First Edition Cycling News for April 6, 2009
Edited by Sue George
Teutenberg speeds to victory
Columbia-Highroad's sprinting ace Ina-Yoko Teutenberg secured the team's first World Cup win of the season in the Tour of Flanders. Teutenberg blasted across the line ahead of nearly 20 riders to take her ninth victory of the season, and the fourteenth win netted by the Columbia-Highroad women's team in 2009.
"I never thought I could win this because it's a pretty hard race, but I got over the (key climb of) the Geraardsbergen in a group with (rival) Kristin Armstrong, and I thought maybe it was going to come back together," Teutenberg said afterwards. "It was a perfect scenario for me and so I tried to take advantage and enjoy it."
"When (Columbia-Highroad teammate) Mark Cavendish won Milano-Sanremo, I joked with him about taking up the challenge and winning a Monument as well. Now I've done it, so now we're even.
"We've got three really big races in Holland next week that really suit me. We've won a big World Cup race, so the pressure is off a bit. Now we can really play our cards without being under too much pressure."
Recapping the race, Teutenberg said, "There weren't really many attacks early on, and I think the good weather played a role in that, so positioning wasn't a big factor. The attacks really started on the Geraardsbergen. There were four off the front and then four of us got across. I was there on my own and it was a big group so I had to be smart and I played off the other teams. I couldn't attack and knew I had to wait for the sprint. It worked out perfectly and I won it. It was a fast sprint and there is only one corner in the last kilometre, so it wasn't a problem for me to really go for it."
For Columbia-Highroad, Teutenberg's win was the team's second straight victory in the Tour of Flanders, following Judith Arndt's first place in 2008. Arndt had to sit out this year's race due to a broken collarbone.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the women's Tour of Flanders.
Sanremo to Flanders: Haussler's monumental spring
By Gregor Brown in Meerbeke
Heinrich Haussler propelled himself to another second place in one of cycling's five Monuments. The Cervélo TestTeam rider prevailed in the bunch sprint behind winner Stijn Devolder in the Ronde van Vlaanderen Sunday in Meerbeke, Belgium.
Two weeks after losing out to Mark Cavendish in Milano-Sanremo's finale, Haussler made the podium of one of the year's biggest races, but admitted, "I am happy. I may not look happy because I am extremely exhausted - I just didn't have the legs I had two weeks ago. I'm not fresh anymore."
Haussler burst into the headlines with a fierce attack to win the stage two sprint of Paris-Nice and came close to winning again a week later in Sanremo. He blasted out of the pack at 350 metres to go, but Cavendish prevailed by just 11 centimetres.
Sunday in Meerbeke was not as close, but just as impressive for a 25-year-old. He started the race as one of Cervélo's three team captains. The Swiss-based outfit rode well despite the dominant presence of home team Quick Step.
Quick Step sent Devolder up the road on the Muur-Kapelmuur with 15.5 kilometres remaining and consequently Haussler had to contend with pre-race favourite Tom Boonen in the chase group that sat one minute behind.
"At least I got second. During the race I didn't think I would get that far.
"We were riding on the front after the Bosberg for Thor's chances in the sprint [the final of 16 climbs at -11.8km - ed.]. He said he had good legs, but with one kilometre to go he just said, 'attack'. I attacked and with 500 metres to go, my legs were ready to explode. The directeur was yelling in my ear, 'don't look back, don't look back, just pedal!'"
Haussler thinks his top form passed prior to his objectives in Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, next Sunday. He doubts his chances for cycling's third Monument, but notes the team will be strong.
"Next year I will have to plan my training different. I peaked far too early. I can feel I am not as good as I was before."
Haussler will race Gent-Wevelgem Wednesday and Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. He plans to have a well-earned holiday after the races.
Lefevere's winning recipe
By Brecht Decaluwé in Meerbeke, Belgium
After winning the Ronde van Vlaanderen for the fourth time in five editions, Quick Step clearly knows how to ride a good race in Flanders. Is it the result of a management secret, or are Stijn Devolder and Tom Boonen simply stronger than the opposition? Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere and directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters explained some of their magic to Cyclingnews.
Lefevere dominated the Spring Classics with the mighty Mapei and later Domo and these days, he's general manager of Quick Step. "For a few years we've been below the top teams when it concerns budgets. Our budget is 9.5 million Euros," Lefevere said.
"Anyway, when realising that I had two options: cry a little, or deal with it, I choose to specialise in the Spring Classics and as it turned out we have improved our results. The main difference with the other teams is that we don't have Grand Tour riders."
Regarding this year's racing, Lefevere was confident as to what had made the difference. "Our riders were all focused and ready for the battle; they all had a knife between their teeth this morning. Having a guy like Boonen in your team helps as well. He's like Johan Museeuw with Mapei. He decides who wins, or at least who gets away," said Lefevere.
The Belgian manager also explained how he managed to get a rider like Sylvain Chavanel into his team. "Everybody knew he was on the market last year. It helps that as a young kid he dreamed of riding in a Mapei kit," said Lefevere with a wry smile. "One could also say that you have to ride in our team to win the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Tell that to Sebastian Langeveld," he added to a Dutch journalist, hinting that he was keen on having one of Rabobank's talented Dutchmen in his team.
Wilfried "Fitte" Peeters added his own sentiments. "We're one of the strongest teams so we knew that tactically we had a good chance to be in a good position," he said. "Also, we have to enjoy every victory even if it seems like repetition. It's amazing though that I've only been a director for a few years and it's the fourth time we've won this race."
Columbia's men crash out of contention at Flanders
By Daniel Benson in Meerbeke, Belgium
With George Hincapie and Marcus Burghardt on the Columbia start list, team manager Bob Stapleton had at least two good reasons to be optimistic before the start of Flanders. However, despite the 25-year-old German Burghardt finishing an impressive seventh, the rest of the team were left to lick their wounds at the finish after a series of crashes wrecked their hopes of glory.
First to hit the deck was Austrian Bernhard Eisel, who crashed at the foot of the Molenberg. "He really looked bad. He was raw," said team director Rolf Aldag. "We then picked him up, but he had to change his bike. Then he realised there was a problem with his shoes and had to change them, too. It cost him valuable energy."
To make matters worse Vicente Reynes was also thrown from his bike in the same crash. "From then on we were up against it. Mark Renshaw crashed on the Koppenberg and then coming into the final 200 meters, Hincapie was brought down. It wasn't our day but they're tough guys and they'll bounce back I'm sure," said Aldag.
Hincapie had been present in the lead group on the climbs at various points in the race but was unable to follow the attacks of Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) and finally Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) in the closing stages. However with a final sprint to the line for the remaining podium places, the American was squeezed in the far side and brought down in a crash involving Thor Hushovd.
"I wasn't feeling good, but I think I had a great chance in the sprint. I know exactly where to go on that straight but someone in front of me flipped over me and I had nowhere to go," said Hincapie. As he sat on the steps of the team bus the Classics veteran said he'd pick himself up for Paris-Roubaix next week and Gent-Wevelgem this Wednesday. "My family will be at Roubaix too and it's a big objective for me again."
Contador ready for País Vasco
On Monday, Astana's Alberto Contador will begin the Vuelta al País Vasco, his last race of the first part of the 2009 season, after which he will take a break from competition while continuing to prepare for the Tour de France. The País Vasco comes after Contador made his debut at the Tour of Algarve also raced in Paris - Nice and at the Castilla y León.
Contador is looking forward to racing the País Vasco. "It is a tour that I like very much. I have been racing here for several years, and I've had very good experiences, so this year I hope to feel just as good. The Basque fans are incredible, it's a pleasure to race here."
"I've been training well, although already I notice the fatigue of so much effort. I do not recover as well, so I'm wondering how I will feel on the final day's day time trial. It is a bit of a mystery."
Contador called the stages in this year's edition "complicated". "The first one has a finish climb where it will be necessary to be attentive, but I believe that the race will be decided between Arrate and the last day's time trial."
The Spaniard isn't too worried about the outcome. "We will see how this race goes day by day. The important thing is that I finish with the peace of mind of knowing I have done well with the beginning of the season. My real aim is in July."
"There is a great group of racers participating this year, both Spanish and foreigners. The majority are strong because they are prepared for the Classic or they are preparing for the Giro d'Italia," said Contador. "Among all, I'm highlighting Samuel Sanchez, Antonio Colom or Luis León Sanchez. And then there are the brothers Schleck, who want to be at 100 percent in the Classics, or Cadel Evans, Damiano Cunego and Vincenzo Nibali. The level of racing will be the best."
Contador will not race any of the Classics. He is planning a small vacation and then he will resume his focus on training for the Tour de France.
"I've decided not to do the Classics because I am already feeling the efforts that I have done in the Algarve and to continue racing another 20 days at this level can be too much," he said. "I do not want to take the risk of so many efforts. I think it is more intelligent to leave those for another season."
Sastre encouraged after GP Miguel Indurain
Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre is happy with his preparation for next month's Giro d'Italia. The Spaniard raced the GP Miguel Indurain on Saturday.
"I think I'm on track for my goal, which is the Giro d'Italia. The truth is that I had my doubts going into it because it was the first tough race of the year," said Sastre.
Sastre finished the race in 26th place, 1:04 behind the winner. "It was a very demanding race, with 11 or 12 hard sections. The wind made it difficult to find a place in the peloton. In fact, the entire race, the group was breaking down slowly, until there were just 30 riders left by the final climb. It was like a small Liège-Bastogne-Liège."
Sastre goes into the Vuelta al País Vasco very motivated. "In the GP Miguel Indurain, I was with the best at all times and this encourages me. The Vuelta al País Vasco is hard and beautiful, which will no doubt help me get oriented for the Classics and for the Giro."
Danielson on track for Giro, wants good ride in País Vasco
By Shane Stokes
American rider Tom Danielson has put a difficult couple of seasons behind him and appears to have his career back on track.
The 31-year-old Garmin-Slipstream rider starts the Vuelta a País Vasco on Monday feeling good about his form, and looking on course to do both the Giro d'Italia and make his debut in the Tour de France. This week is largely about building his condition and working towards those targets.
"The goal is to be strong and go fast," he said, when asked about his aim for the Spanish event. "As I remember it, this is a very hard race so I will have to stay relaxed and give everything I have each day.
"My form is coming along nicely. March was really a building month for me after a good Tour of California. I'm working hard to put together a solid performance at the Giro that will lead me to be ready for the team at the Tour. I want to be solid in time trialing and climbing so I've been putting in a lot of hard work on the bike the last month."
Danielson has been showing decent form since the start of the season. He was ninth overall in the Tour of California, and was also ninth in the individual time trial at the recent Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.
For a rider who had a couple of years hampered by illness and injury, it's clear that his confidence is returning. "I feel I am on track," he said. "I have done a good job showing myself in the results, as well as being there for my teammates. My time trialing is also gradually improving so I am excited to see where that is in a month [for the Giro]. It will need to be good as I will be amongst some fast guys in the time trials."
He will be joined by teammates Dave Zabriskie, Danny Pate, Daniel Martin, Blake Caldwell, Timothy Duggan, Ryder Hesjedal and Trent Lowe in the Vuelta a País Vasco, a six-day ProTour event.
Cozza confident after Flanders debut
By Gregor Brown in Meerbeke
Sunday's Tour of Flanders was another opportunity for Garmin-Slipstream's Steven Cozza to experience one of the year's biggest races. Unphased, the American attacked several times to try to form a second escape group mid-way into the 260-kilometre race.
"I felt good. I've always dreamt of being in this race," said the Garmin rider to Cyclingnews. "It was good to get it in my legs for the first time; I think I can do something here in the future.
"I figured since it was my first race here I would use up all the gas in my tank. I definitely gained a lot of confidence today with the experience."
The selection included Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) and Wim De Vocht (Vacansoleil), and dominated the early portion of the race. Cozza made two attempts to form a different group: one after 114 kilometres and a second - with Roy Curvers (Skil-Shimano) - after 169 kilometres. The attacks showed the same grit Cozza displayed last spring in Het Volk and De Panne, even if they came to nothing.
"I feel like I am going in the right direction. It was just a matter of learning the course after the big moves went in the finale, but I definitely plan on having a good ride here in the future."
Cozza's teammate Martijn Maaskant went on to close the day in fourth. The team will call Cozza into duty next Sunday for the Dutch companion in Paris-Roubaix. Maaskant, 25, finished fourth last year in his debut.
"Today I felt the best on the flat cobbles than on the climbs, which is good for Martijn and me at Roubaix. Plus we have Svein Tuft, who will be strong for Roubaix."
Cozza missed Flanders and Roubaix last year due to a crash and subsequent fractured collarbone in De Panne. He will join the American team for the famed French race, one of cycling's hardest one-day races.
Check out full coverage of the Tour of Flanders, including video of the finish, on Cyclingnews.
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 http://live.bikeradar.com/.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2009)