Thursday, 29 March 2012

News Digest 29.03.12

Chavanel wins De Panne - Bras out of Flanders - 32 to learn Mantova fate - 2016 Tour may start in Yorkshire - Fotheringham's Merckx book tops best sellers - Mansilla cleared of EPO use

Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has won the Three Days of De Panne with a time of 12h05'44" - identical to second-place Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM), but beating him on points. Macieg Bojnar (Liquigas-Cannondale) was third, finishing 4" down. (Full results when available)

Martine Bras will not ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen voor Vrouwen after a training accident at the Zolder circuit on Wednesday. The 33-year-old Dolmans-Boels rider has no recollection of what actually took place - " I was told later that someone unexpectedly got in front as I was going full on," she says. "I seem to have nothing broken, but I have a concussion, lacerations to my face and a severe bruise on my shoulder. Long live the helmet, because this could have ended much worse." (More from Dolmans-Boels)
Martine Bras ‏ @martinebras
Crashed at Terlaemen yesterday. No idear what happened. Woke up in hospital. It's not to bad. But will be out for a while.#look/feellikeshit

32 names connected to the Mantova doping case will shortly find out if they are to face criminal charges ranging from trafficking, providing false prescriptions for, providing and using controlled substances. The case centres on the Lampre team of 2008 and 2009, though the existence of the investigation was not made public until 2010. The most high profile characters now waiting to hear more are Alessandro Ballan (unintentional star of phone transcripts called deeply distressing and shocking by Gazzetta dello Sport right before  publishing them the day before the 2011 Giro d'Italia, thus guaranteeing maximum impact), Michael Rasmussen, Damiano Cunego and Giuseppe Saronni - twice winner of the Giro and 1982 World Champion, general manager of Lampre up until his resignation due to this case in April 2010. (More from the Gazzetta's "Gazzetta di Mantova")

The Yorkshire Tourist Board has officially begun its bid to host the start of the 2016 Tour de France. If successful, it will be the third time the Tour has visited Britain - however, there is strong competition from Scotland, Venice, Barcelona and Berlin. The Board has set up a webpage where the public can pledge their support.

Luis Mansilla, who provided a sample that was tested positive for EPO at the Vuelta Ciclista a Chile on the 10th of January this year, has been cleared after his B sample proved to be negative. While overjoyed that he is now free to train for the Olympics, the 25-year-old Chilean told "[The case] has been highly damaging to me, and my family suffered because they didn't know what to do and could not believe it. I was angry, I was made to feel ashamed for something I had not done. I was so angry I had to stop riding."

William Fotheringham's new book on Eddy Merckx - Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike - has gone to the top of The Times' hardback best sellers list. Once again: cycling's a niche sport in Britain, right?

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