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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Date published:
April 01, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Gallery: Inside the Lotto-Belisol service course

    Visitors are welcomed by a large version of the 2013 jersey
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 11:34 BST
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Behind the scenes at the Belgian team's hub

    For teams that spend the year travelling around the world, the service course is the one place that they can call home. Cyclingnews paid a visit to Lotto-Belisol’s service course in Herentals in northern Belgium as they prepare for the Tour of Flanders.

    It is where they keep the kit that isn’t already out at a race and where the mechanics can fix and tinker with the bikes. Occasionally a rider might drop by to have one of them attend to his bike, but that is a rare thing. The building that houses the masses of bikes and equipment is non-descript, not what you would expect from a WorldTour level team. It isn’t out of modesty, though, that they do this, but for security. With a number of teams becoming the victims of theft, Lotto would like to keep the place as discreet as possible.

    While you might be forgiven for driving past, there is no question about your current location once you’re inside. There is a giant Lotto-Belisol flag hanging in the mechanics’ area and the office walls are decorated with pictures of the riders and team jerseys from the past two seasons. It also stores the spare team bus and car, liveried up and ready to go

    When we arrive the team bikes are being busily prepared by the mechanics for a team reconnaissance of the Tour of Flanders route on Wednesday. One notable omission is André Greipel’s bike, it is up on the racks with the many other unused frames after he crashed out of Gent-Wevelgem. The German will have to sit out of the remaining classics, but the team hope to have him back in action at the Tour of Turkey.

    Of the bikes bound for Flanders, the riders will use one of two Ridley frames. Team leader Jürgen Roelandts will be riding the Fenix frame, which is the same one he used for the race in 2013. At Gent-Wevelgem he used the Noah, but decided that it was too stiff and reverted to...

  • Greipel to return to racing at Tour of Turkey

    A frustrating end to Gent-Wevelgem for German champion Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) who crashed with 8km remaining.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 12:39 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German sprinter recovers after surgery

    André Greipel will return to the peloton at the Tour of Turkey later this month, Het Nieuwsblad reports. The German sprinter is currently recovering from surgery to mend his broken collarbone due to the crash in Gent-Wevelgem. He will miss both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. 

    The Tour of Turkey starts on the April 27, four weeks after Greipel's crash in Gent-Wevelgem. The German champion went down with only eight kilometers to go. He was operated on immediately on Sunday.

    Greipel has been very successful in the Turkish stage race winning a total of nine stages in the past four editions. Last year he also took home the point's jersey from Istanbul.

    Lotto-Belisol are one man short in de Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, which starts Tuesday. Greipel won the first stage in the 2011 edition. The Belgian team still has to decide who will replace Greipel in the Tour of Flanders team. Jurgen Roelandts and Tony Gallopin are the team's captains.

     

  • Paolini plots plan of attack for the Tour of Flanders

    Luca Paolini (Katusha)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 14:31 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian buoyed by Milan-San Remo performance

    When Luca Paolini goes to scout the Tour of Flanders route on Friday morning, the Katusha man will be doing more than simply stretching his legs and familiarising himself with the climbs - he will be on the look-out for an opportunity.

    "After I've gone and had a look around the new course, I'll have two days to mull over where I should attack," Paolini told Cyclingnews in De Panne on Tuesday. "That way, I'll have a film in my head beforehand of what I'd like to do, but on Sunday, I'll still have to see how the race is going. There are always unforeseen factors, and you just have to see how your legs are on Sunday morning as well."

    At 37 years of age, Paolini has been around the block long enough to know that the road to Tour of Flanders victory runs through Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara, and that out-gunning both of the Ronde's Old Firm in the finale is little short of an impossibility. Like many, then, Paolini's chances rest on trying to anticipate the big hitters and hoping that circumstances behind play out in his favour.

    "This year, the parcours is a bit different again, so there might be a chance to get away in a little group," Paolini said. "We'll have to find some way of surprising the big names anyway. If you wait until the moment when they start to attack, then you've already lost the race. They're just too strong, so you have to invent something."

    This is the third year that the Ronde finishes in Oudenaarde, with its fearsome finale over the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, and while the action on that final circuit itself has been gripping, the racing beforehand has been relatively conservative. There is a distinct sense that the old finish at Meerbeke offered more scope for invention, while the...

  • Competition: Win a trip for two to the 2014 Giro d'Italia

    Giro d'Italia 2014
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 14:52 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Watch the race on stages 8 and 9

    Cyclingnews and RCS, organisers of the Giro d'Italia, have teamed up to offer you the fantastic chance to travel to Italy to watch this year's race. One lucky reader and a guest can travel to one of the world’s most eagerly anticipated races and watch the stars of the cycling world over two stages, from May 16 to 19.

    This year's battle for the maglia rosa starts in Ireland on May 9 before returning to Italy with a stage between Giovinazzo and Bari.

    The prize includes hospitality for you and a guest, including flights, accommodation and transport on two stages during the second weekend of the race: stage 8 from Foligno to Montecopiolo and stage 9 from Lugo to Sestola. This fantastic trip will run from 16 May to 19.

    To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize all you need to do is answer one easy question below, include some details about yourself, then hit the "Enter competition" button at the bottom of the page to send your entry to us. One winner will be drawn at random from those who correctly answer the question.

    Click here to enter the competition.

    Entries close on April 9.

  • USA women find success in Belgium

    A happy Lauren Hall post-win
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 15:33 BST
    By:
    Ted Burns

    Hall's Gent-Wevelgem win was unexpected

    Lauren Hall's win at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday capped off a successful month of racing for American women in Europe. The Optum/Kelly Benefit Strategies rider traded her trade team kit for the USA National Team stripes, and in her first Belgian race of the year hit the jackpot with a cagey victory from a select breakaway.

    A win at Gent-Wevelgem was not initially on Hall's radar. Hall landed in Europe last Friday, and completed a four-hour reconnaissance ride on Saturday. The race was supposed to be a tune up to ease Hall and the other USA national team riders into the larger peloton, cobbles, and European style racing. With few expectations, Hall and her teammates proceeded to cover attacks and push the pace over the famed Kemmelberg. The team's effort enabled Hall to make the final selection, and out-sprint the surviving riders to take the biggest win of her career.

    "Since I didn't make the Worlds team last year it put a lot of fire and drive into my winter training. I was really roaring to go this spring," Hall said after her victory. "I've done Flanders before, I've done Flèche Wallonne, I've done Plouay, but I didn't know what to expect coming into this race. When we came into the finish, as soon as I put my hands into the air I was like, ‘This is going to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life.' I'm still at a bit of a loss."

    March has been a roller coaster for the USA national team. The squad suffered a setback in early March after losing Jade Wilcoxson (Optum/Kelly Benefit Strategies) to a concussion at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Wilcoxson, the US National Road Race champion had high hopes for her trip to Europe, but 50 kilometers into the Het Nieuwsblad, a rider ran into a parked car, causing Wilcoxson to flip backwards and hit her head.

    ...
  • Durbridge excited for Tour of Flanders debut

    Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 16:32 BST
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Australian on form at Three Days of De Panne

    Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) will make his debut at the Tour of Flanders this weekend. The young Australian has been a consistent performer in the team over the last few years and finally earned his call-up to the year’s second monument.

    "I’m pretty excited. Well, I am and I’m not. It’s a bit of a scary race, but I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully I can use De Panne as well to bring me up that little bit more and get me in some good condition for Sunday," a happy Durbridge told Cyclingnews after signing on at the opening stage of the three days of De Panne.

    The former dual Australian road and time trial champion is in good form, but he realistic about his and the team’s chances on Sunday. "For sure it will be a steep learning curve. I don’t think I can put my hand up and say that I can do this, this and this. Maybe I’d like to get into the breakaway, up the road and away from all the carnage," he says. "We’ve got guys like Daryl Impey, who is coming in for the race, and Jens Keukeleire for that sort of parcours. We don’t have a real favourite, so have to take our chances and get in breakaways and get up the road."

    "You have to keep doing these races more and more, to get good condition and learn the road. Hopefully in the future I can continue getting better and one day maybe get on the podium in these races."

    Durbridge will also ride Paris-Roubaix this spring, getting a little more notice than he got for his participation last year. The 22-year-old had already departed Belgium in 2013 and was riding at the Circuit de la Sarthe when he got the call-up, on the Thursday before...

  • Redlands celebrates 30th anniversary with extra stage

    John Bennett (California Giant-Specialized) holds onto the climber's jersey, Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com) the yellow and Roman Van Uden (Pure Black) the sprint jersey.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 17:52 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    USA peloton kicks off NRC in California

    The Redlands Bicycle Classic will celebrate its 30th anniversary Wednesday by rolling out a fifth stage for the opening event on USA Cycling's National Race Calendar. Race organizers and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the presenting sponsors, are bringing back the Highland Circuit Race this year to start off five days of racing in and around the Southern California town that lies about 60 miles due-east of Los Angeles.

    The race marks the annual pilgrimage from far-flung team camps and foreign warm-up races to the official start of the domestic road season. The men's field will feature 26 teams from the UCI Continental and USA Cycling Domestic Elite levels. The 10 Continental teams represented in the race include 5-hour Energy/Kenda, Astellas Pro Cycling, Bissell Development Team, Garneau-Quebecor, Hincapie Sportswear, Incycle-Predator Components, Jamis-Hagens Berman, Jelly Belly-Maxxis, Optum Pro Cycling and Team SmartStop.

    Last year's winner, Francisco Mancebo, is riding for SkyDive Dubai this year and will not return to defend his title, nor will last year's runner-up, Chad Haga, who signed with Giant-Shimano in the off-season.

    Haga's former teammate, Tom Zirbel, was third overall last year and will return with a typically well-rounded Optum Pro Cycling team, while Mancebo's former 5-hour Energy team will be hoping to mix it up in the breakaways and sprint finishes. Jamis-Hagens Berman, which took stages last year with Juan Jose Haedo and Luis Amaran, will be gunning to repeat that success and climb onto the final podium as well.

    Redlands will be the first official US appearance for the newly restructured Bissell Development Team [formerly Bontrager], although three of the team's riders, Clement Chevrier, James Oram and Tao Geoghegan...

  • Sagan takes accidental win at Three Days of De Panne

    Peter Sagan attempted to give the stage to Oscar Gatto, but was declared winner in the photo finish
    Article published:
    April 01, 2014, 18:22 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Slovak putting no pressure on himself before Tour of Flanders

    Had Cannondale's tactics worked out exactly as planned on the opening stage of the Three Days of De Panne, Oscar Gatto should have been mounting the podium on Tuesday afternoon rather than struggling to locate his team bus on a back street in Zottegem. Rather than grinning at the gentle ribbing of former manager Luca Scinto, Gatto should have been beaming for the cameras in the mixed zone.

    Part of the winning 12-man break, Gatto was designated as Cannondale's man for the finishing sprint, with his usual leader Peter Sagan assigned to act as lead-out man. Sagan obligingly fulfilled his duties by opening the sprint, but Gatto ran out of road before he could come past. Although Gatto raised his arm on crossing the line, the photo finish showed that it was the Slovak who had taken the opening day spoils for the third successive year.

    "You know how it is at the end of a race like that, it's not like all of your plans come off to perfection," Gatto told Cyclingnews after pausing to ask for directions to his bus. "But that's alright. The important thing is that the team is going well. I was up there with Peter today, and that's where I need to be on Sunday in Flanders, too."

    Sagan clambered into the press room on Zottegem's Town Hall a short time later, and a group of reporters huddled around him as he described the finale in almost apologetic tones. It was a similar scenario to the corresponding stage in Oudenaarde two years ago, when Fabio Sabatini had been the team's man for the final sprint but Sagan followed his lead-out effort through to the line to ensure the win.

    "In the last few years I've won the first stage and this...