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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Date published:
April 15, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Report: Paolini to join Team Alonso?

    Luca Paolini (Katusha) finds time for a quick photo before the race
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 9:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian media say the Italian could team up with Paolo Bettini

    Several Belgian sources are reporting that Luca Paolini is set leave Team Katusha at the end of this year to join the Fernando Alonso team which is set to announce a naming sponsor in July.

    Sportwereld suggests that the Italian, who has been with Katusha since 2011, has agreed to join the new team where friend and former teammate Paolo Bettini is the manager.

    The 37-year-old has won stages Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana including a stint in the maglia rosa in 2012.

    Paolini was reportedly offered a contract extension by Katusha which he turned down. Alexander Kristoff is also yet to commit to the team from 2015 onwards. 

    Bettini has apparently been in contact with numerous riders even if Team Alonso has yet to reveal its formal structure and sponsor.

    Peter Sagan is apparently at the top of his shopping list, with Edvald Baosson Hagen, Rinaldo Nocentini and even Tony Martin other possible big-name possibilities. Bettini and Alonso have said they will only target riders who are out of contract this year.

    "We're busy working because January 1st is getting close. We're working on what is a great project. I'm discovering more about it every day," Bettini said at Tirreno-Adriatico.

    "We're working to build a great team and we'll see the results at the end of 2015. We're convinced you can win big races with new riders.

    "I can't say much more. It'll be Fernando who'll do the talking. I've got to focus on getting the work done. He'll give more details when it’s the right moment."

    Bettini said an announcement would be made "revealed before the big Classics" but no announcement was made before the Spring Classics.

  • Matthews to lead Orica-GreenEdge sprint challenge at Giro d'Italia

    Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) sprints toward victory
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 10:40 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Gerrans back for Amstel Gold and Liege-Bastogne-Liege

    After a fine start to the 2014 road season Michael Matthews has earned a slot on Orica GreenEdge's Giro d’Italia team. The 23-year-old sprinter is the only member of the Australian WorldTour team to win in Europe this year.

    Having won two stages during his Grand Tour debut in last year's Vuelta Espana, Matthews will get another chance to rub shoulders with the worlds' top sprinters in May. The news means that Matthew Goss will miss the Giro and head to the Amgen Tour of California and Tour de Suisse.

    Matthews won the Vuelta a La Rioja earlier this month and backed it up with a stage win in the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco last week.

    "He rode a very good Paris-Nice as well," team director Matt White told Cyclingnews.

    "However some of the stages were just that little bit to hard for him. He led home the bunch on one stage after there was a break and he was up there in a few stages but faded on the climbs. He's had great form and I will be taking Michael to the Giro. Goss will do California and Suisse."

    At the start of the season White had told Cyclingnews that Orica-GreenEdge's Giro sprint options would be decided over form and it appears that a similar approach will be made ahead of this year’s Tour de France.

    "The Tour team hasn't been decided," he told Cyclingnews this week.

    "We want to see how those guys are going in the months leading up to it but we’re in two minds on what the team make up will: how much emphasis we put in the sprint group and whether we take more opportunists."

    The Australian WorldTour team...

  • Report: Gesink suffering with stress-induced heart condition

    Robert Gesink (Team Belkin)
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 12:56 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Belkin rider to reveal more in press conference

    Robert Gesink (Belkin) is reportedly suffering with a stress-induced heart arrhythmia that affects his ability to race successfully, especially in major European races.

    According to the Ad.nl website and other Dutch media, Gesink will hold a press conference on Tuesday evening to explain his problem and confirm that he will not ride Sunday's Amstel Gold Race. His race programme for the next few months is also unsure.

    AD.nl claims that Gesink's problems also spark panic attacks and caused him to quit the 2011 national road race championships and the 2013 Giro d'Italia. The heart arrhythmia apparently forced him to quit the Vuelta al Pais Vasco last week. 

    The De Telegraaf newspaper suggested that the problems first occurred a few months after the death of Gesink's father in 2010. A few months before he had finished fifth in the Tour de France. Gesink has often opted to race outside of Europe to the avoid the pressure and stress that sparks his problem. However the problem apparently returns in major races in Europe.

    According to Ad.nl, several sources within the team have revealed that Gesink has had a pacemaker fitted to help control his heart beat after no physical cause for the problem was found by doctors.

    Last year Gesink was not a designated team leader for Belkin at the Tour de France, with that role going to Bauke Mollema. However Gesink had an excellent end of season, winning the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec.

    He told Cyclingnews that he hoped to target the overall classification in this year's Tour de France after trying to win the Amgen Tour of California in May.
     

  • Van Garderen and Nibali to study the Tour de France cobbles

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 14:04 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Van Petegem to advise Astana on riding the pave

    After Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) studied the pave of this year's Tour de France on Monday, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC), two of his biggest rivals for overall victory, will travel to France on Thursday to get a taste of the nine sectors of cobbles included in stage five of this year's race.

    The 156km fifth stage from Ypres to Arenberg will be a critical stage for all the Tour de France contenders, with the 15.4km of cobbled farm tracks expected to cause riders to lose time and even cost them a chance of overall victory.

    The BMC team said that van Garderen will be joined by teammates Peter Velits, Peter Stetina, Dominik Nerz, Amael Moinard, Michael Schär and Greg Van Avermaet for the reconnaissance. The riders will begin their ride at Gruson au Carrefour de l’Arbre and ride the nine sectors of pave until the finish of the stage on the edge of the Forest of Arenberg.

    BMC has named van Garderen as its team leader for the Tour de France, with Cadel Evans focusing on the Giro d'Italia. Van Garderen showed his Tour potential by taking fifth overall in 2012. He was only 45th last year but won the Amgen Tour of California and the US Pro Cycling Challenge. He has started the 2014 season strongly, finishing second to Chris Froome at the Tour of Oman. He won the mountain finish at the Volta a Catalunya and was sixth in the recent Vuelta al Pais Vasco.    

    From Mount Teide to the northern France

    Nibali will end his training camp at altitude at Mount Teide with a visit to northern France before heading home to Lugano in Switzerland.

    According to a report in Gazzetta dello Sport, Nibali will fly directly from Tenerife to France on Wednesday night and join...

  • 10 testing côtes for the 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) leads Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 16:52 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons returns in the oldest Classic of the season

    The route of the 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège will evoke the rich history of the 'Doyenne' – cycling's oldest Classic, with the 10 steep côtes along the Belgian race route again expected to create what is arguably the hardest day of racing of the season.

    Race organiser ASO has revealed that the finale of the 263km race will include all the climbs that have forged the history of the race. The sequence of the Wanne, Stockeu and Haute-Levee climbs has been changed, while the Côte des Forges and Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons return this year. There will also be a special sprint in Bastogne, at the 100km point in the race, with a €5000 prize going to the winner.

    The 263km race heads south from Liège to Bastogne via the Ardennes countryside and then turns north after the passing through the town.

    The Wanne, Stockeu and Haute-Levee triptych comes between kilometres 167 and 179, and often spark the first real selection in the race. The Côte de La Redoute (after 218km) often sees the first major attacks, with the false flat and descent into the woods helping a small group escape from the peloton.

    The Côte des Forges (1.9km at 5.9%) comes after 231km of racing, followed by the Côte de La Roche-aux-Faucons (1.5km at 9.3% at km. 243.5) and then the Côte de Saint-Nicolas (1.2km at 8.6% at km. 257.5).

    The Côte de Saint-Nicolas climbs through the Italian quarter of Liège, with the decisive selection often made on its slopes as riders attack and chase each other.

    There will be ten climbs during the 263km race route, with the finish again in Ans after the slight climb toward the last left turn onto Rue Jean Jaures.

    Last year Dan Martin (

  • Gesink withdraws from competition with cardiac arrhythmia

    Robert Gesink celebrates his suprise victory at the GP Cycliste Québec
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 19:29 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belkin rider may undergo surgery, wants to return

    The Belkin team confirmed today that Dutch rider Robert Gesink will temporarily stop racing due to repeated cardiac arrhythmia episodes, but Gesink himself stated that he intends to return once his health issues are sorted out.

    Gesink held a press conference in which he described being terribly afraid of the attacks that have plagued him for several years.

    The fear came to a head during the 2013 Giro d'Italia, where an attack happened during a mountain stage. "That time it was accompanied by hyperventilation," Gesink said today. "It's extremely distressing. Anyone who has experienced a hyperventilation attack knows it does not feel very good."

    The Belkin team said that they will "fully support Robert during this period, and will give him all the time he needs to recover", although doctors have not found any reason for him to stop racing.

    In 2010, Gesink's father died as a result of a mountain bike crash, and the Dutch press has speculated that the stress of that tragedy has compounded his heart problems. However, Gesink has had the arrhythmias throughout his career, even at the time when he was turning out his best results.

    The 27-year-old opted to skip the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday to try to find solutions to the cardiac problem which causes his heart rate to skyrocket and not come down after the physical exertion has stopped.

    "My ambition is to get fully healed up and then come back to the highest level," Gesink said. He has visited with cardiologists yesterday and today, and said they told him a procedure to "burn away something from my heart" would fix the issue, allowing him to return to the top of the sport. American Bobby Julich underwent a similar procedure, called...

  • Alzate, Rivera continue UnitedHealthcare dominance of NCC

    Hannah Barnes wins the Charlotte criterium ahead of Erica Allar
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 22:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Three rounds in and UHC already holds a strong lead in series

    The second and third rounds of the USA Cycling National Criterium calendar took place in North Carolina this weekend, and the UnitedHealthcare team continued its sweep of the races in both the men's and women's series.

    Carlos Alzate and Coryn Rivera, winners of the opening round, the Sunny King Criterium, padded their leads in the NCC with Alzate taking back-to-back victories on the weekend, and Rivera racking up two podium performances behind teammates who won the races.

    On Saturday at the Charlotte Criterium, it was British criterium champion Hannah Barnes who won by a clean pair of wheels over last year's NCC overall winner, Colavita's Erica Allar. Rivera was third. The following day in Belmont, Alison Powers completed the UnitedHealthcare sweep of the weekend over Rivera and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom).

    In the men's races, Alzate topped SmartStop's Shane Kline and Jure Kocjan in Charlotte and Dan Holloway in Belmont, with teammate Hilton Clarke coming in third.

    The results give UnitedHealthcare a commanding lead in the men's team standings: they lead SmartStop with 403 points to 140, with Hincapie Devlo in third with 126. In the women's standings, Colavita is second with 251 points to UHC's 403, and TIBCO in third.

    Alzate leads the individual standings with 250 points, 135 ahead of consistent performer Isaac Howe (Champion System-Stan's No Tubes), and last year's overall NCC winner Hilton Clarke.

    Rivera has a 60 point lead over Allar, with Powers just ten points further back in third.

    The NCC takes a break for the rest of the month, and resumes on May 4 with the Dana Point Grand Prix in California.

    NCC standings after three races

    ...
  • American cyclist Chase Pinkham dies at 23

    Chase Pinkham (Bissell) doing an interview for local TV.
    Article published:
    April 15, 2014, 22:52 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Accidental overdose suspected

    Former professional cyclist Chase Pinkham died over the weekend in his home state of Utah, according to updated posted Tuesday on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of his 2014 team, InterMountain LiveWell p/b Bountiful Cycles.

    "We are deeply saddened today by the loss of likely one of the most talented Utah cyclists – Chase Pinkham passed away last night," the team wrote on its Facebook page. "Not only was he an amazing cyclist, but he had one of the biggest hearts and cared deeply for others. We appreciated the opportunity to get to know him and send our deepest condolences to his family. May the roads of heaven be lined with flowers, smooth pavement, steep climbs, and fast descents for you to enjoy. Your presence will be missed!"

    Team spokesman Scott Austin did not immediately respond to requests from Cyclingnews for comment, and circumstances surrounding Pinkham's death have not been forthcoming. But VeloNews.com reported today that family friend Alex Kim said Pinkham died from an accidental overdose after recently being prescribed painkillers following a crash during a race in February.

    "He didn't take his own life," Kim told VeloNews. "He was doing well when we saw him Friday and Saturday. This was an accidental overdose.”

    The 23-year-old from Salt Lake City posted recently on his own Facebook page that he was seeking treatment for severe depression brought on "by years of dealing with chronic pain from my accident in 2008."

    "Dealing with chronic pain, years of medication and depression is something that may make you completely alone and hopeless, even when surrounded by the people that love you," he wrote in the Facebook post dated March 9.

    Pinkham started cycling in 2007 and quickly rose through the US junior ranks. But he was struck by a vehicle while training for the Tour l'Abitibi in 2008 and suffered severe injuries, requiring half a dozen reconstructive surgeries...