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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 30, 2010

Date published:
August 30, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Freire ready to take on Cavendish and Farrar in Vuelta sprints

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) waves to the crowd
    Article published:
    August 29, 2010, 13:10 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Milan-San Remo winner recovering from sinus operation

    Spain’s Oscar Freire is still recovering from a sinus operation but with the world championships just over a month away, the three-time rainbow jersey winner is looking to get back to his best while riding the Vuelta.

    Freire won Milan-San Remo and has totalled six victories so far in 2010, but he struggled in the sprints at the Tour de France. He was suffering with a breathing problem and underwent surgery to have polyps removed from his nose and sinuses on the Tuesday after the Tour finished in Paris. Now he hopes he can re-find his best form during the Vuelta as he takes on Cavendish and Farrar in the sprints.

    “I’m slowly improving but I was told after the operation I’d need two weeks to recover, but I think that is the time for people who don’t practice sport, because I’m still not quite right,” Freire told Spanish newspaper AS.

    “I have clocked up six wins this season. I don’t know if I'm the most successful Spanish rider in terms of the number of victories but I did win my third Milan-San Remo. That’s not bad is it? And I’ve still got the Vuelta, Paris-Tours and the world championships.”

    Most of the sprint stages at the Vuelta come early in this year’s race. Freire admits he will still be trying to find his legs and he doesn’t have a dedicated lead-out train like Cavendish and Farrar. However he still fancies his chances and can never be discounted in a sprint, especially after a hilly day in the saddle before the finish.

    “The first week might be a bit soon for me to be up there. I haven’t trained in the heat and it makes it hard for me to breath. I will try to do something as the days go by and see me if my confidence improves. The problem is that there is nothing I can do about how the race route has been designed,” he said.

    “I beat them (Cavendish and Farrar) when I didn’t have these...

  • Transfers: Tondo to Movistar

    Xavier Tondo (Cervelo Test Team) wins stage three at the Volta Catalunya.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2010, 13:22 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Bos said to be returning to Rabobank and the track

    Cervelo TestTeam riders are starting to make plans for their future following the surprise announcement a few days ago that the team would stop at the end of the season. Xavier Tondo announced Sunday that he will ride for the newly-named Movistar team, while Theo Bos is said to be going back to Rabobank.

    Tondo, 31, has served as a lieutenant for captain Carlos Sastre in both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana this year. He won stages in both Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya, finishing second overall in the Spanish stage race.

    "It's not a new team but a new sponsor," Tondo told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 2 of the Vuelta a España in Alcala de Guadaira. "When I decided to take up cycling at the age of 14, it was because I saw Perico Delgado and Miguel Indurain on TV. I was a big fan of the Banesto team. To sign with them for two years is like a dream come true. It makes me happy after getting the sad news of Cervélo stopping the team."

    "We haven't discussed yet with Unzue which role I'll have in the team, nor the race program, but there will be a lot of opportunities for me to take part in big races," Tondo added.

    The Spaniard rode for small teams until he was attracted by Carlos Sastre to join Cervélo as a domestique. He did more than that as he won a stage at Paris-Nice and another one at Volta a Catalunya where he finished second overall.

    "Of course I'd like to ride the Tour de France," he said. "I was disappointed not to be able to do it this year because of the health problems I encountered at the Giro. I was forced to pull out with fever. It was sad because I was third on GC after two weeks." Tondo was one of the most active riders during the legendary stage 11 to L'Aquila where most of the favourites got trapped by the offensive of 56 breakaway riders.

    Sickness in Italy wasn't the end of the troubles for Tondo. "I took a rest for the Vuelta," he continued. "But I...

  • Hutarovitch comes of age with Vuelta stage win

    Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) looking pretty pleased with the day's work.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2010, 19:56 BST
    Laura Weislo

    FDJ sprinter "improving constantly"

    Yauheni Hutarovitch quickly made a name for himself by taking his first grand tour stage win at the Vuelta a España in Marbella, outsprinting no less than the three fastest men in the sport: Mark Cavendish, Tyler Farrar and Alessandro Petacchi.

    While "Who-tarovitch?" may have been the question on the lips of many riders and commentators as the Belarus hit the line, there was one person who expected the victory, and it was the winner himself. "It's not a surprise for me," 26-year-old Hutarovitch declared. "My stage win at the Tour of Poland gave me the confidence I needed and I was sure to win a stage during this Vuelta. It just came very quickly."

    The victory by the big man from Belarus was a surprise to many, as was evident on the face of Cavendish directly after the finish and from the comments of Garmin-Transitions directeur sportif Johnny Weltz. "We've been unlucky to come up against a rider who usually doesn't win at a high level," said Weltz.

    In defense of Cavendish, Farrar and Petacchi, FDJ manager Marc Madiot said: "'Huta' is fresh because he hasn't raced the Tour de France this year." In the Tour, FDJ focused on climbers Christophe Le Mével and Sandy Casar and did not select the Belarus rider as they did in 2009 when he collected his best result when he finished third in stage 11 in Saint-Fargeau, won by Cavendish.

    This is the first time Hutarovich has prevailed against such a quality field. He turned professional in 2007 with the Roubaix-Lille Metropole team, where he claimed his first win in the Tour du Poitou Charentes et de la Vienne. In 2008 he moved to Francaise des Jeux, coming second on stage two of the Tour Méditerranéen, before scoring his first victory and taking the race lead on the second stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen.

    His Tour of Poland stage earlier this summer was his first victory at ProTour level and his win today was the 16th of his pro career....

  • Cavendish suffers in the heat but holds Vuelta lead

    Mark Cavendish wonders "Who-tarovich?"
    Article published:
    August 29, 2010, 20:06 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Farrar misses a shot at the red jersey as Dean struggles after crash

    Mark Cavendish was disappointed to be beaten by Yauheni Hutarovich in the sprint in Marbella but second place meant he was able to the hold onto the red leader’s jersey despite suffering in the scorching heat.

    Riders again faced temperatures above 40C during the first part of the stage, with temperatures only dropping as they reached the Mediterranean coast near the finish. Cavendish seemed to suffer the most, revealing he vomited several times during the stage. “It was a very difficult day, incredibly hot and the guys did an incredible job on such tough terrain,” Cavendish told the Reuters news agency.

    “I had goose bumps and I was throwing up I was that hot. It was only when we got to the coast and the weather cooled down that I started feeling a bit more normal.”

    “I’m incredibly lucky that I have such a great team of guys around me. They work so hard. I didn’t have to spend any extra energy at all. But the heat killed me. I was suffering a lot.”

    Cavendish is without his usual lead out man Mark Renshaw at the Vuelta but can count on a strong team, with recent GP Plouay winner Matt Goss acting as his lead out in the final kilometre of the sprints.

    Goss helped Cavendish hold a good position in the final kilometre and then the Manxman jumped on Tyler Farrar’s wheel before opening up his own sprint. He looked set to win the stage but then Hutarovich surged past him in sight of the line.

    “It’s always disappointing when you don’t get a win after your teammates have worked so hard, but stage five is another good opportunity and we’ll try and take it,” Cavendish said.

    “This race is the first time I’ve ridden with Matt Goss. It’s not quite the same as when I’m with Mark but we’re learning. It always takes me a couple of days to get into the rhythm of a major stage race too, so we’ll...

  • French focus for Ag2r-La Mondiale

    Andre Renaudin, Yvon Breton, Dimitri Champion and Vincent Lavenu.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2010, 22:46 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Chérel the fifth recruit for Lavenu's team

    For the first time since the team was created in 1992 under the name of Chazal-Vanille et Mûre and Estonian stagiaire Jaan Kirsipuu won stage one of Paris-Bourges, there might not be a rider from Eastern Europe in Vincent Lavenu's Ag2r-La Mondiale squad next year.

    Latvia's Gatis Smukulis, Estonia's René Mandri and the Efimkin brothers are on their way out, while Tadej Valjavec's contract has little chance of being extended for 2011; although he hasn't been suspended by the Slovenian federation, the UCI has insisted he stop racing following examination of his biological passport. But for now he's not racing due to injury.

    "Vladimir Efimkin has already left the team on a mutual agreement because he wanted to rejoin his family in the United States," Lavenu told Cyclingnews. "I remain convinced that he could have had a better career. He made the top 10 of the Tour de France with us."

    In 2008, Efimkin eventually became the winner of stage nine to Bagnères-de-Bigorre after the disqualification of Riccardo Ricco, but he hasn't won a race since.

    Yuriy Krivtsov will stay with Ag2r-La Mondiale in 2011 but he's no longer Ukrainian as he recently switched to French nationality after living in France for the past decade.

    Lavenu has recruited only French riders for the coming season. After Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne), Sébastien Minard (Cofidis), Romain Lemarchand (BigMat-Auber 93) and Steve Houanard (Skil-Shimano), Mikaël Chérel (Française Des Jeux) has signed a one-year contract with Ag2r-La Mondiale.

    "I'm very happy to have sealed this deal," said the 24-year-old from Normandy who recently finished fifth in Paris-Corrèze. "I was also offered a contract by Bretagne-Schuller but I prefer to be able to take part in the same races as with Française Des Jeux."

    Former national champion as a junior, Chérel underwent surgery for a cyst twice this year....

  • Andreu extends for two-years with Kenda

    Frankie Andreu is heading up the Kenda Pro Cycling presented by Geargrinders team.
    Article published:
    August 30, 2010, 0:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Continental team looks for additional funding

    Former professional Frankie Andreu has extended his commitment with the Kenda-Geargrinder team through 2012. The squad will enter its third year as a registered Continental team with the International Cycling Union (UCI) and has re-signed its leading rider from Italy Luca Damiani.

    The former member of Lance Armstrong's US Postal team is hoping to raise the status of Kenda Pro Cycling in the coming season with the help of some additional funding. "A lot of teams are trying to turn Professional Continental or trying to go ProTour. I would like to see Kenda with a little bit more support to build into a powerful domestic team that can race in all the races in the US and not be limited because of their status," Andreu said.

    "Eventually this year or next year, if more sponsors come on board, the objective is to get into the biggest races in the US like the Tour of California. I would like to see the team with the right type of riders so that we could go and ride those kinds of races and that is what we are shooting for in 2011."

    With the possibility of the Amgen Tour of California turning ProTour, teams like Kenda would have to step up to the next level of UCI teams in order to compete, which takes a bigger budget. Andreu admitted that the team is in search of a partner which would help bolster the roster with stronger riders and increase the number of top-level races it hopes to participate in over the next two years.

    "Kenda signed on for another two years which is great it puts us in a good position, but we will need to find an additional sponsor or partner to be able to continue to grow the team," Andreu said. "Kenda’s involvement is important because it allows us to have a team but it’s the starting point and we need other sponsors to be able to build on that.

    Italy’s Luca Damiani signed on with the team for the first time last year and has also renewed his term for two more years. He is...

  • Gerrans rubbishes Worlds rift rumours

    Simon Gerrans (Sky)
    Article published:
    August 30, 2010, 5:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Evans had team’s support in 2009, says Sky rider

    Simon Gerrans has dismissed suggestions that Cadel Evans didn’t have the support of his Australian team-mates when he claimed victory at last year’s UCI World Road Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The normally reserved rider didn’t mince words when addressing rumours that of the nine man squad, eight had vowed to support himself at a pre-race meeting while only Evans voted for himself.

    "That was absolute bullshit. I don't know where that story came from," Gerrans told the The Sydney Morning Herald. "We were shocked to hear it. It couldn't have been further from the truth. We sat down, had our team meeting and discussed tactics and who were the best chances.

    ''I had a good run leading into worlds, winning the Grand Prix de Plouay and [a stage in] the Vuelta,” he added. “While Cadel and I were going for the win, we decided I would be the best [chance] to win but by natural selection he was good enough. I wasn't. We were equally protected. Cadel had the legs to finish it off. I didn't."

    The pair, who ride for BMC Racing Team and Team Sky professionally, will again join forces for the world championships this year. Evans will defend his title on home soil, with the event to be staged in Geelong, Australia, while the course is believed to be better suited to Gerrans. That will see the pair again share leadership of the Australian National Team.

    While Gerrans is contesting the Vuelta a España in Spain ahead of the event Evans will use Paris-Brussels, GP Fourmie and GP Wallone as some of his preparation events. Evans had contested the Vuelta leading into last year’s championship race but his smaller BMC Racing Team squad isn’t contesting this year’s event, having already competed at the year’s first two Grand Tours: Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

  • Fly V Australia captures 2010 NRC team title

    Cheers for Fly V Australia!
    Article published:
    August 30, 2010, 6:52 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Amaran crowned individual men's winner

    Fly V Australia sprinter Jonathan Cantwell put a stamp on his team's overall victory of the National Racing Calendar (NRC) series by winning the last round at the Chris Thater Memorial held on Sunday in Binghamton, New York.

    "To win the NRC team title is a huge honour and it is very prestigious to be ranked the number one team in America," said Cantwell. "It's a huge feat and we were so consistent from the start to the end. This was very important to the team and very important to the sponsors."

    Cuban all-rounder Luis Amaran (Jamis-Sutter Home p/b Colavita) was not present at the finale, having unofficially consolidated his first NRC's individual title the week prior.

    "Winning the NRC was an important goal of mine this year," said Amaran. "It was the kind of achievement that shows your consistency as a rider."

    May the best man win...

    The NRC series was held over 21 rounds that began at the Redlands Bicycle Classic in California where Fly V Australia's Ben Day kicked off the season with a victory leading the team to the top spot in both the individual and team classifications.

    "We started the season with the NRC not being a goal," said Fly V Australia's technical director Ed Beamon. "After the team came out with such a strong start at the beginning of the season we sort of let it get away. But, you start to get a taste for it and then you don't really want to let it get away.

    "We felt very strongly about how good this team is and how consistent the team has been," he added. "We felt it was important to vindicate by winning the NRC team overall. We wanted to win for our own personal satisfaction of justifying how good our team is so it made sense to try and win it."

    Last year's winning team, Jamis-Sutter Home p/b Colavita (formerly called Colavita-Sutter Home), took over the lead in the NRC team classification after the Wilmington Grand Prix in May.

    Fly V Australia's strong...