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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Date published:
March 20, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Thomas won't necessarily lead Sky in key Flanders warm-up

    Another day in ochre for Geraint Thomas (Sky).
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 8:51 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    No ill-effects after Milan-San Remo crash

    Geraint Thomas elected to be on the start line on Wednesday for Team Sky at Dwars door Vlaanderen, with the Welshman initially supposed to be racing Gent-Wevelgem following Milan-San Remo last Sunday.

    According to sports director Servais Knaven, Thomas has had no residual effects from a crash during La Primavera, lucky to escape serious injury in the atrocious conditions.

    "'G' was not on the list beforehand and yesterday [Monday] he asked to ride tomorrow," Knaven told Cyclingnews on the eve of Flemish cycling week. "It's his choice so that means he is up for it."

    What it doesn't mean however, according to Knaven, is that 2011 runner-up Thomas will be the designated leader on the road. Lining up alongside Thomas will be Mathew Hayman, who will be looking to ramp up his form, another proven solid performer on the 199.7km course with three top-10 performances since 2009.

    "We have a really strong team so I think many riders can be up in the front tomorrow," admitted Knaven. "We'll see how the race develops. It's hard to... it's a one day race and it's not the Tour of Flanders. Other teams will have different tactics to what they have in Flanders... every single rider has the abilities to get a good result."

    It's been three weeks since this classics group within Sky has raced, going down the path of training over racing at a 12-day high-altitude training camp in Tenerife prior to last weekend. In doing so, the team was largely shielded from the intense scrutiny and suspicion which was the result of solid performances at both Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice where the overall was won by Richie Porte. Despite the fact that Tenerife has a reputation for being a convenient escape from anti-doping...

  • Becca dismisses RadioShack sponsorship withdrawal speculation

    Team owner Flavio Becca with Fabian Cancellara
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 9:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Says it's up to riders to bring in results

    RadioShack-Leopard team owner Flavio Becca has called a report that the name sponsor will leave he team at the end of the season “pure speculation.”  He acknowledged that the sponsorship contract expires this year, but said that no one from the company has been in touch with him to discuss it.

    Becca also was not satisfied with Andy Schleck's explanation of an alleged drunken episode and warned his troubled captain that he needed to bring in good results in races, as does the whole team.

    On Tuesday, L'Equipe reported that RadioShack would not renew its sponsorship, due to a combination of corporate financial difficulties and problems within cycling and the team itself.

    That story “is pure speculation,” Becca told  “We don't yet know whether RadioShack will continue next year. What is sure is that the season will continue for a long time. We are constantly having discussions with our sponsors.

    “The team must prove itself. With good results, we can give sponsors a reason to be involved with us. No one from RadioShack has contacted me to discuss an end of our co-operation.”

    Becca confirmed that a new sponsor will be introduced this spring, but not a major one. “Instead it will be a smaller investor, who we will present in April or May. This has absolutely nothing to do with a possible withdrawal by RadioShack. It simply deals with a further sponsor who wants to join us.”

    The team manager showed his dissatisfaction with Schleck's comments on his behavior in a Munich airport hotel after Tirreno-Adriatico, where he was alleged to have drunk in public. In a television interview on Monday night,

  • Garmin Sharp to Dwars door Vlaanderen without clear leader

    Sebastien Rosseler (Garmin-Sharp) seeks a smooth line up the Molenberg.
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 10:29 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Farrar resting, Nuyens and Maaskant injured

    With an injury-hit squad and Tyler Farrar resting ahead of E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, Garmin-Sharp head into Wednesday' Dwars door Vlaanderen with relatively little pressure on their shoulders.

    The American WorldTour team had to wait until Paris-Nice to pick up their first win of the season courtesy of Andrew Talansky and directeur sportif Geert Van Bondt says he will use Wednesday's race as an indicator of rider form ahead of biggest spring objectives.

    Dwars door Vlaanderen is 199 kilometres but the race can been broken up into two distinct sections. The first 90 kilometres are relatively flat but the second half of the race sees the peloton take on 13 bergs before the finish in Waregen. In essence it's a practice run ahead of E3, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders: all of which, unlike Dwars door Vlaanderen are WorldTour status.

    "We'll work on our own tactics and maybe try to control the early breaks and then we'll try and help our leader to the Kattenberg and help the front and then Andreas Klier, David Millar, Jack Bauer and Seb Rosseler can have an open race and we'll see how far they can go. This will give me a good indication as to how they're going for the weekend races," Van Bondt told Cyclingnews.

    The team will be without Tyler Farrar, who is recovering from his Milan-San Remo crash and aiming at E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. Nick Nuyens, - the 2011 winner of the Tour of Flanders - is continuing his recuperation from a knee injury, while the team...

  • Report: All Operacion Puerto blood bags located

    Eufemiano Fuentes was at the center of Operacion Puerto
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 11:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    19 ‘clients’ of 36 remain unidentified, although all cyclists or athletes

    After years of speculation, a report in El País on Wednesday claims that all 216 blood bags seized during the Operacion Puerto anti-doping probe in 2006 have finally been accounted for. The 216 are all in storage Barcelona’s Anti-Doping lab, El País reports, and belong to 36 different athletes or cyclists.

    Now seven years old and counting, Operación Puerto has become a byword for contradicting and confusing media reports, with one of the main outstanding issues a clear identification of the number, nature and location of the blood bags, as well as which sportspeople provided the blood itself. That judicial reports have stated different numbers of blood bags seized has hardly helped matters, with up to 223 reported found.

    In what appears to be a definitive report, El País says there are 216, but only 211 were actually destined for reinfusion. The other five, labelled - with macabre humour typical of Fuentes - ‘sangría’ were apparently for using as a counterweight during the process of centrifugation.

    The blood was sent in two shipments to Barcelona, one of 99 bags and the other of 117. However, that 96 of the bags in the second shipment are then officially reported to total 52 is not due to some being lost on the way; rather, the figure 52 refers to the number of boxes in which they were contained. Each box corresponded to one athlete and could contain up to four bags. A further 21 bags came in individual units, because they were still due to be processed and placed in the deep freeze coffer, codenamed Siberia, that Fuentes used for long-term storage.

    Of the 36 athletes, some had both blood bags and plasma. El País claims that Francisco Mancebo - codenamed Porras or Goku - had no fewer than 20 in total in Fuentes’ system and another six riders had more than 10. The paper divides up the total of 36 clients into 12 athletes, 23...

  • On the startline of Dwars Door Vlaanderen

    Gang Xu (Champion System Pro Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 12:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Gallery of images from Belgian one-day race

    If the peloton thought that the bad weather from Milan-San Remo was behind them, they were in for a shock on the start line of Dwars Door Vlaanderen in Roeselare on Wednesday morning. Snap cold temperatures and sleet greeted the peloton as they gathered on the start line for race that will kick-start the next three weeks of cobbled classics in Belgium.

    Dwars door Vlaanderen may lack the WorldTour status of its counterparts E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders but nonetheless it provides a key indicator of form. Although Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan have chosen the skip this year’s race, the field comprises of a number of Classics specialists.

    Juan Antonio Flecha may be approaching the twilight of his career but the Spaniard was in confident mood ahead of the race, telling Cyclingnews that his form continued to improve in recent weeks. His former Sky teammates Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard were also in Roeselare with the pair looking to find their feet before Gent-Wevelgem and Flanders.

    And while home favourites, Boonen, Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet abstained from racing (BMC did not enter the race) the partisan crowds still had the Stijn Devolder, Gert Steegmans, and the ever popular Nico Eeckhout to cheer.


  • Sciandri to be Italian coach from 2014, says Di Rocco

    Fabio Baldato and Max Sciandri are part of BMC's management.
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 14:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Bettini will manage at Florence Worlds, with Sciandri as "external collaborator"

    Paolo Bettini is likely to continue as Italian national team coach at the world championships in Florence in September before handing over the reins to Max Sciandri in 2014, according to Italian Cycling Federation president Renato Di Rocco.

    In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Di Rocco said that Sciandri, who is currently a directeur sportif at BMC, will be an “external collaborator” with the federation this year, while Bettini will continue as national team coach before stepping into the role of general technical manager next season.

    Di Rocco was speaking ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the federal council of the FCI in Rome, where he hoped Sciandri’s position would be ratified.

    “I’ll propose to the council that Sciandri immediately becomes an external collaborator to Paolo Bettini,” Di Rocco told Gazzetta. “In agreement with hi team [BMC], we will establish the days that he will work with Italy so that Sciandri can talk with the various Italian coaches, set down his plans and bring his experience.

    “Bettini will remain as commissario tecnico [national team coach] this year and will then become the general technical director. So we’re establishing a first relationship with Sciandri and we will go forward to Florence. Then we’re hoping that when the season finishes in the autumn, he can become commissario tecnico on a full-time basis.”

    Earlier this week BMC issued a denial of any offer from the Italian federation for Sciandri. "I have no official offer from the national federation," Sciandri said. "Until there's an offer, my obligation is with the BMC Racing Team." Although BMC team general manager Jim Ochowicz offered his support of the hiring. "Should he be...

  • Teutenberg to miss Spring Classics

    Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Specialized/lululemon) pacing with teammate Stevens
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 16:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    German recovering from severe concussion

    Ina-Yoko Teutenberg will be out for the Spring Classics this year. The Specialized-Lululemon rider is still suffering from a severe concussion suffered several weeks ago.

    “Team+me came to decision of me being out for spring season! Face is healed but concussion is not+doc sidelined me! Sad to miss the classics!” she tweeted.

    The 38-year-old suffered the injury in a crash at the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo on March 7.

    “She needs time to recover from it. Right now we can't tell when she will come back,” team manager Ronny Lauke told “She won't be able to train for the next two weeks. Then we will see.”

    Teutenberg is expected to miss all of the Belgian World Cups.

  • Bauer sustains concussion in Dwars door Vlaanderen crash

    Jack Bauer (Garmin Sharp) is presented to the crowd at the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    March 20, 2013, 17:17 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Kiwi quickly released from hospital

    The vision of Garmin Sharp's Jack Bauer lying motionless on the side of the road at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday was frightening but as the race was reaching its conclusion in Waregem, the New Zealander was already back in the team bus following a visit to hospital.

    With just under 60km left to race, Bauer along with Gatis Smukulis (Katusha), both within the main peloton, crashed on a narrow section of the Eikenberg. While Smukulis began picking himself up, Bauer took the impact on the side of his head and was lying on the ground next to some snow, still clipped in to his pedals and not appearing to move.

    "We were pretty scared in the car when we saw he was injured," Garmin Sharp directeur sportif Geert Van Bondt told Cyclingnews.

    "There was a lot of dirt on the road," he explained. "I know the corner because I live there and I know how dangerous it is. With the dirt you can do nothing. I guess he slipped or somebody crashed before him. We also had no information we just saw him lying there. I think it was a pretty nasty crash. You also have the descent so you go 50 or 60km/h."

    The Eikenberg was also the site of the crash that claimed Bauer's teammate David Millar at the E3 Harelbeke in 2012, albeit Wednesday's accident occurred on a different road, around 2km away.

    Bauer was transported to hospital in Oudenaarde but was soon released with team doctor Kevin Sprouse then observing the 27-year-old back in the team bus. Sprouse told Cyclingnews that Bauer had a good recollection of the events leading up to and after the incident, despite having been briefly unconscious.

    "It's a very good sign," he explained. "He's in great spirits, the doctors at the hospital saw him and released...