Cycling News


Terpstra looks for Paris-Roubaix repeat in Boonens absence
April 11, 2015 (04:30) [ Indexed from ]
Call it the Wiggins effect, the Kristoff effect or a combination of the two, but Niki Terpstra has enjoyed a pleasantly low-key build-up to Paris-Roubaix for a defending champion, particularly given that neither one of the traditional favourites, Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen, is on hand this year. Alexander Kristoffs recent run of success has shades of Philippe Gilberts startling 2011 about it, in that he has seemingly forgotten how to lose, and despite an underwhelming track record at Paris-Roubaix, he has been anointed by many as the likely winner on Sunday afternoon. Terpstra, however, was very clearly the best of the rest behind Kristoff at the Tour of Flanders and has a significantly more convincing back catalogue on the pav. He is, after all, one of just two former Paris-Roubaix winners who will line up in Compiegne this weekend. Before meeting with the press in Nazareth on Friday afternoon, Terpstra renewed acquaintances with the pav during Etixx-QuickSteps last reconnaissance of the Paris-Roubaix finale.ADVERTISEMENT I havent watched last years race too much, the moment is still really fresh in my head," Terpstra said. "I felt really good performing recon today. It was nice to be back. I have good memories of course. It was good to get a feel for Sunday. It was good to feel the cobbles and get a good feeling for Sunday. Solving a problem like Kristoff has proved beyond the professional peloton for the past two weeks, and apart from stating the obvious " he needs to be distanced before the velodrome " Terpstra was coy about how exactly he and his teammates will go about doing it on Sunday. They will doubtless hope that the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix provide some answers of their own. You definitely cant beat him in a sprint. You have to get rid of him, Terpstra said. Of course there are other riders in the peloton who can win Paris-Roubaix but he is doing a great job. Everybody can see that. You can read more at More...
Video: Tom Boonen on why Paris-Roubaix is a slow killer
April 08, 2015 (04:15) [ Indexed from ]
Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) may not be able to try for a fifth victory in Paris-Roubaix, because of a shoulder injury caused by a crash last month in Paris-Nice, but Cyclingnews was able to get his impressions of the race and what it takes to win. Boonen describes Paris-Roubaix as a slow killer, a race that gradually saps all a rider's power until there's nothing left.The first part of the race is very nervous, with riders taking enormous risks to hold position, but after the Arenberg Forest, the cream rises to the top and the real tactics of the race play out. "On the cobblestone sections, you have all these guys trying to pass you for God knows why.They want to pass you and fight with you, and then 5km later they're dropped. You have to take these chances, sometimes it goes OK, sometimes it doesn't,"Boonen says of those nervous first 100km. "[After] the first big selection is made, you're more relaxed and can count more on your own strengths."ADVERTISEMENT Boonen is an expert, knowing how to read the race, attacking early or late, as the tactics deem necessary. Which successful strategy was his favourite?You'll have to watch to the end of the video below. Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel. You can read more at More...
The new Boonen is Norwegian: Belgium reacts to Kristoffs Tour of Flanders win
April 08, 2015 (04:15) [ Indexed from ]
Alexander Kristoffs Tour of Flanders triumph was the third in succession by a foreign rider, marking the longest drought for the home nation since Fiorenzo Magni completed his hat-trick of Ronde victories in 1951, leading to much wringing of hands in the Flemish newspapers when they appeared on Tuesday morning following the Easter break. This being Flanders, even in his absence, Tom Boonen cant help but make headlines. Het Nieuwsblads Ronde wrap led with a picture of Kristoff and the caption: The new Boonen is Norwegian. Het Laatste Nieuws, meanwhile, bemoaned a Tour of Flanders without lustre but applauded Kristoff as perhaps the main classics rider of the new generation, though there was concern that the Belgian famine is set to stretch to four years: If Boonen doesnt return quickly, well have a new, sad record next year.ADVERTISEMENT Normally, Etixx-QuickSteps failure to win the Tour of Flanders would be cause for a detailed inquest, but instead it was Sep Vanmarckes disappointing showing that garnered the most column inches. Widely tipped as the most likely local winner, Vanmarcke was surprisingly dropped on the Taaienberg and despite a forlorn chase, never got back into the race. Champagne on ice, but Vanmarcke doesnt even make the top 50, trumpeted Het Nieuwsblad, noting pointedly that it seems as if the strong Vanmarcke of the Omloop has disappeared. Het Laatste Nieuws, meanwhile, asked: What results did Vanmarcke actually have to earn his status [as a favourite]? Vanmarckes coach Luc Wante offered a mea culpa of sorts to the newspaper. We made a mistake. We tried to make him race less aggressively and that didnt suit him, said Wante, who also noted: Its the press that claims he is Boonens successor. You can read more at More...
Boonen definitely out for spring classics
April 04, 2015 (04:00) [ Indexed from ]
In the absence of spring classics specialist Tom Boonen the Etixx-QuickStep team from Patrick Lefevre will be riding in support of Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra at the Tour of Flanders. At the press conference in the Unilin flooring headquarters in Wielsbeke, Boonen played down the high expectations and ruled out his participation for the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix, aiming to come back instead at the Tour of Turkey in May. It was rumoured Boonen would start in Paris-Roubaix ever since a tweet from Omega Pharmas ceo Marc Coucke, who claimed there was still a one percent chance. A seemingly fit Tom Boonen joined the Etixx-QuickStep team on their reconnaissance ride on Wednesday.ADVERTISEMENT [Coucke] kept saying, 'Is there a one percent chance?' and I told him there was maybe 0.01 percent chance. At this time of the season everything is news, Boonen said. Last week I started playing with the idea that I might be able to be competitive in Paris-Roubaix if I could race in De Panne, the Ronde and the Scheldeprijs. I asked Ivan [team doctor Vanmol] and straight away he said 'no.' Im ahead of schedule and on Sunday I did a few accelerations. Then Stybi [Stybar] asked me to join in for the reconnaissance. Also Niki was texting me. I had to train anyway so I joined the boys. Riding my bike for three to four hours is no problem, longer is a problem. It hurts when I pull on the handlebars, when Im hopping on the sidewalks. Ill probably come back at the Tour of Turkey but thats not decided yet. I might build up to do [the Tour of] California or the Giro [dItalia], Boonen said. You can read more at More...
Van Avermaet confident he will be 100 percent for Tour of Flanders
April 04, 2015 (04:00) [ Indexed from ]
Lest there were any doubts, this is Tom Boonen country. On Friday afternoon, two days before the Tour of Flanders, an armada of television crews from Belgium and beyond descended upon Etixx-QuickSteps media gathering at a laminate flooring warehouse in Wielsbeke, where the injured Boonen shot down speculation that he might line out after all. Around the same time in a small conference at the Broel Hotel in Kortrijk, a rather more low-key ensemble listened to Greg Van Avermaet, a local rider who could very well triumph on Sunday, discuss his Ronde prospects in a voice so quiet that it scarcely reached the reporters sitting in the front row. Not that the BMC rider has avoided the spotlight entirely this season. On the morning of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, he found his picture splashed across the front page of the newspaper of the same name, as it emerged that he had been treated by Dr. Chris Mertens, a medic under investigation for allegedly providing ozone therapy to cyclists. Van Avermaet has been summoned to appear before a Belgian Cycling Federation committee to discuss the matter, but the hearing has been postponed until April 16, allowing him to focus, for now at least, on the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Its not the best situation for the classics, Van Avermaet said on Friday. It came out just before Het Nieuwsblad, right at the start of my most important period but I think Ive handled it as my results show. Its not the best but you cant change it, you have to go through it, and Im pretty confident it will all be ok at the end of it. Indeed, Van Avermaet showed few signs of distraction when he landed a stage victory in Arezzo during Tirreno-Adriatico, on the very day that his hearing had originally been scheduled. He then gave a further illustration of his form by leading Milan-San Remo over the Poggio a week later, though " with the bookmakers at least " his odds as a potential Tour of Flanders winner have lengthened slightly since his crash at E3 Harelbeke last Friday. Everybody told me it looked spectacular on television and it felt spectacular, but I was lucky, he said of the incident, where he injured his back and hip but reported no fractures. Even so, Van Avermaets back was in such pain ahead of Gent-Wevelgem that he had to walk sideways down the steps from the signing on podium in Deinze, but despite the extreme conditions on Sunday, the race does not appear to have hampered his recovery. I still feel a bit of pain in my back but I dont think its going to bother me. I couldnt recover in time for Gent-Wevelgem so I didnt take any risks there. Ive had a good week of training and I will be 100 percent on Sunday, he said. My hip is hurting a little bit, but more off the bike than on it.Absentees Van Avermaet has been among the most consistent classics riders since he began to devote himself specifically to the cobbles in 2012, though victory in the 2011 Paris-Tours aside, he has carved out a reputation for himself as the nearly-man of Flemish cycling. Twelve months ago, he took second place at the Tour of Flanders, after inventively looking to pre-empt Fabian Cancellaras move on the final time over the Oude Kwaremont by slipping away after the Taaienberg. With Cancellara and Boonen both missing through injury, however, the Tour of Flanders promises to be a very different and more open race in 2015, and it remains to be seen quite how Van Avermaet and BMC will cut their cloth this time around. It depends on how the race goes, Van Avermaet said of his approach. Last year I tried to open up the race and I showed that I can go from far out, but then I showed at Tirreno that Im a good sprinter too, I beat Sagan and Kristoff there, so I think Ill have to feel the race and see how its going. The spread of viable contenders is a wider one than it was a year ago, though Van Avermaet anticipates a host of familiar names battling it out on the final combination of the Kwaremont and Paterberg. He acknowledged that E3 Harelbeke winner Geraint Thomas (Sky) has performed most impressively in the build-up to the Ronde but identified Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) as the danger man. I think Sagan will be close. Maybe nobody is counting on him but I think he will be good on Sunday, Van Avermaet warned. He was slightly more circumspect on the prospects of his former BMC teammate Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), who dominated the Three Days of De Panne during the week. For sure hes one of the strongest guys, but he raced hard at De Panne so maybe it will be hard to be 100 percent for Sunday, Van Avermaet said. But if hes good, then hes a hard guy to beat, one of the fastest if theres a bunch sprint. Even without Boonen and Cancellara, and despite the seemingly longer list of contenders, Van Avermaet is of the opinion that the Tour of Flanders will run true to the template established since the switch to the Oudenaarde final three years ago: the last lap of the Kwaremont and Paterberg will be decisive. Everybody knows that the last time up the Kwaremont and Paterberg will be key. Its about having the legs there, he said. If you have the legs, then you have to go there and drop the faster guys.ADVERTISEMENT To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, please click here. You can read more at More...
Thomas not fazed by Tour of Flanders favourite tag
April 04, 2015 (04:00) [ Indexed from ]
Five years after they launched, Team Sky have finally come of age on the cobbles and are enjoying their best classics season to date. Ian Stannard kicked off their successful spring in early March, with a second consecutive victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, andGeraint Thomas ramped it up last week, triumphing at E3 Harelbeke and finishing on the podium in Wevelgem two days later. Thomas was Team Skys best finisher at the Tour of Flanders last season in eighth place " his best result at the Flemish monument. Following his blistering start on the cobbles, the Welshman has jumped up to second favourite for victory this weekend with the Belgian bookmakers behind Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo). Its the first time that Thomas and his team have enjoyed such a status at the race but he is taking it all in his stride. Saying you're one of the favourites and stuff, it is really nice. I'm kind of treating it like I did with any track race - we went into most of those races as favourites, Thomas said following his recon of the Tour of Flanders route. I'm just focusing on myself as an individual, and on the team and how we want to race. Obviously a Classic has a hundred more variables than a team pursuit on the track, but I can't control most of it. We just have to do what we can. This year marks the first time in more than a decade that neither Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) nor Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) will ride the race. Between them, they have dominated the cobbled Classics " winning six of the past 10 editions of Flanders. With them out of contention, Thomas admits that the whole dynamic of the race has changed. I think all the other riders feel like they can win it, he said. It will make it more of an open race. I think it will be more tactical; there will be guys flying off up the road all the time. There will be that whole thing 'who will ride?' I think it will be a big chess game on wheels whereas in the past it was maybe 'last time up the Kwaremont Fabian would go and it was a case of who could gowith him; who had the legs. While this weekend could be the making of Thomas and his position as a leader within the team " if he hasnt already done that this season " it will mark the beginning of the end for his teammate Bradley Wiggins. The pair have ridden together since the teams inception in 2010, with Thomas more often than not playing the supporting role. Wiggins is due to take joint leadership for his final race, Paris-Roubaix, but will play super domestique for Thomas this Sunday. The 34-year-old Wiggins, who won the final time trial at the Three Days of De Panne on Thursday, has just three more races of his WorldTour road career left. However, with big goals to think about, Thomas hasnt been dwelling on that and says he will attack the coming races in much the same way as he has in the past. It's been exactly the same. It hasn't felt any different. I actually forget. It's not like he's going to die, he'll still be around, Thomas laughed. Sentimental stuff doesn't really come into it. Maybe when you retire and you look back and you were part of Brad's last race or whatever, but at the moment I haven't really thought about it at all.A new era For Team Sky, as the older riders think about the next move in their careers, it seems that many of their younger stars " especially their Brit pack " have made a big step forwards. Thomas and Stannard are two that have enjoyed the limelight in recent months, while new signing Andy Fenn has flourished in his new surroundings. I think its been a long time coming I think were really coming of age as a team, said Luke Rowe, another of the teams success stories. Quickstep and these strong super teams who have conquered the classics for years, it all became realistic that we can beat them and I think confidence is massive going into these classics and I think were just riding a wave at the moment and weve got to keep it rolling for another couple of weeks in terms of the classics. Rowe joined Team Sky in 2012 and has been playing a similar role to Thomas during that time. Like his fellow Welshman, Rowe has taken another big step forward in his development and the team are looking to him more and more to produce the goods. He hopes that he can play a crucial role in the latter stages of the race but says that he isnt thinking of his own chances. Weve got different guys for certain parts of the race and my aim is to support the team but toward the back end of the race, so to get through that first fight and dont be one of the first guys to be used up and hopefully be there when there are 30-50 guys and it really comes to the crunch time, said Rowe. G is in incredible form and hes going to be the leader come this Sunday so Ill do everything I can, bury myself for him." There is a chance to go under the radar and do something but as long as G is in the race, Ive got no intention of flicking him like that. Thats more of a Belgian thing to do I think. Ill stay by his side and be loyal.ADVERTISEMENT Watch the Cyclingnews Tour of Flanders top ten riders to watch video to see the big favourites for this year's race. To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, please click here. You can read more at More...
Paolini expects strange Tour of Flanders with Boonen, Cancellara absent
April 02, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from ]
There was little precious time for Luca Paolini (Katusha) to savour his victory in Sundays storm-lashed Gent-Wevelgem. Less than 48 hours after slipping away from Geraint Thomas, Niki Terpsta et al in the finale, the veteran Italian found himself pinning on a dossard on the North Sea coast, back in action at the Three Days of De Panne. Such is life during Belgian cyclings Holy Week: race, rinse, repeat. "I was quite tired afterwards and the first day of De Panne was a tough day too because of the wind," Paolini admitted to Cyclingnews when he lined up for the start of stage 2 in Zottegem on Wednesday morning. "Ill do todays stage as well but then I think Ill pull out and rest up for a few days ahead of Flanders." Paolini will certainly not be alone in bidding farewell to the Three Days of De Panne on Wednesday evening " the final days split stage traditionally provokes an exodus of riders " but his withdrawal is perhaps less surprising than most, as his has been a notably full schedule to date.ADVERTISEMENT Only one other rider " his close friend Filippo Pozzato " arrived at the spring classics with more days of racing in his legs since the start of the season. Paolini amassed base miles in January and February in Argentina and the Middle East, going so far as to train alone in the mornings before stages of the Tour de San Luis, and his own two days of De Panne is an exercise in maintaining race sharpness ahead of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. "I did all the endurance work I need between January and mid-February. Since then Ive done more specific work at home, and I came up here to Belgium feeling very good, and very pleased with how Ive worked up to this point," he said. Twelve months ago, Paolini and his Katusha stable-mate Alexander Kristoff arrived as outsiders for the Tour of Flanders, with the Italian noting beforehand that they would have to be inventive in order to gate-crash the podium. A year on, the lie of the land is rather different. You can read more at More...
Lefevere: Boonen riding Paris-Roubaix would take a miracle
April 02, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from ]
Tom Boonen went training with his Etixx-QuickStep teammates on Wednesday as they studied the finale of the Tour of Flanders route but team manager Patrick Lefevere has played down speculation that Boonen could line up for Paris-Roubaix, telling Cyclingnews that it would take a miracle for the multiple Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner to be at the start. Boonen crashed out of Paris-Nice last month, suffering a dislocated shoulder that needed surgery. It seemed to put end to his spring Classics campaign. However a tweet by team sponsor Marc Coucke on Monday night saying there was a 1% chance Boonen could still ride Paris-Roubaix sparked reports that the rider could make a shock return in time for the French Classic. However Lefevere insisted to Cyclingnews that Boonen had yet to fully recover from his injuries.ADVERTISEMENT Ive been to Lourdes three times and Ive still not seen a miracle. It would take a miracle for Tom to do the Tour of Flanders and for Roubaix I think that the chances are zero, Lefevere told Cyclingnews at the start of stage two of the Tour of De Panne. Often when you go out on the bike for the first time you feel well and maybe in one moment he thought that Roubaix was possible but the next day he did some real training and he immediately came back with his feet on the ground. Boonen took part in the reconnaissance ride with his Etixx QuickStep teammates to assess how his recovery is progressing, leaving just enough room for speculation over Roubaix to remain until next week. You can read more at More...
Video: Boonen on what makes the Tour of Flanders so special
April 02, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from ]
Tom Boonen has ridden the Tour of Flanders 13 times for a return of three wins and a second place. The Etixx-Quick Step rider has been a regular animator at the cobbled monument winning the race in 2005, in 2006 as the world champion and again in 2013.Boonen won't be racing the 2015 edition of the race with his injuries from a crash at Paris-Nice ruling him out of Flanders althoughMarc Coucke, the owner of the Etixx company, revealed that Boonen has given himself a 1% chance of starting Paris-Rouabix on Sunday week. Cyclingnews spoke to Boonen at the team's media day earlier in the season about what makes Flanders so special for the Belgian who has never finished lower than 25th at the race. "It all takes part in this mythical place, small climbs, cobblestones," Boonen responded. "The people really get into it. There is like 1.5-2 million people watching the race on site so it's a special, special race. For the riders its a lot of chaos, a lot of catastrophe, crashes and trying to get to in one piece to the final and just hope you have enough juice left to finish off the race.ADVERTISEMENT The pre-race atmosphere of Flanders on the start line in Brugesis always a special occasion, particularly as it falls on Easter Sunday, although for the riders its also a time to remain calm and focused as Boonen explained. "You're trying to focus and trying not see it, to stay in that cool you're in," he said of the atmosphere at the sign on. "It's almost impossible to do that. As soon as you start from the bus and on youre bike its ok. Getting away from the bus is always hard with so many people pushing you and wishing you the best, but once you get away with the road to the sign in area, its ok and you can enjoy it a little bit." Asked what his memories are of his first experience at the race, Boonen's face lit up, explaining that"it was 2002 and at that point when youre young you can still ride to the podium and no one knows you. Its a big difference. I can still remember nearly every kilometre and all the action I did and the end when I got 24. It was an unbelievable experience to finish that race." You can read more at More...
Video: I have no pressure, says Sagan
April 02, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from ]
Peter Sagan's first spring campaign with Tinkoff-Saxo could have gotten off to a better start. The Slovakian's legs as good as abandoned him at E3 Harelbeke and he wasn't able to pick things up two days later at Gent-Wevelgem. There's still time for him to redeem himself, however: the Tour of Flanders this Sunday and Paris-Roubaix a week later are two more chances for Sagan take his first monument victory. With Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) out through injury, the opportunity for victory " should he find his legs " has never been more present. Since he burst onto the world stage in 2010, there has always be plenty of expectation on his young shoulders. However, when he sat down with Cyclingnews ahead of Milan-San Remo, he says that he doesnt feel the pressure. "Pressure, no because when things are going well it is good. We will have to start the classics to see how it is going, for sure I change all things; the bike, teammates, people around me, everything is different but I feel good," Sagan told Cyclingnews. "Why pressure, I think the riding on the bike is not pressure its because I want to ride. So how do I have pressure?"ADVERTISEMENT Watch the full interview below and click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel You can read more at More...
News Shorts: Boonen could ride Paris-Roubaix, FDJ and LottoNL looking for first win of 2015
April 01, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from ]
Tom Boonen could ride Paris-Roubaix Tom Boonen has apparently revealed that he will take part in the Etixx-Quickstep teams reconnaissance of the Paris-Roubaix route next week and has even given himself a 1% chance of starting the race. Marc Coucke, the owner of the Etixx company, revealed the news in a tweet during a party to celebrate a merger between Etixx and the American company Perrigo. However the Etixx-QuickStep team are yet to confirm the news.ADVERTISEMENT Boonen was forced to miss all the spring Classics after injuring his shoulder during Paris-Nice. He underwent surgery on March 11 and was expected to need between six and eight weeks to make a full recovery. However, he has reportedly be doing training rides of up to four hours and could perhaps explain the secrets of the Paris-Roubaix route to his Etixx-QuickStep teammates during the route reconnaissance and the race. Boonen has won Paris-Roubaix four times. Breaking news on party #OmegaPerrigo: train flat out stated @tomboonen1, 1% chance he #ParisRoubaix gets! Marc Coucke tweeted from the Etixx party, posting a photo of himself and Boonen together. So @tomboonen1 stated on #OmegaPerrigo party: I do definitely take a exploration #ParisRoubaix, decide later about participation #hopespringseternal FDJ and LottoNL-Jumbo still looking for first win of 2015 season You can read more at More...
Cancellara and Boonen must focus on Richmond Worlds, says Museeuw
March 30, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from ]
Before the injured Fabian Cancellara departed Belgium on Saturday afternoon, his classics campaign over before it had truly begun, Johan Museeuw made a point of visiting the Weinebrugge Hotel to offer his sympathy. Cancellaras crash at E3 Harelbeke left him with two fractured vertebrae and denies him the chance to set an outright record of four Tour of Flanders victories next Sunday. His plight is not an altogether unfamiliar one for his fellow three-time winner Museeuw, who risked losing his career " and his leg " when he fractured his kneecap in a fall in the Arenberg forest at the 1998 Paris-Roubaix. Although Cancellara has already intimated that he is likely to bring the curtain down on his career at the end of 2016, when his current contract with Trek Factory Racing expires, Museeuw told the Swiss rider during their meeting that he could come back and compete at the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix for another three years. What age are you? 34? You can do it, he said.ADVERTISEMENT I know what it feels like, Museeuw told Cyclingnews a short time later. Hes not young anymore so he can put it in perspective and realise that there are more things in life than cycling, but its still such a big part of your life: you prepare, you do everything, you suffer a lot and then one week before the Tour of Flanders, its over. What can you do? You can say nothing about it, you can think just about next year: thats it. The classics are over. Its the same for Tom Boonen [who broke his collarbone at Paris-Nice " ed.] The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix come within one week, and you just hope you dont get sick or you dont have a crash. It can happen in your career and its a shame that its near the end, but the lucky thing is that they have both already won three Tours of Flanders. One consolation for Cancellara and Boonen, Museeuw pointed out, is that the World Championships road race in Richmond, with its cobbled section in Libby Hill Park, offers a chance to salvage something of substance from a truncated season. You can read more at More...
Vanmarcke approaches Tour of Flanders on tiptoes
March 28, 2015 (02:30) [ Indexed from ]
Sep Vanmarcke (Lotto NL-Jumbo) is one of the riders who has shown he is ready to take over the torch from injured Classics specialists Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep). Bad luck has held back the 26-year-old Belgian rider as of late, but on a given day he seems capable of blasting away the opposition. In the E3 Harelbeke on Friday afternoon he rode the final four climbs with a damaged shoe cleat, missing the decisive breakaway but finishing fifth. Briefly on tiptoe during a shoe switch, Vanmarcke fought back in style and salvaged a fifth place in the sprint. Last year Vanmarcke punctured twice and won the sprint behind the four leaders, also finishing fifth.ADVERTISEMENT Im not more frustrated than last year, vanmarcke said after E3 Harelbeke. Last year I punctured just ahead of the Paterberg and now I damage my shoe cleat on the Paterberg. For some reason it always goes wrong in Harelbeke. I got the most out of it after my bad luck. It just doesnt stop. After the race he sat in the Sporza studio for a post-race analysis. Eventually he talked shortly at the team bus, which was ready to go. When asked by the Focus-WTV journalist whether the third place in the sprint provided him with confidence, Vanmarcke reacted annoyed. Yes, but youre always talking about confidence, he said. Im confident but I keep having bad luck. Im confident. You can read more at More...
News shorts: Boonen on the (slow) road to recovery
March 26, 2015 (02:30) [ Indexed from ]
Boonen on the (slow) road to recovery Tom Boonen continues his recovery from a dislocated shoulder but Etixx-QuickStep have not put a timeframe on his possible racing return. The Belgian picked up the injury in a fall at Paris-Nice earlier in the month and will miss the spring classics as a result. "Toms recovery is painful. I spoke with him just before Milan-San Remo and he still cant sleep on that shoulder and his elbow still help, team manager Patrick Lefevere told Cyclingnews.ADVERTISEMENT He can ride a bike but theres a big difference between biking and training. When the pain goes he can start training but everything depends on the pain. MTN-Qhubeka 'misfire' in Dwars door Vlaanderen You can read more at More...
Cavendish, Kwiatowski and Terpstra give Etixx-QuickStep options at Dwars door Vlaanderen
March 25, 2015 (02:30) [ Indexed from ]
E3 Harelbekes elevation to WorldTour status and its shift to a Friday slot in 2012 has had an undoubted impact on the depth of the field at Dwars door Vlaanderen in recent years, but the presence of so many of Etixx-QuickSteps galacticos guarantees a certain quotient of star quality on the start line in Roeselares Grot Markt on Wednesday morning. Tom Boonen, of course, has been ruled out of the entire classics campaign due to injury, though he was never likely to take part on Wednesday in any case " the Belgian has not lined up at Dwars door Vlaanderen since 2011, expressly to spare himself for WorldTour duty at the weekend. His absence will be keenly felt come the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, but on the 200-kilometre trek to Waregem on Wednesday, Etixx-QuickStep have a surfeit of potential winners. Leading the line are world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra and Mark Cavendish, who is fine-tuning ahead of Gent-Wevelgem at the weekend.ADVERTISEMENT Dwars door Vlaanderen will be Kwiatkowskis sole outing on the cobbles this spring " it would have been unthinkable for a QuickStep-sponsored rider not to race at least once in the rainbow jersey in Flanders " but while the Ardennes Classics are his primary target, the Poles is unlikely to be a mere token appearance. Kwiatkowski already highlighted his condition by finishing second overall at Paris-Nice, though it remains to be seen what impact his crash in the finale of Milan-San Remo has on his performance here. He needed a couple of days to get over it but tomorrow is his next race so well wait and see, eh, Etixx-QuickStep directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters told Cyclingnews in Roeselare on Tuesday. Cavendish, too, suffered misfortune at La Classicissima, when he dropped his chain near the top of the Cipressa, just as he had done in the bunch sprint at Cascina during Tirreno-Adriatico. Although he managed to catch up on the descent, he paid for the effort on the Poggio and was jettisoned out the back. You can read more at More...
Stybar and Kwiatkowski provide Etixx-QuickStep with options at Milan-San Remo
March 22, 2015 (02:15) [ Indexed from ]
Etixx-QuickStep have an enviable list of options for the first Monument of the year. Despite losing the talismanic Tom Boonen, they still head into Sundays Milan-San Remo with former winner Mark Cavendish, world champion Michal Kwiatkowskiand recent Strade Bianche winner Zdenek Stybar. Few other teams can match them in terms of options aside from perhaps BMC with Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet to choose between. With a string of top talent on their roster its rare that Etixx-QuickStep enter a race without a plan B but it doesnt always work out. At last years Tour of Flanders they went in with three leaders but failed to make the podium, however, a week later they reversed their fortunes as Niki Terpstra stormed away to win Paris-Roubaix.ADVERTISEMENT So what it is this year? Is it a case of too many cook spoil the broth or can they use it to their advantage? We are with three and I think that we can deal with that, Stybar told Cyclingnews on the eve of Milan-San Remo. None of us are such an individual that he doesnt want to win himself. Everyone wants to win themselves, but we have such a good relationship that I will be just as happy if Mark or Kwiatko wins. I think that we can deal with that. For both Stybar and Kwiatkowski it will be their third appearance at the Italian race, with the former scoring his best result of seventh at last years edition. Kwiatkowski, however, has yet to finish La Primavera, blaming the abandons on a hectic early season schedule in 2013 and 2014. Theyve made some changes to his programme this season, giving the world champion a much more gradual build-up to the spring. After a strong performance at Paris-Nice, which saw him take second in the overall classification behind Richie Porte, he travelled to Italy to reconnoitre the final kilometres over the Cipressa, the Poggio and into San Remo. It was a much less stressful approach to the race and allowed him to see the stretches of road hed never reached during his previous two attempts at the race - and now he can plan what he might do on Sunday. I didnt feel tired after Paris-Nice. We did the recon on the Monday and I really enjoyed that time, said Kwiatkowski. The most important moment is on the top of the Poggio to be in the front, because if you have one rider who hasnt got the best skills in the descent then you can lose the race there. Ive just watched Milan-San Remo on the television. I couldnt feel it on my skin before how the race looks like because I just raced 140km in the peloton and then I stopped in the first or second feed zone Because I saw the Capi, the Cipressa and the Poggio I can dream and think about the finale more now than when Id never seen the Poggio or the Cipressa. That was really useful for me. Milan-San Remo will be Kwiatkowskis first major classic since winning the rainbow jersey six months ago. His attack just before the final climb of the World Championship road race caught the peloton on the hop, allowing him to establish a crucial advantage over the group. A similar attack ahead of the Poggio could see him make a repeat performance but with the rainbow stripes on his back is it possible to get the jump on the peloton in the same way? Its possible on the descent of the Poggio to surprise but not really a chance to chase someone back. Its just your skills that matter and your position before the descent that matters. I think there is no difference whether you have rainbow stripes or not, said Kwiatkowski. I think nobody could follow my attack in Ponferrada. I never try to move in the race when it is a surprising moment, I try to move when it is the moment to attack. Stybar is also more than capable of riding off the front in a breakaway and, if it was to come to a small bunch sprint, then his turn of speed makes him a likely candidate for victory. The Czech road champion played his tactical cards close to his chest but said that hes ready for whatever comes his way. I think I have a lot of options. There is the final that everyone knows and I think if a group goes on whatever climb I can follow, explained Stybar. Honestly I feel pretty good. I think the shape is fine, since the opening weekend in Belgium even since the first races I have felt good and now I am improving and I hope that the shape will stay. For tomorrow, I just look forward to the race because its a monument and its a really nice race. I just hope that it wont be the same weather as it was last year and two years ago. You can read more at More...
Video: Stybar on his Classics ambitions and Strade Bianche win
March 21, 2015 (02:15) [ Indexed from ]
Zdenek Stybar has made himself another important facet of the Etixx-Quick Step Classics ambitions, thanks to his Strade Bianche victory this year, in addition to his high finishes in Paris-Roubaix in the past two years. The Czech champion reveals that he almost lost the replacement teeth that he wears - because of a face-first crash into the barriers in the Eneco Tour - before the Strade Bianche when his fixture came loose, and he had to scramble to find a dentist to fix it up. It's a good thing his smile was perfected, because he would be showing it frequently to the world as he stood atop the podium after putting in a brilliant ride to win Strade Bianche ahead of Greg Van Avermaet and Alejandro Valverde.ADVERTISEMENT After Sunday's Milan-San Remo, Stybar's next goals will be the cobbled classics, where he will be an important asset alongside NikiTerpstra and StijnVandenbergh, especially in light of the injury ofTom Boonen, which will keep him from the Classics. Subscribe to the CyclingnewsYoutube channel today! You can read more at More...
News shorts: Successful surgery for Boonen
March 12, 2015 (20:45) [ Indexed from ]
Surgery a success for Boonen Having crashed out of Paris-Nice Tom Boonen has undergone a successful surgery in Herentals, Belgium, according to a statement by his Etixx-Quick Step team. "The joint is stable and the surgery went well," doctor Yvan Van Mol said in a statement from the team. "It's too early to state a precise time of recovery, which will depend on the evolution of the healing process. Tom will return home, and as soon as possible start the rehabilitation necessary to improve the range of motion of the left shoulder."ADVERTISEMENT Boonen's crash occurred when he was returning to the peloton having dropped off a rain jacket to the team car and touched wheels with a rider in front of him, causing him to crash and fall on his left-side, incurring the injuries. The three-time Tour of Flanders and four-time Paris-Roubiax champion will miss the entire classics campaign due to the injury. Cancellara disappointed by Tirreno-Adriatico time trial You can read more at More...
Video: Sagan targets Milan-San Remo, Flanders and Roubaix
March 12, 2015 (20:45) [ Indexed from ]
Before the hostilities started Wednesday at Tirreno-Adriatico, Tinkoff-Saxo's Peter Sagan spoke with Cyclingnews about his season so far, his targets for the Classics and what the absence of Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) will mean for the spring races. Sagan is still waiting for his first win with Tinkoff-Saxo, although he was second twice at the Tour of Qatar and has nine top-10 finishes this season. He had a difficult day at Strade Bianche, where he initiated an attack but was eventually dropped from the lead group and finished 31st. The 25-year-old Slovakian champion bounced back with a ninth-place finish in the Tirreno-Adriatico prologue, coming in six seconds behind winner Adriano Malori (Movistar).ADVERTISEMENT Click hereto subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel. You can read more at More...
Boonen's injury not the end of his career, says Peeters
March 10, 2015 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The Etixx-Quickstep team announced today that Tom Boonen, in addition to suffering a grade 3 dislocation of his shoulder, has also fractured his left elbow as a result of a crash on stage 1 of Paris-Nice on Monday, but the team denied that the injury could lead to a premature end to Boonen's career. The non-displaced elbow fracture was discovered after Boonen was feeling pain in his arm overnight.Examinations in the clinic of Herentals this morning by Doctor Joris Van Roy and Doctor Toon Claes revealed a non-displaced fracture to head of the radius. While Boonen will have surgery by Doctor Claes for his shoulder tomorrow, the elbow will only be treated with a cast.ADVERTISEMENT "Im really disappointed, for the third time in a row something unfortunate happened that affected the Classics," Boonen said. "Every time because of different circumstances. It was a stupid crash with big consequences at Paris-Nice yesterday. We were with four teammates in the back and had just brought our jackets to the car, and as others in the peloton were doing, we took a nature break for the last time before heading back to the front. That was the plan for us. The stage was very easy, long roads, and nobody was nervous. But all of a sudden there was a hold up. I had to do a brake maneuver, but while braking you cannot steer yas you normally do. I touched my teammate Nikolas Maes' wheel and crashed. In two seconds I realized that my Classics season was over. I imagined it differently and I was ready for the Classics. But I can't change what happened and it is something I need to accept." Team director Wilfried Peeters denied that the injury could bring Boonen's career to an end, but said it would have a big impact on the team for the Classics. "Riding the Classics with or without Boonen is a big difference," Peeters told Sporza. "You can't replace Boonen. It would be like Trek riding without Cancellara in the Tour of Flanders. You can read more at More...

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