NewsWire: Ballan ‘doesn’t understand’ Pozzato’s Flanders tactics

Ballan 'doesn't understand' Pozzato's Flanders tactics; Greipel doubtful for Paris-Roubaix; Boardman to step down from British Cycling; Jose Rujano looks to Giro podium

Photo: watson

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In our daily NewsWire, we bring you a collection of the intriguing stories from newspapers, journals and elsewhere around the world of competitive cycling. Pour your coffee, mute your phone and read on.

Ballan ‘doesn’t understand’ Pozzato’s Flanders tactics — L’Équipe

Italian Alessandro Ballan was surprised by Filippo Pozzato’s tactics at the Tour of Flanders, the BMC rider said.

Knowing he didn’t have the same turn of speed in a sprint as his breakaway companions, Ballan agreed with Pozzato that he would be the first to attack. The two needed to tire Tom Boonen to have a chance at winning, and he expected his fellow Italian to then counter, but the second move never came. The race ended in a classic sprint, logically won by Boonen, the superior sprinter.

“I do not really understand his tactics,” Ballan said to L’Équipe on Thursday during Paris-Roubaix reconnaissance. “To beat Boonen, you must attack him at one time or another to try to win or at least to tire him before the sprint. I was alone in the attack and each time, Boonen started right away on my wheel. As a result, we took him to the last 400 meters in a good state of freshness, which makes him almost unbeatable.

“I think Filippo recalled the time three years ago in Harelbeke where he beat Boonen in a sprint, except that Boonen this year is very tough. I believe that if the same scenario returns on Sunday, Filippo will attack earlier,” Ballan added.

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Greipel doubtful for Paris-Roubaix — La Dernière Heure

After his late crash at Scheldeprijs on Wednesday, André Greipel’s participation in this Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix is not yet assured. His wrist has been bothering him, and though x-rays showed no broken bones, he may not be able to start this year’s “Hell of the North.”

Greipel did not join his team during Thursday’s course recon.

“André doesn’t have any fractures, but [his wrist] is strained from the fall,” said Lotto-Billisol manager Herman Frisian. “We will wait. Maybe I’ll have to call a reserve. I can not work miracles.”

“If Greipel is unable to start Sunday, I’ll have to chose between Frederique Robert and Olivier Kaisen. One can hardly ask Jelle Vanendert or Jurgen Van Den Broeck to line up for Paris-Roubaix,” he added.

Of the team’s reconnaissance, Herman was pleased. “The roads were dry and relatively good. We have had no problems today.”

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Chris Boardman to leave British Cycling after Olympics — BBC

Chris Boardman announced on his BBC blog Friday morning his intentions to leave the British Cycling team after the Olympics, following nine years working as a coach, manager, and technical collaborator.

Boardman has led the charge on Britain’s “marginal gains” practices, digging into the technical side of the sport for any possible improvements, no matter how small. The strategy has been an important piece in the puzzle that is the successful British Cycling program.

“Dave Brailsford said to me, years ago, that you can’t live your whole life on the front line and that’s where I have been for many years now in this sport,” Boardman said on his blog. “It’s time to step away. That decision is tinged with sadness because it’s a big chunk of my life, but I’m convinced this is the right time. It’s been great, but it is somebody else’s turn now.”

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Gianni Savio: ‘Rujano’s eye is on the Giro podium’ — La Gazzetta dello Sport

Long-time director Gianni Savio has three leaders selected for his Androni Giacotolli-Venezuela squad, which has received a wild-card invite to the Giro d’Italia this year.

Jose Rujano, Jose Serpa, and Emanuelle Sella are all potential leaders. Rujano lit up the race last year, winning a stage and consistently sticking with Alberto Contador when no other climber could do so. Savio believes his tiny Venezuelan climber can ride well again this year, and aim at a podium spot.

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