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First Edition Cycling News, January 28, 2008

Date published:
January 28, 2008, 0:00 GMT
  • Rabobank not happy Down Under

    Article published:
    January 28, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Treviso

    Team Rabobank went into the Tour Down Under with high hopes and it looked they would come true when...

    Team Rabobank went into the Tour Down Under with high hopes and it looked they would come true when sprinter Graeme Brown took over the leader's jersey after the second stage. But at the end of the sixth and final stage, the Dutch team could look back to only one day in the jersey, one second place finish and three thirds, plus two serious injuries.

    Mathew Haymen left with a broken collarbone after being taken out by Milram's Elia Rigotto in the end sprint of the fourth stage. Bram de Groot crashed in the fifth stage, and managed to cross the finish line, but a possible broken right hand kept him from starting the final stage.

    According to the team's website, rabobank.nl, the tour doctor's examination did not find a fracture, but he continued to have strong pain. Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker said, "We are having x-rays taken before we leave on Monday. It did not look serious at first but his hand remains swollen and sore. I am not a medical expert, but it is a little alarming."

    Brown ended the final stage in third place, and Dekker noted that with four podium places, "you cannot label it a failed tour. But we are still a little disappointed that we did not win a stage, because that is what we came for. On top of that, we have lost two important people to fractures for some time. That is also a dark cloud."

  • Niedersachsen Rundfahrt cancelled

    Article published:
    January 28, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Treviso

    The Niedersachsen Rundfahrt will not be held in 2008, it was announced Sunday afternoon, but the...

    The Niedersachsen Rundfahrt will not be held in 2008, it was announced Sunday afternoon, but the organizers are already making plans for some kind of a race in 2009. The Verein Internationale Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt said that after a one year break it definitely hoped to hold a race again the next year, but on a smaller scale - perhaps a 2.2 race (instead of the former 2.1) or an under-23 race.

    "We regret this development very much," said race director Otto Pätzold. "But despite intensive work and lots of discussions with sponsors, stage start and finish towns, and political representatives the last few weeks, we have been unable to come up with the missing 100,000 Euros that we need."

    The race had been scheduled to run from April 23 - 27, and was the oldest German stage race. Team Milram's Alessandro Petacchi has dominated the race in recent years, winning three stages and the overall title in 2007, and taking all five stages on his way to the overall victory the year before.

  • Simms "happy" with seventh spot

    Wendy Simms (Canada) exhausted
    Article published:
    January 28, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Gregor Brown in Treviso Canadian Wendy Simms' hard preparation for the World Championships paid...

    By Gregor Brown in Treviso

    Canadian Wendy Simms' hard preparation for the World Championships paid dividends with a seventh place result on Sunday in Italy, up five spots from here finish three years ago in St. Wendel, Germany. The three-time Canadian Cyclo-cross champion arrived in Europe on December 18, and felt that all her training and racing to prepare for the day's event in Treviso was worthwhile.

    The 35 year-old started the race strong and then managed her resources. "I had a good start, I was in the lead for a bit," commented Simms from Treviso, where the snowcapped Alps provided a majestic backdrop to the day's racing.

    "You fade and it always feels like crap," she continued. At one point Simms looked in contention for a podium spot. "Of course I am disappointed, but those are pretty lofty goals with everyone running so strong," she noted on the medal hunt. "I went for it, but I could not stick with Hanka [Kupfernagel] and the rest so I had to let off and recuperate before coming back strong. ... I was there in the front, I put the hammer down and tried, but I was not strong enough to hold it.

    Simms was pleased with the progress she's made this season. "It is a big jump from the last couple of years. Seventh definitely makes me happy. It is better than all my others."

    The French team put in a particularly good performance, Simms said, taking third through fifth places, and made the racing hard. "The French were so strong in the long mud sections. I would try to ride steady and they would just attack. There were just like two or three of them – one after another. I was fading a bit on the hills but then I would do really well on the mud sections, where I kept it steady. It was really on this side [right after the start finish] where I had to work harder."

    Simms will return to...

  • New 'cross World Cup calendar puts accent on France and Italy

    Article published:
    January 28, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Treviso The UCI World Cup released the calendar for the 2008-2009 cyclo-cross...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Treviso

    The UCI World Cup released the calendar for the 2008-2009 cyclo-cross season this weekend, detailing some changes which favour this year's 'cross World Championships host country of Italy. The Milan round will now become the finale of the series, while France was granted an additional event. The Netherlands lost an event, but is hosting the world championships, while the expected absence of an American World Cup was confirmed.

    The first five World Cup events are to remain the same, with Kalmthout (Belgium) opening the season on October 19. Together with Tabor (Czech Republic), Pijnacker (Netherlands), Koksijde (Belgium) and Igorre (Spain) the races comprise the first half of the calendar.

    Two weeks after Igorre there will be the first French World Cup in Nommay (France), which sat out hosting an event this year, while Liévin, which organized a World Cup this season, will now be hosting the European Championships. Liévin is also one of the four candidates to host the 2012 world championships, together with Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

    After Nommay – the traditional holiday round in Hofstade precedes a new World Cup event in Roubaix (France) which will take place on and around the legendary track which hosts the finish of Paris-Roubaix. The World Cup will wrap up in Milan despite the elite men's race there having been cancelled in the 2007-2008 season. One week later Hoogerheide (Netherlands) will host the world championships.

    UCI cyclo-cross coordinator Peter Van Den Abeele expounded on the decisions of the cycling federation to favour the Italian and French organizations. "We granted the finale to Italy because it is better for the sport. They couldn't organize the elite men's event last year, but there is more in 'cross than elite races. It...

  • Olympic dreams for Kupfernagel and Vos

    Kupfernagel with her fourth 'cross gold medal
    Article published:
    January 28, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Treviso

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Treviso The top two finishers at the Cyclo-cross World Championships elite...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Treviso

    The top two finishers at the Cyclo-cross World Championships elite women's race, German Hanka Kupfernagel and Marianne Vos (Netherlands) proved that they are prime examples of multi-talented athletes on Sunday. Both riders have a passion for cyclo-cross which they displayed in Treviso, but both must continue to focus on multiple Olympic disciplines in hopes of a medal in Beijing this summer.

    After taking the gold and silver Sunday, 33-year-old Kupfernagel and 20-year-old Vos will now take a break and then start building up towards the Olympic Games, not just in the road race and the time trial, but other cycling disciplines as well. While Kupfernagel is focusing on the time trial and a possible bid for a position on the German mountain bike team, Vos will give priority to the road race and potentially try her hand on the track

    "I'm trying to get qualified for the points race on the track and although I like cyclo-cross a lot, it's hard to combine it with the track," Vos explained of her Olympic ambitions.

    During the track World Cup meeting in Beijing, back in December, Vos won both the scratch and the points race; however, her most recent appearance in the Los Angeles World Cup last week didn't go as well. The Dutch woman might have had her thoughts on Treviso already, as she had ridden the cyclo-cross national championships shortly before the track World Cup in the USA.

    After the world championships in Italy, the young Dutch woman compared the mud of Treviso with the wood of the track. "Treviso was a good course for me, although a track is not quite as slippery as the mud in Treviso," Vos joked.

    Kupfernagel from her part is still debating if she should have a go for the mountain bike race. "I heard it would be a...

  • Davis: I couldn't have done anything more

    Allan Davis (UniSA-Australia)
    Article published:
    January 28, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia

    By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia Allan Davis (UniSA-Australian National Team) was...

    By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia

    Allan Davis (UniSA-Australian National Team) was philosophical after coming within seconds of winning the 10th Anniversary Tour Down Under, and thanked his squad for their support throughout the close-fought race. Davis staged an epic battle with Team High Road's Andre Greipel, which saw the Australian lose out to the German revelation by 15 seconds.

    "I couldn't have done anything more," said Davis at the finish. "I went out there and, as I said before, I gave it everything I've got. I felt quite good in the second sprint, I felt quite good enough to actually roll him so I was hoping everything was going well for the last sprint.

    "He was too good again," added Davis. "But I crossed the line knowing I couldn't have done one more centimeter harder than what I did."

    Davis' second place was a major accomplishment for the composite outfit, which was granted a last-minute start by the UCI. National outfits have never before been allowed to enter a ProTour event, however the UCI granted organizers an exemption to allow UniSA-Australian National Team to line up alongside the ProTour outfits.

    "To the UniSA guys, everyone of them, I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's been an honour and a privilege riding with you boys this week," said Davis. "You've worked so well, Dave Sanders, the staff, the mechanics, we've been put together in a top of the class world cycling event and we nearly pulled it off.

    "It's been so professional so I'd like the thank them guys from the bottom of my heart," he said.

    Davis, who is currently out of contract following the disbanding of Discovery Channel at the end of 2007, also paid tribute to his event rival Greipel. The Queenslander believes the German, who has affectionately been labeled 'Andre the Giant', will be one of the world's top sprinters in years to come.

    "It was great tactics from themselves and Alan Peiper; they deserve the...

  • High Road happy with season opening

    Andre Greipel (Team High Road)
    Article published:
    January 28, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia

    By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia Team High Road is delighted with the opening to its season at...

    By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia

    Team High Road is delighted with the opening to its season at the Tour Down Under, with German sprinter Andre Greipel claiming four stage victories, the overall classification and subsequently the ProTour lead at the series opening Tour Down Under. After taking a surprise victory in the pre-tour Down Under Classic last Sunday evening, Greipel stormed to his first ProTour stage win on Wednesday, and then added another three stage wins and an overall ProTour round win to his palmares by week's end with the help of his team-mates.

    The win means that Greipel will wear the white ProTour leader's jersey in the next round in Belgium in April. "It's more than I can say," said a stumped team director Alan Peiper. "Leader in the ProTour, first race [victory], Tour of Flanders first car, it can't be any better."

    The German outfit, owned by American businessman Bob Stapleton, is hopeful its early season success will not only continue, but will also lead to the prompt signing of a new title sponsor. The outfit lost its title sponsor, T-Mobile, at the end of 2007 after the German telecommunications company chose to withdraw its involvement with the sport.

    "I don't know [what impact the victories will have], those decisions aren't made over night," said Peiper. "But we won five stages in seven days and first ProTour stage race of the year, ProTour lead, we've got a presentation in a couple of weeks in California. It's all good."

    Greipel added that he believes victory is the best way for the squad to prove its worth to potential new sponsors. "Yeah, it's the best way, it's the best answer to win races," he said. "I hope we find a sponsor soon."

    Peiper's response to his men's success in Australia was reflected in the comments of an...

  • Rumpf: UCI announcement good news

    The first 2008 ProTour jersey was awarded in Adelaide.
    Article published:
    January 28, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia

    By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf has labeled the UCI's...

    By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia

    UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf has labeled the UCI's announcement on Sunday that the Grand Tours and four, possibly five, monuments will form a new series of equal stature to the ProTour as "good news". The UCI had issued six European national federations with a threat to exclude the nation's riders from the World Championships if they sanctioned the events to run in their respective regions, however the parties have now come to an agreement on moving forward.

    "What is important is that the UCI wants to work in good cooperation with all of the stakeholders in the sport," said Rumpf, who was in Australia observing the first non-European round of the ProTour.

    While the proposed second calendar is yet to be presented to Grand Tour organizers – ASO, RCS and Unipublic – Rumpf believes it's a significant step forward. The meeting between the national federations was held at the World Cyclo-cross Championships in Treviso, where the federations came to an agreement in principal.

    "In future we will have the ProTour on the one hand and races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France on another calendar of the same level," he said. "I think that's good, you know, the ProTour will in the future be the calendar of the globalisation of innovation and we will have the monuments of sorts on another calendar. We have the support of the teams and I think that's very good news."

    While the weekend's meeting in Italy marked a step in the right direction for the UCI ProTour versus Grand Tour organizers battle – the proposed answer is some way from becoming a reality. Rumpf expects that there could still be more talks regarding a future union of the two series.

    "Well we will see for the future I guess, I guess there will be talks to re-unite the whole thing but it's too early to...