What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday!

With such great racing action happening all around the world how did I choose my top story this week? Well it was difficult but how could I go past the Tour de Mediterranean? It had it all, great racing, beautiful scenery, a top class field and my favourite thing in bike racing – a summit finish!

Feillu On Fire In Mediterranean But Moncutie The Final Victor
After French champion Thomas Voeckler snuck his way to the first stage in the Tour Mediterranean the race then became the Romain Feillu show with an amazing 3 stage wins in a row, including the 4th stage which finished with a tough 1.5km drag! Not bad for a sprinter who hasn’t won much in recent times. In fact Feillu has won 4 races in the past 2 seasons combined so to win 3 races in 3 days is impressive. Could this be the coming of age for the yellow jersey holder from the 2008 Tour de France? At the end of last year I was impressed with his consistency with some solid results but top 10’s are easily forgotten and it’s the wins that count for a sprinter and the Tour de Med was certainly a great start to the year for Feillu.

Feillu may have starred on three days but the race for the GC was won on the last day by another familiar Frenchmen in David Moncoutie. The Cofidis veteran rode superbly up the 5km legendary Mont Faron answering an early attack by Vacansoleil’s Wouter Poels and then catching and then riding away from Ag2r signing Jean-Christophe PЁ¦raud for a quality early season win. The stage win and subsequent time gaps were enough for Moncoutie to take the GC win over PЁ¦raud and Poels with young Garmin-CervЁ¦lo talent Andrew Talansky putting in an excellent performance in 4th on GC. Also of note was big Steve Cummings (Sky) performance in 9th overall. A great showing by the big man in climbing Mont Faron with the best ensured his top ten spot and it was good to see.

It was the Frenchies that ruled the roost in this race though taking all 5 stage wins, placing 5 riders in the top ten on G.C including the two top slots and taking the Mountains Classification with Remi Pauriol (FDJ). How often have we seen a French dominance like that in the last 10 years?

Stage 5 Results:
1. David Moncoutie (Cofidis)
2. Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) +07
3. Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil) +018
4. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Cervelo) s.t.
5. Morris Possoni (Team Sky) +023
6. David Lopez (Movistar) +027
7. Steven Cummings (Team Sky) +030
8. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) s.t.
9. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Saur-Sojasun) s.t.
10. Julien El Fares (Cofidis) +034

Final Overall Classification:
1. David Moncoutie (Cofidis)
2. Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) +011
3. Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil) +024
4. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Cervelo) +028
5. Morris Possoni (Team Sky) +033
6. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) +035
7. David Lopez (Movistar) +037
8. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Saur-Sojasun) +040
9. Stephen Cummings (Team Sky) s.t.
10. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) s.t.

Geox Finally Presented
Last Monday I reported on the unveiling of the Geox-TMC kit and this week I can finally report to you that the team itself has been presented in Padua, Italy on Saturday. With an Italian sponsor the team are desperate for an invite to the Giro d’Italia and their presentation on Saturday reflected this with much talk about their GC duo of Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov going full gas for a Giro victory.

Away from those two big names is a squad which is fairly light on stars but big on young talent with an average age of just 26 making it one of the younger squads in the pro peloton.

Geox-TMC 2011 roster:
Tomas Alberio (Ita)
Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col)
David Blanco (Spa)
Matthias Brandle (Aut)
Giampaolo Cheula (Ita)
Juan Jose Cobo (Spa)
Daniele Colli (Ita)
Marco Corti (Ita)
David De la Fuente (Spa)
Fabio Duarte (Col)
Arkaitz Duran (Spa)
Fabio Felline (Ita)
Xavier Florencio (Spa)
Noe Gianetti (Swi)
David Gutierrez Gutierrez (Spa)
Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus)
Marco Kump (Slo)
Denis Menchov (Rus)
Matteo Pelucchi (Ita)
Daniele Ratto (Ita)
Carlos Sastre (Spa)
Rafael Valls (Spa)
Marcel Wyss (Swi

With the presentation over I thought I would check out their website for any more updates from their team in Qatar and for other news but, no, it’s still not operational. Maybe next week guys?

Contador Case Continues
The whole sorry Alberto Contador saga continues today with a decision on his appeal to the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) expected early this week. There are basically three options in front of the RFEC; a ban for two years instead of the one that was already ruled, the one year suspension holding up or a complete exoneration. I’m sure that option 1 would lead to a further appeal and outcry by Contador and his team, option 3 would lead to appeals by the UCI and WADA and with option 2 I’m not so sure what will happen.

Whatever the case the Tour de France champion’s saga will continue to grind on and be in the news for sometime yet. This past week Contador has received support in high places with Spain’s prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stating, “there’s no legal reason to justify sanctioning Contador.” with other political and legal figures in Spain also backing Contdaor recently.

Meanwhile the affair continues to affect Contador’s new team, Saxo Bank – Sunguard with recent reports stating that the UCI will look into their eligibility for the WorldTour if the Contador suspension is upheld. With no Contador, Saxo Bank will effectively lose 60% of their UCI points putting their WorldTour worthiness in serious doubt. Will this case ever stop? Keep it tuned to EuroTrash Thursday for I’m sure yet another episode!

Van Petegem Confirmed At Garmin-Cervelo
On Thursday Al reported on the rumour of classics legend Peter Van Petegem getting a spot in the Garmin CervЁ¦lo management team and now it’s confirmed. The former Flanders and Roubaix winner will join the team as ‘Classics Advisor’ solely for the Spring Classic season.

With a huge wealth of classics talent in the team now after the Cervelo merger, expectations are high for results come springtime and team boss Jonathon Vaughters has certainly made a solid early tactical call by recruiting Van Petegem and his wealth of knowledge.

“We’ve said all along that we’ve wanted to become stronger in the Classics and now we’re coming 2011 with one of the strongest Classics line-ups in the peloton, with one of the best advisors. Having never ridden the Cobbled Classics myself, I thought it was important to have someone else in the car with that experience. Van Petegem’s expertise on the roads, the tactics, the equipment and Classics strategy will be invaluable for us as a group.”

Meanwhile the two time Flanders champion Van Petegem stated on his new role;

“I am very excited to work with such a talented group of riders. I am sure that our combined expertise will strengthen the team and I can’t wait to get back on the road with Team Garmin-Cervelo.”

Renshaw No.1 In Qatar
Mark Renshaw stepped firmly out of the shadow of his more illustrious teammate Mark Cavendish last week with a great overall victory at the Tour of Qatar. Renshaw really stepped up to the plate after his leader Cavendish crashed in the prologue meaning HTC-Highroad then changed their strategy putting their money on a different Mark to bring home the win in Qatar.

Renshaw certainly didn’t disappoint with consistent performances throughout the race plus a great stage win on Stage 4 giving the Aussie his best ever result on the road ahead of another Aussie in Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) for the overall title.

A quick look at Renshaw’s placings throughout the week really demonstrate his consistency which earned him the title with Renshaw not once placing outside the top 20. This along with his cunning sprinting for the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints secured Renshaw the victory.

Renshaw’s Results:
Prologue: 12th
Stage 1: 3rd
Stage 2: 14th
Stage 3: 2nd
Stage 4: 1st
Stage 5: 17th

Overall General Classification:
1. Mark Renshaw (HTC High Road)
2. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) +008
3. Daniele Bennati (Leopard-Trek) +017
4. Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) +026
5. Roger Hammond (Garmin-CervЁ¦lo) +038
6. JЁ¦rЁ¦my Hunt (Team Sky) +039
7. Gabriel Rasch (Garmin-Cervelo) +042
8. Bernhard Eisel (HTC ЁC High Road) +1m05
9. Marcus Burghardt (BMC) +1m33
10. Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) +1m35

Guardini Does It Again!
The sensation from the Tour de Langkawi, Italian neo pro, Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini) did it again in the last stage of the Tour de Qatar with a superb sprint victory ahead of Francesco Chicchi (Quick Step) and Theo Bos (Rabobank). After making his pro debut in Langkawi with an amazing 5 stage victories some naysayers stated that it was ‘only’ Langkawi and the competiton wasn’t WorldTour worthy. That certainly can’t be said about the field in Qatar though with most of the World’s best sprinters in attendance.

It of course remains to be seen whether Guardini can continue this incredible run of victories in the more prestigious races still to come later in the season but with 6 victories already it’s certainly a great start. Hats off to the 21 year old I say. That’s six victories more than many entire teams have at this stage of the season!

Stage 5 Results:
1. Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini)
2. Francesco Chicchi (Quick Step) s.t.
3. Theo Bos (Rabobank) s.t.
4. Dominique Rollin (FDJ) s.t.
5. Roger Kluge (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
6. Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) s.t.
7. Tomas Vaitkus (Astana) s.t.
8. Russell Downing (Team Sky) s.t.
9. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) s.t.
10. Michael van Staeyen (Topsport Vlaanderen) s.t.

Garmin-Cervelo Win Again
Brazilian champ, Murilo Fischer kept the Garmin-Cervelo winning ways moving on with the team’s 3rd victory at the Challenge Mallorca in the final round, the Trofeo Magaluf-Palmanova. Fischer’s sprint victory after a tough day’s racing which included 5 categorised climbs was a pleasnt surprise for both Fischer and his team after he stage was not expected to finish in a bunch sprint.

Fischer’s win follows on from Tyler Farrar’s infamous win on the ‘unofficial’ day 1 and Farrar”s subsequent ‘official’ win the next day. With Fischer’s and Farrar’s success in Spain and Haussler’s stages in Qatar the newly formed Garmin-Cervelo superteam is certainly living up to the hype in the early season. What will they be able to do in the Classics now with their new Classics advisor Van Petegem?

Trofeo Magaluf-Palmanova Results:
1. Murilo Fischer (Garmin-Cervelo)
2. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) s.t.
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) s.t.
4. Francisco Jose Ventoso (Movistar) s.t.
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Leopard-Trek) s.t.
6. Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) s.t.
7. Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) s.t.
8. Klaas Lodewyck (Omega Pharma) s.t.
9. Tom Leezer (Rabobank) s.t.
10. John Degenkolb (HTC High Road) s.t.

Indian Action
It was a battle of youngsters versus veterans in India over the weekend with the result being a solid draw after young Liquigas talent Elia Viviani took the first race over Robbie McEwen on Friday and then Robbie Hunter (RadioShack) took the Shack’s revenge on Sunday with a victory over Viviani. The races were a real mix of teams and talent with everything from the smallest of pro teams on display right up to the top WorldTour teams like RadioShack and Liquigas.

Tour de Mumbai 1
1. Elia Viviani (Liquigas)
2. Robbie McEwen (Radio Shack) s.t.
3. Tyler Day (Team Bonitas) s.t.
4. Robert Hunter (Radio Shack) s.t.
5. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing) s.t.
6. Hossein Nateghi (Vali ARS Kerman) s.t.
7. Wang Yip Tang (Champion System) s.t.
8. Malcom Lange (Team Bonitas) s.t.
9. Johann Rabie (Team Bonitas) s.t.
10. Martijn Verschoor (Team Type 1) s.t.

Tour de Mumbai 2
1. Robert Hunter (Radio Shack)
2. Elia Viviani (Liquigas) s.t.
3. Jonathan McEvoy (Motorpoint) s.t.
4. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing) s.t.
5. Ian Bibby (Motorpoint) s.t.
6. Malcom Lange (Team Bonitas) s.t.
7. Hossein Nateghi (Vali ARS Kerman) s.t.
8. Tyler Day (Team Bonitas) s.t.
9. Tiziano dallЎЇAntonia (Liquigas) s.t.
10. Alessandro Bazzana (Team Type 1) s.t.

Vantornout Surprises In SuperPrestige
The Belgian, Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor) surprised everybody on Saturday by taking the 8th and final round of the Superprestige cyclocross series in Middelkerke. It was Vantornout’s first victory of the season and he did so in style crossing the line solo, 13s ahead of Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea). Meanwhile newly crowned World Champ Zdenek Stybar crossed the line in 5th place one place ahead of overall series winner, Sven Nys.

Round 8 SuperPrestige Results:
1. Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor)
2. Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) +0ЎЇ13Ўе
3. Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) +0ЎЇ21Ўе
4. Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) +0ЎЇ39Ўе
5. Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) +0ЎЇ47Ўе
6. Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) +0ЎЇ59Ўе
7. Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) +1ЎЇ22Ўе
8. Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKCP-Powerplus) +1ЎЇ31Ўе
9. Sven Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Revor) +1ЎЇ39Ўе
10. Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept) +2ЎЇ16Ўе

Final Series Classification SuperPrestige 2010/2011 :
1. Sven Nys (BEL, Landbouwkrediet) 107 pt
2. Kevin Pauwels (BEL, Telenet-Fidea) 92 pt
3. Zdenek Stybar (TCH, Telenet-Fidea) 85 pt
4. Niels Albert (BEL, BKCP-Powerplus) 84 pt
5. Bart Wellens (BEL, Telenet-Fidea) 77 pt
6. Klaas Vantornout (BEL, Sunweb-Revor) 62 pt
7. Tom Meeusen (BEL, Telenet-Fidea) 56 pt
8. Bart Aernouts (BEL, Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) 53 pt
9. Gerben De Knegt (PBS, Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) 42 pt
10. Sven Vanthourenhout (BEL, Sunweb-Revor) 41 pt

2011 Bravehearts Announced
The 2011 Bravehearts have been announced with the lucky twelve riders and two clubs to be supported being named as;
1 Andrew Fenn (20) Road
2 Robert Hassan (19) Road
3 Kenta Gallagher (18) MTB
4 Grant Ferguson (17) MTB
5 Callum Skinner (18) Track
6 John Paul (17) Track
7 Jennifer Davis (28) Track
8 Charline Joiner (22) Track
9 Kevin Stewart (19) Track
10 Chris Pritchard (27) Track

The following clubs will be supported:
Dynamo Falkirk

What is Bravehearts exactly? Well it’s not some sort of Mel Gibson fan club but actually a fund that
was launched in 2003 by former British champion, Motorola professional and Giro dЎЇItalia survivor Brian Smith. Its aim is simple: to raise the funds to allow young Scottish cyclists, be they roadies, trackies or mountain bikers, to fulfil their potential.

Once again this year the selected riders represent the three main disciplines of the sport: road, mountain biking and track. Four road riders will be supported, with two from mountain biking and the largest contingent coming from track racing, with six funded athletes. They range in age from John Paul, the 17-year old track sprinter, to Davis, who, though 28, is still a relative newcomer to the sport. She and Joiner have the long-term ambition of upgrading their silver to a gold medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

In total, the fund is supporting seven riders who represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, with, in addition to Davis, Joiner and Paul, Andy Fenn, Callum Skinner, Kevin Stewart and Chris Pritchard. Nineteen-year old road rider Robert Hassan was also in Delhi as part of a programme designed to give promising young athletes experience of a major Games.

Another with major championship experience is Kenta Gallagher who in the last twelve months has represented Great Britain in two world championships – mountain biking and cyclo-cross.

Another two young riders to be funded in 2011 are Matthew Hamilton and James Smith, with the two eighteen-year olds set to spend the season racing in Belgium. They will ride for Team Deschuytter, based in Bruges, from mid-March, with a programme consisting mainly of Belgian inter-club races and stage races in Holland and France. Both Hamilton and Smith have been assisted and encouraged by the Scottish-based Olympic Talent Coach, Mark McKay. And having spent last summer racing in Belgium, both harbour long-term ambitions of turning professional.

Two clubs, Dynamo Falkirk and ERC, will also be supported by the Braveheart Fund, which will assist the clubs purchase bikes and equipment for their members.

In addition, through the Braveheart FundЎЇs relationship with Scottish Cycling, some funding will be available to juniors in 2011 with an addition of the following two riders to be supported to race in Belgium in 2011: James Smith (18) Road, Matthew Hamilton (18) Road.

For more info check out the Braveheart’s website .

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