RadioShack defends Fabian Cancellara's Scheldeprijs ride

Fabian Cancellara

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) risked losing a chance to race Paris-Roubaix with a crash in the mid-week Scheldeprijs race yesterday.

"He needed it," General Manager Luca Guercilena said. "His condition is quite high, but still you must maintain it. It's a good race to ride in a bunch, a good race to do some Ks with good rhythm."

The Swiss won his second Tour of Flanders on Sunday. He is favoured to win a third Roubaix title. Despite road rash on his backside, Cancellara is due to recon the cobbled sectors today.

Flanders champ visits Weylandt's family

Fabian Cancellara not only visited his fans club in Oudenaarde the day after his Flanders victory, but also Wouter Weylandt's family in Ghent.

Weylandt died in the 2011 Giro d'Italia, five months later his partner An-Sophie gave birth to the couple's child, Alizée.

The report in Het Nieuwsblad also said that Cancellara had visited his former Leopard team-mate's grave after winning E3 Harelbeke.

Kittel takes first Cavendish sprint win

Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) took two wins in one yesterday: Scheldeprijs and his first head-to-head sprint against Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

"I'm even more proud," Kittel (pictured, right) said in the post-race press conference. "If you just look at the result, to beat Mark Cavendish, that's a great experience."

The 24-year-old German said the secret to his success could have been starting his sprint early.

"There was some headwind on the finish line, if I was not totally on the he front then I would've also started a bit later, maybe that was the secret."

Scheldeprijs race report, photos and result>>

Poblet hospitalised in critical condition

Miguel Poblet, the first Spaniard to wear the Tour de France's yellow jersey, is in a Barcelona hospital and in critical condition. According to Spanish sources, he has a blood infection and his family fears the worst.

The 85-year-old's career spanned from 1944 to 1962, including taking the iconic yellow jersey in 1955. He also won three stages, 20 in the Giro d'Italia and two editions of Milan-San Remo.

Operación Puerto trial ends, ruling to follow

The Operación Puerto doping trial ended this week in Madrid, with closing arguments from central figure, Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

"In my 35-year long medical career I have never prejudiced the health of my patients, nor have I ever been aware of damage I have caused to one of my patients," Fuentes said according to VeloNews. "The objective that I always pursue as a doctor is to protect the health of others, not to prejudice it."

The charges are limited to endangering public health. His lawyers admit Fuentes transfused blood for his sports clients, but did so safely.

Fuentes faces a possible jail term as witness, such a Tyler Hamilton and Jesus Manzano, testified that he did endanger their health with blood transfusions. Others testified that transfusions carried out in hotel rooms were far from safe.

Merckx says Koppenberg should go

Eddy Merckx criticised the Tour of Flanders' use of the Koppenberg climb after a crash on Sunday caused a crucial split in the peloton.

"The Koppenberg has nothing to do with cycling," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "I think that it should be removed from the parcours. Someone [Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM)] made a mistake and left about fifty riders walking up the climb."

The organiser omitted the climb for 15 years, until 2002, after the Jesper Skibby incident. Skibby fell on the climb in 1987 and a commissaire drove over his front wheel.

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