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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for April 1, 2007

Edited by Sue George

New world record for Meares

By Shane Stokes in Palma

World Champ
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)
Anna Meares came to this world championship wanting to win back the 500 m TT title she took in 2004, but she also had another goal in mind; beating the world record of 33.944 seconds she set during the Sydney World Cup last November.

She duly delivered on that target, tearing around the two laps in a time of 33.588 seconds and going almost 0.4 seconds quicker than her old mark. That saw her finish well clear of the 34.015 seconds set by silver medallist Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (Cuba) and the 34.430 seconds posted by Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus).

"When I came here, I honestly thought I could be chasing a world record," the Olympic champion said on Saturday evening. "Lisandra went very, very close to the old one. I was quite proud of myself, too, because I saw the quick time, I registered it, but I didn't let it affect my mental preparation. I saw it, though 'quick, great, now back to me'. Congratulations to her, too - she is only a second year senior and that is a fantastic performance on her part."

"I didn't really know until I finished how the time was going. When I saw it, I was just so happy. By the time I got to the 500, I was hurting little bit after two days of hard racing in the team sprint and the sprint. The fatigue was setting in, I was getting tired. My coach sat me down and said, 'look, you have had two hard days of racing and all I want from you tonight is just one effort. It doesn't matter what else comes from tonight.'"

"That was the thought process for me, I was just going to go out and do one effort as hard as I can. And lo and behold, I came up with bronze in the sprint as well."

Landing two medals on the same day is a very tough task, and particularly when her first heat against Guerra Rodriguez in the bronze medal ride-off came less than half an hour after she set her world record in the 500m TT. She said the right mental approach was crucial.

"It is difficult but the secret is doing one thing at a time, and that is what got me through these world championships. I have still got the keirin tomorrow but I didn't worry about the 500m TT until I got here tonight. Before that, it was just a case of getting through the team sprint, getting through round one of the sprint, get through round two, get through quarterfinals, get through semifinals.

Anna Meares
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)
"I lost the semifinals, I went home, had a nap and didn't even think about 500 until I got back here. It is just a matter of not looking too far ahead when you have got such a big programme. I have still got the keirin tomorrow. I will have drug testing tonight and hopefully I will get home, get a bite to eat and then get some sleep."

She said that she will take a relaxed approach on Sunday. "It is fun for me, I am not particularly stressed about the keirin. That works for me in that event. It can be too stressful, but I will just go out and go for it."

Longer term, she will have a shift in focus as she works towards the Olympics. "Having the world record is very special. It is just a shame that the 500 is not in the Beijing Games. I think it is a real disappointment, although I'm a little bit biased.

"I am a fan of the 500 but the sprint is still there and that is something that I need to work on. To be an Olympic champion this time round, you will have got to be the sprint champion and that is something that has eluded me my whole career so far. So next season will be focused on the sprint and not so much the time trial. I will still ride time trials but will be more about the sprint for me."

Boonen wins special fourth at E3 Prijs Vlaanderen

A happy Boonen
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic) made history today by becoming the first rider to win the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen four times in a row. The 2005 World Champion did so in style, taking the 50th edition in a four-up sprint over Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC), German Marcus Burghardt (T-Mobile), and Italian Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas).

Boonen's good fortunes made up for those of his teammate and current world champion Paolo Bettini, who snapped his rear derailleur on the Knokteberg..

"This was the toughest of the four," Boonen said about his fourth consecutive win. "I didn't dare to think about those statistics as I thought I was unable to react on multiple attacks but apparently they were dead tired as well," said Boonen. "During the finale I suffered from cramps, something which doesn't happening to me that often. Coming over the finish line I wanted to raise my arms but a cramp got into my hand. Probably I haven't been drinking enough."

Boonen will be the number one favorite next week in the Tour of Flanders; he knows he will be a marked man. "The E3 Prijs doesn't keep any secrets; if you're good here, you're good in the Tour of Flanders as well."

"I wasn't confident for the sprint because I knew it would be hard to finish it but the [tail]-wind was in my favour as nobody could get away. Luckily Burghardt was there as well, he reacted nervously on everybody who moved. Besides that I have to admit that the young German was unbelievably strong on the hills," Boonen continued.

The former World Champion will be the man to beat next week in the Tour of Flanders and Boonen realizes this very well. "The E3 Prijs doesn't keep any secrets; if you're good here, you're good in the Tour of Flanders as well." Boonen is riding well, but it remains to be seen if he will be free of back problems that have plagued him. He was seen Saturday standing on his pedals often, probably to stretch his painful back.

Racers talk after E3-prijs

By Brecht DecaluwÚ in Harelbeke

At the finish line of the E3-prijs in Harelbeke, Cyclingnews talked with 11th place, Serguei Ivanov from the Astana team. The Russian rider is the Astana man for the Spring Classics and the experienced 33 year-old hopes to live up to the expectations once again.

"I'm happy with my condition as I tried myself today. This is good for the morale," Ivanov said. "I hoped to be in the front, but I was in a bad position on the Taaienberg [where Boonen attacked]. Nevertheless I'll be at 95% to 100% in the Tour of Flanders next week," Ivanov said to Cyclingnews.

A former teammate of Serguei Ivanov is young Marcus Burghardt (T-Mobile). The 23 year-old German was delighted with his performance. "This feels very good as last year I was almost out of the team after my [knee] injury," Burghardt looked back. The T-Mobile team was without leaders for the Spring Classics after Ivanov left the team and Klier got injured. "It's sad that our team leader Andreas Klier is injured because he has so much experience on these roads, but I think I didn't do so bad as a leader," Burghardt smiled.

"The sprint was bad for me; I attacked at first and was forced into a bad position," Burghardt said. The German unintentionally led out the sprint for Boonen who speeded towards his fourth consecutive victory in Harelbeke. "It was a dream to follow guys like Boonen, I was fighting with some of the best riders around," said Burghardt as he looked back on his explosive climbs of the short Flemish cobbled hills. "On the Taaienberg, I could follow Boonen but I hadn't really focused on that hill. Approaching that cobbled climb I only remembered there was a gutter on the right." With this impressive performance Burghardt is becoming one of the favourites for the coming Spring Classics.

"The Tour of Flanders is a fair bit longer but I'm well prepared for it," the talented German said. Back in 2004, Burghardt was still competing in the U23 edition of Paris-Roubaix, and he finished fourth behind winner Koen De Kort (Astana). "I'm always focusing on the first upcoming race so I'll focus on