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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Date published:
March 11, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Meersman abandons Paris-Nice

    After fighting for the race lead in Paris-Nice, Gianni Meersman found himself on the ground in the last 10km
    Article published:
    March 11, 2014, 10:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian crashed in finale of stage 2

    Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has abandoned Paris-Nice following his crash on stage 2 to Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche. The Belgian announced his withdrawal via Twitter on Tuesday morning, writing: "Paris Nice is over for me, I'm going to hospital in Belgium."

    Meersman crashed in the final ten kilometres of Monday's stage, just minutes after he had picked up a time bonus that had elevated him into the virtual overall lead. He remounted and finished the stage 18 seconds down on stage winner Moreno Hofland (Belkin), but was later docked 1:10 by commissaires for drafting behind his team car and accepting hand slings from teammates as he chased back on.

    "Today I underwent a few medical checks," Meersman said on his team's website. "All the medical staff at the hospital were really friendly with me. The injury is nothing to worry about. I am already at home. But of course I need to take a period of rest. In a couple of weeks I will undergo another scan to see how the situation is based on evaluations.

    "It's a pity because my condition was really good. It's probably the worst crash in my life as it was also in a bad moment of the season. But, that's life. The only thing I can do now is relax, recover as fast as I can, and spend some time with my family. As soon I can, I will start training again with even more motivation than before."

    Speaking on Monday evening, Omega Pharma-QuickStep team doctor Yvan Vanmol ruled out a fracture, but suggested that Meersman's injuries were such that an abandon was possible.

    "There is no fracture," Vanmol said, according to Sporza. "On first assessment, Gianni is suffering from heavy bruising to his pelvis and his lower back muscles are also affected. We won’t...

  • GP Miguel Indurain saved by private backer

    The GP Miguel Indurain podium with the man himself
    Article published:
    March 11, 2014, 11:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    2014 edition of race will go ahead

    The GP Miguel Indurain will take place in 2014 after a private sponsor was found to cover its core budget. It had been announced last week that the Spanish race would be postponed this year, but instead it is set to go ahead as planned on April 5.

    David Echavarri, president of CC Estella which organises the GP Miguel Indurain, explained that a private company – and not the regional government of Navarra, as originally hoped – had stepped up to ensure the race will take place.

    “We’ve covered the core budget. If we can raise more money, that would be welcome so as to have more teams and better infrastructure,” Echavarri told Biciciclismo. Further details will be announced at a press conference next week.

    Biciciclismo reports that the city of Estella will contribute €10,000 to the race’s budget – rather than the €25,000 it had initially pledged, while a further contribution is still possible from the regional government of Navarra. “Something should come,” said Echavarri.

    Echavarri added that he hopes that the organisation of the race will prove more straightforward in 2015, pointing out that since 2011, the organisation has had to wait “until the last moment” every year to confirm its budget.

    The GP Miguel Indurain began in 1951 was renamed in honour of the five-time Tour de France winner in 1999. It has been held continuously since 1987, with Indurain, Pedro Deldago, Alex Zülle, Joaquim Rodriguez and Samuel Sanchez among those to have won in Estella over the years. Simon Spilak (Katusha) won last year’s race.



  • Boom out of Paris-Nice with fractured elbow

    Lars Boom fractured his elbow in a crash 10km from the finishline
    Article published:
    March 11, 2014, 13:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman hopeful he will be ready for Classics

    Lars Boom (Belkin) has been forced to withdraw from Paris-Nice after he suffered a minor fracture to his right elbow in a crash in the finale of stage 2 to Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche.

    In spite of the injury, Boom was optimistic about his chances of lining up at the cobbled Classics. He will undergo a check-up in the Netherlands on Wednesday or Thursday to assess the full extent of the damage.

    “I’m in pain now but I assume that I’m going to be at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix,” Boom said, according to De Telegraaf. “I was able to finish and I was able to move my elbow, but after I took a shower, the pain got worse so we went to the hospital.”

    Although Boom admitted that he was disappointed to miss out on an important week of racing at Paris-Nice, he remained optimistic about his chances of being ready for the spring Classics, pointing out that he was already advanced in his preparation.

    Boom performed strongly at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last weekend, where a puncture in the finale arguably cost him a chance of victory, and had also shown signs of form at the Tour of Qatar in February.

    “I’m sorry to miss out on the kilometres from Paris-Nice,” he said. “I’ll have to adjust things a bit but I already feel I have very good legs, so I can pick it up again.”

    Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Belisol) have also been forced to abandon Paris-Nice due to injuries sustained in crashes on Monday.

    The Boom incident marred an otherwise fine day for Belkin at...

  • Tvetcov adds firepower to Jelly Belly's roster

    Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) happy after his win.
    Article published:
    March 11, 2014, 16:00 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Moldovan hopes to race more on European circuit

    You'll have to excuse 2013 Cascade Cycling Classic winner and Tour of Alberta stage 2 most aggressive rider Serghei Tvetcov if he sometimes feels like he's won the lottery; the 25-year-old from Moldova actually has.

    Tvetocv, who signed with Jelly Belly for 2013 and 2014 after one year with Team Exergy, was an aspiring cyclist plying the East European Continental circuit when he signed up for the Green Card lottery that would allow him to immigrate to the US. Now the Georgia resident is a top rider on the US circuit and has been proving himself against WorldTour competition.

    "They give probably like 50,000 visas for the whole world, probably," said Tvetcov, who won the lottery on his first try. "And for the first try that was really impressive to other people who tried maybe 10 or 15 years. I'm not even thinking about it. They were like, 'Congratulations, you won the green card.' I didn't even realize what it would mean."

    It meant that Tvetcov, whose only impressions of the US were formed by the images of New York and Hollywood that he had seen on television and in movies, would be packing his bags and heading across the Atlantic to give life and racing in America a try. It took less than a year for Tvetcov to break into the domestic scene.

    The two-time Moldovan national time trial champion started his racing career with the Moldovan national program at just 14. In 2008, he rode with the Olimpic Autoconstruct team from Romania. He moved to the Romanian Continental team Tusnad Cycling for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

    After winning the visa lottery and moving to the US in 2011, he found a spot on an Indiana-based regional team called AeroCat Cycling. His results that year grabbed the attention of Jelly...

  • Dan Martin happy to make "late" start to season at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    March 11, 2014, 18:07 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Irishman makes 2014 debut as he builds towards Ardennes and Giro

    In an era where classics riders and grand tour specialists alike now flock to warmer climes to race in January and February, Dan Martin's race programme seems like something of a throwback. Some seven weeks after some of his Giro d'Italia rivals lined up at the Tour Down Under and Tour de San Luis, the Garmin-Sharp rider finally gets his season underway at Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday. He politely disagrees, however, with the consensus that his is a particularly late start to the campaign.

    "Everybody keeps saying that, but I think it's just that everybody else has started so early," Martin told Cyclingnews, pointing out that, in any case, he had only one day of racing in his legs at the same point last year, as a result of Garmin-Sharp's withdrawal from the Tour of the Mediterranean following the theft of the team's bikes.

    "With the bikes being stolen last year, I only did one day at the Tour of the Med so there's not a big difference. And last year I ended up getting sick afterwards, too, so I was eight days off the bike. This year I've probably had a better run-in to the race."

    Martin's winter was a quiet one, with three unbroken months at his Girona home, and only one setback, when he was briefly laid low by a virus. "I was still riding but I couldn't train hard for a week or so," he said. "But I'm feeling good now." Given that it is his first race of the campaign, however, Martin is unsure of what to expect at Tirreno-Adriatico. His primary brief in Italy is to help Andrew Talansky in his bid for overall honours, and he enters the race with no specific personal targets.

    "It's an unknown as to what my form is, especially seeing as everyone else has already raced, but my...

  • Gallery: Tirreno-Adriatico favourites ready for battle

    Cadel Evans, Michal Kwiatkowski, Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador and Rigoberto Uran are all vying for the Sea Master Trophy at Tirreno-Adriatico.
    Article published:
    March 11, 2014, 18:51 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Contador, Porte, Evans and Kwiatkowski chase Sea Master Trophy

    The big-name favourites for Tirreno-Adriatico avoided touching the winner's trophy and avoided revealing their hand and their race strategy during the press conference held 24 hours before the start of this year's race.

    Riders believe touching a race trophy before a race can bring on bad luck and so posed nervously with the trident trophy awarded to the winner of 'The Race of the Two Seas.' They talked about the key stages of their race and their hopes and ambitions, but remained guarded about their true form and tactics for the race.

    With so many Grand Tour contenders, star sprinters and Classics winners on the start list, race organisers were forced to hold two press conferences: the first for the main overall contenders such as Cadel Evans (BMC), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Richie Porte (Team Sky) Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Rigoberto Uran and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

    The second was for the sprinters and Classics riders, with local hero Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) squeezing into the tiny room in the village of Bolgheri in the heart of Super Tuscan wine country.

    The likes of Ivan Basso (Cannondale), Michele Scarponi (Astana), Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema (Belkin), Thibaut Pinot (, Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), Dan Martin and Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) were not invited and so able to enjoy their last afternoon snooze before the start of the seven days of racing. Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) managed to avoid being snubbed despite being a Tour de France winner by arriving...

  • Cavendish enjoys home advantage at Tirreno-Adriatico

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
    Article published:
    March 11, 2014, 20:20 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Manxman hoping Tuscan knowledge and improving form will give an edge

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) looked relaxed and confident at the Tirreno-Adriatico pre-race press conference.

    While Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) may have been born just a short ride away, Cavendish starts Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday with a home advantage on sprint rivals André Greipel and Marcel Kittel because of his growing links to Tuscany.

    "I've ridden every edition of Tirreno-Adriatico since 2008," Cavendish explains, often answering questions in Italian and then translating his own words into English.

    "I like it. I have a place in Tuscany and last year I came here (to the Tuscan coast) after the Tour de France and stayed near here. I know these roads well. It's a nice race. When Milan-San Remo is a big goal, Italian racing is important preparation and Tirreno-Adriatico provides that. All the Classics riders and teams want to prepare their form and so always have strong teams here."

    "I think knowing the roads gives me an advantage. It means you know where to be in front and know what will happen."

    "As a team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step is targeting the GC. We can win the team time trial, Kwiatkowski has shown he's in incredible form and we've got Rigoberto Uran here too. We'll try and pick up the sprints early on but the main objective is the overall. There's not much pressure on me but its nice to come here and be with the team that I'll be racing with for the majority of the year: I've got Petacchi and Renshaw here and we've got a strong team. I'm looking forward to the week of racing."

    Cavendish has won three stages at Tirreno-Adriatico over the years, the last being a shared victory with his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates in the opening TTT.

    The Belgian team...

  • Eastman and Putt take on leadership roles at Bissell Development team

    Ryan Eastman returns from the Bontrager team and is one of the team leaders in camp.
    Article published:
    March 11, 2014, 22:50 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Axel Merckx's team full of younger riders for 2014

    As the oldest returning riders on Axel Merckx's newly reformulated Bissell Development Team, Ryan Eastman and US under 23 national road champion Tanner Putt are the squad's seasoned veterans this season - at just 21 years old.

    Although both California residents will turn 22 before year's end and are joined in the ranks of team elder statesmen by newcomer Clement Chevrier, they'll be heading up a young squad that this year includes five 19-year-old riders, all of whom are currently just 18. It's a big change from the previous year, when Merckx's Bontrager team had six 22-year-olds and only two riders in their first year out of the junior age group.

    With just five returning riders on a 14-man roster, Merckx is counting on Eastman, who is starting his fourth year with the team, and Putt, in just his second, to step up and provide the leadership the young team will need as it reloads its roster and rebuilds as a cohesive unit.

    "Me and Axel have had a few talks about that over the winter months," Eastman told Cyclingnews last week from the team's training camp in Santa Rosa, where both he and Putt live. "The last few years I've been getting bottles and riding in the wind a lot. So I'm excited to have a little bit different role on the team, and I think I'm ready for it. I'm mature enough for it now.

    "I mean I'm not that much older, but I think between 18 and 22 there is quite a bit of growth," Eastman said. "They can still go up climbs fast, but just like mentally and where you're at in your life, a lot of things change in those years."

    Putt, despite being on the team just two years, feels himself moving into that role as well.

    "We have a lot of young guys this year," he said. "So I'm definitely feeling my age now. I know what it's like to be the young guy on a new team, so I've been trying to help them out as much as I can. But everyone seems like they know what they're doing and are really good riders already."