Cycling News


Tour de France: Froome hails 'huge advantage' over Nibali and Quintana after crosswinds
July 06, 2015 (14:15) [ Indexed from ]
Stage 2 of the Tour de France from Utrecht to Zelande could not have panned out much better for Chris Froome (Team Sky), with the former winner putting time into every single one of his main pre-race rivals during a gripping and tense battle through Dutch crosswinds. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) conceded four seconds after a late split but Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) " both victims in the crosswinds " lost 1:28 to the British rider on a day in which their overall aspirations took a damaging blow. Podium contender Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) also lost a handful of seconds to Froome, and what's more, Team Sky succeeded thanks to the work of others, with Etixx-QuickStep, BMC Racing and Tinkoff-Saxo the main protagonists in splitting the bunch. After today's pulsating action, Froome sits 10th overall, 48 seconds down on new race leader Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing). Van Garderen may be in 8th at 44 seconds, but Contador is now 12 seconds down on Froome, while Nibali is at 2:09 and Quintana at 2:27.ADVERTISEMENT "This is a huge advantage for us now, sitting in this position after one flat day out on the road, that's fantastic. But this is a three-week race and as we've seen, things do change on a daily basis. We're ahead today, but who knows what's in store for us for the rest of the week?" Froome told the media after his warm-down. "I'm really thankful to my teammates for keeping me in front all day, especially when it really mattered when that split happened." The pre-stage predictions of bad weather were proved right with driving rain and a blustery wind whipping in from the North Sea. The conditions created havoc, with Tinkoff the first team to attempt a split with just over 103km of racing remaining. That was just a warning and after the peloton regrouped and the heavens opened, Etixx-QuickStep split the bunch with an acceleration that had Quintana and his Movistar team in disarray. Nibali was the next to fold, losing ground on the lead group after Adam Hansen crashed near him. "We were hoping that the storm was going to hold off after the finish," Froome said. "But that wasn't to be today, and I'm just glad it worked out the way it did and I had the support from my teammates when I really needed it. And being in the final split with Geraint and Yogi [ed. Stannard], they did a great job keeping me up there." "One second Nibali was right next to me, I couldn't believe he was distanced. That's the nature of the racing here in Holland." Nibali and his teammates rallied and initially had the group of Froome, Contador, and van Garderen at 51 seconds, but despite the conditions easing in the final 25km the damage had already been done. Nibali's group merged with Quintana's and they eventually trailed in 1:28 behind stage winner Andre Greipel, and with Froome in 7th place. Contador finished in a group with van Garderen at four seconds. "Two days down now and I couldn't have hoped for much more at this stage," Froome added. "It was only a good few kilometers after the split happened that we actually found out that it was a smaller group and so many of the GC guys had been distanced already. It was chaos out there for a few minutes with the storms, the winds. It was a nasty old stage." You can read more at More...
TOUR DE FRANCE WATCH: A good bonus for Cancellara (The Associated Press)
July 05, 2015 (20:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Since 2008 there had been no time bonus awarded at the Tour de France stage finishes. After failing in his bid to win the Tour's opening stage for a record sixth time on the streets of Utrecht, Cancellara sprinted to a third-place finish at the end of Sunday's rain-soaked second stage of the Tour. ''To finish third here against the three best sprinters in the world is a big achievement,'' said Cancellara, who ended the chaotic stage on the shores of the North Sea behind Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan. More...
Froome and Contador back in control on Tour (Reuters)
July 05, 2015 (20:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot ZEELAND, Netherlands (Reuters) - One year after crashing out of the race, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador were back in control of the Tour de France, hurting their main rivals in a hectic second stage won by German Andre Greipel on Sunday. Crosswinds and crashes caused several splits as the peloton made its way through heavy rain on a 166-kilometre ride from Utrecht, with Froome and Contador ending up in a small leading group that also included American Tejay van Garderen as they finished one minute 28 seconds ahead of the main pack. In that pack was defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Colombian Nairo Quintana and Frances Thibaut Pinot, who could only limit the damage after being trapped behind on a stage that went along the North Sea. More...
Contador and Froome in control after hectic stage 2 (Reuters)
July 05, 2015 (18:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot ZEELAND, Netherlands (Reuters) " - One year after crashing out of the race, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador were back in control of the Tour de France, hurting their main rivals in a hectic second stage won by German Andre Greipel on Sunday. Crosswinds and crashes caused several splits as the peloton made its way through heavy rain on a 166-kilometre ride from Utrecht, with Froome and Contador ending up in a small leading group that also included American Tejay van Garderen as they finished one minute 27 seconds ahead of the main pack. In that pack was defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Colombian Nairo Quintana and Frances Thibaut Pinot, who could only limit the damage after being trapped behind. More...
Cycling-Greipel wins Tour second stage, Cancellara grabs yellow (Reuters)
July 05, 2015 (17:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
ZEELAND, Netherlands, July 5 (Reuters) - German Andre Greipel won the second stage of the Tour de France, a 166-kilometre ride from Utrecht on Sunday. Slovakian Peter Sagan was second and Swiss Fabian Cancellara finished third to claim the overall leader's yellow jersey. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Mark Meadows;; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; More...
Tour de France: Nibali, Teklehaimanot bookend time trial start list
July 04, 2015 (10:46) [ Indexed from ]
After two years of starting with a road stage, the Tour de France has reverted to tradition and starts with the riders going off against the clock. Stage 1, at 13.8 kilometres, is long enough to be considered a time trial rather than a prologue and happens to be the fourth-longest time trial ever to start the Tour. Three of the 'big four' general classification favourites will have the advantage of knowing the others time as Nairo Quintana (Movistar) sets out at 15:00 local time " over two hours ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Chris Froome (Team Sky). Nibali, as last years overall winner, is the final rider to roll off the start ramp at 17:17 and will be out on the road with Contador (17:13) and Froome (17:14). At 13.8 kilometres, the course is long test for the prologue specialists, but short for the out-and-out time triallists.Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) falls into the latter camp and goes off 165th at 16:44, while Fabian Cancellara (Trek), who has five opening-day Tour chrono victories to his name, follows at 17:03.ADVERTISEMENT The man everyone is tipping for victory is Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). The Dutch rider is in fine form having won both time trials at the recent Tour de Suisse and will be off the ramp at 16:25. Eritrean time trial champion Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) is the man who will kick things off at 14:00. There are one-minute intervals throughout and you can see the full list and timings below. You can read more at More...
Cancellara, Mollema will lead Trek at Tour de France
June 24, 2015 (13:30) [ Indexed from ]
Trek Factory Racing today announced its Tour de France roster, using individual Tweets from pre-selected fans to reveal the nine-rider team on social media. Fabian Cancellara will lead the pinstriped US-based team into the Grand Depart July 4 in Utrecht, where he will likely try and take the prologue win and first yellow jersey of the race. The Swiss rider has led the Tour de France five different times thanks to his strength in the prologues or opening time trials (2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012) for a total of 28 days in the maillot jaune. Cancellara will forgo the time trial at this weeks Swiss national championships to focus instead on the road race and the Tour.ADVERTISEMENT Bauke Mollema will carry the bulk of the teams general classification hopes. The 28-year-old Dutch rider, who was sixth in the 2013 Tour de France and 10th overall last year, finished second overall earlier this year at Tirenno-Adriatico. The team announced earlier Tuesday that Frank Schleck will miss the Tour because of knee injury, but Mollema can look for help in the hills from Julian Arredondo, Markel Irizar and veteran Haimar Zubeldia. Cancellara, Stijn Devolder, Laurent Didier, Bob Jungels and Gregory Rast will provide power for the team time trial and the transition stages while also hunting stage wins. The 2015 Tour will be the first for 22-year-old Jungels and 26-year-old Arredondo. You can read more at More...
Cancellara ready to suffer at the Tour de Suisse as he returns from fractured vertebra
June 17, 2015 (03:15) [ Indexed from ]
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) is in action at the Tour de Suisse and his national tour ends with a time trial in his hometown of Bern. However, the self-proclaimed Spartacus of cycling is focused on recovery and finding fitness rather than results, after fracturing a vertebra in a crash during the E3 Harelbeke race late in March. Cancellara missed the cobbled Classics and only returned to racing late last month at the Tour des Fjords in Norway. With the Tour de France looming large on the horizon, Cancellara is happy to be back racing despite a virus hurting his training just before the Tour de Suisse. At 34, he can also feel that the clock is ticking on his career and has no intention of racing for years to come. "At first I was just happy to ride my bike again but after youve trained, trained and trained, you need to race," Cancellara said in an interview with Swiss television channel RSI. "Thats why I decided to race in Norway. Racing gave me those good feeling and quality work that you dont get in training or even when motor pacing. Things like the first hour of a race, when the break is trying to go away and youre trying to control the attacks, you cant recreate those efforts in training.ADVERTISEMENT "Its not the season Id hoped for because, after missing the Classics, theres a big hole. Im riding the Tour de Suisse with conviction but I got ill before the race and that cut into my training and was a mental blow too. Ive had to take antibiotics and so everything changed. As a result, Im going to take whatever comes and well see what happens." A roller coaster ride in recent years Cancellara has had a rollercoaster ride in recent years. He has been a dominated presence in the Classics for almost a decade but crashed out of the Tour of Flanders in 2012 and missed Paris-Roubaix. In 2013 he returned to win both monument Classics and won a third Tour of Flanders in 2014. He was hopeful of adding more monuments to his palmars this season but his crash in E3 Harelbeke has cost him dearly, and he is now chasing his form in time for the Tour de France in the middle of his 16th season as a professional. You can read more at More...
inCycle video: Behind the scenes at the Tour des Fjords
June 16, 2015 (03:00) [ Indexed from ]
While most eyes were on the Giro d'Italia last month, the Tour des Fjords took place with a host of WorldTour stars taking to the start line, including Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)and home favourite Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha). In just its third year the 2.1 UCI ranked race is able to attract some of the peloton's best riders and enjoys some of the best scenery Norway has to offer. This year Kristoff won three straight stages, while his teammate Marco Haller claimed the overall title.ADVERTISEMENT inCycle went to the race last month and interviewed Cancellara, the race organiser and Kristoffs young teammmate Sven Erik Bystrm, who raced through his home town during the race. You can now watch the video and find out why the Tour des Fjords is quickly establishing itself as one of Europe's most prestigious races. Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel. You can read more at More...
Dumoulin edges Cancellara for Tour de Suisse prologue win (The Associated Press)
June 14, 2015 (15:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
RISCH-ROTKREUZ, Switzerland (AP) -- Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands edged former Olympic and world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara for victory in the Tour de Suisse prologue stage on Saturday. More...
Dumoulin edges Cancellara for Tour de Suisse prologue win
June 13, 2015 (19:30) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
RISCH-ROTKREUZ, Switzerland (AP) " Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands edged former Olympic and world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara for victory in the Tour de Suisse prologue stage on Saturday.Time-trial specialist Dumoulin... More...
Dumoulin edges Cancellara for Tour de Suisse prologue win (The Associated Press)
June 13, 2015 (19:15) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
RISCH-ROTKREUZ, Switzerland (AP) -- Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands edged former Olympic and world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara for victory in the Tour de Suisse prologue stage on Saturday. More...
Mollema hopes Cancellara recovers in time for Tour de Suisse
June 11, 2015 (02:00) [ Indexed from ]
Bauke Mollema will be crossing his fingers that his Trek Factory Racing teammate Fabian Cancellara can recover from a throat infection in time for the Tour de Suisse. The race is scheduled to be Cancellaras last major stage race outing before the Tour de France and after an already injury-hit season the Classics star is running out of time to find his best form. Mollema, currently competing in the Critrium du Dauphin, will lead Trek Factory Racing at this years Tour and is well aware of what Cancellara brings to the team.ADVERTISEMENT "Its really important he recovers and is in the team. Hes a big leader and a really important guy," Mollema told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 4 of the Dauphin. "I really hope that he can do the Tour de Suisse and that he recovers in time for the Tour de France. We really, really need him in the Tour for cobbles, the team time trial and for all his experience in the race." On stage 3 of the Dauphin, Trek limped home in 17th place and although they are not racing the Dauphin with their full Tour de France line-up, Mollema will be looking for a much improved outing when the Tour de France moves into team time trial mode in July. You can read more at More...
Cancellara in doubt for Tour de Suisse
June 10, 2015 (02:00) [ Indexed from ]
Trek Factory Racing announced today that a bacterial throat infection may prevent Fabian Cancellara from starting the Tour de Suisse, which begins Saturday with a prologue time trial in Risch-Rotkreuz. The infection will keep Cancellara out of Thursdays GP Kanton Aargau-Gippingen, the traditional prelude race to the Swiss Tour, according to a statement Trek sent to the press Tuesday evening. The medical staff of the team advised against participating in the race on Thursday, the statement read. It is unclear whether Cancellara will be able to start at the Tour de Suisse. We will update you when there is more news.ADVERTISEMENT Cancellara missed the Spring Classics after fracturing a vertebra in a crash during E3 Harelbeke in March. He returned to racing late last month at the Tour des Fjords, where he put in a solid performance in preparation for his home event.Cancellara has previously won 10 stages at the Tour de Suisse, claiming the overall title in 2009. You can read more at More...
inCycle video: Cancellara on the comeback trail
June 07, 2015 (00:30) [ Indexed from ]
After having his Classics ambitions cut short so abruptly, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) finally got back to racing late last month at the Tour des Fjords. Cancellara was able to put in a solid performance as he builds towards his home event the Tour de Suisse. inCycle caught up with the Swiss rider ahead of his comeback race in Norway to discuss his season so far, and how it feels to be back in the peloton. It was hard. It was really hard because I worked hard and I was looking forward to going on and getting history but health is the first priority, Cancellara said of being forced to abandon his classics campaign. Its good to be back because sometimes you reach a level in training and you say now I need races. Thats why Im happy that weve found a race that fits into the schedule and brings me towards the Tour de Suisse.ADVERTISEMENT Watch the full interview below, as he talks about his early season success, rider safety, his crash and his comeback. To subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, click here. You can read more at More...
Cancellara to make return at Tour des Fjords
May 13, 2015 (18:30) [ Indexed from ]
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) has confirmed that he will return to racing at the Tour des Fjords later this month. The Norwegian race, which begins in two weeks time, will be Cancellaras first competitive outing since breaking two vertebrae in March. Speaking in an extensive interview on the Trek Factory Racing website, Cancellara reveals that he had considered starting earlier but he and the team finally settled on Norway. We considered doing California or the Giro [dItalia], but in the end Ill restart in the Norway at the Fjords race, Cancellara explained. Im happy the decision is taken. I dont like it very much when things are in the air. Im already in the air with the weather, trying to figure which way to ride out on training. When he lines up in Bergen on May 27 it will be two months to the day that Cancellara last raced, after breaking two vertebrae in a crash at E3 Harelbeke. Almost half of that time has been spent just recovering, with just over a months worth of training to get him ready enough to compete. However, the Swiss rider is not worried about his level " or how much of it has gone " but getting back into the rhythm of racing.ADVERTISEMENT Its not really a matter of how much shape I lost, he said. I find it hard to express that in percentages or something. More than anything its about the routine you lose. When I restarted training I was really tired after a 3.5 hours ride. The next day I did four hours and I was even more spent. So yeah, its a matter of getting used to the workload again. At the Tour des Fjords Cancellara will go up against the defending champion, and the rider who succeeded him as the Tour of Flanders champion, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). The E3 Harelbeke crash denied Cancellara an opportunity to go up against Kristoff to defend his title, and he had to sit on the sidelines for the remainder of the cobbled Classics. It was a long road back to just training on the bike but finally the Swiss is on the right track. I have been pain-free since about a week. I still feel it after training, but its okay now, he said. I didnt ride my bike for three weeks. I was frustrated and bored, because there was nothing I could do. When you crash by your own mistake, you blame yourself. The circumstances of my crash are unclear, I dont remember much, but there was nothing I could do. You can read more at More...
Video: Fabian Cancellara on what it's like to win Paris-Roubaix
April 08, 2015 (11:15) [ Indexed from ]
Trek Factory Racing's Fabian Cancellara knows a thing or two (or three) about winning Paris-Roubaix. Although he will not be on the start line this year due to injuries sustained at a crash during E3 Harelbeke, the three-time winner of the event shared his personal experiences about what its like to race in the cobbles and ride into the velodrome in Roubaix as the victor of the famed Spring Classic. "It's an amazing feeling when you can come into the velodrome by yourself and to really enjoy and celebrate the victory." Cancellara said. "The dream and the goal is always to come into the velodrome alone, I have achieved that twice and that is really nice." Cancellara first won the race in 2006 after attacking his rivals with 19km to go and riding to the finish line alone, nearly two minutes ahead of the chase group of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Ballan. In 2010, he again took a solo win, while also completing the Flanders-Roubaix double, this time by two minutes ahead of Thor Hushovd and Juan Antonio Fleche. During the 2013 edition, he won a two-up sprint against Sep Vanmarcke, while Niki Terpstra was third.ADVERTISEMENT This year, there will be 27 sectors of pav for a total of 57.5km along the 253.5km course. Sectors like the Arenberg Forest (158km, 2400m), Mons-en-Pvle (204.5km, 3000m) and Carrefour de l'Arbre (236.5km, 2100m) will play a key role in the outcome of this race. "In Roubaix, you always try to ride in the front as maximum as you can because you somehow save energy there," Cancellara said. "It's always a fight going into the cobbles because everyone wants to be there it's a fight all the time. It's a fight from the start to the finish." Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel 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...
Video: Cancellara on his memories of the Tour of Flanders
April 03, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from ]
With three wins to his name,Fabian Cancellara (Trek) is in illustrious company as the equal most successful rider at the Tour of Flanders. Cancellara has won the last two editions of De Ronde, solo in 2013 and out sprinting a four-man group last year, but a crash at E3 Harelbeke saw the Swiss break two vertebrae instantly ruling him out of the reminder of the classics. Cancellara first won Flanders in 2010 after seven previous attempts with the victory proving to be a breakthrough for a sustained period of dominance on the cobbles. The 34-year-old also won his first Paris-Roubaix in 2010 to do the double which he repeated in 2013. A feat that even the great Eddy Merckx never managed. Cyclingnews spoke with Cancellara at the Tour of Oman in February about the race, starting by asking him about the atmosphere on the morning of De Ronde.ADVERTISEMENT "It's actually really amazing. When you leave the hotel it's quiet and the closer you get to Bruges where the big parking spot is with all the buses and people, somehow it starts," Cancellara said."In the end, you come out of the bus, you get ready, and you go through the people to this big place with thousands of people where you go on stage to sign on. "It's like a big arena, like 'let the animals go riding and make this happen.' It's like the re-start of a really big battle day." Although Cancellara is Swiss, he has been wholeheartedly embraced by the Belgians and is considered ahonorary Flandrien. In turn, Cancellara has produced some of his best performances at the race since 2010 with three wins and third place, making it hard to pin point one particular favourite memory. 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...

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