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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News, March 2, 2009

Edited by Peter Hymas

Cervélo TestTeam now a full team

By Bjorn Haake in Kuurne

Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam)
Photo ©: ISPA
(Click for larger image)

The Cervélo TestTeam is in its first year, but already doing extremely well. They placed four riders in the top five at the Tour of Qatar in January. The team members said that it all boiled down to team work.

Heinrich Haussler, who came close to tasting victory in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, agreed. "We ride as a team," he said. Comparing it to his former Gerolsteiner team, he said that "Everything is more organised." But the real difference were the teammates. " Having Andreas [Klier] in the team is good – he tells us exactly where we have to be at the front."

Haussler added that the way the team was clicking made things much easier. "It is all for all here. We have a clear plan and then we do it."

Haussler admitted that the way the team races the race radio is extremely important. "Without it things would be much more difficult. But at least now I know the races very well, which is important. I do want to do well in Flanders and the other Belgian races."

Haussler added that Roger Hammond knew the roads well, and the Briton also enjoyed the camaraderie. "We had a good start to the year. You have one or two good rides and then the snowball starts."

Hammond added that especially with a new team it was important to get a good result early on. "The team was so strong in Qatar, then the guys in California said 'Ah, we have to go at least as well as the guys in Qatar.' Then the guys in Algarve said 'Oh, we have to go at least as good as the guys in California...' Then the two [factions] came together and now everyone is in good form.

"We rode as one group rather than splitting into the six or seven groups you usually have. That was very good for the team atmosphere."

He didn't think there was necessarily a right and wrong way to handle a team. "With Highroad we did what was important for that team; here we do what is important for us and for us it was important to build the team, because everything is so new. Then everybody fed off each other."

Hammond also said that the one-group training ride was helped by the location choice of the camp. "We were lucky where we trained, too [Portugal -ed.]. It lent itself to riding in a big group. In California it was better to train with six or seven groups, as it was so flat."

Eisel loves Belgium

By Bjorn Haake in Kuurne

Bernhard Eisel (Team High Road)
Photo ©: João Dias
(Click for larger image)

Bernhard Eisel of Columbia-Highroad finished second in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday. The Austrian enjoys the Spring Classics in Belgium and frequently does well in them.

Eisel said he was allowed to 'play' the captain today. "I didn't have to do anything in the beginning, the team worked perfectly." He knew that he wouldn't have any help in the end, though. "We started with only seven guys and Vicente Reynes is also not doing well after his crash in Algarve. He has a bruised rib."

That left only five riders pulling for Eisel, but he had good legs. "At the top of the Kwaremont we were seven guys, so I knew today was going to be good." That another move went later with only six guys was a surprise to Eisel. "That's racing in Belgium – you never know what you are going to get."

Eisel tried to keep the pace steady and high. "I also looked that the group was working." In the end Eisel was outnumbered but made the most of it. It was difficult for him to cover so many moves, without a teammate. "At one point I actually saw a teammate, but I was hallucinating... That's how tired I was!"

Eisel added that he loves to race in Belgium. "The races suit me well. With my body, I won't do much in the high mountains..."

The Tour de France ladder

By Susan Westemeyer

Who is going to win the 2009 Tour de France? We'll be the first to admit we haven't the slightest idea. But there are certainly a number of favourites, and by keeping track on how they are doing in the races leading up to the Tour, we ought to at least be able to see who is climbing up the ladder of success. At the very least, we'll give you something to talk about on your next club ride.

After expert consultation (reading tea leaves in the CN office and throwing darts at a ProTour roster), we came up with a list of 12 candidates for this year's Tour. Happily for us, all of them have put in their first racing kilometers, so let's see where they stand at this early part of the year.

Read about all 12 Tour de France contenders

Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne peloton honors Nolf

The Topsport Vlaanderen team remembered Frederick Nolf
Photo ©: ISPA
(Click for larger image)

The 194 riders who took the Sunday morning starting line for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne paid tribute to Belgian cyclist Frederiek Nolf who died in his sleep on February 5 at the Tour of Qatar.

A few hundred meters after the start, the peloton made a stop in Kuurne at the house of Nolf's parents for a brief tribute before returning to complete the 193 kilometers of racing.

Nolf, 21 years old, was found dead in his bed by his sporting director, Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, who spoke of "unexpected and inexplicable tragedy" as the rider "seemed in good health", as reported by AFP.

Nolf became a professional in 2008 with Topsport Vlaanderen. As a junior he had very good results and his most successful year was 2005. Among others, he won the overall of the Route de l'Avenir that year and finished second in the Ronde van Vlaanderen for juniors.

Barloworld announces Giro del Capo squad

Team Barloworld has selected its team for the Giro del Capo, South Africa's most prestigious road race. Since its launch in 2003, the South African-sponsored Team Barloworld has dominated the podium at the Giro del Capo, producing five of the last six winners.

Barloworld will feature Tour de France stage winners Robert Hunter and Felix Cárdenas, in addition to 2008 Tour de France sensation John-Lee Augustyn.

The 2009 Giro del Capo takes place March 4 to 9 in South Africa's Western Cape.

Team Barloworld's 2009 Giro del Capo lineup: Robbie Hunter (RSA), John Lee Augustyn (RSA), Steven Cummings (GBr), Felix Cárdenas (Col), Chris Froome (GBr) and Daryl Impey (RSA).

Armstrong does Mexico

Tyler Hamilton, Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis
Photo ©: Luis Barbosa
(Click for larger image)

Lance Armstrong's world tour continued at the weekend, with the American present for the start of Vuelta Mexico Telmex in North America. Armstrong attended the event's launch at the Botanical Gardens in the city of Oaxaca, where he appeared on stage with other American attractions Tyler Hamilton (Rock Racing) and Floyd Landis (Ouch-Maxxis).

The seven time Tour de France winner was also on hand to wave the flag on stage one and posed for images with stage one winner Juan Pablo Magallanes (Mexican National Team). Armstrong's Astana squad isn't contesting the 2.2 race, however his Under 23 team – Livestrong Trek – is taking part in the race.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Luis Barbosa

Coach looks for world class performances at New Zealand track championships

Alison Shanks starts her pursuit final.
Photo ©: Greg Chang
(Click for larger image)

BikeNZ coach Tim Carswell is expecting world class performances and some major battles from leading riders in the RaboPlus New Zealand Championships that begin in Invercargill on Monday, March 2.

The major incentive is selection in the BikeNZ team for next month's UCI World Championships in Poland which is a major stepping stone towards the 2010 Commonwealth Games and ultimately the 2012 London Olympics.

New Zealand has qualified riders for virtually all events at the upcoming world championships but with a limit of 13 riders there will be real competition for selection in the week-long championships at the ILT Velodrome.

The focus is expected to go on the pursuiters with Beijing World Cup gold medallists Alison Shanks and Jesse Sergent likely to come up against some strong competition, especially in the women's division where some upcoming junior talent and success from the recent Power to Podium programme has unearthed some exciting potential.

"The women's programme is especially exciting. It's very new at the international level and we have quite a number of talented riders especially out of our Power to Podium programme," said Carswell. "The development has been pretty rapid."

He said that up to a dozen women will be pushing for qualification into the top four in the individual pursuit, and also for places in the women's team pursuit, which also picked up a gold medal at the recent World Cup.

Alison Shanks is the standout, but will face competition from fellow team pursuiters Kaytee Boyd and Lauren Ellis. Other contenders will include Serena Sheridan, rowing convert Jaime Nielsen and Laura Thompson in addition to talented young riders such as 2008 junior world medallists Gemma Dudley, Sequoia Cooper and Cathy Jordan.

Beijing Olympian Catherine Cheatley, missing from the championship with injury, will also be a prime contender for selection.

Jesse Sergent will find competition from his fellow pursuit team members Wes Gough, Sam Bewley, Marc Ryan and Peter Latham, who has made a rushed trip home after competing in the Tour of California. The men's squad will compete in the team pursuit as a unit, where they are aiming to go under the four minute barrier on home spoil for the first time.

Omnium world champion Hayden Godfrey, who won gold at the Beijing world cup in the scratch race, will be aiming at building up for Poland.

The sprinters will likely be led by Simon Van Velthooven, Eddie Dawkins and Natasha Hansen.

In the absence of former world champion Greg Henderson and double Olympic medallist Hayden Roulston, a plethora of emerging talent, including the likes of Jason Christie and Shane Archbold, will be aiming at success in the scratch and points races, while several talented female riders will head to Invercargill following the Tour of Wellington road race.

The sprinters are in action on Monday, with the men's points race at night, the sprints are decided on Tuesday, the individual pursuit on Wednesday, time trial and women's points race Thursday, Team sprint and women's team pursuit on Friday and the keirin, men's team pursuit and scratch races on Saturday.

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