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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 17, 2009

Date published:
August 17, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Armstrong to lead strong Astana in Ireland

    USA's Lance Armstrong (Astana)
    Article published:
    August 16, 2009, 9:52 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Popovych and Zubeldia named as Armstrong closes season

    The Astana team has announced a strong seven-man team for next week's Tour of Ireland. Lance Armstrong will captain the squad in the Irish tour as he winds down a worldwide program of racing he has undertaken this year.

    Yaroslav Popovych and Haimar Zubeldia will both race when the Tour of Ireland begins on Friday in Enniskerry. Alongside Armstrong, both Popovych and Zubeldia were members of Astana's victorious Tour de France team last month.

    Slovenian national time trial champion Janez Brajkovic has also been named alongside another talented time trial rider, Swiss rider Michael Schär. Spaniards Jose Luis Rubiera and Jesús Hernádez complete the team.

    Armstrong demonstrated at the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in Colorado on Saturday that he is in good form after finishing third overall at last month's Tour de France. His win by 25 minutes in the 100 mile race came despite a flat tyre and he will be expected to perform well in the three-stage Tour of Ireland.

    It will be the first Tour of Ireland participation for both Astana and all of the riders named in the squad. The tour is also expected to be Armstrong's last major race for Astana as he prepares to return next year with Team RadioShack.

    Astana's full line up for the Tour of Ireland is: Lance Armstrong (USA), Janez Brajkovic (Slo), Jesús Hernández (Spa), Michael Schär (Swi), Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) and Haimar Zubeldia (Spa).

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  • Wegmann out of Vattenfall, checks into clinic

    Fabian Wegmann (Milram) after Tour de France stage six
    Article published:
    August 16, 2009, 10:40 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Milram rider still hopes to ride Vuelta and Worlds

    Fabian Wegmann of Team Milram reluctantly had to cancel his plans to ride today's Vattenfall Cyclassics due to an ongoing back injury. Wegmann has checked into the Medical Park Chiemsee/Bernau and will undergo full examination to determine the cause of the problem.

    The 29-year-old crashed in the fifth stage of the Dauphiné Libéré and since then "I've had problems with my shoulder and back, and sometimes even pains shooting down my leg,“ Wegmann said. He has already discovered that his left thigh has become one centimetre thinner as he has favoured the injured side of his body.

    "I just hope that the problem can be quickly diagnosed and that I can take up my job again soon. It would be too bad if I had to cancel my first appearance in the Vuelta and riding the Worlds. I simply hope for the best but am prepared for the worst,“ he said on his personal website.

    Wegmann, whose wedding was on August 7, joined Milram this year after riding for Team Gerolsteiner from 2002 to 2008. Before injuring himself in the crash, he won the Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop and finished second in the Monte Paschi Eroica. He finished 137th in this year's Tour de France.

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  • Extreme winds cause stage abandonment in Geelong

    Darren Rolfe (Fly V Australia) wins the inaugural GMHBA Tour of Geelong after the abandonment of the final stage in Portarlington due to poor weather conditions.
    Article published:
    August 16, 2009, 12:12 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Final day of Victorian championships postponed

    Race organisers were forced to abandon the final stage of the 2009 GMHBA Tour of Geelong as gale force winds of up to 65 kilometres an hour struck Portarlington on Sunday. The winds were powerful enough to fell trees near the race compound and also saw the postponement of the road 2009 Victorian Open road championship, which had been held this year in conjunction with the final days of the Tour of Geelong.

    The Victorian womens road championship were cancelled early in the day, however, as the wind dropped the men were instructed to prepare for what would have been the final day of racing in the GMHBA Tour of Geelong, only to be told 15 minutes later that their race had also been cancelled due to the extreme weather conditions.

    "I am very disappointed that we have had to call off the race," said race director John Craven. "The first four days of the Tour have been wonderful and we have seen outstanding results from the teams, in particular Fly V Australia who ran a superior race across the board, for everyone involved rider safety is paramount."

    The cancellation of the final stage meant that results remained the same from the previous day's criterium. Queenlander Darren Rolfe (Fly V Australia) claimed the general classification ahead of teammate David Kemp and William Clarke (Praties). Rolfe also claimed the mountains classification

    Fly V Australia also took the sprinters jersey as Jonathan Cantwell finished 7 points ahead of Charles Howlett (Cycle City).

    Stage six of the Tour was also to serve as the Victorian mens open road championships. It is expected that the final day of the championships - the mens and womens road races - will now be held on October 25, following the Melbourne to Warrnambool road race.

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  • Vaughters defends UCI's biological passport

    Team Manager Jonathan Vaughters
    Article published:
    August 16, 2009, 18:58 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin-Slipstream director responds to Walsh's criticisms

    Jonathan Vaughters has leapt to the defence of the UCI's biological passport, saying that clean riders can win the Tour de France.

    The passport, the UCI's tool to monitor rider's blood profiles, was criticised by the Sunday Times' David Walsh, who told Cyclingnews, "The passport seemed like a good idea, but I don't believe that the system can catch the sophisticated cheater. The evidence we have so far is that the guys toward the winning end of the classification in big races are still significantly ahead of the UCI's checks."

    However Vaughters, who has a strong anti-doping philosophy like Walsh, and whose Garmin Slipstream team placed two riders in this year's Tour de France top ten, believes criticism of the passport during its infancy is unwarranted. Instead, he pointed out that cycling is doing far more than any other sport to rid itself of cheats.

    "I respect Walsh and his anti-doping stance. That being said, I don't like criticism of the biological passport. I understand that it isn't perfect, like any anti-doping technology, but it is the best technology that we've got right now, and I think it's something that the sport should be immensely proud of. No one has done this before and we're pushing the boundaries to the far edge. We've got to be proud of that."

    "David used to tell me that the tragedy of doping is a rider like Christophe Bassons, who is absolutely intent on riding clean, isn't able to succeed in the sport. I agreed with him, wholeheartedly. However, from my viewpoint, clean riders are succeeding in the peloton. Christophe Bassons could succeed in the peloton. To me there's no reason that in this day and age with the biological passport in place that a clean rider can't be successful at the highest level," Vaughters added.

    Walsh had previously pointed to Antoine Varey, a former coach for Festina, who now analyses riders' performances on the major climbs as evidence that the sport was...

  • Vigano enjoys good result at Vattenfalls

    Davide Vigano (Fuji-Servetto) rides in the break on stage four.
    Article published:
    August 16, 2009, 22:40 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Italian rider proves himself recovered from a crash at the Brixia Tour

    Fuji-Servetto's Davide Vigano was happy with his sixth place at the UCI ProTour race in Germany on Sunday. Vigano finished sixth in the Vattenfalls Cyclassics, the only one-day UCI ProTour race on German soil.

    The Italian sprinter mixed it up as a contender in the final sprint, which was won by American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream).

    Vigano's sixth place proved he has recovered fully after a crash suffered in late July at the Italian Brixia Tour. Fractured ribs forced him to take a break from his bike.

    The young rider is looking forward to the upcoming Vuelta a España, and his team is expected to announce its full roster for the Spanish Grand Tour in the coming days.

  • Columbia-HTC and Milram ready for Eneco

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia-Highroad) was delighted with his third time trial championship win.
    Article published:
    August 16, 2009, 23:02 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Teams look for wins leading up to the Worlds

    The Columbia-HTC and Milram teams are looking forward to the Eneco Tour starting on Tuesday in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

    Columbia-HTC is chasing overall victory and perhaps a few stage wins along the way. "We are definitely up for winning," said Columbia-HTC sports director Tristan Hoffman.

    "The short opening prologue is good for a few of our riders including [German] Tony Martin and [Norwegian] Edvald Boasson Hagen, so doing well there would be a great start, plus we've got a strong team overall."

    "[Columbia-HTC teammate] Greg [Henderson] is really motivated. Mick [Michael Rogers] was third last year and knows this race well and Maxime [Monfort] has just won his country's National Time Trial Championships."

    "We've got a lot of options, and in a race like Eneco which is usually won by seconds, not minutes, that's very important."

    Boasson Hagen won a stage of Eneco Tour in 2008, and he says he's well-suited for a seven-day tour like the Eneco Tour because it starts with a short prologue and finishes with a time trial.

    "I'll be discussing the hillier stages with [team sports director] Tristan Hoffman to see where we have to be careful, but it's a good route for the team."

    Milram says it will target stage wins in the race, looking to sprinter Robert Förster and Classics specialist Servais Knaven.

    "We want to play a good role at the Eneco Tour," according to Jochen Hahn, Directeur Sportif for Team Milram. "For the many mostly flat stages we have two fast riders in Robert Förster and Wim Stroetinga for the finales. But there are also one or two very interesting stages, which are similar to the Spring Classics. Our Classics riders will have their chances there."

    The German team is sending its two Dutch riders, Wim Stroetinga and Niki Terpstra. Terpstra has an extra motivation in the race – he would like to win a stage to honour his son, Luca, who was born last week.

  • Pic retiring at end of the month

    Tina Pic (Colavita) wins another USPRO Criterium title.
    Article published:
    August 17, 2009, 0:20 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Sprinter ending career after winning sixth US national criterium title

    Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home) announced that she will retire at the end of this month after winning the US National Criterium Championships on the streets of Downer's Grove in Illinois on Sunday.

    After netting her sixth such title, Pic was surrounded by fans who wanted to wish her farewell at the the podium presentation.

    "I lost this race a lot of times and made a lot of big mistakes before I ever won it," said Pic, who started her professional career in 1996.

    "I'm nostalgic leaving the peloton this year, and it's going to be really hard. My team was and always had been amazing. They kept going and going today. We had to chase a lot of moves today."

    Pic, who resides in Georgia, has won the National Racing Calendar (NRC) series five times.

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