Latest: Boonen/Freire in Mallorca; Casar for Langkawi; Carr killer jailed; Lombardi to Argentina; UC

Tom Boonen should carry his good form to Spain for the Challenge Mallorca, where he will face sprint

Tom Boonen should carry his good form to Spain for the Challenge Mallorca, where he will face sprint
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Boonen up against Freire in Mallorca Tom Boonen has started off his season well, winning both of his sprint duels with Alessandro Petacchi in Qatar. He will therefore go into the 16th Challenge Mallorca (Feb. 11-15) full of confidence against Oscar Freire (Rabobank), who will be one of the top sprinters there. Between them, Boonen and Freire amassed 28 victories in 2006. Boonen had the most victories (21), but Freire was able to win two stages of the Tour de France - something that Boonen couldn't do. Mallorca should provide a perfect battleground for the two to face off again. The five day race consists of separate one day stages, with an overall classification decided at the end. It differs compared to most stage races in that a rider doesn't have to finish (or even start) a given stage in order to start the next day. The first two stages are made for the sprinters, while the climbers will have their days in the sun in stages 3 and 4. The final stage between Magalluf and Palmanova is lumpy, but a bunch sprint is not out of the question. Stages Stage 1 - February 11: Palma - Palma, 100 km Stage 2 - February 12: Cala Millor - Cala Bona, 159,4 km Stage 3 - February 13: Pollena - Mirador Des Colomer, 149,6 km Stage 4 - February 14: S¢ller - Port de S¢ller, 150,6 km Stage 5 - February 15: Magalluf - Palmanova, 149,3 km Casar looking for birthday present in Langkawi Sandy Casar will lead Franaise des Jeux in the Tour de Langkawi, which starts this Friday - also the Frenchman's 28th birthday. The sixth place getter in last year's Giro d'Italia is clear about his motivation for riding in Malaysia for the first time. "I want to start racing in a hot country," he said. "In France, we have early season races that I don't really like, and I know that 1,300 kilometres of cycling in Malaysia is a better way to gear up for the new season. In March, I want to be just as good in Paris-Nice as in 2002 when I finished second. I heard Le Tour de Langkawi is a very well organised race and the stages aren't flat, which is good for me." Casar is known as a climber, having won the Route du Sud in 2005, so he should enjoy stage three in the Cameron Highlands. And although LTdL might not be his main goal for the 2007 season, he usually doesn't turn up to races just for training. That was one reason why, after finishing sixth in last year's Giro, he didn't have enough energy to do well in the Tour. As a result, he intends to skip this year's Giro and focus on the Tour de France The Franaise des Jeux squad is making its debut in Langkawi, and is one of five ProTour teams in the race. Their line up is: Sandy Casar (Fra), Tim Gudsell (NZl), Lilian Jgou (Fra), Johan Lindgren (Swe), Ian McLeod (RSA) and Fabien Patanchon (Fra). Carr killer gets five years Donald Pearce, the driver who killed top UK cyclist Zak Carr on October 17, 2005, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and sentenced to five years imprisonment. At the time of the crash, 49 year-old Pearce was driving home from the airport, having not slept since leaving Turkey the previous day. It is believed that he fell asleep at the wheel. Carr was cycling to work along the A11 near Wymondham when he was struck from behind by Pearce. He later died at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Pearce pleaded not guilty to the charge of death by dangerous driving. His five year sentence was well short of the maximum penalty of 14 years, but it was within current sentencing guidelines. Roger Geffen, the campaigns and policy manager for the Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC), the UK's largest advocacy group for cyclists, was critical of the sentence. "Despite the new Road Safety Act 2006, the sentencing framework for bad driving offences is still riddled with inconsistencies," he said. "If the driver had done exactly the same thing but by chance Zak Carr had 'merely' been maimed rather than killed, then the maximum sentence the judge could have given him would have been just two years. So it is hardly surprising that judges never seem to go anywhere near the maximum of 14 years open to them in cases such as this where someone really is killed. The Government must sort out these anomalies if sentences for dangerous drivers are to reflect the gravity of threatening other road users' lives." Lombardi on track in Argentina The recently retired Giovanni Lombardi has accepted a post as the technical director of Argentina's track program. The Italian, who was a very good track cyclist in his own right, will start at the track world's in Palma de Mallorca in two months. He will keep the position up until the 2008 Olympic Games. "It's an important assignment and I hope to give a good contribution to a country that loves the track and bike racing in general," Lombardi told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It will be a new experience, and I will throw myself into it with a great deal of enthusiasm." UCI team numbers up The number of UCI registered teams has grown significantly since last year, cycling's world governing body announced. Women's teams have jumped from 28 to 42 registered in 2007 - a 50% increase over last year's figures. New women's teams have been created in North America (four in the US and one in Canada), Central America (one in Salvador) and in Eastern Europe (two in Poland and one in Russia), as well as other countries. The number of UCI continental teams also increased from 125 to 135, an 8% rise over 2006. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
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