Thursday, January 01, 2009


Dear readers,

The Frankfurt International Cycling Club has changed its web location. From now on, news and other info will be published via this new address:

Best wishes for 2009!


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

FICC riders in good form

Over the past two weekends riders of the Frankfurt International Cycling Club have shown good form in events in and out of Germany. A brief overview:

Gideon Fourie continued his UCI Golden Bike Tour with the Gruyere Cycling Tour - previously known as la Pascal Richard - last weekend and was impressed by the scenery on the tour. The 120km ride contained some very steep climbs, as can also be see on this webpage. Fabian Cancellara gave acte de presence as well!

Morten Hansen did it again: in shape at the right time for his main objective, the Vatenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg. Albeit ten minutes slower than last year, Morten completed the 155km race in less than 4 hours: 3h56'50" or an average speed of 38.98 km/h. That was good enough for rank 564 out of 2768 finishers. Morten was sitting in the first group for a long time until two spokes suddenly loosened and he had to get off the bike to tighten them again. The race was won by Berliner Michael Zippan in 3h43'50".

Two years after finishing third, Elin Amundsen returned to La Vosgienne in Thann, Eastern France, last Sunday to grab a solid victory. Amazingly, she needed almost exactly the same time for the 100km route across le Markstein and Vieil-Armand  as in 2006: 3h20'31", merely four seconds faster. It was enough for her second win in 15 days, though. The second woman was seven minutes behind her. 

After her victory on the 7okm at Rad am Ring, Elin travelled to Austria for the Deutschland Tour Mountain Challenge in the Zillertal. That race didn't work out at all for Elin, as she cracked totally on the final climb to finish 8th after missing out on food and water, and being overtaken by competitors she normally beats easily. Elin described the event as ' her worst race ever' . Good she bounced back at la Vosgienne, though!

Guus Van Domburg also returned to that French race, and he did manage a 36-minute improvement over the 100km distance. Guus crossed the finish line in 4:10:33. A worthy season's closer for him!

Monday, September 08, 2008

No longer second: Michel Snel wins La Vosgienne

THANN - Vosges-based Dutchman Michel Snel at last managed to score a big cyclo victory this season after second places in Les 3 Ballons and La Velomediane. Snel outsprinted Thomas Dietsch in the 160km (3200Hm) race La Vosgienne, held in sunny conditions around the village of Thann. The winning time: 4:54:14. Snel is a cyclo rider pur sang and runs a B&B in the Vosges region. As such, la Vosgienne was a bit of a home race for him as well. More info on this great end-of-season, held every 2 years in alternation with Les Ballons Vosgiens in Gerardmer, can be found on the orga's website and Snel's blog:

La Vosgienne
Michel Snel

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Oetztaler - Corradini and Dekker re-do la Marmotte as Negrini allegedly retired!

SOELDEN - The Oetztaler Radmarathon produced exactly the same result as its French counterpart la Marmotte in July: Antonio Corradini wins ahead of Bert Dekker. The Italian of the Salieri Team only didn't wait till the sprint to defeat the Dutchman and finished with a leading margin of 1'42" . Corradini succeeds Emanuele Negrini, winner of the past two Oetztalers, who has reportedly ended his competitive cycling career following his fifth victory in the Maratona Dles Dolomites two months ago.

Negrini is a former professional rider (a.o. Cantina Tollo alongside Danilo Di Luca) who dominated the international mountain cyclosportives for several years. He also won la Marmotte and the GF Marco Pantani twice, as well as many other granfondos on the Italian circuit. Although still only 34, Negrini allegedly finds it harder and harder to combine his job with cycling at this level.

If there is a ranking order within Team Salieri, Corradini has nicely taken over from Negrini in the course of the summer. At 37, he has become the benchmark for the big mountain events. His Oetztaler win came in a fantastic time of 7:00:49, the second fastest ever, helped of course by the brilliant atmospheric conditions on the day. 

Andreas Laner completed the podium in third place. The women's event turned into a major dual between MG K. Vis teammates Monica Bandini and Monia Gallucci, decided in favour of the former in a time of 8:18:40.

Other well-known names of the German cyclo circuit are Nino Ackermann (Team Lexxi), who finished 22nd in 7:28:26, proving that his 4th place in Zernez in July was no coincidence and that he just had a bad day at Rad am Ring last week. His teammate at Lexxi, Alex Bauer - winner of last year's T-Mobile Cycling Tour - arrived 120th in 8:08:11. Last week's winner on the Nurburgring, Jan Wallauer, came in 48th (7:50:33).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Successful FICC trip to the Nurburgring!

Five riders from the Frankfurt/Darmstadt area got together last weekend to drive to the legendary Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit and participate in the fifth edition of Rad am Ring. It turned out to be a successful (and pleasant!) outing with a victory and two top 15 places despite foul weather conditions!

Rad am Ring starts and finishes on the current GP track, but takes the participants mainly onto the famous Nordschleife, with its rollercoaster character - including a 2km climb ending with a 19% steep section and descents where one can reach 85 km/h quite easily.

Elin Amundsen proved to be unbeatable on the 3-lap or 70km distance. She needed 2:20:26 for that distance, over 2 minutes faster than Katja Hernold and Verena Kolks. It was only her third race on German soil this season and her first after the horrific crash she suffered during the Henninger Turm race in May. In Goettingen last April Elin finished second. Contrary to last season, the GCC is no objective for her, and Elin has been doing quite a few cyclo events in Italy and France over the past few months.

Rebecca Schwantes emphasized her stamina and strength over the longer distances, finishing the 140km race in 8th place with a solid time of 5:48:13. Rebecca entered the top 10 of the German Cycling Cup standings overall, and also moved up to second place in her age category. Only 10 women finished the long distance event -won clearly by Annika Grueber ahead of GCC leader Manuela Haverkamp- this year, with four women abandoning and 45 women sticking to the 70km.

In the men's races, Kris Van de Velde scored a 15th place on the 140km in 4:16:06 and reclaimed third position in the German Cycling Cup ranking. Kris had to let go of the fastest riders halfway through the fifth lap, but managed to keep an even pace and even get a few riders back on the last lap of 23km. The highly contested race was won in a sprint by Jan Wallauer ahead of GCC leader Michael McManus in 4:07:25. Thomas Kapuste completed the podium in 4:10:24. Interestingly, there was also strong riders from Holland (Marco Polo-Trek team) and France in the top 15, showing that Rad am Ring is slowly becoming a classic cyclo event!

Brian O'Rourke, in his second German race after finishing 8th in the 63km of Henninger Turm, impressed again with 14th on the 70km event of Rad am Ring in 2:05:25, only 1:50 behind winner Christoph Dittrich. Brian has recently based himself in Darmstadt, coming from Japan where he did races on Okinawa and... Mount Fuji!

Morten Hansen used Rad am Ring as a good training opportunity for his traditional season's goal in Hamburg (7 September), and as warm-up for the criterium race in Bad Homburg a day later. Morten signed up for 140km, but cut it short to 70km due to the heavy rainfall during laps 2 and 3.

Friday, August 01, 2008

German Cycling Cup continues in Bochum

After a two-month break, the German Cycling Cup series continues this Sunday in Bochum with a short four-lap race of 58km. Each lap contains 2 short climbs, but it remains to be seen whether anyone can profit from them to escape from an undoubtedly still large first group of riders. The event in Bochum is a two-day cycling feast, which also includes a pro race on Sunday afternoon.

Link to Sparkassen Giro Bochum

Friday, July 18, 2008

RTF Mörfelden on Sunday, 20 July

Radsport SKV Mörfelden is organising its popular annual Merfeller RTF next Sunday, 20 July. The traditional distances of 115km, 75km and 45km are on offer, with the longest route taking in some nice climbs in the Odenwald. Last year there were more than 1, 000 participants.

There's a FICC related group starting at the Waldstadion in Mörfelden at 8:30 a.m.

More info on the website of the organising club.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Prestigio - Corradini also the best in apocalyptic Carnia Classic

TOLMEZZO - The 37-year old former skier Antonio Corradini of Team Salieri has also grabbed the victory in the Carnia Classic last Sunday, one week after his triumph in La Marmotte. Corradini escaped on Monte Zoncolan and gained an advantage of 4'13"over Fabio Bulgarelli and 5'34" over Giorgio Rea. The event was characterised by horribly wet conditions as soon as the start was given in the Tolmezzo. Pouring rain, thunder and lightning accompanied the 2000+ riders on the way to the first climb of the day, Sella di Razzo. The rain would let off occasionally, only to come down in buckets again a bit later. The majority of riders on the granfondo circuit were redirected straight to Tolmezzo after the Zoncolan, avoiding the final climb of Sella Duron. In total, 1.182 riders conquered the famous monster climb (12.1 % on average over 10 km). The commitment of the participants was huge, given that only 112 riders officially retired from the race! The women's race was won by Monica Gallucci.

The Carnia Classic was the so-called 'new entry' in this year's Prestigio series. Every year one (smaller) event is selected for this honour. By all means, the organisation of the event was absolutely immaculate.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

La Marmotte: Slick Corradini outsprints Dekker in thriller!

ALPE D'HUEZ - The 2008 edition of the most prestigious international cyclo, La Marmotte, was one of the most exciting ever. After a fantastic dual on the climb to Alpe d'Huez, Italy's Antonio Corradini dove inside of Holland's Bert Dekker at the final roundabout to claim his first Marmotte victory in 6:02:12. Dekker, a triple winner himself, had to be satisfied with second place after his best run in years. Konstantin Kluyev was third 2'27" behind, Michel Roux fourth and Michel Snel fifth in 6:05:07. Snel got dropped on the Galibier but recovered remarkably and still gained a few places towards the end.

The event was held in splendid weather conditions and saw no fewer than 5300 people reach the finish atop Alpe d'Huez. The last rider crossed the line in 13:42:32.

Corradini is a 37-year-old rider of the famous Team Salieri. The biggest name of the team, Emmanuele Negrini, winner of last week's Maratona delle Dolomiti, did not participate in this year's Marmotte.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Maratona - Negrini back on top of the game

CORVARA - After a number of defeats in his favoured mountain events last year, 34-year-old Emmanuele Negrini has struck back and added another Maratona title to his tally. Negrini arrived solo in Corvara after 140km and 4300 Hm in 4:29:05. It was the fifth victory in Alta Badia for the climbing specialist from Bologna in six years. Antonio Corradini and Jamie Burrow completed the podium more than 4 minutes back. Fabio Bulgarelli finished fourth, and Dutchman Michel Snel, second in Les 3 Ballons two weeks ago, made an impressive debut with fifth place in 4:40:22.

Current German Cycling Cup leader Michael McManus came in 57th in 5:14:57.

The women's long race was won by Monica Gallucci ahead of Barbara Lancioni in 5:15:54.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

GF Marco Pantani: Victory for Bazhenov

APRICA - The fourth edition of the very tough Granfondo Marco Pantani in Aprica (Valtellina) has been won by Alexandre Bazhenov, this year also winner of e.g. the GF Selle Italia. Bazhenov beat Fontana (+2'41") and former winner Negrini (+5'36"). The trio reached the top of the Mortirolo together, but the younger Bazhenov proved to be the fittest on the Valico di Santa Cristina and took his first victory in Aprica.

In Nauders, Austria, the Dreiländergiro - which includes the Passo Stelvio - went to Austrian rider Andreas Traxl, ahead of Germans Stefan Misstler and Marc Lipowitz. A report on that event will be posted on my personal blog in due course.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Les 3 Ballons: Volkmann faster than Snel

LA PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES - The French classic Les 3 Ballons went to German cyclo specialist Jens Volkmann last Saturday. On the final steep climb to La Planche he dropped Dutchman Michel Snel, who had also finished second last year. Volkmann's time: 6:28:24 after 205km and 4300 Hm. Frenchman Jonathan Denis completed the podium in third place almost seven minutes back.

Also Les 3 Ballons keeps growing. This year Sportcommunication announced that more than 2000 riders registered for the event, which was held in mild but dry conditions.

A more detailed report on Les 3 Ballons can be read on my personal blog soon. Meanwhile, Dutch speakers can also check the blog of Michel Snel.

Prestigio - GF Campagnolo: Bazhenov beats Negrini

FELTRE - Close to 4000 participants this year for the Granfondo Campagnolo in Feltre this year: a new record. The victory on the long distance of 216km went to Alexander Bazhenov (Park Pre Selle Italia) who together with Jaimie Burrow used team tactics to beat Emmanuele Negrini (Team Salieri), who attacked on the last climb but was taken back by Burrow in the final kilometres. Negrini could not respond to Bazhenov's ultimate move towards the finish. The women's race went to 43-year-old Monica Bandini, who was particularly delighted with the win. Interestingly, second place went to another veteran on the scene, Anna Corona. The weather was quite bad with snowfall on the Valles...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

German Cycling Cup: McManus & Haverkamp lead after five events

ERLANGEN - The German Cycling Cup, successor of the T-Mobile Cycling Tour, is running pretty well after the Rund um Köln anti-climax. The events in Göttingen, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Erlangen overall saw an even large number of participants compared to 2007 and the "yellow jersey" is heavily contested- at least in the men's category. Team Lexxi's Manuela Haverkamp on the other hand seems to have taken over Annika Grüber's position of the past years and so far has been ruling the women's circuit. Katharina Reitmayer is already over a hundred points back in second place.

In the men's Michael McManus (Team Adidas) grabbed the top spot after a splendid solo win in Erlangen last weekend. In the last lap he managed to get a 35 second lead over a first group of about 40 riders. The sprint of that group was affected by a spectacular crash some 150 metres before the finishline, which included, amongst others, the defending Cup leader Andreas Bollessen and myself. As far as I know, nobody got seriously hurt and the damage was limited to bumps and bruises of various proportions. Bollessen is now second in the ranking, fifty points behind McManus. Team Strassacker's Nico Wernicke, victim of a chain rupture and a tyre puncture in Frankfurt and Leipzig respectively, moved up to third place in the ranking, trailing McManus by 75 points.

The next race of the German Cycling Cup will be held in Bochum on 3 August.

My experiences during the GCC events can be read about on my personal blog.

Prestigio - Le Nove Colli: former Pantani teammate victorious

CESENATICO - The 2008 edition of the biggest Italian granfondo of the season, Le Nove Colli in Cesenatico, has been won by Sergio Barbero, who outgunned Jaimie Burrow at the finish. Barbero is a former pro, who used to ride for Mercatone Uno and Carrera alongside the late Marco Pantani. During his pro career (1993-2006) he also wore the jersey of Lampre for several years. He retired in 2006 and is apparently now enjoying himself in the granfondo circuit. Third spot on the podium of the semi-wet edition of Le Nove Colli went to Alex Pauliokovich. Corradini was fifth, Bazhenov - winner of the Selle Italia this season - sixth, and Negrini seventh.

There were also a few riders from the Frankfurt area at the Adriatic coast for the weekend. A report can be read on Challenge Magazin.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Prestigio: Dieci Colli Bolognesi dominated by ex pros

BOLOGNA - The second Prestigio event of the season was determined by four riders of whom Sergio Barbero and Alex Bazhenov - the winner of the GF Selle Italia last month - took the first two steps on the podium. Both were solid elite riders up until two years ago. Ersilio Fantini and Jamie Burrow were three and four, while Emmanuele Negrini grabbed fifth place over three minutes later. Timothy David Jones was ninth and in the same second group as Negrini. The women's race was won by Barbara Lancioni.

Also in Italy last weekend, the GF delle Alpi in Sondrio (Valtellina) was won by established climber Stefano Sala. He held a three-minute advantage over Corradini and Giacomazzi.

Michel Snel wins Shimano Fiets Challenge

VAALS (NL) - French-based Dutchman Michel Snel took top honours at the Shimano Fiets Challenge in Vaals yesterday, winning the 150 km cyclosportive with a 2'16" lead over Sjef Graafmans and Koen Beijens. The women's event was won by Esther Olthuis. The road event saw more than 1000 participants.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

German Cycling Cup - For the last time Rund um den Turm?

FRANKFURT - German pro cycling is in a deep crisis and even the biggest German spring classic, Rund um den Henninger Turm, is feeling the effects of the many doping revelations of the past years. The main sponsor of the race, traditionally held on 1 May, is pulling out after the 2008 edition and organiser Bernd Moos-Aschenbach has not found a successor yet. So, we may see the professional peloton in Frankfurt for the final time tomorrow...

Contrary to the malaise in pro cycling, the cyclo scene is booming tremendously in Germany. The organisers in Göttingen again had a new attendance record last weekend, and also for the VeloTour over 4000 riders are expected to start tomorrow. It will be the third out of nine events of the German Cycling Cup.

The ECB Cyclosports Team will consist of Elin Amundsen, Morten Hansen, Guus van Domburg, Alan Richardson, Patrick Hess and myself. Elin will aim for victory in the 75 km flat event.

Monday, April 28, 2008

German Cycling Cup: Superb event in Göttingen

Göttingen - The second leg of the German Cycling Cup, the Tour d' Energie in Göttingen, once again delivered the goods. Splendid organisation, great course and, finally, sublime race weather as well!

The men's 85km race was won by youngster Tilo Breuer who nicked the already celebrating Jan Niclas Grosse on the line à la Freire in Milan-Sanremo 2004 or à la Cavendish in this year's Scheldeprijs. A group of about 30 riders stormed to the line after the series of climbs around Dransfeld had dropped some well-known riders of the Series.

The women's event was won by Manuela Haverkamp, who got rid of Frankfurt starlet Elin Amundsen on the Hoher Hagen climb. Elin did manage to stay ahead of Remi Brunner of Frankfurt/Bad Vilbel for second place. Annika Grüber did and won the 45km distance as she is still recovering from a knee injury.

Apart from Elin, two other ECB riders were at the start last Sunday. I myself came in with the leading group as 22nd, while Morten Hansen took 464th place out of 1300 participants on the 85km distance.

More info on other riders based in the Frankfurt area is coming up soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Attractive Deutschland Tour announced

At last the three stages of the Deutschland Tour for jedermann have been officially announced. It is a very attractive trio spread over two weekends. Starting with the Mountain Challenge in Fügen (Austria) on 30 August, and followed one day later by the Raceday around Hesselberg (Bayern) the tour will end with the Skoda time trial in Bremen on 6 September - one day before the event in Hamburg.

The Mountain Challenge in Zillertal contains 3100 Hm over 120 km. That's a lot of climbing!

More info on the website.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Prestigio - GF Selle Italia: Bazhenov wins solo

CERVIA (IT) - Russian ex pro Alexandr Bazhenov of the Team ParkPre Guru has won the first Prestigio event of the 2008 season in style, finishing 2'26"ahead of Michel Chocol and 4'22" ahead of Maurizio Frigo. Bazhenov was still riding in the Italian continental team Naturino in 2006 (...). he also rode for Domina Vacanze a few years ago. Emmanuele Negrini came 9th in Cervia, and Sergio Barbero - a former Mercatone Uno rider and domestique of Pantani - crossed the line in 10th place.

The women's race saw Barbara Lancioni beating Monica Bandini and Monia Gallucci.

The next Prestigio event is the Dieci Colli Bolognesi on 1 May.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Flanders: Museeuw and Bartoli riding the 260 km!

An interesting feature of tomorrow's cyclosportive version of the Tour of Flanders will be the presence of the two greatest classics stars of the nineties: Johan Museeuw and Michele Bartoli! Museeuw is a triple winner of Flanders, while Bartoli won the race in 1996. Both ex pros have kept themselves in shape since their retirements and they will both be riding the 260 km cyclotour tomorrow.

Bartoli is leading a team of Italian cyclotourists coming over for the weekend, while Museeuw is supposed to guide one of the finalists of the Miss Sports Belgium contest. The question is: will the old vibes return and how will these antagonists react when they see each other on the road, let alone the Koppenberg :-)!

The cyclotour will see a host of famous ex pros (Van Petegem, Vanderaerden, Mattan,...) and other Belgian celebrities on the course throughout the day.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tour of Flanders: Five key points for the lay man

If you are new to the Ronde van Vlaanderen, you may be wondering what all these hills or hellingen are all about. There is indeed no event to compare the Tour of Flanders with. Paris-Roubaix has many more cobblestones but no hills worth mentioning. In Flanders, you have cobbles and climbs, and its the latter that will make your day in the saddle difficult. Below are five key points of the Tour, which you may wish to save on your hard disk for Saturday.

1) Molenberg

Fact sheet

The third climb for those who do the full distance, but the first for the majority of riders, who do the 140 km tour. The first time you come here, the Molenberg hits you totally unexpectedly. You take a sharp right off a main road and you are immediately on a narrow and steep path with cobblestones in mediocre condition. The climb is short - only 350m - but if you didn't shift to your 39x19 or smaller before the corner you are in for a surprise. In the professional race this is a standard spot for crashes.

2) Kerkgate - Mater

Fact sheet

Arguably the toughest stretch of cobblestones. 2400 metres long and false flat uphill. This one is to take in sheer power to keep a good momentum. Your hands will hurt at the end of the stretch, but the food & beverage stop in Oudenaarde is now close by.

3) Oude Kwaremont-Paterberg-Koppenberg

Fact sheet Oude Kwaremont
Fact sheet Paterberg
Fact sheet Koppenberg

These three classic climbs succeed each other very quickly, your time to recover is very limited indeed. And to make things better: these are three of the toughest cobbled climbs of all, with the Pater and the Koppenberg offering parts with a gradient of over 20%! The Koppenberg is making a re-entry in the Tour this year, following a thorough restoration of the cobblestones last winter. In the 2006 professional race, only about 20 riders managed to stay on the bike. Conquering the Koppenberg is a feat by itself. This is your real test for the day. If you get over the Koppenberg without blowing yourself up, you will tackle the following climbs with a comfortable feeling.

4) Taaienberg

Fact sheet

Always in the shadow of the Muur van Geraardsbergen and the previously mentioned climbs, the Taaienberg is nevertheless a hard nut to crack. It has a very short 15% bit in the middle that often disrupts your rhythm. The Taaienberg has become a favourite climb for Tom Boonen to launch an attack.

5) Kapelmuur

Fact sheet

This is the last really tough climb, 20 km from the finish. It is quite long with 1075 metres and an average of 9%, and it ends with a steep cobblestone stretch that leads to a chapel. This is the place were the favourites in the pro race drop their bombs. The Bosberg still follows this climb some four kilometres down the road, but if you've done the Muur you've had the worst behind you.