Rabobank rider takes a break to recover from injuries
Rabobank's Stef Clement has scratched his plans to ride this year's Tour de France and will use a break from racing to recover from problems with his feet and back.
The 27-year-old has not met expectations this season, and after consulting with team management and doctors, has decided it was time to concentrate on healing his physical problems. He is embarking on a rehabilitation programme, which will exclude racing for the time being.
Clement will thus miss the Dutch national championships and the Tour de France.
Rabobank technical director Erik Breukink said that, “Stef will return to competition again when he is healthy and worry-free.”
"I am glad that the team is giving me the time and space to intensively work on my longstanding and nagging injuries," Clement said.
Tom Boonen says that Quick Step needs to make some changes for the coming year, with reinforcements needed. “It's time for a new wind in the team,” he told the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
“Change is not the right word, rather reinforcement,” he said. “The base is good. But if Stijn Devolder and Sylvain Chavanel fail, there is not much left. Only lieutenants.”
He said the team needs another captain for the Spring Classics. “Someone who you are sure that he will be in the finale of every Classic. Stijn is a good guy, but you cannot count on him for the entire spring.”
Specifically, the team needs someone “like Steven de Jongh. Some who can also help well in the sprints.”
The team had a tough Spring Classics season this year, with the best results being Boonen's second-place finishes in the Tour of Flanders, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke and Milano San Remo. Overall it has only seven victories so far this season.
“I think that (team manager) Patrick Lefevere chose to wait to look at the market this year. After all, there are still five teams with no new sponsor for 2011,” Boonen noted.
The former World champion denied that he is thinking of looking for a new team. “No, I think it is important to strengthen your own team. And I have a contract for next year.”
HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions came into the Amgen Tour of California with high hopes of success. Both teams carried overall aspirations with Michael Rogers and Dave Zabriskie, while HTC brought their talisman Mark Cavendish for the sprints.
It was Michael Rogers who prevailed in the overall classification, beating Zabriskie by nine seconds. Garmin didn’t come away empty-handed though, taking two stages through Zabriskie and Ryder Hesjadal, as well as the team classification. HTC also collected two stages through Cavendish and Tony Martin.
In these two videos HTC directeur sportif, Alan Peiper explains how the team came to California knowing they had to perform and that the pressure was on. The Australian also adds how important their pre-race training camp and strong teamwork helped set them up for the overall win.
Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters, while accepting that the strongest rider won the race, explains that his men rode an aggressive race, with Zabriskie attacking Rogers on the very last climb of the race.