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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Date published:
April 06, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Schleck has "nothing to hide" over Camelbak use

    Fränk Schleck (Leopard Trek) in his aero time trial position
    Article published:
    April 06, 2011, 6:11 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Leopard Trek rider didn't know he could possibly be breaking UCI rules

    Frank Schleck says he is shocked following the International Cycling Union (UCI) announcing they are investigating his use of a Camelbak hydration pack in the decisive final time trial in the Criterium International.

    "I do not think I have done anything wrong," Schleck told Luxembourg daily Le Quotidien.

    The Leopard Trek rider was allowed to start the time trial by UCI officials present at the race but he may have broken rule 1.3.033 which says "it is forbidden to wear non-essential items of clothing or items designed to influence the performances of a rider such as reducing air resistance or modifying the body of the rider."

    "I'm surprised [by the investigation]," Schleck admitted in the interview. "When I heard that, I did not understand. I used a CamelBak but I do not know if it saves me time. What I know is that we wanted to test the material for the lap times on a longer course like the Tour de France, for example. I did not know the CamelBak could be considered as prohibited."

    Gazzetta dello Sport first raised questions over Schleck’s use of the hydration pack with the Italian newspaper suggesting that the Camelbak could give an advantage of two seconds per kilometre at a speed of 50km/h. Schleck finished seven seconds slower than main rival Vasili Kiryienka (Movistar) in the 7.8km time trial but hung on to win the overall classification by 13 seconds.

    "In Corsica, the press and the...

  • Rabobank to wear a Ride for the Roses jersey in Amstel Gold Race

    The rose-bedecked Rabobank jersey for the Amstel Gold Race
    Article published:
    April 06, 2011, 9:34 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dutch team supports cancer charity race

    The Rabobank riders will wear a special 'floral' jersey and “Ride for the Roses” at the Amstel Gold Race on April 17. The specially designed kit will promote the charity event to be held in September in Aalsmeer.

    Last year's Ride for the Roses featured more than 10,000 participants and raised more than 800,000 Euros for the fight against cancer. This year's race will be on September 5, and a selection from the pro team will participate. The Dutch Ride for the Roses is similar to the US Ride for the Roses weekend promoted by Lance Armstrong's Livestrong charity. The US event was first held in Texas in 1997 and in the Netherlands in 1998. It has since become an annual event.

    The team has already received approval from both the International Cycling Union and the race organisers to wear the special jersey, which features a rose on the front.

    At last year's Giro d'Italia,the Dutch team also wore a special jersey. The jersey featured an additional stripe in the Italian colours to honour the start of the race in the Netherlands. It also had the logo of Right to Play, another charity the team has supported for several years.

  • Rasmussen winning less but happy at HTC-Highroad

    Denmark's Alex Rasmussen looks pretty pleased with the evening's progress
    Article published:
    April 06, 2011, 10:21 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Danish sprinter hopes to get a chance in a breakaway

    Alex Rasmussen has accepted that he probably will not get as many wins with HTC-Highroad as he did last season with Team Saxo Bank, but the Dane is still happy that he changed teams.

    "I'm probably not going to win as much as I could have done at Saxo Bank, where I had lots of chances. I can't even see where I should get a result,” he told the Ritzau news agency. “Every time I come to a race, we have a sprinter who is faster than I am.”

    However the 26-year-old is not angry. “It's probably healthy for me that it is this way. I'll have to be in a break if I want to get a result.”

    Rasmussen is happy to help his teammates, but didn't feel as if he had really done that so far. “I feel comfortable with that role as long I can do something useful. But I have felt reasonably useless here in Belgium,” he said.

    “The frustration in these races is that no matter how good a result the team has, you don't feel that you have contributed something.”

    Rasmussen is riding today's Scheldeprijs in support of Mark Cavendish, who won the race in 2007. He will then make his Paris-Roubaix debut on Sunday.

  • Team NetApp gearing up for Paris-Roubaix

    Then NetApp took over on the front
    Article published:
    April 06, 2011, 12:26 BST
    Cycling News

    Young German team eager for first WorldTour race

    Team NetApp is preparing to take on its first WorldTour race, Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. The German Professional Continental team's line-up will feature only two riders who have ridden “the Hell of the North” before, but will also include previous winners of the U23 and U19 races.

    Sprinter Eric Baumann won the Espoirs/U23 version of the race in 2000, and has ridden the elite race in 2005 and 2007. “Even though the most recent races did not go well for us, I am firmly convinced that we will deliver a strong race at Paris-Roubaix. For me personally it’s the most wicked race ever, and I’m really burning for it to happen!” he said on the team's website.

    The other race veteran is Steven Cozza, who has ridden the race for the last two years, and hoped for, “ a result that I can be proud of, and support my team with my experience.”

    Young Swiss rider Michael Baer won the Juniors version of the race in 2005, and will be making his elite debut. “It will be my sixth start (two times Juniors, three times U23), but my first time with the pros! The distance and the speed will be much higher this year, which is why my expectations are not so high, but for sure I would like to arrive in the Velodrome in Roubaix and at least win the fight against myself and the route.”

    Alexander Gottfried rode the race as an espoir in 2004, and has special memories. “I remember 2004. It was simply indescribable riding the last two laps in the stadium and then showering in the infamous showers of Roubaix. You have the feeling there that the ghosts of earlier races are with you.”

    Directeur Sportif Enrico Poitschke has also ridden the race, in 2006...

  • Scheldeprijs: start line gallery

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) before the start of Scheldeprijs.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2011, 13:05 BST
    Cycling News

    A day for the sprinters on the road to Schoten?

    Clear blue skies and pleasant sunshine greeted the peloton as it gathered in Antwerp for the start of Scheldeprijs. With no hills on the course and little wind to disturb the riders as they headed east towards the Dutch border, the odds were on a bunch sprint back in Schoten this afternoon.

    As expected, there was no shortage of fast men on the start line. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) was in typically determined mood as he rode to sign on, but the Manxman will face stiff opposition as he bids to take his second win of the season. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) is the defending champion, and he will be marshalled by Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler in the finale.

    Other sprinters who should be in the mix include the experienced Robbie McEwen (RadioShack), Juan José Haedo (Saxo Bank-SunGard), Theo Bos (Rabobank) and the promising Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha), who was an impressive stage winner in De Panne last week.

    Edvald Boasson Hagen heads up a strong Sky line-up that can also rely on Chris Sutton and Juan Antonio Flecha for firepower. Tom Boonen is one of four potential sprint winners in the Quick Step roster, and he may well be on the hunt for a morale-boosting win after his 4th place finish in the Tour of Flanders.

    For some riders, however, Scheldeprijs is primarily about keeping their form ticking over ahead of Paris-Roubaix, and to that end Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) was also at the start in Antwerp. The Swiss rider is in confident mood ahead of the weekend, and he will enjoy his final tune-up on the flat 200km course to Schoten.

  • Cancellara only slightly slower on Muur in 2011 Tour of Flanders

    Fabian Cancellara lacked the snap to detonate Sylvain Chavanel on the Kapelmuur
    Article published:
    April 06, 2011, 13:54 BST
    Cycling News

    Gilbert quicker on Muur in 2011 than Cancellara in 2010, says L’Équipe

    Fabian Cancellara’s (Leopard Trek) long-range bid for Tour of Flanders victory may have appeared to grind to a halt on the slopes of the Muur-Kapelmuur on Sunday, but L’Équipe reports that the Swiss rider was only five seconds slower on the climb than he was in the 2010 edition of the race. Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was the quickest rider on the Muur this year, and his time was itself four seconds better than Cancellara's in 2010.

    Last year, Cancellara delivered a stunning exhibition on the Muur, powering clear of an in-form Tom Boonen (Quick Step) near the summit and soloing to victory in Meerbeke. On Sunday, Cancellara was caught by the chase group on the lower slopes of the climb, although he still managed to put in a significant acceleration towards the top.

    On reviewing television footage of the last two Tours of Flanders, L’Équipe revealed that Cancellara’s 2011 ride was close to the level of his effort from twelve months ago. The French newspaper clocked Cancellara’s ascent of the 475m that make up the Muur “proper” at 1:47 in 2010, while he rode up it in 1:52 (for an average speed of 15.2kph) in 2011.

    L’Équipe’s analysis also demonstrates that Cancellara lost his lead on the preceding cobbled false flat at Vesten rather than on the Muur itself. Cancellara and his breakaway companion Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) held an advantage of 50 seconds on entering Geraardsbergen, but that had fallen to 11 seconds once the climb began in earnest a couple of kilometres later.

    However, the quickest rider up the Muur on Sunday was Philippe Gilbert. It was the Belgian’s searing acceleration that brought the chasers back up to the two...

  • Basso quits the Vuelta a Pais Vasco

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Cannondale)
    Article published:
    April 06, 2011, 17:08 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian struggling with illness

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) quit the Vuelta al Pais Vasco during Wednesday’s 180km third stage to Murgia.

    Basso was sixteenth overall, 18 seconds down on leader Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) after the opening two stages. Fellow Italian Danilo Di Luca (Katusha) and Basso’s teammate Mauro Finetto also quit the race during the stage.

    “It was difficult but it’s the right decision. I went deep to stay with the leaders on the opening two stages but I was feeling worse and worse,” Basso said in a statement issued by his Liquigas-Cannondale team.

    “I didn’t feel very good in Catalunya but thought I’d get over it. But after talking with the directeur sportif and Amadio (the Liquigas-Cannondale team manager), we decided that the best thing to do was to stop now. I’m really sorry but with two big races like Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege coming up, I can’t take any risks.”

    Basso will head home to Italy on Thursday and undergo medical tests with the team doctor Roberto Corsetti.

    “The way Ivan feels makes us think the problems he had during Tirreno-Adriatico have affected him in some way,” Amadio said.
    “We think it’s better for him to stop, rest up and undergo a detailed check-up. We don’t want to risk his next important objectives.”

    Basso has yet to confirm he will not ride this year’s Giro d’Italia but is widely expected to focus on the Tour de France.

  • Giro debuts new Aeon helmet at Ronde van Vlaanderen

    Giro's Aeon helmet blends the best attributes of its feathery Prolight and the breezy Ionos into a new flagship model.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2011, 18:08 BST
    James Huang in Kortrijk, Belgium

    New Giro Aeon helmet blends Ionos ventilation with Prolight weight

    Giro's new Aeon helmet mixes the DNA of its two top-end road helmets - the Ionos and Prolight - into a single model that offers the superb ventilation of the former but the lightweight of the latter.

    The weight is indeed striking for a helmet that appears to make no compromises in its quest to shave grams. Our CE-certified small sample weighs just 190g, making it just less than 30g heavier than an equivalent Prolight (but still about 100g lighter than an Ionos) while CPSC versions will tack on only another 30g or so.

    According to Giro product manager Warren Gravely, one of the main ways the company was able to bring the weight of the Aeon down so low was with the new Thermoformed SL roll cage, a one-piece internal reinforcement structure 49 percent lighter than the multi-piece fiber composite one in the Ionos. Interestingly, the Thermoformed SL structure is made of the same polycarbonate material as the Aeon's outer shell - effectively making the new helmet a dual-layered helmet with a shell within a shell.

    Additional weight saving measures include size-specific (and safety standard-specific) foam densities, ultralight webbing material borrowed from the Prolight, and slimmer lockable sliders that still allow for full adjustment like the Ionos but with fewer grams. Though it wasn't done in time for the first production runs, Giro says 2012 model year helmets will also get a slightly lighter-weight buckle.

    The Thermoformed SL cage also allowed for bigger vents like on the Ionos, unlike the Prolight, which had to make do with smaller ports since there was no internal structure to help hold everything together in the event of an impact. Material has been removed from right next to the rider's head for more minimal contact, too, while the deep internal channels and 25 vents are oriented more inline front-to-rear for supposedly more direct airflow while the rider is moving.

    Giro hasn't conducted any instrumented headform...