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First Edition Cycling News, June 21, 2009

Date published:
June 21, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Basso: Armstrong will be a beast at the Tour

    Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso
    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 11:35 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Seven-time winner Armstrong timed his form to perfection says Basso

    Lance Armstrong is on track to win his eighth Tour de France this July, according to Italian rider Ivan Basso. Armstrong finished 12th overall in his first three-week race in over three years, the Giro d'Italia, last month.

    "He placed 12th at the Giro without being in true form and with a broken collarbone the month before," Basso told Cyclingnews. "Had he arrived in form he could have raced for the win but now he has the Giro d'Italia in his legs and I think he can win the Tour."

    Armstrong returned to cycling after a three-year retirement last winter but a crash in teh first stage of the Castilla y León on March 23 affected his Giro preparations. He finished the Giro in Rome on May 31, 16 minutes behind winner Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and 12 minutes back on Basso (Liquigas) in fifth.

    The Tour de France starts July 4 in Monaco, Armstrong's first Grand Depart since he won his seventh consecutive title in 2005. "He will ride the Tour like no one else because he has the experience of seven Tour de France wins. He will go like a beast," added Basso.

    The team has three classification riders with Armstrong, 2007 winner Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer. Armstrong and Contador have only raced together once this year, the 160 kilometres prior to Armstrong's crash in Castilla y León. Speculation has been rife for months that the lack of hours on the road together and strong individual desires to win may damage the team's chances.

    Basso believes this won't be the case. "He won't have problems with Contador and Leipheimer because the team is guided by the best, Johan Bruyneel. Look at all the Giro, Tour and Vueltas he has won over the years," he said.

    Astana's manager has directed teams to eight Tour victories, two Giro d'Italia titles and a pair of in the Vuelta a España victories. Basso raced for...

  • Fresh Millar motivated for Tour de France

    David Millar (Garmin Chipotle) goes on the attack
    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 14:29 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    David Millar supports Garmin with eye on a stage win

    Scot David Millar is looking forward to a strong ride in the Tour de France after a ninth place in the Dauphiné Libéré. He had mixed results in the 2008 Tour, but this time round his hopes have risen.

    "I'm pleasantly surprised by how things went in the Dauphiné," Millar told Cyclingnews on Saturday. "I haven't climbed like that in years, and my recovery was also very good. It really doesn't compare to anything in the last couple of seasons, it's a result I would associate more with the performances of over four years ago."

    By his own admission, Millar has been prone at times to over-training. Purely (and literally) by accident, he appears to have worked out a better balance now.

    "My build-up changed mainly due to breaking my collarbone [on stage eight of Paris-Nice]," the 32-year-old explained. "Because of the complex break and I had to keep the arm immobile for four weeks. This was how long I had off the bike, so I was only on the bike for three weeks before the Giro and came into it very fresh and under-trained.

    It worked out well for Millar. He progressed as the race travelled towards Rome, although he chose to withdraw on stage 15.

    "I was confident to take it easy and not test myself too much, but instead concentrate on losing weight and avoid incurring too much fatigue. I came off the Giro and decided I would tackle the Dauphiné in the same manner by arriving fresh and rested and even lighter.

    "My weight is now less than it's been these last two years. This is probably one of the biggest advantages I've gained, but my confidence to rest and arrive at the races fresh is probably just as big a benefit."

    Millar is due to ride the British national road race championships, which he won in 2007. He'll then head to the Tour de France, July 4 to 26, to support his teammates. The Garmin-Slipstream team is banking classification leader Christian Vande Velde being...

  • Riders' association supports radio ban test

    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 19:16 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Waiting to see the outcome of the "experiment" before drawing conclusions

    The Professional Cyclists Association (CPA) has given its support to the UCI's approval of a ban on race radios for two stages of the upcoming Tour de France.

    The organisation acknowledged that riders' opinions are split on the matter, and asked that riders, teams and fans wait to see the outcome of the experiment before drawing conclusions .

    "We are sure that this novelty will lead to a great show and that it will give the escapees the opportunity to show what they are able to do."

    The UCI gave approval for stages 10 and 13 of this year's Tour de France to be run under a temporary radio ban.

  • Sutherland, Colavita top NRC rankings

    Lucas Sebastian Haedo helped John Profaci's Colavita Sutter Home team move up the ranks, despite "missing an overall GC and a time trialist."
    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 20:23 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Powers, Team Type 1 top women's standings

    OUCH Pro Cycling's Rory Sutherland leads the USA Cycling national racing calendar standings after the Nature Valley Grand Prix. He took the lead in the standings ahead of Tom Zirbel (Bissell) with the NVGP victory. The Colavita/Sutter Home Men's Cycling Team presented by Cooking Light leads the team National Racing Calendar standings with six riders placed in the individual ranking's top 15.

    Sprinter Sebastian Haedo is third overall, with six individual victories, including two stage wins at last week's Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota. Haedo's Argentine compatriot and fellow sprinter Alejandro Borrajo ranks fifth, while his teammates Anthony Colby and Tyler Wren follow in sixth and seventh, respectively.

    US time trial champion Alison Powers leads the women's rankings after her third overall in Minnesota. Overall NVGP winner Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo TestTeam) rode into second in the rankings, while second overall Shelley Olds (Proman) is third.

    In the women's team rankings, Team Type 1 leads ahead of TIBCO and Webcor.

  • Team Type 1 aims for RAAM title

    Long hours in the saddle The Team Type 1 professionals typically rode up to five hours a day.
    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 20:26 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Race Across American begins today

    Team Type 1 has made no secret about its goals for the eight-person team division of the Race Across America (RAAM), which begins Saturday in Oceanside, California. "Our first expectation is to win the race," said Team Type 1 Elite Team Director Bob Schrank. "Our second expectation is to break the record set by the Norwegian team last year. And always, our hope is that we complete the race in a safe manner."

    The teams competing in RAAM set out on the 3,021 mile journey (4,861 km) to Annapolis, Md., at 2 p.m. PDT. Last year, Team Type 1 finished less than four hours behind the Byggkjøp presented by BMC Cycling squad that won the eight-person team division in a time of five days, nine hours and 56 minutes.

    Team Type 1 is comprised entirely of athletes who have Type 1 diabetes. The team was created in 2004 to inspire people living with diabetes to take a proactive approach to managing their health and overcoming the obstacles often associated with the condition. Team Type 1 co-founders Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge helped the team win the eight-person team division of the race in 2006 and 2007.

    This year's Team Type 1 squad for RAAM consists of Jeff Bannink, Simon Bennett, Alex Bowden, Matt Brooks, Tom Kingery, Lonny Knabe, Bob Schrank and Mark Suprenant. Bowden, Brooks, Schrank and Suprenant return from last year's squad, with Schrank also having raced for Team Type 1 in 2007.

  • Texas governor vetos safe passing bill

    Chaos on the Manayunk Wall as the women's peloton overtakes vehicles at the tail end of the men's race caravan.
    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 20:28 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Cycling community stunned

    Texas Governor Rick Perry, a noted cycling enthusiast who made press recently by breaking his collarbone in a mountain biking fall, has vetoed a "safe passing" bill which had received strong backing from the cycling community.

    The bill would have required drivers to give at least three feet of clearance when passing cyclists or other "vulnerable" road users (pedestrians, construction workers, tow truck operators, stranded motorists, motorcyclists or moped drivers) on most highways.

    "We are stunned because he's our guy, and we feel disappointed, even betrayed by our guy," said Robin Stallings, executive director of BikeTexas, to the San Antonio Express. "The bicycling community will never forgive Gov. Perry."

    Perry defended his veto, saying that penalties already exist to punish drivers for unsafe actions.

    "While I am in favor of measures that make our roads safer for everyone, this bill contradicts much of the current statute and places the liability and responsibility on the operator of a motor vehicle when encountering one of these vulnerable road users," Perry said.

    "In addition, an operator of a motor vehicle is already subject to penalties when he or she is at fault for causing a collision or operating recklessly, whether it is against a ‘vulnerable user' or not."

  • Columbia-Highroad sweeps the podium at RaboSter

    Ina Teutenberg (Columbia-Highroad)
    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 21:10 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Women take top three overall, teams, points and sprints classifications

    The Columbia-Highroad team continued its winning streak in the Netherlands on Saturday, where three of its women swept the podium in the overall classification. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg won the three-day event for the second consecutive year, taking her eighteenth victory of the season. Second was Chantal Beltman, just three seconds behind, with prologue winner Linda Villumsen third at 11 seconds.

    Columbia-Highroad also finished first in the teams classification, and Teutenberg was top rider both in the intermediate sprints and the points competitions.

    "It was a typically tough Dutch race, one where you have to be on the front all the time and watching out all the time," Teutenberg said. "In the last stage it was all good. Chantal got in a break which was great, because she would have won the overall, so we didn't need to chase. To be honest I would have preferred not to have won the intermediate sprints competition, because going for those sprints meant a lot of work during the stage, but I needed to go for them.

    "It was tough going, very windy and some very late finishes as well, but I came through ok and managed to get the victory."

  • Pinotti sets record for Italian TT wins

    The men's time trial podium: Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), Marco Pinotti (Columbia-Highroad) and Maurizio Biondi (Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce)
    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 21:14 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Four career victories after Saturday's win

    Marco Pinotti won his fourth career national time trial title on Saturday in Imola, Italy. He finished the 32.3-kilometre course from Mordano to Imola's Formula 1 race track ahead of Gabriele Bosisio and Maurizio Biondo to take the win for the third year in a row.

    Pinotti set a time of 39:22 seconds. Bosisio was the only rider to finish within a minute of the Columbia-Highroad man, just 19 seconds in arrears. Biondo was 1:09 behind.

    "I came out of the Giro d'Italia in very good shape," Pinotti said. "Then I deliberately didn't do the Tour of Switzerland so I could focus on the Italian national championships. It was a course that suited me well, fast at the start and then afterwards a bit hillier when we got on the circuit."

    "The hardest part was handling the rain, it was the same for everybody but it made the course a bit dangerous – my back wheel slipped a couple of times."

    One of the pre-race favourites Marzio Bruseghin was one of the unfortunate victims of the slick conditions, and lost his chance at taking the tricolore when he crashed 12km into the race. He lost a minute changing bikes, and finished sixth.

    Pinotti, as last rider to start, said he rode most of the race unaware of whether his times were good enough to get him the win.

    "I knew that I was ahead after 12 kilometres, but that was it. Afterwards I just kept going, I'd done the course the day before so I knew roughly how to calculate my strength."

    Pinotti's fourth Italian time trial title makes him the outright record-holder for wins in the event. He was previously tied on victories with Marco Velo, who won in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

  • Contador to race Spanish championships

    Alberto Contador (Astana) rides to second in the time trial.
    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 21:18 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Using the time trial to test his new bike

    Alberto Contador has decided to participate in the Spanish national time trial championships on Friday, June 26th in Cantabria, he announced this week. It will be his last race before the upcoming Tour de France, which begins on July 4 in Monaco.

    Contador said he wanted to support the race with his participation.  He will use the event as a test for a new prototype Trek which he unveiled in the Dauphiné Libéré.

    "This time trial, thanks to its distance, can be a simulation of that of the Tour de France and it will be fine to finish my preparation ... This year I am investing a lot of time in this specialty. As for the result, I am know that I will come up against riders that are more specialists than I am and already know what it takes to win on this course.

    "It is probably excessively long for me, but at the end what is necessary is to train in the distances that are not yours. It is the only way of improving."

  • Boonen may escape criminal charges for cocaine

    Tom Boonen doesn't look too happy to receive the red jersey again.
    Article published:
    June 20, 2009, 22:07 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Despite parole violation, Quick Step sprinter may get leniency

    Quick Step sprinter Tom Boonen may escape face criminal charges stemming from his 2008 out-of-competition positive test for cocaine use, Het Nieuwsblad reported Saturday. The word comes from prosecutors who gave the Belgian a suspended sentence for the incident, stating that being denied participation in that year's Tour de France was punishment enough.

    The decision was contingent on Boonen remaining drug-free for three years. Despite breaking his probation with a second cocaine positive on April 25, 2009, the prosecutors have not yet decided whether they will pursue him for last year's offense.

    Boonen has been denied entry into the Tour de France for the second consecutive year due to cocaine use. The Tour organiser ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) made it clear that Boonen is not welcome in its race, but team Quick Step has threatened to take legal action to ensure their star sprinter can participate.

    The International Cycling Union has stated that it would not pursue disciplinary action against the rider for his positive tests, since cocaine is not banned out of competition.

    Belgian organisers of the post-Tour Broker Criterium have said that whatever the outcome, Boonen will be welcome at their event. The race's President Denis Bolle objected to what he said are double standards of the ASO. A press release by the race pointed out that the decision goes against the European Social Charter and an individual's right to work.

    "May I point out that other European countries are not even reporting out-of-competition cocaine positives? If Boonen was a Frenchman, then the ASO would have no case against Boonen."