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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 21, 2009

Date published:
August 21, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Wegmann delays return to racing

    Fabian Wegmann (Milram)
    Article published:
    August 20, 2009, 18:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Team Milram to do without Wegmann at GP Ouest-France

    Team Milram will have to race without 29-year-old Fabian Wegmann at the Grand Prix Ouest-France, on Sunday. Ongoing shoulder and back problems, caused by a crash at the Dauphiné Libéré in June, are forcing Wegmann to postpone his return to racing after a short break following competition in the Tour de France and several post-Tour criteriums.

    "Unfortunately Fabian Wegmann can't start. Christian Kux will take his place," said Ralf Grabsch, who is currently directing the squad at the Tour du Limousin. "The loss of Fabian is very irritating. But we also have a good line-up without him and will go for a top placing."

    Wegmann also had to sit out the Vattenfall Cyclassics as a result of the back injury.

    The GP Ouest-France, a one-day ProTour race in northwest France, consists of 12 laps of a 19.1-kilometer circuit for a total distance of 229.2km. Since the race began in 1931, no German rider has won. In July 2000, the World Championships took place on the same course.

    Kux will be joined by Markus Fothen, Johannes Fröhlinger, Christian Knees, Peter Velits, Martin Velits and Peter Wrolich on the roads of France.

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  • Haussler to start for German national team again in 2010

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    August 20, 2009, 18:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Germans name three for Worlds time trial

    Heinrich Haussler changed his mind and will ride for the German national team again in 2010, the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR) announced on Thursday.  The BDR also picked its three nominees for the World Championship time trial race in Mendriso in September.

    Haussler has dual German and Australian citizenship. He had earlier indicated that he would not ride again in the future unless it was for Australia, but he said more recently that he would race again for Germany, although not this year.

    "That won't be the case in Mendrisio. After the long season, he doesn't have the necessary freshness to be in top form at the start," said BDR vice president Udo Sprenger.

    Haussler said he was looking forward to the Worlds in 2010 in Melbourne. "I would like to start in the BDR jersey in my former homeland," he said. "The course is good for me. In 2010, I will plan my season so that I can be there."

    Bert Grabsch and Tony Martin, both of Team Columbia-HTC, and Sebastian Lang of Silence-Lotto will represent the BDR in the world championship time trial on September 24. Germany may start three riders because it is the nation of defending champion Grabsch.

    "We will have a very strong trio," said Sprenger. "I am convinced that we will win a medal."

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  • Petacchi close to signing with Lampre-NGC for 2010

    Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini)
    Article published:
    August 20, 2009, 18:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian sprinter leaving LPR at the end of the season

    Alessandro Petacchi is set to ride for Lampre-NGC in 2010 after it was confirmed that he would leave LPR at the end of the current season. Petacchi admitted earlier in the week that he was in negotiations with several ProTour teams in order to guarantee his participation in the most prestigious races.

    Alex Carera, Petacchi's agent, said that his rider was close to signing a two-year deal, which will see him through until he's 38. "It's not certain that he'll sign tomorrow but I'm 90 percent confident that the deal will get done," Carera said.

    "We met with [Lampre team manager Giuseppe] Saronni at the Lampre offices near Milan yesterday, and it was obvious that there was a mutual interest in working with each other. There were just two conditions that Saronni couldn't give us guarantees on, and which need to be met if the deal is to go through. I can't say what those conditions are, but one is financial, one is technical."

    One aspect that has yet to be resolved is over Petacchi's leadout train should he join Lampre. "Obviously, with Alessandro being a sprinter, there are other riders he wants with him. That's another point we've been discussing with Saronni. Alberto Ongarato has been with Alessandro for years, and it's normal that they want to carry on working together.

    "Lorenzo Bernucci is another rider who Alessandro wants at his side. Alessandro was really impressed with the work Bernucci did for him in the early part of the season, until he was injured before the Giro. Riccardo Chiarini could also be part of the package."

    Petacchi won two stages and wore the leader's jersey for one day in this year's Giro d'Italia. However the LPR Brakes team has struggled since, with non-invitations to several important races and the recent news that Petacchi's teammate Danilo Di Luca doped during the Giro and now faces a long suspension from the sport.

    Carera also confirmed that Lampre-NGC's Damiano Cunego is "100 percent"...

  • Hushovd, Haussler to lead Cervélo in Tour of Missouri

    Heinrich Haussler (l) and Thor Hushovd chat about tactics or maybe just the weather before the start.
    Article published:
    August 20, 2009, 23:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour green jersey winner will face sprint rival Cavendish in Missouri

    Norway's Thor Hushovd, 2005 and 2009 Tour de France green jersey winner, and Germany's Heinrich Haussler, a 2009 Tour de France stage winner, head Cervélo TestTeam's roster for the third edition of the USA's Tour of Missouri.

    "It will be a sprinter's festival, I guess, and that means a fight between Thor Hushovd and Mark Cavendish," said Jean-Paul van Poppel, Cervélo Test Team directeur sportif. "We are building a strong team around Thor for this race and we hope to find a moment to beat Mark Cavendish. Thor won in the U.S. already this year in the third stage of the Tour of California. Next to Thor, we will have Heinrich Haussler for the breakaways and stages."

    Haussler is currently ranked 10th in the UCI world rankings. He has won four major races this year, including stage 13 of the Tour de France and a stage at Paris-Nice. He also finished second to Mark Cavendish in Milano-Sanremo earlier this season.

    "I'm looking forward to the Tour of Missouri because it will be my only race in the U.S. this season," said Haussler. "I have really good memories of the U.S., it is always nice to race there and I'm sure it will be a great race and a lot of fun on the bike."

    In addition to Hushovd and Haussler, Cervélo TestTeam also named USA's Ted King as part of the team. A full roster will be announced later this month.

    "It will be amazing for an American race to play host to the two top sprinters in the world following their great battle in July at the Tour de France," said Jim Birrell, the Tour of Missouri's race director, referring to the participation of Britain's Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-HTC), winner of six Tour de France stages this year. "The war they waged on the roads of France was well documented internationally. It will be very exciting for a reprise in Missouri which should see some fast and furious final sprints."

    The seven-stage Tour of Missouri begins on September 7 in St. Louis and...

  • Junior champion Durbridge to contest Murray River

    David Kemp (Fly V Australia) hits the line in third place to take the bronze medal in the championships and lies second on the GC.
    Article published:
    August 21, 2009, 0:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Field grows by 41 percent

    Newly-crowned world junior double gold medallist Luke Durbridge will ride this month’s Tour of the Murray Riveer with the Australian Institute of Sport squad. The West Australian cyclist, who won the individual road time trial and the track madison with Alex Carver in Moscow, leads a 116 strong field for the August 30 – September 6 event.

    Tour director John Craven said today he was buoyed by the quality and size of the field, up 41 per cent on 2008. “It’s great to have large numbers, but it’s even more satisfying to see such class among the ranks,” he said.

    Carver will also contest the race with the New South Wales Institute of Sport team. The duo will be up against 2009 Scody Cup series leader David Kemp. Kemp was runner-up to Robert McLachlan in the 2006 Murray Tour and was second place getter again to Leigh Howard last year.

    “I’m getting a reputation as a bit of a bridesmaid,” Kemp said. “It’s something I want to eradicate at the Murray.”

    The Elgas Tour of the Murray River began as the three-day Tour of Sunraysia in 1996. Past winners of the race include Olympic gold medallist Brett Aitken, New Zealand’s world track champion Greg Henderson, Australian open road champion Peter McDonald and Howard, who recently signed a contract with UCI trade team Columbia.

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  • No Plouay for Contador

    Most people were watching Contador as he made another post-Tour criterium appearance.
    Article published:
    August 21, 2009, 1:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour champion won't start in France due to a cold

    A cold has ruled Alberto Contador out of this weekend's GP Ouest-France, according to Europa Press.

    This year's Tour de France champion had originally been slated to ride the latest round of the ProTour, although he explained that his condition wouldn't allow him to be competitive in the event.

    "I didn't want to reappear after the Tour de France without the possibility of riding a decent race because of this cold, so I preferred not to take part and recover well," said Contador.

    The Spaniard is mindful of the time he'll need to prepare for the world championships, which take place in a little over a month in Mendrisio, Switzerland. "Now I will actually take a holiday and then ride a criterium in Belgium on September 6. From that moment I'll be assessing the possibility of preparing for the Worlds in Mendrisio," he said.

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  • Columbia-HTC has options for women’s GP Plouay assault

    Columbia - Highroad teammates Luise Keller (l) and Emilia Fahlin
    Article published:
    August 21, 2009, 5:00 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Keller, Anderson, Beltman all ready to battle

    Columbia-HTC is approaching tomorrow’s GP Plouay with a multiple pronged attack, knowing it will be a tough race. The team expects a breakaway will decide the International Cycling Union (UCI) Women’s World Cup round, which has lead to its approach for the event.

    Sports director Ronny Lauke believes his squad has the best approach to the event, "Together with Luise [Keller], Kim Anderson's win in the Route de France has really given a boost to Kim's morale, and Chantal [Beltman] is in really good form, too," said Lauke. "We've got a lot of riders in good shape, and that's the ideal way to take on Plouay."

    Keller is particularly motivated for the racing, wanting to go one position better after finishing second at last year’s race. She hopes a strong result will enable her to secure a UCI World Championship spot on the German team for next month’s race in Switzerland.

    The German national champion described the race "as hard as all the other World Cups, a real challenge. That's why it's almost always decided in a break, like last year when I got second."

    The women will contest six laps of a 19 kilometre circuit before the winner is decided. The course features a difficult climb that usually ensures a successful breakaway.

    "There are two big climbs on each circuit, one of which is really steep, about 500 metres long and with false flats after the summit. That sort of course makes it a wide-open race,” said Keller. “ The crowds at Plouay are always enormous, too, much bigger than at some other women's races, and getting that degreee of support turns it into a really special event. There's never a problem about getting motivated for Plouay."

    Columbia-HTC for GP Plouay: Kim Anderson (USA), Kate Bates (Aus), Chantal Beltman (Hol), Emilia Fahlin (Swe), Luise Keller (Ger) and Ellen Van Dijk (Hol).

  • Ballan faces last races prior to World title defence

    Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-NGC) is the World Champion.
    Article published:
    August 21, 2009, 11:48 BST
    Gregor Brown

    World Champion Alessandro Ballan on hunt for win in Plouay and Vuelta

    Alessandro Ballan is on the hunt for a second win in his World Champion jersey Sunday in France's GP Plouay and in the three-week Vuelta a España.

    "I am clearly better and I am able to say I am recovered," Italian Ballan (Lampre-NGC) told Cyclingnews.

    Ballan missed much of the spring, including the one-day Classics, due to a virus. He returned to racing in the Memorial Pantani June 6, and raced the Tour de Suisse and Italian Championships prior to the Tour de France.

    Racing at the Tour de France prepared Ballan for a stage and the overall win at the Tour de Pologne two weeks ago. It was the first time he won since he took the rainbow-coloured Worlds jersey last year in Varese, Italy.

    Ballan looks forward to this Sunday's GP Plouay, where he finished second behind Pierrick Fédrigo last year. The race is 229.2 kilometres on a 19.1-kilometre circuit, the same that was used in the 2000 Worlds.

    "It's a beautiful race and Lampre will have a good team with Santambrogio, Gasparotto, Mori. If not in France, it would be great to do well in a few stages at the Vuelta a España."

    Ballan won the mountaintop finish at La Rabassa last year and took the race leader's golden jersey. He held onto the lead for one day.

    "This year I expect to do well on some of the finishes that end with small climbs. The one to Liège could be a good one for me."

    Ballan plans on leaving the Vuelta after two weeks to be ready to defend the Worlds jersey September 27 in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Italy won the last three editions, but will have a harder time this year because it lacks Paolo Bettini, Davide Rebellin and Danilo Di Luca.

    Ballan expects director Franco Ballerini will distribute the leadership between him and cyclists who climb well.

    "Last year Cunego went very well. We have Garzelli, Basso, Nibali, who went very strong at the Tour. So in the end, we have riders and we...