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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, March 5, 2009

Edited by Sue George

Cancellara's progress derailed by crash

Fabian Cancellara (Team Saxo Bank)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)
The participation of Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara in some of the Spring Classics may be in jeopardy after a crash while riding at home in Switzerland caused him to forego several days of training and to skip racing at the Vuelta a Murcia. In the crash, Cancellara injured his right shoulder blade.

"I really needed the kilometers in Murcia but the pain in my shoulder won't let me unfortunately," said Cancellara according to his team's website. "It sucks for sure that I've had to take another break at this point – especially since I didn't get further than the prologue in California."

Last year, Cancellara enjoyed a stellar season with highlight wins at several classics including the Monte Paschi Eroica, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo. He is hoping to return to racing no later than at the Tirreno-Adriatico on March 11-17 in Italy. His participation in Monte Paschi Eroica on March 7 is in question.

"There's still a month to go before we hit the cobblestones, and hopefully I'll be able to make up for lost time, so I'll be at a level fit for the classics. This is not an ideal situation but I'll just have to do my very best to fight my way back in shape. I think it's possible but only if I don't have any more accidents from now on."

Saxo Bank Sports Director Kim Andersen said his team would have to adjust its expectations accordingly and not count on results like the ones produced by Cancellara last year.

"The most important thing is for his shoulder to get better so he's able to race again as soon as possible. If all goes according to plan he should be able to get ready in which case he'll be on top form for the two big ones: Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix," said Andersen.

The setbacks come a few weeks after Cancellara's withdrawal from the Tour of California due to a high fever during stage one the day after he had won the prologue.

Cusin is the new French name in pro cycling

By Jean-François Quénet in Dour, Belgium

Rémi Cusin
Photo ©: JF Quenet
(Click for larger image)

The Belgian race Le Samyn is regularly won by French riders. Renaud Dion and Jimmy Casper preceded defending champion Philippe Gilbert on the record book. On Wednesday, Agritubel's neo pro Rémi Cusin was not fast enough to outsprint Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) for the win, but he still finished second and collected his first result as a professional after being named the best climber of the Etoile de Bessèges last month. Cusin showed he is on the fast track to being the next new name to be remembered in French cycling.

"I was the one to attack on a climb with 70km to go," said Cusin. "I rode for 15km by myself before the eight other breakaway riders joined me. This was a pretty good feeling.

"I like the climbs. I tried to break clear with 2km to go but it might have been too early. My personal coach and agent Michel Gros and I decided to try and create a good start to the year by making my place in the pro ranks."

Gros, a former directeur sportif with Festina and Jean Delatour, coached Cusin within his club, Vaulx-en-Velin, near Lyon. "Last year Rémi rode seriously for the first time after he completed his studies," said Gros.

"With the French amateur team and our club team, he had 40 days of racing in UCI category 2 events in 2008. That's why I knew he was ready for being a pro. He rides with the pros with the same mentality as with the amateurs. He's not afraid at all. I think he'll go far."

The 23-year-old Cusin hails from Haute-Savoie in the north of the Alps. He hopes that his ride at Le Samyn is convincing enough for Agritubel to line him up at Cholet-Pays de Loire and the Critérium International.

Lorenzetto marks season's third in Friuli

Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre-NGC)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)
Mirco Lorenzetto of Lampre-NGC won his third race of the season Wednesday on the rain-soaked roads of the 31st Giro del Friuli in northeast Italy. The Italian, winner of two stages in the Giro di Sardegna, finished head of Grega Bole (Amica Chips-Knauf), Manuel Belletti (Diquigiovanni-Androni) and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) after 184.2 kilometres of racing.

The race, returning after a five-year break, consisted of a circuit around Pordenone. Maxim Gourov (CarmioOro - A-Style) and Oleksandr Kvachuk (ISD) escaped early into the race. The duo gained up to 10 minutes on the peloton led by Barloworld and then Lampre-NGC, LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini and Liquigas. Kvachuk lasted until the final four kilometres.

The favourites – including Franco Pellizotti and Roman Kreuziger (both Liquigas), Alessandro Bertolini (Diquigiovanni-Androni), Petacchi, Leonardo Bertagnolli (Amica Chips-Knauf), Dario Cioni (ISD) and Eros Capecchi (Fuji-Servetto) – formed a group that numbered 30 and animated the finale.

"We took the situation in hand and forced the pace with Bruseghin and then Grendene," said Lampre Directeur Sportif Fabrizio Bontempi. "Other than Lorenzetto, we also had Bandiera, Bindi and Da Dalto in the lead group."

After the final Caneva Castle climb that featured in each circuit, the flat 25 kilometres set up for the sprint. Lorenzetto kept control into Pordenone ahead of Bole, Belletti and Petacchi. (GB)

Milram youngsters ready for Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen

The Milram team car
Photo ©: Patrick Reed
(Click for larger image)
Classics specialist Markus Eichler and sprinter Robert Förster will lead a Team Milram squad with six youngsters this coming weekend in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on March 6 to 8. The young riders, with an average age of 24.1 years, are Germans Thomas Fothen, Artur Gajek, Dominik Roels and Paul Voss, Italian Luca Barla and Dutch sprinter Wim Stroetinga.

"Because of its profile, the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen is one of the most challenging Spring races," said Milram's Directeur Sportif Ralf Grabsch. "Especially the cobblestone passages, which require the highest concentration and all of a rider's know-how. I am eager to see how our young riders do in Belgium. Our goal is to influence the stages in order to have good results in the end."

The stages of the Belgian race will not be easy for the riders of the Dortmund-based team. They face a total of 541 hilly kilometers with some difficult cobblestone sections. In last year's edition, Milram's Martin Velits put in a strong performance. The Slovakian finished eighth overall after 543 kilometers.

The Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen has been carried out in its current format since 2003. It was previously run as the Omloop der Vlaamse Ardennen-Ichtegem (1945-1998) and Guldensporentweedaagse (1999-2002) In 2005, the race had to be cancelled due to a heavy snowfall. Robert Bartko won the race in 2004, becoming the only German to do so in the last five years.

Team Milram for Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen: Luca Barla, Markus Eichler, Robert Förster, Thomas Fothen, Artur Gajek, Dominik Roels, Wim Stroetinga and Paul Voss under Directeur Sportif Ralf Grabsch

Team Astana for Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen: Riders: Roman Kireyev, Berik Kupeshov, Bolat Raimbekov, Gregory Rast, Sergey Renev and Andrey Zeits Director: Alexandr Shefer

Contador to lead Astana at Paris-Nice

Two teams, Astana and Caisse d'Epargne, announced their line-ups for Paris-Nice from March 8 to 15.

Spaniard Alberto Contador will lead Team Astana. The race is part of Contador's preparation leading up to his main goal of the Tour de France in July. Another former Tour de France winner, Oscar Pereiro, will also be there, riding with his Caisse d'Epargne team.

Team Astana for Paris-Nice: Alberto Contador, Alexandr Dyachenko, Daniel Navarro, Sergio Paulinho, Yaroslav Popovych, Benjamín Noval, Michael Schär and Haimar Zubeldia under directors Alain Gallopin and Viatcheslav Ekimov

Caisse d'Epargne for Paris-Nice: Andrey Amador, Anthony Charteau, Imanol Erviti, David López, Dani Moreno, Oscar Pereiro, Mathieu Perget, Luis León Sánchez under director Yvon Ledanois.

Ster Elektrotoer to start in Gemert

Mark Cavendish winning in Gemert in 2008
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)
The 23rd edition of the Ster Elektrotoer will begin this year in Gemert with a 7km individual time trial on June 17 and will run through June 21.

Last year, Gemert hosted the finish of the final stage. It drew a massive audience to watch Mark Cavendish take the bunch sprint. The support the race received in Gemert motivated organizers to return to the city again in 2009.

"Gemert offers an excellent local organization led by an enthusiastic community. Last year, the town provided a great atmosphere, with a packed city center. We come back here very happy," said organizers.

"The riders will deal with a varied but mostly flat track in the prologue," said Eddy Bouwmans. The Gemert resident, a former professional cyclist, won the race that was the forerunner to the current Star Elektro Tour, the Teleflex tour in 1997. This year, he is involved with local organizers in Gemert.

"When I won, it was more of an amateur than a professional race," said Bouwmans, reflecting on the changes he's seen over the years to the event. "The race has grown significantly in recent years and now draws the interest of major international cycling teams."

For several years, the race has served as good preparation for riders' national championships and the Tour de France. Last year, nine ProTour teams were represented, and another strong field is expected to return in June.

AG2R La Mondiale for Tirreno-Adriatico

AG2R La Mondiale announced its team for Tirreno-Adriatico from March 11 to 17. The team will be directed by Arturas Kasputis and will include the following riders: Aurélien Clerc, Cyril Dessel, Alexander Efimkin, Martin Elmiger, René Mandri, Lloyd Mondory, Alexandr Pliuschin, Tadej Valjavec

Cappelle to Palmans-Cras

By Bjorn Haake

Andy Cappelle has signed a one-year contract with Belgian Continental team Palmans-Cras. Cappelle rode for Landbouwkrediet the previous three years, but was left without a team after the 2008 season.

The team confirmed to Cyclingnews that Cappelle will ride all the important Belgian races, including Omloop Waasland, Dwars Door Vlaanderen, the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke and the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde.

The 29-year-old Cappelle had his best year so far in 2007, when he won the Sparkassen Giro Bochum in Germany and also the third stage in the Regio Tour.

Cappelle was the Belgian U23 champion in 1999 and 2000, and he began racing as a professional in 2001 with the Saint-Quentin team of France. He joined Marlux - Ville de Charleroi in 2002 and rode for Chocolate Jacques - Wincor Nixdorf in 2004 before moving to Landbouwkrediet.

Palmans-Cras has already Dieter Cappelle in the line-up, but the two are not related to each other.

Women's Prestige Series adds two events

Kat Carroll (Aaron's)
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)
Organizers of the Women's Prestige Cycling Series announced the schedule for its sixth season including two new events: the Joe Martin Stage Race on May 7-10 and the Cascade Cycling Classic on July 22-26. The two new events join the Redlands Bicycle Classic on March 26-29 and the Nature Valley Grand Prix on June 10-14.

"The Cascade Cycling Classic, which is a new addition to the Series, will make an excellent Grand Finale," said series director David LaPorte of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. "It's an epic stage race with challenging mountain climbs that will really sort out the final standings. And, coming right before the US National Championships held in the same location, all the top teams can be expected to attend."

Jeff Corbett, the new director of Team TIBCO, said that the expanded series showed a strengthening of women's cycling. "It's further evidence that women's cycling is growing even more popular here in the US, and that the quality of the competition continues to improve. We're very excited to be a part of the Series, and hopefully we can contribute to its ongoing success."

"This is great news for women's cycling," said Lisa Hunt of the ValueAct Capital team. "It gives women the recognition and rewards that they deserve. We're looking forward to a tremendously successful series!"

The series includes four competitions: individual, best young rider, sprinter and teams. The leaders in the first three classifications will be identified by leader's jerseys. Kat Carroll (Aaron's Pro Cycling) won the individual and sprinter's jerseys in 2008 while her teammate Alison Testroete took the Best Young Rider's jersey, and Aaron's Pro Cycling claimed the team award.

The Women's Prestige Cycling Series began in 2004. It was a result of the annual Women's Cycling Summit held before the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

For more information, visit

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