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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News, March 19, 2009

Edited by Sue George

Cancellara to skip Milano-Sanremo & ride Settimana Internazionele di Coppi e Bartali

Fabian Cancellara on the descent at the 2008 Milano-Sanremo, which he won
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)
Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara will not defend his 2008 victory in Milano-Sanremo, but instead will focus on his preparation for the Northern European classics by doing the stage race Settimana Internazionele di Coppi e Bartali next week in Italy.

"I regret not being able to do Milano-Sanremo, which for obvious reasons is a race that has a special place in my heart, but I need to be realistic," said Cancellara. "It's the best decision based on the form I have right now and more importantly, for family reasons, I wasn't able to do the race on Saturday either way.

"I want to stay focused and since I had to exit Tirreno-Adriatico, I need to get more stability. I can only get that from racing and continuing my training.

"I look forward to be gaining more form in the Italian stage race and hopefully, that will help me make some progress," said Cancellara, who will race with his Saxo Bank team next starting the five-day Italian race in Riccione on March 24.

"Fabian wasn't able to finish the Tirreno-Adriatico race, but made the cautious choice of focussing on the goals ahead instead of pushing himself too far, which is totally understandable," said Team Saxo Bank's owner Bjarne Riis. "We completely support his decision and we're happy that he is already back racing next week. We need to be realistic about his current shape and thus take things step by step."

"The race next week is perfect for him to re-enter the racing programme and in that way he definitely still has a realistic chance to play an important role in Classics up north. The most important thing right now is that he gets a fair chance to work and get into shape and once that is in place, I'm sure he will be back with his usual class."

No Ballan for MSR either

Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-NGC) last year at Milano-Sanremo
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)
World Champion Alessandro Ballan will also be absent on Saturday at Milano-Sanremo. Ballan's illness of the past few weeks will keep him on the sidelines a little longer.

"The exams performed at the Castelfranco Veneto hospital diagnosed a recent infection by the cytomegalovirus, which he probably caught about 15 days ago," said Lampre-NGC's medical consultant Carlo Guardascione.

"He must rest for 15-20 days. He will be able to begin training again when the sores completely disappear."

The cytomegalovirus is a common herpes-type virus that infects a majority of people during their lives but rarely causes obvious illness. Symptoms may include fever, swollen glands and feeling tired.

A disappointed Ballan said, "I'm very sad because I won't take part in Milano-Sanremo and my presence in the Classics of the North is compromised. Now I know why I wasn't well, I have to wait for a complete recovery.

"I can't say when I'll be back to racing, because it will all depend on the course of the infection."

Ciolek leading Milram at Milano-Sanremo

Gerald Ciolek (Team Milram) has already one victory under his belt this season
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)
Under the leadership of Gerald Ciolek, Team Milram will be looking for its first major season success this Saturday at the 100th edition of the Milano-Sanremo in Italy. As Milram captain, Ciolek will be supported over the 298 kilometers from the Lombardian city Milano to the Mediterranean by Germans Christian Knees, Johannes Fröhlinger and Fabian Wegmann, Netherlander Niki Terpstra, the Slovakian brothers Martin and Peter Velits and Austrian Peter Wrolich.

"Milano-Sanremo has its own set of rules," said Milram team manager Gerry van Gerwen. "The distance of 300 kilometers requires a rider to give everything, physically as well as emotionally. It is our goal to have Gerald Ciolek in the front up to the finale at the foot of Poggio. It would be optimal to have two more Milram riders, like Fabian Wegmann or Peter Wrolich, at his side. I would be very satisfied with that because at that point in the race, anything is possible."

The race includes the including the Cipressa (about 20 km before the finish) and the Poggio die Sanremo (about six km before the finish), but it often ends in a mass sprint.

Team Milram for Milano-Sanremo: Gerald Ciolek, Johannes Fröhlinger, Christian Knees, Niki Terpstra, Martin Velits, Peter Velits, Fabian Wegmann, Peter Wrolich under Directeur Sportifs Christian Henn and Vittorio Algeri.

Read the preview for Milano Sanremo and check out the start list.

Irish team pursuit squad denied wildcard

By Shane Stokes

David O'Loughlin is a member of the Irish team pursuit squad
Photo ©: Greg Chang
(Click for larger image)
The quartet may have been seventh and then fifth in the last two World Cups, but the Irish team pursuit squad will have to sit out this month's world championships after failing to get a wildcard for the event.

The quartet of David O'Loughlin, David McCann, Paul Healion and Martyn Irvine went close to a ride-off for bronze in last month's World Cup meet in Copenhagen; their national record-breaking time of four minutes 11.587 seconds put them less than a second outside the ride-off for the bronze medal.

However, despite being eleventh in the world rankings, current UCI rules mean that they did not satisfy the criteria for qualification. In addition to being ranked in the top twenty, a country needs to have participated in at least one event at four out of five rounds of the World Cup.

Cycling Ireland appealed this on financial grounds and hoped to get a wildcard slot. However the national federation heard in recent days that this bid was unsuccessful.

"Cycling Ireland (CI) is disappointed that a place for the team pursuit has not been secured," said CEO Geoff Liffey this week. "However it fully understands the UCI criteria which is in place and why a place is not possible at the 2009 World Track Championships.

"The focus is now to continue to build on the recent progress over the next few months. The arrival of Phil Leigh [the new CI High Performance Director] is sure to add some new energy and ideas to the High Performance Team"

The news means that Ireland will have just one entrant in the track worlds, as was the case last season. David O'Loughlin was sixth in the individual pursuit in Manchester one year ago and will aim to improve on that. He was third in the Beijing World Cup and then last month finished second behind Taylor Phinney in Copenhagen.

The progress he and the team pursuit squad have shown are a boost to CI's developing track programme. It is aiming for a good showing in London 2012.

Valverde joins stars for Vuelta a Castilla y León

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, 28, summonsed by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI)
Photo ©: Franklin Tello
(Click for larger image)
Team Caisse D'Epargne confirmed Wednesday Alejandro Valverde's presence in the start of the Vuelta a Castilla y León. Valverde joins a list of stars already committed to take part in the 24th edition of the race from March 23 to March 27.

Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov are among those who will join Valverde on the start line while Óscar Freire's attendance has yet to be confirmed given his recovery from injury.

The complete list of teams participating includes Spanish Caisse D'Epargne, Euskaltel Euskadi, Fuji Servetto, Xacobeo Galicia, Andalucia Cajasur, Contentpolis Ampo, Monumental Burgos and Orbea; American Garmin Slipstream and Rock Racing; Kazakh Astana, the Swiss Cervelo TestTeam, the Dutch Rabobank, the Italian ISD, the Portuguese Barbot and Liberty Seguros and the French AG2R teams.

Vuelta a Castilla y León 2009
Stage 1 - Paredes De Nava - Baltanás, 168.3km
Stage 2 - Palencia - Palencia time trial, 28.2km
Stage 3- Sahagún - Estación Inv. De San Isiro, 156.9km
Stage 4 - Santa María Del Páramo - Galende-Laguna De Los Peces, 145.4km
Stage 5 - Benavente - Valladolid, 152.5km

Bruseghin does his homework

Marzio Bruseghin completed his homework assignment of the day by performing a reconnaissance on one of the toughest stages of the upcoming Giro d'Italia. Lampre-NGC's Bruseghin checked out stage 16 from the Pergola to Monte Petrano, which will happen on May 25.

Riding with his sport director Fabrizio Bontempi and friend Cristiano Romagnoli, he covered the last 100km of the stage, with Monte Nerone (13.3 km), Monte Catria (11 km) and Monte Petrano (10,4 km), for a total of four hours in the saddle.

"It will be the toughest stage of next Giro. The altitude is not so high, but the elevation changes are great, and the stage is very long," said Bruseghin.

"A first selection will take place on Monte Nerone, the toughest climb, and then it will be no rest until the finish."

Bontempi seconded his rider's observations: "This stage is as tough as one in the Dolomites. In the last 100km, there is an elevation change of 3,200m."

Marchante's arm healing

Jose Angel Gomez Marchante visited doctors in his hometown of Madrid on Wednesday morning for further evaluation of his left arm. Marchante fractured his left radius as a result of a crash during the second stage of Paris-Nice.

After an examination, Dr. Pedro Guillen confirmed that Marchante is healing quickly and authorized him to begin exercising in the gym with the condition that he continue to wear his sling.

Marchante will be re-evaluated in ten days.

Selle Italia-Ghezzi ready for Trofeo Costa Etrusca

Fabiana Luperini
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)
The Selle Italia-Ghezzi squad is ready to race in Tuscany at the triptych of races that comprise the Trofeo Costa Etrusca this weekend: the GP Comuni Rosignano Marittimo-Livorno, the GP Comuni Riparbella-Montescudaio and the GP Comuni Santa Luce-Castellina Marittima.

"In these three races, we will see almost all of our women. We can line up eight riders and then we will swap them around," said Director Sportif Walter Zini.

"Fabiana Luperini has fully recovered from a small operation in recent weeks. This will be her season debut, and in the past she has often done well in the Costa Etrusca. Martine Bras is also in good shape after recently finishing second in Belgium at the Flanders Cup (Tielt-Winge).

With the exception of Marta Bastianelli, who is currently serving a suspension for a banned substance, the only other of the team's racers absent will be Kaytee Boyd, who will be travelling to the UCI Track World Championships in Poland where she will represent New Zealand in the omnium and team pursuit next week.

Pucinskaite begins Italian racing season

After making her season racing debut in Brissago, Switzerland in early March, Edita Pucinskaite will tackle her first race of the year in Italy this weekend as she typically does each year at the three days of Costa Etrusca in Tuscany.

"My main objectives are much later in the season, but I want to contribute to the team and perhaps help someone else do well," said the Team Dilà – Kuota racer. Pucinskaite's targets are the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in July and August.

Nys switches focus back to mountain biking

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago)
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)
Belgian cyclo-cross star Sven Nys resumed training earlier this week after three weeks of holiday time off. As he did last summer, Nys will again focus on mountain biking racing, with his first contest scheduled for the Benelux Cup in Averbode on May 10. He will train and race with a goal of doing well at the World Championships in Australia. Nys is also hoping to excel at the European Championships in Zoetermeer, Netherlands.

When not off-road, Nys will also do some road racing including the Tour of Belgium, the Belgian Championship and the Eneco Tour.

"I really want to be back going fast, even though we are now just three weeks after the conclusion of the 'cross season," said Nys. "I spent a week skiing and then I've been back on my bike almost every day since. Not because I had to, but because I like to ride."

"Last year was a good example of how you can organize a perfect season," said Nys. "I was able to ride at a high level by mid-May at the European Championships in Sankt Wendel, and I could carry that through until the end of February."

"My primary objective for this summer is the mountain bike World Championships in Australia. In the long term, I am focusing on the 2012 Olympic Games in London - it's constantly haunting my thoughts."

Teams for Redlands Bicycle Classic

Webcor working in the 2009 Redlands stage four
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)
It will be a full house on the men's and women's starting lines at the Redlands Bicycle Classic when it gets underway on Thursday, March 26 and runs for the next four days. More than 200 men and nearly 150 women have signed up.

"Not only is this one of the largest number of entrants we've had for both the men's and women's fields, but it's also one of the most prestigious," said Race Director Dan Rendler. "The women's field reads as a 'who's-who' of female cycling, while the men's field features 11 of the 13 registered UCI Continental teams."

Some of the A-List ladies that will be hitting the streets of Redlands include Laura Van Gilder, Amber Neben, Mara Abott, Kim Anderson, Rebecca Much, Emilia Fahlin, Brooke Miller, Alison Powers, Ina Tutenberg, Kat Carroll, Tina Pic, and Alex Wrubleski. Among those names are no less than five current national champions, one current world champion, the current NRC champion and over 20 race wins between them in 2008 alone impressive to say the least.

As for the men, their field is highlighted by stand out performers such as Rhassan Bahati, Jeff Louder, Scott Nydam, Andy Bajadali, Floyd Landis, Chris Wherry, Ben Jacques-Maynes, Neil Shirley, Justin Williams, Pat McCarty, and Rory Sutherland.

The list includes two current national champions; a Tour of California KOM Jersey winner; a two-time NRC Champion; former Redlands Bicycle Classic stage and GC winners; the recipients of the Most Aggressive Riders Jersey at both the Tour de Georgia and Tour of California; the 2008 Carroll King Sportsmanship Award winner and former US National Road Champion, not to mention the winner of the 2006 edition of the Tour of California, Paris-Nice, and the Tour de Georgia.

Men's teams: Bissell Pro Cycling, BMC Racing Team, Bobs, California Giant-Specialized, Champion Systems Racing, Colavita Sutter Home, DLP Racing, Empire Cycling Team p/b Northwave, Fly V Australia p/b Successful Living Foundation, Garmin- Holoweko Partners- Felt, Jelly Belly, Kahala La-Grange, Kelly Benefit Strategies, Land Rover-Orbea, Metro Volkswagen Cycling Team, Mt. Khakis, OUCH p/b Maxxis, Ride Clean Team, Rock Racing, Team Hotel San Jose, Team Type 1, Team VRC NOW-MS Society, Team Waste Management, Ten Speed Drive/BH Bicycles, Trek-Livestrong, Webcor/ Alto Velo

Women's teams: Canadian National Cycling Team, Colavita Cutter Home p/b Cooking Light, DFT p/b Treads, Kahala La-Grange, Metro Volkswagen Cycling, Metromint Cycling, Nurnberger Sho-Air, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, Team BC, Team Columbia Highroad, Team Lip Smackers, Team Squadra Swami's, Team Tibco, Team Type 1, Touchstone Climbing, Value Act Capital Cycling Team, Vanderkitten Racing, Velo Classic Tours p/b, Veloforma/Zym, Webcor Builders Cycling Team, Wines of Washington

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