Sunday 29 April 2012

Evening Cycling News 29.04.12

Festival Luxembourgeois Elsy Jacobs, Tour de Romandie, Tour of Turkey and Gracia Orlova end today - BOA ban overturned, says BBC - Schleck to replace Fuglsang at Giro - Yukihiro Doi is new Japanese Champion - Van Garderen escapes serious injury - Teen injured in Berkshire hit-and-run - WW2 hero cycling campaigner dies - Cycling Newswire

Festival Luxembourgeois Elsy Jacobs
Stage 3 begins with another lap of today's main route, but omits the five laps of Garnich in favour of five laps around Mamur - the village where Luxembourg's other most famous cyclist Nicolas Frantz was born, and where Marianne Vos won last year. Vos won yesterday, too; and since today's stage used the same 53.6km GP Elsy Jacobs, this time beginning in Nicolas Frantz's home village Mamer rather than Jacob's Garnich before switching to five laps of an 8.9km circuit around the village, the 24-year-old Flying Dutchwoman's Rabobank team was favourite to win again.

Vos had warned them not to rest upon their laurels - "Our rivals aren't going to make us a gift of this race," she said in the wake of Saturday's stage, "so I'm afraid we have a lot of work to do tomorrow" - and, with Rabobank being the sort of squad that they are, they put in a superb performance to drive Annemiek van Vleuten to victory, while Vos finished in second place with the entire field recording 17" due to a crash in the final 500m. With her total time of 5h14'56", Vos also takes the General Classification victory for the second consecutive year - paying her dues to the team after the race, she said:  "The team has worked very hard today."

"The plan was that as soon as I'd got around the last corner, I'd go and Marianne would follow me," van Vleuten explained in the official Rabo race report. "That worked and, because of a crash right behind us, we took first and second without challenge."

According to onlookers, World Champion Giorgia Bronzini appeared to have been left with a broken collarbone in the crash. No confirmation nor details are yet available.

Annemiek van Vleuten won the stage
Stage Top Ten
  1.  Annemiek Van Vleuten Rabobank 2h30'17"
  2.  Marianne Vos Rabobank +17"
  3.  Evelyn Arys Kleo ST
  4.  Daniela Gass ABUS-Nutrixxion ST
  5.  Cherise Taylor Lotto Belisol ST
  6.  Annelies Van Doorslaer Kleo ST
  7.  Megan Guarnier Team TIBCO ST
  8.  Nathalie Lamborelle Kleo ST
  9.  Joëlle Numainville ST
  10.  Christine Majerus GSD Gestion ST

General Classification Top Ten
  1.  Marianne Vos Rabobank 5h14'56"
  2.  Annemiek Van Vleuten Rabobank +13"
  3.  Adrie Visser Argos-Shimano +17"
  4.  Emma Johansson Hitec Products-Mistral Home +24"
  5.  Linda Villumsen GreenEDGE ST
  6.  Amber Neben Specialized-Lululemon +25"
  7.  Megan Guarnier Team TIBCO +27"
  8.  Pauline Ferrand Prevot Rabobank +29"
  9.  Tiffany Cromwell GreenEDGE +30"
  10.  Judith Arndt GreenEDGE ST
(Full stage and GC results)

Tour de Romandie
Stage 5 (mapprofile) was a hilly 16.2km individual time trial beginning at 1.327m Montana village with a gentle rise to 1,302m in the first kilometre, then a 3km descent to the lowest point at 1,102m. Riders then faced a Category 1 climb to Aminona, altitude 1,512m - very much the crux of the race, because a rider who could climb it fast and not expend too much energy in doing so woul have an obvious advantage going into the final, flat 7.2km to the finish line at the Crans-Montana ski resort. With winds as high as 57kph expected, the outcome was hard to predict,

If Wiggo does at the Tour de France
what he's done in this race...
Bradley Wiggins' (Sky) General Classification lead began to look precarious on Friday when it was reduced to one second, then on Saturday Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) converted it into a 9" disadvantage when he won Stage 4. Wiggins will have wanted to be last man to go in the time trial today, but now he was to be the penultimate man off the ramp and had to ride as fast as he coud without knowing what he had to beat. On his side was the fact that he's a more accomplished all-rounder than Sánchez, meaning that the mid-parcours climb could have worked in his favour.

Things did not go his way when his chain came off just a few kilometres into the parcours, forcing him to wait for mechanical help; but then he recorded the fastest time thus far going through the intermediate checkpoint. Just as he did so, Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Barracuda) flew over the finish line to take the first sub-29' time - but Bradley has become one of the best examples of a true all-rounder in the sport today, able to climb, sprint and ride an impressive time trial, as we saw with his performance at Paris-Nice. Now with something to aim at, he cranked up the power and hammered through the remainder of the parcours, lopping a second off Talansky's time - and, more importantly, a whole 1'24" off Sánchez's 30'50" to become the first man to win Romandie and Paris-Nice in a single season since Dario Frigo in 2001. The impressiveness of the achievement is highlighted by the fact that the last man before that was Toni Rominger in 1991.

For Britain, the Tour de France looks increasingly promising.

Stage Top Ten
  1.  Bradley Wiggins Sky 28'56"
  2.  Andrew Talansky Garmin-Barracuda +1"
  3.  Richie Porte Sky +17"
  4.  Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa Movistar +23"
  5.  Roman Kreuziger Astana +40"
  6.  Sylvester Szmyd Liquigas-Cannondale +42"
  7.  Michael Rogers Sky +43"
  8.  Thibaut Pinot FDJ-BigMat +52"
  9.  Thomas De Gendt Vacansoleil-DCM +54"
  10.  Janez Brajkovic Astana +55"

General Classification

  1 Bradley Wiggins  Sky 18h05'40"  
  2 Andrew Talansky  Garmin-Barracuda +12"  
  3 Rui Costa  Movistar +36"  
  4 Richie Porte  Sky +45"  
  5 Michael Rogers  Sky +50"  
  6 Roman Kreuziger  Astana +59"  
  7 Sylvester Szmyd  Liquigas-Cannondale +1'03"  
  8 Simon Spilak  Katusha +1'13"  
  9 Janez Brajkovic  Astana +1'14"  
  10 Luis Leon Sanchez  Rabobank +1'15"
(Full stage and GC results when available)

Tour of Turkey
Stage 8 (map) took place on an urban parcours situated entirely in Istanbul. Starting out from Sultanahmet Square; fittingly the site of the Hippodrome of Constantinople and once the Byzantine Empire's version of Elis' Olympia or the Pythian Games at Delphi, it then passed from the neutral zone on Kennedy Street, crossed the Galata Bridge and headed north-west along the shores of the Bosphoros, dipping briefly inland to get onto the Bosphorous Bridge which, at the time construction was completed in 1973, was the longest suspension bridge anywhere in the world other than the USA when the riders reached the south-eastern bank, they had officially left Europe and were in Asia. At the Cadde Bostan Coastal Road, they embarked upon the first of eight laps of a 12.2km circuit.

A group of four - Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Ivan Stevic (Salcano-Arnavutkoy), Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) and Damien Gaudin (Europcar) - escaped the peloton as the race left the Bosphorous bridge and headed out into Asia, then reached the circuit with a decent lead they then increased to 3'25" before Rabobank and Farnese Vini-Selle Italia united and got to work on bringing them back in. A crash with 3km to go brought down several in the peloton and ended the race for Matthew Goss (GreenEDGE), also seriously messing things up for anyone planning a lead-out train. This all seemed uncannily similar to Stage 1, when Theo Bos (Rabobank) made good use of a crash in the sprint to win, and so it was again today when he and several others used the situation to their advantage by sprinting past Andre Geipel. In the end nobody could match the stocky Dutchman's raw power, and he added his second stage win.

While his race ended in such an infuriating way, Goss won't have to write it off: as the crash fell within the last 3km, he is classified as having completed the race - and he's accumulated enough to win the Points competition. Ivaïlo Gabrovski led the General Classification since Stage 3 and thus takes the first win on home soil for his Turkish Konya Torku Sekersport team, an unexpected victory - but then, the Tour of Turkey has a habit of turning up unexpected victors; none of those to have won during its eleven-year history have been A-list cycling celebrities. Long may that fine tradition continue.

Marcel Kittel, who also went down in the crash, blames a Katusha rider...
Marcel Kittel ‏ @marcelkittel
Ok, sprint finals are full of action & sometimes there's a crash. But this Katusha guy crashed 2day becoz he wasn't concentrated!! >:-/
Theo Bos
Top Ten Stage 8
  1.  Theo Bos Rabobank 2h32'35"
  2.  Andrew Fenn Omega Pharma-Quickstep ST
  3.  Stefan Van Dijk Veranda's ST
  4.  Andrea Guardini Farnese Vini-Selle Italia ST
  5.  Matteo Pelucchi Europcar ST
  6.  Alessandro Petacchi Lampre-ISD ST
  7.  Robert Förster United Healthcare Presented By Maxxis ST
  8.  Juan Jose Haedo SaxoBank ST
  9.  Daniele Colli Team Type 1-Sanofi ST
  10.  Jonas From Genechten Lotto-Belisol ST

Top Ten General Classification
  1.  Ivailo Gabrovski Konya Torku Sekersport 28h48'10"
  2.  Alexandr Dyachenko Astana +1'33"
  3.  Danail Andonov Petrov Caja Rural +1'38"
  4.  Adrian Palomares Villaplana Andalucia-Caja Granada +1'44"
  5.  Romain Bardet AG2R-La Mondiale +2'01"
  6.  Alexander Efimkin Team Type 1-Sanofi +2'23"
  7.  Florian Guillou Bretagne Schuller +2'29"
  8.  Enrico Battaglin Colnago CSF Bardiani +2'58"
  9.  Michal Golas Omega Pharma-QuickStep +3'02"
  10.  Will Routley Spidertech Powered By C10 +3'14"
(Full stage and GC results when available)

Gracia Orlova
Congratulations Katie Colclough!
This race too came to an end today, with Stage 4 (map) involving on tough-looking 100.2km parcours consisting of six laps of a 16.7km circuit including an 11% 50m climb in the last half of each.

Specialized-Lululemon seem to have decided that the best way ahead is to win every stage in this race, so fans were eager to see if they could manage total domination by taking this one too - and there was no disappointment for the squad when British rider Katie Colclough won them this one too. Gracie Elvin was hot on her heels for second and special mention goes to AA's Marijn de Vries, who rode exceptionally well for third place.

None of them, however, could put enough of a dent in Evelyn Steven's overall time to take the General Classification. Game, set and match to Specialized-Lululemon!

Stage Top Ten
  1.  Katie Colclough Specialized-Lululemon 3h08'13"
  2.  Gracie Elvin +6"
  3.  Marijn De Vries AA ST
  4.  Alessandra Borchi MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss ST
  5.  Olena Pavlukhina +8"
  6.  Sharon Laws AA +43"
  7.  Andrea Graus Vienne Futuroscope ST
  8.  Alena Amialyusik Be Pink ST
  9.  Larisa Pankova ???
  10.  Evelyn Stevens Specialized-Lululemon ???

General Classification Top Ten
  1.  Evelyn Stevens Specialized-Lululemon 9h45'11"
  2.  Trixi Worrack Specialized-Lululemon +1'20"
  3.  Sharon Laws AA +3'36"
  4.  Tatiana Antoshina Rabobank +3'50"
  5.  Alena Amialyusik Be Pink +3'52"
  6.  Ellen Van Dijk Specialized-Lululemon +6'32"
  7.  Olena Sharpa +6'51"
  8.  Olena Pavlukhina +8'17"
  9.  Alexandra Burchenkova S.C. Michela Fanini Rox +9'23"
  10.  Audrey Cordon Vienne Futuroscope +10'03"
(Full stage and GC results)

See also: GreenEDGE's race report

CAS overturns British Olympics lifetime dope ban policy
The Court for Arbitration in Sport will, as expected,  overturn the British Olympic Association's policy of banning any athlete to have been subject to a doping-related suspension at any point during their careers for life, according to a report published by the BBC on Sunday. The BOA had appealed to the court after the World Anti-Doping Agency ordered them to abide by existing international rules.

The case has been much-reported in the cycling press due to David Millar, who served a two-year ban after being found to have used EPO. British Cycling has stated that should it become possible, Millar would be invited to compete; however, the rider may turn down the opportunity after saying he had no wish to be seen as a black sheep. Of more importance to him is that he will now be free to take part in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

An official announcement is expected on Monday.

Schleck will replace Fuglsang at Giro
Frank Schleck (playing cat's-cradle, by the
looks of it)
Frank Schleck has been confirmed as Jakob Fuglsang's replacement at the Giro d'Italia, as widely reported yesterday after Luxembourg's L'Essentiel published a story saying that he should be.

"My season was directed at peaking in the Tour”, explained the Luxemburgish 32-year-old. “but when you think about it, this situation creates opportunities. For sure, I will come to the start with a different preparation than the other GC riders, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. My condition is not so bad and it can only grow the coming weeks. The Giro d'Italia is one of the big monuments of cycling as well, so it is at least a big challenge for me."

"I see a lot of opportunities for Frank as well as for the team”, commented Johan Bruyneel, RadioShack-Nissan team manager. “Frank is a born leader and a team needs a leader. Moreover – though bad luck and circumstances did not provide the right results - he has shown in the last few weeks that his condition has already reached a high level. I am confident he can surprise us in the coming weeks."

Yukihiro Doi
Yukihiro Doi wins Japanese Championships
Japan has a new National Road Race Champion in the shape of Yukihiro Doi after he beat Nariyuki Masuda and Miyataka Shimizu in a tight sprint at Hachimantal in Iwate Prefecturei to take the title from Fumiyuki Beppu, who chose not to compete this year. One of the few Japanese riders with an active presence on the European circuit, Osaka-born Doi is not yet as well-known outside Japan as the popular Beppu - however, in 2011 he became the first Japanese to take part in the Vuelta a Espana and as his Argos-Shimano team's profile increases, his will also.

Van Garderen escapes injury
High winds at the Tour de Romandie created problems for many riders yesterday, but worst off was BMC's Tejay van Garderen - a branch blown from a tree hit him in the face and he abandoned the race. Team doctor Max Testa (surely the best possible name for a man who measures VO2 and athletic performance on a regular basis) confirms that the rider escaped serious injury, being left with just a nose bleed (and a depleted supply of swear words, in all likelihood).

Other racing news
Nolan Hoffman wins Tour of Durban (Sport24, South Africa)

"BMX superstar Sifiso Nhlapo (MTN Cycling) powered his way to victory in the first of two legs of the SA National BMX Championships" (Supersport, South Africa)

Teenager injured in Maidenhead hit-and-run
The driver of a black Subaru is being hunted by Berkshire police after failing to stop following an accident in which a 15-year-old boy was knocked off his bike at Bourne End. The boy was taken to hospital and treated for injuries to his leg, but has since been discharged. The car was seen being driven at speed in the direction of High Wycombe - anyone who believes they might know the owner of the car can speak to police anonymously by phoning 0800 555111.

Cycling campaigner dies at 92
Lon Pullen, author of the Pitman Book of cycling, has died at the age of 92. A lifelong cyclist and cycling safety campaigner, Mr. Pullen was also a veteran of the Second World War and saw active service in the Arctic Convoys, Crete, Omaha Beach and Egypt; later being awarded a Humane Society medal in recognition of his efforts to save the lives of sailors when their ship was hit by a torpedo. His funeral, to be held in Kingston-on-Thames, will include a procession of bicycles - one of which will pull a trailer carrying his coffin.

"Aldi are offering a whole load of cycling accessories in a promotion next week, including a soft shell jacket for 15 quid" (

"Annual 'Bike Swap' allows cycling enthusiasts to pick out new wheels" (WMTW News8ABC, Portland, Maine)

"'Critical Mass' a global cyling event would be organised at Imphal by the Manipur Cycle Club(MCC) tomorrow" (E-Pao, India)

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