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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 3, 2012

Date published:
May 03, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Schleck surprised by late Giro d'Italia call-up

    Frank Schleck (Radioshack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 12:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Luxembourger makes rare Italian appearance

    Fränk Schleck has admitted that he was surprised at his late call-up to lead the RadioShack-Nissan team at the Giro d’Italia, but he has insisted that he will do all he can to finish in the top 5 in Milan. Schleck was only informed of his selection on Saturday afternoon, after previously designated leader Jakob Fuglsang was forced to give best to a knee injury.

    “It was a big surprise for me because I didn’t expect to have to replace Jakob,” Schleck told Le Quotidien. “Since 2006, I’ve had the habit of taking a week off after the classics and then preparing for the Tour de France by way of the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour de Suisse. So before getting the call to replace Jakob on Saturday afternoon, I hadn’t started back training again.”

    Schleck resumed training on Sunday, and warned that he might be struggling for form early in the Giro. He aims to use the opening ten days of the Giro to build his condition ahead of the exacting final week in the Dolomites.

    “I don’t want to look for excuses, but since I’m replacing Jakob and this frankly wasn’t predicted, it’s not exactly the best preparation,” Schleck said. “Fortunately, the first ten days aren’t very hard and I’ll have to use those opening stages to gradually get into the race. But after ten days, I’ll know how my body is reacting.”

    Barring the Tour de France stage to Pinerolo last year, Schleck has remarkably not raced in Italy since the world championships in Varese in 2008, and has not competed in the Giro since he was among Ivan Basso’s...

  • Giro d'Italia with a future start in Germany?

    Michele Acquarone.
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 13:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Acquarone sees possibile start in Hambrug, Munich or Berlin

    The Giro d'Italia might start in Germany sometime this decade. Race organizer Michele Acquarone has said that the upswing in German cycling could well bring about a start of the Italian grand tour in the next few years.

    “In Germany there is the biggest cycling movement in the world,” he told the dapd news agency. “So I think there we will start in Germany before 2020. Maybe in Hamburg, Munich or Berlin – there are many possibilities.

    Recently Berlin politicians abandoned their quest for a Tour de France start in 2016 or 2017, saying it was too expensive. Acquarone didn't see this as a problem.

    “We aren't as expensive as the Tour de France, and we aren't so far away – at least for a city like Munich.”

    Germany can boost of the two world time trial champions, Tony Martin and Judith Arndt, as well as top sprinters Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel.

    The Giro starts this year in Denmark, and since 1965 has started outside of Italy nine other times. It has started in San Marino, Monaco, Belgium (twice), Vatican City, Greece, France and the Netherlands (twice).


  • Leipheimer still questionable for Tour of California

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma - Quickstep)
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 14:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep ride improving from fractured fibula

    Levi Leipheimer is improving but is still questionable for the Amgen Tour of California later this month. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider was hit by a car whilst training on April 1, suffering a fractured fibula.

    "There's still pain in my leg," Leipheimer said. "There's soreness when I try and apply a little more force or get out of the saddle. I can still train, but it is not easy. I'm not sure about my participation in Tour of California at this point."

    With the race starting in less than two weeks, time is running out. The team said that it would monitor his progress in the next few days before taking the final decision as to whether he should be at the start.

    Leipheimer has won the race three times, from 2007 to 2009, finished third in 2010 and second last year. He has the most stage wins of any rider, with six.

    The 38-year-old was training in Spain for Pais Vasco when he was hit from behind by a car. At first it was thought that he had only suffered a muscle contusion, but x-rays found the fracture, and he returned home to Santa Rosa, California. He did not require surgery, but his recovery has been much slower than expected.

  • Voeckler not obsessed by the Tour de France

    Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar )
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 16:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman enjoys broadening horizons

    While the external expectations will be higher following his fourth place finish last year, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) insisted that he is not obsessed by the Tour de France and that he will approach the race in the same frame of mind as always this July.

    After a solid April that yielded victory at Brabantse Pijl and top 10 finishes at the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Voeckler could have been forgiven for calling time on his spring campaign. Instead, the Frenchman travelled to Gabon last week for the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, where he picked up a stage win for his troubles.

    “I didn’t go to Africa thinking about the Tour de France, otherwise you wouldn’t do anything,” Voeckler told L’Équipe. “I’m not one of those riders who are obsessed by the Tour. I’ve never thought that you needed to repeat the same pre-Tour programme just because it worked well the previous year. I just try to follow a certain logical preparation and the Tropicale Amissa Bongo was part of that. I’m on a Pro Continental team, and we don’t have as many options as the WorldTour teams.”

    In spite of the publicity garnered by his 10 days in yellow at the Tour last year, Voeckler said that he had no desire to forgo the rest of the calendar in order to focus his season entirely around July.

    “Just because I’m paid to ride my bike, that doesn’t mean that I must forget the pleasure of pedalling, of discovering new horizons,” he said. “There are races that I love, like the Spring Classics, and my success on the Tour isn’t going to make me forget my attachment to other events on the calendar.”

    Voeckler does acknowledge,...

  • Gallery: Scarponi awarded 2011 Giro d'Italia trophy

    Michele Acquarone and Mauro Vegni, the Giro's directors, present Michele Scarponi with the 2011 title
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 17:07 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian looks to win this year's race outright

    Following a pre-race press conference with other GC contenders Roman Kreuziger, John Gadret, Fränk Schleck, Joaquim Rodriguez and Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi received the trophy of winner of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.

    Earlier this year, the Court of Arbitration in Sport stripped Alberto Contador of the title due to the outcome of the clenbuterol affair. The Italian's name has replaced the one of the Spaniard on top of the "trofeo senza fine" (trophy without end) that was designed ten years ago to show that the Giro is a never ending story.

    "I'll put it in the team's truck for now and I'll decide at the end of the Giro where to present it in my house," said the captain of the Lampre-ISD team. "Sincerely, I don't like to become the winner in these circumstances. My dream is to raise my arms up in the air in Milan with the trophy. If I can achieve that, the emotion will be huge and totally different. I don't want to think too much that I own this trophy now. I prefer to focus on the coming Giro. I want to win this one for good."

    Asked who are his most dangerous rivals, he pointed at the riders on his sides, joked that "Thor Hushovd is one of them since he decided to ride for GC," – the Norwegian denied this, of course – and added: "I wouldn't underestimate the Androni team. It's one of the strongest teams of the Giro d'Italia." Scarponi who came fourth at the 2010 Giro riding for Androni knows the skills of José Rujano, José Serpa, Emanuele Sella and Fabio Felline pretty well.

    "It's a different Giro this year without any absolute favorite like Contador was one year ago," Scarponi...

  • USA Cycling Pro championships moves to Chattanooga, adds women's race

    The US Pro podium: Ted King (Liquigas-Cannondale), Matthew Busche (RadioShack) and George Hincapie (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 18:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Three-year deal for Tennessee

    USA Cycling announced today that after seven years in Greenville, South Carolina, the USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships will move to Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2013, as part of a new four-year partnership with Volkswagen of America. In addition to venue change, the championship event will at long last bring the professional women's national title race into the fold beginning next year.

    In previous years, the professional men have had their own national championship weekend while the women were grouped with the junior, U23 and amateur races in the USA Cycling Elite Road Championships event.

    While the race has been set for Chattanooga through 2015, Volkswagen's partnership with USA Cycling goes one year longer, and extends to all 17 USA Cycling national championships. In addition, for every Volkswagen car sold to a USA Cycling member, Volkswagen will contribute $250 to the USA Cycling Development Foundation. Those funds will be used to support the junior, under 23, and women's development team programs.

    "Chattanooga and the region provide USA Cycling's Professional National Championships with ideal competitive terrain, as well as a spirited history of cycling, community and corporate support," said Steve Johnson, USA Cycling President & CEO.

    The inclusion of the women alongside the men's professional event was met with excitement from the top female racers of the country. "This is a huge milestone in the growth of women's cycling," said 2008 UCI Time Trial World Champion Amber Neben.

    "The United States has some of the strongest female riders in the world who compete on both domestic and international professional trade teams. There is a very high level of women's racing that takes place throughout the world," Neben continued....

  • Swift out, Hunt in Team Sky's Giro d'Italia team

    Ben Swift
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 19:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky's young sprinter breaks shoulder in training

    Team Sky had to make a last minute change to its roster for the 2012 Giro d'Italia after sprinter Ben Swift suffered a broken shoulder in a training crash today.

    The team substituted Swift with his fellow Briton Jeremy Hunt, a veteran in his 14th professional year, who has previously competed in all three of cycling's Grand Tours.

    "Well that is my Giro over, had a very heavy crash out on the bike today very disappointed not to be able to start," Swift said via Twitter.

    Swift focused on the track during the early part of the season, scoring a world championship title in the scratch race. He will now devote his time to rehabilitating his shoulder.

    Hunt will now join world champion Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, Juan Antonio Flecha, Sergio Henao, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas and Rigoberto Uran for the Giro d'Italia, which starts on Saturday with an 8.7-kilometre time trial in Herning, Denmark.

  • Alex Rasmussen to start 2012 Giro d'Italia with stitched chin

    Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) took second in the sprint in the GP de Denain
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 19:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Garmin-Barracuda riders injured in training crash

    Alex Rasmussen's final preparations for the 2012 Giro d'Italia have not gone quite to plan, as a training accident on Wednesday left him with stitches in his chin. It is not enough to keep the Garmin-Barracuda rider from being at the start Saturday, though.

    "Had a little incident with the ground.  No concussion,” Rasmussen tweeted. “5 stitches.”

    It was only supposed to be a quiet ride around Odense, but it led him to the emergency room after he “landed just unfortunate.”

    Rasmussen is one of the Danish hopes in the Giro, which starts in Herning on Saturday. He hopes to win the prologue and take the first pink leader's jersey.