First Edition Cycling News, April 14, 2009
Edited by Greg Johnson
Maaskant focuses on Amstel to save classics campaign
By Brecht Decaluwé in Roubaix, France
Martijn Maaskant hopes to salvage his Spring Classics campaign at this weekend's Amstel Gold race after a poorly timed puncture ruined his Paris-Roubaix hopes. The Garmin-Slipstream rider, who finished 75th at last year's Amstel Gold Race, believes a result at the Limburg-based event in the Netherlands South will be difficult due to his preparation.
"Wednesday we're heading for Lanaken, Limburg where I'll be training on the course," he told Cyclingnews. "This isn't the best build-up for the Amstel, also mentally, but I'll do my very best to perform well.
"I think you need to skip Paris-Roubaix to keep up with the specialists, like Karsten Kroon, Sergey Ivanov and Nick Nuyens did," he added. "I guess they are better suited for that race while I'm more built for Roubaix. There will be high expectations from the Dutch crowd and media, but last year that was the case as well and I couldn't live up to that."
Maaskant earned attention at last year's Paris-Roubaix, where he finished fourth on debut, placing expectation on the rider ahead of this year's race. A fourth place at Ronde van Vlaanderen earlier this month confirmed Maaskant's form, but it all came undone due to the timing of a puncture on the last pavé sector before the Arenberg forest.
His teammates Michael Friedman and William Frischkorn waited to bring their leader back to the front, but they didn't make it back before the peloton reached Trouée d'Arenberg.
"We were bridging back up to the peloton in the forest but then we were held up by a big crash and the traffic jam of the cars behind it," Maaskant said. "Eventually I made it back up to the front but my front tyre flatted again and I crashed due to that; I can't remember on what sector that was."
The Trouée d'Arenberg is a key zone in the 259km long race. It's a 2400 metre long cobbled path where all the big guns move to the front, expecting crashes will occur and gaps will be created over the section.
"Of course you know that this can happen in Paris-Roubaix but of course I had hoped for a different race development," said Maaskant, who eventually finished in 98th. "It's a pity because Bradley Wiggins was going well, Steven Cozza featured in the early breakaway and I felt good, really good."
Team director Johnny Weltz was also disappointed with the outcome, having expected his squad to be amongst the leaders as the race neared Roubaix. "It was a big blow," he said. "He punctured at the worst moment. We lived up to his expectations because we know he could do it.
"Of course it's a big blow for him as well," added Weltz. "He came back to the front but crashed a bit later. Then I heard he started attacking but I guess that mentally it was already over."
Evans form not bad, time trial average
Australia's Cadel Evans has rated his form in a scorecard on his progress, three months out from his target event the Tour de France. In a diary entry on his refurbished website cadelevans.com.au, the Silence-Lotto rider said while his form isn't bad his time trial has some distance to come.
The entry followed Evans' fourth placed finish at Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco, where he took on Tour rival and race winner Alberto Contador (Astana). Evans finished the race's 24 kilometre time trial in eighth spot, 1:25 minutes behind stage winner Contador.
"The final time trial was, for me, a bit average," he said. "I think - way off the pace. It was enough for fourth on general classification, which puts me - like last year - the first non Spanish rider.
"The Spaniards here - in my eight starts of this race - are hard to beat," he added. "Super motivated, peak of their season, whatever, I have never come here super, but the last two years I have been at a competitive level."
Evans is looking forward to doing some one day racing over the coming weeks. "I am still progressing so overall the cardboard medal of fourth place is not bad," he said. "Next week most of us switch to some one day races, so I look forward to the change a bit further north."
Devolder recovering after Arenberg crash
By Brecht Decaluwé in Roubaix, France
Quick Step's Stijn Devolder believes he will need a few days to recover following a crash at the weekend's Pars-Roubaix. The Ronde van Vlaanderen winner was considered one of the top riders in this year's Roubaix, but the Belgian's efforts came to a crashing halt.
"It was tough and I'll need some time to recover from this but the most important thing is that we won the race with our team," Devolder said. "I crashed hard in the forest. They crashed right in front of me.
"I managed to jump over the first one but then I went down hard as I rode into the next rider," Devolder said. "I've got a serious cut in my shinbone."
Devolder had lost one minute on the leaders after the Trouée d'Arenberg. The former Belgian champion started pulling in the second group with teammate Sylvain Chavanel and 10 kilometres later they managed to catch the leaders but then a punctured set Devolder back again.
Twenty kilometres later the race exploded with a series of upsets. George Hincapie punctured as the Saxo Bank team started pulling into the crosswinds and Tom Boonen (Quick Step) attacked while a motorbike crashed into spectators. From that moment on Devolder was out of sight.
"After [my] crash I thought about stepping out of the race several times but then I decided to ride on until the finish," said Devolder.
Debutant Cozza happy with Roubaix experience
By Gregor Brown in Roubaix, France
Garmin-Slipstream's Steven Cozza is excited about his Spring Classic potential after being part of the key 11-man move that went clear of the Paris-Roubaix peloton on Sunday. The group battled its way over 15 of the 27 pavé sectors before it disintegrated, but the American feels he has pocketed knowledge that can be used in future events.
"I am pretty excited for the future for these races after the last two weeks," Cozza told Cyclingnews. "I learnt a lot with that group, including the former winner of Paris-Roubaix [Servais Knaven]. I got to see how they take the cobbles, what cadence they push and it was a cool experience."
Despite being Cozza's Paris-Roubaix debut, he gave Garmin-Slipstream representation in the escape group that went clear 42 kilometres into the 259-kilometre Northern Classic. The group blew apart when an elite chase group with eventual winner Tom Boonen (Quick Step) joined them prior to the Orchies sector, at kilometre 196.
Escape companions Andreas Klier (Cervélo TestTeam) and Kasper Klostergård (Saxo Bank) were able to stay with the new front group for some time after, but Cozza lost his momentum and slid back through chasing riders. "I am disappointed with myself for not making the front group after they caught us, but I gave it my all," he said.
Cozza's move was to give teammate Martijn Maaskant a hand when the favourites caught up. Maaskant crashed in the Haveluy à Wallers sector, prior to the race's deciding point in the Arenberg Forest. Other crashed riders and following cars held the Dutchman and his teammates as they tried to rejoin the action.
"My radio was not working so I was not able to hear about what was going on with Martyn, but anyway it did not work out," he added.
Cozza still had to negotiate the remainder of the course after the favourites passed him. Cozza crashed prior to entering Roubaix's velodrome in 64th position, leaving hime with minor scrapes on his face and arm.
He missed Ronde van Vlaanderen and Roubaix last year due to a crash and subsequent fractured collarbone in KBC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde.
Johansson wins Unive World Cup, assumes series lead
Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling Team) has won the third round of the UCI Women's World Cup held in the Netherlands, the Unive World Cup - Ronde van Drenthe. The 25-year-old Swedish rider sprinted to victory from a group of six, dashing the hopes of the two Dutch members of the break, Loes Gunnewijk (Team Flexpoint) and Chantal Blaak (Leontien.nl), who rounded out the podium in second and third place respectively. Ina Teutenberg (Columbia-Highroad) led in the field seven seconds later in seventh place.
Johansson's victory earned her enough points to take over the lead in the World Cup, a position previously held by Marianne Vos of the Netherlands who finished the day in eighth place.
Click here for full coverage of the UCI Women's World Cup.
Malaysian gets land, cash for Worlds performance
Malaysian track cyclist Azizul Hasni Awang received a parcel of land and RM20,000 at a function over the weekend following his silver medal winning performance at the UCI Track World Championships in Poland. The land and money was given to Awang by the Terengganu government.
"I plan to use the money to help my family," Awang told TheStar.com.my.
The 21-year-old will receive the parcel of land in his birthplace Dungun. The rewards join another RM20,000 the rider received from Malaysia's National Sports Council's incentive scheme and RM7,500 from the Malaysian National Cycling Federation.
Awang's silver medal in the men's sprint was one of the nation's two successes in Poland. Rizal Tisin claimed the nation its first medal in the men's one kilometre time trial, where he took bronze.
Landis, Bahati enter Dana Point GP
Floyd Landis and Rahsaan Bahati will contest the Dana Point Grand Prix, a USAC National Racing Calendar round, on April 26. Landis will join his Ouch-Maxxis teammates, including defending NRC champion Rory Sutherland, at the race where he guest commentated last year.
"I had a great time last year channeling Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash, but I got a feeling the crowd would rather watch me race my bicycle," said Landis. "I'm an endurance racer and prefer mountains to the mean streets, but I can give one heckuva lead out to my teammates.
Criterium specialist Bahati will join his Rock Racing teammates at the event. Bahati will be joined by defending Dana Point GP champion Sterling Magnell in his squad.
"We'll be positioned to give our best at the finish line and certainly look forward to defending last years Dana Point Rock Racing victory," he said.
The Dana Point GP, held on a 800 metre, six courner course, boasts a prize list of over $30,000 USD.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2009)