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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories

Upcoming Races

First of all, on Wednesday, the 4th, We'll have Belgium's GP Le Samyn (1.1). I plan to do live updates. I don't know exactly when the Euro broadcast will start, but it should be between 5 and 6 AM Pacific time. I'll have a link and notice on the home page to say that the updates have begun.

March 6 - 8 (Friday - Sunday) is Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen (Three Days of West Flanders) (2.1), a really important race.

And on Saturday, March 7, we'll have complete results, and lots of photos from Sirotti, of Italy's Strade Bianche with its sections of racing on unpaved roads.

Paris-Nice (World Tour) and the Tour de Langkawi (HC) will both begin on Sunday, the 8th. Originally scheduled to run on the 8th, Roma Maxima, formerly the Giro del Lazio, has been cancelled. The organizer, RCS Sport, has been reported to be suffering financial problems of late and this cancellation is probably a result of those troubles. RCS also runs the Giro d'Italia, which is hugely profitable and helps support the running of other races, as well as the Strade Bianche.

Tom Boonen, Stijn Devolder, Petrick Lefevere Tax Fraud Case Continues

Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad (and organiser of the semi-classic race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad) has been reporting on the ongoing tax fraud case involving cycling superstars Tom Boonen (former world champion and 4-times winner of Paris-Roubaix), Stijn Devolder (2-times winner of Ronde van Vlaanderen) and other riders as well as Etixx-Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevre. The investigation is said to be years old.

Boonen had resided in Monaco for a while, enjoying the principality's lower tax rates. When he went back to Belgium, he had to pay the tax boys a significant sum. It appears this did not settle the matter.

Tom Boonen

Tom Boonen at the start of the 2014 Elite Men's World Championship Road Race

Today Het Nieuwsblad reports that the riders and team manager are still suspected of evading paying millions in Belgian taxes. They have come to an agreement to postpone their case while they negotiate with the authorities, hoping to reach an amicable settlement and avoid a trial.

A postponement was granted and now, and if a settlement is not reached, they are to appear in court in June.

Big Guys at Tirreno-Adriatico

The 50th edition of the Italian Tirreno-Adriatico stage race begins on the 11th of March. The race's organizers announced that Alberto Contador, Christopher Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana, all Grand Tour winners, will be on the start line. Hot Diggity! Between them, they represent ten Grand Tour victories.

This will be the first time ever that all four racers have competed in the same World Tour stage race. Or as La Gazzetta dello Sport put it (forgive my rough translation) "The first time for the Fantastic Four". I can't wait. But, will it be too early in the season to have some insight as to how they will go in July's Tour de France?

Contador won won last year. Nibali is a double winner, having triumphed in 2012 and 2013. Both Quintana and Froome have come in second in the race.

Roger de Vlaeminck

The great Roger de Vlaeminck won Tirreno-Adriatico more times than any other rider.

Tirreno-Adriatico, called the "Race of the Two Seas" is raced across northern Italy from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic coast. The great Roger de Vlaeminck holds the record, having won the race six times in a row, from 1972 to 1977. Eddy Merckx never won Tirreno-Adriatico.

Giant-Alpecin to Race Paris-Nice

This came in from the Giant-Alpecin team:

Paris-Nice, the 'Race to the Sun', gets underway this weekend and Team Giant-Alpecin heads to the eight-day WorldTour race with a strong team to battle both on the flats and over tougher terrains.

John Degenkolb (GER) returns to the race where he took the green jersey and a Stage 3 sprint victory in 2014, together with two second spots on the opening two stages. The German sprinter already has a victory to his name this season, at the Dubai Tour, and other places of honour proving that he is already riding with some good form ahead of the important classics period.

John Degenkolb

John Degenkolb on the Carrefour de l'Abre section of the 2014 Paris-Roubaix

He will be joined by Warren Barguil (FRA) who started his season at the Tour of Oman where he was able to test his legs on the early season climbs. It will be a welcome return to racing on home soil for Barguil where he will be able to test himself on the tougher days as he continues to build towards his early season objectives.

Tom Dumoulin (NED) returns to racing at Paris-Nice after a period of training since the Tour Down Under. He will have a close eye on the opening prologue and to test his form over the whole week of racing, however recent sickness at training camp may knock him back in his preparation for the race.

The line-up is completed by road captain Roy Curvers (NED), lead-out man Koen de Kort (NED), climbing domestique Georg Preidler (AUT), as well as Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) and Zico Waeytens (NED) who continue their preparation for the classics period.

"This year's Paris-Nice, as always, presents different opportunities over the week and we have a lot of aspects to the team here to challenge with," confirmed coach Christian Guiberteau (FRA). "We would like to try to go for a good overall result with Tom, but his chances will depend on how he recovers from recent sickness. With Warren, he is still building his form but there will be good opportunities for him to test himself and also to support others here.

"We have seen that John is in good shape already and his confidence and motivation is there so he can push to take his chances on the sprint opportunities here with good support. The first three road stages should suit the sprinters and after that we will see how the race pans out."

Paris-Nice (WT)


Christian Guiberteau (FRA)

Warren Barguil (FRA)
Roy Curvers (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Koen de Kort (NED)
Georg Preidler (AUT)
Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)
Zico Waeytens (BEL) 

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories