What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Thursday!

The Tour Down Under takes centre stage, as you would expect, catch-up with the results and video’s so far. Wellens is better, but not happy in our ”Top Story” and there are lots of happy ProConti teams with “Wild Card” invitations for the big races this year. Some press releases, riders’ news and all the things you usually get from a EuroTrash Thursday. It’s the weekend soon, so here is the motivation!

“Top Story”

Bart Wellens Suspicions Unfounded
Cyclo-cross superstar Bart Wellens became very ill the night before the Belgian championships, at one point the hospital was worried for his life. As soon as the news became public knowledge the talk was that he must have been doing something he shouldn’t have and endangered his health in the pursuit of a National champion’s jersey. When Wellens was well enough he had a press conference to describe how he felt when he heard of the suggestions of impropriety that were doing the rounds while he was fighting for his life in the intensive Care Unit of Antwerp University Hospital.

Wellens was deeply hurt by the suggestion that he may have doped and expressed hurt as to the pressure his family was put under and that the first question he was asked on leaving the hospital was about what he may have done, he said; “my wife and baby had to undergo a lot, this has affected me deeply. It causes a lot of pain.” The misunderstanding would have come from people drawing comparisons between Wellens, of whom there has never had any previous suspicions, and the case of “Bad Boy” Riccardo Riccт, who had previously been caught taking EPO before he (allegedly) transfused badly stored blood back into his body.

Maybe we (the bike fans) should not always jump to certain conclusions and that we should not tar everyone with the same brush. The Riccт case will soon come to its final decision, we can hope for all the clean riders out there that we don’t see Riccardo on a race bike again and hear riders like Bart Wellens say things like; “I understand that some people think bad things because of the image of the sport.” And hope we hear other say, like Bart “I stand 100% behind a clean sport.”

Santos Tour Down Under 2012
Stage 1: Andrй Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) took the first stage of the first WorldTour race of the 2012 season. There was a massive crash in the last kilometre which involved a female spectator, many riders came down and Frederic Guesdon (FdJ-BigMat) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) were taken to hospital, Guesdon with suspected broken hip and Roelandts originally with one or two broken collar bones, but possibly a neck fracture. The heat and head wind has caused a lot of tired legs in the peloton which had to chase down a break of four riders that had gone from the gun. Rohan Dennis (UniSA), Marcello Pavarin (Vacansoleil-DCM), Martin Kohler (BMC) and Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) built up a lead of nearly 12 minutes before the chase became organised with 60 kilometres to go. They were caught with just over 10 kilometres remaining and for the sprinters team to line up their fast man. Lampre were there for Alessandro Petacchi and Lotto for Greipel, it was a close call needing the photo finish camera to split them, but the decision went to the strong German.

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 Result:
1. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol in 4:33:40
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
3. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FdJ-BigMat
4. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
6. Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky
7. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo Bank
8. Xavier Florencio Cabrи (Spa) Katusha
9. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank
10. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale.

The highlights:

Stage 2: A solo victory for Will Clarke (UniSA) was quite a surprise, as he went away right after the first kilometre of the 148 kilometre stage to Stirling, BMC’s Martin Kohler was with Clarke from the start and took the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints towards the overall jersey, Kohler sat up leaving Clarke to push on by himself. The Champion Systems rider held a gap of slightly over one minute at the line, behind him Michael Matthews (Rabobank) took the sprint from Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) and come-back man; Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Martin Kohler took the overall lead from Andrй Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Will Clarke took the Sprints and the KOM jerseys.

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 2 Result:
1. William Clarke (Aus) UNI SA-Australia in 3:58:35
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobankat 1:02
3. Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEDGE
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
6. Oscar Freire (Spa) Katusha
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
8. Luke Roberts (Aus) Saxo Bank
9. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Barracuda.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 2:
1. Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC in 8:33:05
2. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisolat 0:02
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank at 0:04
4. Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge at 0:08
5. Rohan Dennis (Aus) UNI SA-Australia at 0:09
6. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha at 0:10
7. Xavier Florencio Cabrи (Spa) Katusha at 0:12
8. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo Bank
9. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
10. Luke Roberts (Aus) Saxo Bank.

Stage 2 action:

Stage 3: And it was that man Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) again! The man of muscle won the stage into Victor Harbour after 135 kilometres and took the overall lead back from Martin Kohler (BMC). A four-man break went up the road after 6 kilometres; Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Nissan), Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Matt Brammeier (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), they had a maximum lead of just over 5 minutes, but were caught with 40 kilometres to race. Greipel’s Lotto team led him out perfectly with Sky trying to put Boasson Hagen in a good position, although Yauheni Hautarovich (FdJ-BigMat) took second place.

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3 Result:
1. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol in 3:21:55
2. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FdJ-BigMat
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
4. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank
5. Robbie Mcewen (Aus) GreenEdge
6. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana
7. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Barracuda
8. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
9. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 3:
1. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol at 11:54:52
2. Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC at 0:08
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank at 0:12
4. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:14
5. Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge at 0:16
6. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
8. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha
9. Rohan Dennis (Aus) UNI SA-Australia at 0:17
10. Xavier Florencio Cabrи (Spa) Katusha at 0:20.

Garzelli to Saxo Bank?
Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Wednesday that Stefano Garzelli will leave his present team; Aqua & Sapone to join the Saxo Bank team after the Classic Milan-San Remo so he could ride the 2012 Giro d’Italia. Aqua & Sapone didn’t receive a “Wild Card” for the Italian Grand Tour and Garzelli suggested that he would retire early because of the disappointment. Add to that that there is no room for the Italian on the Saxo Bank roster; it would be difficult for him to jump ship at this point in the season. The story is being played down by Garzelli’s brother/manager Marco, who said that Stefano was close to going to Saxo Bank at the end of 2011, but he decided to stay with Aqua & Sapone for his last season of his career.

This is Stefano Garzelli taking the Cima Coppi on the climb of the Marmolada:

De Ronde “Wild Cards” Announced
Six teams have been given the good news that they will be riding the 2012 Tour of Flanders. Along with the eighteen WorldTour teams; Farnese Vini-Selle Italia, Project 1t4i, Europcar, Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, Accent Jobs-Willems Verandas and Landbouwkrediet will all be lining up to tackle the new Flanders course with its laps of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. One more team will be announced later.

Nice bit of video from CyclingTV.

Paris-Nice “Wild Cards” Announced
As well as the eighteen WorldTour teams that will automatically start the early season French stage race, there will be four ProConti teams invited to the “Race to the Sun”. For the 70th edition of the event, Cofidis, Saur-Sojasun and Europcar from France and Project 1t4i from Holland.

This is some action from the 2006 Paris-Nice; the descent of the Col de la Croix-de-Chaubouret with Floyd Landis.

Amstel Gold “Wild Cards” Announced
Just like the French races pick the French teams, the Dutch Amstel Gold Race has picked all Dutch/Belgian ProConti teams for their Classic on 15th of April. The teams are: Project 1t4i team, Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, Accent-Willems Veranda’s and Landbouwkrediet-Euphony will join the World Tour teams.

Some Classic Amstel Gold Race action from 1975, Eddy Merckx rides my hero Freddy Maertens off his wheel.

Gent-Wevelgem “Wild Cards” Too!
The team line-up is much the same as Amstel and Flanders with Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, Willems-Accent Veranda’s, Landbouwkrediet-Euphony, Project 1t4i, Cofidis, Europcar and Italian Farnese Vini-Selle Italia will join the WorldTour teams.

Three wins for “Big Ted” at Gent-Wevelgem:

New Co-Sponsor for Landbouwkrediet
ProConti team sponsor; Landbouwkrediet are to be joined by Belgian Telecommunications and Energy company Euphony for this and next year. The team is well know on the cyclo-cross scene and usually receives invitations to the Belgian Classics.

German Blood Doping
The German anti-doping agency is investigating a doctor at the German Olympic training camp in Erfurt who is involved in tampering with the blood of athletes, including a speed skater and a cyclist. The doctor is said to treat the blood with UV light before re-injecting it back into the athlete.

Pereiro Now a Rally Driver!
From Tour de France winner to footballer to now rally driver, Oscar Pereiro is now trying his hand as co-driver in the Rally de San Froilбn in September, before that he will drive in the Rally of the Canarias and the Spanish championships.

Another Year for Jens?
German strong-man Jens Voigt might be riding for yet another year in 2013! In a recent interview at the Tour Down Under he commented: “We will see how it goes. I turned 40 four months ago and I would say it would probably be my last year as an active pro but I wouldn’t say definitely.” After 16 years as a Pro he still seems keen!

Here is Jens Voigt in a n interviewwith Stuart O’Grady and Andy Schleck.

Endura Racing 2012 Launch at The London Bike Show
Press Release: The 2012 Endura Racing team presentation took place yesterday at The London Bike Show (ExCeL) in front of a large audience of media, special guests and show visitors.

The launch event brought the full team to London ahead of a season where we will once again race against the biggest teams in world cycling whilst tackling a full UK
calendar in what promises to be a great year for British road racing.

Event MC David Harmon introduced the event with a film which highlighted some of the key wins and standout performances from our 2011 season, where the team finished
as the best UK based UCI Continental team in the UCI Europe Tour rankings.

Riders were then introduced to the crowd in groups of four, with new signing Erick Rowsell joining established team members Ian Wilkinson, Rob Partridge and Scott
Thwaites first up on stage to be interviewed by David.

Over the course of the event new signings Russ Downing, Zak Dempster, Dean Windsor, Jon Tiernan-Locke, Ian Bibby and Jonny McEvoy had a chance to tell the crowd about
how pleased they were to join the strengthened Endura Racing team and of their ambitions for the year ahead. Key members of the 2011 squad also spoke of their
excitement of more firepower being added into the mix

Endura MTB Racing’s Oli Beckingsale was also at the event and spoke about his desire to return to the top level of mountain bike XC racing after his horror hip injury
at a UCI World Cup in the Czech Republic last August. Oli has battled back from major surgery and in well on track to return to top level racing this spring.

Full Endura Racing information including 2012 team race schedule, rider profiles and sponsor profiles will be available online at www.enduraracing.com.www.enduraracing.com.

Follow the team on Twitter and Facebook.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Race Experience in Partnership with Carmichael Training Systems Introduced for 2012 Race
Press Release: Fans of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will have the opportunity to experience the race like the pros through the Carmichael Training Systems’ (CTS) USA Pro Cycling Challenge Race Experience. Through an exclusive partnership between CTS and the USA Pro Challenge, a privileged few amateur riders will be selected for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride every stage of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge as a team, just hours before the professionals. These lucky amateurs will eat, sleep and live like professional cyclists for all seven days of the race, August 20-26, 2012. Retired professional cyclist and CTS Founder Chris Carmichael will be leading the selection process and riding with the team during the event.

Participants of the CTS USA Pro Challenge Race Experience will work together as a cohesive unit, borrowing tactics and strategies from the pros. In a serious point-to-point effort, the riders will have to push themselves to stay ahead of the fast-approaching pro peloton.

“With the altitude and the length of the climbs in Colorado, this promises to be the hardest Race Experience to date,” commented Carmichael. “The USA Pro Cycling Challenge has been instrumental in helping us create a truly unique experience for devoted amateur cyclists. It’s an insider’s view of what it’s like to live and work as a professional cyclist.”

“We were so impressed by the number of people that came out to watch the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge that we wanted to create even more experiences for our devoted fans in 2012,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. “The CTS USA Pro Challenge Race Experience gives amateur cyclists the unique opportunity to see first-hand what the professional riders go through for their love of the sport.”

Included with the CTS USA Pro Challenge Race Experience is access to the VIP tent in each finish city, accommodations, meals, amenities and post-race massages, just like the pros. The cost of this exclusive race experience is $10,500 and applications are currently being accepted from riders who believe they can successfully complete this challenge. Interested athletes can visit www.trainright.com/upcc-2012 to apply for the CTS USA Pro Challenge Race Experience team. There is no cost to apply, but riders must be at least 18 years old to participate, and applications must be completed by Feb. 29, 2012. For information on this and other official USA Pro Cycling Challenge travel packages, visit www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/travel-packages.

Champion System Pro Cycling Team Earns Classics Berth; Adds Cameron Wurf
Press Release: Veteran Belgian rider Gorik Gardeyn will lead the Champion System Pro Cycling Team in its first Classics appearance when Asia’s first pro continental squad takes the start line for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Feb. 25 in Belgium.

Champion System was named as one of the 24 teams that will contest the nearly 200-kilometer race over hills and cobbles of East Flanders that starts and finishes in Ghent. The team’s appearance will come on the heels of appearances in the Tours of Qatar and Oman earlier in February.

Though Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon has not yet named his roster, Gardeyn said he is anxious to help his fellow teammates – especially the Chinese and Malaysian riders – bridge a new frontier. He finished seventh in the 2007 edition of the race.

“It’s the opening weekend in Belgium and it’s a really important race,” Gardeyn said. “I feel fantastic. I appreciate this role. Where there is the opportunity I will take it. Also I have no problem guiding the guys.”

Beamon said an appearance in the 67th edition of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is a “great endorsement” for the new squad.

“We tried to build a team that would be strong in the classics-style races,” he said. “The invitation shows a special respect for the Chinese athletes. Few non-Belgian pro continental teams do the race.”

Beamon also said the team has added Tasmanian Cameron Wurf to its roster. The 2007 Oceania Games time trial champion finished fifth overall at last year’s Tour of Turkey (riding for Liquigas-Cannondale).

“Cam should add a little depth to our GC (general classification) capability,” Beamon said. “His time-trialing and climbing abilities will also give us a little more depth in the shorter stage races, and hillier one day events.”

Wurf will join the team at its Hainan China training camp later this week.

Our man in Italy; Matt conn caught up with Cameron Wurf back in 2010 on the first mountain top finish of the Giro d’Italia stage 8, check out the interview here.


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