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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 25, 2010

Date published:
March 25, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Leukemans, Terpstra satisfied with Dwars podium placings

    The 2010 Dwars door Vlaanderen podium: Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil), Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) and Niki Terpstra (Milram)
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 12:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Terpstra just wanted to “do something incredibly stupid”

    Björn Leukemans, Niki Terpstra and Steve Chainel took off in pursuit of Matti Breschel in the finale of Wednesday's Dwars door Vlaanderen, but it was all in vain. The Danish Saxo Bank rider went on to win the race with a seven second lead, with Leukemans and Terpstra taking second and third.

    Breschel slipped away from a large group with about 23 km to go, and the three riders were the only ones able to give chase.

    Leukemans (Vacansoleil) was satisfied with his second place finish, outsprinting Terpstra on the line. “I think the best and strongest won today,” he told the Belga news agency. There was not much to do against the performance of Matti Breschel.”

    The three chasers worked well together, Leukemans said, but were unable to catch the Danish road champion. “On the Nokere climb I forced the pace, but even then it proved impossible to catch him. Fortunately we were able to stay away from the chasing group.”

    “I didn't have any serious thoughts about winning. I just though: let's do something incredibly stupid,” is how Milram's Terpstra described his early attacks in the race, which eventually brought him to third place. “Apparently it sometimes works out wonderfully.”

    While he would have liked an even better result, the 25-year-old was pleased with the race. “In the past I usually waited too long (to attack). By waiting too long, I missed out,” he told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “I have not always performed up to my ability. Physically I am no better than one year ago. But I know now that I can do more than I have shown so far.”

    Looking to the future, Terpstra knows he may also be looking for a new team, as sponsor Milram will stop at the end of this year. De Telegraaf said that Erik Dekker of Rabobank has been trying to recruit him, but that was not to the young Dutchman's...

  • Hekman aims at NRC in his final year

    Mark Hekman (Mtn. Khakis) in the break.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 12:49 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    USA Crits champion to trade his bike for the bassoon

    American Mark Hekman, winner of the 2009 USA Crits series, has embarked on his last year as a professional cyclist with the Mountain Khakis team. The tall, lanky redhead has been a fixture in the United States of America criterium scene since his break-out win in the Athens Twilight criterium in 2007, but he will trade all of that in for a full-time career in music in 2011.

    At the end of the season, he will begin work on his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. A classically trained bassoonist, Hekman put down his instrument for the bike five years ago, but is now ready to go back to his first passion.

    "It is definitely my last year racing full time - I'll always be a bike racer, I'm sure I'll race next year in some capacity," he said. "But full time traveling, racing and training all winter is going to be over because I'm actually already enrolled in school - there's no getting out of it now."

    Hekman's aim for the racing season is to go out strong rather than fade away, and he's been putting in some impressive work over the winter to get ready to make his last year his best.

    "I worked all fall to get ready for the audition, and then I got in [to the DMA program]. It was fun getting back into it, and I'm super excited about school, actually. But at the same time, I finally got a power metre and started training with that and it changed everything," he said. "I've never been so in shape in my life.

    "I've never been this fit - I lost 13 pounds from my race weight of last year, so I might go fast this year...I paid attention to the little things - diet, not drinking and doing all the intervals. I've been training with heart rate, and I was doing them all wrong. I'd go out too hard and then blow up. I was missing the benefit of the latter part of the interval."

    The Mountain Khakis team has also given him new inspiration by delivering him to the overall title in the USA Crits series...

  • Bettini close to becoming new Italian coach

    Paolo Bettini - from world champion to national trainer?
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 13:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Negotiations under way but no confirmation yet

    Former World and Olympic champion Paolo Bettini looks likely to become the new Italian national coach after the tragic death of Franco Ballerini in early February.

    After having already admitted his interest in the job last August, the now-retired Italian icon seems close to inking a deal with the national federation. Last week, Italian media spread a rumour that federation president Renato Di Rocco had announced "Il Grillo" as Ballerini's successor, but Bettini backpedalled.

    "I feel very honoured that the federation and its president Di Rocco have thought of me to take over Ballerini's role, but nothing has been concluded yet," said Bettini to Cyclismag.

    Remaining humble, it seems Bettini may have doubts about his capabilities to shift from a rider's to a director's role. "I have been lucky enough to win the Worlds and the Olympics with Franco [Ballerini], but it is one thing to be a rider and win and another thing to be a good technician," he reportedly added.

  • Signalmen threaten to strike at Tour of Flanders

    When this is your view, it's good to have a signalman to warn of obstacles you'd never see!
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 15:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Commentator's criticism over Dwars door Vlaanderen crash raises ire

    Wednesday's race saw the dramatic crash of three riders into a traffic island with a street sign, only 44 km from the finish line. There was apparently at that island no signalman, one of those people who stand at obstacles and wave flags to warn the riders.

    Belgian television commentator and former rider Jose De Cauwer noted that there was one signalman at the scene, but on the other side of the road. There was no warning of the sign pole.

    De Cauwer did not blame the organisation for the problem, telling Het Laatste Nieuws, “You can still put five signalman out, the riders will be crawling everywhere in between.”

    However, the signalmen interpreted De Cauwer's comments as criticism of their work, and threatened to strike at the Ronde van Vlaanderen if he does not publicly apologise. They previously made a strike threat in 2007.

    “If De Cauwer does not apologise during the broadcast of the E3-Prijs on Saturday, then we will surely strike. Bad luck for the Ronde van Vlaanderen,” John Kesteloot, head signalman, told HLN.

    Upon hearing that De Cauwer called Kesteloot to straighten things out. “The man has withdrawn his threat. It's just ridiculous,” he said. “I will not be blackmailed by someone like that.”

    Kesteloot saw the outcome differently. “De Cauwer called me, furious. What a noise! But he did not apologise. I assume he will do that on Saturday. I want to hear that he has respect for the signalmen.”

    He ended with an additional threat. “I speak for many when I say this. I promise that if De Cauwer doesn't apologise, there will be no signalmen at the Ronde van Vlaanderen.”

  • Equipe Noris Cycling ready to debut Sunday in women's World Cup race

    Trixi Worrack is one of the "Speed Queens" that Skyter hope will bring them success in 2010.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 16:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Nürnberger team to start in Trofeo Alfredo Binda

    Equipe Noris Cycling is preparing to make its season debut Sunday at the UCI Women's World Cup race, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. The team is the former Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, starting this year without a title sponsor.

    Nürnberger Versicherung announced last year that it would end its sponsorship at the end of 2009. Team management found a new sponsor in Skyter GmbH, a yacht-leasing firm, but in December the firm backed out of the deal.

    The team decided to continue without a title sponsor under the name Noris Cycling. Two of the team's top signings, Olympic champion Nicole Cooke and former World time trial champion Amber Neben, have left the team due to the financial problems.

    “After all the turbulence of the last months, things are actually happening,” said team manger Herbert Oppelt. “The girls are highly motivated and looking forward to the first race.”

    “Our riders showed their strength of character and held true to us after we lost the sponsor we thought we had. We will do all we can to keep attractive and doping-free women's cycling alive in Nürnberg.”

    The team's first race under its new name is the World Cup Trofeo Alfredo Binda Sunday, March 28, in Italy. “Of course it will be very hard to be at the front in the very first race,” admitted Jochen Dornbusch, the team's Directeur Sportif.

    “In Trixi Worrack and sprinter Angela Hennig we have two strong riders who can win a first-class one-day race. But it will be hard for everyone without one single race kilometre in their legs. It will no doubt take a while before we really get going.”

    Worrack and Hennig will be supported by Marlen Jöhrend, Bianca Purath, Romy Kasper and Jennifer Hohl.

    The Trofeo Alfredo Binda runs 120 kilometres with start and finish in Cittiglio, Varese, Italy. It has been run since 1974, making it the oldest one-day...

  • 'Legendary' accolade for Kiefel

    Ron Kiefel in 'human autobot' mode during the 1985 Giro. Photo ©: Ron Kiefel
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 19:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    American pioneer honoured at Redlands Bicycle Classic

    Former 7-Eleven professional Ron Kiefel will be honoured as this years' 'Legend Award' recipient at the 2010 Redlands Bicycle Classic, which began today in Redlands, California.

    The ceremony will take place before the Sunset Loop stage on Sunday, the course of which is remembered by Kiefel as "one of his favourites" - this from a man who rode seven Tours de France, won stage 15 of the 1985 Giro d'Italia and has an Olympic medal to his name.

    The 50-year-old Wheat Ridge native twice finished third overall at Redlands - in 1993 and '94 - and returns to the race with fond memories. "The Redlands Classic was an important stepping stone for the 7-Eleven team's success in Europe at races like the Giro D'Italia and Tour de France," he said.

    "I am looking forward to coming to Redlands to celebrate our sport - and am happy to be selected as a 'Legend' of the Redlands Classic."

    The 'Legend Award' was instituted to recognise those legends of the sport who have ridden the Redlands Bicycle Classic in their careers. Event marketing director Scott Welsh said, "We are very excited to honour Ron as our 2010 Legend Award recipient. He has done amazing things in our sport and was a part of many vintage editions of the Redlands Classic with his 7-Eleven team; he is truly a legend."

  • Cancellara primed for E3 and Gent-Wevelgem

    Fabian Cancellara almost singlehandedly chased down the breakaways.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2010, 20:59 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Swiss not distracted by team's search for new sponsor

    Fabian Cancellara will line up for E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem this weekend but the Swiss powerhouse isn't letting the reality of sponsorship dealings get in the way of racing.

    With Saxo Bank set to pull out of the sport at the end of the season and team boss Bjarne Riis searching for a replacement, Cancellara has made it clear that he and is teammates are only focused on racing. Yesterday the team scored a morale-boosting victory when Matti Breschel won Dwars door Vlaanderen. It was a win in which Cancellara played a vital role, setting a hard pace in the finale, before sitting up and challenging the peloton to chase after Breschel.

    "Last week in Milan-San Remo I was a bit frustrated. I wasn't really 100 percent in the race or focused. Normally I'd have helped Matti in the sprint but I don't know where I was. I was tired like everyone else but I wasn't in the race. Then we saw the opposite yesterday, that's the real Fabian in racing. And how I raced was a big help for the team and for Matti. That's the direction we want to go in."

    This weekend Cancellara will compete in both races although the move of Gent-Wevelgem to a weekend spot as well as changes to the race's profile aren't something he is a fan of.

    "Normally on Sunday you don't have a race but honestly for Harelbeke I think it's bad that we have these two races back-to-back. Harelbeke is usually great preparation for Flanders and Wevelgem was fantastic between Flanders and Roubaix, but its new slot is not that good."

    As for the continued search for a team sponsor, Cancellara believes that becoming caught up in the news and rumours can only distract the riders from their primary goal of racing and that the search for a sponsor isn't what motivates them to train or race.

  • Genesys looking for back-to-back victory in Mersey Valley

    Dylan Newell from Victoria heads into the finish of the time trial in Buninyong.
    Article published:
    March 26, 2010, 0:01 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Australia’s National Road Series to commence in Tasmania

    Genesys Wealth Advisers is looking to make history at this weekend’s Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania, with the Continental team aiming to make Dylan Newell the race’s first back-to-back winner. With the race staged on home soil and a lineup that includes both the defending race and series champions, Genesys Wealth Advisers is hoping for a strong start to the domestic season.

    The Mersey Valley Tour, a three stage race held over Saturday and Sunday, is the opening event of Cycling Australia’s 2010 National Road Series. Points will be on offer in both the men’s and women’s national series at the weekend, however the teams’ series doesn’t commence until July’s Tour of Gippsland.

    “We are sending a strong team to the Mersey Valley Tour,” said team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston. “Will Clarke will be looking to defend his National Road Series title this year, so he will be hoping for a solid performance in the first round. Dylan Newell will be trying to go back-to-back; no rider has ever won the tour twice.”

    Christie-Johnston has no hesitation in naming Jayco-Skins rider Luke Durbridge as the man that stands between his team and possible victory. He also expects the new Virgin Blue-RBS Morgans team to be in the mix, singling out Andrew Roe, Ben Dyball and Michael Freiburg as riders to watch.

    “We want to establish an early lead in the NRS which will hopefully setup the rest of the year for the team,” said Christie-Johnston. “A win will build the confidence in the team, which is extremely important early in the season. The longer a team goes without a win puts more pressure on the riders so hopefully we can put that to rest this weekend.

    “It will be the strongest field every seen at Mersey Valley which should make for some great racing,” he added.

    Genesys Wealth Advisers Mersey Valley Tour roster: William...