My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Gesink to lead Blanco in Paris-Nice

Category: Cycling

Robert GesinkRobert Gesink will be Blanco Pro Cycling Team's leader in Paris-Nice, which starts Sunday, March 3. The team has already taken ten victories so far this season, but hopes to take more during the French stage race.

"I have finished Ruta del Sol, Murcia and Almeria with a good feelings,” Gesink said in a team press release. “The team has started the season with an important victory of Tom-Jelte Slagter in the World Tour. Ten victories in total for the team already, not a bad start at all I think."

“For Paris-Nice I am surrounded by strong guys. Especially our youngsters Kelderman and Kruijswijk helping me on the climbs. Working with these guys could set the standard for the rest of the year. I keep good memories of Paris-Nice and will start with confidence.”

Gesink will have Stef Clement, Wilco Kelderman, Steven Kruijswijk, Mark Renshaw, Rick Flens, David Tanner and Maarten Tjallingii to support him, and to try to make a good race themselves. Mark Renshaw may, for example, have a chance in the sprints.

“Our main focus will be the general classification with our leader Robert Gesink. With Wilco and Steven we have three guys for the difficult uphill stages. In the flat stages we have strong guys like Flens and Tjallingii surrounding Robert to protect the GC,” said sport director Nico Verhoeven.

Guardini happy with new record of Langkawi victories

Category: Cycling

Andrea GuardiniAndrea Guardini (Astana) took his 12th stage victory at Tour de Langkawi on Stage 7 from Kuantan to Dungun. It was his first win of the year. Guardini has not won anything since taking home three stages at Tour of Qinghai Lake in July last year.

Guardini is the wearer of the blue points jersey, which he is happy about.

"I'm wearing the blue jersey but I like this," said Guardini. "It's so, so good," he added.

"My weight has come down by one kilo, my condition is so good. After the Giro d'Italia [in 2012] I have grown up, and have better total condition with my body.

"Now, I'm winning and this is the result because my condition is very good."

Andrea Guardin signed with Astana team at the end of 2012, and this is his first winfor his new team.

"This is my first victory here with the Astana team and it's a powerful team. It's so, so good. It's been so many months without winning which is not so simple for a sprinter - especially for me.

"I'm very, very happy to make the first victory of the year for this team," he added.

Niyonshuti forced to take long break

Category: Cycling

Adrien Niyonshuti
MTN-Qhubeka's Adrien Niyonshuti thought he would travel to Europe to help his team in international races, but now it seems he will be sidelined for much of the season due to deep vein thrombosis.

The Rwandan champion found himself with some swelling in his right calf and was diagnosed with DVT, a clot in a vein in the leg. He was also told he had a pulmonary embolism, a clot in the lungs.

The treatment involves taking blood thinners, and that's bad news for the Rwandan rider, as it means he is not allowed to take part in any races and is out for an indefinite period.

“In a situation like this the immediate and long-term health of the athlete takes absolute precedence over the disappointment associated with the team losing one of our high profile riders. Team MTN-Qhubeka’s medical network will continue to investigate possible intrinsic causes of Adrien’s illness and monitor his recovery while striving to facilitate his return to high level cycling", Dr. Jon Patrios, the MTN-Qhubeka physician, said.

Team principal Doug Ryder was happy that the rider now knows about his problems, because this kind of things can be dangerous.

"He is very lucky as we got him hospitalised the day before he was expected to leave to Italy which could have been fatal," Doug Ryder told Cyclingnews.

Niyonshuti was seen to be a key rider for the team's European season.

campaign. His story of surviving the gen "We are not sure about a replacement for him as we still do have 20 riders but we will see over the next few weeks," Ryder said. "With the weather being so bad we have some riders getting sick which is scary but we will try and push through."

Niyonshuti will now head home to Rwanda where he will work with his cycling academy.