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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for April 5, 2009

Edited by Sue George

De La Fuente upsets favourites in GP Indurain

By Gregor Brown

Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain hangs out on the podium with the top three at his own race
Photo ©: Susanne Goetze
(Click for larger image)
Spaniard David De La Fuente surprised the favourites to win the GP Miguel Indurain Saturday in Spain's Basque country. The Fuji-Servetto rider surged ahead in the final kilometre, up the climb of El Puy. Russian Alexandr Kolobnev (Saxo Bank), German Champion Fabian Wegmann (Milram) and Austrian Champion Christian Pfannberger (Katusha) finished in second through fourth.

"This win was a great one, a surprising one. These kind of up-and-down races suit me really well, and I have always dreamt of winning this one," said De La Fuente.

The win was his first since the Deutschland Tour's stage two and came one week after his second place in GP Llodio. It was Fuji's second win of the year.

Caisse d'Epargne worked throughout the 191.4-kilometre race to deliver its leader Alejandro Valverde to victory, but he missed out in the final kilometre.

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"It is a pity I was not able to win today after my team did a great job," said Valverde.

Wegmann, last year's winner, was pleased with his third place, even if he did not defend his win from the previous year. "I crashed about 80 kilometers before the finish, and slightly injured my hips and both underarms," said Wegmann.

"Christian Knees, Peter Velits and Linus Gerdemann then brought me back up to the front and we went on to control the race well.  In the last climb about 400 meters before the finish, a TV motorcycle crashed and that brought out of my rhythm.  As a team, we rode really well again.  It is only a matter of time before we bring in a victory."

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the GP Miguel Indurain.

Devolder would love to repeat Ronde victory

By Bjorn Haake

Stijn Devolder talks with the press last year after winning in Flanders
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)
Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) won the Ronde van Vlaanderen last year and is looking to repeat the victory on Sunday. But having strong teammates will give Quick Step several cards to play.

Devolder was happy to be riding alongside teammates like Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel. "It is very important to have a strong team and riders who have experience with the Belgian roads, the cobbles and the hills."

A scenario like in 2008 would be nice for Devolder. "Last year was amazing to be alone in the end. I had the Belgian champion jersey on and the people were going crazy. It was fantastic for me and I hope to do the same this year."

But of course every race plays out differently. "Last year I had a free role, but you don't know how it goes in the finale on Sunday. The plan is to have a strong team this year."

Devolder said that the question of who will be supported depends on how the situation plays out on the final. "Tom is the first kopman (leader). Then there are Chavanel and me."

The Belgian has done his homework. "I was checking out the course twice after Sanremo and I have a few scenarios in my play book." The form is there as well. "I think I am at about the same level as last year. I was feeling well in recent races, like Waregem [Dwars door Vlaanderen] and Harelbeke [E3 Prijs] - those were ideal training kilometres for the Ronde van Vlaanderen."

He did admit that day one in the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde did not go to his liking.

"This week I was trying to raise my fitness level a few more percent. It was a bit frustrating to have missed the move on Tuesday, but the important day is Sunday." He was otherwise racing pretty quietly in the four-stage race, except for his third place in the time trial, the same place he achieved last year before winning the Ronde.

"I am not saying I am not interested in De Panne, but you can make little mistakes that can have big affects," he said, referring to the nervous race that often leads to crashes.

His favourite part of the route is the Koppenberg. "It is a very important part in the Ronde where the race is usually formed. I also like the Muur van Geraardsbergen." With all the Belgians cheering on that penultimate climb it is easy to see.

Devolder acknowledged strong competition. "I think Filippo Pozzato has the best condition of all, but there are some very strong teams like Rabobank, Silence-Lotto and Cervélo."

Despite the difficulty of coming up ahead Devolder was certain. "I will definitely try to win the Ronde another time!"

Discuss who will win the Ronde on the Cyclingnews forum.

Cavendish: Experience counts in Ronde

By Gregor Brown

Milano-Sanremo winner Mark Cavendish will sit out the racing in Flanders
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)
Mark Cavendish believes that experience will pay in this Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen. The recent winner of Milano-Sanremo will watch the race on television from home as he builds for Wednesday's Gent-Wevelgem.

The 23-year-old commented on the top favourites Friday in Gent, Belgium, one-day after the Driedaagse De Panne.

"Heinrich Haussler? I could say it is too early for him, but then I thought it was too early at Sanremo for me. He is strong, he has lost a lot of weight, he is going really well," said Cavendish to Cyclingnews

"Tom Boonen? I think he is one of the favourites. He is not an out-and-out favourite as he has been in the past. You can't discount him, but I don' think he will be dominate like he was in the past."

The race in Belgium's Flanders consists of 16 steep (and often cobbled) climbs. It starts in Brugge and ends 260 kilometres later in Ninove.

Boonen of Team Quick Step is a two-time winner of the race. His teammate Stijn Devolder won the race last year.

Cavendish is a renowned sprinter who had a magical year in 2008. He looks even stronger this year thanks to a total wins of nine so far in 2009, including Milano-Sanremo.

"For sure I want to ride it [Ronde van Vlaanderen]. I wanted to ride it for the last ten years. It's just the atmosphere that is around the race.

"Last year, I rode the parcours with the team. I will go and do the same with them ahead of Roubaix next week."

Cavendish is training for the last of his spring objectives, Gent-Wevelgem. He finished 17th in 2008.

Following Gent-Wevelgem, he will refocus for the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France stage races.

Hincapie out for Ronde win

By Gregor Brown

George Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad) speaks prior to Ronde van Vlaanderen
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

When it comes to winning one of the major Classics, George Hincapie has been America's eternal hope for the last decade and despite numerous near-misses he'll start this weekend's Tour of Flanders aiming for the win. Having finished 10th, seventh, fifth, fourth and even third in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Hincapie is still a believer, and more importantly, still a contender. On the eve of Ronde van Vlaanderen, Cyclingnews spoke with the 35-year-old veteran about his preparation and his chances of claiming one the races he's desperate to add to his palmarès.

Hincapie's season to date has been a tale of two parts, or rather two roles – that of dutiful domestique in the early races and now as team leader as the cobbled Classics start. In the Tour of California, he helped teammate and sprinting sensation Mark Cavendish to two stages and ably assisted Michael Rogers towards third place overall.

From there be travelled from his home in South Carolina to Italy's Tirreno-Adriatico to aid Thomas Lövkvist. Hincapie led the peloton on the race's key mountaintop finish on Montelupone. Tall, and built more like a sprinter than a climber, he led the likes of Gilberto Simoni and Danilo Di Luca up the 21 percent slopes. Lövkvist was outside the top runners but Hincapie had made his mark. He was coming into form at just the right time.

He kept his domestique hat on the next stage, this time working on the flats for Mark Cavendish. He single-handedly closed the final escape and led his British rider to victory, four days before the sprinters' slugfest at Milano-Sanremo. In Sanremo, with the stakes much higher, he took over from his teammates' work to guide Cavendish over the closing climbs and on to the finishing straight – it worked and Cavendish took the biggest win of his young career.

He proved he was on form when he arrived in Belgium for the E3 Prijs. In the race that features Ronde's climbs he held his own with the favourites despite chain problems. He finished a credible eighth, behind Tom Boonen and Filippo Pozzato, two of the favourites he will compete with on Sunday.

Read the complete feature.

Participate in a Cyclingnews forum discussion about George Hincapie.

Sparks to fly at World Cup warm-up in South Africa

World champion Christoph Sauser, heads up the strongest field ever assembled
Photo ©: Gary Perkin
(Click for larger image)

Just one week before the opening mountain bike World Cup in South Africa, many racers are getting over the jet lag and testing their legs at round five of the 2009 MTN National Mountain Bike Cup in Pietermaritzburg.

Racing was set to kick off with the first-ever 4X in South Africa on Friday evening. There have never been any international-level 4X courses in South Africa until early this year, when the Pietermaritzburg course was completed in order to host next week's UCI World Cup. The UCI's official 4X course builder, Phil Saxena, flew in from England last November and spent two weeks designing and overseeing the construction of the Pietermaritzburg course. At 820m long and dropping 120 metres, it's the most extreme World Cup 4X course, which should prove a spectator favourite.

Until now, the longest World Cup 4X course has been 650m long and the biggest drop has been 105 metres. The Pietermaritzburg course has 13 corners and 26 obstacles, which make it one of the most challenging courses in the world.

Cross country racers were scheduled to get their turn on Saturday. A star-studded field of international riders, headed up by Swiss cross-country world champion, Christoph Sauser, added unprecedented depth to the event. Joining Sauser (Specialized) were current Under 23 World Champion Nino Schurter (SCOTT Swisspower), who won the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympic Games and Florian Vogel (SCOTT Swisspower), silver medalist at the 2008 world championships.

Also in the talent-heavy mix is another Swiss rider, Ralf Naef (Multivan Merida), the 2006 marathon world champion, Great Britain's, Liam Killeen (Trek), the current Commonwealth Games champion and Spain's Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), the Athens Olympic Games silver medalist.

"It's great to be able to have such a strong field at a home race. Great for the event, great for local riders and great for the sport as a whole in this country, said an upbeat Stander on Thursday. "I've not ridden much this week after last week's Cape Epic, so am using the race to warm up the legs for the World Cup next weekend."

Stander will by no means be out of his depth. He is the 2008 Under 23 World Cup champion and World Championships silver medalist and showed (along with partner Sauser), that he is in superb form with five stage wins from a possible eight at last week's Absa Cape Epic.

Speedy, the current South African elite women's champion, will face by far her stiffest home-based challenge ever. Confirmed to start Saturday's race are Russian ace, Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon), the 2007 World Champion, 2007 World Cup champion and bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympics, and Slovenia's Blaza Klemencic, the 2005 World Championships silver medalist.

Read the complete preview.

Next round of US Cup to Sage Brush

Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain/Maxxis) won the most recent round of the US Cup last weekend
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)
After last week's stop in Fontana, California, round three of Kenda US Cup West will head to Campo, California, near the Lake Morena County Park for the Sage Brush cross country on Sunday. After being ravaged by wild fires for the last few years, the venue is hosting its first cross country race since 2006. The course will be the complete opposite of the ones at the first two rounds, which were both in the heart of major urban areas.

Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) currently leads the men's points series after his first place at Bonelli Park and sixth place finish at last week's ProXCT round in Fontana. Taberlay is looking to keep his points lead over Kenda/Tomac/Hayes rider Andy Schultz. Canadian Geoff Kabush now sits in third place after his win last week out at Fontana. Taberlay will be bring two additional Sho-Air/Specialized teammates with him - Sam Jurekovic and Manny Prado - in hopes of protecting his overall lead. Prado is in fourth place in the series.

In the women's series, Sho-Air/Specialized's Melanie McQuaid has a scant five-point lead over Incycle rider Krista Park, followed by Amgen rider Natasha Hernday just another thirteen points back in third. With only five points separating McQuaid and Park, whoever comes out on top at the Sage Brush race will leave with the series lead going into the next round, Sea Otter.

Pros and category one mountain bikers will race 27 miles with 3,860 feet of climbing. Category 2/3 riders will race 18 miles with 2,765 feet of climbing. The Mt. Pino climb is expected to play a deciding role in the race.

Smail and Leary face off at New Zealand marathon nationals

Some of New Zealand's toughest mountain bikers will line up Sunday in Rotorua for the 2009 National Marathon Championships. The long-running Bikevegas Highlander Mountain Bike Marathon will double as the national championship event.

The elite women's race is set to be a tough battle with Rotorua's Annika Smail using her local knowledge to take on the gruelling 80km. She will face her biggest challenge from Nic Leary, who finished second to Rosara Joseph in the New Zealand National Cross Country Championships earlier this year.

Former elite men's racer, Mark Leishman is the favourite to take the masters' men class. He was narrowly beaten at the cross country championships in Nelson.

The seven-year-old Highlander is an old school mountain bike marathon comprised of one lap on singletrack through the Whakarewarewa forest. National championship racers will compete on an 80km course although others may race on 20km or 40km courses. Titles will be awarded to juniors (under 19), pro/elite, and masters (30+).

Last year the championship was held at Mt Peel in the South Island, where Marcus Roy and Erin Greene won.

USA Cycling supporting 34 racers in Europe in April

Phinney, Stetina highlight national development team roster

Taylor Phinney will spend some more time racing in Europe in April
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)
USA Cycling (USAC) announced National Team rosters and race schedules for the month of April. Its Under 23, junior, and women's national teams will contest a total of 24 races throughout western Europe. Beginning with this weekend's Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux in Belgium, USAC is hosting 14 Under 23 athletes, six juniors and 14 women as part of a program to develop future world-class cyclists.

For the next several weeks, some of the nation's top young talent will live at USAC's National Development Team headquarters in Izegem, Belgium, and race with the national team, including Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong), Peter Stetina (Garmin-Slipstream), Chris Barton (BMC Racing), Tejay Van Garderen (Rabobank), Ben King (Trek-Livestrong), Cole House (BMC Racing), Bjorn Selander (Trek-Livestrong), Austin Carroll (BMC Racing), Guy East (Trek-Livestrong), Taylor Shelden (Garmin-Slipstream), Chris Monteleone (Hincapie-Gary Fisher), Peter Salon (Garmin-Slipstream), Kirk Carlsen (Garmin Slipstream) and Kevin Soller (Waste Management).

"This season marks the 10th year of our Under 23 National Team program," said Steve Johnson, USA Cycling chief executive officer. "Since its inception, the program has provided unparalleled development opportunities for hundreds of American cyclists as they pursue a career in the pro ranks." Many of the athletes belong to US-based, UCI-registered squads, but have limited European racing opportunities available under their trade team banners.

Phinney, who is also a member of the Trek-Livestrong program, which primarily competes on American soil, last week won a world championship in the individual pursuit and is scheduled to compete in the three-day Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux, the Tour of Flanders, Cote Picardie and the ZLM Tour with the U23 National Team.

Stetina will get much of his European racing will come as part of the national team, including the Circuit des Ardennias, Cote Picardie and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Carroll and Barton are also part of the BMC Racing Team.

In addition, USAC will also field a junior national team including Alex Battles-Wood (Power Train), Nathan Brown (Hot Tubes), Lawson Craddock (Hot Tubes), Adam Leibovitz (Nuvo Cultural Trail), Connor O'Leary (FFKR Architechts-SportsBaseOnline) and Jacob Rathe (CMG Racing). The group of juniors will live at the national team headquarters throughout the month, racing in several local Belgium events as well as the four-day Ster Zuid van Limberg stage race in the Netherlands.

Two separate women's squads will head to Europe to compete throughout Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Amber Rais (Tibco), Jessica Phillips, Ally Stacher (Kenda), Kristin McGrath (ValueAct Capital), and Lea Davision (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) will kick things off for the women's national team with the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. Joining that squad later in the month will be Kacey Manderfield (Lip Smackers), Katharine Carroll (Tibco) and Katheryn Curi-Mattis (Webcor).

The second group of women will also be competing throughout France, including Shannon Koch (Metro Volkswagen), Ashley Anderson (Texas/FCS Cycling), Casey Gale (Metro Volkswagen), Amanda Miller (Lip Smackers), Ashley Dymond (Proman), Lauren Hecht (Webcor-Alto Velo).

USA Cycling National Team Race Schedule for April 2008

Under 23: Triptique Monts et Chateaux, Circuit des Ardennais, Tour of Flanders, Cote Picardie, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, ZLM Tour, Zellik-Galmaarden, Memorial Arno Wallard, Ronde van Noord Holland, GP Affligem

Junior men 17-18: Ster Zuid van Limberg

Women: Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo, Novilion Eurocup Ronde van Drenthe, Coupe de France Ladies Berry, Unive Ronde van Drenthe, Coupe de France Pujols, Ronde van Gelderland, Ladies Berry, Chambery 1.15, La Fleche Wallone, Omloop van Borsele, GO Stad Roeselare

Win on the Cyclingnews forum

Here's your chance to win the latest film about the world's favourite Classic, Paris-Roubaix.

Cyclingnews has four copies of Road to Roubaix to give away to readers who love their Classics. Cyclingnews reviewed it ahead of Christmas last year and liked it so much we had the guys at Masterlink Films send us some more to share.

It's easy. Just log on to the Cyclingnews forum and tell us: Why do the Spring Classics get you going?

You can tell us about your experiences at the races (if you've been fortunate enough to be there) or whilst watching them on TV. As long as you keep it brief (no more than 200-300 words) and exciting, you'll be in the running to win a copy of the film that delivers an intimate look at Paris-Roubaix. The contest closes the day after Paris-Roubaix, on April 13.

BikeRadar Live: ProCycling Hot Laps

The concept is simple. We have a host of lap times set prior to the show by professional riders, cycling celebrities and staff from ProCycling, BikeRadar, Cycling Plus and Cyclingnews. Challenge yourself and see if you can beat our times.

How to take part

Entry is £10, which can be booked at the registration tent on arrival at the show. You will be given ChampionChip timing equipment which will give you an accurate readout of the time it takes you to go round the circuit. If you beat the times set, the prizes go from bragging rights through to a share of a cash prize. Space is limited, so sign up as soon as you get to the show. Registration closes half an hour before each Hot Laps session starts.


Hot Laps will take place from 10:30 am - 11:30 am and 7 pm - 8 pm on Saturday, May 30, and 7:30 am - 8:30 am on Sunday, May 31. The circuit will be dedicated solely to Hot Laps at these times.


You'll need to produce a photo ID, passport or driving license PLUS a household bill, and sign an indemnity. Under 18s will need a parent or guardian to sign for them. All riders must wear helmets, and bikes will be checked to make sure they are roadworthy and clean before you are allowed onto the circuit. Times are subject to change, and weather conditions permitting.

For more information, visit

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