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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 19, 2011

Date published:
May 19, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Schleck surprised by second place on Sierra Road

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) looking calm and collected on today's tough final climb.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 7:49 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Voigt: In the end it was survival of the fittest

    Leopard Trek's Andy Schleck surprised himself on the climb up to the mountaintop finish on Sierra Road, finishing second place to stage winner RadioShack's Chris Horner in stage four of the Amgen Tour of California. The Luxembourg native came into the race with unknown form having taken time of the bike following the spring Classics.

    "This is my first race back and I really didn't know where I would sit," Schleck told Cyclingnews. "I knew that I was not lazy and that I was working hard. On the bottom when Chris and Levi [Leipheimer] went, I was a little bit in the red zone. I wouldn't say that I took it easy but I went a little slower and went in the group behind."

    Horner won the stage by 1:15 minutes ahead of Schleck, who came to the line with Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) in second and Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) in third. Schleck took a break following a strong early season at the spring Classics. He admitted that he was using the Amgen Tour of California as a tune up for the Tour de France in July, leaving the overall classification to his teammate Linus Gerdemann.

    "Linus was just a little bit behind the group and I thought that he could catch up to us, but, in the end they didn't," he added. "The last kilometre I tried everything I had. I was surprised by second place. I feel confident for Mt Baldy."

    Teammate Jens Voigt offered Schleck and Gerdemann ample support during stage four's 131.6km route that began in Livermore and ended in San Jose atop Sierra Road. "The stage today was very hard and very demanding," Voigt said.

    "It was up and down and there weren't many...

  • Berlin one-day race announces high-class field

    Erik Zabel was on hand to watch his son Rick race.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 9:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Skoda Velothon attracts six WorldTour teams

    The Skoda Velothon Berlin Pro Race, taking place on May 22 and organised by Erik Zabel, has announced a solid field for the event, including Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek). In its first edition, the Pro Race has attracted six WorldTour teams and a number of great names of the international peloton. On top of Cancellara, his teammates Stuart O'Grady and Joost Posthuma, John Degenkolb (HTC), Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil), Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) and André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) are also planned to take the start.

    The UCI Cat. 1.1 event, which is hoped to receive WorldTour status by 2013, will be raced over 182 kilometres and includes a finishing circuit in and around downtown Berlin's Tiergarten park.

    Zabel, who is putting in great efforts to make the race revive the deteriorating German cycling scene, was happy to line up such a powerful field. "Very successful and well-known cyclists like Cancellara, O'Grady, Posthuma and Haussler are on top of the start list next to young talents like Kittel and Degenkolb. This shows the high importance of the race," he said.

    The ProTeams at the start will be BMC Racing, Leopard Trek, Garmin-Cervelo, HTC-Highroad, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Vacansoleil. Three Pro Continental Teams will be represented with CCC Polsat Polkowice, Skil-Shimano and Netapp. Continental teams include Ac Sparta Praha, Bkcp - Powerplus, Adria Mobil, Lkt Team Brandenburg, Atlas Personal, Nutrixxion Sparkasse, Champion-System, Eddy Merckx-Indeland, Heizomat, Team NSP and Tt Raikon Argon 18. The filed will be rounded out by two national teams, Germany U23 and Russia.

  • Swift looking for more sprints in Tour of California

    Ben Swift (Sky) happy with his first place finish as well as taking the leader jersey.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 10:10 BST
    Jen See

    Sky loses two riders on Mount Hamilton

    After Wednesday's hard stage between Livermore and San Jose in the Tour of California, Ben Swift is looking forward to more sprint stages. The British sprinter, who wore the first leader's jersey of this year's Tour of California, finished in the grupetto, while up ahead, Chris Horner (RadioShack) celebrated the stage victory and took over the race lead.

    Though today was not a day for the sprinters at Team Sky, the team can count their visit to California a success. After Swift won the opening stage and took the leader's jersey, the team followed up with a second stage win the following day. Greg Henderson sprinted to victory in Modesto and took the jersey from his team-mate Swift.

    “We’ve had two stage wins out of three, so we can’t really ask for much more,” Swift told Cyclingnews at the finish on Sierra Rd. “Yesterday we had a bit of a problem with myself at the finish, but Hendy pulled it off perfectly.” RadioShack kept the race under pressure over the stage's four climbs, which made it a tough day for the sprinters. Racing to make the time cut often sounds considerably easier than it is. “I was hurting all day today. I didn’t feel too good on the bike. But it was a good racing circuit,” said Swift.

    Looking ahead, Swift may have another chance to show his speed on Thursday, though the lengthy course and the tactical choices of the general classification teams may rule out a sprint finish. “It’ll be interesting. It depends on what happened on GC today. I don’t know what is happening, because I only just got in, but it could potentially be a breakaway. Some teams still have not got stage wins yet,” Swift explained.

    Much depends on how the RadioShack team of the new...

  • Cofidis prepares for Tour de France in training camp

    David Moncoutie (Cofidis) resplendant in the mountains jersey.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 11:58 BST
    Cycling News

    French squad announces long list of 13 riders

    Ten riders from Cofidis are currently working out at a pre-Tour de France training camp in Risoul in the French Alps. Mickaël Buffaz, Leonardo Duque, Samuel Dumoulin, Julien El Farès, Tony Gallopin, David Moncoutié, Damien Monier, Rein Taaramae, Tristan Valentin and Nicolas Vogondy are all included in the long list of 13 riders possibly up for the line-up of nine at the Tour.

    Rémi Cusin, Romain Zingle and Aleksejs Saramontins, absent from the training camp, could also make the team's squad for July, team manager Eric Boyer told L'Equipe. "The final line-up will be decided after the Dauphiné (June 5-12) at the latest," he said.

    With the French championships scheduled on June 26 - and the tricolore jersey always prominent at the country's greatest cycling event - Boyer added that "if a rider that is not listed in this pre-selection becomes French champion, we could think things over. But not necessarily if the jersey goes to one of our neo pros."

    From the long list, 2008 Tour stage winner Dumoulin, El Farès, Monier and Taaramae have good chances of being included in the final Tour line-up as they represented Cofidis at the Tour already last year. The team's climber Moncoutié, targeting the mountains title, is already certain of his spot.

    The riders present at the training camp are scheduled to recon the Galibier on Friday. They will also ride the Col d'Agnel and Alpe d'Huez, all important mountain passes in the third week of this year's Tour de France.

  • Video: Tour of California stage 3 and 4 highlights

    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 12:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Henderson and Horner take a stage each as the race hots up

    Stage 3: Henderson brings Team Sky its second victory in California

    Greg Henderson (Team Sky) sprinted to a win at the end of the Amgen Tour of California's 196.2km stage 3 from Auburn to Modesto on Tuesday. Juan José Haedo (Saxo Bank Sungard) finished second ahead of world champion Thor Hushovd (Team Garmin-Cervélo).

    Stage 4: Horner conquers Sierra Road for yellow jersey

    RadioShack's Chris Horner claimed his first ever Amgen Tour of California stage, taking the summit finish on Sierra Road with a solo attack halfway up the final ascent. It is Horner's first victory since his overall win in the 2010 Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and puts the American into the leader's yellow jersey.


  • Video: Bjarne Riis says Contador has never been this strong

    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 15:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank team leading race into the vital third week

    The key mountain stages in this year's Giro d'Italia are on the horizon but with his main rivals already over a minute behind, Alberto Contador seems to have everything under control.

    Saxo Bank-SunGard team manager Bjarne Riis has carefully kept his emotions under control but appeared relaxed and confident when he talked to Cyclingnews about the three consecutive mountain stages the riders face on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

    "Everyday is important and even after that there are even more hard days after that. And every day can be dangerous, so they're important," he told Cyclingnews.

    Riis claimed he has never seen Contador in better form and insisted the other teams will have to attack him if they want to win the Giro.
    However he also hinted that Contador could attack on the mountain finishes on the Grossglockner or Monte Zoncolan.

    "When you have the possibility to win, you don’t have to hold back," Riis said.

  • McQuaid proposes rule to ban drug cheats from team management

    Pat McQuaid watches on
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 17:39 BST
    Daniel Benson

    UCI Management Committee to review rule in June

    UCI President Pat McQuaid will put forward a proposal to the UCI Management Committee to ban future drug cheats from returning to the sport as part of cycling team management.

    There are currently limited rules that dictate that a rider who tests positive can not immediately return to the sport as team manager or directeur sportif.

    "I'll be putting forward a new regulation in June that, once it's in place, any rider caught in a doping sanction will not be able to come back into the sport in a management position," McQuaid told Cyclingnews, although he was quick to also point out that, "We the UCI are still examining all aspects of the rule and won't finalise it until June."

    In June, the UCI's Management Committee will convene over several other aspects affecting the sport; however, the issue over unilateral bans across all levels of the sport could be a contentious one with European Union employment laws a possible stumbling block.

    "The sport has got to face up to this problem of doping and this continuous circle. This is the only way we can do it," said McQuaid. "We'll bring in the regulation but if someone wants to bring us to the European court then let them do it."

    One point McQuaid stressed surrounded retrospective analysis, saying that past doping offences before the new rule comes into place would not be punished. Cycling has numerous team bosses and DSs whom either tested positive - in some cases several times - or who later confessed to doping.

    "You can't make it retrospective. Everyone must know what the playing pitch is like before they go onto it, and you can't do it in another way. However, once that rule comes into place and all riders are informed of it, they will know what the consequences would be should they get involved in a doping infraction and try to come back in another way."

    "You can only bring in the rule for the future so it will only apply to people that get involved in...

  • Another day, another breakaway for Bissell at Tour of California

    The Bissell squad pushing the pace on the front.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 20:19 BST
    Jen See

    Jacques-Maynes brothers and Vennell animate the racing

    Team Bissell put a rider in the breakaway during every stage of this year's Amgen Tour of California. On Wednesday, Jeremy Vennell and Ben Jacques-Maynes went up the road for the California-based team. On the lower slopes of Mount Hamilton, Vennell was the last rider to be caught by the main field.

    For Jacques-Maynes, stage 4 marked his second day this week in the break. His twin brother Andy Jacques-Maynes, meanwhile, spent a long day out during Tuesday's stage 3 between Auburn and Modesto. "You've had a Jacques-Maynes in the break everyday. Fortunately, I've got a stunt double," said Ben Jacques-Maynes.

    The attacks began as soon as the field left the neutral circuits through the streets of Livermore. Determined to establish an early breakaway, riders repeatedly attacked the field with several moves coming from the Bissell team. Finally, a move from Vennell succeeded, and soon the group swelled to 10 riders. "When the first time gap came in at 2:00, I thought we'd make over Mount Hamilton," said Jacques-Maynes after the stage.

    But the gap did not hold. Back in the main field, Team RadioShack came to the front and laid down the law. "It makes sense what they did. They wanted to keep everyone in the field on their toes," said Jacques-Maynes of the RadioShack tactics. The fast tempo in the field kept the pressure on RadioShack's rivals and doomed the chances of the breakaway.

    "We chilled out over the first KOM, and...