Rocacorba Daily: Tuesday March 26

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In today’s edition of the Rocacorba, we take stock after a busy weekend of racing and take a look at some other stories going on in the world of cycling. If you’ve got something you think we should include in the Rocacorba Daily, let us know:

Sagan rides to WorldTour lead

With his second place at E3 Harelbeke on Friday, Peter Sagan moved to the top of the UCI WorldTour’s individual rankings. And when he won Gent-Wevelgem a few days later, the Slovakian showman extended his lead to a comfortable 81 points over nearest rival Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard).

The top of the individual leaderboard looks like this:

1. Peter Sagan (Cannondale): 232 pts
2. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard): 151 pts
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha): 144 pts
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step): 142 pts
5. Geraint Thomas (Sky): 117 pts

Spain currently leads the national rankings (395pts) ahead of Italy (319) and Great Britain (309). Unsurprisingly, Team Sky leads the team rankings (407pts), sitting comfortably ahead of Katusha (268) and RadioShack-Leopard (266).

The winner of Sunday’s Tour of Flanders will be awarded 100pts, with second getting 80pts and 70pts on offer for third.

Click here [PDF] to see how the WorldTour points are awarded. And click here to read more on Cycling News.

Sagan, the next Hinault?

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) said that he felt as if he broke the ice on the classics two days ago when he won Gent-Wevelgem. Some have suggested Sagan could be going in the same direction as Bernard Hinault, who won the race in 1977 and went on to win so much more, including the Tour de France five times and three monuments.

“The story of the 75th Gent-Wevelgem sounds somewhat reminiscent of Hinault in 1977,” an article in the Belgian daily, Het Nieuwsblad read yesterday.

Hinault won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1977 and 1980, Paris-Roubaix in 1981 and the Giro di Lombardia twice, in 1979 and 1984. He never won the Ronde van Vlaanderen, which Sagan is aiming for on Sunday.

After Ronde, Sagan will take a two-week break and close out his classics season with the Amstel Gold Race.

Click here to read more on nieuwsblad. be.

Driedaagse van De Panne starts tonight

The Driedaagse van De Panne (Three Days of De Panne) UCI 2.HC race kicks off in Belgium tonight with a 200km stage from Middelkerke to Zottegem. The three-day, four-stage race is being used by many riders as a final tune-up before Sunday’s much anticipated classic, the Tour of Flanders.

Big names on the starlist include reigning champion Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Gent-Wevelgem winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale), German sprinter Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka).

Click here for the Driedaagse van De Panne 2013 startlist.

Boonen suffers setback but continues in De Panne

Tom Boonen’s crash in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday potentially ruined any chance he had of winning the Ronde van Vlaanderen for a record fourth time.

“It was a stupid accident. One guy tried to squeeze through and touched Tom’s front wheel and Tom crashed,” Wilfried Peeters, the Omega Pharma DS said.

“He’s going for a diagnosis, his knee is injured but I don’t know how serious it is. We’re going to wait and see. He’s going to be stiff, for sure.”

Yesterday, the team announced Boonen would race the Driedaagse van De Panne to add more racing miles ahead of Sunday’s Ronde appointment. However, with intestinal problems and an elbow infection this winter, this latest setback might rule Boonen out of his biggest goal of the year.

Click here to read more on Cycling Weekly.

Haussler heading in right direction

After two tough years spent at Garmin, Heinrich Haussler has said that he now feels at home with IAM Cycling. He has been performing well in the classics, highlighted on Sunday when he formed the key escape in Gent-Wevelgem and placed fourth.

“It’s just what I needed. It’s the same as Cervélo [TestTeam], a new team and a new motivation and they give me the freedom of what I want to do,” he said. “The whole time [with Garmin] I was saying I need to do my old school East German training: slow, long, and just taking it easy. I was allowed to do that [this year], the whole winter I was just cross-country skiing and I knew that if I did my own training that I could get to that level again.”

Haussler rode with Cervélo TestTeam in 2009 and 2010, when he won a Tour de France stage and placed second in Milano-Sanremo and Ronde van Vlaanderen. He switched to Garmin for 2011, where he said that he just did not fit in.

Click here to read more on VeloNews.

Evans confident of leading BMC to Tour de France

Despite calls for exciting US prospect Tejay van Garderen to be given the reigns at Team BMC, 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has told reporters that, all going well, he will lead the team in France once more.

Evans finished seventh in last year’s Tour, behind van Garderen who took fifth place. But as Evans told reporters during the Criterium International last weekend:

“There is some short-term memory from the media, I had a virus last year and I still was seventh in the Tour de France.”

Evans has had a slow start to 2013 but finished third in the Tour of Oman.

Click here to read more on the Global Post.

Former Flanders champ Nuyens out

Nick Nuyens (Garmin-Sharp) has called off his classics campaign, including a tilt at the Ronde van Vlaanderen where he won two years ago, due to ongoing injury.

“I had no choice,” he told Sporza TV. “I couldn’t do anything to help the team. You can’t even speak of a spring.”

The 32-year-old Belgian crashed in Paris-Nice last year and fractured his hip. He returned to racing last year, but since the start of this season he has complained of a lack of power. He added, “The muscles around my hip are still too weak.”

Click here to read more on Cycling News.

Andy Schleck back on track?

Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard) confirmed over the weekend that he is still on track for the Tour de France. He finished his first stage race in a year this weekend at the Criterium International, making the escape on the final stage.

“I was never dead, just maybe asleep,” Schleck said, according to Cycling News. “I can see that the shape in my legs is coming back. I felt good. I still miss some power [but] I enjoyed riding my bike.”

Image: Veeral Patel

Schleck is building his form after crashing and fracturing his coccyx in the Critérium du Dauphiné last June.

He abandoned or called off several races this spring. The situation looked worse when a French politician said that he saw him drunk in a hotel only days after quitting Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this month.

Click here to read more on Cycling News.

Tour de France organisers announce Japanese race

The organisers of the Tour de France announced on Monday the creation of a race in Japan called the “Saitama Criterium by Le Tour de France” which will be raced on October 26.

Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) said that it would involve 60 riders (including 30 Japanese) and will be raced over a circuit of 2.7km in the centre of Saitama.

“Enhancing the standing of the Tour de France throughout the world is a major objective for ASO and we are proud to observe the enthusiasm already generated by the creation of the Saitama Criterium by Le Tour de France, so far from the homeland of the world’s biggest cycling event,” said ASO president Jean-Etienne Amaury.

Team Cannondale is back with another memorable video

Team Cannondale’s 2013 season launch video was one of the most entertaining videos we’ve seen so far this year, mainly because it was just so over-the-top. Now the guys at Cannondale are back with another enjoyable offering, this one not quite so serious.

British Cycling aims to get 1 million more women cycling

The UK’s governing body for cycling, British Cycling, revealed plans on Monday to get one million more women cycling regularly in the UK by 2020.

BC says that it wants to see more women involved with cycling at “all levels” including recreational riding and racing. The organisation has identified factors which might deter women from riding and will address each issue. The plans include:

– Creating more traffic-free mass-participation events
– Continuing the campaign for safer roads
– Setting up entry-level racing opportunities for women
– Encouraging event organisers to add women’s events to run alongside men’s events, and
– Recruiting more female coaches, volunteers and officials into the sport.

Click here to read more on Cycling Weekly.

Movistar continues sponsorship

Despite economic hardship in Spain, the country’s top team received confirmation that sponsor Movistar will stick around through 2014.

The original three-year agreement was due to end with 2013. In that time, Eusebio Unzué’s team won stages in all three grand tours and racked up 55 wins.

Click here to read more.

“Boy”, by Prasanna Puwanarajah

And finally for today, here’s something a little different — a cycling-related short film that was made last year for British Airways around the time of the London Olympics and Paralympics. The film stars Timothy Spall and while it’s reasonably long (about 10 minutes) it’s a compelling story that’s well told. Enjoy!

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