- Article published:
- September 20, 2012, 18:10
- Daniel Benson
Australian confirms he will leave Garmin-Sharp at the end of the season
Heinrich Haussler (Australia) will ride this year’s elite men's world championship road race in support of teammate and leader Simon Gerrans. Haussler, who confirmed that this will be his last season at Garmin-Sharp, arrived in Valkenburg late Wednesday night, and after a light training session on the race course spoke to Cyclingnews.
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens at the weekend because a lot will depend on the weather. You’re not going to have a 30-man bunch sprint but if the wind picks up then the race could change,” he predicted to Cyclingnews.
Australia comes into the Worlds with a depleted squad in terms of experience and Gerrans appears to be the team’s best chance of success. Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers, Matthew Goss and Stuart O’Grady are all missing through injury, illness and non selection. It means Haussler, who led out Goss last year in the chaotic sprint in Copenhagen, will have a key role to play over the 267km course.
Despite not picking up a win in 2012 – he has recorded five second places – Haussler’s form has improved in the second half of the season. The 28-year-old was seventh in the Cyclassics Hamburg and third in the GP Plouay-Ouest France, results which improved his ranking in the UCI WorldTour significantly.
“My form is getting better and better, and every week since Hamburg I’ve been improving and feeling stronger,” he told Cyclingnews.
With Gerrans in high form, and racing a circuit that suits his punchy characteristics, Haussler is adamant that Australia’s best chances for a medal rest on the shoulders of this year’s Milan-San Remo winner. Australia has form in recent worlds too. Cadel Evans won the title in 2009; Allan Davis made the podium in 2010, while Goss was third last year in Copenhagen.
“We’ve not talked about team tactics but it’s not a secret that Gerrans is absolutely, flying at the moment and the way he’s riding is unbelievable. He’s the main guy. We’re pretty much all here for one person and that’s how we have to ride.”
Haussler would not be drawn on his future after Garmin-Sharp, only revealing that he is set to announce his team for 2013 in the coming days.
Australian road Worlds team: Simon Clarke, Allan Davis, Simon Gerrans and Wesley Sulzberger (Orica-GreenEdge), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Sharp), Michael Matthews (Rabobank), Richie Porte (Team Sky) and David Tanner (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff).
- Article published:
- September 20, 2012, 20:11
- Cycling News
Boonen, Gilbert, Contador, Nibali and Gesink get ready for Sunday
Several national teams took advantage of a day without racing at the UCI Road World Championships to train on the road race course and check out the crucial Cauberg climb that is expected to play a huge role in deciding who pulls on the rainbow jerseys.
Americans Tejay Van Garderen and Taylor Phinney used their ride to recover from the efforts of the time trial, while other teams spent several hours in the saddle.
Italian national coach and two-time former world champion Paolo Bettini rolled out with the Italian team for several laps of the course after posing for an official team photo. He discussed tactics with road captain Luca Paolini and key riders in the squadra azzura: Vincenzo Nibali, Moreno Moser and Diego Ulissi.
Alberto Contador tried to put the disappointment of Wednesday’s time trial behind and pulled on the red and yellow Spanish kit for a recovery ride along with teammate Alejandro Valverde –one of the favourites thanks to his climbing ability and fast finish.
Thousands of Belgian cycling fans are expected to cross over into the Netherlands to cheer on Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert on Sunday. Both riders are on form and give the Belgian team a formidable array of tactical options. Both looked relaxed and confident during the ride, with Boonen stopping to say hello to Paolo Bettini after the Italian switched to a scooter to follow his riders.
All the teams enjoyed the sunny and dry conditions in Limburg on Thursday, perhaps knowing that showers are expected for Sunday’s elite men's road race.
- Article published:
- September 20, 2012, 21:30
- Barry Ryan
Advisor lauds German’s defence of world title
There were two conflicting schools of thought as to what constituted the best preparation for the men’s time trial at the road world championships in Valkenburg, but the final result vindicated those who felt that lining up in the team time trial three days beforehand was the right approach.
While eventual winner Tony Martin (Germany) was always keen to ride for Omega Pharma-QuickStep in the team event, his technical advisor Rolf Aldag admitted that he had himself initially doubted the wisdom of tackling the team time trial Worlds so soon before he put his individual rainbow jersey on the line.
“I think it was a help, as it was great to do that effort beforehand,” Aldag told Cyclingnews. As well as offering Martin an opportunity to reconnoitre the Cauberg and the demanding finale of the time trial course at race pace, Aldag said that there was physiological reasoning behind racing on the Sunday.
“At first, us guys who were not too familiar with training were like, ‘ah, is that smart to do such a hard ride?’ but the trainer [Koen Pelgrim – ed.] said that it was the best thing to do. You have to do a hard effort in those days beforehand anyway, so he felt he should absolutely do it. That way, Tony learnt about the course and had his effort, plus when you do it in a team time trial, it’s not as hard as in an individual time trial.”
With Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s victory in the team event, Martin has now won two world titles in the space of four days, while Taylor Phinney (BMC and USA) comes away with two silver medals. Bronze medallist Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus and Movistar) also lined up on Sunday, as did BMC’s Tejay van Garderen, who finished fourth in the individual event.
By contrast, Alberto Contador (Spain) and Fredrik Kessiakoff (Sweden) – who performed strongly in the Vuelta a España time trial but opted to skip the Worlds team time trial to complete their preparation for the individual event – each fell short in Valkenburg.
“Tony’s really a team player and he always wanted to do the team time trial,” Aldag said. “There was never a chance that he would miss it for his own chances. Not in a million years would he do that. He would probably do it the other way around and risk his own success for the team’s success. If it needed an extra pull, then he’d do that extra pull.”
After crash-blighted opening half of the season, Martin recovered to take silver in the Olympic Games time trial in London in August, but Aldag believed that it was important for him to end his campaign on a high note in order to assuage lingering doubts as he faces into the winter.
“It was very important for him to have a really good end to the season,” Aldag said. “He had so many ups and downs over the year, but nobody cares afterwards about crashes and injuries afterwards – you just win or lose.
“It would have been difficult for him to get through the winter if he hadn’t won. I mean, second in the Olympics was brilliant, no question, he really won silver, but it was still silver and not gold, and there was a reason for that. So I think for him it was really important to say that he had defended his title here.”
- Article published:
- September 20, 2012, 22:00
- Cycling News
Junior congress held in conjunction with world championships
For the second year running, the UCI held a congress for all junior riders taking part in the UCI Road World Championships with the goal of introducing the world of racing at an amateur level and beyond.
Entitled "No Stress",two hours long and translated into six languages, the conference consisted of a series of informal chats between a presenter and representatives of different areas of the sport.
First up was commissaires, who revealed - amongst other things - that the most commonly broken rule in a race was defacing a race number (by cutting it out). Drafting behind vehicles is the most frequently misunderstood rule.
What followed was presentation of the media's role in the sport featuring Jacky Durand, after which came a section on frame construction. Curiously enough, in a vote amongst the audience, "safety" figured well below "comfort" and "weight" in their list of priorities when valuing a bike frame.
Rather dishearteningly, in the next section, was an introduction to the anti-doping fight under the title of "Prevention". When asked for reasons for taking nutritional supplements, only 31 percent of those who took part in an informal vote opted for stating simply: "I don't need them anyway."
The high point of the evening though, was the presence of Mark Cavendish and Marianne Vos, both of whom provided reams of advice about the juniors step up into the next category. They also discussed how to tackle the upcoming world championships races.
"Don't do a lot of different things [at the world championships], follow your normal training plans," said Vos. "Just do like you normally do, and race with pride and courage, and don't think of it as being any different or the pressure will be higher."
"It's a big, big honour to race there and do your country proud," Cavendish said, "and if you've got a good leader, people will never forget you helped them win a world championships."
"But like Marianne said, don't change. It's a bike race, even if you could get a jersey and a medal at the end of it."
Cavendish then warned the juniors present that the transition to amateur ranks was by no means easy, saying, "just don't take it for granted. It's a big difference, there's a whole different style of racing, you can be racing against amateurs who are in their thirties."
"There's a big gap between junior and professional, and that's what amateur is. Like the Italian word for amateur, dilettante, suggests, it's a time of aspiring to that higher category.. But compared to juniors, amateur level is almost like another sport."
Cavendish said the hardest thing for him about switching to amateur had been adapting to the distances and the intensity of the higher level of racing. As a junior, it was more "just like a hobby," whereas in the higher category "you have to teach your body to resist a pounding for a few days. It's a higher workload, you're training longer."
It was almost inevitable that someone would ask him how he maintained himself at the top of the sprinting hierachy. Both Cavendish and Vos agreed the only solution for continued success was, as Cavendish put it, "never to sit back and admire what you've done. It's so easy just to settle for what you've done. It's the biggest mistake anyone can make, not just in sport."
"I know some pros, they were very good and won their first big race and then they were never the same again."
"Instead it's better to keep setting targets, always strive for more. You always need to keep pushing."
Speaking just three days before he has to defend to his 2011 world champion's jersey, Cavendish said, "It's been incredible to wear it for a year, and I've wanted to do it proud and prove why I've been worthy of it. It's been something that's inspired me."
- World championships
- Article published:
- September 20, 2012, 23:21
- Cycling News
Haussler, Tschopp, Löfkvist confirmed
UCI Professional Continental hopefuls IAM Cycling has announced its roster for its debut season in 2013.
The Swiss-based team will be headlined by grand tour stage winner and classics specialist Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Sharp), while Johann Tschopp (BMC) and Thomas Löfkvist (Sky) are at the heart of the team’s general classification ambitions. Gustav Larsson (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Martin Elmiger (Ag2r-La Mondiale) are the other marquee signings.
Tschopp and a host of other riders were confirmed a month ago.
Former French national road race champion and four-time Tour de France rider Serge Beucherie will manage the team which made a beeline for a number of young Swiss riders - a large portion coming from the Atlas Personal-Jakroo squad. Marcel Aregger, Jonathan Fumeaux and Patrick Schelling will join for 2013 while former Atlas rider Sebastien Reichenbach is also on board.
Reto Hollenstein (Team NetApp), Marcel Wyss (Team NetApp), Rémi Cusin (Team Type 1) and Sébastien Hinault (AG2R) are the other riders who have inked deals with the team.
The team will look to receive wildcard invitations to Tour de Suisse and Tour de Romandie.
The full IAM Cycling squad is:
- Article published:
- September 21, 2012, 01:12
- Daniel Benson
Dutchman reacts angrily to questions on Armstrong testing
Former UCI President Hein Verbruggen has ruled out taking legal action against Tyler Hamilton despite the former rider substantiating Floyd Landis' allegations of past corruption within the UCI. Cycling's governing body is suing Landis for defamation after he alleged that the UCI had covered up a positive test for Lance Armstrong during the 2001 Tour de Suisse and protected riders. Both Armstrong and the UCI have denied the allegations while Landis has yet to see his case come to light in court.
The UCI is also in the midst of legal proceedings against the former Sunday Times and "Rough Ride" author Paul Kimmage, who received a subpoena on Wednesday from the Est Vaudois district court, which is based in Vevey, near UCI headquarters at Aigle. The case is to be heard on December 12.
While the UCI sues a journalist with a stern public anti-doping stance and an ex-rider who has confessed to doping, they are still awaiting a "reasoned decision" which USADA must issue as the next step in its anti-doping case against Lance Armstrong.
"The problem is we can't find Landis," Verbruggen told Cyclingnews as he poured himself a glass of wine at a worlds presentation in Valkenburg.
However Verbruggen, who served as UCI president from 1991 to 2005, added that, "We've had legal suits in the past with Dick Pound so everyone that says we have put things under the table or not done our best is sued. Simple. They can come to the court and prove their case. Simple like that."
It is understood that the UCI's action against Kimmage stemmed from a body of work for The Sunday Times newspaper, which includes an extensive interview with Floyd Landis published in January 2011, and in response to criticism of the UCI that Kimmage expressed in an interview with L'Équipe. However, the UCI has not requested damages from L'Équipe or The Sunday Times, only from Kimmage. The Irishman left The Sunday Times at the end of 2011.
Asked why he and his associates had taken action against Kimmage and not the publications Verbruggen incorrectly claimed that only the author could face a legal case.
"No it's him. He's said it. You don't sue the paper. I don't know exactly the details but I saw the text and the text is clearly at attempt at our integrity. Recently I saw that he was angry with us because we went after journalist and we should do better anti doping and not go after journalists who ask questions."
In 2011 Kimmage spent several hours interviewing Landis, an interview the UCI at the time called 'boring'. Later, in an interview with Cyclingnews, Kimmage raised questions about the UCI's relationship with Armstrong, while last month he told the website that, "McQuaid needs to resign and Verbruggen needs to be removed from the sport."
"Rough Ride", is widely held up as one of the most seminal cycling books. It tells the tale of Kimmage's journey as professional rider and his predicament and battles as he encountered a world and culture warped by doping. Asked if he had read the book, which was published roughly at the same time his presidency began, Verbruggen said:
"No. No. I have no need to read that. Why should I? I'm not in cycling any more. I've never read it. I don't read very much. I'm sorry to say but there's no need. I know what we have to do and we always did. Someone has doubts about that, court, simple. Also Mr Pound. I have nothing to hide."
The Secret Race
As for Hamilton, whose book "The Secret Race" was released earlier this month, Verbruggen ruled out legal action. In his confession Hamilton admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs during his time at US Postal, CSC and Phonak and alleged that Lance Armstrong provided him with EPO before the 1999 Tour de France.
Hamilton, like Landis, makes the claim that Armstrong told him that a positive test from 2001 was covered up. Hamilton also claims that Armstrong informed the UCI of Hamilton's doping habits after Hamilton beat Armstrong during a mountain time trial at the Dauphine in 2004. Hamilton said that the call lead to meeting between him and the UCI. The UCI later said that the meeting was routine and that Armstrong had not been involved.
"He [Hamilton] has not written those things. He says that he's heard from Armstrong saying those things. He's much more careful," Verbruggen said.
Yet in the book Hamilton says, "We're way, way ahead of the tests. They've got their doctors, and we've got ours, and ours are better. Better paid, for sure. Besides, the UCI doesn't want to catch certain guys anyway. Why would they? It'd cost them money."
As for the Armstrong tip off, Verbruggen said "That's not true. He was called in by the UCI. I've never had a tip from Armstrong but you know and not from anyone else. We called him in because he had very doubtful results. We did that all the time. That's what he says but I don't want to talk about the whole thing."
USADA's case files
It is understood that both Landis and Hamilton are central in USADA's case surrounding doping practises that took place at the US Postal team. The agency's case has already led to uncontested sanctions for Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of all of his results from 1998 onwards.
Landis originally came clean in a series of emails in 2010, when he added to doping, and the fact that he had covered up his lies by denying doping.
"He has never contacted me. Nor has Mr Kimmage, Mr Walsh, Mr Hamilton, nor has any of your colleagues. I've never heard from these people one phone call," Verbruggen said when asked why he would not listen to a confession.
Cyclingnews reminded Verbruggen that he and Landis had been in email contact in 2010, when he had emailed Landis stating that: "Mr. Landis, you're not worth any further word or attention except perhaps from psychiatrists. HV".
Upon being reminded of the email correspondence, Verbruggen added: "Yes, because he comes out with statements and then I react but pick up the phone and talk with those people, that's apparently not done.
"If someone wants to give me a confession come and give me a call, sit down. These people go to the press, say all kinds of insulting things that are not true, well let them come to court. That's my only answer.
"You're a journalist. You know very well how it works. It's the same thing. We've had Mr Pound in court. He has retracted many of the things he says in court but you don't publish that and most of the press doesn't. Come to court and prove your case. I think that's the best answer. It should be taken as a sign that we have nothing to hide. Nothing. Absolutely nothing."
When asked about the USADA case Verbruggen reacted angrily, saying, "I don't talk about that. You're a journalist. You hear that those people say Armstrong has arranged with the UCI... If you would be a guy that thinks like Landis or Hamilton wouldn't you ask Armstrong what are you doing with the tests that are done by USADA? What are going to do with the tests by WADA, AFLD? Nobody says that. What I mean is, if Armstrong tells those riders I can arrange with the UCI, if you were Hamilton wouldn't you say, 'Lance what if I'm controlled by USADA, what are you going to do if I'm found positive?' He has been controlled 500 times, maybe 200 times other than us."
The claim of 500 tests has never been officially proven but current UCI President Pat McQuaid recently publicised that Armstrong had been tested 215 times by the UCI. However when Cyclingnews pointed out that they weren't aware of how many times Armstrong had been tested or which body had tested him each time, Verbruggen added:
"You should. God dammit. You're here with your microphone embarrassing me with all types of questions. I'm mad at people like you. You don't even do your homework. Is he only controlled by the UCI, he's controlled by other bodies. Am I entitled to be upset? You can write that. I wonder. You don't know the rules. That's upsetting for me. I'm 72 and I don't need lessons from people like that. You don't do your bloody homework. I know he's been tested. Yes. You should bloody well know; I hope to see that you write that. 'We as journalists don't do our homework'."
- legal case
- Lance Armstrong
- Article published:
- September 21, 2012, 02:51
- Jane Aubrey
Tour de l'Eure et Loire winner ready for the next challenge
Despite having only just made his first appearance for Australia at under 23 level, Sam Spokes should count himself as being very unlucky to have missed a spot for the national team for the UCI Road World Championships.
"I'm pretty disappointed not to get a spot, but that is what cycling is all about," the 20-year-old told Cyclingnews following news of his non-selection. "I just roll with the punches and take it how it comes."
Selectors instead went with a line-up of Nick Aitken, Rohan Dennis, Michael Freiberg, Damien Howson, Jay McCarthy (Team Jayco AIS) and Adam Phelan (Drapac Professional Cycling).
Spokes, who rides for EFC Omega Pharma QuickStep, was already focusing on his next challenge with an eye to finishing off the season and adding to his already-impressive palmares. The Tamworth rider has just finished eighth overall at the Tour de Moselle.
With so many of Australia's riders coming through the AIS program, Spokes is indeed in a minority but it's a path that he's made work. Spokes' dad Alan rode in Europe; won a stage of the Sun Tour and in 1973 rode the fastest time in Grafton to Inverell. Given the family connection within the sport, he's been bike races for as long as he can remember. Racing locally in Tamworth from the age of six eventually landed Spokes a spot with Johan Museeuw Test Team and in 2011, with EFC Omega Pharma QuickStep.
"I wanted to do a full season in Europe after juniors and at the time Jayco was only offering three or four months so I went to Belgium at the end of junior year for two months and raced with a Belgian team [Johan Museeuw Test Team]," Spokes explained.
Racing and winning the overall at Liège-La Gleize with the national team as a junior in 2010, Spokes came to the attention of EFC Omega Pharma QuickStep.
"I just had a really good day on the last stage and wasn't the leader of the team, Jay [McCarthy] and Damien [Howson] were and I went at the right time. I had good legs in the last 20 kilometres and managed to put the right effort in and ended up winning the tour which, still to this day is one of the best experiences that I've had in cycling."
Spokes is unsure of his next move but is really pleased with his time riding with the outfit.
"I'm trying to move a step forward, maybe go to a bigger team," he explained. "I've achieved what I wanted to achieve in the two years and either way I'll be leaving on good terms or staying for another year.
"I've enjoyed every minute of it. It's been a good stepping stone."
Spokes' season began with a sixth-place finish at Liège - Bastogne - Liège, U23 before claiming a stage win on the way to overall victory at Tour de l'Eure et Loire, following in the footsteps of Romain Feillu.
"I thought I'd give it a good crack and just see what happens," Spokes said. "It just turned out that I got in the right breakaway and I had pretty good legs so winning that stage was my first individual victory as an under 23 which was a big weight off the shoulders.
"It was the first win for the team for the year as well which was pretty exciting and it was a big morale boost."
Spokes' form continued with a win at the Belgian interclub race, Zillebeke - Westouter - Zillebeke before joining the national team for Tour de l'Avenir where he was riding in support of McCarthy.
Despite the obvious disappointment of missing out on a worlds berth, Spokes is self-assured.
"In my eyes I'm only 20 so I hope to be at many more worlds in the future," he explained.
- World championships
- Article published:
- September 21, 2012, 04:53
- Cycling News
Three-man team includes Dean and Roulston
Jesse Sergent has been called-up to race for New Zealand in the UCI Road World Championships road race following the late withdrawal of Jack Bauer. Bauer expected to be in top condition for the worlds in Valkenburg however following his performance in the team time trial, riding for his Garmin - Sharp team, he realized he was not in good enough condition to handle the 261km Elite men’s road race.
"I had freshened up after the recent racing and thought I was coming right," Bauer said. "But I am just not back to the top of my game.
"The [team] time trial gave me the opportunity to see where I was at, but I just didn't have the legs that you need to be a useful part of the team. So the best thing was to pull out.
"We have so many good professionals that it is much better for the team to bring in someone who can do justice to the ride. After all it is the World Championships."
Sergent had been named as a reserve for the road race along with fellow RadioShack-Nissan teammate George Bennett. However, having already shown his condition in the TTT and the individual time trial where he finished 8th and 23rd respectively, Sergent was called up to the road team.
Sergent was part of the bronze medal-winning New Zealand team pursuit squad at the London Olympic Games and has demonstrated his successful transition from the track back to the road.
"A key was that I left even before the Olympics were over and got straight back into racing and training on the road. The last training block went really well and I feel pretty strong,” said Sergent.
Sergent will join Hayden Roulston and Julian Dean in the men’s race which begins on Sunday.
- World championships