News shorts: Verbruggen's letter speaks for itself, says Cookson

Espoir gets lost at U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Cookson responds to Verbruggen's letter

UCI president Brian Cookson said that he will not enter into public debate with former incumbent Hein Verbruggen, who wrote a 3,350-word letter to the UCI Management Committee in which he dismissed Cookson’s request for him to step down from his position as honorary president.

Cookson called for Verbruggen’s resignation from the honorary role last month in the wake of the publication of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report. Although CIRC found no evidence that the UCI had covered up a positive test for Lance Armstrong, its report cited "numerous examples that prove Lance Armstrong benefited from a preferential status afforded by the UCI leadership".

Following publication of the CIRC report, Cookson wrote to Verbruggen formally requesting that he step down but the Dutchman responded by penning a defiant letter to the Management Committee, which was published in full by Belgian newspaper De Morgenon Monday.

Contacted by Cyclingnews for a response, Cookson said: “I think Mr Verbruggen's letter speaks for itself. Those who have read the CIRC report will understand where the UCI went wrong in the past, including the conflicts it needlessly got into and which seriously damaged its credibility. I was elected to change the way the UCI conducts itself and I won't be drawn into this kind of public conflict.”

Gerdemann in the Amstel break

Linus Gerdemann provided the highlight for Team Cult Energy at the Amstel Gold Race, not because he felt good, but because he didn’t.

“I knew that I wasn’t at 100 percent and therefore wanted to be in the breakaway,” he told cycling-magazine.de. After several attempts, he got into the escape group of the day, and stayed away until some 40 kilometers before the finish line.

Even then he managed to hang on to the large chasing group for a while. “I hung on for a while but in the end it is a question of time. Whether you survive another climb and then don’t give up until the next one – that is a nice thought, but in the end it was clear to me that I would no longer be able to be involved in the decisive moves.”

Gerdemann will ride the Giro del Trentino before returning for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Danish Pro Continental team may not expect to end up on the podium, but “for a smaller team, it is of course good to show ourselves at the front,” he said. 

MTN’s “VanSnail” gets aggressive

Johann van Zyl has the nickname of “VanSnail”, but the South African has proved himself to be anything but. He showed the MTN-Qhubeka colours as part of the long breakaway in the Amstel Gold Race, gaining up to an 11-minute gap before being caught again.

“My goal for the day was to get into the break,” he said. “Once we were away I was happy to be in front and obviously to achieve the goal that I set myself for the day. My next goal was to try and win the most aggressive trophy but in the final there were three guys who were just a bit stronger than I was.”

His good work in the team’s first appearance in the Dutch race was finished off by teammate Kristian Sbaragli, who sprinted to 20th place.

“The legs were good today but I just missed the first group that went on the Cauberg by a handful of seconds,” he said. “While I am happy with my performance I want to come back to this race and fight for the victory.”

Espoir lost in Liège

Dylan Durand of team U Nantes Atlantique finally finished the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Espoirs race on Saturday, some four hours after the winner crossed the finish line. The youngster got off course somewhere along the way and finally came to the finish after dark.

He could have climbed into the broom wagon early on, "But I wanted to see the course for the coming years," he told DirectVelo.com.

Durand was dropped by the field in the Côte des Rosiers with about 75 km left in the race. "I was dropped on the country roads. I tried to do everything by instinct. It was not fun. "It was mentally tough going around in circles, physically hard after seven hours in the saddle.... I really panicked when I saw the sun go down little by little."

Eventually a motorist led him to the Velodrome d'Ans, where his team manager, Pascal Derame, was patiently waiting. "The best thing to do was stay put. Dylan would find us sooner or later."

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