- Article published:
- March 8, 2011, 10:16
- Barry Ryan
Moncoutié out of race with knee injury
Lucas Sebastien Haedo (Saxo Bank-SunGard) was forced to abandon Paris-Nice on stage two after being struck by a police motorbike. The Argentinean was just one of a number of riders to come a cropper on a day littered with crashes, as high winds caused problems for the large peloton.
“Unfortunately, Sebastian was hit by a police motor bike on its way through the field to lead the pack in the right direction and by accident, he was hit and crashed,” Saxo Bank-SunGard sports director Bradley McGee explained in a statement after the race. “It has been a very nervous day in general with lots of wind and a nervous peloton which kind of make things difficult for both riders and the organizers trying to protect them.”
Haedo suffered a knee injury in the fall and was taken hospital after the stage to receive stitches.
Other crash victims on stage two included Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo), Fränk Schleck (Leopard Trek), Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) and Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo), although they all recovered to finish with the main peloton.
Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek) was somewhat less fortunate, however. The Dane was hit by another rider when he stopped to help his stricken leader Fränk Schleck. He then overshot a roundabout when chasing to rejoin the peloton and suffered a hand injury. Fuglsang came in 1:01 down on the stage.
“He had sharp cuts in one hand, which bled rather violently,” Leopard Trek manager Kim Andersen told fyens.dk. “He was able to continue, but how much he can do in the rest of the race is a big question.”
Moncoutié forced out with knee injury
While David Moncoutié (Cofidis) was not among the fallers on Monday, the Frenchman was forced to abandon the race on stage two with a knee injury. He had already lost over eight minutes on stage one due to the ailment. According to La Dernière Heure, Moncoutié’s knee problem stems from his decision to change his cleats on the Thursday before the race, which led to a slight alteration in his position.
The Frenchman abandoned 60km into stage two and it remains to be seen if he will be fit for the next race on his programme, the Tour of Catalonia (21-27 March).
Martin Velits (HTC-Highroad) was a non-starter on Monday after being injured in a crash on the run-in to Houdan on stage one. Team spokeswoman Kristy Scrymgeour confirmed to Cyclingnews tha tthe young Slovak had suffered a fractured sternum and would be out for six weeks.
Meanwhile, French talent Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi) did not start Tuesday's stage three to Nuits-Saint-Georges, citing pain in his right knee.
- Article published:
- March 8, 2011, 10:38
- Susan Westemeyer
Cyclingnews takes a look at the women who rule the scene
To coincide with International Women's Day, Cyclingnews continues its series on women in cycling, looking at five of the most influential women in cycling over the years.
Beryl Burton (UK)
Her name may be unknown to many fans today, but Burton, who rode from the 1950s to the 1980s, is considered to be one of Britain's greatest athletes ever. Riding always as an amateur, and often working full-time jobs in addition, she won more than 90 national and seven world titles on both the road and the track. The time trial was her speciality, and she won the Road Time Trials Council's British Best All-Rounder Competition for a stunning 25 consecutive years, from 1959 to 1983. Burton won a total of 72 various national time trial titles, including 28 at the 100 miles distance. She won her last two time trial titles (25 and 50 miles) in 1986, at the age of 49.
She also shone on the roads, winning the world championship title in 1960 and 1967. A true all-rounder, Burton was also dominant on the track, winning medals in the world individual pursuit for nearly 30 years, including five golds.
In 1967, she set the 12-hour time trial record of 277.25 miles. This record was even better than the men's record, and a man did not better it until two years later. Her daughter Denise also became a cyclist, and mother and daughter were both selected for the 1972 world championships. She died of heart failure while on her bike, shortly before her 59th birthday.
Juli Furtado (USA)
Juli Furtado is one of the most accomplished women in cycling. After making the switch from competitive skiing, Furtado took up cycling. Although she won the 1989 US Road National Championships, she is best known for her mountain biking accomplishments.
She won the first UCI Mountain Bike World Championship cross country race in 1990 in Durango. She went on to dominate the US NORBA national series scene and the UCI World Cup (three series wins) and again won the world championships 1996. She also participated in the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.
Though many think of her as a cross country star, she also won the downhill world championship in 1992.
Furtado, now 43, is a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. She has five NORBA and two World Cup titles.
She had to take an earlier than expected exit from elite level sports at age 29 in 1997. After being diagnosed with lupus in the early 90s, she eventually found she was unable to continue racing at the highest level though she still remains active and involved with the sport.
Jeannie Longo (France)
Jeannie Longo has the honour of being a legend in her own time. At the age of 52, she is still racing and winning, and is considered to be one of the best female cyclists of all time.
She is in fact reigning French time trial champion – a title she has held 9 times.
But that pales against her record in the French national road race championship, an event which she won 15 times. She held both national titles in six years.
Add to that five World road titles and four World time trial titles, as well as the 1996 Olympic road title.
All in all she can boast of over 1000 career victories.
Longo is another who doesn't limit herself to the road. She can boast of World track titles, and won a silver in the 1993 World mountain bike championship. The Frenchwoman has also set two hour records.
She is beginning to see, however, that the end is in sight. "I can see other horizons," she said. "I can now accept things that seemed inconceivable to me, like for example skipping one day of training."
Robin Morton (USA)
Robin Morton has influenced the sport of cycling from behind the scenes, and not women's cycling, but men's. Now in her early 50s, in the 1980s the American was the first woman to own and manage a men's professional team.
Morton took that team to the Giro d'Italia in 1984, the first American team to enter that race. "Women had never been allowed in the caravan," Morton told Cyclingnews. "I was under a microscope the entire time we were there."
Still, she made one important friend there, Angelo Zomegnan, then a cyclist and now head of the Giro. That contact has helped her in her current position, where she is trying to attract the start of the 2010 Giro to Washington, DC.
Morton is now with g4 Productions, an all-women event planning and production company based in Pennsylvania, which is responsible for, not surprisingly, any number of bike races in the US.
G4 is also the “Facilitator” behind the move to hold the first two 2012 Giro stages in Washington, DC. While the organisation committee is in the hands of the DC government and local race organisers, Morton's group handles the logistics – arranging for transportation, hotels, and so on.
The first start of a Grand Tour outside of Europe would be another coup for this female cycling entrepreneur.
Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
Marianne Vos looks to become the next Beryl Burton – the dominant force in women's cycling. Although she is still only 23, she has been putting her mark on the sport for six years already. The young Dutchwoman can look to a total of six world championships on the road, track and the cyclo-cross course. And those are only the elite titles.
Vos won her first national titles as a junior in 2002, taking the mountain bike, road and time trial wins. In 2004, she added the Junior women's World road title.
She made her elite debut in 2006, with overwhelming success in all fields, winning the World 'cross title, the World road title, and the European road championship. Vos also had 12 road wins that season, including the overall title in the Tour Feminin en Limousin.
2007 was an “off-year”, as she won no world or national titles of any sort, but she again had 12 wins on her way to taking the UCI Women's Road World Cup as well as finishing second in the Worlds road race.
She finally won her track titles in 2008, taking gold in both the Worlds and Olympics in the points race, and has won the 'cross World title for the last three years in a row.
The young Dutchwoman may at some point have to pick one discipline to concentrate on in the future, but at the moment the world is open to her.
- Article published:
- March 8, 2011, 11:03
- Peter Cossins
Las Palmas club takes on Puerto doctor as medical chief
Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of the Puerto and Galgo doping investigations, has joined the staff of the University of Las Palmas soccer team as head of medical services. Although currently under investigation after being implicated in the Galgo inquiry involving some of Spain’s best-known athletes, Fuentes will be responsible for the physical preparation of the players for the team that currently lies in second place in the third tier of Spanish soccer.
Primarily renowned for his links to cycling and athletics, Las Palmas-born Fuentes has worked with leading Spanish soccer clubs in the past, including Elche and UD Las Palmas, the university club’s better-known neighbour. Fuentes has also suggested in the past that he has had links with and offers from bigger clubs.
During the Puerto investigation in 2006 Fuentes stated that he worked with athletes from other sports besides cycling and athletics. However, their identities have never been revealed.
After being arrested during the ongoing Galgo investigation, Fuentes is reported to have told one of his cellmates: “If I start talking, there will be no World Cup, no European Championship title.” Fuentes subsequently denied that he had any link to Spain’s World Cup-winning soccer team.
In recent months Fuentes has returned to his initial field of interest by working as a gynecologist in Las Palmas. Soon after news of the Galgo investigation broke at the tail-end of last year, the University of Las Palmas soccer club released a statement expressing its support for Fuentes. The club’s director-general did not sign the statement and resigned a few days later, but without linking his decision to the club’s support for the controversial doctor.
Fuentes was presented by the club’s president, Carlos López, on Monday (March 7). It is reported that he is not receiving any salary in his new position, but is undertaking the role as an altruistic act.
Fans are split over Fuentes’s appointment. Many have expressed disappointment given Fuentes’ links to doping, while others have been more enthusiastic. One forum post stated: “Champions League here we come.” Another said: “I consider him a good signing because I’m sure that with his experience the team’s players are go to run like motorbikes.”
- Article published:
- March 8, 2011, 11:30
- Stephen Farrand
More protests possible at Criterium International, E3 Harelbeke and Coppi & Bartali
The head of the International riders association (CPA) Gianni Bugno has called on the UCI to reconsider its position on the elimination of race radio and has told Cyclingnews that the riders are ready to break the radio ban at three races on March 26 if they continue to be ignored.
Bugno will hold a joint press conference today with Jonathan Vaughters, the head of the AIGCP teams association, before the start of Tirreno-Adriatico.
“The UCI is the governing body of the sport and so represents us all but it should also listen to us all. We want dialogue with them to find a compromise, the UCI can’t decide things unilaterally and impose them on us,” Bugno told Cyclingnews.
“We call on the UCI to come back to the table and talk about the radio ban again and find a solution that suits everybody. If they won’t listen to us, we’re ready to protest again on March 26 at Criterium International, at the Coppi & Bartali race in Italy and at the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke in Belgium.”
“We’re sorry if this leads to races being annulled but I think the riders have the right to protest because it concerns their safety and their right to be involved in the decisions that affect them.”
Bugno insisted that riders must be heard on the radio ban for safety reasons.
“Radios are important for rider’s safety just as much as say helmets are. The riders need them to be told of dangers up the road and in case they crash or puncture,” he said.
“We don’t want to impose the use of radios on anybody. If Philippe Gilbert or a team doesn’t want to use them, they don’t have to. But my members voted on the matter and have mandated me to represent them. I’m happy to do that so that I can help them have voice in the decision making process.”
- Article published:
- March 8, 2011, 13:48
- Cycling News
Sky rider eager to improve on 2010 performance
Edvald Boasson Hagen has fond memories of Tirreno-Adriatico, taking his first mass sprint win in the race's seventh stage last year. This year the Sky rider will be looking to win more than just one stage, and also has his eye on Milan-San Remo, which immediately follows the Italian stage race.
“It was great to win there, with so many big names in the field,” Boasson Hagen told procycling.no. “It showed me that they are not unbeatable, but not easy to beat either." A win is a win, “but some are bigger than others.”
The 23-year-old went into last year's race with three wins under his belt, but this year has yet to stand atop the podium. However he brought in top finishes in the Tour of Oman, where he finished second overall for the second consecutive year, and was eighth in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
He also has another year of experience to count on, and hopes to put it to use in the sprints in Italy. “First and foremost I hope that I'm going to be completely at the front. I've become more experienced in the demands of getting up there, every sprint is different. It can be difficult enough just to fight your way to the front positions.”
Juan Antonio Flecha and Ian Stannard will help him move up, with Chris Sutton taking the final turn. They haven't had a chance to work on it much yet, though.
“We don't have much time to practice it. We ride many races in a season, and when we rest between races, we are rarely together. We spend a little time on it during meetings before the season, but otherwise it builds up as a routine during the races.”
Tirreno-Adriatico is the traditional lead-up to Milan-San Remo. Boasson Hagen went into last year's edition of the one-day Classic as a favourite, but stomach problems meant that he could only manage 106th place.
He is looking forward to the chance to improve on that, and inspected the course with his teammates earlier this week. “We drove over the last 100 kilometres of the course,” he said. “I've ridden there three times now, and know the course better and better. It's not like in many of the Belgian classics, where the races criss-cross over various hills.”
- Article published:
- March 8, 2011, 15:27
- Cycling News
Verdict boosts validity of the UCI Biological Passport
Italy’s Franco Pellizotti has been suspended for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after it upheld an appeal by the UCI.
The 33 year-old was snared by the UCI’s Biological Passport before last year’s Giro d’Italia but was then cleared by the Italian Olympic Committee in October.
Pellizotti’s legal team had requested an urgent verdict and the arbitrators took just five days to reach their decison. His ban is expected to last until May 2012. Fellow Italian Pietro Caucchioli was also given a ban, with CAS confirming the two-year suspension issued by the Italian Olympic Committee.
As an extra penalty, CAS has cancelled all of Pelizotti’s results from May 17, 2009. He will lose his second place at the Giro d’Italia (he finished third but Danilo Di Luca was subsequently disqualified for doping), his stage victory at the Tour de France and his polka-dot climber’s jersey. He has also been fined 115,000 Euro.
Pellizotti has always denied doping but several blood tests caught the eye of the Biological Passport experts.
The CAS sentence reinforces the validity of the UCI’s Biological Passport programme although a verdict on the case of Tadej Valjavec has still to be announced.
“We’re extremely satisfied especially because the quality of our work and our programme has been recognised by CAS,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews.
“We were confident from the beginning but once again you never know what can happen when you launch an appeal. In this case the final decision was in favour of the UCI and the future of the anti-doping fight.”
- Article published:
- March 8, 2011, 18:55
- Stephen Farrand
Rabobank first off in opening team time trial
The quality of the field for this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico became evident at the pre-race press conference on Tuesday afternoon as world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo), Cadel Evans (BMC), Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD, Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and 2010 winner Stefano Garzelli all posed for photographs at the port in Marina di Carrara.
Other big-name riders were absent from the event, including Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Tyler Farrar and Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervelo), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), Alessandro Ballan (BMC), Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli), Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad), Filippo Pozzato and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) David Arroyo (Movistar), Philippe Gilbert and Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Oscar Freire, Lars Boom and Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) and Robbie McEwen (RadioShack).
Wednesday’s opening team time trial will only be Cadel Evans’s third day of racing this season but the former world champion is hoping for a stage victory and possibly a good overall performance. He tipped Ivan Basso, Robert Gesink, Michele Scarponi and Stefano Garzelli as the riders to watch.
“My form is growing. I’ve only got two races in my legs and l’ll be racing against others who have 15 or 20 days racing but I came here in the same condition last year and it went well. I hope things go the same way this year,” he said.
“I’m tipping Basso and It’ll be interesting to see how Fabian [Cancellara] goes. I think also Gesink and probably Scarponi and Garzelli. I’ll be taking it day by day like last year and see how it goes. We’ll try and do a good team time trial to start off with and see from there. If I can’t do something overall, I’ll be just looking for a stage win.”
This year’s Tirreno-Adriatico includes a final 9.3km time trial and five testing road stages. Ivan Basso is almost certain to miss the Giro d’Italia but is targeting overall victory.
“I’m tackling my first goal of the season with the right frame of mind and the right form,” Basso said.
“I’ve done some long training rides recently as well as specific time trial work. There are no real uphill finishes but it’s a tough route. Victory will be built day by day, second by second. We can’t leave anything to chance.”
Teammate Vincenzo Nibali will line-up alongside Basso for Liquigas-Cannondale. Nibali has not raced much but could be a threat in the final time trial and will play a key role in the opening team time trial.
“I’m confident my form can improve even further,” Nibali said. “Sardegna marked the start of my season but was also very useful as training. My legs aren’t great yet but I think I can have a say. I’ll try and take my chances during the race. It’s time to start testing victory.”
Wednesday's opening team time trial is over 16.8km on a flat and fast out-and-back course.
Rabobank is the first team off at 14:55 CET, with the other teams following at three minute intervals.
Team time trial start list:
15.01: Quick Step
15.04: Saxo Bank-SunGard
15.16: AG2R La Mondiale
15.19: BMC Racing Team
15.34: Omega Pharma-Lotto
15.37: Sky ProCycling
15.40: Katusha Team
15.43: Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli
15.49: Leopard Trek
15.52: Acqua & Sapone.
- Article published:
- March 8, 2011, 20:30
- Jean-François Quénet
Yellow jersey a good sign heading toward Gent-Wevelgem
By winning stage 3 of Paris-Nice in the vineyard town of Nuits-St-Georges in Burgundy, Matt Goss took the yellow jersey that his team HTC-Highroad intends to have in Nice on the shoulders of either Tony Martin or Tejay van Garderen.
"The jersey is a bonus," said the Tasmanian Goss after hearing he'd taken over the general classification lead from Belgian Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team). "I came for a stage win, and it's terrific to get it. This is my first European victory this year." His last European victory came at the Pro Tour GP Plouay in August of 2010.
Tuesday's stage win came at the end of an incident-packed finale that took down Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) in a crash. Yoann Offredo (FDJ), Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Nikolas Maes (Quickstep Cycling Team) also went down in the last curve with 300 metres to go.
"The crash affected me a little bit but it didn't affect my result," said Goss. "I was two positions behind Sagan, and I saw him going out. As for the other riders, I didn't see (what happened) at all. A race is always as dangerous as bike riders make it. Today's road at the end wasn't so bad, but some guys went too fast."
Sagan's back wheel slipped out in a curve near the end as his teammate Valerio Agnoli delivered him into fourth position with 300 metres to go.
"It looks like [Heinrich] Haussler was finishing a bit quicker than me, but I didn't bother where he was in the sprint, I was just concerned about going to the finishing line," said Goss, whose non-European wins of the year include the Jayco Bay Crits series, the Cancer Council Classic and stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia, as well as stage 2 at the Tour of Oman.
"I have no specific number of wins I want to get for this year but I also have no limit," he said. "(With) Andre Greipel leaving the team, it takes a lot of wins away. I don't pretend to replace him with the same number of wins, but I'll take as much as I can.
"My season will be as long as last year because I plan to race the world championship in Denmark. I'll take a break after Paris-Roubaix, and hopefully I'll ride the Tour de France, which is one of the races I haven't done yet. Going for the win at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix is a big call, it'll only be the second time I'll take part in these Classics but Gent-Wevelgem is definitely a race I can win, I've already come in third."
His first Classic of the year will be Milan-San Remo next week. "It all depends on the race," he said. "If (Mark) Cavendish is at the front, I'll probably help him, if not, I'll race for myself."