Raleigh ready to go Dutch
Team Raleigh start their season at tomorrow’s Ster van Zwolle in the Netherlands, and team manager Eddie White believes it will be a baptism of fire for his young team.
“We’ve looked at videos and reports from previous years, and it’s a race that you can never call,” he admitted.
“The wind always causes havoc. Jeroen Janssen has ridden the event before and said the only thing we can control is getting to the front of the pack and making sure we stay there.
“Last year I think 200 started but only 80 finished. On the video you can see people falling off left, right and centre – literally all over the place.”
Having received much publicity over the winter, White said he had mixed feelings about the season starting.
“I’ve spoken to all the riders and they’re all a bit nervous, but luckily they’re very confident too, and I think all of us are like that.”
“Some of the team rode an 80km training ride in Holland last week to prepare for the race and the conditions, which seems to have gone well, so the training over the winter appears to be paying off.
“I’m hopeful the race will give us some experience that we can build on for the rest of the year.”
Pasta Montegrappa are also taking on the tough Dutch curtain-raiser. They’re likely to be led by David McLean, who finished fifth at the recent Perfs Pedal race.
Team Raleigh: Matthew Cronshaw, Dan Fleeman, Richard Handley, Jeroen Janssen, Matthew Jones, Philip Mooney, Ryan Parnes, Jamie Sparling.
Team manager: Eddie White
Pasta Montegrappa-Zheroquadro: Rowan Dever, Mark Holt, David McLean, Matt Myers, Alexander Ray, Daniele Santoni & Wojciech Szlachta.
Raleigh’s overseas contingent: Janssen, Sparling, Parnes and Mooney (l-r) are all taking on the Ster van Zwolle
Pendragon adds African pair for 2011
Going a little further afield than their Somerset base, Pendragon has added Libyan Ahmed Belgassem and Eritrean Halie Dawit to its roster for the forthcoming season.
Manager Nick Bourne first came across them at the Tour of Libya last February, which Belgassem won, beating several of his own riders.
“There’s a lot of potential opportunity to do well. We’re giving them a bit more exposure, dipping our toes,” Bourne said.
“To compete on a level footing, we were finding it difficult to find riders from the domestic pool,” he admitted.
Yanto Barker remains as team captain. “I feel quite confident we’ll maintain the standard we had last year,” Barker told CW at the recent Perfs Pedal race.
“There’s a bit more pressure maybe, now Dave Clarke has gone.” ”I think I’m due a Premier win; I’m 31 and I haven’t done one yet. If you said ‘you can win the Rutland, but not Lincoln, I’d definitely take it’,” he added.
Jon Mozley and Tom Martin – younger brother of Garmin star Daniel – have been added from the Kuota team, alongside former Rayner rider Richard Meadows.
“The aim will be the Tour Series and Premier Calendar; in terms of the latter, we want to make sure all our riders are up there, capable of being in the selection,” Bourne said.
A potential man to watch is Guernsey youngster James McLaughlin, who finished inside the top twenty in the Commonwealth Games time-trial and road race.
Pendragon-Colnago-Le Col line-up for 2011: Yanto Barker, Ahmed Belgassem, Halie Dawit, Peter Johnston, Rhys Lloyd, Jake Martin, Tom Martin, James McLaughlin, Richard Meadows, Jon Mozley and Chris Opie.
Footlose flying Dutchman Sybrandy eschews TTs for road focus
Sigma Sport rider Wouter Sybrandy has hit the ground running in the early-season time trials.
The Dutchman has so far won the South Down Bikes 18k and 34km and the Redhill CC 18, breaking course records on all three.
But don’t expect him to be challenging Hutchinson and Dowsett in the national time-trial championships: Sybrandy’s focus is still firmly set on the road.
He told Cycling Weekly that he has given up his day job to focus on his riding. In previous years Sybrandy juggled cycling with a hectic career in the City of London; now he has switched to working part-time with Sigma and training more seriously.
The Dutchman feels that his early-season success is largely down to this decision: “A proper winter’s training for the first time is a big factor. Already I’m feeling quite a lot fitter.
“It was quite a simple decision – I ran out of holidays in June. I either stopped working or cycling. I’m still young so I decided to give it a proper go,” he said.
Despite his impressive time trialling form, 2009 East Yorkshire Classic winner Sybrandy only has eyes for the road racing scene.
Sybrandy will not be able to race the British national time trial due to road race clashes. “I think this year [the national 25] is on a Sunday and it clashes with one of the Premier Calendar events. The 10 clashes with the Ras as well.”
”There are a few UCI races again this year that I’ll be doing with Sigma, then there’s obviously the Premier Calendar. They will be the team’s main targets of the year.” He is personally targeting the Rutland Cicle Classic and the Ras.
However, before his season begins at Paris-Troyes in mid-March, Sybrandy is planning two more time trials – this weekend’s North Road Hardriders and East Surrey RC time trial.
Sybrandy in full flight against the clock
Wyman closes cross season with third
As the road season kicks into gear, we wave goodbye to cyclo-cross.
It closed on Thursday evening with an indoor extravaganza at Hasselt: there’s a flying lap, a three-up team race and then an individual race.
British champion Helen Wyman was third in the women’s C2-ranked event, capping her best year to date where her Koppenbergcross win stands out. Meanwhile, Marianne Vos rode to victory. Nikki Harris placed eighth.
Fellow world champion Zdenek Stybar claimed the men’s race ahead of Sven Nys.
Tough Tour DoonHame route unveiled
The organisers of the Tour Doon Hame have revealed the 2011 race route this week.
The Dumfries & Galloway event has been beefed up since last year’s inaugural edition. “We’ve added more climbs and the stages are slightly longer – they’re nearly all 90 miles,” race organiser Ian Sinclair told Cycling Weekly.
“Last year we concentrated on being fairly unspectacular to get the race on the go. We just wanted to make sure it is ok.”
Formerly known as the Girvan, the race is the first in the eight-event Premier Calendar series. As the only stage race in the competition, it carries the most points. Last year, Chris Newton won two stages and the overall, using it as a foundation for overall Premier victory.
Sinclair emphasised that the route was not specifically designed for climbers. As with the 2010 race, he predicts intermediate sprints and rider tactics as being important.
“There are recovery sections and it’s nearly all on A and B roads. It depends on how the riders attack it. Whoever wins will have to be a fantastic all-round rider.”
There is also an interesting cycling heritage theme running through the race. Moffat, where the tour begins, is the burial place of John McAdam, the inventor of the modern sealed road.
Meanwhile, on stage two the race will pass Keir Mill, the location of the forge where Scottish inventor Kirkpatrick MacMillan made the first ever bicycle.
Stage one both starts and finishes in Moffat, taking in two laps of a hilly circuit, including three category one climbs. Stage two starts and finishes in Dumfries, while the third and final stage begins in Dumfries and ends in Castle Douglas, which held a Tour of Britain stage finish in 2005.
For more details, visit www.tourdoonhame.info
Alpine Challenge entry open
Fancy four scenic, supported and wearing stages in the Alps this summer? Then the Alpine Challenge is right up your, er, mountain.
Using the same format as the London-Paris ride, the four day events encompasses a collection of Alpine mountain stages, averaging 120km a pop.
Based around the picturesque town of Annecy, riders have the luxury of rolling road closures, motorbike outriders, seeded groups, neutral service and masseurs.
It takes place from September 7-11; to enter and for more information, visit www.thealpinechallenge.com.