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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, September 14, 2012

Date published:
September 14, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Boonen pleased with pre-Worlds form

    Belgian champion Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) was a pre-race favorite at the Grand Prix de Wallonie.
    Article published:
    September 13, 2012, 13:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian caught up in GP de Wallonie finale

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) may have finished a discreet 22nd at the GP de Wallonie on Wednesday, but the Belgian champion provided a powerful cameo on the front of the race in the finale.

    “I know the region from having suffered here a lot in training and in races, and I knew that it can often be hard,” Boonen told La Dernière Heure.

    With 40 kilometres to go, as the already demanding race entered a section buffeted by crosswinds, Boonen and his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team hit the front of the peloton, and quickly split the field into five distinct echelons. With eventual winner Julien Simon caught behind, however, Saur-Sojasun managed to restore order to the bunch ahead of the run-in to Namur.

    “We wanted to go for it and make the selection,” Boonen said. “I put in a serious effort and the race broke up, but unfortunately they got back on behind afterwards. But everybody who got back on seemed pretty tired, which shows that our move had some effect.”

    The final drag to the line at the citadel in Namur seemed an ideal test site for the finale of the world championships in Valkenburg, where the finish line is just 1.5km beyond the summit of the Cauberg. Caught on the back foot as the climb began, however, Boonen was unable to make up the ground and came home in 22nd.

    “I wasn’t able to stay with the first group on the climb up to the citadel, but it wasn’t due to a lack of strength,” Boonen said. “For sure, I would have liked to have followed the best, but I got blocked just after the small bridge, right at the...

  • Cavendish loses overall lead at Tour of Britain

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) won his second straight stage at the Tour of Britain.
    Article published:
    September 13, 2012, 16:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Knaven explains Wiggins' decision to wait

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) lost the overall lead at the Tour of Britain after he came in over ten minutes down on stage 5 to Stoke as the peloton split on some demanding roads in the Peak District.

    Cavendish had stated beforehand that he had no expectations of contesting the final general classification of the race, and so it was something of a surprise when Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins opted to wait for the gold jersey when the peloton was broken up in crosswinds in the final 50 kilometres.

    Sky directeur sportif Servais Knaven said afterwards that Wiggins had been caught in no man’s land between Cavendish’s group and the leaders, and he opted to try and pace his teammate back to the front.

    “At that moment it was the point of no return. Brad was in between the two groups waiting for Cav and the gap looked shorter than it was. Brad wanted to help us defend the jersey today and did everything he could to help Cav,” Knaven said, according to the team website.

    It was a difficult day all around for Sky, as the in-form Luke Rowe also slid out of overall contention when he was dropped from the 27-man group that would eventually contest stage honours.

    “We hoped for a bit more today but it’s been a hard race up to this point and a hard season,” Knaven said. “Luke was in the front group but dropped off in the crosswinds when everybody went for it. From that point on it was not possible to come back.”

    Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare) went on to win the stage, while Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) regained the overall lead. Christian Knees is now Sky’s best-placed...

  • Teams settle on Worlds team time trial line-ups

    Article published:
    September 13, 2012, 18:28 BST
    Cycling News

    WorldTour squads name six-man teams

    With the debut of the team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships just three days away, teams are making their final choices for the six-man squads which will contest the 53.2km test.

    Nearly all of the squads have been made public, with favourites Omega Pharma-Quickstep having announced their line-up earlier.

    Movistar, winners of the Vuelta a España's opening team test in Pamplona, will not come with the same sort of power as used there. Only Jonathan Castroviejo will compete with the Worlds squad. He is joined by Andrey Amador, Iván Gutiérrez, Vladimir Karpets, Vasil Kiryienka and Rubén Plaza for an equally formidable composition.

    Rabobank will be the hometown favourites, and with a history of strong team time trial performances, including a second at Tour of Utah, they will be looking for a podium spot.

    Lars Boom, Stef Clement, Rick Flens, Robert Gesink, Wilco Kelderman and Luis León Sánchez are expected to take the start, with Tom Leezer as a reserve.

    Team director Nico Verhoeven said he knows all six are in good form. "Over the next few days we will focus on mastering technique with this team, so they ride together as a team," he said. Perfecting which order the riders will use and dialling in the details of the course are top on the agenda. "I am confident, a top five is a realistic ambition."

    Lotto-Belisol and Lampre-ISD are not as ambitious for the race. The Belgian squad is aiming for a top 10 finish with Lars Bak, Gaetan Bille, Jens Debusschere, Bart De Clercq, Adam Hansen and Jürgen Roelandts.

    Lampre will be represented by...

  • Specialized-lululemon to race TTT Worlds in support of charity

    Specialized-lululemon en route to victory in the team time trial.
    Article published:
    September 13, 2012, 20:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Team seeks pledges for Right to Play, benefiting Rwandan children

    The UCI women's squad Team Specialized-lululemon is a heavy pre-race favourite for the inaugural team time trial world championship, taking place Sunday, September 16 in Limburg, The Netherlands as the opening event at the UCI road world championships, and the German-based squad has added incentive for success via the team's support of the Right to Play charity. Specialized-lululemon has partnered with Right To Play and has pledged to raise US$100,000 for the organisation's efforts to assist children in Rwanda.

    "The money will come from prize money, a big auction that will take place after the season and now with our TTT World Championship Pledge," the team announced. "We ask you to join us in helping the children of Rwanda by agreeing to donate a small amount of money based on our result in this inaugural event."

    Specialized-lululemon's six-woman team for the 34.2km team time trial world championship, contested by trade teams, includes Charlotte Becker (Ger), Amber Neben (USA), Evelyn Stevens (USA), Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger), Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) and Trixi Worrack (Ger). The squad has been a force in team time trials this season, with its most recent victory during stage 2 of the BrainWash Ladies Tour in The Netherlands on September 5.

    In the 34km test the team beat other Worlds favourites Orica-AIS by 19 seconds and the Rabobank Women Cycling Team by 57 seconds. The team had previously won the 42.5km Open de Suède Vargarda TTT on August 17 in Sweden, part of the 2012 women's World Cup, finishing 28 seconds ahead of Orica-AIS and 1:50 in front of the Rabobank Women Cycling Team.

    Right To...

  • No Swiss for men's Worlds time trial

    Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland - style to the max
    Article published:
    September 13, 2012, 21:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Cancellara's surgery leaves hole in team

    The early end to the season of Fabian Cancellara and an injury to his time trial replacement, Martin Elmiger in the Vattenfall Cyclassics means Switzerland will head to Limburg with no rider for the elite men's time trial at the UCI road world championships.

    Cancellara decided to quit for the year and have hardware removed from the collarbone he fractured in the Tour of Flanders.

    The Swiss will still have six men for the elite men's road race, with BMC's Mathias Frank, Steve Morabito and Michael Schär making up half the team, and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) and RadioShack-Nissan riders Oliver Zaugg and Gregory Rast completing the team.

    Men's Road Race

    Michael Albasini (GreenEdge Cycling Team)
    Mathias Frank (BMC Racing Team)
    Steve Morabito (BMC Racing Team)
    Gregory Rast (RadioShack-Nissan Trek)
    Michael Schär (BMC Racing Team)
    Oliver Zaugg (RadioShack-Nissan Trek)

    Women's Time Trial

    Patricia Schwager (Forno d’Asolo Colavita)

    Women's Road Race

    Jennifer Hohl (Faren Honda Team)
    Patricia Schwager (Forno d’Asolo Colavita)
    Doris Schweizer (Fassa Bortolo - Servetto)

    U23 Men's Time Trial

    Gabriel Chavanne (RSC Aaretal Münsingen)
    Silvan Dillier (EKZ Racing Team)

    U23 Men's Road Race

    Marcel Aregger (ATLAS PERSONAL-JAKROO)
    Gabriel Chavanne (RSC Aaretal Münsingen)
    Silvan Dillier (EKZ Racing Team)

    Junior Men Time Trial

    Tom Bohli (Tower Sports VC Eschenbach)
    Lukas Spengler (RRC Diessenhofen)

    Junior Men Road...

  • Lance Armstrong continues to compete despite ban

    Wobbling across on a fully flatted rear, Lance Armstrong crossed the line in first, a new record of 6:28 at the 2009 Leadville.
    Article published:
    September 13, 2012, 22:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Leadville 100 qualifier in Crested Butte welcomes embattled rider

    Nearly one month on from being banned from any sanctioned events for life, Lance Armstrong is preparing to race again this weekend at the Alpine Odyssey in Crested Butte, Colorado. The race is a qualifier for the Leadville 100, a race Armstrong won in 2009 and is expected to compete in again in 2013.

    Armstrong was given a life ban and was stripped of all of his professional cycling results since August 1, 1998 after refusing to fight charges by the US Anti-Doping Agency, which accused him of doping to win his seven Tours de France and engaging in a widespread doping conspiracy with his team manager Johan Bruyneel and team doctors and trainers.

    He has been banned from participating in the Ironman triathlons and the Chicago Marathon, as both types of events are run under federations which are signatories to the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

    Because the Leadville Race Series is not sanctioned by any such federation, race organiser Karen Jayne Leinberger of Life Time Fitness sees no problem with his participation, but denied statements from someone she called "a race volunteer" that Armstrong was invited to get more press coverage and boost the race's image.

    "From the Leadville Race Series perspective, Lance - just like any other participant who registers for one of our events - is welcome at any time. You see, our organization is passionate about promoting cycling and hosting great events to further the sport. Is this event sanctioned? No. Many of our Leadville Race Series events are not. In fact,...

  • Tanner and Wagner make the move to Rabobank

    David Tanner (Saxo Bank - Tinkoff) crosses the line at the end of Eneco Tour's stage 7
    Article published:
    September 14, 2012, 2:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch team building sprint train around Bos and Renshaw

    Australian David Tanner will leave his current Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank team at the end of this season, lining-up next year in the Dutch colours of the Rabobank outfit. Tanner has spent the past two seasons with Riis’s Saxo Bank team and has been a key member for the team’s sprinters while also proving a worthy rider in the tougher one-day races. Tanner is currently preparing for his UCI Road World’s debut for the Australian national team.

    "My most important role will be supporting the sprinters, Theo Bos and Mark Renshaw," said Tanner. "At Saxo Bank I filled the lead-out role for Cooke, Haedo, and Cantwell. It’ll be nice to take that up to the next level."

    Having recently completed his final World’s preparation at the Canadian WorldTour rounds at Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montréal, Tanner showed his strength, finishing inside the top-20 and also being the first Saxo Bank - Tinkoff rider across the finish line in Québec.

    "Those races suit me, I always feel good there. I can serve the team well there, but the most important thing is the lead-out train. I’ve spoken to Mark and Theo and I’m excited to get going. All in all, Rabobank is a very good team, I am happy to be here and to take things to the next level," Tanner told

  • Dutch have home advantage at World Championships says Van Vliet

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) pushes to the line
    Article published:
    September 14, 2012, 3:43 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Q & A with national team coach on Valkenburg course

    Dutch national coach and Amstel Gold Race director, Leo Van Vliet, knows Limburg’s roads and hills better than anyone. He admits there’s extra pressure on him and the Dutch team at the upcoming World Championships but believes the home advantage will boost their chances of taking a first men’s world title since Joop Zoetemelk won in 1985.

    Peter Cossins: This must be an extra-special World Championship for you given the tightness of your links to this region?

    Leo Van Vliet: It’s going to be magical. My family took over a small hotel near the Cauberg when I was 12 years old and I could be riding up it in less than 10 minutes. In the ’70s I can remember going there to watch the Dutch championship with the likes of Zoetemelk taking part. I also won the Olympia Tour when it passed over the Cauberg and was part of the ’79 Dutch team in Valkenburg when Jan Raas took the title. For me, the Cauberg is such a monument.

    PC: The race doesn’t finish at the top of the Cauberg but more than a kilometre beyond it. Will that make a difference?

    LVV: I’m sure it will because Amstel’s finish on top of the Cauberg is more for puncheurs, such as Philippe Gilbert. There are likely to be more riders in contention at the finish of the Worlds. The course will still suit the riders who contend in the Ardennes Classics, because the initial 100km are tough and so is the circuit. Plus, the pace will be very fast. The weather could also make a difference as we saw back in 1998, when it was very wet and made it a much tougher race.

    PC: What does your experience as Amstel race director tell you about the Worlds?

    LVV: From my position in the organiser’s car at the front of the race I can see that every year...