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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, March 31, 2009

Edited by Greg Johnson & Les Clarke

Strong sentiments for Silence-Lotto

José De Cauwer
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Former Silence-Lotto team director Jose De Cauwer has made it clear he thinks the Belgian team has no chance of winning this weekend's Ronde van Vlaanderen.

"You can use these last days [to prepare] a bit, but not enough to win," De Cauwer told Sporza. The former Raleigh-Ti and Peugeot professional is also a commentator on the TV network of the same name.

The Belgian press is beginning to apply pressure to Marc Coucke's outfit; success hasn't flowed as freely as in years past and there's the hope this will change soon. De Cauwer's comments aren't cause for optimism, however.

"If you look at the two Belgian teams, Quick Step has recorded wins and Silence-Lotto has problems," he continued. "Hopefully the weather is good and Silence finds some better legs, so there is still some competition for Quick Step."

Despite having riders such as Greg Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert and Leif Hoste as the 'go to' men at this time of year, De Cauwer believes "Silence is lost". "Nobody is sick, no one is over trained," he said. "They are looking for something that is not there or something they still haven't found."

De Cauwer contrasted cycling with football to illustrate the point that riders such as Van Avermaet must feel that their chances of winning are good according to their legs. "Cycling is not football, where a fortuitous bounce of the ball can decide the outcome," he said.

Philippe Gilbert emphasised this point when he told Sporza that he knows he can't win De Ronde. "I'm certainly not a favourite," said Gilbert. "At this moment there are five or six really top riders. The Quick Step guys are certainly amongst those, and there are still about 50 riders in the same shape as me.

"I can only hope for a good outcome, but I certainly can't win on Sunday."

Quick Step strongest, but not certainties

De Cauwer also said that despite having the strongest team in the event, Patrick Lefevere's squad may not have an easy time on Sunday. He sees it as a potential disadvantage to have Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Kevin Van Impe and Stijn Devolder in the same squad.

"There will be no [Fabian] Cancellara, no [Alessandro] Ballan, no [Stuart] O'Grady...riders his men can 'throw a bomb' at," he said. "Maybe on Sunday it will be everyone in the race trying to paralyse the Quick Step threat."

De Cauwer added that observers and fans should assume that someone from Quick Step will win, but he wasn't prepared to name exactly who that would be.

Cyclingnews forum No Lotto Luck.

Sánchez weighs in on Armstrong-Contador situation

Samuel Sánchez
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Olympic road race champion Samuel Sánchez believes the 'circus' surrounding Lance Armstrong's return to competition will be beneficial for Alberto Contador's Tour de France preparations.

"He is the best Spanish stage racer and I know he is very motivated for this year's Tour de France," Sánchez told Spanish sports daily Marca.

He can focus more on his training while the media-hype surrounds Armstrong, according to the Euskadi-Euskaltel rider. Sánchez took out Sunday's GP Llodio, his first victory since last August's Beijing Olympic Games road race.

"This whole 'circus' that surrounds Armstrong favours Contador; it eases the pressure and allows him to work more relaxed and focused," said Sánchez.

Sánchez also spoke of his own goals for 2009, which he hopes culminates in October's UCI World Road Championships. "I hope we can add to the success of the Olympic Games with success in the World Championships."

Vos better than expected

Marianne Vos was fresh enough to claim victory
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)

Dutch rider Marianne Vos was surprised with her own strength after claiming victory at the weekend's Trofeo Alfredo Binda in Italy. The victory from a two-woman breakaway placed Vos in the UCI Women's World Cup leader's jersey.

"It was better than expected," Vos told Sportwereld.nl of her form. "The weather was very bad. We finished in the pouring rain and it was pretty cold. That was an important factor in the race and I also think it was in my advantage."

Vos has no regrets over her multi-disciplined approach to the season, saying it hasn't impacted on her performance. The Dutch rider focused on cyclo-cross racing during the European winter, leading to her UCI World Cyclo-cross Championship victory over Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany).

Vos was also pleased with her decision not to defend her UCI Track World Championship in the women's points race. The UCI Track World Championships were held in Poland at the weekend, at the same time as the World Cup round in Italy.

"If the Trofeo Alfredo Binda had gone bad I may have regretted it," she said. "Now that I've won, I thought it was really okay. It's a choice you make, you cannot compete in everything.

"Obviously it hurts when you cannot defend a world title, but I did have a title on the road [to pursue]. That counts too."

Vos will now travel to Belgium where she will preview the Ronde van Vlaanderen course, the next round of the UCI Women's World Cup, later this week.

Bannan pleased, cautious after track success

Gold medals for Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Cycling Australia's Shayne Bannan says while he's pleased with the nation's medal haul at the weekend's UCI Track World Championships, they're not getting carried away with the performance. Bannan believes there's still much work to be done before next year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India and, importantly, the 2012 London Olympic Games.

"Overall there is still a lot of work to do and we're not getting carried away because we realise that to be competitive in London we really need to progress each year so that's the aim," Bannan told HeraldSun.com.au. "[We] certainly didn't expect it [medal haul] and we, like a few of the other top nations, are concentrating on development and the emerging athlete as we lead into London.

"So we're really pleased with what's happened here but there's still a lot of work to do to repeat the results of Athens," he added.

Amongst Australia's 10 medal haul from the track event in Poland were four gold medals. The result is in stark contrast to last year's performance at the Beijing Olympic Games, where Anna Meares claimed the nation's only track cycling medal with a second placed finish in the women's sprint.

Louder please with career highlight in Redlands

By Kirsten Robbins in Redlands, California, USA

Jeff Louder (BMC) making it through
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Jeff Louder and his BMC squad savoured victory after the final stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic on Sunday. Adding his name to the list of notable overall winners is a career highlight, according to Louder.

"This is the 25th anniversary of this race and I was looking at the palmarès of the event and I can't believe that my name is going to go up along side all those guys," said Louder.

Past winners of the Redlands Bicycle Classic include well-known and legendary riders like Christian Vande Velde, Santiago Botero, Chris Horner, Jonathan Vaughters and Davis Phinney among others.

"The who's who of American cycling is on that list. I'm not a rising star. I'm in the eve of my career and doing this for a long time. It's really an honour to win it. It's called the Redlands Bicycle Classic because it is a classic. I'm very pleased to get to win it and I'm very proud to win it."

Louder took the yellow jersey after his stage two victory in Beaumont. He thanked his BMC teammates for their unshakable performance defending the overall lead to a hard-earned victory.

"You can't win a bike race without a team," Louder said. "I really want to give this yellow jersey to my teammates because they worked so hard."

The BMC team will leave for Europe to compete in the Circuit de la Sarthe and Paris-Roubaix in April.

Teutenberg takes single second win in Redlands

By Kirsten Robbins in Redlands, California, USA

Ina Yoko-Tuetenberg (Columbia-Highroad) took over
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Columbia-Highroad's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg was crowned the overall champion of the Redlands Bicycle Classic by one-second over UCI Time Trial World Champion Amber Neben. The victory couldn't have happened without the help of her team, said Teutenberg.

"I couldn't do this for a 10-day tour," admitted Teutenberg. "It's a lot of pressure. I was babied. My teammates are used to doing work like that for our general classification riders. We have riders like Judith [Arndt] who do this stuff."

Teutenberg started the stage race in third place, 27-seconds behind the then leader Neben after the opening prologue. Her double stage victories and the hunt for intermediate time bonus bumped her one second ahead of Neben on the 'Sunset' stage.

"I'm not used to being a general classification rider and its a whole different ball-game," she added. "Amber was not at her peak form yet, she tried but I wasn't in danger. My team did everything for me and we had control for most of the day. I wouldn't not have been able to do this without them."

Sunweb extends 'cross deal

Joint sponsor of Jurgen Mettepenningen's cyclo-cross squad Sunweb has extended its association with the outfit. Sunweb will remain a major sponsor of the outfit until December 31, 2011 under the agreement announced on Monday.

The outfit includes top cyclo-cross riders like Sven Vanthourenhout and Klaas Vantornout. The team regularly features in the top five at European cyclo-cross events.

Young Canadian rider in hit and run

Young Canadian cyclist Arnaud Papillon has been the victim of a hit and run in South Carolina. The 20-year-old's season is in doubt following the accident, which left him with a three lumbar fractures and damaged tendons in his left knee.

"I'm very anxious over what has happened," Papillon told CBCNews.ca. "I don't know if my season is compromised or my career is compromised. This idiot – he has no idea of the impact of what he has done."

Papillon won last year's Louis Garneau Montreal-Quebec Classic in Canada and the Coupe de la Paix's stage one. The rider has also competed for Canada at the Tour de l'Avenir.

What's hot on the Cyclingnews Forum

The recently-completed UCI Track World Championships captured the imagination of our readers on the Cyclingnews Forum this week, especially given the performances of a certain young American by the name of Taylor Phinney. There's also some speculation about the whispers of a British professional road team that are becoming louder.

Take a look at what our readers are discussing on the forum with a few examples below:

Taylor Phinney – just how good can he be?

  • Can't get over the way he rides the pursuit-gets faster every successive kilometre, finishing with his fastest! Have never seen that before. - pmsc111
  • Given a few years, Boardman's record might finally be broken. If you look at Phinney's qualifying time of 4:15, that would have earned him Gold at the Olympics. He's already improved 10 seconds in less than a year. - Nightfend
  • The genetics are there but xx and xy alone don't a champion make. The impressive teenager is revving at 125 plus revs and is thus amazingly efficient. Add a few inches to that gear as he get older and stronger and world records will tumble. - bikepure

Join the thread.

British/Sky road team

  • It's going to be interesting team for sure. The last I heard was they it will be up and running for next year with a possible start in Tour Down Under. There was also a rumour I read about that they are interested in Edvald Boasson Hagen. Other than that I haven't seen much. - Ingsve
  • Ballan and Pellizotti are other names being tossed around.

    I remember Clive Woodward after winning the rugby world cup saying that he could coach the England football team to similar glory – something that has yet to happen. There's a huge difference between the track and the road as most GB riders have experienced – the big exception being Cavendish who has made his career on the road with a pro team. A team he has no intention of leaving and would be crazy to leave.

    It's a nice idea and if they mean the team will have a TdF winner by 2014 then that's entirely doable if they sign a hot GC hope and train exclusively to win the TdF. But a British winner? I'm not holding my breath. - Bianchigirl
  • They have Scott Sunderland, Roger Legeay and Max Sciandri on board for the management already, some good names there. They have a big budget, so they should be able to get some good riders.

    It won't be the chaos that you see at Lotto or Katusha thanks to the ideas of professionalism behind it. But many will have a lot to learn, it is no longer about the backwater of track cycling and its predictable performances (hit X watts and you will do Y time with Z medal), we're talking about confronting the world's best cyclists and then adding in tactics, crosswinds, punctures and a whole lot more. - Stani Kléber

Join the thread.

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