STANNARD AND FROOME IN ITALY

Britain’s Ian Stannard (ISD) lies in 21st place overall after three stages of the six-day Settimana Ciclista Lombarda in Italy.

Mattia Gavazzi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) won yesterday’s third stage bunch finish.

Stannard is just 34 seconds behind race leader Alessandro Petacchi (LPR) in a classification still largely shaped from the outcome of the opening team time trial on Tuesday thanks to two following flat stages that favoured the sprinters. The race hits the hills this weekend.

Britain’s other representative in the race, Chris Froome (Barloworld) is in 142nd overall, 3-48 adrift of Petacchi.

The race concludes in Bergamo on Sunday (April 5).


MORE ARRESTS IN AUSTRIAN DOPING SCANDAL

Five further arrests have been made in the on-going investigation into organised doping of athletes in Austria. Those arrested have not been named, but they are in addition to Bernhard Kohl’s former manager, Stefan Matschiner.

Kohl admitted this week that in addition to taking blood-boosting drug CERA – for which he failed a drug test during the 2008 Tour de France – he also received blood transfusions at a clinic in Vienna.

Matschiner has been placed in police custody and faces a prison sentence up to five years in duration.


ARMSTRONG TAKES HIS FIRST RIDE

Lance Armstrong has returned to the road after surgery for a fractured collarbone. The Texan twittered “Just went for a ride. On the road. If one of you tells my doc then I’m in trouble. Keep it between us please.”

His doctor did find out, and promptly asked the seven-time Tour de France winner whether his ride was ‘windy’.


CALDWELL BREAKS LEG IN ACCIDENT

American rider Blake Caldwell (Garmin-Slipstream) fell during a training ride in Spain on Thursday and broke his femur.

According to Caldwell’s blog, he underwent surgery to repair the break last night.

“Surgery went well,” Caldwell wrote. “It was a fracture of the femur that they secured with a plate. A fairly common break, but usually among elderly. I did just turn 25 last week. I’m going to be at the hospital for a few days until I can hobble out of here.”

Caldwell was due to ride Spanish stage race Vuelta al Pais Vasco, which runs from April 6-11.


STARS IN FLANDERS

One of the highlights of the northern classics takes this weekend in Belgium – the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, April 5.

You can find out our pick of the favourites in our extensive Tour of Flanders online preview in the news section. We also present a guide to the route, past winners, last year’s top ten and much more.


RELATED LINKS

Friday’s British News Round-up