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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, February 27, 2010

Date published:
February 27, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • USAC awards masters road nationals to Bend

    The elite men's peloton races through stunning Oregon scenery.
    Article published:
    February 27, 2010, 13:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Oregon to hold 2011, 2012 titles

    USA Cycling has announced Bend, Oregon will host the next two Masters Road National Championships, following the city’s successful hosting of the elite, under 23 and juniors road, and Cyclo-cross National Championships. The 2010 event will be held in Louisville, Kentucky this year, where it’s been staged since 2008.

    “In hosting the 2009 USA Cycling National Championships Bend showcased an entire community who passionately embraces the sport of cycling and its various disciplines as a lifestyle,” said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson. “That type of support is critical to growing the sport across the country and is a large reason why Bend was awarded the Masters Road National Championships for 2011 and 2012.”

    The USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships will be held in Bend, August 30 – September 4, 2011 and August 27 – September 2, 2012. According to a study by Oregon State University, the two USA Cycling National Championship events hosted by the city in 2009 brought Bend $2.5 million dollars in direct tourist spending.

    “The National Championships we hosted here in 2009 left no doubt in USA Cycling’s mind that Bend’s enthusiasm for and appreciation of competitive cycling makes it unlike any other destination in the country,” said Doug LaPlaca, president and CEO of Visit Bend. “It is our goal to turn that enthusiasm into a long-term partnership that provides USA Cycling with consistently world-class championships, while providing Bend with a substantial amount of visitation and tourism spending during traditionally slow times of the year.”

  • Brailsford proud of Flecha's Omloop win

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) put in a bold solo effort en route to his win.
    Article published:
    February 27, 2010, 17:46 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Sky boss confident in team's approach to racing

    At the start of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Dave Brailsford cut a quiet and focussed figure. At the finish line and with his rider Juan Antonio Flecha on the top step of the podium little of the Sky boss’ demeanour had changed. His arms remained folded, and eyes fixed firmly on the podium as he talked to reporters. Occasionally he’d break from statue, hugging and congratulating one of his riders as they crossed the line. Every one of them greeted with a bear-like embrace and beaming grin.

    "I’m super happy for him," Brailsford said as Flecha stepped onto the top-step of the Omloop podium for the first time in his career.

    "He’s been knocking on the door for such a long time and he was getting the reputation for getting to the end and not being able to finish it off but he showed everyone today that he was super strong. He was strong and did a fantastic job."

    Flecha signed for Sky after serving at Rabobank for four years and despite numerous placing in the Classics, lacked the big win to join Oscar Friere as one of Spain’s true one-day superstars. That 'nearly-man' tag over-shadowing a career that includes a Tour de France stage win.

    "He’s a confidence guy," Brailsford explained. "He needs the right environment to do what he can do. I think a lot of people think we’re a cold and faceless, business like team and I think if you ask the riders inside what it’s like you find it’s not like that at all."

    Brailsford and his Sky team had come in for criticism from some quarters within the sport for their racing tactics in the Tours of Qatar and Oman but Brailsford let his riders do the talking today.

    "You come in with a certain intention. You plan it and then you try and put it into action. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but with the team of riders we’ve got I always thought we’d be strong in these types of races. It takes pressure of...

  • Non-traditional winner Flecha takes victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) on the podium.
    Article published:
    February 27, 2010, 18:38 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Perserverence pays off for Spaniard

    Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni, winner of the 63rd Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, is not a traditional winner. He's the sort of rider who's always in the mix in the Spring Classics, which he loves. He often comes close, but too often misses out on the cigar. When compared with sprinters like Mark Cavendish or Robbie McEwen, men who grab at least 10 victories per year, Flecha is also not traditional. He's a passionate, Spanish cyclist, who enjoys the occasional moment of glory - exactly what happened on Saturday in Belgium.

    The 32-year-old Spaniard blew away the opposition in a race that is considered to be a miniature version of the Tour of Flanders. Just like Paris-Roubaix, it's a race in which Flecha loves to score, but up until this year, he never got closer to a win than a podium spot.

    Now that Flecha has moved from the Dutch Rabobank team to British outfit Sky, things are falling into place. Will this be the year in which the Spaniard becomes a regular winner? Flecha himself refused to attribute his success solely to his team change, citing other factors, too.

    "Both are big teams with small differences. At Rabobank, I had good results but not the victory. When a rider moves to a new team, everybody wants him to compare it with the old team," said Flecha. "I don't want to look back, and I can only say that I had four good years with Rabobank. During the race, I didn't look back either. I want to look forward."

    "My first impression of Sky is that I felt like I was back in an Italian team. At Rabobank, I had to adapt and try to learn the language, which wasn't easy, because otherwise everybody had to talk in English because of me. Now it's easier for me to take part in the conversations at the table."

    Everybody at Sky is enthusiastic about how we work. It is surprising that we're still just in February, and we're already very good. Our advantage today was that there were many other teams with more pressure than us so we started...

  • Farrar: On to the next one

    Elite men's podium: Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo), Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions)
    Article published:
    February 27, 2010, 18:52 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    American bouyed by third place finish in Omloop

    Tyler Farrar finished third in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and believes that luck could determine when he wins his first race of 2010. Farrar lives in Gent, Belgium, little over a kilometre from today’s race finish, and despite never finishing in the top-ten at the event, the American believes that his podium place bodes well for the rest of the Classics campaign and tomorrow’s Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne.

    "It was really, really hard today. I would have liked it to come back together for a sprint but I didn’t have anyone left in the lead group to help me and put them on the front," Farrar said at the finish.

    "Obviously my form is good. I was top-five almost everyday in Qatar and Oman and now here. I guess I just need a bit more luck. If it had come back together and I’d had a bit more luck I could have won today but Flecha was amazing."

    Farrar was the only Garmin-Tranisitions rider to make it into the chase group that formed behind winner Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) but despite lacking any support in the finale, praised his team for their efforts. David Millar, drafted in to the Classics team, was the last rider to stay with Farrar over the cobbled Belgian race.

    "The team did a great job of helping me all day and putting me at the front on the start every climb. Dave was my last teammate and Robbie Hunter took such great care of me today. He was incredible making sure that I was okay."

    "This is my home town race and I live a kilometre from the finish. It doesn't get much better, well, winning gets better, but to go well here is special for me."

    Farrar will take his podium place into tomorrow Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne where he’ll be supported by a similar Garmin team including Hunter, Murilo Fischer, Johan Van Summeren, Michel Kreder, Martijn Maaskant, Mat Wilson and Ricardo van der Velde.

  • Rollin confident ahead of Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne

    Dominique Rollin (Cervelo Test Team)
    Article published:
    February 27, 2010, 18:58 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Cervélo's powerful Canadian ready to build on last year's experience

    Dominique Rollin will kick start his Classics campaign tomorrow in Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, still looking for his first win since joining Cervélo TestTeam. The 27-year-old is no stranger to success however, wining an epic stage at the Tour of California in 2008 and finishing third in Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen in 2009, during his first season in the Classics.

    Rollin spent the winter training in Girona, Spain, as so many other riders seem to do these days, and believes that his form and fitness are beyond where they were last year.

    "I set myself up in Spain just to get ready for the season. I had a good start in Etoile de Bessèges and the fitness is there. I’m stronger than last year," he told Cyclingnews.

    With the experience of a full European road season now under his belt Rollin has more confidence with dealing with the hardships of racing on the continent.

    "Last year it was all about getting used to going from criteriums to racing 200 kilometres. The intensity is something different too and it takes time to get used to that. I’ve gained that experience and strength and I’ve slowly started to know more of the roads and where to place myself in the peloton."

    Rollin can generate a staggering 1700 Watts – more than teammate Thor Hushovd (1600) – but in the last year he has lost some of that raw power as he’s focussed more in his endurance. Still, he feels his future lies within the Classics. "I see myself as a Classics rider; a strongman’s cyclist. When the weather turns to crap I’m there and when everyone gives up."

    "As for this year, another podium in the Classics would be great, it was so unexpected last year and it really boosted my confidence but I’m still looking for my first win. That will be my main goal this year."

    Rollin will line-up for Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne with teammates Heinrich Haussler, Roger Hammond, Jeremy Hunt,...

  • Hincapie battles through Classics debut for BMC

    George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    February 27, 2010, 19:45 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    US Champion looking ahead as he recovers from illness

    George Hincapie’s European debut for BMC Racing Team didn’t get off to the finest of starts with the US national Champion finishing well down in 67th place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. However, after suffering from illness for the last week, Hincapie was happy to use the Belgian semi-Classic as training.

    "I felt pretty horrible out there," Hincapie said at the finish. "I’ve felt sick all weekend. I’m getting better but my body has certainly paid for being sick."

    Hincapie signed for BMC in the winter after riding for HTC-Columbia for the previous two seasons and will spearhead BMC’s Classics campaign with Marcus Burghardt and Karsten Kroon. However BMC’s highest place finisher today was Michael Shar who finished in 18th place.

    "It’s good to get the first race in over here," Hincapie said, looking at the positive side. "I’ve not raced for month so it was nice to be back and riding with the new guys."

    "We get on really well and the ambiance is good. We’re a new team trying to break in. Obviously some of the guys have been around for a long time but we’re trying to make our mark here and these early races are just mainly for the guys to get the team tactics down."

    As well as being below-par due to illness Hincapie had to endure mechanical problems at the start of the race. Despite the series of minor setbacks he will be hoping to build his form for the biggest Spring races, including another crack at Paris-Roubaix, his favourite race.

    "Today was tough just because it was a hard race from early on. I had a problem with my bike in the beginning but Marcus was really strong and we’ll see how the rest of the Spring goes from here."

    After racing Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne tomorrow Hincapie will take part in Tirreno-Adriatico next month.

    BMC’s Cadel Evans enjoyed a more successful day on Saturday. The World Champion finished in the lead group...

  • Omloop Het Nieuwsblad podium without Belgians for first time

    Belgians Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and former-rival, now race director Peter van Petegem after the 2010 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
    Article published:
    February 27, 2010, 21:15 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Boonen looks toward Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

    Belgian favorites Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert and Nick Nuyens fell short of the podium during the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the opener of the Belgian season and their first real test of the season. For the first time ever no Belgian managed to get on the podium of the Omloop.

    The top Belgian rider, among the main group of 30, was veteran racer Niko Eeckhout of the An Post - Sean Kelly team in seventh place. Gilbert finished at the back of this group in 26th position, 26 seconds down from Flecha, Nuyens and Boonen, who were all in the group finishing at 3:51. The three favorites had their fair share of bad luck to explain their worse than expected results.

    Another Belgian favorite Stijn Devolder preferred not to make any excuses after crossing the line in the last group in 131th position at 13:10. "It just wasn't good," Devolder summarized his day before entering the team bus.

    Boonen blew the peloton apart on the Taaienberg before a flat tyre took him out of contention. Nuyens was present in the decisive breakaway with Flecha before he suffered what was his third flat of the day, and Gilbert blamed a crash for the fact that he couldn't keep up with Flecha on the cobbles of the Lange Munte.

    Boonen impressed the opposition, including Gilbert on the Taaienberg, a short steep cobbled climb where the gutter tempts the riders to smash up the hill all in a line. "I wasn't able to keep up with Boonen there," Gilbert said of Boonen's attack, which proved not to be crucial in the end.

    It's not the first time Boonen used the climb to make the difference in a race. "This time I didn't want to ride away from the rest. I just wanted to avoid the problems when you get boxed in further back. Once up front, I maintained a tempo to make it over the Eikenberg and see who were the guys that were going after me." His attack opened up the finale of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and while his attack made him look like even more of a favorite, bad...

  • Adageo Energy kicks off season at the Callville Bay Classic

    The Adageo Energy Pro Cycling Team
    Article published:
    February 27, 2010, 22:45 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    New US Continental outfit concludes training camp on Lake Mead

    Adageo Energy Pro Cycling Team is ready to put its riders to the test at the Callville Bay Classic this weekend. The new US-based Continental squad prepared for the season start with a few days of training round Lake Mead, a reservoir located in the scenic desert landscape on the border of Nevada and Arizona.

    Callville Bay, on the reservoir, is a location symbolic of the team's initial success having won the three-stage race last year, as the amateur team Liquid Cycling. Adageo Energy's co-founder Clay Womack took a vested interest in the program and signed on board as title sponsor. The financial boost allowed the team to upgrade to a UCI-Continental outfit.

    "Last year we came to this race," said Directeur Sportif and racer Josh Horowitz. "We had just formed a team and had been doing some local racing. This was our first big team race with everyone there. We though it was a really cool atmosphere. The entire race took place from the marina and all the racers stayed on these boats. It was really tight but it was good team bonding."

    The men of Adageo Energy stayed on Forever Resorts 50-foot houseboats at the Callville Bay Resort & Marina. A unique experience meant to offer the team an opportunity to get to know one another.

    "We have a much bigger team this year and what better way to get everyone to bond than putting them in an atmosphere that is totally unfamiliar to everyone," Horowitz said. "It put everyone into a situation that was new and fresh and forced them to help each other. Each boat had tiny little bedrooms and a full kitchen so we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the lake."

    Camp included four days of tapered riding and clinical hypnotic sessions to mentally prepare the riders for race day. There were plenty of photo opportunities through the high mountains that surrounded the reservoir

    "The idea behind going to Vegas was team bonding," Horowitz said. "Some of our riders had never been there...