- Article published:
- August 19, 2010, 19:48
- Kirsten Frattini
Updated: "Nothing broken", team says
George Hincapie (BMC Racing) crashed out of stage two of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Wednesday. The US Pro Road Champion went down midway through the 125-kilometre stage from Thanksgiving Point to the top of Mt. Nebo and was transported by a rescue squad to a nearby hospital to receive medical attention.
BMC's press agent Sean Weide confirmed that Hincapie was cleared of any broken bones, and will be looked over by the team physician Max Testa before a report is issued on the extent of his injuries. Weide said that Hincapie was conscious and alert when he described hitting some gravel on a twisty section of the course and crashing.
Hincapie was using the six-stage race to prepare for bigger events down the road. He is targeting strong performances at the two ProTour races held on September 10 in Quebec City and September 12 in Montreal along with the defense of the stars and stripes jersey in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina on September 18-19.
Cyclingnews spoke to Hincapie this morning about how he came to the decision to race in Utah, a race in which he had previously never competed.
"We had a break between the Tour de France and the Canadian races and I didn't really want to go back over to Europe to get a couple of races in. This seemed like a good time to race two and half weeks after the Tour de France, to try to get some fitness for the Canadian ProTour races and the National Championships," Hincapie said before the start of stage two at the Tour of Utah.
Hincapie was competing in the Tour of Utah in support of his teammate and former overall winner Jeff Louder and prologue specialist Brent Bookwalter.
"This race is great and it's always nice to do a race in the United States," Hincapie said. "It seems like this race has been growing every year with tough courses, at altitude and it is definitely not an easy race, it's a difficult race. I hope that I can help the guys out like Brent and Jeff in the overall.
"We've done a couple of functions for the team and people have been very enthusiastic about our team being here and we love supporting races in the US."
Hincapie was one of the highlights for the fans at the opening prologue on Tuesday. He rode the 4.48km time trial in a time of 6:18, good enough for eight place. The race took a turn up toward the mountains in stage one where he placed eighth yesterday.
"The prologue was the first time that I rode hard since the Tour de France and that hurt like hell," Hincapie said this morning.
Provided he is not seriously injured, Hincapie will follow the Tour of Utah with a trip up to the province of Quebec in Canada to participate in the first two ProTour races to hit North America at the Quebec City and Montreal Grand Prix.
Both circuits hold prominent history in Canadian professional racing with the circuit in Quebec City a version of the Canadian National Championships and a stage of the Tour de Beauce. The Montreal course is a similar version to a former World Cup for men held in the 1980s-90s.
"I haven't raced on those courses before, I have heard a lot about them but I have no personal experiences with them," Hincapie said. "I need to study up on them when I get back from this race. They are important for me, and it is ProTour for the team and we are always looking for points. Being able to race in North America at such a big venue and that is special."
Hincapie will likely end his season at the US Pro Road Championships held in Greenville, South Carolina on September 18-19.
"I'm excited about racing in my home town again and I'm excited about having a team this year for the first time ever," Hincapie said. "It would be great if I could win again but I would be just as happy if one of my guys is able to win because it would be nice if we could keep the jersey in the team."
When asked if he has given thought to how many more years he will compete in professional road cycling, Hincapie said. "I think one more year and then probably that's it after that. I've been doing this for a long time and I want to spend more time with my family."
- Article published:
- August 19, 2010, 21:45
- Cycling News
Italian team re-signs 14 riders
Liquigas-Doimo announced today that it has extended the contracts of 14 current riders, putting the squad at 21 members for the 2011 season so far. Included in the list are Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali who have committed through 2012.
While Romain Kreuziger has departed for the Astana team, Liquigas had already re-signed young stand-out Peter Sagan and his brother Juraj, who joined the team in August from Team Albert Bigot 79, for the next two seasons.
"We want to give continuity to a team which has proven to be competitive everywhere this season," said team manager Roberto Amadio. "We are looking toward to the future: it was essential to confirm the nucleus of young riders. It's not a gamble but a philosophy in which we believe deeply. The results are giving us reason and with a group of experienced and reliable riders we believe we can stay at the top of Italian and world cycling."
The team confirmed that the following under-25 riders have renewed: Italians Daniel Oss (contract until 2012), Jacopo Guarnieri (2012), Valerio Agnoli (2012), David Cimolai (2012), Mauro Finetto (2011), Fabio Sabatini (2012) and Elia Viviani (2012), Slovenia's Kristjan Koren (2012), Poles Maciej Bodnar (2012) and Maciej Paterski (2011).
In addition, four veterans will remain with the team: Poland's Sylwester Szmyd (contract until 2012) and Italians Alessandro Vanotti (2012), Francesco Bellotti (2011) and Tiziano Dall'Antonia (2011).
Joining the team for 2011 will be Paolo Borghini Longho (ISD - Neri), Eros Capecchi (Footon-Servetto), Cristiano Salerno (De Rosa - Stac Plastic) and Damiano Caruso (De Rosa - Stac Plastic).
- Article published:
- August 20, 2010, 03:22
- Kirsten Frattini
19-year-old headed for Trek-Livestrong in 2011
Ian Boswell (Bissell) was the closest domestic rider to challenging current and former Grand Tour riders Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) and Francisco Mancebo (Canyon Bicycles) on the mountaintop finish at the end of Tour of Utah Stage 2. At just 19 years old, Boswell placed third on the stage, but it didn’t come without a fight to the line atop Mt. Nebo.
Leipheimer won the stage by a 51-second margin ahead of a sprint between Mancebo and Boswell for second place, which the Spaniard won. “Looking back, it makes my result more worthy because I was up against those guys,” Boswell said. “But racing out there, whether it was Levi or a domestic rider, a race is a race and it didn’t make me any more motivated to try to win. I was riding the best race that I could regardless of who was there.”
Boswell turned heads at last year’s Nevada City Classic when he latched on to now teammate Ben Jacques-Maynes, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and Leipheimer as they lapped the field. He was 18 years old and won the junior category just prior to entering the Pro 1-2 men’s race.
“When they lapped the field there was a reduced group and when they passed the field Ian was able to hang on to them,” said Bissell’s directeur sportif Glen Mitchell. “Ben remembered him as a 6’3”, 18-year-old kid hanging on the back of two Tour de France riders. It stuck in Ben’s mind.
“When we were looking to fill a development slot on the team his name came up,” he added. “We spoke with him and saw that he was a great kid, polite and has great talent.”
Boswell spent the first portion of 2010 competing in Europe with the USA Under 23 National Team. A knee injury kept him from competing at the Mount Hood Cycling Classic with his new Bissell squad. He returned to racing at the Nevada City Classic and won as a first-year Under 23 rider up against a professional men’s peloton.
“Since then he has been going better and better,” Mitchell said. “We knew he was climbing well there but to see what he did today in Utah was phenomenal and we are very excited for him.
“I don’t think anyone would have known he was such a climber,” he added. “We did our research on him but it is hard because he is so young. When you look at him you can see that he is definitely a climber. He was exposed to some good races in Europe this spring. The ride he did today in Utah really puts him on the map.”
Boswell has committed to the Under 23 Trek-Livestrong team for the 2011 season. The team is affectionately known as the younger brother of ProTour squad Team RadioShack.
“It was great that we had him for a year but he has been on the radar of these other teams,” Mitchell said. “Trek-Livestrong is the best Under 23 team in the world so it was a hard decision for him to make, but we understand why he has gone to a team like that and we wish him all the best.”
- Article published:
- August 20, 2010, 05:54
- Cycling News
18 stitches sidelines rider for 10 days
BMC Racing Team’s doctor has said it’s too early to determine whether a crash on the Tour of Utah’s Stage two will damage the hopes of George Hincapie’s USPro title defense. Dr. Max Testa said the rider would be off the bike for at least 10 days as a wound that required 18 stitches heals.
The USPro Championships take place in Hincapie’s hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, in just four weeks time. Hincapie’s crash occurred when he swerved to avoid another rider on a flat, twisting section of road.
"I rode into a bit of gravel and my front wheel went out," Hincapie said. "Crashing is never a good thing. I'm definitely concerned with my knee and how much time I'm going to have to take off the bike. It's not a good time for that."
Hincapie told Cyclingnews prior to the stage that he’d like to continue racing for another 12 months before retiring. It would mean the US jersey would be on show in the peloton next year if he successfully defends his title.
"We'll monitor him closely [over] the next 24 hours and then make a plan for his recovery," Dr. Testa said. "We can't make a determination yet whether he'll be able to defend his title."
BMC Racing Team’s sport director John Lelangue said that his rider didn’t break any bones in the crash was the most important thing. "We'll see how it goes in the coming days and if he has the possibility to race the two ProTour races in Canada, just to get him two more racing days and more training," Lelangue said. "I hope to see him at 100 percent for nationals because it's a special race, he's the defending champion and he's at home."
- Article published:
- August 20, 2010, 09:24
- Cycling News
A round-up of rider transfers and interviews with Farrar and Armitstead
Hello to all our faithful podcast listeners. As the Tour de France becomes just a distant memory, Benson and Jones are back with another action-packed podcast, rounding up the latest from the world of professional cycling.
This week, we discuss the Vattenfall Classic, and catch up with double-winner Tyler-Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) as he builds towards the Vuelta and world championships later this year. The American sprinter also talks about his year so far and the changes in team that have given him a leadout train for the first time in his career.
We also delve into the world of transfers, rounding up the biggest movers and shakers, include Alberto Contador, the Schlecks, Matti Breschel and Andre Greipel. While some moves have been welcomed others have been looked at with some scepticism, as Stefan Schumacher and Riccardo Riccò find new homes in the sport.
Finally we catch up with Cervelo’s Lizzie Armitstead who won the final stage and the white jersey in the Route de France. The Briton finished in the top-ten on every stage and is becoming one of the most feared riders on the women’s circuit.
You can subscribe to the podcasts via iTunes (or just go to iTunes and search for 'cyclingnews') or via this XML feed: http://video.cycling news.com/podcasts/cn_podcast.x ml
- Article published:
- August 20, 2010, 10:03
- Daniel Benson
Breukink wishes Russian all the best after six years together
Erik Breukink has wished Denis Menchov all the best for the future after the Russian stage race rider left Rabobank after six years with the Dutch squad. Menchov will ride for the new Geox team with Carlos Sastre, but Breukink, is confident that Rabobank will continue to perform well in major Tours with the likes of talented young riders Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema.
“Denis leaving us is not that unexpected,” Breukink told Cyclingnews.
“We knew for some time that it was a possibility so when it came it wasn’t a big surprise. We had him for six years and he had some great results with us and signed off with a great Tour. If you look at the history books he’s the best Grand Tour rider we’ve had.”
Menchov joined the team in 2005 and while the likes of Michael Boogerd, Peter Luttenburger, Levi Leipheimer all faltered in major Tours while with Rabobank, the mercurial Russian went on to win two editions of the Vuelta, one Giro d’Italia, and twice finish on the Tour de France podium in 2008 and 2010.
A change in direction suited both Rabobank and Menchov. The 32-year-old Russian receiving a substantial offer from Geox, while Rabobank has decided it is time to put their faith behind home-grown talents, Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema. Gesink finished sixth in this year’s Tour, while Mollema has made steady progress, finishing 12th in this year’s Giro.
“For our future we have riders like Gesink and Mollema and some very talented young riders coming through. Denis is of that age where for him it’s an opportunity he has to take. It works for both parties and there are no hard feelings. We’re happy with him and what he did for us,” said Breukink.
“He was the most successful Grand Tour rider we had. He did some really special things for us. He was happy here though; otherwise he wouldn’t not have stayed with us for us long.”
Despite a reshuffle in the team, Breukink isn’t about to put pressure on Gesink, who at just 24 is the best stage race hopeful the Dutch have had for many years.
“You don’t put pressure on a guy like Gesink,” Breukink insisted. “He’s developing and he’s shown that he can go well in the Tour de France and we’ll keep on working with him. He puts enough pressure himself so there’s no need in us doing that for him. He’s a really ambitious rider and he’ll grow a little bit more.”
With the transfer market at its most active for many years, Rabobank are still looking to strength their line-up for next year. The team has already signed Classics specialist Matti Breschel, while a number of riders could follow Menchov and go in the opposite direction.
“We’re still looking on the market and there’s s lot of things going on. What we want is to make a strong overall team. You can’t do it with just Gesink and Mollema you need strong riders around them,” said Breukink.
One rider that has been linked with the team since the Tour de France is Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez. It was rumoured that he’d signed a contract with Rabobank as early as the first rest day in the Tour but is also under pressure to stay in Spain after Caisse d’Epargne announced Movistar as the team’s new sponsor. Breukink insisted that no announcement should be expected soon.
“He’s a very good rider but there’ nothing official to announce now. There’s no more to say on that topic for now. We’ve had negotiations with lots of riders and he’s one of the riders we’ve talked to but we talk to a lot of riders.”
Menchov and Sanchez are expected to clash at the Vuelta a España, which begins in Seville on August 28. The Spanish Grand Tour will be Menchov's last major race with Rabobank.
- Article published:
- August 20, 2010, 11:36
- Daniel Benson
Garmin-Transitions rider talks about his emotional comeback from Tour de France crash
Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions) will be at the start of next week’s Vuelta a España but has revealed to Cyclingnews that he almost quit the sport after he crashed out of this year’s Tour de France.
Vande Velde crashed during stage two of Tour de France from Brussels to Spa in Belgium, the day a huge number of riders crashed on the descent of the Stockeu and the peloton waited for the Schleck brothers and finished all together in protest. Vande Velde was unable to make it back to the peloton after fracturing several ribs and suffering a nasty cut above his left eye, finishing ten minutes down.
He failed to start the next stage and returned home to his family in Spain. After a few weeks of training and a call from directeur sportif, Matt White, he was persuaded to return to Europe for the final grand Tour of the season. However he admits it has not been easy.
“I almost didn’t get on the plane to come over here in all honestly. I was feeling pretty bad again last week. But White called and told me to get on the plane and it’s been an enjoyable experience so far,” Vande Velde told Cyclingnews.
Vande Velde’s recovery involved three weeks of full rest and he didn’t even look at his bike until the day before his teammates reached the Champs Elysees in Paris. His training has been moderate and although he admits he won’t be a GC threat at the Vuelta, he would like to play a part, especially with the race starting with a team time trial in Seville.
“I’d be lying if I said the team time trial wasn’t a factor, although I don’t know how much help I can be. I need to get through the Vuelta but I’m not just doing it to ride my bike or for training. I’m there to support my teammates and when I have good enough form, go for stage wins.
“I truly gave myself a lot of time to recover. I’m still a bit tight, taking transatlantic flights with four broken ribs isn’t always the best thing but it’s much better. I’m definitely undercooked but I really want to get this race under my belt, go into the winter with a Grand Tour in my legs and have some fun racing again.
“I’m not in horrible shape but I’m nowhere near having the fitness to go in there with high aspirations. I did my first five hour ride since the Tour yesterday. That says it all.”
Two tough seasons
Vande Velde has suffered horrendous luck in the last two seasons. He crashed out of the 2009 Giro and only just made it back to form for the Tour, where he finished in the top ten. A crash at the Tour of Missouri ended his 2009 season, while his 2010 campaign got off to a nightmare start when he was forced to abandon the Giro in the first week for a second successive season.
However it was this year’s Tour setback that had the biggest effect on him.
“In a weird way I was fine for the first few days. So much shit had happened in the last year, so I was just thinking, well what else can happen? I was just going home and wasn’t worried about anything. I was almost euphoric about going home and seeing my family and not having any stress.
“Then reality set in and I realised how hard I’d worked all year and then I was down for a while. It was a big roller coaster for the next two weeks.”
After a brief stop in Spain he swiftly packed his bags and took his family from their European base in Girona back to the US, where he was moving house. Without television or internet for over a week he was able to switch off from racing and reassess his year and his future.
“I had to get out of Spain because I was constantly reminded of the Tour and people were asking me questions and giving me pity. I left as soon as I could. It was great, I didn’t know what was going on in the race, I never would think having no television or internet in this day and age would be nice but I really enjoyed being away from it all.”
Once back in the US and with just his family around him, Vande Velde was able to reflect on his setbacks and plot a path back to form. However it wasn’t easy and at a number of times he even contemplated quitting the sport.
“When you are this beat up all the time you have to use so much motivation all the time and that’s what sucks the life out of you,” he admitted.
“You go from the physio, to the osteopath, from x-ray to x-ray, it’s just hard to regain your motivation. I had all this doubt and didn’t want to ride through pain.
“Seeing my wife and kids, and seeing my daughter look at me, looking at my scars, and you have a lot of doubt and you don’t want to be hurt anymore or see their faces or disappointment. That’s what really cut through everything. I can take the pain and discomfort it’s more seeing your loved ones, not sad, but scared for you. That was pretty hard to take.”
In the end it was the support of his wife that helped him through, while the call from White gave him that extra push to return.
“I came pretty close to hanging up the wheels, very close a couple of times. It was more my wife talking me back into it and saying that I shouldn’t go out like this and have second doubts for the rest of your life. I agreed with her but I’m glad I got that push from White.”
How Vande Velde performs at the Vuelta is an unknown. The lack of racing miles should not hold him back but more likely to be a factor will be his luck. With a long break from racing and no pressure to perform, he could have the perfect atmosphere to get him through three weeks of racing. He certainly isn’t lacking motivation.
“I’m always motivated. I just want to be on the top of my game and enjoy the sport that I love. If you’re willing and able and have the opportunity then you should take it and get back on the bike.”
And as for the future, the American has already pinpointed a place and time when he’d like to say goodbye to the sport on his terms.
“I’d love to make the Olympic team in 2012 and finish there. For now, though, I want to concentrate on this team and see it succeed. It’s been a lot of work and I want to be a part of it either if it’s me or anyone else having success. I love seeing the younger guys coming up and having success. It’s great to watch.”
- Article published:
- August 20, 2010, 15:04
- Cycling News
Spin doctor Mark Fabiani hired to fight leaks in doping investigation
Lance Armstrong has reportedly boosted his defence team as the Federal investigation into alleged doping accusations at the US Postal Service team continues. According to reports on ESPN.com, veteran legal and media strategist Mark Fabiani has been advising Armstrong and his lawyers since July.
The Los Angeles Attorney's office is investigating allegations by former teammate Floyd Landis that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs during his career and specifically when he was team leader at the US Postal Service team.
Jeff Novitzky, an agent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who was part of the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO) investigation into doping in sports including baseball and track and field, is the lead investigator. Armstrong has denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs and has never failed an anti-doping test during his long career.
The 53-year-old Fabiani is a former White House special counsel who specialises in helping steer troubled politicians, companies and organizations in moments of crisis. He represented former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Whitewater scandal, with Newsweek magazine going on to call him the ‘Master of Disaster' for his ability to defend his clients in the most difficult moments.
Fabiani served as deputy campaign manager for Al Gore during the 2000 presidential election and more recently worked with the Goldman Sachs investment bank as they faced a grilling by congressional committees about their part in the sub-prime loan crisis.
In an e-mail to ESPN.com journalist Bonnie Ford, Fabiani said: "We're prepared to deal forthrightly with the improper and misleading leaks that so far have unfortunately characterized this unfair, Floyd Landis-inspired inquiry."
He then repeated a claim already made by Lance Armstrong, calling into question if it is right to spend taxpayers' money on the investigation: "With salmonella causing the recall of 380 million eggs, I'm probably not the only one wondering right now why the FDA is spending its resources looking into international bicycle races that occurred years ago," Fabiani said in an e-mail to Bloomberg.