Van Avermaet to appear before disciplinary commission
Friday 13 March could be an unlucky one for Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). The Belgian Cycling Federation (KBWB-RLVB) have requested that he appear before the Disciplinary Commission on that day to answer questions in relation to the investigation into Doctor Chris Mertens, along with cyclo-cross stars Bart Wellens and Tom Meeusen.
Just hours before the start of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Van Avermaet’s spring campaign, the Belgian newspaper that gives its name to the race Het Nieuwsblad published a front-page story linking him to the investigation and said he could face up to a two-year doping ban.
“I was a patient with Doctor Mertens. I’m going to explain myself to the federation, why I was there. I don’t have anything to blame myself for. I’m going to give my explanation and then all will be behind me,” Van Avermaet said after the race. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I think that I’m a clean rider. Nothing has happened for which I should feel guilty. It’s absurd that I always have to provide accountability.”
Van Avermaet, his lawyer, and his BMC team are still to decide whether to appear on that date or request for a different time attending will mean he has to skip Tirreno-Adriatico and hamper his Milan-San Remo preparation.
Kristoff: Cavendish was just faster
Alexander Kristoff has said that there was nothing he could do against a charging Mark Cavendish at this weekend’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. The Katusha rider ignited the sprint only to see Cavendish sail past him in the closing metres. Kristoff has had a great start to the season after taking four victories in two weeks, with only Cavendish ahead of him in the victory standings so far.
Kristoff began his packed Classics campaign at Omloop Het Niewsblad, where he finished 11th, while Cavendish opted to ride only one of the days. The Norwegian believes that it may have played a factor but he’s raring to have another go at the Manxman.
“I felt really tired all day and I felt yesterday’s effort in the legs. In the final the team did a good job and brought me in a perfect position but Mark was just faster,” he said. “He didn’t race yesterday so maybe his legs were a bit fresher. I know Mark is fast, he’s one of the fastest guys in the world so to be beaten by him is really not too bad. Of course I wanted to beat him but maybe I’ll have another shot in Milano-Sanremo. I will try my best and maybe I can beat him.”
Storey: It was the hardest hour of my life
Sarah Storey was the picture of agony as she lay on the floor, cramping, following her failed attempt to beat Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel’s Hour Record. The multiple Olympic champion set a strong pace in the opening 20 minutes but faded quickly in the second half of the attempt. She set a distance of 45.502, some 563 metres short of the benchmark of 46.065 set by Zijlaard-va Mooorsel in 2003.
Storey was the first woman to attempt the women’s Hour Record since the UCI amended the regulations last season. Following the attempt, Storey dubbed it “the hardest hour of my life.”
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Scheldeprijs names 24 teams
Scheldeprijs has named the 24 teams that will take part in the 103rd running of the event on April 8. Sandwiched between the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, the near pan-flat race is a chance for the sprinters to test themselves.
Three-time winner and defending champion Marcel Kittel will be returning to the race with his Giant-Alpecin team as he looks to take the title for an unprecedented fourth time. He could have some strong competition from Etixx-QuickStep and Mark Cavendish, and Alexander Kristoff and the Katusha team. There are 12 WorldTour teams in total with Astana, FDJ, Lotto-Soudal, Cannondale-Garmin, LottoNL-Jumbo, Team Sky and Trek Factory racing also picked to appear.
The remaining 12 spots will be taken by Pro Continental teams and they have gone to Bora - Argon 18, Bretagne - Séché, Cofidis, Cult Energy, MTN - Qhubeka, Europcar, Team Roompot, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, UnitedHealthcare, Wanty - Groupe Gobert , Androni Giocattoli and Southeast.