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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Date published:
March 21, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Video: Haussler on a mission after Milan-San Remo disappointment

    Heinrich Haussler off the front trying to shake things up.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 3:31 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Australian Classics rider ready for Dwars Door Vlaanderen

    Dropped on the Cipressa at Milan-San Remo and ruled out of the podium places by a crash, Heinrich Haussler is a man on a mission as he heads into Wednesday’s Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

    The Garmin-Barracuda rider will form part of a three-pronged attack with Sep Vanmarcke and Tyler Farrar joining him as captains for the American team.

    Haussler told Cyclingnews before San Remo that he had reached some of the best form he’s had since 2009 and that despite his  result in San Remo he is still confident of performing well in Belgium, with a full month of racing ahead of him.

    Dwars Vlaanderen could be one of his best bets for success and in this exclusive video for Cyclingnews Haussler talks about his San Remo , as well as his chances for Dwars Door Vlaanderen and the rest of the Spring Classics.

  • Feed zone crash may prove costly for Valverde

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was banged up and a bit stunned after crashing.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 5:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep get their revenge at Catalunya

    The good fortune of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) may have run out on Stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya, with the Spaniard crashing heavily with 55km left to race.

    Despite assistance from several teammates, Valverde was unable to regain contact with the peloton and finished 2:09 down on the winning time of Michael Albasini (GreenEdge). In a twist of fate, the front group’s pace was being driven by Omega Pharma – QuickStep who lost out to Movistar’s similar tactics last week at Paris-Nice when Levi Leipheimer crashed on the penultimate stage.

    "Just as we were heading out of the feed zone, there was a bottle on the road, the front wheel got over it and I crashed on my right side against a curb," said Valverde in a team statement. "I got on my feet again but I was feeling mostly dizzy after the crash and I lost some time prior to departing again. I was a bit out of consciousness, it was hard to get back on racing pace and that's why it was difficult to bridge."

    "These things happen: sometimes everything's good, sometimes everything goes wrong. The route was really good for me, but this is a rider's life. Leaving the bad side apart, we have to be happy. I have much pain, especially on the right side, in my shoulder. Let's see how we rest and wake up to evaluate what we can do tomorrow."

    Directeur sportif José Luis Arrieta admitted that the events of Paris-Nice may have worked against the team on Tuesday.

    "With so many riders pushing ahead, it was so difficult to bridge the gap," said Arrieta. "There was a lot of interest in stopping the group from catching up by...

  • Farrar driven for Classics success

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 8:50 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    American admits "San Remo didn't go well"

    Why be a sprinter or a Classics specialist when you can be both? That's a rather simplistic way of dissecting the ambitious nature and aspirations of Tyler Farrar, who is once again set to co-lead Garmin-Barrcuda's assault on the Spring Classics.

    The American flyer is coming off the back of a disappointing outing at Milan-San Remo where he was dropped after the first serious climb of the race but despite the setback, and his winless start to 2012, he remains quietly optimistic ahead of the remainder of the spring Classics. But come the finish line of Paris-Roubaix, Farrar will switch focus to sprinting and his Giro d'Italia and Tour de France rides.

    "It's fair to say that San-Remo didn't go well," he told Cyclingnews on the eve of Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

    "It wasn't my day. I made it over Le Manie and then it split when we came back down to coast and that was it. I never saw the front of the race again, which was pretty frustrating. I guess you could say it was a positioning thing, in the sense that I was going backwards. I hung on at the back of the bunch but as soon as it split, that was it."

    Despite his result in Italy, Farrar is chalking up the experience as solid training, adding the 300 kilometres from Milan to San Remo to an already busy training period that has seen him replace sprinting sessions with time on the cobbles of Belgium.

    Having based himself in Gent for a number of years he is well accustomed to the roads and conditions but as soon as the Classics are mentioned Farrar's eyes light up, displaying part of...

  • Valverde out of Volta a Catalunya following second stage crash

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) remounting after a crash which occurred soon after exiting the day's second feed zone.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 9:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Bad weather and big mountains don't go well with painful shoulder

    Alejandro Valverde has abandoned the Volta a Catalunya following a crash in the second stage. He will not be at the start of stage three, Team Movistar announced on Wednesday morning.

    “The rain and gruelling mountain route that await us in the Pyrenees today discourage his participation because of the pains in his shoulder after falling yesterday,” the team said on Facebook.

    Valverde crashed over a water bottle on the road just after the feed zone and hit the curb with his right side. He eventually continued racing, suffering from dizziness and “much pain, especially on the right side, in my shoulder.” He eventually finished 2:09 behind stage winner and overall leader Michael Albasini of GreenEdge.

    Movistar will be reduced to only six riders in the race as Javier Moreno will also not start on Wednesday due to gastrointestinal problems.


  • Zaballa suspended for nine months for ephedrine use

    2005 winner Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval)
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 10:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Plus four Brazilians suspended for two years for doping

    Tino Zaballa has been suspended for nine months after testing positive for ephedrine during the 2010 Tour of Asturias. In addition, four Brazilian riders have been suspended for two years.

    The UCI confirmed the suspensions to Cyclingnews. “I confirm the nine-month suspension for Tino Zaballa imposed by RFEC - which is compliant and accepted by UCI - and the two-year suspensions imposed by Brazilian Federation to Wagner Alves, Elton Silva, Flavio Reblin and Tiago Damasceno,” spokesman Enrico Carpani said. “No other information will be released on these cases by the UCI.”

    Zaballa, 33, announced his retirement this year. He won the Tour of Asturias in 2010, which is when he tested positive, and was second overall in 2011.

    He turned pro with Kelme in 2001, and rode for Sauner-Duval in 2004-2005, before joining Caisse d'Epargne in 2006-2007. After that he rode for smaller teams, ending up with Miche-Guerciotti in 2011.

    Zaballa's biggest success was winning the Clasica San Sebastian in 2005. He also won a stage at the 2004 Vuelta a Espana, amongst other accomplishments. His name was mentioned in connection with Operacion Puerto.

    The suspensions of the Brazilian riders stemmed from positive doping controls a the Tour of Rio and the Volta ao Sao Paolo last year. The temporary suspensions were announced in January, and have now been made final.

  • Video: White looks ahead to Classics

    Matt White (left) chats with Shayne Bannan in Melbourne.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 12:36 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    GreenEdge back in Belgium for Dwars Door Vlaanderen

    At the start of Dwars Door Vlaanderen in Roeselare, GreenEdge’s Matt White was in a particularly confident mood. His new team have had a storming last few days with wins in Milan-San Remo courtesy of Simon Gerrans and back-to-back wins in Volta a Catalunya through Michael Albasini.

    But with the Belgian Classics season ramping up, White is aware that there’s little time to pause and reflect on any glory with the team hoping to carry their momentum into a busy period of key races.

    Matthew Goss, still looking for his first individual win of the season, will lead the charge into Waregem today, with Mark Cavendish (Team Sky), Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) and Oscar Freire (Katusha) all vying for the win.


  • Did Merckx ride with potentially lethal heart problem?

    Eddie Merckx is in Adelaide as a guest of the Santos Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 13:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    New biography cites Italian cardiologist

    Eddy Merckx rode throughout his outstanding career with a heart problem that could have killed him at any moment, according to an Italian cardiologist. Dr. Giancarlo Lavezzaro made the claims in a new biography of Merckx to be published tomorrow, according to the Belgian newspaper De Morgen.

    In “Eddy Merckx, the Cannibal” by Daniel Friebe, Lavezzaro claims that anyone presenting an equivalent cardiogram today would be denied a licence.

    Findings claim that the Belgian suffered from “non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathie”. According to Lavezzaro, "There are no symptoms, but there was a risk of sudden death. Eddy Merckx rode his entire career with the sword of Damocles over his head."

    The story stems from the 1968 Giro d'Italia, Merckx' first Grand Tour victory. After the third stage, his team doctor happened to meet Lavezzaro, who was with the Institute for Sports Medicine in Turin, and asked him to do cardiograms on Merckx and Vittorio Adorni.

    Merckx' cardiogram was “alarming” and at first Lavezzaro thought it was from someone who had suffered a heart attack. Another cardiogram the next morning showed the same result. The rider took it “very lightly”, as he had “earlier said that his heart tests always yielded 'strange' results,” the doctor said.

    Lavezzaro wrote a letter to the Belgian doctors, “but they replied that it was nothing serious because Eddy kept winning bike races.” He said that he continued to worry about the young rider. "Every day after work I went back home and asked my wife what had happened in the Giro. I feared she would reply that there was a problem with the Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx."

    Looking back, Merckx said he remembered the cardiogram, “but the man said there was no problem. Everything was in order. At least that is what I heard later, at the time I was not aware of it.”

    He was also...

  • Startline gallery: Dwars Door Vlaanderen

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2012, 14:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cavendish, Freire and Farrar ready in Roeselare

    Just ten days from the Tour of Flanders, the cobbled classics campaign began in earnest on Wednesday with Dwars Door Vlaanderen. The 200km race from Roeselare to Waregem features no fewer than 13 hellingen and is often offers a solid form guide ahead of De Ronde.

    Twelve months ago, it was Nick Nuyens who triumphed, and his clever win in Waregem presaged a similar triumph at the Tour of Flanders. The Belgian is absent through injury this time around, but there was no shortage of classics contenders on the startline in Roeselare on Wednesday morning.

    Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Barracuda), Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) should all be in the hunt for major wins in the weeks to come, and they all be looking to draw first blood on the road to Waregem.

    Given that 2012 sees the route of the Tour of Flanders become ever more difficult, however, the sprinters know that opportunities are at a premium in Belgium this spring, and they will be hoping that the balance of Dwars Door Vlaanderen’s varied route tips in their favour this year.

    The summit of the final climb, the Nokereberg, comes with just under 8km to go, but the flat, fast run-in to Waregem will give the sprinters a chance to get back into the fray. After missing out in Milan-San Remo, Oscar Freire (Katusha), Mark Renshaw (Rabobank), Matt Goss (GreenEdge), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) and Mark Cavendish (Sky) should not be lacking in motivation here.