Cyclingnews - the world centre of cycling Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recent News

January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008

2007 & earlier

Recently on

Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, April 9, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Gusev on the road again

By Jean-François Quénet in Ligné

Vladimir Gusev looks foward to the Amstel Gold
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Astana's directeur sportif Alain Gallopin will fly to Istanbul for the Presidential Tour of Turkey right after the Circuit de la Sarthe because it would be a heartbreak for him to watch Paris-Roubaix on television with the likes of Vladimir Gusev, Tomas Vaitkus and Gregory Rast, missing out on their chance to contest the win on the famous velodrome in the north of France.

Gusev was his protégé at CSC during his first two professional seasons in 2004 and 2005. Aged 26, the Russian from Nijni-Novgorod is now one of the world's strongest riders for the Classics, but he'll get only one chance to shine this spring and that will be at the Amstel Gold Race since Astana hasn't been invited by RCS Sport and ASO at Milano-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Flèche Wallonne.

He crashed on Sunday during the Ronde van Vlaanderen. His whole right side was heavily bruised, so he was uncertain to line up at the Circuit de la Sarthe until the last minute; however, he decided to give it a go and finished stage one in Ligné.

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

WAP-enabled mobile devices:

"He is an amazing fighter", Gallopin commented. "He broke his collarbone at the Tour of California on February 25 and he was back on his bike on March 23! We've thought the Circuit de la Sarthe was something good for him to do in preparation for the Amstel Gold Race rather than Gent-Wevelgem where his chances are limited because it often finishes in a sprint. And who knows? Even injured, he might win the time trial here..."

Winner of the Tour of Belgium last year, Gusev will always find some way to show his strong character on the roads of the bike races.

Andy Schleck: Changing focus

Andy Schleck came of age with a superb performance at the 2007 Giro d'Italia, yet the Luxembourger holds no Grand Tour ambitions for 2008. The 22 year-old told Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown what stars he's shooting for in 2008.

For the 2008 season Andy Schleck has opted to change his focus slightly. Last year he targeted the Giro d'Italia, where he finished second overall and won the young riders competition, but this year he want to show his cards in the Ardennes Classics in April. After that he will take a break before building up to his second major goal of the season, the Olympic road race in Beijing.

"Right now I am building up for Amstel [Gold] and Liège-Bastogne-Liège," he said. "For Amstel I will be up there."

This year will be the first time that Schleck has focused on the tough Ardennes Classics. "Last year, I did Paris-Nice [16th - ed.]. I then went skiing for seven days after Paris-Nice," he said. "Bjarne [Riis] told me to go skiing, to relax and be able to re-focus on the Giro d'Italia.

"I told him I did not go crazy on the downhills, but some times... Anyway, I came back right before Amstel and Liège. I was up there in Liège until the finale, until Saint Nicolas [seven kilometres remaining - ed.]. I felt great, and I hope this year to do differently, to prepare 100 percent for the Classics. Last year, the focus was the Giro, but this year it is 100 percent for the Classics."

Read the full interview.

Riccò back and building for Giro

Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott) building for Giro d'Italia
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Riccardo Riccò is back after his crash in the Tirreno-Adriatico that forced him to skip the Milano-Sanremo. The 24 year-old Italian from Formigine (Modena) is participating in the País Vasco stage race and building for the Giro d'Italia, where he will lead the Saunier Duval team.

"To be the captain gives me pride and motivation. I like the responsibility," he said of his new responsibility La Gazzetta dello Sport. Since the end of 2007, the team no longer has two-time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni and it is putting its faith in a sometimes erratic Riccò.

He displayed power, but also immaturity at the Tirreno-Adriatico last month. In stage two's finale his bike bumped against Linus Gerdemann's and spokes were broken in his rear wheel, which led to him tossing his race machine through the air in frustration.

He has received some advice from his girlfriend, Vania, an ex-cyclo-cross racer. "For example, she told me that I made a mistake to throw the bike at the finish line in Gubbio. ... I acted upon my instincts."

Riccò has had his run-ins with other cyclists for his actions on and off the bike (read Riccardo Riccò gains exposure - ed.), however the rider known as 'Il Cobra' claims he is liked within the peloton. "Everything is fine. I am only being myself," he responded to the suggestion that he is trying create an image for himself. "Even my team-mates want to see me go well, and they help me willingly."

One day after throwing his bike on the line of stage two, he was involved in a crash while taking a right-hand turn. The incident left him with pains in his right gluteal muscle; however, he is showing form in the País Vasco race, which concludes this Saturday. "I am getting better. Even if with the change of temperatures I still feel some pains. I suffered more psychologically than physically. I passed a week arguing, and very nervous... I wanted to ride Sanremo."

In his build-up to the Giro d'Italia he will ride the Ardennes Classics, pointing towards the Flèche Wallonne. "The Mur de Huy excites me; wait for me at the top," he continued of the climb that concludes the mid-week Classic, April 23. "And if I win in Flèche, I will be up front in Liège [-Bastogne-Liège] as well."

For the Giro d'Italia, May 5 to June 1, he has been working on his time trial skills, even if he "plans on dropping everyone on the climbs." This year's Italia Grand Tour has more time trial kilometres than normal, and Riccò will have his work cut out for him if he is to move up five places from last year's sixth overall.

Franzoi hopeful of Roubaix return

Enrico Franzoi of Team Liquigas is hopeful of a return to racing with the Paris-Roubaix. The 25 year-old Italian from Veneto was involved in a crash early on in the Ronde van Vlaanderen last Sunday, where he banged his left kneecap.

"The swelling has gone down with respect to yesterday," he noted. "This [yesterday - ed.] morning, with my team-mates, I rode for an hour and a half."

Last year, while riding for Team Lampre-Fondital, he entered into an early escape to help provide coverage for then-team-leader Alessandro Ballan. Liquigas counts on Franzoi this year to help Italian Filippo Pozzato achieve victory after 259.5 kilometres of racing in northern France.

Team Director Sportif, Mario Scirea, noted the return of Franzoi with enthusiasm. "The fact that already this morning, Enrico was in the saddle [riding] is a good signal," he stated. "Together with the medical staff, we will continue to evaluate his condition of the next days, but, as of now, all of the requirements are met to see Franzoi racing on Sunday."

'Litu' Gómez is optimistic

Ángel Gómez Gómez (Saunier Duval-Scott) is optimistic of a quick return
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Saunier Duval-Scott's Ángel Gómez Gómez is optimistic following a crash in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. The dramatic incident saw the 26 year-old Spaniard flying across the road after he hit a curb islet with less than sixty kilometres remaining. Fortunately, his injuries were limited.

"I did not see it", 'Litu' explained from his home, where he has a broken arm, amongst other injuries. "I requested a bicycle change to my team due to mechanical problem. ... I was looking down and I did not realise the danger signs. I flew off the bike and the impact was brutal. I felt a sharp pain in the entire right side of the body and soon I realised the seriousness of the wounds," he added.

The impact left Gómez's bicycle in several separate pieces. "The mechanic told me that he was only been able to save the bottle cages and the brakes; everything else is broken."

Gómez had hoped to ride the Tour de Romandie, building for the Giro d'Italia, where he would help Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli; instead, he will need to recover. "I want to recover and return to competition soon," he continued.

Doctors say he will need four weeks time to be back to full strength. "I hope I can be on the road in three weeks," he added. "I have a deep cut above the knee, with stitches, and also a broken big toe on my right foot."

Gómez is now pointing towards a return in the Tour de France.

Surgery instead of racing for 2007 Gent-Wevelgem winner

The 2008 season has not gone at all the way High Road's Marcus Burghardt had planned. Instead of defending his victory in Gent-Wevelgem, the 24 year-old will be watching today's race on television after surgery on his injured knee.

Burghardt has a long history of knee problems, but the current problem stems from a training accident in December. He rode the Tour Down Under, but knee pain accompanied him during the team's California training camp and subsequent attempts at competition. He now faces arthroscopic surgery, "and I am confident that I will be able to make a new start on the year after successful rehabilitation and lots of training."

Writing on his website,, he said, "I can't say anything definite about my plans in cycling this year. I haven't given up my goal of another ProTour win this year, but it will just have to be sometime later. I have a strong will, and a good trainer and a strong team at my side. So I am optimistic going into my operation and then further into the daily training, first carefully and then very intensely."

The German rider doesn't know whether he will be able to ride the Tour de France this year, but said that he is "interested to see how the theme of doping is handled at the Tour de France this year. The signs are very interesting. They may be late, but the consequences which were drawn from last year let us hope that the Tour will be quieter and more controlled than in 2007."

Liège strikes with new climb

The finale of the 94th Liège-Bastogne-Liège – 261 kilometres, running April 27 – will be modified with the insertion of the 1.5-kilometre Côte de La Roche aux Faucons.

Organisers have inserted the climb (9.9% average gradient, 18% maximum), 20 kilometres from the arrival in Ans, Belgium, in place of the Côte du Sart-Tilman. The race will continue to conclude with the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, 4.5 kilometres from the finish.

Leukemans to hear appeal results on April 22

Björn Leukemans will learn on April 22 the results of his appeal of his two-year doping ban. The doping commission of the Vlaamse Gemeenschap (Flemish Community) on Tuesday heard his appeal, and also heard from the former Lotto team doctor who had been implicated in the case.

Leukemans tested positive for testosterone last fall. He claimed that the result was due to medication prescribed by team doctor Sam Vermeire. In December, the doctor admitted prescribing the product but denied that it could cause a positive test for synthetic testosterone. Both rider and doctor were released by the team.

The Flemish Community announced a two-year suspension for Leukemans in January.

Vermeire attending the appeal hearing this week, without an attorney, to show that he has nothing to hide, according to Leukemans was also in attendance. The court ordered all in attendance not to comment on the proceedings; however, it has been reported an anonymous commission member said that the two parties were not "on the same wave length and neither was happy with the other's comments."

(Additional reporting and research provided by Susan Westemeyer and Antonio J. Salmerón.)

Previous News    Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)