What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Thursday!

The season is well under way and there are the usual races on the horizon. This weekend we have a couple short stage races and some semi-classics as a build up for the BIG Classics. The smaller teams get their “Wild Cards” and Leopard-Trek gets their first win. My “Top Story” highlights the inconsistency of drug enforcement in sport (again!) and we have a mad driver in Brazil! Read on…

“Top Story”
Last month I reported on the case of two South African rugby players who had failed drug tests but were not sanctioned by their federation because (they say) the drug was administered by the team and the players didn’t know what they were taking. Now I notice the case in Scotland of footballer, Simon Mensing, who plays for the (not very good) Hamilton Academicals. He failed a drug test for methylhexaneamine, which he claims was in a supplement and that he had told the testers at the time. He received a one month ban and WADA are not interested in taking the case to CAS etc. So if you play games with a ball you are believed when you say you didn’t know what you have in your body! Read it here on BBC Sport.

Le Samyn: 1st for Leopard
Since Josй Samyn won the race in 1968 there has been quite a few big name winners including Philippe Gilbert in 2008, Jimmy Casper (2007) and Robbie McEwen (2004). Looking back down the winners list Hendrick Redant was over the line twice and Johan Capiot three times and in 1972 big Marc De Meyer. After many attacks and solo and small group attempts, Bjцrn Leukermans (Vacansoliel-DCM) looked determined to win on his own and held a good lead on the finishing circuit. With one 20 kilometre lap to go he still had a gap of around a minute, but this was not enough and with 5 kilometres to the line he was pulled back. Kevin Ista (Cofidis) jumped as they came into the last kilometre, Leopard-Trek rider Dominic Klemme chased and passed the tiring Ista for the first Leopard win.
Le Samyn Result:
1. Dominic Klemme (Leopard-Trek) in 4:43:44
2. Kevin Ista (Cofidis) at 0:08
3. Robert Wagner (Leopard-Trek) at 0:09
4. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Quick-Step)
5. Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ)
6. Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r)
7. Jimmy Casper (Saur-Sojasun) at 0:11
8. Sйbastien Chavanel (Europcar)
9. Adrien Petit (Cofidis)
10. Aleksejs Saramotins (Cofidis) at 0:12.

Contador for Giro ‘11
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) is aiming to ride (and win) this year’s Giro d’Italia, he announced in La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Giro looks to be one of the hardest in a long time with summit finishes on Mount Etna, Sestriиre, Nevegal and the Zoncolan which should suit his style. Riding the Giro could be a banker for him if either the Tour de France doesn’t want his participation or if CAS go against him and he receives a ban.

“I’ll see if I can go better than the first race”
Alberto Contador starts tomorrow to participate in his second stage race of the year, the Vuelta a Murcia, which comes after a training camp in Mallorca where he could train calmly after his debut in the Volta ao Algarve, in which he finished fourth. “I did good training in Mallorca,” he says, “I tried to recover from the effort of the Algarve and although it has not been very good weather, I hope that step by step I’ll go a little better every day.”
Will you improve on your performance in Portugal?
“Few days have passed since then. It is true that I could be focused on the work, but I think the difference is not very high, but I hope to improve something.”
How about the course of this Vuelta a Murcia and its reduction to three stages?
“I love this race and I have goof memories of 2008 (he finished third in the overall). It’s a shame there had to be reduced to three days due to financial problems, but remains three spectacular stages, an initial one with a lot climbs a descents that may finish with a sprint, a second one that provides a good opportunity for climbers and the final time trial. Will be three intense days.”
What are your expectations?
“I came wanting to enjoy the team and try to be there, see what feelings I have and I’ll see if I feel better than the first race. The idea is that, to see what my place is.”
What do you say to people who thinks you can win?
“That in Murcia will come riders more trained than me, who are racing very strong and are top-level cyclists. Winning is very difficult, but I’ll be there to see what the final result is.”
How about the Collado Bermejo climb?
“Is a hard climb, but there remains the question of how much it can break the race, especially since then will be eight km down hill where you can always connect if you have only lost a little. You never know how hard it will be the climb.”
After Algarve and Murcia, is confirmed your calendar?
“Yes, after that I will ride Volta a Catalunya, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and Fleche Wallonne before the Giro d’Italia.”

Jean-Louis Dupont joins the legal team of Contador
Alberto Contador has contracted in recent days Jean-Louis Dupont, part of the prestigious law firm Roca Junyent to strengthen and support the excellent work done so far by members of the Madrid firm Bardajн & Honrado.

Jean-Louis Dupont, an expert lawyer in international sports law, arrives to bring his extensive experience to this case and is already working on preparing the defense of Alberto Contador in anticipation of future events.
Due to the confidentiality required by the case, no member of the legal team of Alberto Contador is ready to make statements to the media.

Cavendish for Giro, Tour and Vuelta
The Manx Missile will hopefully be on the start line for all three of the Grand Tours this year. The Giro and the Vuelta both start with team time trials, Cavendish took the leaders jersey in 2009 in the Giro and in the 2010 Vuelta after the opening TTT’s. It’s a hard Giro, but it has been suggested that there will be eight sprint finishes, Cav reckons that realistically there will only be four chances of a sprint finish, with a possible two more. Cavendish was at a special Giro presentation at the Bar Italia in London.

Stybar now at Quick-Step
Its official; Zdenek Stybar is now a part of the Quick-Step team as of Tuesday the 1st of March. His season will start after some rest and road training, sometime in May, so he will miss the Spring Classics. The double World Cyclo-cross champion will be planning a road season to coincide with a full cross season so he can show off his World champs jersey.

Up-coming races
Loads of races on at the moment! Today (Thursday) the 3rd of March is the Giro del Friuli with Cadel Evans making his 2011 dйbut. In Belgium the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and in Spain the Vuelta de Murcia both run from the 4th to the 6th. The Strade Bianche on the 5th with George Hincapie in Italy and the Vlaamse Pijl in Belgium on the same day. Then the big short stage races: Paris-Nice starts on Sunday the 6th and runs until the 13th of March and is followed by the Tirreno-Adriatico from the 9th to the 15th of March, both are run-up’s to Milan-San Remo on the 19th.

Team RadioShack in West Flanders and Paris-Nice
Three Days of West Flanders (Belgium), 04-06/03/11
Riders:
Sam Bewley,
Manuel Cardoso,
Michal Kwiatkowski,
Nйlson Oliveira,
Gregory Rast,
Sйbastien Rosseler,
Jesse Sergent,
Bjшrn Selander.
Directors: Dirk Demol & Luc Meersman.

Paris-Nice (France), 06-13/03/11
Riders:
Jani Brajkovic,
Matthew Busche,
Robbie Hunter,
Markel Irizar,
Andreas Klцden,
Levi Leipheimer,
Geoffroy Lequatre,
Sйrgio Paulinho.
Directors: Alain Gallopin & Josй Azevedo.

Quick-Step Cycling Team to the up-coming races
On Sunday, March 6th, the 69th edition of the Paris-Nice starts off from Houdan. The 8-stages race will cover a total distance of 1,307 kilometres.

Leading the Quick-Step Cycling Team will be hometown idol Sylvain Chavanel, already winner of two Paris-Nice stages, in 2008 and 2009. In the 2009 edition the Frenchman managed to make it to the third step on the final podium.
A lot of attention will also be focused on Gert Steegmans, the Belgian who also won two stages in the Paris-Nice, in the 2008 edition in Quick-Step jersey.

France’s own Jerome Pineau, Belgians Kevin De Weert and Nikolas Maes, Marc De Maar, Italian Francesco Reda and Germany’s Andreas Stauff will be rounding out the ranks on the Quick-Step Cycling Team. Sporting Directors Wilfried Peeters and Tom Steels will have the important task of directing the racing group from the team car.

During the week-end Quick-Step Cycling Team will also be busy on Flemish roads in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, taking place from Friday, March 4th to Sunday the 6th. Belgians Andy Cappelle, Iljo Keisse, Frederique Robert, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Julien Vermote, Italian Francesco Chicchi, Dutchman Addy Engels and Slovenia’s Jan Tratnik will be lining up for this one. The team will be directed by Rik Van Slycke.

06.03-13.03 Paris-Nice (FRA) HIS
Riders:
Sylvain Chavanel (FRA)
Marc De Maar (NED)
Kevin De Weert (BEL)
Nikolas Maes (BEL)
Jerome Pineau (FRA)
Francesco Reda (ITA)
Andreas Stauff (GER)
Gert Steegmans (BEL)
Director’s: Wilfried Peeters & Tom Steels (BEL).

Three days to shine in Vuelta a Murcia
Movistar Team races from Friday in the shortened Spanish stage race, unveiling a brand new three-day format with a flat stage, a mountain route and a time trial
On the eve of the big races from the old historical calendar, Movistar Team will be riding the Vuelta Ciclista a la Regiуn de Murcia for one more year, the Southern stage race starting on Friday 4th and holding all emotions for its 31st edition on three days of racing, with winning chances for all types of riders: a flat stage as the opener, a mountain trek in the second stage and a final individual time trial. For this race, Josй Luis Jaimerena will be directing a Movistar Team roster composed of Rubйn Plaza, Vasil Kiryienka, Carlos Oyarzun, Mauricio Soler, Ignatas Konovalovas, Imanol Erviti and local Fran Pйrez.

Starting from coastal San Pedro del Pinatar, the opening 178 kilometres of the Murcian race will favour the sprinters on their way to Alhama de Murcia. The second stage on Saturday 5th will be way more determining for the overall result: 183 kilometres from Murcia to the Centro de Interpretaciуn Sierra Espuсa refuge, with the demanding ascents to La Zarzada (Cat. 2) and the traditional Collado Bermejo (Cat. 1), the last one in the final 8km. A completely flat, 12km individual time trial in and around Murcia will take the race to its end on Sunday 6th as the squad directed by Eusebio Unzuй already knows how to get the honours here through its long history, with four overall victories.

”Wild Card” news!
Tour of Flanders
The Ronde van Vlaanderen on the 3rd of April will have the 18 ProTeams and seven “Wild Card” ProContinental teams. Obviously Belgian teams are the top choice, but they are joined by the Dutch; Skill-Shimano team and the French; FdJ, Cofidis and Europcar.
The “Wild Card” teams are:
Skil-Shimano,
Landbouwkrediet,
Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator,
Verandas Willems,
Cofidis,
FdJ,
Europcar.
Amstel Gold Race
The big Dutch Classic; Amstel Gold Race will have the 18 ProTeams, plus six more ProContinental teams. Much the same as the Tour of Flanders, except the two French teams; FdJ and Europcar who are out and are replaced by Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli.
The “Wild Card” teams are:
Cofidis,
Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli,
Skil-Shimano,
Landbouwkrediet,
Verandas Willems,
Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator.

Tour of Britain back to London
The 2011 Tour of Britain will return to central London with the final stage in Westminster finishing in Whitehall on Sunday September the 18th. The race will start in Scotland and visit Wales before the capital finish; this makes the race a true Tour of Britain by visiting the three parts of Britain (sorry Northern Ireland). There will be full programme of events “including The Prostate Cancer Charity Tour Ride, schools events and a unique corporate charity fundraising event” according to Hugh Roberts, chief executive of the Tour of Britain organiser SweetSpot Group.

Spin Class led by Cycling and Hockey Greats, Axel Merckx and Trevor Linden to Support Cancer Research in BC
Limited Spaces still available for what will surely be the most sought after spin class in Vancouver
As part of the “24 Hour Spin” in support of the BC Cancer Foundation Ride To Conquer Cancer the Wedgewood Cycling Team and Team Granfondo Axel Merckx are hosting a Fundraising Spin Class led by Olympic medalist and ten-time Tour de France rider, Axel Merckx and arguably the greatest Vancouver Canuck of all time, Trevor Linden.

Lucky participants will have the opportunity to spin with their heroes in an intimate setting for an experience they will never forget. All participants will also receive a Livestrong jersey autographed by Merckx and Linden. Only fifteen spots for this great opportunity are available, and they can be secured with a minimum bid of $500 per spot (tax receipts will be provided). 100% of proceeds will benefit the BC Cancer Foundation. The one-hour class will run from 5:00 to 6:00 pm on Saturday March 5, 2011 at Vancouver’s new Fit FX Studio (443 West 10th Avenue,www.fitfxstudio.com)

Bids will be accepted by email and can be forwarded to Ross Turnbull at [email protected] Riders will need to supply their own bike that can be mounted onto stationery trainer.

About the 24 Hour Spin
This very special Spin Class is being held in conjunction with a 24 Hour training session by Team Granfondo Axel Merck, Team Wedgewood, and friends from the Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes Cycling Team to raise funds for their team members participating in the BC Cancer Foundation Ride to Conquer Cancer. Merckx along with friends and teammates from all three teams, including Olympian and multi-time World Mountain Bike Champion, Alison Sydor will spin over a 24-hour period in a relay format that will include sprint competitions, in a festival-like atmosphere.

As part of the event a Silent Auction will be held featuring copy number 511 of 525 of the Eddy Merckx Limited Edition Art Book. No longer available in stores, this treasured piece contains memories of the Cannibal’s career and is truly a collector’s item. Other cycling jerseys, memorabilia and cycling equipment, including a bike courtesy of the Vancouver Bike Gallery will be on display for bidding.

Donations will be collected at the event and bids on the Silent Auction items will close at noon on Sunday, March 6th, and bidders must be present in person to bid. Coffee and refreshments, including Belgium Waffles, will be available courtesy of Vancouver’s Pвtisserie Lebeau.

Up to date information can be found on twitter@24hourspinyvr.

Ride with Eddy:
Get an opportunity to ride with Eddy Merckx and support a good cause
‘Ride with Eddy’ is also the slogan of the new Eddy Merckx Cycles advertising campaign. The underlying idea is that everyone who rides an Eddy Merckx bicycle also rides a little with the champion himself.
Surf to www.ridewitheddy.com and take part in a contest where the main prize is to cycle with Eddy Merckx during the Eddy Merckx Classic in Austria on a Quick Step EMX-5 Teambike (worth Ђ7,795) which the winner can also keep! At every registration on the website 10 eurocents are also automatically donated to Eddy Merckx’s favourite good cause.
More information can be found on the website.

NeilPryde at the Taipei International Cycle Show
NeilPryde will present its Alize and Diablo road bikes at the Taipei International Cycle Show in Taipei, Taiwan from 16 – 19 March 2011 at booth #: J104. Interested visitors, press and dealers will be able to touch, see and try the new bikes.

The Taipei International Cycle Show (Taipei CYCLE) returns to stage its biggest show to date, with a total of 3,050 booths on its 24th edition at the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) Nangang Exhibition Hall, Nangang District, Taipei, Taiwan on 16 – 19 March 2011.

Show organizer Taiwan External Trade Development Council announced that the historic event will occupy TWTC’s 6th floor and feature an outdoor exhibition area. Top exhibitors include Giant, Merida, Ideal, Kenda, SRAM, Maxxis, Shimano, Topeak, Fulcrum, Compagnolo, Continental, Colnago, FSA, DT Swiss and China Motor. Buyers can also attend on-site events such as Tour de Taiwan, LEV Conference, International Bicycle Design Competition, Taiwan Cycle Night and outdoor bicycle test-drives.
Taipei CYCLE 2010 presented a total of 3,018 booths, up 4.5% from previous year, and attracted 32,388 buyers.
For more information, please visit www.taipeicycle.com.tw

NeilPryde, the leader in the marine and adventure sports markets and known for their high-performance windsurfing equipment, took a valiant step into a new industry segment. Drawing on the company’s extensive knowledge of composite materials and aerodynamics, and vast experience in “Elegantly Engineering” high-performance action sports products, two cutting-edge road bikes, Alize and Diablo, were developed.

BMW Group DesignworksUSA were commissioned as design partner for its global reputation in creating premium designs for the most diverse industries from automotive and aircrafts to yachts or trains. In addition to that the studio offered vast experience in translating distinct brand values into compelling design solutions, which has been demonstrated in the Alize and Diablo.

Alize is an aerodynamic road bike with an expressive character, perfect for the competitive cyclist who thrives on breaking away from the peleton. Its clean design combines elegant, dynamic aesthetics with an aerodynamic performance reached by an optimized tube profiling and an extension of the Kammtail. As evidenced through wind tunnel tests, the changing aerofoil profile along the length of the tubes manages the airflow specific to the aerodynamic characteristics of each element – frame, forks, wheels and components. The innovative airfoil cross sections are designed to extend the trailing edge of the air flow without increasing weight. The bike was created with controlled, fluid and refined surfacing using advanced 3D modeling techniques.

Diablo is the ultimate high-performance bike suited to race enthusiasts who excel on the Alpine ascents and the final sprint. It shows an exoskeleton design of continuous carbon fibres fully integrated into the monocoque front triangle. Integrated sculptural surfaces in the transitions and tubes enhance stiffness without increasing weight. Stiffness ribs were also incorporated into strategic locations on the fork blades, chain and seat stays. The resulting organic form language expresses a muscular and powerful character that visually communicates enhanced lightweight performance.

NeilPryde introduce innovative Direct-to-Dealers business model
NeilPryde are now offering the innovative Direct-to-Dealers business model to dealers in key locations in Europe, USA, Asia and Australia. As well as selling direct to the consumers, NeilPryde are also opening up to dealers where customers can touch, see, try and buy the bikes. This is an exciting new business opportunity for forward-thinking dealers as it offers a high-value product range from a brand that customers already know and trust.

Dealers can take a very low risk on stock by displaying just three to four bikes but having access to a full range of over 60 SKU’s that can be ordered online. Bikes can easily be ordered from www.neilprydebikes.com for the customer and dealers will receive the full margin. The delivery is fast and secure – within 10 days, into 32 countries worldwide.

Interested parties who would like to become an official NeilPryde Dealer please contact NeilPryde on [email protected]

Mad driver in Brazil!
If you have not seen this already, (where have you been?) it’s quite shocking!
The incident happened at a Critical Mass ride in Brazil; the driver claimed that he felt threatened by the cyclists. Ricardo Neis’s damaged car was found on with no licence plates) Saturday and he gave himself up to the police on the Monday. His 15 year old son was reportedly in the car with him at the time of the incident.

One of the cyclists told the press; “There was an impatient driver behind the group, in a black VW Golf, who wanted to go faster,” he said. “Some of the participants of the ride went to talk to the driver and ask for patience. The man than started threatening them, accelerating the car and pushing some bikes with it. Then he accelerated all he could as you can see in several videos. He ran over more than 20 cyclists, injuring dozens, of which four were severe; breaking bones, bleeding heads and losing consciousness. He then ran away.” Neis was admitted to a psychiatric clinic suffering from stress. He will soon find out if he will be taken into custody prior to a trial, possibly charged with attempted murder.


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