Thursday 26 April 2012

Cycling Evening News 26.04.12

Women's Nocturne still needs riders - Tour de Romandie (video) - Tour of Turkey - Gracia Orlova - Festival Luxembourgeois Elsy Jacobs - GP Liberazione - Boonen wants a rainbow jersey - Anne de Wildt retires at 22 - Tour of Britain stages revealed - Vino has a rival for Gasparotto's affections - Omega Pharma Twitter ban - They're not GC contenders, they're very naughty boys: Bruyneel packs Schlecks off to camp - Other racing News - Now you can do something useful at work - Newswire: Cycling news from around the world (injunction against Addison Lee successful, Gov. Minister cycles 285 miles, urban cycling) - Tweets

Nocturne Women's Criterium still needs riders!
The Rapha Elite Women's Criterium, due to take place on the 9th of June as part of the Smithfield Nocturne, still urgently needs more riders to sign up if it's to go ahead. The race has already once been cancelled at the behest of British Cycling, who fear it will clash with a race the next day, and was brought back due to popular demand among fans.

With one of the very few British women's races to benefit from television coverage, the Nocturne has done more to promote women's cycling in a few years than most other races have ever done - its loss, therefore, would be a disaster. If you're eligible to ride, you can help ensure its future and in doing so help develop and promote British women's cycling. More sign-up details here.

Tour de Romandie
Stage 2 (map) of the 66th Tour de Romandie made a sortie over the border and onto French soil this morning to start at Montbéliard (with a castle that should not be missed), then covered 134.6km across Cat 3 Bourrignon (876m), Cat 2 Les Ecorcheresseses (920m) and and Cat 2 La Caquerelle/Col del Rangieres (856m) along with a series of uncategorised and smaller climbs (including Les Genevez, topping out at 1,025m) before ending with a 14.5km uphill drag to Moutier in the Bernese Jura.

Jonathan Hivert
Mark Cavendish (Sky) suffered a mechanical with 30.4km to go, perhaps no real problem for him with that  uphill approach to the finish. A few hopefuls tried to launch off the front as the race reached the last climb with 28km to go, almost all of them failing rapidly as the peloton upped the speed to catch Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol), sole surviving member of an two-man break that got away early in the race, and since been joined by Peter Stetina (Garmin-Barracuda) and Fabrice Jeandesboz (Saur-Sojasun). The two later-comers had the strength to continue once Bak was caught 17km from the end; however, their advantage of 19" was too small to guarantee them success, so everything depended on whether or not they'd conserved enough energy by riding with the peloton to increase their lead. With 12km to go, they'd upped it to 32" and the pack began to look a little nervous, in response ramping up the speed to higher level that the pair had little hope of resisting - they were caught with 4.2km to go.

Too close for breaks to get any sort of lead now, the peloton approached the line en masse. In the end, it was Saur-Sojasun's Jonathan Hivert who took the glory after throwing himself up the last few metres of tarmac - he's 6kg light than Rui Costa (Movistar) and a whole 12kg lighter than Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank), but being also a good deal shorter than either man he evidently has the greater muscle mass; neither could out-accelerate him and they settled for second and third place respectively. Sky's Bradley Wiggins retains the General Classification leadership.

Top Ten
  1.  Jonathan Hivert Saur-Sojasun
  2.  Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa Movistar
  3.  Luis Leon Sanchez Gil Rabobank
  4.  Gianni Meersman Lotto-Belisol Team
  5.  Ryder Hesjedal Garmin-Barracuda
  6.  Giacomo Nizzolo RadioShack-Nissan
  7.  Daniele Pietropolli Lampre-ISD
  8.  Eduard Vorganov Katusha
  9.  Allan Davis GreenEDGE
  10.  Roman Kreuziger Astana
Travis Meyer (GreenEDGE) and Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) did not finish, Manuel Belletti and Matteo Montaguti (both AG2R-La Mondiale) did not start. Full results and GC when available.

Friday's Stage 3 (map) starts at La Neuveville, a village that holds city status since it's still protected by well-preserved medieval defensive walls complete with towers (la Tour de Rive features on many a postcard). After a flat start, riders face a short climb 20km in at Mont Vully followed by a flattish 30km to Cat 3 Arrissoules (640m). After that, it's mountains all the way - the first big ascent is the uncategorised climb up to Sarzens beginning after 77km, then there are 23km to Cat 2 Le Chatelard with the summit at 1,002m - the descent is fast and should provide some exciting racing. The last categorised mountain is the Cat 3 Treyvaux to 810m, but a final climb lurks at the end of the stage before the riders draw into Charmey in Gruyère.

Tour of Turkey
Previous editions of the Presidential Tour of Turkey have not been among the premier events of the European cycling calendar, due in large part to a dearth of top talent and partly to a not-especially-interesting parcours, but it's improved enormously over the last decade or so and this year looks set to be the best so far: the racing has been top-notch and the parcours stunning. Thursday's Stage 5 was proof of that: beginning at Marmaris (which, is must be said, has not benefitted aesthetically from its development into a turist resort; though the local economy is doubtless in a better state than it was 50 years ago), it then headed north across country, taking in some stiff climbs on the way, before arriving at the  medieval city of Beçin. Riders then turned west to Stage 5 begins at Marmaris, heads across country and then continues along the coastline before heading north to the medieval city of Beçin where the riders turned west toward the finish line at Turgutreis on the furthest point of the Bodrum peninsula.

Andrea di Corrado
The 177.8km parcours featured numerous steep climbs right from the start, rising to 400m at the higest point; used to full effect by Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana), Jonas Aaen Jorgensen (SaxoBank), Sébastien Duret (Bretagne-Schuller), Andrea di Corrado (Colnago-CSF), Jerome Cousin (Europcar) and Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team mates Alfredo Balloni and Hugo Houle, who escaped the pack after 20km and put on a superb display of co-operation to build a lead of fourteen minutes. The peloton left their response just a little too late and, while a big chunk of time was chopped out of the gap, it became apparent some way from the finish line that one of the escapees was going to win. With 15km left, the impromptu team cracked up as the riders began vying to see who it'd be and when di Corrado went nobody could get near, leaving the 24-year-old Italian to cross the line alone with a 40" lead. Not a bad first professional victory for a rider in his first pro year.

Rob Goris (Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda's) was disqualified after officials declared he had failed to let go of a team car quickly enough. Ivaïlo Gabrovski retains his General Classification leadership.

Top Ten
  1.  Andrea Di Corrado Colnago-CSF-Bardiani 4h50'25"
  2.  Jonas Aaen Jorgensen SaxoBank +40"
  3.  Jérôme Cousin Europcar ST
  4.  Alfredo Balloni Farnese Vini-Selle Italia +42"
  5.  Sebastien Duret Bretagne-Schuller ST
  6.  Dmitriy Gruzdev Astana ST
  7.  Matteo Pelucchi Europcar +1'27"
  8.  Alexey Tsatevitch Katusha ST
  9.  Rafaa Chtioui Europcar ST
  10.  Andrea Guardini Farnese Vini-Selle Italia ST
Anthony Ravard (AF2R-La Mondiale), Jeffry Johan Romero (Colombia-Coldeportes), Mustafa Carsi (Salcano Manisaspor) did not finish. Full results and GC.

Stage 6 (map) is 180.3km long and begins in Bodrum, a few kilometres to the east of Turgutreis and the site of an imposing 15th Century Crusader castle (those who worked on it during construction received a guaranteed reservation in Heaven courtesy of a papal decree dating from 1409). Riders then head north-east back to Beçin and north-west to Didim - the Didyma of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (which wasn't written by Homer), a ruined temple to the god mentioned in the Hymn still exists here (the temple in the Hymn was destroyed in the 5th Century BCE). The remainder of the parcours leads north to Kusadasi, which has also lost much due to development - however, tourists who are willing to venture away from the beach and shiny hotels can still find remnants of the ancient city including traces of the defensive walls, the 17th C. mosque and little shops that sell the things the locals need. Once again, there are no high mountains but those climbs that do feature are steep; the three that fall between 40 and 70km looking especially daunting.

Gracia Orlova
Evelyn Stevens, now with
One of the premier women's races on the calendar, the 26th Gracia Orlova in the Czech Republic moved onto its first proper stage today (Thursday) after yesterday's tough prologue individual time trial. The 105.1km parcours began at Dětmarovice and immediately turned hilly with numerous short but steep climbs in the first 40km, followed by a 25km ascent to 500m. A fast descent then began the last 30km to Štramberk - a little town famous for its beautiful half-timbered buildings and well worth a visit, but not by any means an easy place to reach today on account of a fierce climb reaching gradients as high as 20.2% shortly before the finish line. (Map and profile)

Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-Lululemon) won by attacking hard in the last section and then even harder on that final climb, a second victory for the team after Ellen van Dijk's time trial triumph yesterday. It was another good day for the British riders, too - Sharon Laws (AA stormed into second place.

Top Ten
1. Evelyn Stevens - Specialized-Lululemon 2h55'52"
2. Sharon Laws - AA Drink  +2" 
3. Alena Amialisuik - Be Pink ST
4. Paulina Brzezna-Bentkowsk - Atom Boxmet Dzierzoniów ST
5. GRAUS  Andrea Vienne Futurscope  ST
6. Olena Shahra - Národní Tým-Ukraji +4"
7. Karol-Ann Canuel - Vienne Futurscope  ST
8. Trixi Worrack -  Specialized-Lululemon ST
9. Aleksan Burchenkova - S.C. Michela Fanini ROX +6"
10. Ellen van Dijk Specialized-Lululemon ST
Full results and GC when available
Specialized-Lululemon race report.

Elsy Jacobs starts Friday
For anybody who cares about women's cycling, it's very easy to feel miserable at the moment - we've just had news that another race has been cancelled, the prizes on offer at the majority of the races are a joke compared to what the men win (and frequently about the same amount the riders could earn for putting in a full week in a fast food restaurant, provided they got a bit of overtime) and the salaries they receive (those who are lucky enough to receive salaries, that is; which is why some of them have to put in a full week in a fast food restaurant and hope for a bit of overtime) are quite frankly an insult in many cases. Be thankful, then, that this week brings us that celebration of all things good in women's cycling, the Festival Luxembourgeois Elsy Jacobs.

Combined, this is a two stage race with a TT prologue. However, in the Elsy Jacobs each stage is a race within its own right to a far greater extent than in any other event and every day has an entirely different feel to the others. There really is no other race quite like it. (Full article)

Noemi Cantele takes her third victory
of 2012
Cantele wins GP Liberazione
Noemi Cantele (Be Pink) edged ahead of Inga Cilvinaite (Diadora-Pasta Zara) to win the GP Liberazione, the two riders crossing the line together and accompanied by Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Faren-Honda) with a good lead over a group of sixteen riders led by Alona Andruk (Diadora-Pasta Zara) who came in 24" later. The rest of the field were well back, all recording the same time as Rochelle Gilmore (Faren-Honda) at +4'13".

Boonen: "I really want a rainbow jersey for 2013"
Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Tom Boonen has already had the sort of season of which most riders can only dream with three Flanders Classics and Paris-Roubaix added to his palmares, but he's eyeing what is to him the greatest prize of all: "In cycling, there is nothing higher than a World Championship," the 31-year-old told Het Nieuwesblad. "You then get to spend a whole year riding around in the rainbow jersey."

The rider, who enjoys rock star status in his native Belgium, has been to have a look at the Limburg parcours this week and he finds it very much to his liking. "The finish line is 1.5km from the top of the Cauberg," he explains. "If nobody attacks from the top, I'm a contender. It's all about breaking down on the climb, then recovering, then sprinting - and that's something I can do well."

However, 2012 offers another prize, and it's one that doesn't become available so often. Tommeke: "This is my first and only chance to be an Olympic champion. There's no jersey, but that title lasts for four years. I don't know what an Olympic title brings. It's my dream to be World Champion, but I'll enter both competitions to win - they're equally important."

Anne de Wildt
Anne de Wildt retires
Argos-Shimano has revealed via its website that Anne de Wildt has decided to retire from competition. "I find it increasingly difficult to motivate myself for training and races," says the rider. "Because of that I can’t provide what is required and, therefore, I have decided to end my career as a rider with Team Skil-Argos."

Now aged 22, de Wildt's early career showed great promise with overall victory at the Tour of Usquert and a stage win and second place overall at the Irish Rás na mBan in 2008, which saw her move int the upper echelons of women's cycling. 2011 brought some good results including five top ten finishes, but she hasn't been able to dd anything in 2012 - which has, presumably, contributed to her disillusionment.

"Of course we regret that Anne is going to stop, but we respect her choice," says Argos team leader Sharon van Essen. A popular rider in her native Netherlands, de Wildt will be missed by fans too. She will now concentrate on her nursing career.

Kristian House caught in Korea crashes
After yesterday's stage had to be cancelled due to torrential rain, the Tour of Korea once again descended into farce today after press motorbikes caused a series of crashes. The race hadn't even left the neutral zone when Jaan Kirsipuu (Champion Systems) became the first victim, resulting in proceedings coming to a temporary halt while he was supplied with a new bike. No information is yet available on the second incident, then a third took down Kristian House (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) and Yuriy Agarkov (Neri-ISD) at 118.3km. House said that the motorbike "was weaving in and out of riders on the climb, coming on the inside of us on corners."

In reponse, organisers have declared that for the remainder of the eight-stage race only one camera bike and one video bike will be permitted on the parcours. (More details from

Tour of Britain stages revealed
Click to enlarge
...and the 1,365.7km parcours looks set to be the hardest edition in the race's 67 year history with 2,000m of climbing in Stage 5 alone, two ascents of Caerphilly Mountain in Stage 6, Stage 7 leading across Dartmoor and uphill cobbles to the final finish line on Guildford High Street at the end of Stage 8.

The stages look like this:
Stage 1: Ipswich - Norwich Norfolk Showgrounds (199.6km)
Stage 2: Loughbrough - Knowsley Safari Park (193.5 km)
Stage 3: Jedburgh - Dumfries (161.4km)
Stage 4: Carlisle - Blackpool (156km)
Stage 5: Stoke - Stoke (146.9km)
Stage 6: Welshpool - Caerphilly (189.8km)
Stage 7: Barnstaple - Dartmouth (170.8km)
Stage 8: Reigate - Guildford (147.7km)

“The route of this year’s Tour is certainly our toughest yet, and to coin a phrase a race of two halves.  I am sure it will make for some spectacular action this September, and look forward to seeing bigger crowds than ever at the roadside in what is British sport’s biggest year," says race director Mick Bennett. Keep up to date with Tour news here.

Gasparotto, currently with Astana
Vacansoleil court Gasparotto
Perhaps unsurprisingly in the wake of his surprise victory at the Amstel Gold Race and third place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the other Pro Tour teams have developed an interest in Astana's Enrico Gasparotto. The first to make an approach is Vacansoleil-DCM, who'll be hoping to improve their chances for the Spring Classics in 2013 after a less-than-satisfactory performance this season. It's a win-win situation for the Italian rider because he'll get a salary increase whether he stays or goes, but when it comes to decision time cash on the table is likely to make his mind up - and Vacansoleil will need to be prepared to stump up a hefty wedge to tempt him away as he's known to enjoy a close friendship and working partnership with Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov.

One-hour Tweet blackout for Omega Pharma riders
Worried that his riders might say something they could later wish they hadn't, Omega Pharma-QuickStep directeur sportif has imposed a one-hour period before and after races during which the team's riders are banned from using Twitter.

Sometimes, a rider can feel absolutely furious right after a sprint," he explained to Denmark's Ekstra Bladet. " Sometimes, they might write something they then regret. I think you just have to think twice before sending a Twitter message." Holm does not Tweet himself but understands the value of riders doing so - and is especially impressed by Mark Cavendish's use of the website: "He could come up with some venom and people loved it or hated it, but it never took his focus off the Tour."

Disappointed Bruyneel sends Schlecks to training camp
Following a disappointing start to 2012 - some might even say dismal - the Brothers Schleck have been packed off to an altitude training camp in the Spanish Navarre by RadioShack-Nissan manager Johan Bruyneel, who hopes to have them whipped into shape ready for the Grand Tours.

"I think this is appropriate," he told Het Nieuwesblad, possibly while sitting in a vast leather chair and stroking a white cat like a Bond villain. There is as of yet, no confirmation that they were also sent straight to bed without any dinner.

Other Racing News
More details on the cancellation of the Tour de Languedoc-Roussillon and what it means for women's cycling from

Emma Johansson on the cancellation of the Tour de Languedoc-Roussillon: "You would think that arranging races shouldn’t be a problem on an Olympic year but guess not… Wonder when UCI will come to the woman pelotons rescue?!?!"

South Africa’s top track cyclists have descended upon KwaZulu-Natal’s capital ahead of the SA National Track & Para Cycling Championships (SuperSport)

Sophie de Boer
Professional cycling and campervans go together like, erm, sleek, efficient machines and great big ungainly ones - just ask Dirk Hofman if you don't agree. Recently, another motorhome manufacturer has spotted the link and decided that sponsoring a race might be a good idea, and since the company is based in New Zealand the Tour of New Zealand seemed like the one to support, and now it looks like a long and happy relationship is on the cards. (Voxy)

Greg van Avermaet is off the road due to a problem with his heels that has plagued him for some time. "The wounds were really big," said BMC coach Carlo Bomans. "He needs to rest for a few days to avoid reopening them."

Sophie de Boer will prepare for the 2012/13 cyclo cross season by entering road races with the Ronald McDonald Team, but will return to Young Telenet Fidea when the season gets underway. (More from Wielerland)

"Dave Brailsford believes Britain’s world-class cyclists have all they need to dominate the sport for years to come" (Metro)

For more details, click here
At last! Now you can do something useful at work!
Work, eh? What an utter waste of time that could be better spent out on your bike. Trouble is, of course, unless you either win the lottery or happen to have been born into a family that didn't mind killing loads of people hundreds of years ago and thus established itself as aristocracy, you need to work to be able to afford a bike.

Over in Belgium where they're a little more enlightened than the rest of the world and afford cycling the respect it deserves, designers have come up with the answer. They call it the We-Watt (OK, so coming up with a clever name was apparently beyond them) and it's a sort of desk with a bike saddle-like seat, fitted with a pair of pedals. The movement of the pedals is then converted into electricity, so that the person pedaling can use a laptop to do worky stuff (or look at funny pictures of cats if the boss is out of the office). The units can even be joined together in a variety of ways, turning the office into a spin class.

Transport for London injunction against Addison Lee is successful (

Environment Minister John Griffiths cycled 285 miles from North to South Wales in just four days in a bid to promote cycling (WalesOnline)

Cycling in the City - can London go Dutch? (Evening Standard)

New cyclists' cafe in Manchester (Guardian)

Design a lorry sticker to keep cyclists safe (Oxford Mail)

"Proposed alterations to the highway code to give cyclists the right to make a left turn at red traffic lights will probably not happen" (RAC)

Rest of the World
Sixty Second Cycling: a few interesting posts to read (Chicago Now)

Cameron Meyer ‏ @cammeyercyclistI have been over some rough roads in the Giro before but Turkey wins. Wow. My eyeballs are still rattling around my head

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