Sunday 22 April 2012

Evening Cycle News

La Doyenne - Prijs Stad Roeselare - Bos wins Stage 1 in Turkey - A crack at the 'Shack? - Other Racing News - Politicians, businesses and cyclists united against Addison Lee

La Doyenne
Iglinsky takes the most unexpected
Classics win of the season so far
Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) took a superb victory in the final seconds at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, gaining the upper hand over Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) with a combination of sheer power and a cool head after a hard-fought battle up and over some of the steepest hills in the Ardennes.

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) looked to have the race in the bag when he attacked solo from 18.5km and suddenly developed supreme descending skills. A chase group formed but never quite managed to organise itself, leaving Astana's Maxim Iglinsky the only rider concentrating on the task in hand.

Iglinsky kept up the pressure, clawing his way up to the leader and getting to within 15" as they passed Liège stadium, Nibali looking quite surprised to see him there as they entered the last 3km - and then powered past him with a kilometre to go and never looked back, taking a 21" advantage and what must be the most unexpected victory of the 2012 Classics so far.

Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was unable to start after falling and breaking his collarbone while still in the neutralised zone. Five riders including Movistar's Alejandro Valverde were disqualified from the race after (apparently accidentally) following an official motobike off the parcours and along a short-cut intended to allow photographers to reach a vantage point some 32km from the end after the La Redoute descent. Doing so would have cut the total distance ridden by only 600m, but the rules are that every rider much complete the entire route. (Full report and results)

Van Vleuten Victory in Roeselare
Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabobank) won the Prijs Stad Roeselare - her first victory of the 2012 season and a very welcome return to form after the 29-year-old after she underwent surgery upon a narrowed artery in her leg. It was a tough race to win, too (and ride - Adrie Visser says she's suffering after a painful crash); especially in the last few moments when she faced Linda Villumsen (GreenEDGE), current World Road Race Champion Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora-PastaZara) and Christelle Ferrier-Breneau (Hitec Products-Mistral Home) and Rabo team mate Marianne Vos in the sprint.
Top 5  1.  Annemiek Van Vleuten Rabobank
  2.  Christelle Ferrier-Breneau Hitec Products-Mistral Home
  3.  Linda Villumsen GreenEDGE
  4.  Giorgia Bronzini Diadora-Pasta Zara
  5.  Marianne Vos Rabobank
(Full results and times when available)
More race videos from Velowijf

Bos takes Turkey stage
Rabobank's Theo Bos has won his second victory of the season after besting Matthew Goss (GreenEDGE) in Stage 1 at the Tour of Turkey. A big crash within 2km of the finish saw to it that no fewer than 191 men share his time of 3h5'55" while two stragglers, Canadians Guillaume Boivin and Keven Lacombe of Spidertech Powered By C10, were 6'33" down. (Full results here)

Cracks showing at RadioShack-Nissan
Andy Schleck, now with
RadioShack boss Johan Bruyneel announced last week that Kim Andersen - the directeur sportif who has worked with the Schleck brothers since the time they rode with Bjarne Riis' SaxoBank - would not be joining the team at the Tour de France this year. His reasons are mysterious; however, it's no secret that Bruyneel is not a man who takes kindly to anything or anyone he sees as a challenge to his authority. Could it be, therefore, that he believes Andersen has too much hold over the brothers, about whom Bruyneel built the 2012 team following the merger with Leopard Trek with the sole intention of propelling Andy to Tour victory?

Bruyneel doesn't want to talk about it: "I’m not going to go into any controversy, that’s my version and I’m not going to go into Andy said this or that. The decision has been made and the decision stays like it is," he told Cycling News. Andy, meanwhile, does want to talk about it and told the magazine that he wants Andersen to be there - a hint, perhaps, of clashes ahead; and as a General Classification contender Andy would be in a position to stand up to Bruyneel shuld he ever choose to do so, secure in the knowledge that other teams would offer options. Interestingly, he adds: "Even if he's not every day behind me in the car, he'll be in the race." Make of that what you will - in these days of mobile phones and the Internet, Bruyneel cannot cut his rider off completely from Andersen's influence.

Other News
"One of the oldest and most coveted national cycling races in India, the 153-km Mumbai-Pune cycle race is finally taking place on Sunday after being delayed five times since December 2011." (DNAIndia)

"The inaugural Tour of Borneo starts on Thursday with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) hoping the cycling bug would spread all over East Malaysia." (New Straits Times)

Politicians, businesses and cyclists united against Addison Lee
John Griffin, head man at Europe's largest private transport operator Addison Lee, caused a row last week when he used his company's in-house magazine Add Lib to declare that cyclists should be held responsible for their own misfortune if they're injured or killed by motorised vehicles because, he says, it's their own choice to ride in "some of the most congested spaces in the world...[on] a vehicle which offers them no protection except a padded plastic hat."

Unfortunately for Griffin, he seem to be one of those people who assumes that all cyclists are socially-inept loners who ride bikes because they can't afford cars - the discovery that many of them are socially proactive, very capable of turning their Macs to the task of whipping up mass protest against their enemies and very, very unimpressed at being told it's their own fault when some moron in a metal box steers right into them and shatters their legs has come as a bit of a surprise. An even bigger surprise is that cyclists have friends in high places - among them, some of those politicians he's been busily arse-licking to the tune of £250,000 in donations to the Tories over the last years. Boris Johnson, for example (to whom Griffo donated £25,000 back in 2008), London's current mayor and a cyclist of sorts himself - he relayed his disapproval via a Transport fr London spokesperson who said, "John Griffin’s actions are irresponsible and unacceptable, and Boris Johnson does not agree with his comments on cycling." And as for cyclists being unable to afford cars - well, that turns out to be a mistaken belief too, because rather a lot of people with the power to order the cancellation of business accounts have already closed their accounts with Addison Lee.

Griffin now claims that he said it to encourage debate and, ultimately, save cyclists' lives - funny how you never mentioned that in the article, Johnboy, only after you realised that you've made yourself sound like a bit of a scumbag. The message is loud and clear - do not piss off the cyclists.

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