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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 4, 2013

Date published:
April 04, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Horner expecting to peak for Tour of California

    American rider Chris Horner before the RadioShack training ride
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 1:45 BST
    Pat Malach

    American hit by iliotibial band friction syndrome

    Despite having to withdraw from the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and then skip the Vuelta al Pais Vasco because of a lingering knee injury, Chris Horner said this week that he expects to be fully recovered and in top condition when the Amgen Tour of California takes off on May 12 from very near his home in San Diego County.

    Horner pulled out of Catalunya two weeks ago, revealing via Twitter that he had "tweaked something on the steep climbs in Tirreno." His RadioShack Leopard team said in a press release that he was suffering from iliotibial band friction syndrome.

    "You have a big tendon on the outside of each leg and it attaches just below the knee," Horner told Cyclingnews. "There's some tissue underneath that band that protects it from the sharpness of the bone in the knee, and so that part gets irritated and inflamed. It's a strange injury that I've never had before. It's more common with runners than cyclists."

    The injury can be especially frustrating, Horner said, because while the joint may appear to have healed - showing no outward signs of damage and not causing pain - the lack of symptoms can be deceptive. Too much strain on the tendon too early can quickly re-injure the joint and set the recovery back significantly.

    "So it's a strange injury in general, and it's been difficult to deal with," Horner said. "Most injuries that I've had, when the pain is gone it's healed, but this one doesn't work that way. So it's very difficult for me as an athlete to understand when you can start training on it and when you can't."

    An initial MRI taken in Europe revealed the injury before...

  • Durbridge intent on Circuit de la Sarthe title defence

    Luke Durbridge (Orica Greenedge)
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 2:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica GreenEdge squad prepared for tough battle

    It was at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe in 2012 then neo-professional Luke Durbridge carved his name into the race's record books. The Stage 3 time trial around Angers marked the Australian's first professional victory for Orica GreenEdge and he did it wearing the colours of the Australian national time trial champion. He went on to capture the overall classification in 2012 and now seems poised to do it again in 2013.

    Twelve months on from his first victory the now experienced road and TT national champion has demonstrated his class by winning the short individual test at Sarthe and with it pulled on the race leader's jersey. At this edition of the French race, the Australian squad has a near full complement of riders - a number of which sit in the perfect position to put pressure on the remaining GC hopefuls.

    Durbridge was kept out of trouble in the morning's short road stage so he could save all his energy for the 6.8km test. His margin of victory was much closer this year with the 21-year-old besting RadioShack Leopard's Bob Jungels by less than one-second while Orica GreenEdge teammate Cameron Meyer, who has just recently started his European campaign, finished in third. In fact the team filled four of the top-ten spots with Svein Tuft and Michael Hepburn finishing in fifth and 10th respectively.

    The time gap between himself and Jungles is irrelevant right now, according to the new race leader Durbridge who believes he has the condition necessary to defend his title from last year.

    "I won by .17 of a second," said Durbridge on his

  • Garmin Sharp look to end classics drought at Paris-Roubaix

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 3:53 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Farrar takes confidence from hectic final at Scheldeprijs

    Garmin Sharp's sports director Geert Van Bondt was taking positives where he could from the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday - Tyler Farrar's last hit out before Paris-Roubaix - with the team's lone protected rider for Sunday, Johan Vansummeren out on a long training ride.

    "I think the most important thing is that you come out of this race without crashes like you had last year at the finish line," Van Bondt told Cyclingnews with Farrar back in the team bus.

    Notoriously hectic over the finishing laps, Farrar finished in sixth place with Argos-Shimano's Marcel Kittel first across the line in a repeat victory. Van Bondt was yet to speak with the American sprinter, choosing instead to let him cool off before sitting down with him in the evening.

    "Tyler's riding very well," Van Bondt said. "He did good on Sunday in Flanders and I think most riders were taking a training day - not Tyler of course, he's been working very hard for this race and I think he did a very good race. He was there where he had to be. If you see also in the sprint it's pretty hectic and you need some luck to be in a good wheel and in good position. He was sixth and he came here to win. He will be disappointed."

    Van Bondt believes that the team can head into Paris-Roubaix with confidence, off the back of Farrar's performance on Wednesday, and also with Van Summeren's 20th in Flanders having finished in the main chase group.

    "[Van Summeren] He was in the small group on the Patersberg," explained Van Bondt. "He knows it was going to be very difficult to follow Sagan and Cancellara because they're from another planet, they were so strong but I...

  • Guardini survives action-packed final at Scheldeprijs

    Andrea Guardini (Astana)
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 5:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Astana sprinter falls just shy of podium in fourth

    It was frantic finish at Scheldeprijs on Wednesday that saw the field all back together with more than an hour of racing still to go but Astana's Andrea Guardini was happy enough with his fourth-place despite losing his teammates entering the final moments of the race.

    The headwind sprint meant that a number of riders who jumped too early found themselves quickly going backwards as the real contenders sprinted for the line. Guardini was in the mix but poor positioning and a lack of teammates around him resulted in falling one spot shy of the podium, in fourth.

    "In the last 400m there was so many riders coming backwards because they sprinted too early. I followed Cavendish on the right side of the road and moved up through the pack for the sprint. It was a strong head wind and I knew if I tried to go too early I would lose positions," said Guardini on his team site.

    Guardini could do little to contest with the finishing speed of Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano), who took his second consecutive win in the sprinter's warm-up ahead of Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. Mark Cavendish (OPQS), a three-time winner in the Belgian classic, found himself in a similar situation to Guardini and had to sprint from too far back just to get near the now two-time winner Kittel.

    The Astana squad had placed a rider up the road so they would not be forced to chase toward the end of the 204.2km race but crosswinds that hit the peloton meant a rapid increase in speed brought the day's breakaway back into the fold well ahead of schedule.

    Garmin Sharp and Argos drove the pace and caused a number of splits but the attentive Astana team still had the numbers up front.

    "The sprinters' teams started to compete early when we got into...

  • Organisers apologise after troubled start to Energiewacht Tour

    Van Vleuten (Rabo Women) and Visser (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) discuss the issues after the stage
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 6:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Peloton sent wrong way, held up by train, boat and trucks

    The organisers of the women's Energiewacht Tour have made an official apology after a disruptive opening stage in which the peloton experienced a number of difficult moments throughout the 107.9km stage.

    The 139-rider field was forced to stop on more than one occasion as the race crossed a number of canal bridges and railway tracks throughout the day. A raised bridge, passing train, trucks and vehicles allowed onto the course and incorrect directions meant that tempers were starting to flare by the time the bunch reached the finishing circuit.

    The large truck which ventured onto the course after miscommunication with the local police also saw riders subject to dangerous circumstances with the peloton eventually calling to a stop in protest with one lap remaining on the finishing circuit.

    Race organisers explained each of the separate events that occurred on the official race website and gave a closing message in an attempt to calm the emotions of the many who no doubt felt their performance could have been improved without the issues.

    "After the race had been restarted the race jury did not communicate with the police that the race was moving again. This was the reason for the road traffic and was very unfortunate," read the statement.

    "The peloton had to come to a stop on a bridge for a boat to pass underneath. This is something that we as an organisation cannot explain because the agreement with the operator was that at that time it had to be kept closed to traffic.

    "The organization want to join the riders and teams in order to apologise for the things that have gone wrong today. Murphy's Law was clearly effective. We have an understanding and admiration for the...

  • Young Markus leaves his mark in Scheldeprijs

    Barry Markus (Vacansoleil-DCM) on the Scheldeprijs podium for this third place result
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 8:28 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Vacansoleil rider forces his way onto podium

    The crowd at Scheldeprijs was happy to see big-name sprinters Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) on the podium after the hectic high-speed sprint. However the third man on the podium, Barry Markus (Vacansoleil-DCM), was was a relatively unknown rider for most of the spectators, even if he is expected to show his talent as a sprinter in the near future.

    "Finishing third is unbelievable. All the big sprinters are here. To finish on the podium is something I'm really proud of. What the future will bring? Well, of course I hope to win this race one day," Markus told Cyclingnews in Schoten.

    As an U23-rider Markus showed off his skills and fast finish more than once. Back in 2010 he even beat today's cycling stars John Degenkolb and Taylor Phinney in a bunch sprint in the Thüringen Rundfahrt. While Degenkolb and Phinney quickly catapulted themselves to a high level, it was clear that Barry - who's a bit younger too - needed more time to mature. His recent results show that the Dutchman has stepped up a level to be able to mix in with the best. When asked about what type of sprinter he was Markus described himself as one with a jump in the final metres.

    "I'm not the type of sprinter to start from far out. I'm more someone who has to come out of the wheels at 200 metres from the finish," Markus said.

    During this year's Tour of Qatar he twice finished as runner-up behind Mark Cavendish, the fastest sprinter in the world. Finishing as best of the rest behind Cavendish is an achievement he is proud of. In the Scheldeprijs he once again finished behind the Manxman.

    "I didn't have any more power left to get past Kittel and Cavendish passed me too," Markus said.

    Markus managed to get himself in the perfect position for the sprint....

  • Offredo hopes for attacking Paris-Roubaix

    Yoann Offredo (FDJ) makes his return to the classics after a year on the sidelines.
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 10:20 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Teams must anticipate Cancellara, says Frenchman

    Yoann Offredo is one of a cadre of French riders taking aim at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday but the FDJ rider acknowledged that denying Fabian Cancellara a third victory in the Hell of the North will require a significant degree of invention.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews in Antwerp on Wednesday, Offredo accepted that simply trying to follow Cancellara on the pavé would be tantamount to riding for second place. “The teams who want to beat him will need to take their responsibilities, you can’t just wait for him,” Offredo said. “You have to anticipate: teams will need to use all of their riders and make it an attacking race and force Cancellara to do something different.”

    Offredo had already tried a similar tactic at Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, where he went up the road in a group with Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) ahead of the final loop over the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. “I didn’t want to wait around: Cancellara and Peter Sagan were very strong and the only solution was to attack from distance and anticipate them. We knew that it would have been impossible to follow Fabian à la pedale, he was too strong,” he said.

    The intention was to try and hitch a ride on the Cancellara-Sagan express when it inevitably blasted past on the Kwaremont, and Offredo said that he had attempted to pace himself on the climb accordingly. “I didn’t try to follow Roelandts when he started forcing because I wanted to go steady up the first part of the Kwaremont. I was hoping that when Cancellara and Sagan came across, I would be able to follow them,” Offredo said.

    “The problem was that I went a bit too steady – they caught me on the hardest part of the Kwaremont and they were going so...

  • Armstrong to compete in US Masters swimming event

    Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 11:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Texan sidesteps his doping ban

    Lance Armstrong is set to race again, despite his life ban for doping, competing against middle-aged swimmers in a regional Masters championships in his home town of Austin, Texas this weekend.

    According to a report in the American-Statesman and confirmed by his spokesman Mark Higgins to the Associated Press, Armstrong has entered the meets' three longest races: 500, 1000 and 1650-yard freestyle. He is seeded second in the 1000 freestyle and third in both the 500 and 1650 events and so could be a contender for victory.

    Armstrong is allowed to compete in US Masters Swimming events because the organisation does not fall under the anti-doping rules of the US Anti-Doping Agency that banned Armstrong for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France victories.

    Armstrong always vehemently denied doping during his career and the USADA investigation but then confessed in January during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. He said that he hoped to compete again but then refused to cooperate with USADA’s investigation in doping in professional cycling, missing a chance for his ban to be reduced.

    US Masters Swimming does not carry out drug testing and the organisation apparently debated if Armstrong or other athletes who have been caught doping should be allowed to compete.

    "Our mission, dating back to the 60s, is we encourage adults to swim," Rob Butcher, executive director of Masters Swimming told the Associated Press. "Lance is a member of USMS so he is eligible to swim."

    However not everyone agrees with the decision to allow Armstrong to compete, even if no members of US Masters Swimming have yet made a formal complaint.

    “This whole masters swimming is him trying to sidestep his punishment,” local triathlete Jamie Cleveland, who owns Hill Country Running and Texas Ironman Multi-Sport Coaching, is quoted as saying by the...