Burghardt will return in Le Samyn
BMC Racing welcomed the return of German Marcus Burghardt to its active line-up, naming him for Wednesday's Le Samyn together with Philippe Gilbert. Burghardt crashed on stage 3 of the Tour Down Under in January and suffered a fractured elbow, and it was feared he would miss the Spring Classics.
Burghardt, Gilbert are joined by Tom Bohli, Floris Gerts, Joey Rosskopf, Manuel Senni, Loic Vliegen and Rick Zabel for the Belgian race.
"After a long break between races I can't wait to get back in the peloton, especially in Belgium where the crowds and atmosphere are always good. I've been training in Lake Garda in Italy and I feel ready to race again," Burghardt said.
BMC Racing will take part in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen from March 4-6, with a similar group, with Burghardt and Gilbert out and Dylan Teuns stepping in. Gilbert is due to start Paris-Nice on Sunday.
BMC Racing for Le Samyn: Tom Bohli, Marcus Burghardt, Philippe Gilbert, Floris Gerts, Joey Rosskopf, Manuel Senni, Loïc Vliegen, Rick Zabel.
BMC Racing for Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen: Tom Bohli, Floris Gerts, Joey Rosskopf, Manuel Senni, Dylan Teuns, Loïc Vliegen, Rick Zabel.
Marcus Burghardt (BMC) walks his bike across the line of a race last season. (Bettini)
Sagan flies to Slovakia to present new youth cycling program
World Champion Peter Sagan returned home to Slovakia today following Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussell-Kuurne to officially launch the CyS Zilina-Peter Sagan Cycling Academy where he and his brother Juraj grew up.
The juniors team, built from the previous Cyklistický spolok Žilina program, is Sagan's attempt to help boost cycling development in his home country. The team logo was unveiled today, along with a new team car from Citroen. Sagan's connection with the team helped attract the support from the car manufacturer along with Sunroot, Tacx, Sportful, ZVL and Vila Zahrada.
“I decided to return to my roots, to the place where I grew up, and help children who find inspiration in me,” the World Champion said during the presentation. “So we have thought to another project that could help to develop the Slovak cycling. I am grateful to Cys Žilina for all they have done for me and I'm here to repay them. When I see children riding their bikes, I can see myself at that time. We have some ideas that could help us to increase.”
Sagan praised the new sponsors and their contribution to the team.
“It is essential that children have the essential material to be able to go to the races and have nothing to mend,” he said. “We'll see how the project goes on, we will try to make our best for them. We want to gradually help cycling in Slovakia. We know how it works, and it's time to do something about it.”
Peter Sagan stands with Cys Zilina riders in front of the new team car. (Marek Gavlak)
New cobbled sector for Le Samyn
The 48th Le Samyn has a new cobbled section in store for riders when the UCI 1.1 race flies through the Belgian countryside on Wednesday. Last year's winner Kris Boeckmans won;t be on had after getting knocked out of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne by an errant medical motorcycle and suffering a broken collarbone, but the rest of the peloton will need to negotiate the heavily crowned cobbled road shown off in a tweet from @Sportifun.
Bob Roll calls for more UCI action to protect riders from race vehicles
In the wake of this weekend's crashes caused by race vehicles, former pro and current race commentator Bob Roll has joined Jim Ochowicz in calling on the UCI to take a greater role in protecting racers. On his Bobke TV segment on YouTube, Roll said cycling is the most dangerous and unpredictable of sports, but the governing body should step in to further regulate who is allowed to drive race vehicles in the caravan.