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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Date published:
April 25, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Froome still battling parasitic infection

    Chris Froome (Sky)
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 11:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sky rider finally “ready to race again” this season

    Chris Froome of Team Sky is once again battling bilharzia (schistosomiasis), a disease caused by parasitic worms. He suffered from the disease for much of 2011, recovering in time to finish second overall in the Vuelta a Espana, and had hoped to be rid of it for good. But blood tests this year revealed he still had the parasites in his system.

    Froome apparently picked up the disease on a trip to his native Kenya in November 2010.  He suffered through much of 2011, but thought he had conquered the problem.

    He is now riding the Tour de Romandie, with very little racing in his legs so far this season. He didn't feel quite right at the team training camp in Mallorca in January, and had to abandon the Volta ao Algarve with a chest infection.

    That infection kept him in bed for two weeks and “then lingered on for another two weeks, preventing me from making the start at Paris-Nice,” he wrote on his personal website. Once he finally felt better, he suffered a training crash the middle of March, “which had me in hospital for the day – luckily only leaving with a chin-full of stitches.”

    But after that blood tests “revealed active bilharzia parasites in my system, which I have been trying to get rid of for the past 18 months. This would explain why the chest infection affected me so severely and it took me so long to get over.”

    Since then, the 26-year-old has been able train well the last three weeks while undergoing treatment, “and all the signs are looking good. It will probably still take me a bit of time to get used to the race rhythm again but physically and mentally I’m now ready to...

  • New Twitter policy for Omega Pharma-QuickStep riders

    The Omega Pharma-Quickstep team checks out the new Tour of Flanders course
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 13:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team boss implements one-hour ban after races

    With social media becoming more and more ubiquitous in sport and the wider world, Omega Pharma-QuickStep sporting director Brian Holm has moved to impose some level of control on the way his riders use Twitter and Facebook.

    The 49-year-old Dane has banned his riders from using their Twitter accounts within an hour of finishing races, when emotions can be running high, and logic and reason can go out of the window. It brings a new slant on the phrase 'think before you speak', and is one that Tom Boonen and his teammates will have to follow.

    "The only rule we have on our team is that they do not send Twitter messages out before an hour after the finish," he told ekstrabladet.dk.

    "I think they just need to get their rawest emotion out of their minds after a sprint. Otherwise they get might write something they regret. I think you just have to think twice before sending a Twitter message that might bother someone."

    Holm stated that he doesn't use social media sites himself, but that if used properly they can be good for the sport. Anything that adds colour and debate, within reason, can only be a good thing in his opinion.

    "It creates some debate, and personally I think it's okay when the riders get annoyed with each other a little," he said. "I cannot stand it when no one has an opinion about things. It's the last thing I want. I like people who dare. You should have your say about things.

    "I especially like what Mark Cavendish has to say. He comes up with some venom, and people love it or hate it. And it's not anything that moves his focus from the racing."

  • Joe Martin Stage Race celebrates 35th anniversary

    The Joe Martin stage race
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 14:28 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Arkansas NRC event gets underway Thursday

    Fayetteville, Arkansas' Joe Martin Stage Race will be celebrating its 35th edition when the event kicks off on April 26 with a 2.5-mile uphill time trial at Devil's Den State Park on Thursday.

    The race began as the Fayetteville Spring Classic cycle race in 1978, but was re-named after the death of long-time race director Joe Martin in 1988. It is the third stop on USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar (NRC).

    "Being able to celebrate 35 years of any event, especially this race, speaks a lot about this community, the racers, and the fans that come and support it," said Bruce Dunn, race director and owner of All Sports Productions, Inc. "A lot of great races aren't around after 10 years, and here we are, celebrating our 35th year as a race. That is such a great accomplishment for the community and for the supporters of this event."

    The four-day, four-stage race will offer more than $55,000 in cash and merchandise to competitors across 11 categories in addition to important NRC points for elite men and women.

    Defending men's champion Frank Pipp will return with the Bissell Pro Cycling Team, which last year helped him wrest the race's overall lead from Spaniard Francisco Mancebo on the final stage.

    Mancebo will be out for revenge with his Competitive Cyclist team, according to his director Gord Fraser. "Last year we came to Joe Martin to win the overall prize and we literally had the leader's jersey ripped off our backs. This year's race is one of our key events and we will be coming for the win."

    In the women's field, a new winner is guaranteed with the absence of last year's race winner Janel Holcomb (Optum/Kelly Benefit Strategies), and 2010 winner and US road race champion Robin Farina (Now & Novartis).

    The race begins Thursday, April 26th with a 2.5-mile climb out of Devil's Den State Park, continues with a road race (110 miles for men, 64 for women) on Friday.

    On Saturday,...

  • Ster ZLM Toer loses first stage to conflict with football championships

    Probably the most photographed windmill in all of Holland
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 16:09 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Netherlands-Germany match same evening as opening 7km time trial

    The Ster ZLM Toer will be only four days long this year since it has lost its prologue due to a conflict with the European football championship.

    The 7km first stage was to be held on the evening of Wednesday, June 13, in Alblasserdam.  However, arch-rivals Germany and the Netherlands are scheduled to play a match that same evening at the UEFA European Championships in the Ukraine.

    "There is a police regulation against holding conflicting events, and the enthusiasm was obviously not very high to start the race on this day,” race board of director member Anton Ganzeboom told the ANP news agency.  “Next year we hope to fill five days again on the UCI calendar.”

  • Terpstra selected for Dutch road race team at London 2012 Olympics

    A jubilant Niki Terpstra on the podium
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 16:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dwars door Vlaanderen winner first rider named

    Niki Terpstra is the first rider named to the Dutch team for the cycling road race at the London 2012 Olympics. Olympic coach Leo van Vliet announced the selection of the Dwars door Vlaanderen-Waregem winner on Wednesday.

    “This certainly gives confidence,” the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider told the ANP news agency. “I will not start as favourite in London, but hope to suprise positively. I am an aggressive rider and will certainly look for a good result.”

    Van Vliet said he made the decision based on Terpstra's strong performances so far this Spring. "I think the pure sprinters will find it difficult  in London, the rise in the course - Box Hill - is hard and makes me think of the Camerig in Limburg. It is a course for Classics specialists and therefore very suitable for Niki. I asked him now to give him security so he can focus on this important race.”

  • Highly-motivated Team NetApp takes aim at Giro d'Italia

    Team NetApp on the podium
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 19:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German team tackles first Grand Tour without Czech climber König

    Team NetApp is headed to its first Grand Tour highly motivated and filled with confidence from its recent victories. Jan Barta, who won both the Settimana Coppi e Bartali and Rund um Köln this year, will lead the team in the Giro d'Italia.

    The Professional Continental team will have to do without Czech climber Leo König, who is having back problems.

    “Our successes over the last few weeks were shared amongst several members of the team, and we’ll be employing this philosophy for the Giro too,” said team manager Ralph Denk. “We are conscious that the overall ranking is not an issue for us, so we’ll take things day by day. The riders’ form is right and all of them are strong enough to get some good results.”

    Barta, 27, will rely on his experience and confidence gained from the team's first wins in its two years at the Profesional Continental level. He will be supported by two riders with Giro experience, Matthias Brändle and Bartosz Huzarski, who wore the leader's jersey for one stage at the Settimana.   Climbers Andreas Dietziker and Reto Hollenstein will be joined by Cesare Benedetti, who also wore the leader's jersey at the Settimana for one stage.

    The team will be rounded out by Daniel Schorn and Timon Seubert , who “have proven their speed and fighting spirit in Classics like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.”The ninth rider will be chosen later this week.

    Enrico Poitschke will share sport director duties with Jens Heppner, who celebrated 10 days in the maglia rosa as race leader in 2002.  “Three weeks of cycling at...

  • Mixed selection for Vacansoleil-DCM in Giro d'Italia

    The 2012 Vacansoleil team
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 20:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch team looking for stage win in second appearance at Italian Grand Tour

    Vacansoleil-DCM is sending a mixed team to the Giro d'Italia – nine riders from eight countries, and a combination of talents for all aspects of the first Grand Tour of the 2012 season. The Dutch team's aim is to win a stage this year, its second appearance in the Italian race.

    The line-up announced Tuesday is: Martijn Keizer (The Netherlands), Thomas De Gendt (Belgium), Mirko Selvaggi, Matteo Carrara (Italy), Stefan Denifl (Austria), Tomasz Marczynski (Poland), Sergey Lagutin (Uzbekistan), Gustav-Erik Larsson (Sweden) and Romain Feillu (France).

     “Early in the year we spoke with riders about aiming on the Giro. This means that those riders had a long time to prepare,” said sport director Jean-Paul van Poppel.

    “The current selection seems well balanced and ready for the adventure. We have got a sprinter, time trial specialists, climbers and possible general classification riders. A real team to go for a stage win which is hopefully able to continue the growth the team showed in 2012 stage races.”

    Marczynski, who is also Polish national champion for both the road and time trial, will be the only one on the team making his Grand Tour debut. Larsson won the closing time trial of the 2010 Giro whilst with Team Saxo Bank.

    The team's only Danish rider, Martin Mortensen, who had hoped to ride in the race which starts it his homeland, is the team's first reserve rider. “The decision for the last spot was very hard and it is a pity for Martin that he is not there. He knows our reasons and took the loss like a sportsman,” said van Poppel.

  • New time trial for 2012 Nature Valley Grand Prix

    Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) in the final yellow jersey with the men's trophy.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 22:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Longer opening stage to NRC stage race

    The opening time trial of the Nature Valley Grand Prix will change for 2012 due to street construction on the original course. The new test will be 7.7 miles, up from the 6.1 mile course used in the past. The five day race is the seventh of ten races in the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, and is slated for June 13-17 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.

    The new course for the time trial will begin to the west of downtown St. Paul near the Ford Dam and follow the Mississippi river north. While it will skip the Ohio Street climb of past years, the organisers promise "a series of technical rollers" that keep the total amount of climbing equal to previous years.

    Jonas Carney, the team director of the Optum Pro Cycling/Kelly Benefit Strategies squad of last year's champion Jesse Anthony sees the change as a benefit.

    "The longer time trial favors our team, because we have so many strong TT guys", said Carney. "We've had three riders in the Nature Valley Grand Prix yellow jersey: Zwiz (Scott Zwizanski) and (Tom) Zirbel won the time trial on the previous course while (Jesse) Anthony is the defending champion. We have to have a strong TT and hopefully take the jersey. Then if the jersey changes hands, we have to make sure it still says Optum on the front."

    The Nature Valley Grand Prix has also continued its policy of banning the use of aero equipment in the time trial.

    "Time trials are tests of sustained power, aero position and pain tolerance", said race director David LaPorte said. "We want to take equipment differences out of the equation, particularly since small budget teams can't afford to bring time trial bikes. Our time trial is a test of athlete versus athlete and the best time trialists will still have the top results. For example, four of the top five women in last year's race were also top five the next weekend at the USA Cycling Time Trial Championships, where they used full aero equipment."

    Wednesday,...