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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Date published:
February 28, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Cancellara: riders are "scared" of new Tour of Flanders route

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    February 28, 2012, 12:33 GMT
    Mark Robinson

    Key changes questioned by the peloton

    It's one of the highlights of the entire professional cycling season and a race that is close to his heart, but Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) has revealed that he and his fellow pros are nervous at, and also slightly confused by, the crucial and fundamental changes that have been made to the parcours for the 2012 Tour of Flanders.

    This year's race will see the controversial omission of the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen climb; three ascents of the Oude Kwaremont and the steep Paterberg in the finale; and a finish in the town of Oudenaarde instead of Meerbeke, where the race has finished since 1973. The changes have led to widespread criticism, with many fans, commentators and former winners accusing the race administrators of riding roughshod over the fabled history of the great event. Cancellara, the 2010 winner of the race, has his own very strong views on the matter.

    "This year at Flanders, because of the changes to the parcours, it’s going to be a different and very difficult race compared to previous years," the RadioShack-Nissan rider told Cyclingnews.

    "When you look this year, with the change in the parcours, in my opinion the Paterberg - because it’s going to be the last climb of the day - will be harder and do more damage than the Muur and the Bosberg. After many kilometres, a short and really steep climb like this will make a huge difference. It already makes a huge difference when you go through it after just 180km, so if you think about it it’s going to be very tough to go through it at the end.

    "In the last few years the race has been hard from Kwaremont through to Tenbosse....

  • Cunego in frame to lead Italy at the Worlds

    National coach Paolo Bettini says hello
    Article published:
    February 28, 2012, 13:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Bettini heads Italian training camp in Tuscany

    Paolo Bettini has hinted that Damiano Cunego may lead the Italian team at the world championships in Valkenburg in September. Cunego has some previous on the route, having won the Amstel Gold Race atop the Cauberg in 2008. The climb features just 1.4km from the finish line of this year’s Worlds.

    The national coach acknowledged that places in Italy’s five-man London 2012 Olympic team will be at a premium, however. Either Marco Pinotti (BMC) or Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) will take one of the berths as Italy’s representative in the time trial, while Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) may yet combine track duties in the omnium with a place on the road team.

    “In London, the team is a little blocked up,” Bettini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “We’ll have five riders, but whoever does the time trial must also do the road race, while Viviani might also manage the double commitment. The Worlds course smiles on Cunego, so long as he manages himself well.”

    Bettini is currently leading an Italian federation training camp at Venturina, near Livorno, which features a mixture of professional, under 23 and junior riders.

    Pinotti, Malori and Viviani are among the professionals on hand in Tuscany, along with Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Enrico Battaglin, Marco Coledan, Sacha Modolo (all Colnago-CSF), Manuel Belletti (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Fabio Felline (Androni-Venezuela), Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM), Simone Ponzi (Astana) and Eugenio Alafaci (Leopard Trek).

    “There will be two real training rides, tomorrow and Thursday, because Friday is the day before Strade Bianche,” Bettini explained. “But what happens out of the saddle will be much more...

  • New baby won't clash with Mollema's Tour plans

    Bauke Mollema was the Dutch rider of the year
    Article published:
    February 28, 2012, 14:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider will line up at the start

    Bauke Mollema has revealed that his girlfriend is expecting their first child in August of this year, but the Rabobank rider is still very much planning to ride in the Tour de France. The 25-year-old Dutchman, famed for his climbing prowess, has stated that the impending arrival will not jeopardise his position at the start line.

    Mollema served notice last year that he can be a major force in Grand Tours after winning the points classification and finishing fourth overall at the Vuelta a Espana. He is seen as a key part in Rabobank's assault on this year's Tour de France.

    "For the Tour, there is nothing wrong. That is still the main goal of my season," Mollema told

    Rabobank's sporting director Erik Breukink stated on his Twitter account that Mollema would not be distracted by the birth: "Missing the birth of your child is not the end of the world. That's part of life as a professional cyclist," he said.


  • Initial Tour de Pologne wildcards announced

    Peter Sagan won the 2011 Tour de Pologne
    Article published:
    February 28, 2012, 15:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Four slots allocated ahead of 69th edition of race

    Four of the five wildcard places on offer for the 2012 Tour de Pologne have been decided, race officials have revealed. The Polish national team will be joined by Pro Continental outfits Team Type1-Sanofi, Colnago-CSF Inox and Caja Rural for the race that runs from July 10-16. A fifth wildcard berth will be allocated closer to the event.

    The Tour de Pologne was first staged in 1928 and became part of the UCI ProTour in 2005. Since then it has attracted a higher calibre of field and in recent years has followed the Tour de France. However, the two events are scheduled to clash this year and this will undoubtedly have an effect on the quality of the peloton lining up at the start but according to race director Czeslaw Lang, there has been plenty of interest in the race.

    “For the 2012 wildcard assignments we received lots of requests to participate from teams all over the world and for us this is a source of enormous satisfaction,” he said. “It underscores once again how this race is growing in importance.”

    The presence of Caja Rural should ensure that home talent Karol Domagalski lines up in July, while for the Polish national team, the race is the high point of the season.

    "To ride on hometown streets wearing the national jersey is always wonderful," Lang said. "For our young riders the Tour de Pologne is an important showcase to stand out on an international level.”

  • Christina Watches ends interest in Rebellin

    Davide Rebellin (Miche)
    Article published:
    February 28, 2012, 17:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    No deal for veteran Italian

    Danish Continental outfit Christina Watches-Onfone has revealed that talks to sign Davide Rebellin have failed, after rumours previously suggested that a deal was close to being completed. The 40-year-old Italian has been without a team since leaving Miche-Guerciotti last year, despite enjoying success with them, and has been looking for a team to prolong his career.

    Rebellin was one of the most feared classics riders of the last decade, winning La Fleche Wallone three times (2004, 2007 and 2009). His first victory in that race was part of a big race treble that year, which also included the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege - a feat that at the time had never been achieved before.

    However, shortly after his third victory at La Fleche Wallone in 2009, Rebellin's world fell apart after he was revealed to have failed a dope test at the 2008 Bejing Olympics, where he had won silver in the road race. He received a two-year ban for EPO-CERA, returning to the sport last year.

    "Christina Watches-Ofone has been in discussions with Davide Rebellin's agent since January 21," said a statement from team co-owner Claus Skødt Hembo.

    "Myself, Rebellin and his agent thought it was worthwhile to discuss the possibility and we were therefore in negotiations. But after prolonged discussions it is announced that we do not want a contractual relationship with him."

  • Tiernan-Locke leads UCI Europe Tour

    A triumphant Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing)
    Article published:
    February 28, 2012, 18:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Briton enjoys generous lead after early season succes

    After a fairytale start to the 2012 season, Endura Racing's Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is on top of the leader board of the UCI's Europe Tour. The 27-year-old started off with two stage victories and the overall win in the Tour Méditerranéen, and then followed with a stage win and the overall victory in the Tour du Haut-Var a week later.

    He leads Etoile de Bessèges winner Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) by 222 points to 139, while Cofidis rider Rein Taaramae is in third with 105 points after taking second overall in the Vuelta a Andalucia - Ruta Ciclista del Sol.

    The UCI Europe Tour rankings do not include riders from the WorldTour, such as Ruta winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), and do not yet include points from the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad or Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, G.P. Città di Lugano, Les Boucles du Sud Ardèche or Clasica de Almeria.

    Tiernan-Locke's lead will not be threatened by any of the results from the latter part of the weekend, however, as none of the other riders in the top of the standings scored points.

    With only the Oceania Championships remaining in the UCI's Oceania Tour, New Zealand Cycle Classic winner Jay McCarthy (Team Jayco - AIS) holds a one point lead over Jayco Herald...

  • New Weylandt memorial to be unveiled

    Wouter Weylandt will be fondly remembered by the entire peloton
    Article published:
    February 28, 2012, 19:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutch city of Middelburg to honour the late Belgian rider

    Wouter Weylandt, the Belgian cyclist who was tragically killed at the 2011 Giro d'Italia, is to have a memorial plaque dedicated to him in the Dutch city of Middelburg. Weylandt won the third stage of the 2010 Giro d'Italia in Middelburg and the city is keen to mark the life of the rider who delighted the local fans so much with his victory there on May 10, 2010. It will unveil the memorial on April 2.

    The ceremony will be headed by the city's mayor and will be attended by Weylandt's fomer partner An-Sophie De Graeve, who was pregnant with Weylandt's daughter at the time of his fatal crash. The rider's family and friends will also be there along with Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni.

    A memorial to Weylandt already exists in the Belgian city of Ghent. That memorial, which is a tribute to Weylandt and his fallen compatriots Frederiek Nolf and Dmitri De Fauw, was unveiled in June 2011 and was the subject of vandalism a month later.

  • Wiggins aims to continue Sky momentum in Paris-Nice

    Wiggins, Porte and Boasson Hagen on the podium
    Article published:
    February 28, 2012, 19:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rosters come together for Lotto-Belisol and Saxo Bank

    Paris-Nice will start on Sunday, March 4, and the teams are beginning to finalize their rosters for the next WorldTour stage race. Team Sky will bring a powerful team with Volta ao Algarve winner Riche Porte joined by Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, the pair who stood on the Vuelta a España podium last year.

    Wiggins, after taking the time trial in Algarve, is hoping to keep up the team's winning momentum in the Race to the Sun. "It's the first big WorldTour race of the season in Europe and we'll just look to continue the momentum - that's the goal," Wiggins said on

    The 31-year-old said the team's new recruits like Kanstantsin Siutsou, who joined after the demise of HTC-Highroad, and Porte, who came across from Saxo Bank, have integrated well into the team.

    "Everything about this team is just snowballing and getting better and better, race after race. We're becoming more consistent too, it's more of a habit now. So everything we go to, one thing leads to another and we've also got an incredibly strong squad at Tirreno-Adriatico which takes place around the same time as Paris-Nice.

    "It's great to be part of it and I'm just looking forward to Paris-Nice now and my next few races after that."

    Team Sky for Paris-Nice: Chris Froome (GBr), Christian Knees (Ger), Danny Pate (USA), Richie Porte (Aus), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr), Geraint Thomas (GBr), Rigoberto Uran (Col), Bradley Wiggins (GBr)

    Lotto-Belisol will also split its squad between Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, with Kiwi Greg Henderson the protected sprinter for the French race while Andre...