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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 20, 2012

Date published:
August 20, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Injury report: Gasparotto out with fractured collarbone

    Enrico Gasparotto (Astana)
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 11:43 BST
    Cycling News

    No serious injuries from Garmin-Sharp crash

    Enrico Gasparotto of Astana is the first to abandon the 2012 Vuelta a Espana, the victim of a crash in the opening team time trial. Garmin-Sharp also suffered a large crash, but it appeared that there were no serious injuries.

    Gasparotto is leaving the Vuelta “a bit too early ... broken collarbone in 3 places ... bad luck?” he tweeted late Saturday night. He was one of four Astana riders who crashed in the last half of the stage. His teammate Paolo Tiralongo also went to hospital after the stage with a sore hip, but the extent of his injuries are not known.

    The team had been in a promising second place at the intermediate time check, but the crash caused them to finish only eleventh, 34 seconds behind winning team Movistar. "Today's result is not important. It is much more important to know how Tiralongo and Gasparotto are doing,” said team manager Giuseppe Martinelli on the team website.

    Gasparotto rode the stage to the end, but finished over the time limit.

    Garmin-Sharp saw three riders hit the pavement, due to a patch of oil at a sharp left-hand turn within the last five kilometers. Thomas Dekker suffered the most damage, tweeting Sunday morning that he had abrasions and a swollen knee. He is expected to be at the start.

    “The consequences don't seem to go beyond a bit of skin,” said sporting director Alan Peiper. “It's a small mistake which hurt us. It's a shame because we had a good start.”

  • Wiggins to return to racing at the Tour of Britain

    2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins celebrates on the Champs-Élysées with his son.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 12:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour de France winner given extended break by Team Sky

    Bradley Wiggins will return to racing in front of his home fans at the 2012 Tour of Britain, which starts in the East Anglian town of Ipswich on September 9. Wiggins had originally planned to make his comeback at the Tour of Denmark but he has now been given extra time off by Team Sky following his season of unprecendented success.

    Since winning Paris-Nice in March, Wiggins has also clinched victories at the Tour de Romandie, the Criterium du Dauphine, the Tour de France and the 2012 Olympic time trial. His victory at the Tour, where he became the first Briton to win the coveted yellow jersey, meant that he became the first man in history to win Paris-Nice, Romandie, the Dauphine and the Tour in the same season.

    "I'm doing the Tour of Britain," Wiggins announced when addressing the crowd and competitors at his "Ride with Brad" sportive in his home county of Lancashire on Sunday morning. "It'll be nice. I'll try to stay fit between now and then so I don't embarrass myself. It'll be good."


  • Martin and Stybar led astray by police motorcycle at Vuelta

    Time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 14:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep lose top two riders in team time trial

    A police motorcycle cost Omega Pharma-QuickStep the victory in Saturday's opening stage of the Vuelta a Espana, according to Tony Martin. The motorcycle took the wrong way around a traffic circle, leading Martin and Zdenek Stybar astray, and they were never able to catch up again to their confused teammates.

    Shortly after the halfway point, Martin was leading the team with Stybar on his wheel, when at the first of a series of traffic circles, “one of the police motorcycles drove not inside, but outside, which was of course longer. I was leading and followed him. Our third rider was the first to notice the mistake,” Martin wrote on his website.

    “My colleagues then took the direct way and I was out of it. No more chance to catch up. The team was confused, I was no longer here and also Zdenek Stybar. I think under normal circumstances we would have ridden for the win.”

    "We had a good time at the intermediate point after eight kilometers and we wanted to follow the right line,” Stybar said on his website. "We were well under way when suddenly a police motorcycle chose the wrong direction. Tony Martin followed instinctively and I sat on his wheel."

    The duo finished 2:01 after winners Movistar. The rest of the team was second, ten seconds down.

  • Peiper laments Garmin’s tough start to Vuelta

    The Garmin-Sharp team
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 15:18 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Four Garmin-Sharp riders crash on left-hand bend

    For a squad like Garmin-Sharp, 21st place in the opening team time trial of  the Vuelta a Espana was a major surprise - but the fact that no less than four of their nine riders crashed on a corner mid-way through the stage has a lot to do with it.

    “Somebody’s back wheel slipped out on the roundabout and four of them came down. It was a shambles to say the least,” Garmin-Sharp sports director Allan Peiper told Cyclingnews this morning.

    “They took it hard into that roundabout, Andrew [Talansky] led in, Koldo [Fernandez] slipped out and brought three guys down on top of him” - Thomas Dekker, Christophe Le Mevel and Michel Kreder.

    Worst off was Thomas Dekker. “He has the most skin off his knee, elbow and hip, and his knee was a bit swollen last night. It’s painful now but he says he’s ok on the bike so hopefully he’ll be all right.

    “The thing is we’d done a lot of work on the kind of efforts the guys were going to need for the team time trial, what to do and what not to do and where to do it. We don’t have the all-star line up but we’ve got a very homogenous group here and I thought top five was possible, and at the mid-way point we were ten seconds down on [provisional stage leaders] BMC so they were doing well.

    “But we’ll come round this one. As Jonathan [Vaughters, team manager] likes to say ‘onwards and upwards’ or something like that.

    “It’s not bye-bye GC but every second you lose is a second you need to get back. Sometimes it can be an advantage if you want to move up some places, but Andrew was obviously disappointed, he’s come here with high aspirations, but...

  • Degenkolb claims first Grand Tour stage win

    John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) on the podium
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 19:40 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Young German sprinter says uphill finish suited him

    John Degenkolb's biggest win of his career to date came just two days into his second-ever Grand Tour, as he powered up the slight rise that concluded Sunday's bunch sprint stage of the Vuelta a Espana, just ahead of a clearly frustrated Allan Davis (Orica-GreenEdge).  It is the second time Degenkolb is racing the Vuelta; his first time was in 2011.

    Degenkolb, 23, said that the sprint's uphill element meant that it was "not a normal one, you needed a lot of power for those last rising 400 or 500 metres, and that's exactly what I need to win a stage."

    "They were pretty fast, flat roads in the last few kilometres and a few teams tried to organise a sprint train, particularly GreenEdge. But my guys brought me back to the top spots. [Argos-Shimano teammate] Koen de Kort dropped me off in the perfect position right on Allan Davis' and Ben Swift's wheels, and then I did the rest of the job myself."

    Degenkolb was delighted because the pressure is now off his team - a ProConti squad invited to the race. The team won a sprint stage last year with Marcel Kittel. "We wanted a minimum of one stage from this race, and we've got it almost as soon as possible. There are two hard mountain stages now [stages 3 and 4], but after that we'll try to win some more on the flat stages before the first rest day."

    "In any case, this is a team win. It's almost impossible to win a stage alone as a sprinter. Not just in the last five kilometres, they have to keep you close to the front all the way through. This team is one of the best support squads in the world. It works very well together as we've seen countless times with Kittel, too."

    Asked if he felt disappointed that he had not taken...

  • Contador explains bonus sprint ambush

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank)
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 20:55 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard sneaks in a third place in bonus sprint

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank) explained why he made a surprise move in a hot spot sprint bonus 162.5km into stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana to claim a two-second time bonus for a third place behind two breakaways.

    "Grand Tours are sometimes won and lost by seconds," he said.

    The Spaniard was doubtless referring to last year's Vuelta, which Chris Froome (Sky), a leading rival for this year's title, lost by 13 seconds last year to Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar). And without time bonuses, Froome would actually have finished first overall.

    Contador explained that he had been in a good position anyway on the slight rise through Viana, where the time bonus was situated - preceding a loop round the town and final bunch sprint finish - and had seen the opportunity to go for the third place in the time bonus behind two breakaways.

    "I was toward the front anyway with [Danish teammate] Niki Sorensen, we were well placed, and we decided to go for it," Contador said, "and if there's another opportunity to take two seconds or six seconds tomorrow, I'd do it again - major Tours are won and lost by seconds sometimes."

    Asked if it was a sign of whether he was nervous about his form or ambitious, Contador said, "That depends on how you interpret it. My objective is to do as well as possible overall."

    As for the two upcoming summit finishes, Contador said they were "very different. Arrate [on stage 3] is short and punchy, whereas Valdezcaray is much longer and gentler. It'll be difficult to attack on Valdezcaray, though, if it's windy - it's very exposed at the top."

    His compatriot Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) was none too...

  • Hard day for Orica-GreenEdge at Vattenfall Cyclassics

    Daryl Impey (Orica - Greenedge) is injured
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 22:10 BST
    Cycling News

    O'Grady, Impey with fractured ribs

    It was a hard day for Orica-GreenEdge at the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany, as the Australian team had three riders go down in crashes. Stuart O'Grady and Daryl Impey both came away with fractured ribs, whilst Jens Keukeleire needed only stitches.

    O'Grady and Keukeleire crashed with about 40km to go in the race. Keukeleire came away with bruises and some stitches in his thigh, but the Australian veteran was more seriously injured. He had multiple rib fractures and a broken collarbone.  He is scheduled for surgery on his collarbone on Monday.

    The scariest crash occurred within sight of the finish line, and Impey was the main victim.  Serious injuries were at first feared, but head and neck scans came out clear. A fractured collarbone was then diagnosed, but that also turned out to be wrong, and in the end the final word was fractured ribs.

  • Video: Keough prepared to suffer for lone sprint stage at USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Jake Keough (UnitedHealthcare) stayed safe at the front throughout the race.
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 0:23 BST
    Pat Malach

    UnitedHealthcare look to back up strong performance in Utah

    This week's USA Pro Challenge in Colorado won't likely offer a lot of opportunities for the sprinters. The 1,908.7 km route with 12,800 meters of climbing over seven stages, some of which top 3,000 meters of elevation multiple times, will be a race for the climbers and the GC contenders.

    RadioShack-Nissan's Jens Voigt said his team didn't bring any sprinters to the race for these very reasons. On paper, the one day that looks like an opportunity for the fast men will come on the 189.7 km stage from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs. The stage starts with the category 1 climb of Hoosier Pass, which tops out at 3,352 meters just 16 km into the race, and then generally rolls downhill to the finish.

    But Jake Keough, the 25-year-old UnitedHealthcare sprinter who won the only pure sprinters' stage at the very hilly Tour of Utah, said his opportunities for results will depend on how the stages are raced.

    "I think probably stage 5 is the only one that looks really sprint friendly," Keough told Cyclingnews. "It starts with a hard climb and then it's a little bit downhill all day. But depending on how they race, there are a lot of stages that could possibly end with pretty large groups."

    Keough suffered through three difficult climbing stages in Utah before he seized his opportunity on the relatively flat stage 4 that finished in Salt Lake City, convincingly grabbing the win in front of Liquigas-Cannondale's Marco Benfatto and Garmin-Sharp's Tyler Farrar. Keough said his team will be looking for the same type of opportunities this week in Colorado.

    "Utah last week was a good confirmation of how you can suffer over the...