A quiet time this week after the excitement of Roubaix, we still have a few races to cover with video action from Belgium, Germany and Spain, plus a race result from France (no video!). We look at the up and coming Amstel Gold, Vuelta Castilla y Leon and the Giro del Trentino. Was the new finish at Flanders a success? Discuss. Rapha and Endura news from Britain and we finish with a “Master Class” from Jens Voigt. EuroTrash Thursday coffee and cake time.
Was the New Flanders Course a Success?
It seems the answer to whether or not the new finalй of the Ronde van Vlaanderen was a success is…maybe! The rider’s opinion was that they didn’t notice they were tiring until the last lap, but then there were not any early attacks on the circuit; it was more of a battle of attrition. The organisers were happy as they had more control over the beer tents and the VIP’s could see more of the race. But what about that empty road-side from around 5 kilometres out to about the last 500 metres? Let’s face it, the Muur/Kapelmuur was very special and there will only ever be one of them. Of the 13,500 Belgians who were asked by Sporza if they preferred the new course over the old one; 52% came out in favour of the 2012 version, too close to call!
Here is a rider’s view of the Muur, bit different without the fans:
Brabantse Pijl/Fleche-Brabanconne 2012
Europcar rider Thomas Voeckler showed his form by winning the Belgian semi-Classic Brabantse Pijl on his own yesterday (Wednesday). Oscar Freire (Katusha) won the chase group sprint over a minute behind the brave Frenchman who had attacked with over 25 kilometres to go to the finish. The finalй of the race is held over five 13 kilometre laps of Overijse and after Voeckler made his move, Freire, Peter Serry (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Fabio Duarte (Colombia-Coldeportes), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Alex Howes (Garmin-Barracuda), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol), Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) jumped away from the bunch, in turn Duarte left them on the last climb, but was passed by Freire and Serry just before the line. BMC’s Philippe Gilbert was 12th showing that his form might be coming back for the remaining Classics.
Brabantse Pijl/Fleche-Brabanconne Result:
1. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar in 4:49:07
2. Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha at 1:11
3. Pieter Serry (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
4. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia-Coldeportes at 1:14
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 1:17
6. Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Barracuda
7. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
8. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 1:27
10. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank at 1:54.
Here is the link to the finish on rtbf TV.
Rund um Kцln 2012
Jan Barta (NetApp) rode solo to a two minute win in the UCI 1.1 German race on Monday. A big break of fifteen including; Mark Renshaw & Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank), Pavel Brutt & Gatis Smukulis (Katusha), Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano), Boy van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare), Nils Plцtner (Raiko Stцlting), Jasper Hamelink (Cycling Team Jo Piels), David Tanner (Saxo Bank), Christian Knees (German National), Matthias Brдndle (NetApp), Michael Hьmbert (LKT Team Brandenburg), Johannes Kahra & Ralf Matzka (Thьringer Energie) and Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post-Sean Kelly) escaped in the first ten kilometres, but held only a slim lead until they were caught after 80 kilometres. Gediminas Bogdonas and Pavel Brutt stayed away from the break and were joined by Wilco Keldermann (Rabobank), Tomasz Marczynski (Vacansoleil-DCM), Jan Barta & Matthias Brдndle (NetApp), William Clarke (Champion System), Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano), Ivan Ronny (RusVelo), Boy van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare) and Mauritius Lammertink (Cycling Team Jo Piels) to put eleven up front to fight for the victory. Eventual winner Jan Barta jumped the others on the last climb and soloed round the finishing laps.
Rund um Kцln Result:
1. Jan Barta (Cze) Team Netapp in 5:05:58
2. Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) An Post-Sean Kelly at 2:02
3. Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM
4. Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank
7. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Cycling Team Jo Piels
8. William Clarke (Aus) Champion System
9. Matthias Brandle (Aut) Team Netapp at 6:29
10. Ivan Rovny (Rus) RusVelo at 6:31.
Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta 2012
Sunday’s semi-Classic was won by Italian National champion; Giovanni Visconti and his team; Movistar took four of the first five places, with only Igor Anton (Euskatel-Euskadi) splitting them in 3rd place. After the race Visconti commented; “it’s a victory I needed because my early season was not good. I knew my condition was good before Flanders, but that last virus left me badly and until this week I could not train. On Thursday I did 215 kilometres and that gave me confidence.” The Italian added “Valverde is an idol for me” as he helped to chase down the early break for the sprinter.
Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta Result:
1. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar in 4:10:43
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
3. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
4. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Movistar at 0:04
5. Angel Ruiz Madrazo (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
6. Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:10
7. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:21
8. Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:22
9. Maxime Mederel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:38
10. Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx at 0:39.
Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta highlights:
Twenty five year old neo-pro Pierre Luc Perichon (La Pomme Marseille) took his first win and showed some more experience riders how to win a race on Tuesday. He out-sprinted Cyril Bessy (Saur-Sojasun) and Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne-Schuller), with a group of seven riders at 6 seconds and the peloton split further down the road.
1. Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) La Pomme Marseille in 4:47:34
2. Cyril Bessy (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
3. Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller
4. Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller at 0:06
5. Steven Caethoven (Bel) Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s
6. Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
7. Anthony Charteau (Fra) Europcar
8. Jean-Marc Marino (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
9. Evert Verbist (Bel) Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s
10. Sйbastien Minard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale.
Castilla y Leуn: the most special race
Shortened into three stages this year, the Spanish race will make a tribute to Xavi Tondo, the last winner of an event where Movistar Team will look for another success in their great season.
Press Release: The 2012 edition of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leуn will be inevitably linked to remembering Xavi Tondo. Winner of the race last year -the first overall success for Movistar Team in ’11-, the late Catalan rider will be honoured by the organisers in Segovia on Sunday, the Aqueduct city being the final point of a course reduced to only three days. The event will start on Friday with a 159-kilometer stage around Segovia with no mountain passes, in contrary to the rides on Saturday in Бvila -four Cat. 2 climbs en route to the cobbles in the Wall- and Sunday, with three Cat. 1 ascents (Navafrнa, Morcuera and Navacerrada) prior to the double pass through the ‘pavй’ of La Fuencisla in the decisive circuit.
For this special race, Movistar Team, who also took two stage wins with Fran Ventoso to add to Tondo’s triumph, will bring an eight-man squad led by the last winner of the Vuelta a Espaсa, Juanjo Cobo, along with David Arroyo, Sergio Pardilla, Javi Moreno, Jonathan Castroviejo, Rubйn Plaza, Enrique Sanz and Russian Vladimir Karpets, all of them directed by Josй Luis Arrieta. The telephone squad will attempt to increase their victory account of 2012, with nine wins after the triple by Rojas (Paнs Vasco), Ventoso (La Sarthe) and Visconti (Amorebieta).
RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Team for Castilla y Leуn
Director: Josй Azevedo.
Promo video of Castilla y Leуn:
No Boonen for Amstel
After his double win of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, it looks like Tom Boonen will not be lining up for the start of the Amstel Gold Race on the Sunday the 15th. It had been suggested that Boonen would try his hand at the Dutch Classic, but he will now be resting up before returning to racing in May. “I’m sad because I wanted to ride the Amstel in support of my teammates after the great support the team gave me during these three weeks,” said Boonen to his team’s web-site. “But the season is still very long and after talking with the team we have mutually decided to not take risks for the upcoming races. I’m also still very tired; the Roubaix is always a very demanding race. The team is very strong and prepared. I’m sure the guys will be working hard again this Sunday.”
Maybe No Police for Amstel
The Dutch police union is planning a strike on the day of the Amstel Gold race, this Sunday. If the worst come to the worst, then the local Town Halls can force the police force back to work if they convince the courts that the public are in danger, but it is hoped that the police union and the race organizers can come to an arrangement so the race can go ahead as planned.
Here is some retro Amstel Gold Race from 1982, one of the Jan Raas wins:
The “B-Factor” to mark 36th Giro del Trentino
Ballan and Basso building-up with new goals.
Press Release: The “B-Factor” is set to characterize the upcoming Giro del Trentino, from April 17th to 20th, moving from Riva del Garda to Passo Pordoi. “B” doesn’t stand for Boonen, the Lord of Classics after his Flanders-Roubaix double, and now set for some well-deserved rest (and tough Trentino’s routes wouldn’t have suited him anyway!). “B” has a lot to do with Alessandro Ballan, who stepped on the podium at both Flanders and Roubaix (third in either occasions), and is now approaching Giro del Trentino with the clear mind of an established champion whose career was relaunched after a couple of troubled seasons. “The Giro del Trentino is clearly beyond my reach – former World Champion explains – but it’s going to be a key fixture in the setup of Giro d’Italia, where I will go for some good results.” Actually, Ballan has a concrete chance to move atop the overall and wear Giro del Trentino leader’s jersey: his BMC Team is one of the favourites for the opening team time trial, from Riva to Arco.
Still about “B-Factor”, different goals but big ambitions for Ivan Basso, who still thinks of clinching his third Giro d’Italia title despite the heavy crash at Paris-Nice affecting his early season schedule. But to do so, the Giro del Trentino represents a key juncture. It’s not a case that Ivan will travel to Trentino some days ahead of time, and will be welcomed in the Mocheni’s valley by Father Daniele Laghi, riders’ and Giro del Trentino’s spiritual consultant, to sustain some tough training sessions, including a reconnaissance on the route of Giro d’Italia stage16, Limone sul Garda-Falzes. According to reports, Ivan is in great mood, and willing to try and repeat his 2010 overall win at Giro del Trentino.
For Ballan, Basso and all of the top riders at the start, the 36th Giro del Trentino will be a major scene, with its live coverage on both Raisport2 and Eurosport on all four stages. With a week to go (preliminary operations in Arco on Monday April 16th, first stage on Tuesday), the 2012 edition is widely expected to be one of the most spectacular ever, with the brand-new finishes in Sant’Orsola Terme and Punta Veleno and a grand finale on legendary Passo Pordoi.
Check-out the Race Web-Site: https://www.girodeltrentino.com/.
Giro del Trentino 2011, Stage 4, final kilometres of the climb of Madonna di Campiglio:
Bretagne-Schuller President Resigns
After the ProConti Bretagne-Schuller team failed to receive a “Wild Card” invite to the tour de France, the teams president; Joлl Blйvin has accepted that the responsibility is his and he has resigned his position. The team has been aiming to ride all the top French races and had nearly accomplished its dream by starting in Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix and its local race; Grand Prix Plouay in 2011. In 2012 the team were not invited to ride Paris-Nice and were then not on the Tour de France “Wild Card” list last week, with the places going to Argos-Shimano, Cofidis, Europcar and Saur-Sojasun. Blйvin will run the Bretagne based team until the end of June.
A good documentary on the team from Paris-Roubaix 2011:
Rapha Condor Sharp News
Press Release: A busy Easter weekend of racing for Rapha Condor Sharp saw the team’s young riders continuing to take great steps forward, taking a fine podium on the first day of the Tour of Doonhame in Scotland, as well as the new team’s first significant win at the Tour of the North in Northern Ireland.
The Scottish event, due to it’s rolling terrain, and grim spring conditions, is one of the toughest on the British calendar. The two-day event duly saw the emergence of Richard Handley as a genuine challenger at Premier Calendar level.
Team manager John Herety noted the improvement with the young talent after he fought his way to an excellent second place on the first stage.
“Rich has come up a level now. He is getting noticed; I had other managers coming up to me at the start of the second day remarking on how strong he was. Last year he was practically unknown, so he is getting close to a real breakthrough.
“He rode really well over the whole weekend. He was our only rider to get into both of the defining moves of the race. Something I wasn’t happy about in terms of our presence as a team, but he rode excellently when he was there.
“On the first day I made sure he didn’t do too much, and we put pressure on the break by chasing from behind so he didn’t have to ride. Then he forced that three man move away on the run in and sprinted really well, just losing out to a faster guy.”
Handley went into the final stage of the race in third place but, despite taking a time bonus on the stage, still slipped to fourth behind a dominant Endura team who, after years of trying, were elated to finally manage a win in their home race.
In Northern Ireland the team enjoyed much better success, with first year senior Luke Mellor taking the U23 jersey after riding consistently well throughout the four days, and Felix English taking a brave win on the last stage.
English who admitted he had been disappointed the day before when he lost contact with the winning break close to the finish was delighted with his win.
“I knew I was going well all Tour. I felt so good on the flat, but I was just climbing badly. On the last day a group had gone clear with Luke in and all the favourites. I was in another group that spilt off the front of the bunch under pressure from Dave McCann.
“We managed to get across and so it was about a 30-man group sprint. There was a sharp left hander with 250m to go and I jumped into it, took it as fast as I could and came out well clear. I won by about 15 bike lengths in the end.”
English’s first win for the team will be a huge moral boost only days before he heads out to ride the U23 Nations Cup race, the ZLM Tour in Holland for the Irish National team.
While three of the team’s riders will line up for their respective nations at the U23 Nations Cup on the weekend, the next major goals for the Rapha Condor Sharp team will be the Rutland Melton and the Tour of Korea, which both start on the 22nd of April.
2012 Tour Doon Hame:
Endura Racing Come Home in Style
McEvoy leads clean sweep for Endura Racing at Tour Doon Hame with Downing 2nd at Circuit des Ardennes in France.
Press Release: Jonny McEvoy led Endura Racing to a clean sweep at the Tour Doon Hame, the second round of the British Cycling Premier Calendar series, as the team dominated two days of racing in Scotland.
Erick Rowsell was the first to wear the Endura Equipe leader’s yellow jersey on Sunday after outsprinting Richard Handley (Rapha Condor-Sharp) and Mike Northey (Node 4 Giordana) to the finish line in Girvan. Erick, Alexander Wetterhall and Dean Windsor were part of a 13 man break that got away early on in the day and victory for Erick came from a three man group of survivors after he and Alexander had attacked and counter-attacked their way to the finish. Alexander’s efforts saw him take the lead in King of the Mountains competition.
The second of the day’s stages was a circuit race around Victory Park in Girvan and Scott Thwaites emerged from the bunch to win the stage and take the lead in the Endura Hot Sprints competition. With time bonuses on offer, the team worked hard to keep the pace high to prevent any riders jumping clear and Erick finished safely in 5th spot to take the lead into the final day.
The queen stage of the 2012 Tour Doon Hame saw the riders tackle a 107 mile route from Moffat to Annan, with two ascents of the 2nd category climb of Greenhillstairs before tackling the fearsomely steep, 1st category Talla Linns climb. A number of early moves came to nothing before the day’s break emerged and we were well represented in the 13 strong move with Jonny McEvoy, Erick Rowsell, Scott Thwaites and Rob Partridge present.
The break worked well together and soon established a 3:30 lead over a depleted peloton. As the break made it’s way in towards Annan, several riders made efforts to jump clear but there were soon neutralised and it was Jonny McEvoy who put in the decisive effort in the final miles to leave the break behind for a fine solo win.
Jonny’s efforts and time bonuses gained along the way were enough to catapult him from 7th position overnight to take the overall win, with Erick 2nd and Scott 3rd Overall. Scott secured the Endura Hot Spot Sprint jersey, Alexander won the King of the Mountains competition and Endura Racing secured the team prize.
It was a pretty tough stage, one of the hardest races I have done for a while so it is really good to get the win after that.
The yellow wasn’t the goal as we had Erick leading the race and when we had so many in the break which was the plan, we tried to make sure there was only one away, not two so then we could be sure of the win. Fortunately, I got away on my own purely thinking of the stage win and I feel a bit bad taking the yellow off Erick! As long as its with Endura though, it’s good for the team.
It was a really really hard stage today. The weather made it ten times harder than it could have been as well. We had the best team for this sort of race; guys up there in numbers all day and could do what we wanted. We had so much presence at the front we were able to control the race so it was perfect really.
Jonny taking the yellow jersey wasn’t talked about but it was so close going into the last stage. I was leading it but Scott was only 14 seconds back and Jonny was only a little further back from that so as long as one of us won the stage and one of us the overall, that was the strategy. And we got all three on the podium so it was perfect. It’s all go from here now so to have this good form now is really good and I just hope I can hold on to it for a bit longer and can get some more results.
Julian Winn, Directeur Sportif:
We were riding today to try and win the race overall. We had five riders in with a shout and the main thing today was we had numbers out front and that gave us options. As long as it (yellow jersey) was kept in house, it made no difference. We were never riding for Erick, we were riding for the yellow jersey. If Erick had stayed in it, then great.
Rob (Partridge) and Jonny’s job at the end was to attack but only attack on their own and try to win on their own. If the overall came with that, so be it and if it came down to a bunch sprint, we had Scott, so we had all the options covered really.
All eight of them here have ridden very well and just keep getting stronger and trusting each other and you can never beat a good team.
Circuit des Ardennes
Russ Downing finished 2nd in the Circuit des Ardennes (UCI 2.2) in Northern France on Sunday, only narrowly missing out on adding the overall title to his win in the Friday’s opening stage. Russ took the leader’s yellow jersey on the attack on Saturday’s 171km second stage with the aim of mopping up time bonuses, but was unable to chase down stage winner Andrй Steensen (Glud & Mastrand).
Sunday featured a split stage with a 25km team time trial and Endura Racing piloted their Giant Trinity Advanced SL’s to 2nd place on the stage behind Itera-Katusha (Russia). In the afternoon’s road stage, Endura Racing were again in the thick of the action with Rene Mandri in an early break and although he was soon caught, the move provided a springboard for a break including Paul VoЯ to move clear. As the stage progressed, Paul picked up valuable bonus seconds and was the virtual leader with just 35km of racing to go. However, as the lead group hit the hilly back end, two riders made for the line just as the break was swept up by the peloton. Stйphane Rossetto (CC Nogent sur Oise) was able to hold on for the win as Russ Downing emerged from the bunch to claim 2nd place. Russ’s 2nd place on the stage was enough to secure 2nd on GC @ 4secs as well as the points jersey.
Endura Racing’s next races are the three day Vuelta a Castilla y Leon (UCI 2.1) in Spain which starts on Friday and the Tour du Finistиre and Tro-Bro Lйon (both UCI 1.1) in northern France over the weekend.
Circuit des Ardennes International 2012, Stage 3a Report:
Advice from Jens…Sort of!
Some more from Xtranormal, this time some advice from Jens Voigt, well probably not.