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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Date published:
January 17, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Greipel unhappy with finish conditions in Clare

    Andre Greipel takes the win
    Article published:
    January 17, 2012, 9:48 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Turtur plays down concerns over high-speed downhill climax

    André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) may have won the opening stage of the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under but the German sprint ace was clearly unhappy about the day of racing that he and the rest of the peloton had to endure.

    Greipel, who won in a photo finish from Lampre-ISD's Alessandro Petacchi on the 149 kilometre stage from Prospect to Clare, north of Adelaide, believes that race organisers let the peloton down by having a downhill sprint into the finish. The final kilometre was marred by a crash which took out a large section of the peloton. Greipel lost ground due to the spill and considered himself "lucky" to have even been in contention for the podium.

    "We did 150km today and why did we have to do a downhill sprint?" the two-time winner of the event said. "I mean, okay it's a part of our job, nobody tells us that we have to sprint, but the organisation should calculate the risk a little bit for us."

    Pressed on whether he believed the final section of the parcours was dangerous, Greipel paused before explaining: "We did 75km/h and if there's something that happens you cannot react anymore.

    "Of course it was a headwind so just imagine if it's a tailwind. We’d have come here with 80-85km/h."

    The cause of the crash was due to a spectator, an elderly woman, standing on the edge of the road who was clipped by a Vacansoleil rider, believed to be Kenny Van Hummel, who in turn brought the peloton down.

    The end result was that Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale) was taken to SportsMed in Adelaide for precautionary x-rays on his collarbone; Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) was transported to Royal Adelaide Hospital for precautionary x-rays on his neck while Frederic Guesdon (FDJ-BigMat) was also sent there for x-rays on what was believed to be a broken...

  • Valverde back to racing

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
    Article published:
    January 17, 2012, 10:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard confident of returning to top level, fears Gilbert

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is back to racing in the peloton at the Tour Down Under. After sitting out a 19-month suspension for having been implicated in the Operacion Puerto affair, the 31-year-old is happy to be back in the bunch and confident he can return to the same level of form that saw him win take four spring classic victories and the Vuelta a España overall classification in the past.

    The controversial Spaniard is rated as a possible overall contender at the Tour Down Under. But while Valverde himself doesn't doubt his abilities, he'es not obsessed with immediate victory. "I don't know when I will win again - if it doesn't happen right here in Australia then I won't panic," Valverde told Sportwereld at the start of the stage race. "If I have to wait even longer for success once I'm back in Europe, I won't panic. In the meantime, I can work on my endurance.

    "Actually, there is only one thing I worry about: Will I, at the end of a hard race, still have the same finishing abilities as in the past? The explosive power to drop the remaining riders and the better sprinters?"

    While he was sidelined from racing, Valverde watched the rise to unmatched classics supremacy of Philippe Gilbert (now at BMC) on TV, and admitted the Belgian will be a very tough rival for him in the spring. "I sometimes found it frightening, the extent of how good Gilbert was. When he jumped, it was just hasta luego - good bye - and his rivals only saw him again once he was on the podium. If he's as strong this season, it will be a whole new challenge to beat him. And that's what I'll have to do, because we partially...

  • Gallery: Baptism of fire at the Tour Down Under

    Yes, it was warm today
    Article published:
    January 17, 2012, 11:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    High temperatures and cross winds make for punishing conditions

    With thermometers reaching a sweltering 40° Celsius and wind speeds getting up to almost 50km/h, Tuesday's first stage of the 2012 Tour Down Under tested the riders to the very edge of their limits. The 149km stage, from Prospect in the north of Adelaide to the town of Clare, was won in a controversial finish by Germany's Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and the first thing he probably wanted to do afterwards was to find a nice cool shower.

    As you will see from our gallery, keeping as hydrated and as cool as possible was at the forefront of all the riders' minds, and that need also wasn't lost on the crowds that generously lined the streets. If the weather carries on like this then the rest of the race, which runs over five more stages up until Sunday 22 January, will be a war of attrition and a real test of who is able to handle not only the demands of the individual stages best, but also the conditions.


  • Petacchi denies any involvement in crash

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - ISD) had to settle for second place
    Article published:
    January 17, 2012, 12:07 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian rejects Greipel's claims at Tour Down Under

    André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) might have been a little unfair in his comments when he suggested that Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) was responsible for the massive crash that brought riders like Jurgen Roelandts and Frederic Guesdon to the ground. “Petacchi went from left to right. He didn’t care about the crash. He’s a big star but he shouldn’t do this and just keep the line,” was the German’s first reaction after his win on stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under in Clare.

    “What happened? The stage victory was determined by the photo-finish and the winner was Greipel,” Petacchi reacted to Cyclingnews. “The crash? I have no idea how it happened. It was all behind me. I heard something though.” The televised images of the last kilometre showed that Petacchi’s deviation in the final sprint wasn’t completely from left to right. Race officials didn’t see it as a breach of regulations.

    “My mistake was to open the sprint too early,” Petacchi explained. “I was at the front with 200 metres to go. I’m happy with the sprint I’ve done today even though it wasn’t easy to race in such heat. However, with such a terrain and a downhill finish, it was perfect for Greipel. It was a big advantage for him. With the condition and power he’s got these days, it’s no surprise that he has won but it was tight…”

    “I’m used to winning my first race of the year,” the Italian had said on the start line, recalling his enviable record at the GP Costa degli Etruschi, which opens the season in...

  • Video: Analysis of Tour Down Under stage one

    Andre Greipel pulls on the first leader's jersey at the Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    January 17, 2012, 12:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Phil Anderson looks back at an eventful opener

    Cyclingnews caught up with Australian cycling legend Phil Anderson after stage one of the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under to get his reaction to how events unfolded in what were very tough conditions for the riders. Anderson, the first non-European to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, said that he had spoken to stage winner Andre Greipel and that the German told Anderson that it was one of the toughest stages he had encountered in his career to date.

    Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) came out on top in a close battle with Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD), and Anderson predicts that there will be a few more battles ahead between the two men before the race is over. Anderson also comments on what was a frustrating opening day for Robbie McEwen and his GreenEdge team in their debut WorldTour race in their native Australia.



    Experience the world’s most iconic cycling events riding alongside one of cycling’s true legends, Phil Anderson. Phil and his team lead a suite of cycling tours to the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, la Vuelta, and more. To find out more visit or email

  • Tough first day on the WorldTour for GreenEdge

    Simon Gerrans sported his Australian jersey for the first time.
    Article published:
    January 17, 2012, 13:16 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    White relieved to have all riders in "one piece"

    The riders of WorldTour neophytes GreenEdge were the last to sign on for stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under. Following a lead-in that will have seemed an eternity to some, given that the project was nearly two years in the making, the professional peloton's newest outfit was clearly keen to just turn up and get the job done.

    Following a difficult few days under an unwanted spotlight, due to an alleged "minor assault" of a chauffeur, Stuart O'Grady was driven to let his legs do the talking. His efforts in the 133-man bunch were typically gritty, spending an hour on the front in the sweltering, oven-like conditions trying to bring back the day's break containing Rohan Dennis (UniSA), Marcello Pavarin (Vacansoleil-DCM), Martin Kohler (BMC) and Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), whose lead stretched out to 11:20 at one point.

    O'Grady should have had assistance from young motor Luke Durbridge, but the neo-pro was suffering from heat exhaustion, with temperatures on the road reported to have reached almost 50 degrees Celsius.

    "Luke got a little fried today so we gave him another job, which was just to survive," explained sports director, Matt White.

    O'Grady said that with GreenEdge essentially a man down out on the road, the team had to do what it could. "It wasn't exactly the plan but we had to improvise a bit," O'Grady explained. "Luke was suffering a bit from his accident the other day so we had to work round that.

    "It was just horrific heat and wind out there," he continued. "We weren't getting much assistance.

    "The wind was incredible and on our computers it was showing 49 degrees. It's just impossible to get the fluids in. It was a difficult day."

    Given that stage 1...

  • Roelandts suffers fractured cervical vertebra

    Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) in Adelaide hospital follwing mass crash at the Tour Down Under stage one.
    Article published:
    January 17, 2012, 13:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lotto rider reported to be able to move

    André Greipel from the Lotto-Belisol team may have won the first stage of the Santos Tour Down Under today, but his teammate Jürgen Roelandts has been diagnosed with a fractured vertebra after the race, following a mass crash within the final kilometre of the stage.

    A scan performed at hospital in Adelaide revealed that Roelandts broke his sixth cervical vertebra when he hit the tarmac at 70km/h during the run-up to the final sprint. According to directeur sportif Herman Frison, "he is in pain, but he can speak and move."

    Roelandts was even able to send a picture of himself on his Twitter account before he had the scan done, which did not reveal any additional injury as previously might have been feared.

    Now Roelandts and his team are waiting for a specialist to assess the fracture and recovery period. "It's a pity that Roelandts can't start tomorrow and we'll have to defend the leader's jersey with only six men," Frison added to Sporza.

  • Sicard hopes to have put physical problems behind him

    Romain Sicard (Euskaltel - Euskadi).
    Article published:
    January 17, 2012, 14:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former U23 World champion back to racing in Tour Down Under

    Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is hopeful the worst of his physical problems may finally be behind him. The young Frenchman did not participate in many races last season, as continuous wrong posture resulted in muscle imbalances and put strain on his whole body. The 23-year-old, who was arrested in November for drunk driving and attempted theft of a roadsign, is now on the road to full recovery and working hard to come back to competitive level at the Tour Down Under.

    "I'm relatively satisfied with my preparation over the winter, but I have to admit that my problem isn't entirely resolved yet," Sicard explained to Velochrono. "It's something that takes time to heal so I continue my rehabilitation. But it's certainly positive to be able to train and ride normally again, and to be here in Australia for the Tour Down Under."

    The 2009 U23 World champion explained that his difficulties had been hard to diagnose. "It's a long-term problem because over time, my pedaling posture turned bad," he said. "It's basically a muscular imbalance following some back and hip problems that I had. I've seen several specialists who delivered their diagnosis. With this imbalance, I find it hard to push hard with my right leg, so I'm on a muscle building programme off the bike. I also get massages."

    Before thinking about victory again, the 2009 Tour de l'Avenir winner simply wants to return to being a rider. "At the moment, my only objective is to become a normal rider again, with normal sensations and simply be able to take up training and racing again. I want to be the rider I was before all these problems again."

    But the signs of recovery look good for Sicard, who has been able to count on the complete support of his team, too. "It seems...