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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Date published:
March 27, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Anonymous threats to throw nails on Tour of Flanders course

    Tour of Flanders: Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Sungard) was the toast of Flanders after his win.
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 16:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Letter writer protesting change of course for 2012

    Anonymous letter writers have threated to strew nails on the course of the Tour of Flanders in protest of the change of route this year. The Mayor of Oudenaarde, where the race will finish this year, received the ominous mail last week.

    “Three simple lines. From the font it looks to have been typed on an old typewriter. From someone who loves the Tour,” Marnic De Meulemeester told the Gazet van Antwerpen. “That is what they say, anyway. A person who is not at peace with the change in route.”

    “The threat? Nails on the road.”

    While it was not clear where the letter was posted, De Meulemeester had his suspicions. The town of Grammont, also called Geraardsbergen, has protested against the climb of the same name being removed from the race, and “there are even rumours that Grammont (...) plans to react on Sunday,” he said.

    There is no panic, the Mayor said, “but we do take the threat seriously as you never know.” It has been reported to both the local and national police.

    The police and race organisers will be “extra vigilant” in watching the route, “but it is impossible to place an agent or steward on every inch of the road.”

  • Tour of the Battenkill announces 29 invited teams

    The peloton crosses the covered bridge in Eagleville early in the race.
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 17:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Field set for USA's first UCI race of season

    The Tour of the Battenkill announced today the 29 teams which will compete at the UCI 1.2-ranked race in Cambridge, New York on April 15, 2012.

    Twelve professional teams top the field, including both of the USA's UCI Professional Continental teams: Team Type 1-Sanofi and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling. Also accepting invitations are 10 UCI Continental teams from the USA (7), Canada (1) and Great Britain (2). The peloton will be completed by 17 elite amateur teams from the USA (12) and Canada (5). Each of the teams will have a minimum of four and a maximum of six riders.

    The arduous 200km race, comprising two 100km laps starting and finishing in Cambridge, NY, is the first of eight UCI-ranked races taking place in the United States this season, and the first of three one-day events. The parcours in upstate New York is noted for its sectors of dirt roads, which comprise approximately 25 percent of the course, as well as steep climbs and unpredictable weather.

    After a one year hiatus in 2011 when the race was run as an amateur event, it returns in 2012 once again with a UCI sanction and a place on the UCI America Tour for its marquee men's professional invitational event.

    The 2011 amateur event was won by Brett Tivers (Garneau-Club Chaussures-Norton Rose) by 11 seconds over Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth), while Caleb Fairly (Holowesko Partners) soloed to victory in 2010 when it last held a UCI sanction.

    2012 Tour of the Battenkill teams:

    UCI Professional Continental

    Team Type 1 - Sanofi (USA)
    UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling (USA)

    UCI Continental

    Bissell Pro Cycling Team (USA)
    BMC -...

  • Devolder hoping to make the race in Tour of Flanders

    Belgium's Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) is at home on the cobbles.
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 17:40 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Two-time winner tuning up in De Panne

    Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil – DCM) believes he is close to the form that carried him to back-to-back wins at the Tour of Flanders in 2008 and 2009. The diminutive Belgian has struggled for form in the subsequent two years but there were flashes of his talent on stage 1 on the Three Days of de Panne when he attacked on the final climb of the race. In the end his acceleration from the front proved futile but with his favourite race just around the corner, it will give him a welcome boost of confidence.

    However, without a result in the last few years, Devolder has slipped down the pecking order both at home in Belgium and internationally. At Sunday's Flanders Devolder will be hoping that the new parcours will help revive his flagging career.

    "I saw that E3 Harelbeke that I'm in good shape and I'm hoping to get in a few more miles here in De Panne to help me get ready and to get in top shape," he told Cyclingnews.

    It's clear that the double Flanders winner still sees himself as a genuine contender for Sunday but he admitted that it will be difficult to mount a challenge against the clear favourites.

    "I don't know where I am compared to (Tom) Boonen and (Fabian) Cancellara. Together with (Filippo) Pozzato and (Matti) Breschel they're the great favourites but I'm hoping to make the race with them.

    "It's going to be a hard enough race but I'll see how my form is on Sunday. All I know is that I'm ready so I'll just have to see how the other favourites are."

    Part of Devolder's lack of results may be due to pressure. The fanatical Belgian support can be both a blessing...

  • Gallery: Through the lens at Gent-Wevelgem

    The fog and mist were part of the early conditions
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 19:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Grubers' photo highlights from Belgium

    Gent-Wevelgem encapsulated everything that’s great about professional racing, a highly-charged start, an exciting but even parcours and a thrilling finish. The attacks, thrills and even the spills came together to provide one of the most exciting one-day races of the season so far.

    The race eventually came down to a sprint with Tom Boonen (Omega-Pharma-QuickStep) giving another master class in sprinting.

    And once again Jered and Ashley Gruber were out on the course, picking their way through key sections to deliver some of the best action shots of the race.

    You can see the full gallery here.

  • Wiggins and Cavendish set for Tour of Romandie

    Cavendish and Wiggins in wonderland
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 19:30 BST
    Cycling News

    British stars to line up together in Sky colours for first time

    Initial predictions suggested that the Tour de France would be the first time that Britain's two most famous road cyclists would line up together in the same team, but Team Sky have confirmed that Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish will ride with each other at next month's Tour de Romandie in Switzerland (24-29 April).

    The famous race was won last year by BMC's Cadel Evans, who took his second title there on his way to victory in last summer's Tour de France. A top class field is set to line up as usual this year and Wiggins, who is second favourite with bookmakers for Tour de France glory this year after his win at Paris-Nice, will see it as a key part of his preparations.

    Cavendish will fancy his chances of bagging a couple of stage victories as he looks to build his form ahead of the Grand Tours after a season of highs and lows so far following his headline-grabbing move to Team Sky in the winter. The 26-year-old world champion has enjoyed success at the Tour of Qatar, Tirreno-Adriatico and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but has suffered recent disappointments at Milan-San Remo and Gent-Wevlegem.

    Team Sky have revealed its rider plans for the entire month of April, which encompasses seven WorldTour events and three Monuments. With such a busy month ahead, they will need effective performances from all of their riders if they are to hang on to their lead at the top of the

  • Sagan takes a training victory at Three Days of De Panne

    Three Days of De Panne leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 20:00 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Slovak builds toward Tour of Flanders

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) turned up for a training ride and came away with a victory on stage 1 of the Three Days of De Panne. The Slovak had told Cyclingnews on the eve of the race that his sole intention was to keep his legs turning over ahead of the Tour of Flanders, but when the chance of a win presented itself in Oudenaarde on Tuesday, Sagan couldn't help but accept.

    "We talked in the team before the race and it was decided that I would only do training for Sunday today," Sagan said as the press huddled around him in Oudenaarde's Stadhuis afterwards. "But during the race I started to feel good and I started to do a lot the work for my companions."

    After teammate Daniel Oss' mid-stage break had been swallowed up by the group of principal favourites, Sagan was an increasingly visible presence towards the front end of the peloton. In the finale, he tracked an attack sparked by Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) on the climb of the Kortekeer, which briefly threatened to stay clear to the line. Once that move was reeled in, he made arrangements for the sprint with his companion Fabio Sabatini as the 50-strong lead group thundered towards the finish.

    "Saba told me to try and stay on his wheel, and if I could come past at the end then I should go for it, because he didn't know if he was good or not," Sagan said.

    In the event, it was Astana's Valetin Iglinskiy who led out the sprint for Jacopo Guarinieri, but with Sabatini and Sagan both lined up on his wheel, there was only ever going to be one winner. "In the end, it was as well that I did the sprint as well and that it worked out that way," Sagan said.

    Sagan's first-ever win in Belgium puts him into the...

  • Inaugural National Criterium Calendar begins Saturday

    Pro men on the start line at the 2011 Charlotte Presbyterian Criterium
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 21:15 BST
    Cycling News

    19-event series to showcase "American-style of racing"

    The USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC), designed to highlight the nation's top criterium events and riders, begins Saturday with the Cigar City Brewing Criterium in Tampa, Florida. The 19-event calendar is the first of its kind for USA Cycling as criterium races were previously part of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC).

    In years past, these single-day criteriums made up around half of the NRC.

    Similar to the NRC, the NCC features 34 domestic elite teams along with UCI-registered teams competing for points as teams as well as individual supremacy.

    Micah Rice, USA Cycling's Managing Director of National Events explained the rationale behind the decision to Cyclingnews last July. "We created the criterium calendar to do a few things: to create a manageable calendar of races that teams both small and big can follow, to create a series of races that have the same teams invited, and to create a showcase of the American-style racing that is quite popular here."

    The NCC continues on April 14 with the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina, before moving on the following week with the Sunny King Criterium from Anniston, Alabama.

    2012 National Criterium Calendar schedule:

    March 31 - Cigar City Brewing Criterium
    April 14 - Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium
    April 21 - Sunny King Criterium
    May 4-6 - USA CRITS Speed Week
    May 6 - Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling
    May 12 - Tour de Grove
    May 19 - Wilmington Grand Prix
    May 28 - Tour of Somerville
    May 31 - Base Camp Intl. p/b Verizon Wireless
    June 2 - Glencoe Grand Prix p/b AT&T
    June 8-10 - Saint Francis Tulsa Tough
    June 9-10 - Air Force Cycling Classic
    June 17 - Harlem Skyscraper Criterium
    June 28-July 1 - Tour of America's Dairyland
    July 8 - Manhattan Beach Grand Prix
    July 14 - Exergy Twilight...

  • 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné route unveiled

    The 2012 route for the Critérium du Dauphiné has been revealed
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 21:45 BST
    Cycling News

    New climb and 53km time trial on the parcours

    The route for the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné - one of France's most prestigious stage races and a key warmup event for the Tour de France - was revealed by race organisers ASO on Tuesday.

    A picturesque prologue and a 53km time trial are key features of this year's race, as is the presence of a climb up the Grand Colombier in the eastern region of Ain. This climb will feature in the Tour de France for the first time in 2012 and the Critérium du Dauphiné will give riders the perfect opportunity for a dress rehearsal.

    This year's seven stage event will run from June 3-10 and its roll of honour features some of cycling's biggest names: Lance Armstrong, Miguel Indurain, Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx have all triumphed in the race and a top class field is expected to be at the start line.

    2011 winner Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) and reigning Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC) have all expressed their interest in competing.

    2012 Critérium du Dauphiné route:

    Sunday, June 3
    Prologue: 5.7 km, Grenoble-Grenoble

    Monday, June 4
    Stage 1: 187 km, Seyssins-Saint-Vallier

    Tuesday, June 5
    Stage 2: 160 km, Lamastre-Saint-Felicien

    Wednesday, June 6
    Stage 3: 167 km, Givors-The Clayette

    Thursday, June 7
    Stage 4: 53 km (ITT) Villié-Morgon-Bourg en Bresse

    Friday, June 8
    Stage 5: 186.5 km, St. Trivier-on-Moignans-Rumilly