Thursday 19 April 2012

Cycling news from around the world 19.04.12

Ricco receives 12-year ban - Martin back on the bike, Leipheimer still off - Prijs stad Roeselare attracts stellar line-up - Halfords Tour to end in Stoke with a tribute to Tommy Godwin - Meersman and Van de Walle out of La Doyenne - Will Holczer "walk away" from Katusha? - Cycling in the News

Ricco receives 12-year ban
Ricardo Ricco, the Italian rider who was thrown out of the 2008 Tour de France and banned for 20 months  after testing positive for EPO derivative CERA, then sacked by Vacansoleil-DCM in February 2011 when a self-administered  transfusion using blood more than three weeks old left him close to death, has been handed a twelve-year ban by the Italian National Anti-Doping Tribunal at the request of the National Olympic Committee. Now aged 28, the ban virtually guarantees the end of his career. (More from Velonation)

Tony Martin's been for a ride
Martin back in the saddle, Leipheimer still out
Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Tony Martin has ridden his bike for the first time since an accident last week that left him, in his own words, with his face "totally smashed," but he's quick to point out that he's a long way from returning to full training. Hit by a car during a training ride, the German sustained fractures to his cheekbone, eye socket and lower mandible.

"I pedalled for 30 minutes yesterday on a bike path near home and today I went out again riding my bike for about an hour," says the 26-year-old current World Time Trial Champion. "Obviously, these aren't training sessions, but just some pedalling to get used to the bicycle and the road again. I am trying to listen to my body and I'm pedalling without taking any type of risk. It's a very pleasant feeling, especially thinking about the fact that a week ago I was lying in a hospital bed. Right now I am focusing on my body and I am only thinking about recovering fully. I will start more intense training sessions only when I feel like I'm ready for it and the team's medical staff will say it is ok to do so."

Things aren't going so well for Levi Leipheimer
Meanwhile, team mate Levi Leipheimer has been unable to get on his bike since an accident on the 1st of April in which he too was hit by a car. Now aged 38, Leipheimer turned professional fufteen years ago and is one of the oldest riders in the Pro Tour peloton - his slow recovery will almost inevitably lead some to wonder if his retirement may be imminent.

"The situation isn't pleasant at all," Leipheimer explained. "Ever since the day of the accident I haven't managed to get back on my bike out on the road, and I honestly don't know when that will be possible. Recovery is slower than we expected. I still have pain in my leg and I'm having trouble walking. I also have pain in my ribs and hips due to the fall, this is limiting my movement. The Tour of California was one of the objectives for my season - I wanted to be competitive in order to win a fourth overall title. At this point, merely participating will be a success. I will put in my best effort to manage to be on the starting line, even though it won't be easy."

Omega Pharma-QuickStep will provide further updates on both riders' health nest week.

Prijs stad Roeselare attracts perhaps the finest line-up so far this year
La Doywhat? If you want to see a selection of world-class cyclists gathered together in one place, then Roeselare in West Flanders (hometown of Jean-Pierre "Jempi" Monseré) is the place to be this Sunday. Point your camera in any direction you like and you'll have a reasonably high chance of getting at least one of the world's finest professional cyclists in the frame, because this year's edition of the Prijs stad Roeselare has attracted what may be the most illustrious start list seen thus far this season.

Want to see the best bikers in the business? Look to
Flanders this weekend
Among them: Amber Neben, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Chloe Hosking, Clara Hughes, Eleonora van Dijk, Ashleigh Moolman, Megan Guarnier, Nicole Cooke, Rochelle Gilmore, Pia Pensaari, Monique van de Ree, Adrie Visser, Evelyn Arys, Emma Trott, Laura Trott, Sharon Laws, Marijn de Vries, Shelly Olds, Kirsten Wild, Lizzie Armitstead, Loes Gunnewijk, Amanda Spratt, Shara Gillows, Emma Johansson, World Champion Giorgia Bronzini, Annemiek van Vleuten, Iris Slappendel, Sarah Duster, Liebeth de Vocht and Marianne Vos. There could not be a more cast iron guarantee of first-rate bike racing than that. (Full provisional start list here)

The parcours is 129.5km in length and features a number of challenging climbs after an initial flatter section including Kemmelberg, the hill that hits a gradient of 15% and familiar from Gent-Wevelgem, Scherpenberg (max. 17%) , Schomminkelberg (max. 13%), Rodeberg (max. 16%) and several others before riders complete three laps of an 8.9km circuit.

The legendary Tommy Godwin
Halfords Tour to end in Stoke-on-Trent with a TT in honour of Tommy Godwin
Stoke-on-Trent has been selected to host the final of this year's Halfords Tour on the 14th of June, the already-legendary urban race series that pits riders against one another on short, tight city circuits that allow fans - and, crucially, TV cameras - to see the peloton pass by several times, thus negating the age old "two hours of waiting for ten seconds of excitement" problem.

Equally legendary is Tommy Godwin, who was born in Stoke in 1912. Godwin's cycling achievements are remarkable - he won his first race, a 40km time trial, at the age of 14 on a heavy delivery bike he'd modified by hacksawing off the metal luggage racks. In 1939, he cycled 120,805km in 365 days. Almost seven-and-a-half decades later in the present day, that record remains unbroken. A time trial named in his honour will form part of the event, followed by the final of the Johnson HealthTech women's series won last year by Helen Wyman (who, as six-time National CX Champion, is also something of a legend).

Meersman and Van de Walle to miss La Doyenne
Lotto-Belisol's Gianni Meersman has been found to have an accumulation of fluid in his knee, an indication that the joint has been overworked and forcing the team to pull him from their  Liège-Bastogne-Liège selection. If he doesn't recover in time, he also won't be able to start the Tour de Romandie, which would leave him unprepared for the upcoming Giro d'Italia. Jurgen van de Walle, who badly bruised his ribs in a crash at La Flèche Wallonne, is also out for the time being; leaving Lotto's La Doyenne line-up looking at present to be Jurgen Van den Broeck, Jelle Vanendert, Dennis Vanendert, Gaëtan Bille, Brian Bulgaç, Bart De Clercq, Francis De Greef and Gert Dockx.

Cycling News says that at Katusha manager Hans-Michael Holczer told them in January that if the team were to be hit by two or three doping scandals it would be "time to walk away." With Denis Galimzyanov's recent confession, the magazine contacted Holczer to ask if he'd be leaving... (More from Cycling News)

"Neenan Travel and their Tour Operating Division today announced their sponsorship of Cycling Ireland’s Girls Talent Team 2020, the newly formed high performance squad which is ultimately aimed at preparing Irish female youth cyclists for the 2020 Olympic Games..." (Irish Cycling)

"Nicole Cooke's bid to stake a claim for leadership of the British cycling road race team at the London Olympics suffered a blow yesterday when she failed to finish the latest round of the women’s World Cup..." (Wales Online)

"A total of 120 cyclists comprising 20 teams including a Sabah team have confirmed to compete in Sabah's first international cycling road race, the Tour of Borneo 2012 to commence from April 27 to May 1..." (Daily Express of East Malaysia)

"The Coventry Sports Trust is to lay on more indoor cycling classes to cope with soaring demand..." (Coventry Telegraph)

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