NewsWire: Schleck brothers preview Tour stage; Van Den Broeck regains downhill confidence

Schleck brothers preview Tour stage; Van Den Broeck gains downhill confidence; Katusha discusses Galimzyanov positive

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.

Schlecks explore first Tour de France stage — Het Nieuwsblad

The Tour’s brief stint in Belgium will see a stage finish in Seraing, with a tough and punchy finish more typical of the Ardennes classics than a Tour stage. The Schleck brothers, along with teammate Maxime Monfort, rode the final 30km while in the region on Thursday.

“I’m glad we have seen it,” said Andy Schleck, the newly crowned 2010 Tour winner. “The early climb is not very difficult, but the final two kilometers is not to be underestimated.”

“The roads to the final climb are broad and not too difficult,” he continued. “But once on the climb, especially the steep portion on the cobblestones, the peloton will explode. It really is a finish for Gilbert, Valverde, or a Schleck…”

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Van Den Broeck no longer scared of downhills — La Dernière Heure

Following his harrowing crash on the Pas-de-Peyrol during stage 9 of last year’s Tour de France, which forced him to abandon, Lotto-Bellisol rider and GC contender Jurgen Van Den Broeck has suffered a lack of confidence in his descending. The issue was compounded after a scare on wet paint at the recent rainy Tour of the Basque Country.

“Racing downhill, I slipped on the marking of the road, and I immediately became terribly tense,” he said to La Dernière Heure. “At the time, my teammates did all they could to calm me down. I felt like I had a puncture; I was so wrong on the bike. I was really scared.”

The fear kept him from putting in a good performance in the time trial, which also saw wet conditions. Van Den Broeck estimates his timidness in the corners cost him 30-40 seconds, and a spot in the top 10.

The solution turned out to be an appoint with Mr. Heylen, a psychologist.

“I was in my room for an hour [with him],” Van Den Broeck explained. “We talked, and talked and talked. It’s as if he had phased out of my memory all the trauma material. After one hour, the bad memories were erased.”

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Team Katusha meets to discuss Galimzyanov positive — Cycling Weekly

In response to the UCI’s Monday announcement that Galimzyanov’s had tested positive for EPO, Katusha team director Michael Holzer met with team management between the Ardennes classics this week. He expressed frustration with the situation, telling Cycling Weekly “The more you do, the bigger the ways they find to go around.”

“When I heard it, I called him 10 minutes later, and he admitted everything immediately,” Holzer said. “I think it’s the only way to deal with things like they are: to deal openly with it.”

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Claude Criquielion: “I was the Gilbert of the 80’s” — Het Nieuwsblad

As Philippe Gilbert’s form has risen in past weeks, so has “Phil-mania” in the region where he races best. Nobody understands the pressure this creates on a rider better than Claude Criquielion, a perennial contender in the hilly classics in the late 80’s.

Het Nieuwsblad sat down with the now graying champion of the people to talk about his life after cycling, including an on-and-off political career.

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