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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 14, 2013

Date published:
March 14, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Blanco hedging their bets for Milan-Sanremo

    Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco) waves to the crowd at the teams presentation
    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 4:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Renshaw for the sprint, Slagter for a breakaway

    He may no longer be the leader of the UCI WorldTour rankings, but Tom Slagter (Blanco) is heading into his Milan - Sanremo debut with confidence.

    The 23-year-old Tour Down Under winner, dropped to second, two points in arrears of Richie Porte (Sky) following his victory at Paris-Nice but Slagter said that he was looking for consistency.

    "Last week I was still number one," he said. "If you have a high place in the rankings, you will prove you belong there. With that feeling I race Milan-Sanremo."

    Slagter, in his third season as a professional, will be racing La Primavera for the first time but is well-suited to the parcours.

    "The short but steep climbs suit me," he said. Slagter did reconnaissance of the last 200km a few weeks ago and noted that it would be a hot pace to the Passo del Turchino and it was important to be towards the front of the race.

    "In the Tour Down Under, the Tour du Haut-Var and Strade Bianche there was those selective climbs and in those races I rode really well.

    "I admit that Milan-Sanremo of a different caliber, but with the Tirreno-Adriatico in the legs, I am also a little stronger."

    Joining Slagter on the start line in Milan will be Maarten Tjallingii, Paul Martens, Mark Renshaw, Lars Petter Nordhaug, David Tanner, Tom Leezer and Maarten Wynants. According to Blanco sports director Nico Verhoeven, the team will have options dependsing on how the race pans out.

    "If during one of the climbs a small group goes off the front, we have Tom Slagter Jelte as a good candidate," he explained. "If it turns into a sprint with a large group we have the support for Mark Renshaw."


  • Pozzato wary of Cavendish at Milan-San Remo

    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 9:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Says distance may prove a hurdle for Sagan

    Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) has said that rivals Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) are the favourites for Sunday's Milan-San Remo, but believes that Mark Cavendish will come out on top should the 300km epic be decided by a bunch sprint.

    "It's so difficult to forecast the protagonists of this race, the group of the possible winners is very large," the 2006 winner said. "I could say that Sagan and Cancellara are the favourites, but pay attention to Cavendish: if there will be a sprint in San Remo, he'll be the number one."

    Pozzato heads into La Primavera off the back of his runner-up placing at Roma Maxima, and a win earlier in the year at Trofeo Laigueglia. Most recently, the 31-year-old was forced to abandon Tirreno-Adriatico on the problematic sixth stage, as a precaution given he had gone into the event with a cold and the weather had been inclement.

    "My fitness is good," Pozzato explained. "In this early part of the season I could train well, but only on Sunday evening I'll be able to tell if I did everything in the proper way in order to get to the target. If I compare the situation to 12 months ago, when I underwent surgery for a broken collarbone, the approach to Milano-San Remo of this year is much better."

    As for Sunday's other contenders, Pozzato does not believe that the race is really one for compatriot Moreno Moser (Cannondale) but says an attack from Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) "could change the course of the race." He also suggests that the biggest hurdle for pre-race favourite Sagan, is the distance.

    "Sagan is very fast, but despite this he'll try to eliminate pure sprinters such Cavendish," Pozzato said. "The hope is that after the limit of 300 km he could be less competitive: last year he suffered with the very long distances, but I'm...

  • Cyclingnews' Guide to the 2013 Spring Classics

    Got the edge: Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) showed he was the smartest rider in the pack by outfoxing Nibali and Cancellara to win Milan San Remo
    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 10:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Your guide to the 2013 Spring Classics

    Milan-San Remo - March 17

    Milan-San Remo is one of most delicately balanced races on the calendar, and there is arguably no other Classic that has such a long list of potential victors. Ostensibly, the largely flat route and fast finale heavily favours the sprinters, but with after seven hours of racing, the famous capi on the approach to San Remo swell from mere ripples to severe obstacles that can be the graveyard of so many sprinters’ ambitions and the Classics stars will have their say too during the 298km race.

    Last year Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) captured an enthralling Milan-San Remo, outsprinting Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) at the end of the race. The three went away on the final climb, the Poggio, and maintained a narrow lead to the end.

    Fabian Cancellara says: “It’s a special race with a story behind it. It’s like a bottle of champagne, you shake it , you shake it more and then you open it. It’s all about the final two climbs and saving energy. When I won everyone knew not to give me 10 meters but they gave me just one and that was too much."

    2012 Milan-San Remo race report | 2012 Milan-San Remo photos | 2011 Milan-San Remo | 2010 Milan-San Remo | Previous winners

  • Gilbert does not want Flemish flag flown at world championships

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 11:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    BMC rider clarifies comments from Humo interview

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) has moved to clarify comments he made regarding the flying of the Flemish flag by Belgian supporters at the world championships.

    The distinctive “Lion of Flanders” flag is a common sight at the roadsides of races all over Europe, although it has increasingly been appropriated as a symbol for the Flemish separatist movement.

    Gilbert, who hails from the French-speaking Walloon region, was asked by Humo magazine for his opinion on the Flemish flags waved by Belgian fans during his Worlds triumph in Valkenburg last year.

    “During the world championships, the country’s flag should be waved, not a region’s,” Gilbert told Humo. “These flags shouldn’t be at the race and in any case, the people who wave them only put themselves where they are sure to be seen by the cameras.”

    Gilbert went on to describe voting for Flemish nationalist party N-VA as a “negative choice” although he noted that “you find extremists everywhere, in the Walloon region too. People don’t have confidence in politics anymore, so they give their vote to these kinds of parties.”

    Gilbert’s comments made instant headlines across Belgium, in both the Francophone and Flemish press. While the N-VA declined to comment, a spokesman for the "Flanders Flies Its Flag" association told Het Laatste Nieuws that it was "deplorable that the world champion would say that" and Gilbert himself moved swiftly to diffuse the situation by issuing a clarification.

    “It needs to be clarified...

  • 2013 Criterium du Dauphiné route leaked, two new summit finishes

    Cadel Evans congratulates Brad Wiggins on his Critérium du Dauphiné win
    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 13:27 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Race to start in Switzerland for first time in 65-year history

    A month before the official presentation, the Dauphiné Libéré newspaper, which used to run the Criterium du Dauphiné, has revealed the broad outline of the week-long stage race which often acts as a crucial stepping stone en route to July for the Tour de France’s overall contenders.

    Two new mountaintop stage finishes will feature on the 2013 route according to the Dauphiné Libéré, at Valmorel and Super-Devoluy. Other innovations include a start in Switzerland for the first time in the 65-year-old event, as well as the absence of an opening prologue.

    The Grand Départ on June 3rd will be in the tiny village of Champéry, the Dauphiné Libéré says. Champery is 20 kilometres to the south-west the UCI’s headquarters at Aigle and guarantees, thanks to its location, a hilly opening stage. Two sprint stages taking the race back into France then follow, with an individual time trial on the Wednesday, around 30 kilometres long - which is similar to those of the 2013 Tour (32 and 33 kilometres long) - acting as the usual mid-week watershed.

    New mountain top finish number one is on the Thursday, at the ski station of Valmorel in the centre of the French Alps, a 14.6 kilometre climb with few changes of gradient from its average of 6.4 percent, making it a relatively steady and not overly decisive uphill slog. Then on the Friday comes a stage between La Lechere and Grenoble that could take in either the Chartreuse mountains, the Madeleine or the Balcons de Belledonne.

    The second mountain top finish will be on Saturday June 8th at Super-Devoluy, another new summit for the race, this time in the southern Alps. The notoriously steep Côte de Laffrey and...

  • Tour of California welcomes Champion System and Vacansoleil-DCM

    The Champion System Team
    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 15:15 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Two new teams participate in May event

    The Amgen Tour of California will welcome two new teams this year when it rolls out of Escondido on May 12 for its eighth run on the North American calendar. Dutch ProTour team Vacansoleil-DCM will join Chinese Pro Continental squad Champion System as the newcomers among 16 squads invited earlier this month.

    Although Champion System raced in the US previously during last year's USA Pro Challenge, the California invitation marks the first time Vacansoleil has competed in the States.

    "I think it's a wonderful race to be in, and it fits in our schedule, so we are really proud to be invited," said Vacansoleil Directeur Général Daan Luijkx. "We heard there are good roads, good hotels and everything is well organized, so we are really happy with it."

    Luijkx said the US market is not a major focus for his team's title sponsors - a European vacation campsite chain and a plant food manufacturer - but the California race provides what Luijkx believes is the best preparation for Vacansoleil's Tour de France goals.

    "We are coming with a couple of guys who are going to do the Tour de France, so we are going to be there with a very good team," he said. "We are considering maybe an altitude training camp over there before California, but we are not sure yet."

    Thomas De Gendt, Vacansoleil's likely hope for the Tour de France general classification, could be on the team's California roster, Luijkx said, but no matter which riders the team brings, he expects them to race aggressively, seeking out breakaway opportunities and stage wins while remaining in the overall hunt.

    Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon shared his...

  • Cervélo unveils $10,000 RCA frame

    The new Cervélo RCA is US$10,000 — for the frameset alone
    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 16:40 GMT
    Ben Delaney/Immediate Publishing

    Limited edition model weighs 667g

    This article originally published on BikeRadar

    Keith Bontrager was credited years ago with coining a phrase about bikes and bike parts: "Light, strong, cheap; pick two." By obliterating the third option, Cervélo engineers pursued the outer limits of frame design with the new RCA, a 667g frame with incredible stiffness and an eye-watering price tag of US$10,000.

    Even at that price, the limited-run RCA will not be profitable, claimed company CEO Phil White, given the time invested in development and the cost of materials. "We're only going to sell 325 of these, but we're going to learn a lot from this," he said. "This is a concept bike from which we take our learnings and apply them to the rest of the line where we can."

    The RCA builds on Cervélo's R5ca, another US$10,000 frameset that barely tipped the scales at 696g and which Garmin-Sharp's Ryder Hesjedal raced to victory at the 2012 Giro d'Italia. For the 2013 iteration, Cervélo sought to make it lighter still while keeping the stiffness and enhancing the aerodynamics.

    Cervélo is a Canadian company based in Toronto, and the CA moniker is a nod to the collaborations with California contractors Criterion Composites, whose founder Don Guichard's carbon experience goes back to building gold-medal-winning disc wheels for the 1984 Olympics.

    David Killing served as lead designer for the bike, heading up the collaborations between structural engineers and aero designers.

    Cervélo laid out 15 frame parameters to test, and cooked up 93 (digital) frame designs on which to test them. Then Cervélo ran 279 Finite Element Analysis tests on...

  • Muscle injury not ideal for Degenkolb ahead of Milan-Sanremo

    John Degenkolb (Argos Shimano)
    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 17:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Argos-Shimano fully committed to supporting young sprinter

    Fifth-place at last year's Milan-Sanremo was proof John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) was capable of handling the season's longest one-day race. However, the strain of riding in the cold and rain at Tirreno-Adriatico has led to a reported muscle strain which could affect his chances come Sunday.

    "Degenkolb is still suffering pain in his thigh muscles after Tirreno-Adriatico," said team manager Marc Reef to "That was mainly due to the cold and the long stages. John has been given some good massage and has also trained on the bike. It's not ideal but he remains our leader. He is otherwise in good shape."

    The best result the rider has achieved so far this year, was sixth-place on Stage 5 in the windswept desert at Tour of Qatar. Degenkolb never appeared in contention at the Tour of Oman but returned to Europe and trained hard in the lead-up to Tirreno. The conditions experienced in the 'Race of the Two Seas' have obviously hampered his chances and suggests he may lack race fitness toward the end of the 298km race.