Cancellara Wins, Dekker Leads

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Rabobank traded GC leaders today as Oscar Friere gave up the yellow and red jersey to the young all rounder Tomas Dekker. Cyclingnews has a bit of info on the young Dutchman.

Trained by Luigi Cecchini and considered one of the biggest future stars in world cycling, Dekker the younger had improved his climbing considerably over the winter, going as far to break Basso’s winter record time on the 936m high Monte Serra, so it would have been an interesting test regardless.

Fabian Cancellara won the stage which was a 20km Time Trial. Bad weather hampered the later riders who weren’t quite able to overhaul the TT specialist.

Bad weather is affecting Monday’s stage as the finish was changed to a flatter route with the finish in Torricella Sicura instead of the hilltop village of San Giacomo.

On Saturday, Alessandro Petacchi botched the sprint and was beaten by THOR Hushovd in a photo finish.

CSC News
Velonews Stage 5

Spanish Flyers: Friere and Rodriguez

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Oscar Friere came out of the woodwork today to tell the world that his butt sore did not totally derail his career. The Spanish rider who has dealt with the curse of the World Champion more than anyone else riding today claimed a win in the Italian race of the two seas just ahead of another Spanich Classics rider and former World Champion who is coming back from the doldrums, Igor Astarloa.

The finish in Paglieta today saw an change of lead in Tirreno Adriatico as Paolo Bettini crashed out of the race. Il Grillo injured his left hand and right knee after a rider crashed in front of him on a descent.

This is after the race was delayed amid protest by riders due to bad weather and icy roads. The race was eventually started 1/2 hour later. In the end if you were Spanish and liked to ride the Classics, you were gunning for the win as Juan Antonio Flecha, Astarloa and Friere tried for the stage win at the end.
The 10 second time bonus gave Friere the red and yellow jersey of leadership.

Meanwhile in France, another Spanish rider, this time with braces took the win in a more mountainous finish. Joaquin Rodriguez attacked his breakaway that included Dutchman Joost Posthuma (Rabobank).
The win launched Rodriguez up the standings and could help him overtake Landis on Saturday’s tough stage. But, Landis has a bit of from QuikcStep, who want to keep Boonen close to the front even though the stage is very hilly. If Boonen makes it though he could win the stage. Therefore, even though Landis’ Phonak squad is weak at the moment, he has help from Boonen.

Eurosport: Bettini party cut short

Eurosport

Samsung Camcorder for Outdoorsy People

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Bring out the Lucas Brunelle in you with Samsung’s new Camcorder. It features a music player and still camera with the basic video capturing functionality. What is most impressive is that it has a detachable lens that can be mounted on your handlebars, helmet or anywhere else you can think of to capture your next ride. The best part is that the lens has a range of 9ft, so it looks like no cables are needed!

Now I can record my sweet jumps!

Gizmodo

Everybody Hurts: Injuries Adding Up

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(pic from Eurosport)

The season is in full swing and that means lots of riders getting hurt. The grip of cold weather, large packs of riders and some giant potholes have spelled trouble for many riders lately. Today Bettini crashed out of the lead at Tirreno Adriatico (Cyclocosm might think this is a blessing in disguise for Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere) while in the lead. Bettini crashed into a rider in front of him on an icy decent. Medical reports so far reveal that he has injured his left hand and right knee. Bettini may have to miss next week’s Milano San Remo.

Meanwhile, Stuart O’Grady crashed out of Tirreno Adriatico yesterday making it three in a row for CSC who are now looking a bit hobbled. First came Matti Breschel , then Christian Vande Velde, now Stuey. Bjarne Riis must be hoping that these things come in three.

Robbie McEwen is still suffering from affects of a crash in the Three Days of West Flanders.

“I don’t feel good on my bike, I can’t pull on the bike and, above all, I can’t breathe freely. When the rhythm gets faster towards the end of the stage I really have trouble staying in the game.

“Right from the first day, I lost more than two minutes to the leaders. But what do you want to do when, at full speed, you cannot breathe properly? I am not even sure that I can sprint on flat ground! That must be possible by biting hard, but to beat the best, there is still a lot left to do.”

Hmm, spring time, gravelly roads and cyclist yearning to be outside may be a bad mix for your local ride too, so be careful out there. Velochimp had a bad crash last year.

CSC News: Crash Spoils Breschel’s Spring Season
CSC News: Vande Velde Crashes Out
CSC News: Stuart O’Grady Goes Down
Eurosport: O’Grady and McEwen

Eurosport: Bettini Injured

Competition is Quick Stepped On

Quick Step is totally dominating pro cycling at the moment. It is one of those rare time when a team is able to flex it’s muscle and get wins in two very important events in two countries at the same time. Not only that , but today’s vicotries by Bettini and Boonen are their second and third respective wins.

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Boonen’s victory in three of four stages of Paris Nice is just outright domination. Allan Davis simply cannot get around the tall Belgian in the final sprints. The result is that Allan Davis is quickly learning what it feels like to be Erik Zabel by coming in second so many times. Boonen has been impressive and looks very strong. What is scary is that it is not yet Classics time. With Boonen on this type of form he could just as easily dominate Flanders, Roubaix and whatever else he wants.

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Meanwile, the only rider who could possibly stop Boonen in Milan San Remo and other races may be his own teammate Paolo Bettini. The golden shoe and helmet wearing riders is taking a cue from the Belgian contingent of Quick Step by winning every stage so far at Tirreno Adriatico. Bettini is in fine form for Milan San Remo, a race he won not too long ago. With Boonen and Bettini dominating it would be interesting to see how the two riders play together on the way to Via Roma in San Remo.

LED Bike Wheel Images

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Instructables has a great deal of bike related how-tos. The latest is a way to put LED based images on your wheels. This is the ultimate way for motorists to see you at night, or at least reconsider if they drank too much alcohol from the bar they just left. Motorist will say to themselves “Holy crap, is that Pacman and a ghost on that bike wheel? I better pull over!”

Spoke POV is an easy-to-make electronic kit toy that turns your bicycle wheel into a customized display! The project includes a free schematic design, open source software for uploading and editing stored bitmap images, and a high-quality kit with all the parts necessary to build your own.

http://www.instructables.com/

Landis Leads Paris Nice

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Floyd Landis is on great form at the moment and it shows with a win in the Tour of california and now the lead in Paris Nice. Landis took the lead today after a decisive break with Lampre’s Spanish rider Patxi Vila. The pair took off on the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret just before the finish in St. Etienne. Vila took the stage win, but Landis took over the GC from Tom Boonen who was riding in the only terrain to give him troubles, the mountains. Otherwise, the young Belgian has been dominant everywhere else.

Eurosport

Boonen Back to Back

The hills started today in Paris Nice, but with bad weather the pack was content to stay warm together and let a break away work hard at the front for show. In the end, the bunch was back together and Tom Boonen sprinted to another victory in the cold of Paris-Nice. The Quick Step treno Blu delivering the World Champ to the finish line in metronomic form. Allan Davis tried to upstage Torpedo Tom again, but was quickly overhauled.

Eurosport.com really has the best text based live coverage of racing. The gap graphic on the left and the icons that help to highlight the update make is super easy to follow the race. The window refreshes quickly and does not die out. Of course this is under easy loads during Paris Nice. The true test is during the Tour de France or even Milan San Remo and other classics. Good work Eurosport.

Petacchi and Zabel and Boonen

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Yesterday’s Giro di Lucca produced another Ale-Jet victory. This is no surprise as Petacchi has shown great form this year and is on an early hot streak. The difference yesterday was that Erik Zabel was racing with Petacchi and acted as leadout man for the Italian. This is a newer development for the German-Italian team which before yesterday had Petacchi and Zabel racing separately.

“In the race I was really nervous because after 12 years as a leader this was the first time to give a real lead-out to a teammate,” said Zabel via Bici Race

Zabel despite having the junior version of the Milram leadout train was not able to get anything better than second place in several races. The Zabel contingent was only able to get a victory with Elia Rigotto who slipped off the front at the Tour Méditerranéen back in February.

Zabel’s new role may be a tough pill for the experienced German to swallow, but he is the ultimate professional. Having a top-of-the-line leadout man such as Zabel will prove invaluable for Petacchi in races such as Milan San Remo where the Treno Blu of Quick Step will be working hard for the World Champ Boonen to take a win.

The switch from Marco Velo to Erik Zabel as the final leadout man is probably for preparation for Milan San Remo. There would be less pressure for a rider as large as Velo to make it in the final group in San Remo.

Petacchi is hinting at taking t easy at Tirreno Adriatico this week. Perhaps he is trying to save his energy for Milan San Remo, but too many on-form cyclist have been downplaying their ambitions and form. So I look for Petacchi to win every sprint stage possible.

Bici Race