Rocacorba Daily: Thursday February 28

by Matt de Neef


In this edition of the Rocacorba Daily we bring you the results from a handful of races overnight, bring you up to date with the biggest cycling headlines, and share the newly released official trailer for this year’s 100th edition of Le Tour de France. Enjoy!

Guardini wins stage 7 of the Tour of Langkawi

Andrea Guardini (Astana) dominated proceedings in the 2012 Tour of Langkawi, winning six of the race’s 10 stages. But in 2013 the Italian sprinter had to wait until yesterday’s stage 7 before he could open his account.

Guardini was too strong in the bunch sprint, beating Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini) and Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEDGE) to the line, after a two-man breakaway of Travis Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Cyrille Gautier (Europcar) gained an advantage of 7 minutes earlier in the race.

Andrea Guardini outsprints his rivals to take his first victory in this year's Tour of Langkawi.

With race leader Julian Arredondo (Nippo-De Rosa) finishing in the bunch, there was no change at the top of the general classification. Three stages remain in the race.

Click here for full results and the general classification in the Tour of Langkawi.

Tsatevich claims Le Samyn

Katusha’s Alexey Tsatevich claimed his first professional victory overnight, holding off a surging peloton to win the Belgian single-day race, Le Samyn.

A breakaway of three riders managed to gain an advantage of five minutes early in the race, but the move was eventually neutralised and it looked as if the race was destined to finish with a bunch sprint.

Tsatevich's decisive move resulted in the first professional victory of his career.

But when Sébastien Chavanel (Europcar) jumped with around 500m to go, Tsatevich followed his wheel and eventually came around Chavanel to claim victory.

Click here to read more on VeloNews.

Ellen van Dijk solos to Le Samyn des Dames win

Team Specialized-lululemon claimed its first victory of the season when its Dutch rider, Ellen van Dijk, pulled off a courageous solo move to win Le Samyn des Dames by more than three minutes.

Ellen van Dijk crosses the line after a 35km solo break.

In almost freezing conditions, van Dijk leapt off the front with 35km left to race and a crash in the peloton helped van Dijk to extend her lead.

Shelley Olds (Tibco) finished second ahead of Emma Johannson (Orica-AIS) after the two riders formed a small chase group with Longo Borghini (Hitec).

See www.womenscycling.net for full results and report.

100th Tour de France — the official trailer

This trailer for this year’s 100th edition of Le Tour has just been released and it’s a cracker. Excited yet? We are.

Russia announces plans to host cycling tour

Russia is planning a world-class velodrome on the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and hopes to create a Tour of Russia with a Red Square finish to promote the sport.

The head of Russia’s cycling body, Igor Makarov, told reporters on Wednesday that the Russian government is backing the cycling federation’s plans to renovate the country’s cycling infrastructure with a view to staging major events.

Click here to read the full story.

ASO names wildcards for Flèche and Liège

Earlier this week Tour de France organiser ASO named the teams that will take part in its two Ardennes classics, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, held on April 17 and 21 respectively.

In addition to all 19 first division (WorldTour) teams, four teams from the second division (Pro Continental) will race the classics: AccentJobs-Wanty, Crelan-Euphony, IAM Cycling and Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Colombia and Sojasun will also race in Flèche Wallonne and Cofidis and Europcar in take part in Liège-Bastogne-Liège four days later.

Adrien Niyonshuti sidelined by illness

Rwandan cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka) will miss most of the 2013 season after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), complicated by pulmonary emboli (when blood clots from elsewhere in the body block the main artery in the lungs).

The diagnosis comes just as Niyonshuti was about to depart for Europe where we was expected to race in Tirreno-Adriatico. Doctors believe that the prolonged inactivity of an international flight in January combined with mild dehydration might have been to blame for Niyonshuti’s condition.

Niyonshuti is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide which claimed the lives of six of his brothers. He represented Rwanda in cross-country mountain biking in last year’s Olympics and has amassed five top-10 finishes at the Tour of Rwanda.

Click here and here to learn more about Adrien Niyonshuti.

Valverde gears up for first Italian race in four years

After more than four years, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will return to race in Italy on Saturday when he takes the start line for Strade Bianche.

The Spaniard had been banned by or has avoided Italy due to Operación Puerto after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) matched DNA it collected from Valverde to coded blood bags Spanish police seized in May 2006.

CONI’s work led to an Italy-wide ban for Valverde and an eventual worldwide ban from the sport from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011. He returned to racing in the Tour Down Under last year.

Löfkvist grateful for Sky experience

Thomas Löfkvist is grateful for his three years spent with team Sky, but is enjoying life with his new Swiss second division team, IAM Cycling.

“It was a great experience,” Löfkvist said. “Unfortunately I didn’t have any great success there. I learnt a lot though, especially how to race three-week tours and I know how to handle them. Hopefully I can take that experience with me into the future.”

The Swede joined IAM when it formed over the winter. “My goals this year are the one-week races where I know I can perform well, like I did when I was at HTC,” he added. “Tour de Suisse is the biggest aim.”

Click here to read more on Cycling News and watch the video below to learn more about IAM Cycling.

Italy’s races in danger, says Giro boss

Giro d’Italia director Michele Acquarone has said that taxes and an overall bleak economic outlook are hurting cycling and that some Italian races are in danger of being cancelled.

“It makes you want to cry if you look at the market in Italy today because sponsorship isn’t coming and tax is rising,” Acquarone explained.

“It’s very complicated to organise races because cities and local councils have less and less money to spend on sport. Our country is in great difficulty, but we’re hanging in there because we love this sport too much and we have faith in the future.”

Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport resurrected the Giro del Lazio as Roma Maxima, which runs this Sunday. However, several other races — including the Giro della Reggio-Calabria, Sardegna and the Brixia Tour — have recently disappeared.

Click here to read more.

Vicioso’s suspension lifted after Puerto testimony

Team Katusha has lifted Ángel Vicioso’s suspension after he testified in the Operación Puerto hearings last week in Madrid. The Spaniard testified that he visited known doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes for a sore knee. He denied using the doctor to extract or transfuse blood as several other cyclists have admitted to.

Vicioso will race for Katuska today in the GP di Camaiore in Italy.

Click here to read more.

Teens set on fire in bike stunt gone wrong

And here’s one from the seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time basket.

Two South Australian teenagers have suffered second-degree burns after trying to jump their bikes through a burning sheet of cardboard. The cardboard was apparently supposed to break when the teens hit it, but instead it got stuck to the bikes and riders.

The stunt was part of the 55th birthday celebrations of Findon Skid Kids, a part of the Findon Cycle Speedway Club near Adelaide.

Click here to read more.

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