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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News, March 25, 2009

Edited by Greg Johnson and Les Clarke

Longer recovery possible for Armstrong

American says Giro remains very doable

By Les Clarke

Lance Armstrong speaks to reporters
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Having returned to the United States of America after breaking his collarbone during stage one of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, Lance Armstrong may face a longer recovery time than first expected. Speaking from Austin, Texas, Armstrong told journalists that local sports surgeon Doug Vlenz had advised that the injury was more complicated than initial examinations had indicated.

"The film wasn't that clear and it wasn't that close up, so we did another film here at his [Vlenz's] office, and it showed the clavicle in quite a few more pieces than originally thought," said Armstrong. "Now we're going to do a CT scan."

It's anticipated that the CT scan images will shed more light on what Vlenz's procedure needs to achieve. Armstrong admitted that regardless of any complications, the surgical procedure will remain very similar to what was initially required.

"I think even if it was either way we were still going to plate, and we'll be doing that at 7 o'clock tomorrow morning. He wants to get more film and clearer CT scan images so he knows what he's dealing with when he gets in there, but there will be a plate placed on top of the clavicle that tries to anatomically put all the stuff back together."

The American, whose return to racing on European soil spanned only the Milano-Sanremo Classic and most of Castilla's opening stage before the accident occurred, outlined his initial recovery plans.

"All he has said is that we'll have surgery tomorrow morning and as soon as I get out of there I'll need 72 hours where I do absolutely nothing," said Armstrong. "At that point they'll check me again and perhaps three or four days later we can consider riding on an indoor trainer.

"Honestly, it seems to me that if the surgery goes well, the plate fits nicely and the whole thing comes together I don't think it complicates things for the future any more than the initial opinion."

Despite being audibly fatigued, Armstrong sounded optimistic about his chances of making it to the Giro d'Italia start on May 9. "The Giro is obviously on people's minds, and that's about five weeks away...In my opinion I still think the Giro is very doable."

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for more news on Armstrong's recovery plans.

Bruyneel: Giro still possible for Armstrong

Lance Armstrong (Astana) left Europe after just two days
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Astana team director Johan Bruyneel doesn't believe Lance Armstrong's crash at Vuelta a Castilla y León on Monday will prevent him from contesting the Giro d'Italia in May. The Belgian knows Armstrong's injury will hamper the American's preparation and fitness levels, but believes it will not stop his participation in either the Giro or Tour de France.

"Personally, I think it is still possible to take part in the Giro," Bruyneel told AFP. "[It] changes the way we approach the season from now until the Tour de France. [But] in terms of being there at start of the Tour, it changes nothing at all."

"For the moment, we are sticking largely with the same schedule. He was going to be leaving for the US after this race and then come back for the Giro, so for the moment nothing has changed."

Armstrong left Spain on Tuesday, headed for his home in Texas, United State of America where he will undergo surgery. "Obviously, it's not a good thing, but his head hit the ground quite hard and his helmet was broken," added Bruyneel. "A broken collarbone is not a bad outcome given the circumstances. It's one of the breaks that takes least time to heal.

"I think that he has faced much harder things than this. A broken collarbone, obviously it's not nice, but it's not the end of the world."

Basso wants Armstrong back for Giro

Italy's Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Liquigas' Ivan Basso has said that the Giro d'Italia "wouldn't be the same" without Lance Armstrong, in a message of support to his friend and one-time Tour de France rival. Armstrong fractured his collarbone during the first stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León on Monday.

"I think and hope that Armstrong can recover from his misfortune to take to the start of the Giro d'Italia on May 9 in Venice," said Basso. "Without Lance, the race would no longer be the same."

Basso, who this year will ride the Giro for the first time since winning it in 2006, has entered a block of intensive training to prepare for his return to his national tour. It includes a two-week stint on Mount Teide, a volcano on the Canary Islands.

"I'm experiencing a phase of preparation in which nothing should be left to chance," said Basso. "My work is returning to full capacity after the injury I suffered to my left knee a month ago at the Tour of California."

Astana takes one, two in Spain

Levi Leipheimer (Astana) took the overall lead
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The Vuelta a Castilla y León show went on for Astana without Lance Armstrong on Tuesday, as the squad claimed the race lead with a one, two finish on the Palencia individual time trial. Levi Leipheimer's stage win gives him a 16 second lead over Spanish teammate Alberto Contador while fellow American David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) sits in third spot.

It was Leipheimer's second time trial victory of the season, following his win at the Tour of California. "It was a good time trial for me, especially as it was always straight," he said. "However, it was hard. There was a lot of wind and you could never recover. You had to push all the time, but as always in time trials I finished very strong.

Leipheimer is cautiously optimism about defending the race lead, with Contador saying he'd help the rider whose services will be called upon by the Spaniard in the upcoming Grand Tours. "I would like to win the race but it will be very difficult because the rest of the riders will be very aggressive now," he said. "We are number one and two now so they will really want to beat us."

Read Cyclingnews' full coverage of stage two.

ISD wins Bartali time trial, claims lead

Andriy Grivko leads ISD
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

New Italian-Ukrainian team ISD won the 14.3-kilometre Coppi e Bartali team time trial at the 9th Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in Misano Adriatico, Italy. The eight-man team bettered Miche-Silver Cross and CSF Group-Navigare over rain-soaked roads with a time of 17:17.

Thanks to the team time trial win and a 34th placing in the morning's first stage, ISD's Oscar Gatto moved into the red general classification leader's jersey.

Team Columbia-Highroad placed fifth and the Saxo Bank team of Olympic Champion Fabian Cancellara finished in sixth, each at 22 seconds back. Silence-Lotto, the team of 2008 race winner Cadel Evans, finished in 10th at 29 seconds off of ISD.

Read Cyclingnews' full coverage of stage one-b.

Track time table changes get women's support

The world's top female track riders have thrown their support behind a reshuffling of the schedule for this year's UCI Track World Championships, which start in Poland today. Officials have moved the women's 500 metre time trial to the event's opening day, a change supported by Australia's Anna Meares and Briton's Victoria Pendleton.

"I think it's finally in the right order with the 500m time trial first off and then the, shall I say, less safe events after," said Meares, whose crash last year came in the keirin event at the Los Angeles round of the UCI Track World Cup series. "I hope this order stays in place in future."

Meares will take on rival Pendleton in the former's favoured event today. The two met last at the Beijing Olympic Games' women's sprint final where Pendleton claimed a gold medal.

"Last year the 500 [metres time trial] was squashed between the sprint heats so it wasn't possible practically [to do it]," Pendleton told The Guardian. "This time around I'm really doing it because I can."

Pendleton hopes to leave Pruszkow with four world titles. In addition to the 500 metre sprint, she will contest the team sprint, sprint and keirin events.

Meares hopes for 500 TT's Olympic return

By Greg Johnson

Anna Meares has taken two world championships
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Australian track sprinter Anna Meares is hoping the women's 500 metre time trial will return for the London Olympic Games in 2012. Meares, who claimed gold at the event's last Olympic appearance in Athens five years ago, will focus on the event at this year's UCI Track World Championships.

"I'm actually hopeful the women's 500 will come back for London. If that comes back that would be…I can tell you right now," said Meares, unable to contain her excitement over the idea. "God a couple of years ago when I was hopeful it would come back I said to [husband] Mark – because I was actually looking at retiring after Beijing – I said if that 500 comes back, I will stay for London."

While Meares has since decided to continue her career through London regardless of the event's return, her desire to see it back on the Olympic schedule is hard to miss. In addition to her Olympic gold, Meares has claimed two 500 metre time trial UCI Track World Championships and numerous titles at Oceania and national level.

"What keeps me motivated is seeing what I'm capable of, seeing if I can keep raising that benchmark," said Meares. "And the competition – I love a challenge, love competition. You go to a competition like World Championships every year and you drag yourself through a full year of training and you get to the World Championships and you feel invincible."

Meares' worlds campaign will start in Pruszkow today in the 500 metre time trial event. She will then contest team sprint event on Thursday with Kaarle McCulloch.

Read Cyclingnews' full interview with Anna Meares.

Hovelijnck still critical

Belgian rider Kurt Hovelijnck remains in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit at the University Hospital of Gent, according to a Team Quick Step update.

Hovelijnck fell heavily while training in the Ardennes on March 17, suffering severe head injuries, including a fractured skull.

Terpstra given Dwars Door Vlaanderen leadership

Niki Terpstra will lead Team Milram's charge in today's Dwars Door Vlaanderen. The 'Race across Flanders' serves as an important warm-up for the Northern Classics, and the 24-year-old Dutchman is keen to impress in the 200 kilometres from Roeselare to Waregem.

"Niki Terpstra is in very good form right now and absolutely wants to ride the one-day races in Flanders, in order to be perfectly prepared for the April Classics," said Gerry van Gerwen, Team Milram's general manager. "On Thursday, together with Peter Wrolich and Servais Knaven, he will ride the most important parts of the Ronde van Vlaanderen route, to leave nothing to chance."

Last year Terpstra just missed a top 10 and finished 12th, while teammate Markus Eichler finished a few seconds back in 16th.

Team Milram for Dwars Door Vlaanderen: Robert Förster, Markus Eichler, Thomas Fothen, Artur Gajek, Servais Knaven, Niki Terpstra, Martin Müller and Peter Wrolich.

Vogels happy with Fly V's take off

Fly V Australia-Successful Living director Henk Vogels is pleased with the squad's efforts at its first National Racing Calendar event in North America. The squad claimed victory at the weekend's San Dimas Stage Race with Ben Day following stage wins by Day and teammate Jonathan Cantwell.

"As results go for a new team, San Dimas is on-par with our expectations," Vogels said. "Ben Day has already proven his capability on the U.S. scene as a general classification rider and what can we say about Jono Cantwell?"

"We knew he had the speed to be competitive at this level, he just needed to back himself," added Vogels.

The Australian registered squad merged with Successful Living at the end of 2008, with the intention of having a big presence in North America this year. The squad set itself a steep learning curve by competing in the Tour of California as its first race, where Day was the only one of Fly V Australia's riders to finish the event.

Cyclingnews wins Hitwise performance award

Future is delighted to announce that has been named Australia's number one online cycling site. Recognising excellence through public popularity, Cyclingnews picked up the prestigious honour of being named the country's most visited cycling website at the Hitwise Australia Online Performance Awards.

"Winning a prestigious Hitwise Award and being named Australia's number one cycling website is a fantastic endorsement for the hard work of the Cyclingnews teams here and around the world," said Karl Penn, Managing Director of Future Australia. "We have successfully integrated the site into Future's world-leading cycling portfolio and now benefit from a continual investment in online development.

"There are ambitious plans to grow and improve the site, but we will never stray from the formula that made Cyclingnews Australia's favourite cycling site," he added.

The Hitwise Australia Awards used data captured directly from Australia's ISPs to name the country's most visited websites in 2008. Acquired by special-interest media group Future PLC in 2007 – Cyclingnews operates around the clock, with teams also based in the United States and Europe.

"We're all tremendously proud of this award, as it reflects our commitment to a growing audience of cycling enthusiasts at home and across the globe," said Greg Johnson, Production Editor of Cyclingnews in Australia. "Australia is at the heart of road cycling, and we've had some great stories and events to cover – 2009 looks set to be even bigger, especially with the legendary Lance Armstrong returning to the saddle on our home turf."

Work for the world's leading cycling website

Cyclingnews, the world's leading cycling website, is recruiting writers based in the UK.

Applicants are required to have a keen interest and thorough knowledge of competitive cycling, as well as editorial or writing experience with excellent English skills. Writers should be competent in producing and subbing reports, news, results and features from the world of cycling, so fluency in a second language is also an advantage, as is experience in journalism, attention to detail and flexibility in hours.

Applicants may also be required to attend major cycling events. Training in online production techniques can be provided.

Please send your CV with a covering letter and examples of your work, via e-mail to with "Cyclingnews online writer -" in the subject line.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Hedwig Kröner and Susan Westemeyer.)

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