleil-DCM.

    The 30-year-old issued a brief statement via his Dutch team saying: "It feels like a relief for me now the decision is made. I am very pleased with the support of the team in recent months and the fact that they respect this choice."

    Van Impe joined Vacansoleil-DCM for the 2012 season having ridden with QuickStep since 2006. According to reports at the time, Van Impe's contract was not renewed because the team was "opting for youth," he said.

    Vacansoleil-DCM team manager Daan Luijkx said: "Kevin came to us this winter for the leaders to assist in the spring classics. It is unfortunate that he cannot continue, but more important is that he, as a person, feels good. I think it wise that he dares to take this decision and wish him all the best with his family. "

    Van Impe's palmares was highlighted by his win in the 2009 Dwars door Vlaanderen. He turned professional in 2001 with Lotto - Adecco.

     

  • Breschel kick-starts classics engine on Kemmelberg

    Matti Breschel (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    March 26, 2012, 2:42 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Dane will skip Roubaix in favor of Amstel

    Danish rider Matti Breschel (Rabobank) was able to turn around his unsatisfying ride from E3-Prijs Harelbeke during Sunday's one-day classic Gent-Wevelgem. After taking the initiative on the final ascent of the steep cobbled Kemmelberg, the Dane had enough left in his tank to follow the decisive moves in front. Just like on Friday, Breschel was part of the group that sprinted for the victory but in contrast to the sprint in Harelbeke things went much better for Breschel as he eventually cracked the podium, finishing third behind winner Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

    Right after crossing the line in sunny Wevelgem Breschel paid his respect to winner Boonen.

    "I felt good today. Boonen… he's the fastest right now, that's for sure," Breschel said while coughing away the sprint efforts and working his way through the crowds to the Gent-Wevelgem podium. Breschel was happy, not particularly about his good sprint but about his overall performance. "I just found the legs in general but it's one week too late," Breschel said. The Dane referred to Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday and the E3-Prijs Harelbeke on Friday.

    The ascent from Breschel on the Kemmelberg was impressive. He led the peloton on the first section with Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale) on his wheel but the Italian was unable to keep up with the man from Ballerup, much to his delight. "I couldn't go slower," Breschel joked. After reaching the top of the Kemmelberg there was a breakaway attempt from Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Luca Paolini (Katusha) and...

  • Evans confident Tour de France defence is on track

    Cadel Evans (BMC) back in yellow, this time at Criterium International
    Article published:
    March 26, 2012, 5:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian praises BMC teamwork in Criterium International win

    Cadel Evans (BMC) dogged performance on the final stage of the Criterium International to secure overall victory in the event will serve as a confidence boost in the lead up to his Tour de France defence which begins in three month's time.

    Evans surged to fourth position on the final stage, in order to extend the narrow lead he had from the penultimate stage. Stage winner, Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ-Big Mat) jumped from 21st overall, to second with his victory on Sunday.

    "We started today with .28 of a second between first and second. The there were two second time differences for the bonifications at the finish for example, suddenly you've got your mountaintop finish but you're thinking about bonification seconds – it makes for a different race."

    The 35-year-old said he took a lot of confidence from the penultimate stage, but credited the overall victory to the work of his team.

    "Yesterday was a good indication and a nice confidence boost and a pat on the back for the work we've done so far as a team," Evans explained. "I'm programmed as a general classification rider so of course I want to take the yellow to the end of the race and the team worked very, very well today.

    "The young guys started out and I think for them it was an honour for them to ride in a part of France with the yellow jersey in the team and so I'm happy for them. Those young guys are coming back into some good times after some bad times," he concluded, referring to compatriot Tim Roe who is returning from injury.

    With Saturday's time trial victory in Porto-Vecchio, Evans was able to secure the opening victory of the 2012 that the so-called ‘super team' had been...

  • "No pressure" for Albasini on final stage of Volta a Catalunya

    Michael Albasini (GreenEdge) led start to finish in the Volta a Catalunya
    Article published:
    March 26, 2012, 6:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Swiss notches another win for GreenEdge

    GreenEdge claimed their third WorldTour race of their inaugural season on Sunday with Michael Albasini confidently holding onto the overall lead at Volta a Catalunya that he had maintained possession of from Stage 1, a week ago.

    "I need to thank the team for the work that they've done throughout the week," said Albasini. "This is an important win for me personally and for the team. It would have been impossible without them."

    Albasini kicked off his UCI tally with 112 points for his effort, also moving GreenEdge up the teams' ranking from fourth to second. Teammate Simon Gerrans maintain the individual rankings lead following his overall victory at the Tour Down Under in January, along with Milan-San Remo.

    "We're extremely excited to give these victories to our supporters," said Sports Director Neil Stephens. "We always do our very best, but the results don't always show that. When you work really hard and come out with the win, it's an outstanding feeling."
    Stephens said that the key objective for the final stage was to stay out of trouble.

    "There was really no moment today when we were under terrible pressure," said Neil Stephens. "Those moments came earlier in the week. Today, we observed the different objectives of the other teams. When Garmin made their interests known, we let them ride on the front and took a secondary role. We knew all we needed to do was get Michael to the final climb. He started the day with a 1:30 lead. Even if he had gotten into a bit of a trouble on the last climb, which he never did, it would have been unlikely for him to lose that much time."

    Albasini stayed with the front group to finish 32nd man across the finish line, losing no time to his nearest rivals, Samuel...

  • Pozzato accentuates positive after Gent-Wevelgem

    Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia) led the field on the first climb of the Kemmelberg
    Article published:
    March 26, 2012, 7:04 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian looks ahead to Tour of Flanders

    Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) was left to rue an error in the finishing sprint at Gent-Wevelgem, but he was determined to focus on the positives after the first of three consecutive Sundays of racing on the cobbles.

    The Italian crossed the line a distant 9th place behind winner Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) after sprinting from distance into a headwind, but he had earlier shown further signs of his growing form on the slopes of the Kemmelberg.

    So often criticised for his hesitancy in clutch situations, Pozzato was perhaps a victim of his own eagerness in the finale of Gent-Wevelgem; when Luca Paolini (Katusha) switched sides and left Pozzato exposed with 500 metres to go, he opted to launch his effort early rather than slip back into the wheels.

    "Paolini moved and made the gap. I made a mistake because I should have left the others go past," Pozzato "It was the first time in a while I was up here in the finale and I wanted to have a go, but instead I brought the others up and led out the sprint for them. Still, my condition is good and that's the main thing."

    By contrast, Boonen pitched his winning effort to perfection. Mindful of the headwind, the Belgian was sitting in tenth wheel as the 25-man lead group came under the red kite, yet all but drifted through the bodies to come through to take his third victory in the classic.

    "It was a bit of a strange sprint because the wind was against us and we needed to wait for a long time," said Pozzato. "Tom was good because he only came out in the last 50 metres. He did well to wait."

    While Pozzato came away disappointed that he and teammate Oscar Gatto hadn't connected in the finishing straight and come closer to the podium, he could take some solace from his...

  • Video: Matthew Goss on his Scott Foil bike

    Matthew Goss (GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    March 26, 2012, 9:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian sprinter hails it as the best in the world

    Australia's Matthew Goss (GreenEdge) has recently moved back to using Scott bikes and explains exactly why he thinks his new Foil is the best in the world, in this exclusive video for Cyclingnews.

    Goss used Scott bikes in 2010 when he rode for HTC-Highroad, initially using the Addict before switching to a prototype that eventually became the Foil that he discusses. He also talks about the tweaks that needed to be made ahead of the cobbled classics that have now started.

     

  • Lotto-Belisol invisible in opening Belgian races

    Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol)
    Article published:
    March 26, 2012, 11:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    “We weren't good enough” in Gent-Wevelgem, Sergeant says

    It wasn't Lotto-Belisol's week in the Belgium races. The team was virtually invisible in the three events, not playing a role in any of them. The team "wasn't good enough” at Gent-Wevelgem, manager Marc Sergeant admitted, with Andre Greipel missing the break and lacking teammates to help him.

    Things opened in Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. The team missed the break and its top finisher was 24th, three minutes down. Things were even worse on Friday at the E3 Prijs Vlaandern-Harelbeke, with Gert Dockx tops in 60th place, at 5:38.

    “We put everything on Gent-Wevelgem,” team manager Herman Frison told Het Nieuwsblad last week. “Our team is struggling with many injuries, we are letting some riders rest and giving the young riders their chances in Dwar sdoor Vlaanderen and the E3 Harelbeke. Sunday is for Greipel and we will have a better team for the day.”

    It didn't work out, though. Greipel missed the break and was therefore not around for the final sprint, having fallen back on the second climb of the Kemmelberg.

    “Andre is very disappointed,” Sergeant said. “The first passage of the Kemmelberg went smoothly for Andre, the second was more difficult. Then there was the attack from Cancellara and Sagan and like Cavendish, he couldn't get back up front."

    The German was also alone at that point, as his teammates had earlier fallen back. In fact his next teammate finished nearly eight minutes behind him. Greipel finished the race in 31st - 2:27 behind winner Tom Boonen of rival Belgian...

  • Gadret "on schedule" for Giro d'Italia

    John Gadret (AG2R-La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    March 26, 2012, 12:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman longs for first season victory for AG2R

    Giro d'Italia podium finisher John Gadret may have ended the Critérium International ten minutes adrift of the winner, Cadel Evans of BMC, but the AG2R La Mondiale climber assured that his form is "on schedule" for this year's Grand Tour in May.

    Gadret was set back in his preparation a few weeks ago as he suffered a dental infection following wisdom teeth surgery, and came back to competition one week later than expected. "Actually, I didn't feel like I was one week late," he told La Voix des Sports. "I knew it was going to be tough. But my result this week-end doesn't reflect my capacities, it is just the result of a lack of competition. My peak is planned for the Giro."

    The Frenchman's next race will be the GP Indurain in Spain, followed by the Volta a Pais Vasco, the Giro del Trentino and the Tour de Romandie. "I will still suffer a lot before getting the right pedalling rhythm again. But the climb to l'Ospedale [the last stage of Critérium International - ed.] made me feel confident. I'm on schedule."

    Gadret hoped for a race of attrition at the Giro. "Last year it was really very hard, but I will never complain about that! At least, the strong men are in front. I like it when it's difficult and when it boils down to physical capacity," he commented to Velochrono, and admitted that the absence of Alberto Contador this year and Vincenzo Nibali's probable focus on the Tour de France made another podium finish possible.

    "What I did last year was very good. I hope to do the same...