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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 27, 2012

Date published:
August 27, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Voigt takes mountains jersey at USA Pro Challenge

    Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) on the attack in Colorado
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 15:43 BST
    Pat Malach

    German surprised to move into the lead

    RadioShack-Nissan's Jens Voigt capped his stage 4 win at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado by taking home the king of the mountains jersey on Saturday after stage 6, slipping into another breakaway and earning enough points to come from third place and overtake Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) on the last day that offered mountains classification points.

    Voigt started the day tied with Colombian Francisco Colorado (EMP-UNE), 16 points shy of Danielson's leading mark. Both riders made it into the 12-rider breakaway that escaped in the opening kilometers from the start in Golden. The day offered three chances for KOM points on the climbs of Boulder Canyon, Lee Hill and the finish on top of Flagstaff mountain in Boulder.

    Colorado struck first, finishing second on the Boulder Canyon climb behind Danielson's teammate Alex Howes and then grabbing second again on Lee Hill behind Voigt's teammate George Bennett. Voigt finished fourth and third on those two climbs and then hung on for third on Flagstaff while Colorado fell off the pace and scored blank, ceding Voigt a three-point lead and the final KOM jersey for the stage race. Danielson slipped to third, five points behind Voigt.

    Voigt said he had no plans at the start of the day to go for the mountain classification win, focusing instead on a stage victory because he thought there was no way he could make up the difference in the KOM battle.

    “I never really thought I could take it, because also the Colombian kept sprinting for the points,” Voigt said. “So I thought, here he is, he can take it, I'm not in that business. I was just looking for the stage. And then they said,...

  • Gilbert delighted with comeback win

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) wins stage 9 of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 17:59 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    First victory since September 2011

    If Philippe Gilbert (BMC) celebrated Sunday’s Vuelta a España stage win with even more enthusiasm than usual, then it was understandable. After taking 18 wins in the 2011 season, Gilbert’s victory was his first since the GP Wallonie on September 14th, 2011.

    “It’s already been almost a whole year since I won, so I’m really pleased to win for BMC, this is very special,” Gilbert said with a huge grin afterwards. “I’ve very happy as it’s been a long time since my last win.

    “It’s been a hard season for me, I was fighting to get a good shape, I never stopped believing in myself and had a lot of support from my family and friends. Last year has maybe been the hardest moment of my career and it’s in those moments when you need that support.

    “I’ve had a lot of criticism from the Belgian press, I never answered it except by fighting on my bike and this stage of the Vuelta was an opportunity with a perfect finish.”

    Gilbert took the win by outsprinting red jersey Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) after they had escaped on the climb of Montjuic in the finale. “It was a hard stage because the GC guys were fighting for the seconds [time bonuses], and the overall classification is still very close,” Gilbert said.

    “The plan was for [teammate] Alessandro Ballan to go for it and for me to finish off his good work, but when ‘Purito’ [Rodriguez] attacked I knew it was the perfect plan for me to go with him. He’s maybe the best climber out there on those kinds of ascents, but I knew I was faster than him in the sprints.

    “We never braked on those descents, so we were going full gas all the way,...

  • Rodríguez extends Vuelta advantage in Barcelona

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on the podium in Barcelona
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 18:57 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Catalan has buffer ahead of time trial

    Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) extended his overall lead on stage 9 of the Vuelta a España in Barcelona after he finished second behind Philippe Gilbert (BMC). The pair escaped on the final climb on Montjuic, which was enough to see Rodriguez add another 20 seconds to his overall advantage on Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank).

    “I had to attack because I knew that in the worst of circumstances they would just bring me back to the main group,” said Rodríguez. “I was just very lucky to have someone like Philippe Gilbert with me.

    “It was a very stressful finish, because everybody was very fresh at the finish, and very emotional for me, too, because I knew the Montjuic park as a bike rider very well when I used to do the [now defunct] Subida a Montjuic hill-climb when I was a young pro.”

    While Rodríguez was outsprinted by Gilbert at the finish, he had the consolation of coming in twelve seconds ahead of Froome and Contador, and picking up an additional 8 seconds in time bonuses on his chief rivals for final overall victory.

    “We didn’t need to make a pact, he knew what he wanted, and I knew what I wanted. It clearly had a mutual advantage for both of us,” Rodríguez said.

    “I didn’t know how much of a gap we’d got and kept on looking back, but finally a TV cameraman was kind enough to tell me to stop doing that because I had enough of a gap.”

    Would Rodríguez hope for a similar replay of events on the Cauberg in the World Championships in just under a month’s time? “I hope not, because I would choose anybody but Gilbert to have to fight in a sprint,”...

  • Boulder riders amazed by home support in USA Pro Challenge

    Rory Sutherland takes his career's biggest win in Boulder
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 19:55 BST
    Pat Malach

    Fans come out in droves to support local riders

    There was very little surprise when four local riders made into the day's breakaway during Saturday's stage from Golden to Boulder at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. The race featured 22 riders from Colorado, 18 of whom currently or previously lived in the cycling-centric college town just west of Denver

    "They called all the Boulder guys to the start line this morning," said RadioShack-Nissan's Jens Voigt, one of the 14 riders in the breakaway that formed in the opening kilometers outside of Golden. "There was probably half the peloton that was from Boulder. So it was actually quite easy to be in a break with somebody from Boulder."

    Eventual stage winner Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) moved to the town in 2007. Bissell Pro Cycling's Chris Baldwin has been a fixture in Boulder throughout his long career. Liquigas Cannondale's Timmy Duggan, the reigning US national road champion, is from there and now lives in nearby Nederland, and Garmin-Sharp's Alex Howes is a Golden boy. All four riders made it into the lead group that animated the penultimate stage.

    "It's funny," Sutherland said. "We were talking about it at dinner [Friday] night when I walked past the Bissell table and saw Chris Baldwin and I saw Timmy Duggan, and we chatted. I said, 'If you go up the road, you better make sure I'm there, because I'm coming.'"

    It seems most of the Boulder-based riders were watching and waiting for the day's big move. Voigt said he thought all of the teams had the same morning meeting before the stage, because nearly every rider in the race was trying to maker it into the move. But Duggan said the local riders had a big advantage in knowing when to go.

    "We know this exact road, and we knew how the race would probably play out," Duggan said. "We were all kind of...

  • Vuelta a España negotiates return to Netherlands in 2015

    Expect a sea of orange when the Vuelta kicks off in Assen on Saturday
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 22:00 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Race director recalls overwhelming success of 2009 Vuelta

    The Vuelta a España is in negotiations for a return by the race to the Netherlands in 2015, race director Javier Guillén told Cyclingnews, with another start in Holland “a real possibility in three years’ time.”

    In the 2009 Vuelta, tens of thousands of fans packed out Assen’s motorbike circuit to watch Fabian Cancellara claim his first ever Vuelta stage win and lead, and even more were present on the roadsides as the race headed south and east over four days through Holland before culminating with a brief incursion into Germany and a final stage finish in Liège, Belgium. The Vuelta then headed back to Spain for a rest day and then a stage from Tarragona to Vinaros.

    “We would like to have another start in Holland and it’s a real possibility,” Guillen told Cyclingnews. “In fact we’ve had a delegation from the ‘Dutch Vuelta commission’ here in this year’s race. But nothing as yet is decided. There’s a long way to go yet.”

    The reason for making a potential start a long way off in time, too, is that “it’s not something you can plan overnight. There’s a lot of logistical considerations, you need time to exploit all the publicity potential for a Netherlands start that such an event can produce, and on top of that, 2015 is also a date which suits the Dutch. 2013 and 2014 weren’t so good.”

    “We can’t take a start there for granted. But the experience we had of the Vuelta in Holland in 2009 was really positive, and I think at some point we will have to repeat it.”

  • Froome has work to do entering the rest day at the Vuelta

    Chris Froome (Sky)
    Article published:
    August 27, 2012, 1:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky rider loses precious seconds to Rodríguez and Valverde

    Chris Froome (Sky) rolled across the finish line of stage nine at the Vuelta a España at the tail end of a reduced peloton, 12 seconds down on race leader Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha). Froome, flanked by his teammate Sergio Henao appeared exhausted by the aggressive finale, his head dropping toward his handlebars at the end of a tough stage.

    "Froome finished with the main group so he has kept hold of second place. It was a tough finish today and we know it will be a very big fight over the next two weeks," said sports director Nicolas Portal.

    Entering the first rest day, Froome will need to analyse how to reduce his 53 second deficit to Rodríguez over the coming weeks. He will have his first real opportunity during the stage 11 time trial where the Sky rider will look to close the gap and take over the lead from Rodríguez.

    Froome remains one of the contenders for the overall win thanks in part to his strength against the clock. The Kenyan-born British rider has managed to hold his brilliant form throughout a heavy program of racing including the Tour de France and the Olympics. Froome finished second overall at the Tour and shortly after contested both the Olympic road race and the time trial - winning the bronze medal behind compatriot Bradley Wiggins and Germany’s Tony Martin.

    Sky’s sport’s director Portal understands that with the strength of Froome in the time trial, some of his rivals Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and...

  • Boasson Hagen makes a move in UCI WorldTour rankings

    Norwegian champion Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)
    Article published:
    August 27, 2012, 3:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Team Sky continue to dominate

    Edvald Boasson Hagen's victory at the GP Ouest-France-Plouay gave his UCI WorldTour individual rankings a boost on Sunday.

    The Team Sky rider moved from 30th to 11 place in the points race with 211 with teammate Bradley Wiggins still leading on 601 following his awesome performance throughout the season. The Norwegian champion sacrificed his own chances to help Wiggins win the Tour de France but he has recovered well from his effort in July. He showed his form by finishing fifth in the recent Vattenfalls Cyclassics in Germany and looks set for a great final part of the season - just in time for the UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands.

    "I'm really happy. It was nice to get the win," Boasson Hagen told "The team did a really good job to keep me up there all day and heading into the finish. I felt good when I jumped clear and I felt confident that I could take the win. It has been quite a while since my last victory so it was nice to see the form is good. Hopefully it can continue."

    Wiggins has not raced since the Olympic Games in London and with second-placed Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) on 414 points currently racing, and leading, the Vuelta a España the gap to the Brit should be closed.

    Belgian national champion Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is third in the individual ranking with 410 points and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is fourth with 400 points. Slovakia's Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) is fifth with 351 points.

    Rui Costa, who finished in second behind...

  • USADA: Armstrong could have retained five Tour wins

    Article published:
    August 27, 2012, 5:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Tygart says co-operation with the agency was the key

    One of Lance Armstrong’s key arguments in fighting United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charges of doping and conspiracy was that the agency was acting outside the eight-year statute of limitations. USADA boss Travis Tygart has now revealed that if Armstrong had co-operated with the investigation, that statute may actually have applied.

    On Friday, USADA handed down a lifetime ban and disqualified Armstrong from any and all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to August 1, 1998 after the 40-year-old declined to contest charges which were announced on June 13. Among those results were an unprecedented seven Tour de France victories.

    Tygart told the USA Today that co-operation from Armstrong would have resulted in USADA stripping him only of his 2004 and 2005 wins.

    "[If Armstrong had of] come in and been truthful, then the evidence might have been that the statute [of limitations] should apply," Tygart said.

    Tygart also explained that the Agency was willing to talk to Armstrong should he ever want to reconsider his stance.

    "We always remain open, because while the truth hurts, ultimately, from what we have seen in these types of cases, acknowledging the truth is the best way forward," he said.