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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 29, 2012

Date published:
March 29, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • White: Durbridge poised to step onto Three Days of De Panne podium

    Luke Durbridge on the KOM
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 4:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    GreenEdge neo pro six seconds from GC leader

    Hopes are high for Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge) heading into Thursday's decisive stages of the Three Days of De Panne with the neo pro, competing in his first European race with the team, just six seconds off the general classification lead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).

    Durbridge's road career recently hit the fast forward button with the 20-year-old making the agonising decision to cut his ties with the Australian track team, where he won a world title in the team pursuit in 2011, earlier than intended.

    Over the first two stages at the Three Days of De Panne, Durbridge has finished in the front group. There was a slight scare on Wednesday though with Durbridge and in-form teammate Svein Tuft crashing just two kilometres from the finish in Koksijde. Tuft, who is also a genuine contender for Thursday's time trial, is on the same overall time as the Australian.

    "I haven't actually had a chance to talk to the boys yet, so I'm not sure how they crashed," said Sports Director Matt White in a press release. "They all got up pretty quickly and seemed okay. Obviously it's not an ideal situation, but it was inside the final three kilometres, so there's no worry there."

    Earlier this month, White told Cyclingnews that "there's no reason why he won't win" final stage time trial over 14.7 kilometres. "It's made for him," White continued. "As long as he gets through the other stages alive, he'll be fine."

    Following Wednesday's second stage, White was maintaining his stance regarding the reigning under 23 time trial world champion.

    "There's only 90 road kilometres left for him [Durbridge] to...

  • Gallery: Boonen and friends preview Tour of Flanders course

    Sebastien Rosseler (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 6:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rabobank, Garmin-Barracuda, Topsport Vlaanderen on the new route

    With a new finish to the Tour of Flanders, reconnaissance of the course is more important than ever, and today most of the contenders and their teams were out to scout the new route. Tom Boonen and his Omega Pharma-Quickstep team led the way on the climbs which will be critical to success: the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, as well as the Koppenberg, Molenberg and Taaienberg.

    Also spotted on the course were the Garmin-Barracuda and Rabobank teams, with last year's Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Vansummeren gliding up the cobbled ascents, and Lars Boom testing himself on the bergs.

    Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator brings its young Belgians to the course this year, with Jelle Wallays getting a second look at some of the climbs after putting in fine performances in the Dwars door Vlaanderen along many of the same roads.

    The women will also contest their Tour of Flanders on April 1, and spotted on the course today were Carmen Small and Kristin Armstrong of the US National Team and Swede Emma Johansson (Hitec Products-Mistral Home).

    You can view the gallery by clicking here.

  • Project 1t4i to announce new name sponsor on Friday

    The Skil 1T4i team is introduced.
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 9:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    New jersey will debut in Tour of Flanders Sunday

    Project 1t4i will introduce its new name sponsor at a press conference Friday. The Dutch team has run under the provisory name the first three months of this season, but will have a new name and new jerseys as of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.

    The press conference can be seen on live stream on the team's website, www.1t4i.com, on Friday, from 11:30 to 12:15 CET.

    ‘We are looking forward to this great day. It is a big day for cycling and of course also for the sponsor and the team,” said team co-manager Sissy van Alebeek.

    It has been rumoured that the new sponsor will be a new company formed by the merger of Argos Oil and the North Sea Oil  Group. At the team presentation in January, team manager Iwan Spekenbrink said that the late announcement would coincide with the sponsor's marketing plan.

    Spekenbrink said that no one has guessed the new name one hundred percent, and knows why. “So that our riders and staff would not be constantly forced to keep silent, we kept the secret of the name to a very limited group of people.  so they can honestly say they don't know,” he told Wielerland.nl.

    The team was previously known as Skil-Shimano, until the sponsors withdrew at the end of last season. The name Project 1t4i was chosen as a working title until the new sponsor could be disclosed, and stands for one team with inspiration, integrity, improvement and innovation.

    Project 1t4i has five wins this season. Four of them come from sprints won by Marcel Kittel, including the second stage of the Three Days of De...

  • Hincapie can set Tour of Flanders record

    George Hincapie returns for another season at BMC.
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 9:58 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    BMC rider currently tied with 16 rides

    George Hincapie can claim the record of most finishes in the Tour of Flanders if he crosses the finish line again on Sunday.The BMC rider will have finished the race 17 times.

    Hincapie, 38, is currently tied at 17 with Belgian rider Briek Schotte, who rode in the 1940s and 1950s. Coincidentally, Schotte died on the day the Tour of Flanders was run in 2004, at the age of 84.

    The American has finished in the top ten in Flanders numerous time. His top finish was third in 2006.

    The next closest active rider is Frederic Guesdon, 40, of FdJ. He is not scheduled to start the race this year.

  • Yorkshire submits formal bid to host Tour de France in 2016

    Jean-Etienne Amaury, President of the Amaury Sport Organisation, speaks during the official presentation of 2012 Tour de France route.
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 11:28 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Race representatives to visit in May

    Yorkshire has submitted its formal bid to host the start of the Tour de France in 2016.  The proposed route would also take in the Yorkshire Dales and the cities of Scarborough, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield and York. Barcelona, Venice, Berlin and Scotland are also bidding for the start.

    “We are making a series of pitches which will culminate in a big meeting in two months to try to persuade the organisers that Yorkshire is the place for them,” said Gary Verity, who is the chief executive of the regional tourist bid, to the York Press.

    “It is the world’s biggest annual sporting event, with 88 million people watching it every day on TV, and it offers massive coverage.

    Representatives from the Amaury Sport Organisation will visit Yorkshire in May to study the proposed route.

    “Yorkshire would be a beautiful backdrop, offering so much in terms of outstanding scenery as well as the necessary infrastructure,” said City of York Council leader James Alexander.

    “Hosting a section of the race would give Yorkshire a global audience of more than 80 million and provide a huge boost to the region's visitor economy. I will be doing all I can to bring the event not just to Yorkshire, but to York."

    Verity had announced last May that the bid had been made.  The Tour made its last appearance in the Tour de France in 2007.

     

     

  • Video: Hondo to lead Lampre at Tour of Flanders

    Danilo Hondo (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 13:41 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    38-year-old German dreams of Olympics

    Danilo Hondo (Lampre) isn’t among the favourites for this Sunday’s Tour of Flanders but the experienced German will still lead Lampre and their WorldTour ambitions in the Ronde.

    Hondo, who finished in the top 20 last year and 9th in 2010, is aware of the harder route in this year’s race but is using the Three Days of De Panne to hone his form for the upcoming Classic.

    Hondo has had a colourful career. The 38-year-old begun racing on the track in the early 1990s, picking up world championship medals including a gold at the track worlds in the team pursuit in 1994.

    In 1997 he turned professional with the Argo team before moving to the Telekom squad where he spent six seasons. Despite winning two stages at the Giro he struggled to progress under the shadow of Erik Zabel. Whilst with Team Gerolsteiner, he failed a drugs test in 2005 and moved in various directions - including four teams in four years - before landing on his feet at Lampre. In the last three year, as his legs have slowed, he has devoted much of his efforts to leading out Alessandro Petacchi, while also returning to his roots in track racing during the winter.

    In this exclusive video for Cyclingnews Hondo talks about his Flanders hopes and his dream of racing at the London 2012 Olympics.
     

  • Mansilla cleared of EPO doping charges negative B sample

    Luis Mansilla (Clos De Pirque - Trek) extended his overall lead.
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 15:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Chilean back to preparations for London Olympics

    Luis Mansilla has been cleared of doping charges after his B-sample came back negative, the head of the Chilean cycling federation has said. Mansilla can now resume his preparations for the London Olympics, where he is expected to feature on both the track and road teams.

    Mansilla had tested positive for EPO after stage 5 of the 2012 Tour of Chile in January, which he lead for eight stages and in which he won two stages. 

    "The legal department of the International Cycling Union (UCI) sent us this morning the lab report which details that Luis Mansilla's B sample was negative.This means that no banned substances," Miguel Carrillo told the Chilean news website emol.com.

    He added that the report “did not explain the reassign” for the first positive result.

    "With the news, it is confirmed that Mansilla is released and can continue to compete without major problems."

    Mansilla, also speaking with emol.com, said that the positive doping control left him very  angry. “There was much damage, my family suffered a lot because they did not know what to do. I could not believe it, and every time I remembered, I was angry.”

    With the news of the negative B sample, he is ready to put it all behind him. “Now I only have to prepare for the Olympics,” he said.  He wants “to give satisfaction to my country. On the bike I've always tried to do my best and I've given everything. Obviously I want to do well and show that at this moment I am one of the best cyclists in the country.”

  • Chavanel continues Omega Pharma-QuickStep winning streak

    An attack from the field by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 18:22 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian team wins 23 races in three months

    Sylvain Chavanel continued Omega Pharma-QuickStep's startling beginning to the season by winning the Three Days of De Panne thanks to victory in the concluding time trial. In spite of the extraordinary haul of 21 victories secured by his teammates in the opening three months of the season, Chavanel was surprisingly still itching to get off the mark when he rolled down the start ramp in De Panne.

    "It's always a relief when you bring wins to the team," Chavanel said in his post-race press conference. "I'm here to win races for the team and I've won two in one day, so I'm really happy. The team already had more than 20 wins and I was one of the riders who had yet to open his account."

    After surgery to correct a herniated disc during the winter, Chavanel was concerted in his off-season efforts to regain his time trialling form. The fruits of his labour were apparent on Thursday, when he put four seconds into Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and a remarkable 17 into Svein Tuft (GreenEdge) on the 14.7km course to take the stage and the overall victory.

    "It was my third time trial of the year. I was 4th in the time trial at San Luis and 6th at Paris-Nice, so I was so proud to win this one, especially as I was up against Westra, Tuft and Durbridge, guys who are good rouleurs."

    The Tour of Flanders dominates Flemish thoughts as March turns to April, and in spite of Chavanel's protestations, there was more interest at the press conference in dissecting his Ronde chances than in discussing his first victory since the French national championships last June.

    Chavanel's display on Thursday also saw him reel in Omega Pharma-QuickStep's 22nd and 23rd victories of the season. Their haul to date is just two shy of the...