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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 19, 2013

Date published:
August 19, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Grivko moves up in Eneco after gutsy ride

    Andriy Grivko (Astana)
    Article published:
    August 18, 2013, 10:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Astana rider up to third ahead of final stage

    Aggressive tactics paid off for Astana on stage 6 of the Eneco Tour with Andrei Grivko moving up to third overall. The Ukraine rider finished 11th on the stage, 12 seconds down on winner David Lopez (Team Sky). Tom Dumoulin (Team Argos-Shimano) leads the race with Sunday’s final crucial stage to come and Grivko 24 seconds in arrears.

    Heading into the stage Grivko sat in seventh overall after a solid ride in Friday’s individual time trial. However stage 6 saw Astana go on the offensive. On a testing course that saw three ascents of La Redoute the Kazakh team set the pace in the final 40 kilometres. It was enough to drop race leader Lars Boom (Belkin) and reel in the majority of the day’s early break.

    Grivko, teammate Maxim Iglinskiy and Dumoulin then rode across to a dangerous counter attack, a move that essentially changed the outcome of the overall standings.

    "It's no secret we wanted to win today, and with the break as large as it was with so much of a gap, when it came time to chase them down we went for it. There was a big crash just then, but it was at the point in time where the race was on, and if we chose to wait around for everyone to recover we weren't going to see anybody get pulled back," team sports director Dmitri Sedoun said.

    Iglinskiy’s position was sacrificed as he worked for Grivko inside the final 10 kilometres.

    "We chased back in, but if you looked behind you saw a lot of very good riders waiting to make the last climb. In the end we did not win the stage, but we did move up from 7th to 3rd in GC, and Sunday is probably going to be even harder," Sedoun said.

    Despite Grivko’s improved position in GC the team will have to compete in Sunday’s stage without the services of Ruslan Tleubayev, who abandoned the race due to the injuries he sustained in a crash on stage 4.


  • Samuel Sanchez leads Euskaltel into their final Vuelta

    Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel) and Ivan Basso (Cannondale)
    Article published:
    August 18, 2013, 11:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Team sends top climbers to challenge

    Samuel Sánchez will lead a strong Euskaltel Euskadi team into next week’s Vuelta a Espana. The former Olympic champion will ride alongside Igor Antón, Mikel Nieve, Egoi Martínez, Gorka Verdugo, Jorge Azanza, Juanjo Oroz, Pablo Urtasun and Mikel Landa.

    The final grand tour of 2013 also marks the team’s final attempt at winning a three week stage race with the sponsor set to end their long association with the professional ranks at the end of the season.

    In July the team notified their riders that they could pursue new opportunities with other teams, but with the Vuelta fast approaching Euskaltel have one final chance to compete in their home Tour.

    Sanchez skipped the Tour de France this year after competing in the Giro and he will lead the team’s overall ambitions.

    Team director and former Vuelta podium placer, Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, said, “We have a leader who already knows how to reach the podium. Anton and Nieve are two climbers, important climbers as well.”

    “The goal must be to be to fight for the win at the Vuelta and our challenge has to be to try to be in the fight until the end.”

    “Samuel already knows how to fight for the win at a Grand Tour, and in 2009 he finished less than one minute down on the winner. We have to show our best side and go to the maximum."

    The Vuelta begins on August 24 with a 27km team time trial between Vilanova de Arousa and Sanxenxo,

  • Van Garderen out to win USA Pro Challenge

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) had a tough day yesterday. Will he bounce back on the road to Bagnères-de-Bigorre
    Article published:
    August 18, 2013, 13:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Hopes to bounce back from Tour de France

    After a disappointing Tour de France, Tejay van Garderen returns to action as he leads BMC Racing at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. The American has finished on the podium in the last two editions of the race, moving from third in 2011 to second overall a year later.

    After picking up his maiden stage race victory at the Tour of California he will be confident of repeating the performance in Colorado, with the race starting on Monday

    "I'm definitely motivated to win," van Garderen said in a team press release. "It's not going to be easy. Garmin-Sharp has a really deep team. Sky has a really deep team. But I like my chances here."

    Van Garderen struggled to 54th place in this year’s Tour, unable to replicate the condition that saw him crack the top ten and bring home the white jersey in 2012. The team headed into the race backing Cadel Evans and both he and van Garderen faltered, although van Garderen came agonisingly close to a stage win at Alpe d’Huez.

    Since the Tour de France, BMC has picked up a number of stage racing wins including the Tour de Wallonie and the Arctic Race of Norway, and they send a strong team to Colorado to help support van Garderen. The American has based himself in Colorado, choosing to focus on his training.

    "Even though it is pretty much the same guys, technically it is a stronger squad because so many of these guys have had really strong rides since California," said assistant team director Jackson Stewart.

    Van Garderen will be joined by Steve Cummings, Mathias Frank and, Michael Schär, who will be expected to help him in the mountains.
    "Doing well is a matter of having good climbing days and doing a great time trial, and having a team that can look after...

  • Stars gather in Aspen ahead of USA Pro Challenge

    Jens Voigt (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    August 18, 2013, 16:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Froome not considering GC after post-Tour break

    The USA Pro Challenge kicked off in Aspen, Colorado with the team presentation at Snowmass Village last night, with Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) and green jersey winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) headlining the event.

    Although the tough climbs of Colorado should suit Froome on paper, he said that he is still trying to get back into form after a series of exhibition criteriums and some time off after the Tour.

    “Hopefully, I can be here to help one of my teammates get the title," Froome told the fans at the presentation. "I’ve taken a bit of time off after the Tour and I’m going to try to use this race to try and get back into the swing of things and get ready for the World Championships.”

    The seven-stage races begins on Monday with a circuit in Aspen, and concludes next Sunday with another high-speed stage in Denver. In between, there are numerous high-altitude ascents to tackle and several tricky finishes.

    The festivities have already gotten underway in Aspen, with several recreational rides. The Aspen Sprint Challenge for amateur racers gets the competition underway tonight.

  • Stybar hails Eneco Tour win as a dream come true

    Czech mate: Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team) wins the final stage
    Article published:
    August 18, 2013, 18:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma - QuickStep rider takes stage win and overall

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma QuickStep) completed a dominant performance at the Eneco Tour with a win on the final day of racing. The stage win also netted the former cyclo-cross world champion the overall honours, and the Czech rider described the events as one of the best days of his life.

    "I am really happy and it is like a dream for me to come to the Eneco Tour to win two stages, almost three, and the GC.”

    Stybar certainly had to work for his final day win and overall title, but much of the groundwork was carried out by his team. They sent Guillaume Van Keirsbulck into the early break and Sylvain Chavanel launched a vicious attack later on in order to isolate overnight leader Tom Dumoulin (Team Argos-Shimano). With the peloton suitably softened up it was left to Stybar to finish the job.

    The Czech attacked on the penultimate climb of the day, bridging over to lone leader Ian Stannard before dispatching the Briton on the final ascent.

    “Today the stage wasn't so easy, but when Chava went away with small group on the Kwaremont I said 'OK perfect, I have to only to stay on wheels and see what's happened'. But when we caught the group, I understood probably I had a chance to win Eneco Tour. I knew the last climb, Denderoordberg, was really hard. To me it was the only way to go for the win. It wasn't in my head to wait for the final sprint so I decided it was everything or nothing on the climb,” he said.

    “I tried my maximum and I did it. When I went, a few kilometers after my attack I found Stannard in front. I really didn't know he was there. It was really great to find a rider like him. We worked well together — to be honest even he would have deserved the victory. But when I was there I was only focused and concentrated on gaining seconds for the GC, so I...

  • Ballan's comeback interrupted by continued pain

    Alessandro Ballan in relaxed mood
    Article published:
    August 18, 2013, 19:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Abdominal surgery necessary for BMC rider

    Former road world champion Alessandro Ballan is facing another surgery as a result of last December's training crash which left him with internal injuries and a broken femur. The BMC rider returned to competition in June, but had continued abdominal pain, and will go under the knife to remove adhesions from previous surgeries, according to team medical officer Dr. Max Testa.

    Ballan crashed at high speed in training on December 20, 2012, and was hospitalized for several weeks, during which time his spleen was removed. He had another surgery in February to remove similar adhesions as well as his appendix.

    After six months away from competition, he started at the GP du Canton d'Argovie in June, but then dropped out of the Tour de Wallonie last month due to the pain.

    "He's been having reoccurring issues with his health and we hope this surgery finally brings an end to it," Testa said. "He spent two days in a hospital in Belgium undergoing observation and we eventually cleared him to return to racing. But further investigation has determined he will need surgery to release the adhesions on his abdomen developed after the previous surgeries."

    Ballan is determined to get through his latest medical crisis and confident the surgery will be the solution. "I am strong and I know after this last surgery I will be as healthy before. This experience has brought me closer to my family and friends and will make me stronger in life as well," he said.

    The Italian has the support of BMC's general manager Jim Ochowicz. "We certainly missed Alessandro in the spring...

  • Froome, Porte to support American interests at USA Pro Challenge

    Richie Porte (SKY) talked about racing the post-Tour criteriums and taking it easy before getting back to hard racing here in Colorado.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2013, 0:42 BST
    Pat Malach

    Dombrowski, Boswell, Pate lead Team Sky

    Team Sky's Chris Froome and Richie Porte downplayed their chances for results this week at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado during the pre-race press conference Sunday in Aspen. The 2013 Tour de France winner and his faithful lieutenant each said they had taken several weeks off following the French Grand Tour and would be working for their teammates during the race.

    "Richie and myself have had a little bit of a break since the Tour," Froome said. "So we're probably not going as well as we were during the Tour. But either way, we're going to be here to do what we can and to help out the rest of our teammates. It's quite an important race for us. We've got some new partners with the team in the US now with 21st Century Fox. So it's important for us to bring quite a strong team here."

    Among the teammates Froome and Porte will be supporting are 22-year-old Americans Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell, along with veteran rider Danny Pate, 34. Porte echoed Froome's sentiments about bringing a strong team to provide opportunities for their American teammates.

    "We do have a good strong team here, so it's going to be nice to see the young American guys, Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell, and the other young American, Danny Pate, have some opportunities," said the 28-year-old from Tasmania.

    Dombrowski went into the final stage here last year in fourth place but dropped to 10th overall following the pancake flat final time trial in Denver. The neo-pro would obviously like to improve on that result this year with Team Sky, and his more accomplished teammates appeared eager to help him do it.

    "We're interested to see what he can do given the opportunity this year," Froome said.

  • Gallery: USA Pro Challenge press conference

    Today's lineup for the pre-race press conference.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2013, 0:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Sagan, Froome, Porte, Voigt in the spotlight

    With the third edition of the USA Pro Challenge set to kick off on Monday, selected riders greeted the press on the eve of the opening stage to talk about their chances for stage wins or overall honours.

    Crowd favourites Jens Voigt (Radioshack) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) were present alongside local favourites in Christian Vandevelde (Garmin-Sharp), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC). Also of note were the concessions by Tour de France champion, Chris Froome (Sky) and his right-hand man, Richie Porte that they would both ride in favour of their American colleagues this week.