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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 31, 2011

Date published:
March 31, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Offredo ruled out of Tour of Flanders

    Yoann Offredo (FDJ) sits on the tarmac in Wevelgem.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 14:51 BST
    Cycling News

    FDJ rider suffered heel injury in Gent-Wevelgem crash

    Yoann Offredo (FDJ) has been ruled out of the Tour of Flanders due to the after-effects of his crash at the conclusion of Gent-Wevelgem last Sunday.

    The young Frenchman collided with a photographer after crossing the line in 11th place and fell along with Leonardo Duque (Cofidis). While Offredo was on his feet soon afterwards to make his way to the team bus, it later emerged that he had sustained a heel injury in the incident.

    After an attacking display in the finale of Milan-San Remo, the aggressive Offredo had been tipped to make an impression in Flanders at the weekend. However, he was unable to train all week due to the injury and the decision was taken to withdraw the 24-year-old from the FDJ line-up.

    “We examined the injury on Monday and Yoann was suffering from a heavy trauma to the calcaneus, and we could not rule out the possibility of a bone injury, although it was too soon to be able to see it,” FDJ doctor Gérard Guillaume told the team website. “Yoann is going to have an x-ray on Thursday, but as he hasn’t ridden for four days, it’s impossible that he could start the Tour of Flanders.”

    FDJ manager Marc Madiot admitted that Offredo’s absence was a major blow to his team’s line-up for Sunday’s race.

    “He’s out of the race, and it’s terrible for our team too, as we’re losing our major component,” Madiot said. “With Yoann, I think that FDJ would have had its best team for Flanders, but it remains a cohesive team, with strong and very motivated riders.”

    The FDJ squad for the...

  • Boonen looking for third Tour of Flanders title

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) secures his biggest win of the season
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 15:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Sprinter leads Quick Step in home race

    Tom Boonen will look to win his third Tour of Flanders on Sunday. The Quick Step rider is coming off the back of victory in last Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem.

    For the Belgian team, the race “is one of the most important moments in the season,” according to Sports Director Wilfried Peeters. “We're lining up for the start with a team that's growing, built up around Boonen and with some individuals who could really make their mark.”

    Some of the riders participated in this week's Three Days of De Panne. “For others, including Boonen, the choice was different: to concentrate on a few specific workouts before Sunday's race to fine tune his conditioning.”

    Peeters is sending three riders to make their Tour of Flanders debut: Davide Malacarne, Andreas Stauff and Dries Devenyns. “All three of them really earned a place on this squad with solid, high-profile races. We're sure they can perform well and have a good race on Sunday as well."

    Sunday's race, also known as “Vlaanderens mooiste”, is one of cycling's monuments. It runs 256.3km from Brugge to Ninove, and includes 18 climbs and 26 sections of pave.

    Boonen previously won the race in 2005 and 2006. He finished second in it last year, 1:15 behind winner Fabian Cancellara, who will be the favourite again this year.

    Quick Step for Tour of Flanders: Tom Boonen (Bel), Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), Dries Devenyns (Bel), Davide Malacarne (Ita), Andreas Stauff (Ger), Gert Steegmans (Bel), Niki Terpstra (Ned) and Kevin Van Impe (Bel).

  • 2012 Giro d'Italia to start in Denmark?

    Thousands came to the arena to watch the Giro's conclusion
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 15:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Danish newspaper claims announcement to be made Friday

    The Giro d'Italia 2012 will start in Herning, Denmark, according to speculation by a Danish website. If true, the Danish city will have beat out Washington, DC, and Monaco for the start of the race.

    Herning mayor Larks Krarup would not confirm the story to, but said that there will be a news conference on Friday in Horsens, Denmark, to announce that a major sporting event is coming to Herning.

    The newspaper speculated that since the press conference will be held in the town of Horsens, that town will also be involved in the Giro.

    Washington, DC had bid to become the first city outside of Europe to host a Grand Tour. Robin Morton of g4 Productions, who is working with the DC organising committee, had previously indicated to Cyclingnews that there were a number of unsolved issues which would eliminate Washington's chances for the coming year, but that the city still had good chances in the future.

    "We have known all along that the Danish were bidding and had the money for the Giro start," Morton told Cyclingnews. "We are still moving forward with the DC plans for 2013 or 14."

  • No doping positives at Paris-Nice says UCI

    The Paris-Nice peloton in action on stage 1.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 17:46 BST
    Cycling News

    AFLD tests come back without adverse findings

    The UCI confirmed to Cyclingnews today that there were no adverse analytical findings from the doping controls performed at the 2011 Paris-Nice stage race.

    The news refutes rumours of a positive in this year's event.

    Testing at Paris-Nice was performed by the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) in conjunction with the UCI, reversing a once contentious relationship between the two organisations.

    The race was won by HTC-Highroad's Tony Martin.

  • Plans underway for women's stage race in Aspen, Colorado

    Elite women's podium (L-R): Evelyn Stevens (CRCA), Jessica Phillips (Lip Smackers) and Alison Powers (Team Type 1).
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 19:00 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Phillips hoping to boost women's racing

    Colorado looks set to have a new women’s stage race after it was announced that plans are under way for a three-day race to be held at the same time as the Quiznos Pro Challenge.

    The race, which will take place between August 22-24 has already attracted interest for top US teams HTC-Highroad and Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12.

    "It’s going to be a women’s race around the Tour of Colorado [sic]," said organiser and professional rider Jessica Phillips who is part of organisers Ajax Tavern.

    "It’s going to be a three-day stage race for women. HTC has already said they’ll send riders and the same for the Peanut Butter team. So we’re hoping to make it a top level event."

    The race has yet to find a title sponsor but already has the backing of USA Cycling and has also secured permits to race. Along with a prize fund of between $7,000 to $10,000, Philips is hoping that this will be the start of an upsurge in women’s racing.

    Philips was inspired to organise an event after the Quiznos Pro Challenge was unveiled last year. The men’s professional race will attract some of the biggest teams in the world but the organisers were not in a position to organise a women’s event in conjunction.

    "No one wanted to attempt to put on a women’s race. We read the press release about the men’s race and how cycling in Colorado is such a big deal. Women are always saying it’s not fair that they don’t have a women’s race, so instead of just complaining about it I just said, 'I’m going to work really hard on putting together a women’s race'.

    "We’ve not secured sponsorship yet so we’ll either call it something along the lines of a possible title sponsor or sponsors for each stage but if not of that happens I’m fortunate to be in the town of Aspen where we can...

  • Terpstra crashes out of De Panne finale

    Dutch champion Niki Terpstra holds great promise for the 2011 season
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 19:19 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Updated: Quick Step rider sustains broken collarbone, out of Tour of Flanders

    Niki Terpstra (Quick Step) will miss out on the Tour of Flanders after crashing on stage 3b of the Three Days of De Panne and sustaining a broken collar bone. The team confirmed that Terpstra was transferred to the Herentals Clinic where he'll be operated on tomorrow morning.

    Terpstra's injury is the latest in a series of mishaps during this start of season for Quick Step, which has so far lost Kevin De Weert, Nikolas Maes, Marco Bandiera and Andy Cappelle to injuries.

    "I'm really disappointed for me and the team. The time trial was basically over," said Terpstra in a press release. "I was riding along the final stretch, in a residential area no less, when an unexpected gust of wind blew me to the ground. I couldn't react, everything happened in a fraction of a second. Words cannot express my disappointment. There's nothing left for me to do but wish the best of luck to all the guys who'll be riding in the Ronde on Sunday."

    The Dutchman was competing for the overall win in De Panne, and not only did he miss the chance for a result, he will be out for the Tour of Flanders, leaving a big hole in his team for Sunday's race.

    "It looks like we'll have to bring in Guillaume Van Keirsbulck," team manager Patrick Lefevere told Cyclingnews at the finish of De Panne. "He's young and only 20 but with some injures and riders having other goals we'll need him."

    Terpstra had been in strong form before his crash. In E3 Prijs Vlaanderen last week he was at the fore in most of the day's action and would have been one of Quick Step's crucial riders when it came to taking on Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto).

    "With him and maybe and Sylvain Chavanel we could have played a couple of jokers in Flanders," Lefevere said.

    "We'll problaby go with eight riders but we've got riders who can't come in because they're either injured or have other goals. We lost a strong rider today who...

  • Nibali continues Giro d'Italia preparation on Etna

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale)
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 20:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Two-week training camp in Sicily for Liquigas-Cannondale

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) continues his preparation for the Giro d’Italia with a two-week training camp at Mount Etna, beginning on Saturday. The Sicilian will be joined on his home roads by seven of his teammates for Liquigas-Cannondale’s second collective high-altitude training camp of the season, following a spell at Teide, Tenerife in February.

    “I’m preparing for the Giro d’Italia with care and determination and the camp at Etna is an important step in that respect,” Nibali said. “After Teide, the Giro di Sardegna, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, I will now carry out specific work at altitude that will give great benefits.”

    Mount Etna will also play host to one of the Giro’s first decisive battles on stage 9, and Nibali will avail himself of the opportunity to reconnoitre the course in greater depth.

    “Being able to do this [training camp] in my part of the world obviously has a special taste,” he said. “Without wanting to tempt fortune, I hope that it augurs well for the Giro.”

    After winning last year’s Vuelta a España, Nibali has earned sole leadership of the Liquigas-Cannondale squad for the Giro. With expectations high ahead of the corsa rosa, Nibali is happy to have time to collect his thoughts.

    “These are 15 days in which I can free my head from daily concerns and relax mentally,” he said. “The stress in the coming months will be high: it’s good to prepare for this too. Moreover, it’s important to cement the spirit of the group: you win a big tour with the legs and with harmony among your teammates.”

    Nibali will be joined in Sicily by Valerio Agnoli, Eros Capecchi,...

  • Cycling journalist Bretscher dies at age 72

    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 21:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Cyclingnews contributor loses battle to cancer

    Swiss journalist and former Cyclingnews correspondent Ernst Bretscher has passed away at the age of 72. He died on March 15 after a long battle against cancer.

    Ernst regularly supported Cyclingnews by delivering race results and photos during the website’s infancy.

    Born in 1938, Ernst was passionate about cycling from an early age and along with working for Cyclingnews was one of the most respected European cycling journalists.

    His funeral took place on March 30.

    Everyone at Cyclingnews – past and present - would like to pay their respects and offer their sincere condolences to Ernst’s family.