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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 28, 2013

Date published:
March 28, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Jayco-AIS women's squad to provide pathway to Orica-AIS

    Grace Sulzberger (Jayco-AIS) took the silver medal
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 1:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cycling Australia announce next generation of rising talent

    The next batch of promising Australian cyclists has been announced with the launch of Cycling Australia's Jayco-AIS Women's Endurance Squad. The team will comprise of four road and three track riders with the goal of providing a structured pathway into the professional ranks of Orica-AIS and also preparing selected track athletes for targeted road events.

    The multi-functioning program was finalised shortly after the Oceania Road Championships with four road athletes added to the previously identified three track riders.

    Headlining the team on the road is reigning Oceania time trial champion Taryn Heather, 2012 National Road Series champion and time trial silver medallist from both the National and Oceania Championships Grace Sulzberger, under-23 road and time trial national champion Emily Roper and Chloe McConville - a European debutant last year who's aggressive riding made her a standout throughout the 2012 season.

    The previously selected track athletes include London Games representative Amy Cure, Ashlee Ankudinoff - who won four gold medals at the Oceania Track Championships and national scratch race champ Isabella King.

    The announcement comes shortly following the launch of the revamped under-23 men's Jayco-AIS World Academy which shifted away from a registered UCI Continental team and has since become a fully-integrated national program.

    "I am really looking forward to resuming our activities in Europe and fostering the development of our next generation of riders," said AIS women's road cycling head coach Martin Barras.

    "We have four very versatile [road] riders, all of whom possess strong work ethics and team oriented goals.

    "This tour presents us with the opportunity to prepare the women who can ultimately ride for our...

  • Valverde and Quintana recon critical Tour de France stages

    Tour de France recon atop the Val Louron-Azet for Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 5:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard recovered after crashing out of Volta a Catalunya

    Alejandro Valverde and Colombian teammate Nairo Quintana used their time shortly after the completion of Volta a Catalunya to perform reconnaissance on two crucial Pyrenean stages of this year’s Tour de France. The Movistar duo rode the important sections of Stage 8 from Castres to Ax 3 Domaines and Stage 9 from Saint-Girons to Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

    Valverde, who crashed out while leading the WorldTour race in Catalunya noted in particular the difficulty of Stage 8 with penultimate 15km climb of Pailhères set to make life stressful for those with hopes for the general classification. Valverde’s preparation for the upcoming Ardennes classics, where he is a former two-time winner at Liège-Bastogne-Liège (2006, 2008) and took out Flèche Wallonne in 2006, has not been hampered. He will return to racing at the one-day GP Miguel Indurain this weekend.

    "I'm fully recovered from Catalunya's crash and I'm feeling well on the bike," he said on his team site.

    "Though we have raced in the Pyrenees many times, there were climbs like the two ones on the first day, Val Louron and the Hourquette, that I didn't know, so it was good to know perfectly what we're going to tackle this July.

    "Though everything will be left to the finale on...

  • Greipel frustrated by missed De Panne opportunity

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol).
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 6:22 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    German hits front too soon in Stage 2 finale

    Andre Greipel was left frustrated at the end of the second stage in De Panne after poor positioning and a stiff headwind ruined his chances of victory.

    The Lotto Belisol sprinter was in second position as the peloton swung right for the final time with 400 meters to go. Sitting behind his lead-out man Kenny Dehaes, Greipel was forced to open his sprint early and paid the price as Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) blasted towards his first win on Belgian soil for his new team. Greipel sat up before the line and was forced to settle for 12th place.

    Outside the Lotto Belisol team bus he was asked to explain what went wrong by the gathering press. "The headwind. That's what went wrong. We made, I mean, I made a mistake. I went with Kenny where I should have stayed on the wheel of Cavendish. It was very clear: he who went first would be the one who lost the race. And that person was me. My mistake."

    Lotto Belisol was placed under pressure before the final turn when Niki Terpstra's pace forced a split at the head of the field. Lotto duly responded by reeling in the Dutchman and his companions, who included Cavendish.

    "Kenny did a good job bringing me back. But a headwind sprint is always difficult to adjust. But I knew it would be headwind. So, it was my mistake," Greipel acknowledged and in doing so taking the heat from Dehaes.

    "I told him before the sprint not to hit the front too early, because of the headwind. So it was my fault and his fault as well. Anyway it's not easy winning a sprint in De Panne."

    With Greipel returning to the sanctuary of the bus it was Dehaes' turn to face the media scrum. The 28-year-old has already won twice himself this season and with Greg Henderson out of...

  • Ullrich hints again at doping during career

    Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) thunders through the rain to win the final stage time trial in Bern
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 9:42 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Martin, Ciolek and younger generation deserve a chance, says German

    Retired Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich has hinted again that his career involved doping but has reinforced his position that he will not go down the path of Lance Armstrong, who provided a television confession with Oprah Winfrey.

    "Anyone can make a picture of what happened in the past in cycling and I contributed my part," Ullrich wrote in his regular Eurosport blog. "Lance Armstrong and many others have expressed their past in TV interviews as this was obviously the right way for them personally."

    The winner of the 1997 Tour was implicated in the 2006 Operación Puerto investigation into blood doping and was eventually handed a two-year ban in addition to having all results from 1 May, 2005 onwards stripped from him. Ullrich's most significant result during that time was his third place at the 2005 Tour.

    Ullrich, as he has since officially retiring from the sport in 2007, referred to the importance of his family and said that dredging up the past and potentially damaging the reputation of former sponsors is not something he is looking to do anytime soon. Dealing with his issues since moving away from competitive cycling means more than appealing to the public’s need for a confession.

    "My active cycling career has been over for almost ten years. The only thing that counts now and in the future is me and my family. My way is to agree on the matter with myself,...

  • Boonen and Sagan abandon Three Days of De Panne

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quickstep)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 10:03 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Greipel pulls out citing sore throat

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) both opted not to start the third and final day of the Three Days of De Panne on Thursday, as they turn their attentions to Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

    Sagan won the opening stage but like last year, he lost surrendered his overall lead in the closing kilometres of stage two and has decided to forgo Thursday’s split stage. “I wanted to get in some kilometres here before the Tour of Flanders but you mustn’t turn that into additional efforts,” Sagan said, according to La Dernière Heure. “Now I’m going to prepare calmly for Sunday.”

    Boonen had originally not been slated to take part in the Three Days of De Panne but as he scrambles for form after an illness and injury-hit pre-season, he made a late decision to participate. The Belgian champion was a faller at Gent-Wevelgem at the weekend but he declared himself relatively pleased with his progress in two stages at De Panne.

    “I feel my knee a bit still when I have to go flat out, but I can’t complain,” Boonen said.

    Although Thursday morning’s stage traditionally finishes in a bunch sprint, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) also opted to sit it out with the Tour of Flanders in mind. The German was suffering from a sore throat and did not wish to compromise his participation in De Ronde, where he will ride in the service of Jurgen Roelandts.


     

  • Blanco underdogs looking to upset favourites at Flanders

    Lars Boom (Blanco)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 12:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Boom back to normal self, says team director Verhoeven

    Team Blanco may have failed to feature a rider in the finale in last week's cobbled classics at E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem but the "underdogs" for Sunday's Tour of Flanders may just spoil the part for many of the favourites like Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), according to team director Nico Verhoeven.

    "We've not played a meaningful role in the races running up to Flanders, but we are certainly in a position to pull off the upset", he said in team release.

    In fact the team's biggest hopes for the second monument of the year is Lars Boom who's results at E3 and Harelbeke do little to ignite the punters interest. Boom failed to finish the opening cobbled race on Friday before pulling out a more respectable 23rd at Gent just days later.

    Boom's result at Gent did not accurately reflect the former cyclo-cross world champion's condition. "He flatted at the deciding moment", said Verhoeven. "That was frustrating and because of that, it's not entirely certain how he stands in comparison to a Peter Sagan for example."

    Maarten Tjallingii, Maarten Wynants and Sep Vanmarcke - who is still recovering from a knee injury sustained from a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico - were the squad's best placed riders at E3, rolling in with the bunch that finished over five minutes down on the day's winner Cancellara but they will have to seriously lift their game if they are to compete with the best in de Ronde.

    Vanmarcke was one...

  • Kristoff targeting top-10 performance at Flanders

    Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) takes his first win of the season on Stage 3a at the Three Days of De Panne
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 14:05 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Katusha sprinter on form at De Panne

    Alexander Kristoff's consistency this week at the Three Days of De Panne was rewarded on Thursday, the Katusha sprinter snagging his first win of the season, and importantly building his momentum towards Sunday's Tour of Flanders.

    The Norwegian had finished third behind Peter Sagan (Cannondale) on the opening stage and was fifth on stage 2. Just as he had last year, Kristoff was in the overall lead heading into the final stage time trial this afternoon, but it was not a mantle he believed that he would retain with the likes of defending champion Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) just 10 seconds in arrears.

    Guided into third wheel on the final right-hand bend by German teammates Rüdiger Selig, Kristoff never looked like being challenged, despite having to begin his sprint with 300 metres to go.

    "I see on my wheel they are coming but I had a little bit of kick and managed to keep them off so I'm really happy," he said.

    Kristoff was eighth in Milan - San Remo and then followed that up with two top-20 results at Dwars Door Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem last week, giving Katusha another genuine card to play along with Luca Paolini against the so-called "super teams" expected to dominate the Ronde.

    "For Luca, Sunday is very important so he did this [De Panne] more for training," Kristoff said. "For me, also Sunday is important but I know I can make results here. Results are always important so that's why I go for the stages and hope to win and I managed to do it today so I'm very pleased."

    The 25-year-old will take on the Tour of Flanders, the Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix next week, but it's the first race that the former...

  • Gilbert and Phinney out of Tour of Flanders

    Taylor Phinney (Team BMC)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 15:43 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    BMC riders withdraw from Sunday's Classic

    Taylor Phinney and Phillipe Gilbert have been withdrawn from BMC's Tour of Flanders roster. Road world champion Gilbert is still suffering from a cold he picked up at Paris-Nice, while Phinney is dealing with a knee injury he sustained at Gent-Wevelgem.

    BMC announced that Greg Van Avermaet and Thor Hushovd will lead the team in the Ronde on Sunday.

    "We still have a good team with guys like Thor Hushovd and Greg Van Avermaet, who are our main leaders," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said.

    "But we have also seen in E3-Harelbeke that Daniel Oss is very strong. And we have a good back-up team with Marcus Burghardt, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär and two teammates in Blythe and Lodewyck who were already prepared to race. So we are still confident that we will be there in the final."

    Gilbert has made no secret of his ambition to win Flanders but with the Ardennes around the corner, he has decided to rest up, despite showing signs of form in last weekend's Gent-Wevelgem.

    Phinney, on the other hand, has targeted Paris-Roubaix as his major objective for the spring. The two-time winner of the U23 version of the race missed out on selection for the WorldTour level event last year but has steadily improved over the last 12 months and picked up BMC’s best result earlier this month in Milan-San Remo.

    "With my current condition, I know I cannot be successful at Flanders," said Gilbert.

    "I want to give everything for the Ardennes Classics, so I have decided to change my program and go to Vuelta al Pais Vasco to prepare. I need a stage race where I can go...