Wednesday 10th April 2013
a weekly double-shot of road racing
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S AT U R D AY
S UN D AY — Paris– Rouba ix
W EDN ESDAY —B r a b a n t se P i j l
TH U R SDAY
F R I DAY
SATU R DAY
SU N D AY —A m s t e l G o l d R a c e —Tr o -B ro Lé o n
paris –roubaix review
ZDEN K ŠTYBAR WILL BE FURIOUS AFTER AN IDIOT WITH A CAMERA ROBBED HIM OF A POSSIBLE PODIUM PLACE AT ROUBAIX. GREAT RACE BY THE EXCROSS WORLD CHAMPION.
Watching Roubaix live from my sofa. Kind of strange, but enjoying it. Newly retired @ghincapie, who famously never won Paris-Roubaix, sits out his first race since 1996.
Sep Vanmarcke BLANCO PRO CYCLING TEAM
Fabian Cancellara RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK
Niki Terpstra OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP
Fabian Cancellara’s legendary status is now bulletproof. Three Roubaix wins is just one away from the record and Sunday’s victory marked his second Flanders-Roubaix double. Apparently he’s going to have a rest now, hardly surprising considering the gargantuan efforts he’s put in over the last few weeks. Escorting Sep Vanmarcke into the Roubaix velodrome, neither showed signs of tiredness or nerves. Indeed, they seemed like a couple of training buddies who, finding themselves on an old, pockmarked track, decided to play cat-and-mouse for fun. It just so happened to be the finale to the biggest one-day race in the world. It’s hard to find a Roubaix finish like it, be it a small group rolling into Roubaix to fight it out, or one man soloing, alone and filthy, into the velodrome. Earlier in the week, Cancellara, a man famed for his bike handling, had fallen off during a sector recce with team-mates. Yet spare a thought for those who crashed not on a recce but on the big day itself: Yoann Offredo’s spectacular chute was the end of his race; and Stijn Vandenbergh, in trying to keep up with Cancellara, struck a spectator while riding in the gutter on the chaotic Carrefour de l’Arbre. The real racing took place out on those cobbled battlefields. After Cancellara set a wicked tempo on the Auchylez-Orchies sector, it was the following five-star section, at Mons-enPévèle, that proved decisive. This one went to the wire, old Spartacus and Vanmarcke, vying for glory on that old pockmarked track.
from the team car
Nicolas Portal on Pais Vasco Following a tough week at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Tour of the Basque Country, Team Sky Sports Director Nicolas Portal reflects on modest successes for a team depleted by injuries. Is the Vuelta al Pais Vasco simply preparation for bigger races? We try to ride all WorldTour races to the highest level. Normally, we’d have eight riders but Josh Edmondson has been sick and Ian Boswell has a knee problem. We’ve been racing with six riders on a six-stage race, in the Basque country with high-percentage gradients. Even so, it was a good performance in tough conditions? We lost in the end but it was still a good result [Richie Porte finished second, Sergio Henao third]. Movistar made the race harder for us and Quintana [the eventual winners] rode a very good TT. And are some riders on the WorldTour stage for the first time? Yes, Joe Dombrowski and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. Both are riding well at the moment, learning all the time about positioning. They were always up there on the front, controlling the race, among just four riders protecting Richie and Sergio. Injuries aside, how are younger guys like Boswell and Joe Dombrowski coming along? They’re getting stronger and gaining confidence with every race. They’re fast learners, intelligent and open to ideas. It’s important that we don’t push them too much. What’s been the most testing stage at Pais Vasco? Stage four. Xabi Zandio, our experienced domestique, punctured after four kilometres. Henao got caught 200m from the bunch taking off his overshoes – by then the break had gone. The conditions were bad but I told the guys not to think about the gap. It was very intense but fortunately we stayed as a unit. I guess it can be a tough day in the team car, too? I can feel the riders’ pain. I don’t think of myself as director, I feel like rider number nine. I have the air conditioning in the car, of course, so it’s a little different. But I’ll take the big decisions and try to keep things calm, keep the conversation going.
a weekly double-shot of road racing
London Saturday overcast and mild. Sunday highs of 18C and unbroken sunshine. Balmy.
Gulpenerberg Kruisberg Eijserbosweg Fr o m b e r g
Gulpenerberg Plettenberg Eijserweg Huls
Limburg Moderate breezes and sunshine. Highs of 16C.
The sunshine is out to play all weekend with highs of around 60F.
Have you learnt a lot in the past twelve months? Definitely. The many bollockings from team manager John Herety have sunk in, although it may have taken a bit longer than he’d have liked. Who, in this team, has the potential to ride for a WorldTour team one day? I’d probably say Luke Mellor. That guy is lean as hell and can still sprint pretty bloody strongly, too. He’s showing this year that he can win. You famously beat Chris Hoy in a match sprint in 2010: is the track your favourite battleground? I haven’t ridden the track in a good while. I do miss it and think I could’ve done well at a world level but I enjoy the road more and more each year. What’s been the toughest race so far this season? Last weekend was my first international race of the year, Boucle de l’Artois [a UCI Europe Tour 2.2 race in northern France]. Crosswinds and cobbled bergs are always hard. John Herety was saying early-season racing is dangerous, how do you deal with that? Ah, I just love racing in general so I’m always happy to be pinning a number on my jersey. But you’ve got to make sure you look after yourself well, or you can easily cook yourself before the end of the year. What are you expecting at Loir-et-Cher this week? It’s definitely going to be a tough race. I’m happy with how I’ve been racing, so I think I have the legs to get a GC result if everything goes to plan. Sean Kelly or Stephen Roche? Kelly: his melodic tones and accurate pronunciations always have me glued to my telly box. Black or white socks? White.
Osaka Sunshine all weekend long, 11C on Saturday and 18C on Sunday.
Wo l f s b e r g Loorberg
After what Fabian Cancellara described as the hardest race he’d known, and with Spartacus on record as wanting to take a holiday after Paris-Roubaix, the peloton will be hoping that this weekend’s Amstel Gold will prove the adage that a change is as good as a rest. Yet this year’s ‘31 Lumps of Limburg’, as the race is known, comprises 33 separate ascents before the final push up the Cauberg to the line, making it anything but relaxing. The hills are steep and narrow, the loops which cross the dreaded Cauberg four times ever more tight, lining up the climbs with increasing frequency in the final 50km. The Cauberg’s 800m, at an average of 12%, is only the icing on the cake. Last year, Astana’s Enrico Gasparotto triumphed, besting Jelle Vanendert on the line after a typically frenetic, messy, agonising and thrilling finish. It’s a minor miracle that the Amstel Gold is such a compelling race, having been set up by two men with little experience of top-level cycle racing. One, after hearing his man had punctured during the Tour of Holland, was banished for doing a uturn and driving towards the oncoming peloton. Then again, maybe it’s not that surprising, given the Dutch predilection for a roadside party. Contrary to popular belief, the winning rider does not receive his body weight in Amstel beer but the title sponsor of Holland’s only top-level race surely benefits from the thousands of Dutch fans who, each significantly heavier than the riders, line the route trying to consume just that. Those named above, minus the retired Spaniard, should all be in contention this year, as will Sky’s pair of climbing Colombians, Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Urán, who have been showing fine form.
Rapha-Condor-JLT are lining up for the Tour du Loir-et-Cher that starts today in the rolling countryside south of Orléans in central France. Comprising five stages and 861 kilometres in the French countryside, up against 27 other teams, including several development squads for ProTour teams, it’s another important test for the team’s young riders. Doppio caught up with the Irish national criterium champion Felix English before he set off.
race type: One-day Classic distance: 251km region: Limburg, the Netherlands
English’s Men Abroad
amstel gold race preview
Wednesday 10th April 2013
240m 18 0 m 12 0 m 10
60m 2 1