NewsWire: Eddy Merckx charged in corruption case, Fan threatens to tack Flanders

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  • Published Mar. 27, 2012
2010 Tour de France, stage 1. Eddy Merckx

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.

Eddy Merckx charged in corruption case — La Dernière Heure

Eddy Merckx has been indicted in a corruption case related to the ordering of several dozen bikes from the Eddy Merckx brand by Anderlecht commissioner Philippe Boucar.

Boucar is alleged to have benefited in 2006 and 2007 from the manufacturer Eddy Merckx Cycles by prematurely informing Merckx of the existence of the city’s wish to procure 48 bicycles, and by providing for Merckx the bids submitted by competing companies. Boucar is suspected of having received a Merckx carbon bike well below retail price as part of the deal.

The indictment was delayed to allow Merckx to receive the Legion of Honor award from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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Fan threatens to tack Flanders course — Gazet Van Antwerpen

The new finale to be used in this weekend’s Tour of Flanders continues to stir up controversy in cycling-mad Belgium. The decision to remove the Geraardsbergen after 38 years has left many Flanders fans extremely angry, and the mayor of finish town Oudenaarde has received a letter from one such fan threatening to spread tacks on the course.

“Three lines only. Based on the font, it was clearly typed on an old typewriter. [The letter was] from someone who loves the Tour,” Marnic De Meulemeester said. “That explains the letter writer anyway: a person who is not at peace with the thorough changing of the course. The threat? Nails on the course.”

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Oddsmakers still have confidence in Gilbert — Gazet Van Antwerpen

Philippe Gilbert may have counted himself out of Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, but the oddsmakers certainly have not. Though Cancellara and Boonen are the clear favorites, Unibet and Bwin both have Gilbert in third, followed by Peter Sagan.

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Gesink to make comeback at Amstel Gold — NUSport

After months of a recovery from a broken leg in September, Robert Gesink plans to return to the front of the peloton at the Amstel Gold Race on April 15th. Gesink has started a handful of Spanish stage races this spring, but the Dutchman hopes to make a triumphant return after a difficult 2011 campaign in Maastricht next month.

“I’m going all-in for the Amstel Gold Race,” said the 25-year-old Rabobank rider. “I want to improve my result over last year.” Gesink finished  ninth on the Cauberg in 2011.

Besides Gesink, Rabobank is planning to send Bauke Mollema, Steven Kruijswijk, Lars Boom, Matti Breschel, Bram Tankink and Paul Martens to the start of the team’s home classic.

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