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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 9, 2010

Date published:
August 09, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Gran Fondo Colnago Philadelphia at capacity

    Rocky Balboa's famous training ground
    Article published:
    August 08, 2010, 2:30 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Inaugural event this Sunday

    The inaugural Gran Fondo Colnago Philadelphia is set to host 1,700 participants for an Italian-style group ride held throughout the rolling terrain surrounding Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this Sunday.

    “We have absolutely sold out,” said co-founder Rob Klingensmith. “If fact, that was the limit that the city put on us for the first year. I think this market can accommodate many more because there is a very strong Italian community in Philadelphia. If you put it into perspective, the first year of Gran Fondo San Diego we had 1,200 and the second year we had 3,200 so this is very encouraging.”

    Gran Fondo USA, event organizers, have brought in truck loads of ice to stations along the route to deal with the summer heat and humidity, which is expected to reach above 90 Fahrenheit.

    “It is super hot here,” said Klingensmith. “We need to pay close attention to cool the participants along the way. There is a lot of climbing in all three courses.”

    The event will offer cyclists three challenging routes: Gran Fondo at 164 km, Medio Fondo at 92 km and Piccolo Fondo at 50 km. All three groups will start together at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Benjamin Franklin Boulevard. The Museum’s steps are best known for their part in the Rocky films.

    “We are continuing with our tradition of starting in an urban center,” said Klingensmith. “One of our signatures is the mass start and the athletes led out by Ferraris.”

    The group will trail three Ferrari sports cars before heading out along Rive Drive toward the Forge National Park. There is a maximum of 5,000 feet of climbing with a King (and Queen) of the Mountain ascent located at the Valley Forge.

    The Gran Fondo Philadelphia is Gran Fondo USA’s second in a series of three Italian-style mass-start group rides. The first-ever event was held last year in San Diego. This year the organization added...

  • Sanchez renews with Euskaltel-Euskadi

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    August 08, 2010, 10:24 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Olympic champion signs on through 2012

    Samuel Sanchez has signed a contract extension with Euskaltel-Euskadi that will keep him at the team for another two seasons. The Olympic champion’s fine fourth place at the Tour de France attracted interest from a number of other teams, including Vacansoleil, but he has committed himself to the Basque outfit until the end of 2012.

    “Euskaltel-Euskadi has been my team for all my career and to be honest I never imagined myself in another jersey, even though I had some very good offers,” Sanchez said. “I’m very happy to continue in the same set-up that gave me the opportunity to be a professional, I feel very emotionally attached to this project.”

    Sanchez has been at the team since he turned professional in 2000, and rode as an amateur in the Basque country for three years before that. “I’m proud to wear this jersey,” Sanchez explained. “We’re hoping for two very intense years competing at the highest level of world cycling.”

    Team manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano was pleased to keep a hold of the man he labelled the “flagship of a unique cycling project.” Sanchez has been a hugely consistent performer in recent seasons, and has brought Euskaltel-Euskadi some of its biggest results, including two podium finishes at the Vuelta a Espana and fourth place at this year's Tour de France.

    “Samuel has a recognised value and staying with Euskaltel-Euskadi brings us a very big international image,” de Galdeano said. “It’s the best news that we could have.”

  • Brice Feillu to leave Vacansoleil

    Brice Feillu (Vacansoleil) put in a solid solo move, but the climb was just too long.
    Article published:
    August 08, 2010, 13:21 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Brother Romain to stay put

    Brice Feillu has told L’Equipe that he will leave the Vacansoleil team at the end of the season, a year before his contract is due to expire. The Frenchman was disappointed by Vacansoleil’s failure to secure a place at the Tour de France and this setback was compounded when they were also overlooked for a Vuelta a España invitation. He won the stage to Arcalis in the 2009 Tour.

    Both Feillu and his brother Romain had been linked with a move away from the Dutch team during the summer, but the latter has elected to stay put. It means that for the first time in his short professional career, in 2011 Brice Feillu will not ride for the same team as his brother.

    “For Romain, the Tour isn’t a major objective, but I was really disappointed [not to be invited],” Brice Feillu said. “I knew that there was a risk in going to Vacansoleil and I wanted to take that risk to be with Romain. I’m not going to say I regret it because you learn from all experience.”

    “Romain and I are completely different riders, we’re not inseparable,” Feillu said. “Romain is following his path and I’m following mine, but perhaps one day we’ll team up again.”

    Brice Feillu will have to pay compensation to Vacansoleil in order to free himself from his contract, but he is confident that will not be an obstacle. “The management at Vacansoleil knew that they couldn’t really keep someone against his will, and they were right,” he explained.

    In recent weeks, Feillu has been linked with a move to the new Luxembourg-based team that is expected to be built around the Schleck brothers, although he admitted to L’Equipe that he has had a number of offers from teams in France and abroad.

    Meanwhile, elder brother Romain is happy to stay with Vacansoleil, in spite of earlier speculation suggesting that he may also leave....

  • Greipel signs for Omega Pharma-Lotto

    André Greipel (Team HTC - Columbia) opens the victory champagne.
    Article published:
    August 08, 2010, 14:57 BST
    Barry Ryan

    German sprinter leaves HTC-Columbia

    André Greipel has announced that he will join Omega Pharma-Lotto for the 2011 season. The German sprinter has vied for supremacy with Mark Cavendish at the HTC-Columbia team for the past number of seasons and his departure at the end of this campaign was seen as inevitable.

    “In recent weeks there has been much speculation about my impending move to another team,” Greipel wrote on his website. “Now it is confirmed. From 1 January 2011, I will be riding with Omega Pharma-Lotto printed on my jersey.”

    Greipel is pleased to be joining a new team. “The sponsors and management have a clear vision for the further development of the team, which is consistent with my own personal goals,” he said. “We have agreed our sporting and economic terms and the contract will be signed in the coming days.”

    Greipel has taken 16 wins thus far this season, including a stage at the Giro d’Italia, and he won four stages at last year’s Vuelta a España. He was deeply disappointed to miss out on a place at the Tour de France to Mark Cavendish, although the Manx rider rewarded HTC-Columbia’s decision with five stage victories.

  • Kroon and House line-up for BMC at Tour de l’Ain

    BMC Racing's Karsten Kroon.
    Article published:
    August 08, 2010, 17:12 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC mix youth and experience for French stage race

    Karsten Kroon will lead BMC Racing Team in the upcoming Tour de l’Ain, which starts this coming Tuesday. The five-day race kicks off with a 3 kilometre prologue in Amberieu.

    BMC’s six man team will contain a mix of youth and experience, with Kroon joined by the likes of Steve Morabito and stagiaire Cole House, who will be making his debut in the professional ranks.

    Kroon signed from Saxo Bank at the end of last year and was expected to help lead the team in the Classics but illness and injury prevented him from reaching top form in the spring. He crashed out of Flèche Wallonne and suffered fractures to his nose and cheekbone.

    His Tour de France ended without a stage victory but three weeks of racing sharpened his form and he scored his first win of the season last week in a post Tour de France criterium and will be looking to carry that success into l’Ain.

    While Kroon will lead the team in the race for the overall, House’s first race will also attract attention. The American has had success on the road in the US this season, claiming a stage in the Valley of the Sun Stage and the International Cycling Classic.

    "I’m really excited about my debut.” Cole told Cyclingnews. “I’ve been told there are some tough climbs and I’ll be hoping to show well on them. Of course I want to go there and learn as much as possible.”

    BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said Kroon will be one of the contenders because it is always a selective race. "It is not a race where you have to have a big strategy around controlling the field because every team only has six riders," Lelangue said.

    Kroon’s criterium win aside, BMC have won four European races this season. Cadel Evans won Fleche Wallone and a stage of the Giro with Marcus Burghardt won two stages of the Tour de Suisse.

    BMC for Tour de l’Ain: Chris Barton (USA), Cole House (USA),...

  • Mørkøv extends with Riis and Saxo Bank

    Denmark's Michael Mørkøv celebrates winning the madison at the 2009 track world championships.
    Article published:
    August 08, 2010, 17:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Track star signs two-year deal

    Michael Mørkøv has committed himself to Bjarne Riis’ Saxo Bank-SunGard squad for the next two seasons. The track specialist first signed with the team last season and has begun to develop his road career in earnest. He was third in the Danish time trial championship in June on the back of completing the Giro d’Italia.

    Riis views his charge as a solid team rider with the capacity to develop in the classics, especially given that he finished on the podium of the U-23 Tour of Flanders in 2007.

    “Michael is a rock solid, loyal and powerful rider who has an eye for the importance of team spirit and I'm very happy to have him on the team for another two years,” Riis said. “His tireless commitment throughout the whole year calls for recognition and with his growing potential, I'm considering him in the line-up for the spring classics next year.”

    Mørkøv is pleased to have the opportunity to continue his collaboration with Riis. “I'm happy that Bjarne recognizes my talent and is willing to help me develop my potential,” he said.

    The possibility of continuing his track career at the same time is another attraction for Mørkøv. “I'm grateful that Bjarne sees the importance of me and Alex [Rasmussen] participating in the track season where we have celebrated a great deal of triumphs,” he explained. Mørkøv and Rasmussen were madison world champions in 2009.

  • Rivals can help Cav win Worlds, says Holm

    Brian Holm and Erik Zabel
    Article published:
    August 09, 2010, 9:29 BST
    Daniel Friebe

    Dane talks Cav, cancer auction and Paul Smith

    Mark Cavendish’s HTC-Columbia directeur sportif Brian Holm believes the Manxman could find two unlikely allies in his 2010 and 2011 world championship bids – in the form of Tour de France green jersey rival Thor Hushovd and fellow HTC-Columbia fastman cum foe Andre Greipel.

    The road race courses in Geelong later this year and Copenhagen in 2011 are widely thought to suit Cavendish, but his hopes in the former have been dealt a blow by the news that Great Britain might be allowed to field only three riders in Australia on October 3.

    Speaking at the Tour of Denmark, Holm told Cyclingnews that this could leave Cavendish looking to pool interests and resources with riders like Greipel and Hushovd.

    “I could easily see him doing something with Norway and Hushovd, who also want a sprint but won’t have a huge team, or with Greipel and Germany,” Holm said. “People have been talking this year about the battle to be the best sprinter in the world, and if they all work together for that, we could have it in Australia.”

    While this year’s point-to-point Worlds course from Melbourne to Geelong has divided opinion as to the likelihood of a bunch sprint, Holm sees a Cavendish win as a possible outcome in Copenhagen – though not on the runway finish people might imagine.

    In what may be a good omen, Cavendish’s HTC-Columbia team-mate Hayden Roulston yesterday won the final stage in Denmark on the same course that will host the 2011 Worlds.

    “The Copenhagen circuit is pretty flat, but there’s a little climb up to the finish, so the sprint is uphill,’ Holm said. “It’s more of a climb than the finishing straight in Madrid five years ago. It’s more like the Bosberg in the Tour of Flanders, but without the cobbles. Cav shouldn’t have a problem though. People always say he won’t get over climbs, but look at stage 13 of this...

  • Collarbone fractures at Rabobank

    Bauke Mollema (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    August 09, 2010, 9:33 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Weening and Mollema both break bones

    Rabobank's Pieter Weening and Bauke Mollema have each broken a collarbone on the final days of the stage races they were competing in last week. One of the squad's climbers, Weening raced the Vuelta a Burgos and crashed heavily on the descent of the penultimate climb of Sunday's final stage. He was unable to finish the event and was immediately diagnosed with a broken collarbone.

    However, team doctor Peter van Esseveldt was positive that Weening may be able to start the upcoming Vuelta a España if he has surgery. "After the operation, he will be back on a bike within three days to keep up his fitness. There is hope," he said.

    Mollema, who was completing the Tour of Poland in third place overall on Saturday, also crashed during the final stage but was able to finish. At first, it did not look like his right shoulder bone was fractured.

    "I examined him right away and he could move his arm well," said Van Esseveldt. "He was in pain, but it wasn't so bad. It did not look like a break at all, so I let him finish the race."

    But on Sunday afternoon upon their return to the Netherlands, the doctor nonetheless decided to have x-rays carried out, which subsequently revealed a fracture. Mollema had won Friday's mountain stage, which lifted him up to third on general classification.

    Van Esseveldt and Mollema are still to decide whether to perform surgery or not. "I think Bauke will be able to race again in four weeks even without an operation," he added.