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NewsWire: Cav tips Belgians for Olympics; Boonen wants Olympic, world titles

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.

Cavendish tips Belgians as Olympic favorites — La Dernière Heure

Mark Cavendish has is sights set on the London Olympics, and has made the Games a major goal of his 2012 season. “The ability to ride the Olympics in my own country, this is a unique opportunity that very few athletes get,” he said.

The British sprinter is realistic about his opponents, particularly given the tough course. Nine times over Box Hill will certainly put a sting in the legs, and Cavendish must hope that the classics specialists can’t leave him behind. In particular, Cav points at the Belgian squad as the one to watch out for.

“With riders of the caliber of Boonen and Gilbert, the Belgians are certainly candidates for a medal,” he said. “The main contenders for Olympic gold will be racing in the Tour de France. We have to see how fresh each is coming out of the race. On a one-day race, it is paramount to be on top on D-Day.”

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Vacansoleil-DCM courts Gasparotto — De Telegraaf

Vacansoleil-DCM has expressed interested in signing Enrico Gasparotto next season, following his victory in the Amstel Gold race and third at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. After a disappointing classics season, the team is looking to bolster its roster, and Gasparotto’s contract with Astana is up at the end of the season.

Gasparotto has a good relationship with Astana’s Alexander Vinokourov, which may make taking him off the Kazakh team more difficult. But the Italian will undoubtedly want a significant pay raise after this fine spring season, and it is uknown if Astana will be willing to pay.

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Boonen wants Olympic, world titles — L’Équipe

Tom Boonen sees a unique opportunity this year: two high-profile races, the Olympic road race and the world championships, with courses that suit his characteristics well. “In theory, I am now a candidate for victory twice,” he said.

On Wednesday, Boonen rode the final 100km of the worlds course with his Belgian teammates, finishing with the final climb up the Cauberg. “This arrival is much better to me,” said Boonen. “The line is 1.5 kilometers after the top of the Cauberg. If [there are] no attacks over the top, I will be with the contenders. If it breaks up, then I will recover and then sprint. That is something I can do well.

“In cycling, there is nothing higher than a world championship. You can spend a year in the rainbow jersey riding around. On the other hand, this is my first and only chance to be Olympic champion. You don’t get a jersey, but it is a title you carry for four years. I do not know what an Olympic title brings. I have been world champion, and another year in the rainbow jersey would be a dream. I go to both races for the win, they are equally important. I would love to have a jersey next season.”

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