Latest Cycling News for April 11, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner, assisted by Sabine Sunderland
World champ looking for 'Roubaix revenge'
By D'Arcy Price
The Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen (formally known as Grote Scheldeprijs Schoten), Flanders' oldest race (starting in 1907), is traditionally a sprinters contest, run over a dead flat parcours with a few cobbled sections thrown in for good measure. Its similar to, albeit less demanding, the mid-week ProTour race of Gent-Wevelgem, and is raced over a similar distance of roughly 200 km.
The race starts in Antwerp and continues on a 155km loop into the Flemish countryside before riders hit three 15km finishing circuits in the town of Schoten. The route includes seven cobbled sections, varying between 1300 and 3000 meters. The Gent-Weveglem/Scheldeprijs double has been done five times; Tom Boonen in 2004; Mario Cipollini in 1993; Rik Van Looy in 1957 and 1956 and Alberic Schotte in 1955.
The weather forecast for the race is for sunny and dry conditions, with temperatures ranging from 5-11 degrees Celsius and a moderately strong northwesterly wind blowing.
The Quick-Step team will look for some revenge after its slightly disappointing Paris-Roubaix, especially world champ Boonen. The Belgian superstar has 12 victories so far this season, and finished second in Roubaix after taking out his second successive victory in the Tour of Flanders. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner, Nick Nuyens, rode an excellent Milan-San Remo and was one of the key riders in Quick-Steps successful team plan in that race. Showing hes a vital team player he also helped Boonen to victory in Flanders, taking a respectable 17th place himself.
Cyclingnews will be covering the 94th Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen live from 14:30 CEST/08:30 EDT (USA east)/05:30 PDT (USA west)/22:30 AEST (Australia east).
CSC parties on
After winning Paris-Roubaix on Sunday with Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC continued its celebrations well into the early hours of Monday morning at the Park Hotel in Kortrijk. It was arguably the team's biggest race win, and manager Bjarne Riis and director Scott Sunderland are still coming to terms with it.
"Everything went OK right from the start," an emotional and ecstatic Sunderland commented from the party. "Fabian rode an awesome, incredible race and the rest of the team did an impeccable job. This victory is such a reward for the whole team. The mechanics, the soigneurs, everyone did everything how it was supposed to be done. Everything was just right. It's a fantastic feeling to experience such perfection."
The right legs, the right frame of mind
"Not only did I win with my legs, but I was also very strong in my head," said Cancellara. "Also, the team did everything they could to support me.
"I came here to win the race. We didn't look to other riders or teams. Everybody is looking to Boonen, but he's the same as the rest - you've got to be strong in your head. That's why I always tried to react immediately when someone attacked. That way, I'm where I need to be and the attacker gets de-motivated because he's got someone on his wheel.
Cancellara was looking to be very comfortable in the last five kilometres, even smiling on his bike. "I was in touch with the team car through the radio," he admitted. "I was constantly asking about the [time] differences I got. I heard from my sport director what my lead was. Ten seconds, twenty, thirty, one minute...
"Lots of things were flashing through my head: being at the velodrome, having the pleasure to come in alone, knowing what I did to achieve this, being only the second Swiss to win this race. It all comes back to this being a great victory. Looking to the riders that finished behind me, they are all champions - so am I."
The right material
Like a number of teams, CSC rode on carbon bikes during the race. It was questioned by others before the start, but Riis put his full support behind his director Scott Sunderland. It proved to be the right choice, as Cancellara appeared to be floating over the cobbles and the team only suffered one puncture on the day.
Sunderland explained to Cyclingnews that the Cérvelos they used had a box-section downtube and a special chain- and seat-stay design so that the rear triangle flexed more on the cobbles, almost like rear suspension. In addition, the team was running 27mm tubulars with normal spoked wheels.
"I have never been that comfortable on the cobbles," Fabian confirmed to the VUM papers. "The frame; the wheels, everything was picobello. It was the first time in my career that I started as the team leader. Immediate success!"
The right name
If ever you get the chance of admiring one of Cancellara's bikes close-up, you will notice that it doesn't have his name written on the frame. It reads Tony Montana. "Tony Montana is my nickname in the group," laughs Cancellara. "Montana is my favourite actor in the movie Scarface with Al Pacino. I'm always imitating him."
Compound fracture for Tom Steels
Tom Steels' spectacular crash in Paris-Roubaix did not result in a broken collarbone, according to the latest update from Davitamon-Lotto. An additional medical examination has shown that Steels has a rare compound fracture above the articulation of the shoulder blade, requiring both an operation and plaster.
This operation will be performed next Thursday at Antwerp's hospital by Dr De Clerck. Steels won't return to the peloton until the end of June.
Phonak to Amstel and Tour de Georgia
Swiss Phonak team has announced its rider rosters for Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands on April 16, and the Tour de Georgia, scheduled to take place in the United States from April 18-23.
The team directed by General Manager John Lelangue will line up the following riders at the European ProTour event: Martin Elmiger, Bert Grabsch, Nicolas Jalabert, Axel Merckx, Koos Moerenhout, Alexandre Moos, Miguel Angel Perdiguero and Gregory Rast.
As to the American stage race, team leader Floyd Landis will have Aurélien Clerc, Ignacio Gutierrez, José Enriqué Gutierrez, Robert Hunter, Luis Oliveira, Florian Stalder and Johann Tschopp on his side.
New general manager for 3 Molinos Resort
By Antonio J. Salmerón
"I do not arrive to judge anybody, but to give viability," said Ginés García, the new manager of the professional Spanish cycling team, 3 Molinos Resort. He justified his decision to return to cycling "because the project of 3 Molinos Resort convinced me, and I always dreamed directing in this professional category."
Garcia has directed several Spanish amateur teams, Pastor de Carnicas, CAAM, and Plastimer, but he has not done so for years. "I have stayed well informed and currently I am bringing myself up to date with the changes that have occurred.
"I will actively follow the development of all the riders, from the 'amateurs' to the professionals, so that all enjoy the opportunities they deserve, as well as taking part in the planning for next season," added Garcia, who will also carry out a restructuring of the team.
"We have to do two very important stage races, the tours of Portugal and Britain," he concluded, without forgetting the Volta a Catalunya, where they will compete alongside the ProTour teams.
Kevin Seeldrayers to join Quick.Step
Belgian youngster Kevin Seeldrayers will turn professional in 2007 with Quick.Step-Innergetic. The 19 year-old from the Beveren 2000 team (a satellite team of Quick.Step) has signed a two year deal with Patrick Lefevere's squad.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)