Eddy Merckx will become the first cyclist to be inducted into the Giro d’Italia’s Hall of Fame this afternoon in Milan.

The Giro calls the Hall of Fame “the first of its kind in international cycling” and invited many start guests, including Felice Gimondi, Ernesto Colnago.

The Belgian, 66 years old, won his first Grand Tour in the Giro d’Italia in 1968. He went on to win it four more times in 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1974. He collected 24 stage wins along the way.

 

Chavanel and Matthews miss San Remo

Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Michael Matthews (Rabobank) will miss Milan-San Remo this Saturday.

“This morning I set off on my bike for the long workout for San Remo. After a few hours of working out, though, I started coughing and having the same respiratory problems I was having during Paris-Nice,” Chavanel said in a press release. “In agreement with the team’s medical staff we decided to not take any risks in view of the Northern Classics.”

Matteo Trentin replaces Sylvain Chavanel.

Australia’s Matthews won the Clasica de Almería last month, but crashed in the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico that Mark Cavendish won. Two riders were caught in the final kilometres and helped cause a crash as they drifted back through the group.

“They both came back in the middle of the group and you knew that was going to cause a crash,” Cavendish said. “You can’t do this when you have a big group coming.”

Rabobank said that Matthews suffered “various cuts and abrasions, a serious laceration on his right arm and an injury to his shin.” He received 11 stitches in his arm.

Rabobank’s San Remo team: Lars Boom, Matti Breschel, Tom Leezer, Paul Martens, Mark Renshaw, Bram Tankink, Maarten Tjallingii and Maarten Wynants.

Milan-San Rem 2012: The Big Preview>>

 

Omega Pharma on the up after Chicchi win

Francesco Chicchi helped team Omega Pharma-QuickStep continue to enjoy a successful spring by winning Nokere Koerse in Belgium yesterday.

“The team was perfect,” Chicchi said in a press release. “They took the lead of the operations at 4km from the finish. Iljo Keisse and Andy Fenn were perfect in the final 3km, and then Trentin gave a great lead-out in the final kilometre.”

Chicchi’s wins, Fenn’s wins plus others brings Omega Pharma’s tally to 17 according to CQ Ranking. They have collected 2002 points for the year.

Sky sits second with 1958 points, one spot above RadioShack with 1742 points.

Top ten CQ Rankings

1. Omega Pharma-QuickStep 2002

2. Sky 1958

3. RadioShack – Nissan 1742

4. Movistar 1724

5. Vacansoleil – DCM 1573

6. Team Garmin – Barracuda 1414

7. Liquigas – Cannondale 1382

8. Katusha 1332

9. FDJ – BigMat 1200

10. GreenEDGE 1006

 

Nuyens out of Flanders

Nick Nuyens will miss a chance to defend his Tour of Flanders title on April 1 due to a fractured hip.

“Every movement still hurts. So, it forces me to withdraw from the Tour of Flanders,” he told Belgium’s VRT television. “I could start, just to ride around, but that is not my goal. I should be back to 100 percent to race and that’s now how it is.”

The Belgian crashed in the opening time trial stage of Paris-Nice over a week ago and abandoned the race.

“We all feel very sorry for Nick today, as we all knew how much he was looking forward to coming back to the Tour of Flanders and defending last year’s great win,” team Saxo Bank owner, Bjarne Riis said in a press statement. “And this is also very sad news for the whole team.”

Saxo Bank lost most of its points over the last year after Contador received a doping suspension. Its only win so far this season, after stripping Contador’s Argentinean wins, is a stage in the Tour of Taiwan.

Tour of Turkey makes history with first uphill finish

The Tour of Turkey next month will include its first uphill finish since its start in 2008.

“For sure,” Race Director Abdurrahman Açikalin said in a press statement, “the 2012 Presidential Tour of Turkey will be an historical one.”

The 2012 route, from April 22 to 29, will travel the opposite direction than in previous years. This year, it finishes in Istanbul on its eighth day. The third leg, from Tekirova to Elmali, will make history by finishing at 1850 metres.

“It’s a difficult climb, pretty similar to Alpe d’Huez.”

The race invited 200 riders from 25 teams, including eight from the first division.

Tour of Turkey 2012: Stages

Stage 1: Alanya-Alanya 148 km

Stage 2: Alanya-Kemer 185 km

Stage 3: Tekirova-Elmali 148 km

Stage 4: Fethiye-Marmaris 130 km

Stage 5: Marmaris-Turgutreis 170 km

Stage 6: Bodrum-Kusadasi 181 km

Stage 7: Ephesus-Izmir 118 km

Stage 8: Istanbul (Europe to Asia) 114 km

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Milan-San Remo 2012: Who will win?

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  • Don Pettit

    Merckx was a god on the road…and still is a class act.