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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Date published:
April 6, 2010, 22:00
  • Cavendish responds to Greipel's criticism

    Mark Cavendish and his HTC-Columbia teammates roll to the start
    Article published:
    April 6, 2010, 12:40
    By:
    Cycling News

    HTC-Columbia sprinter says German will never win a major Classic

    Mark Cavendish has responded to criticism from his HTC-Columbia teammate André Greipel, saying that he will never ride in the same race as the German.

    After Cavendish was selected to ride Milan-San Remo despite his lack of early-season form, Greipel suggested he himself could have done better at the Italian event. He won three stages at the Tour Down Under in Australia but was left out of the HTC-Columbia team for the first major Classic of the season.

    Earlier this year, the HTC-Columbia management had indicated that Cavendish and Greipel could create a dominant sprint combination at this year's Tour de France, but Cavendish has ruled that out.

    He told The Guardian newspaper that riding in the same team as Greipel "is not a problem for me, because I'm a better rider" but rebuked the idea that Greipel could ride with him at the Tour de France, saying "There's no chance whatsoever that he's coming to a bike race with me."

    Cavendish added: "I was pretty pissed with Greipel's comments after San Remo. If he thought he could win, he'd say it before the race rather than when he's looking at the results sheet. It wasn't through lack of form that I didn't win San Remo - it was bad luck. Last year I won it picking my nose. This year it was possible I'd win again. There's no chance of Greipel winning a 'Monument'. Me on bad form is still better than him.”

    Cavendish crashed mid-way through Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, damaging his bike. But he managed to finish the race. "That wrecked my race. My condition is coming back, definitely. I'm going better now than I imagined I would be back in January," he said.

    Cavendish will not ride the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday, a race he won in both 2007 and 2008. Instead, Greipel has been named as HTC-Columbia's team captain for the Belgian race.

    Team manager Bob Stapleton recently announced that Cavendish will ride the Tour of California in May, while Greipel will ride the Giro d'Italia. Cavendish stated last week that he would have preferred to ride at the Giro, but accepted that sponsors interests were more important.

    Cavendish has struggled so far this season after a tooth infection wrecked his pre-season training. He has only won one race, a stage at the Tour of Catalunya, compared to a tally of eight wins at the same time last season. However, he is confident he can return to the form that saw him win six stages in last year’s Tour de France and insists success is more about the quality than quantity.

    "If I wanted to just win races I wouldn't ride every ProTour race," Cavendish told The Guardian. "I understand that at the moment I'm racing to be in my best form for the Tour de France and the world championships. If I wanted to get shit small wins, I'd race shit small races."
     

  • Nicole Cooke encouraged by GB team performance in Flanders

    Nicole Cooke speaks to the press
    Article published:
    April 6, 2010, 13:18
    By:
    Richard Moore

    British rider hoping to refind her Olympic winning form

    Nicole Cooke finished 28th in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and confessed to “disappointment overall” but she added that she was encouraged by the contribution made to the early part of the race by her British team-mates. Cooke is riding with the Great Britain national team this season after finding herself “in a sticky situation” when a possible late deal with a German team fell through in February.

    On the eve of the season she needed a quick solution, and British Cycling stepped in. Though most of her new team-mates are under-23 riders, Cooke felt on Sunday that they proved they can offer support in the course of the coming season.

    “In the early part of the race Katie Colclough and Emma Trott were really excelling themselves, really helping me a lot,” said Cooke. “They’ve got a lot of talent and the right attitude, and they are developing, that’s for sure. Having ridden with them at the end of last year I know they’re already well equipped to play a supporting role. It’ll be down to them now, and their determination.”

    As for her deal with British Cycling, which is likely to take her through the entire season, Cooke said: “They’ve certainly helped me out of a sticky situation. What happened should never have happened. When someone signs a contract, and it’s a valid contract, it should be honoured. The fact that the team manager has had no reprimand is a scandal. But British Cycling really did get behind me when I was in a tricky situation. Simon [Cope, the under-23 women’s coach] has been very supportive. And I think that, as a team, we’ve got off to a good start.”

    All of which means that Cooke is confident that, after a disappointing 2009, she can return to the World Cup podium soon - and perhaps to the top step at the world championships, which she also graced in 2008, just weeks after her triumph in Beijing. “The world’s are definitely my big goal for this year,” said Cooke. “We’ve got a programme that mixes World Cups with national level races, and sooner or later I want to be fighting for the podium and for wins.”

    Next up for Cooke and her young Great Britain teammates is the Ronde Van Drenthe World Cup on Thursday.
     

  • Sanchez lightens his programme at Sarthe

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne)
    Article published:
    April 6, 2010, 16:42
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Stage win a bonus as Spaniard prepares for the Ardennes

    Luis Leon Sanchez won a sprint finish in the first stage of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de Loire in Varades on Monday, but explained afterwards that the French race had been added to his race programme to ease the pressure of an already busy season.

    The Spanish leader of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) world rankings had originally been slated to compete at ProTour event, The Tour of the Basque Country. The Basque race would have been a natural destination for Sanchez, rather than a 4-day UCI 2.1 event in France, where there are no UCI points to be collected for either himself or his team.

    Sanchez has already made a solid contribution to his team's UCI points tally. He started his season at the Santos Down Under in January, where he showed good form and took a stage win on the race's hardest day in Willunga. Most recently, he finished fourth overall at the Tour of Catalunya; his third top-five general classification result of the year so far.

    "I’ve already done 31 days of racing this year," said the Murcian, after his victory in Varedes on Tuesday. "Had I done the The Tour of the Basque Country, it would have been too much.

    "After the Tour of Catalunya, I trained very little and recovered a lot. But I needed a race for the rhythm of competition before the Ardennes Classics, where I have ambition to perform well. The Circuit de la Sarthe was there at the right time on the team’s calendar. And you see how well Alejandro [Valverde] is going at the Tour of the Basque [Valverde has won the first two stages and currently holds the overall race lead – ed.]. We can’t always be together targeting the same races."

    Caisse d’Epargne clearly has the capacity to win both stage races this week. The Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de Loire is often decided by the individual time trial that takes place on Wednesday in Angers, on a flat, 6.8 kilometre course.

    "I don’t know if I’m the favourite but I’ll give it my all," said Sanchez. "There’s always someone who can beat me."

    The Caisse d’Epargne team had some reason for concern after the loss of José Ivan Gutierrez, who was forced to pull out of the race due to allergies. It means the squad will have just four members to protect Sanchez in the 97 kilometre morning stage, prior to the afternoon time trial.

    "They have done a great job to lead me out today," Sanchez said of his teammates. "I’m not a pure sprinter but in a small group I can do well. This wasn’t a small group but the whole bunch. I spoke with Mathieu Drujon who is normally our sprinter but he said he wasn’t feeling too good and he was keen to help me win instead. Arnaud Coyot led me out at 500 metres and Drujon was behind me, he left a gap and that was it. I got 50 metres lead and that was enough."

    The Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de Loire might not contribute any points towards the UCI's world ranking, but the current world number one is keen to add a few more wins to his record book as he gears up for Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
     

  • Lampre denies links to coach at centre of Mantova doping investigation

    Lorenzo Bernucci is back with Lampre again in 2010.
    Article published:
    April 6, 2010, 17:27
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian team threatens legal action after Gazzetta dello Sport revelations

    The Lampre-Farnese Vini team has issued a short but blunt statement denying any links to a coach reported to be at the centre of a new doping investigation in Italy.

    The Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Guido Nigrelli was at the centre of the investigation by police in Mantova that reportedly includes 54 people.

    Gazetta described Nigrelli as a a pharmacist-horse trainer-coach-doctor and said Nigrelli had often worked with Saronni's teams. The Italian paper also said he was implicated in an investigation by police in Brescia after being accused of administering Emagel, a drug that can lower blood haematocrit levels.

    The Lampre team flatly denied any illicit links in the statement. "The activity of the Lampre-Farnese Vini team has always been done with respect for honesty, sporting fairness and the fight against doping," the statement reads.

    "The name of team manager Giuseppe Saronni has been linked by some media to a coach that 'has apparently often worked with (Saronni's) team's', almost suggesting a systematic use of banned methods. The team refuses to accept any links to these people that may damage its image and reserves the right to take legal action to defend its name and image."

    As part of another investigation, the homes of Lampre-Farnese Vini riders Lorenzo Bernucci and Alessandro Petacchi were searched by police on Friday. Several banned substances were reported to have been found at Bernucci's home but nothing was found at Petacchi's home.

    Bernucci claims that the drugs found belonged to his wife and brother. He has been suspended by the Lampre-Farnese Vini team until the he fully clears his name.

  • Pozzato to return at Scheldeprijs on Wednesday

    Italian champion Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) awaits the start of stage two.
    Article published:
    April 6, 2010, 17:39
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian to test his form for Paris-Roubaix after virus

    The Katusha team has announced that Filippo Pozzato will ride Wednesday's Scheldeprijs race in Belgium.

    The Italian national champion was one of the favourites for Sunday's Tour of Flanders but did not ride after being struck by a temperature and stomach virus. He returned to Italy to recover and reportedly trained for two hours on Monday, leading to the decision to ride the flat Scheldeprijs race near Antwerp.

    "I rode my bike for the first time on Sunday but I still wasn't fully recovered. Yesterday and today I rode for a couple of hours and I think I'm feeling better," Pozzato said.

    "It won't be easy to find the same form I had before, but I hope to be competitive at Paris-Roubaix. I'm going to ride the GP Escaut (the French name for Scheldeprijs) to test myself in a race and understand if I can quickly get back to my best."

    The full Katusha team for the Scheldeprijs is: Filippo Pozzato, Robbie McEwen, Stijn Vandenbergh, Maxime Vantomme, Laszlo Bodrogi, Denis Galimzyanov, Mikhaylo Khalilov and Nikolai Trusov.

  • Katusha signs Giampaolo Caruso

    Giampaolo Caruso (Ceramica Flaminia)
    Article published:
    April 6, 2010, 17:56
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Ceramica Flaminia release Italian stage racer from contract

    The Russian-registered Katusha team has confirmed it has signed Italian rider Giampaolo Caruso for the remainder of the 2010 season and for all of 2011.

    The 29 year-old from Sicily was under contract with the Ceramica Flaminia team but was allowed to break that deal and sign with Katusha. Caruso is a good stage race rider and will be Katusha’s best hope for overall success in this year’s Giro d’Italia.

    “Caruso is a good climber and we think he can do well at the next Giro d’Italia in the general classification,” said Katusha team manager Andrei Tchmil.

    Caruso was under 23 European road race champion in 2001 and turned professional with the Spanish ONCE team. He won a stage at the 2005 Tour Down Under and also finished fourth in the Tour of Lombardy. Caruso rode for Astana in 2006, but was implicated in Operación Puerto mid-season. The Italian Cycling Federation eventually banned him for two years but he appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the ban was overturned. However, he missed almost two years of racing trying to clear his name.

    He rode for Ceramica Flaminia last year and won the Brixia Tour in July. When the Ceramica Flaminia team was not invited to this year’s Giro d’Italia, Katusha approached him and Ceramica Flaminia team manager Roberto Marrone agreed to let him go.

    “Giampaolo got an offer from a ProTour team that guarantees him a ride at the Giro d’Italia. Because I couldn’t offer him that, I didn’t feel I could deny him such an opportunity.” Marrone said. “Unfortunately the current system doesn’t allow the so-called ‘minor’ teams to grow despite them having ambition, solid sponsors, capable management and competitive riders.”
     

  • Powerhouse peloton for fifth Amgen Tour of California

    The final 2009 Tour of California podium is all smiles (l-r): Michael Rogers, 3rd;  Levi Leipheimer, 1st;  and David Zabriskie, 2nd.
    Article published:
    April 6, 2010, 18:20
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    7 ProTour teams to line up in May

    AEG Sports, organizers of the Amgen Tour of California today announced the 16 teams invited to participate in the eight-staged event set to begin in Nevada City on May 16 and conclude in Agoura Hills on May 23.

    Highlighted amongst the world-class peloton is Team RadioShack returning with its three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

    In its fifth year running, the peloton is bolstered by participating ProTour teams HTC-Columbia, Quick Step, Saxo Bank, Garmin-Transitions, Rabobank and Liquigas-Doimo. Professional Continental teams on the roster include Cervelo TestTeam and BMC Racing.

    There were seven US-based Continental teams invited to this year’s event including Bissell Pro Cycling, UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda, SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy, Fly V Australia, Team Type 1 and Kelly Benefit Strategies.

    “These teams, with the riders we expect to compete, represent the one of the strongest fields we have had at the Amgen Tour of California. Our move to May means that we will have Tour de France contenders in prime form racing here in the Golden State,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race.

    “We also are pleased to have a selection of top North American-based Continental teams, who will have a chance to compete with some of the world’s best riders.”

    The race was moved from its traditional February slot on the UCI racing calendar to its new position in May this year. It will now conflict with the Giro d’ Italia, forcing the invited ProTour and Professional Continental teams to divide.

    It was recently announced that multiple Tour de France and Giro d’ Italia stage winner Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) has chosen to skip the Italy’s Grand Tour and compete in the Tour of California instead. His teammate Michael Rogers placed third overall last year and will also be present.

    Other riders that have chosen to race stateside include last year’s runner up overall Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions), former World Champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) as well as Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck and Fabian Cancellara.

    Among the US-based teams, Ben Day (Fly V Australia) recently won the season’s first National Racing Calendar (NRC) race at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. He placed eighth overall in the 2007 edition of the Amgen Tour of California and pointed to the race as being major season target for his team.

    "The Tour of California is a very big goal for us," Day said following his overall title win at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. "That is what our focus is on now. It's pretty hard tackling the ProTour guys after they've been racing the ProTour races in Europe. They are racing so hard week in and week out. If we can go there and have a good showing, win a stage or two, animate and be a part of the race and if I could have a good general classification result, then we will be very happy with that."

    The selected teams have not yet announced their full participating rosters.

  • Extra security in place for Paris-Roubaix sector

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) gets encouragement from the rabid Flemish fans on the Carrefour de l'Arbre sector.
    Article published:
    April 6, 2010, 20:03
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hooligans will be kept under control in Carrefour de l'Arbre

    It is one of the more important sectors of pave in Paris-Roubaix and it has attracted huge crowds of spectators, but this year police will be out in force to control reckless hooligans who have caused havoc at the Carrefour de l'Arbre.

    According to AFP, new measures include a temporary ban on the distribution and consumption of alcohol inside a quadrant which incorporates the towns of Wannehain, Camphin-en-Pévèle, Baisieux and Gruson which surround the Carrrefour de l'Arbre.

    The crossroads is the fourth to last sector of ancient cobblestone roads in the historic event, coming with 16km to go where the race is being won or lost.

    Last year, Filippo Pozzato was chasing after eventual winner Tom Boonen when spectators on the 2.1km section of cobbles spat on him. The rowdy, drunken bystanders also broke the mirror off the Saxo Bank car and hit other cars in the caravan with fists, beer bottles and rocks.

    The drunken mobs also laid waste to the area, camping along the route for days before last year's event, leaving behind piles of refuse and leading several town mayors to complain to the Amaury Sport Organisation, which runs the race. There were threats of forcing the organisers to re-draw the route to bypass their towns, but a compromise was reached allowing the ban on alcohol.

    The local gendarmerie will also be sending out more than 100 police in the days leading up to the race to control the crowds, using a helicopter with a camera to help identify perpetrators of any incidents.

    "The measures taken by the authorities are common sense measures because Paris-Roubaix has become a big party," said race director Christian Prudhomme, agreeing that the trend of fields being privatised and temporary taverns set up needed to end.