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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 24, 2013

Date published:
June 24, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France's top sprinters in national colors

    Cavendish stands with the champions jersey between former winners David Millar and Ian Stannard
    Article published:
    June 23, 2013, 21:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Cavendish, Sagan, Greipel all win road championships

    The bunch sprints at the 100th Tour de France will be more colorful than usual, as many of the race's top sprinters have brought home their national road race championships.

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) all earned their new titles today.

    It was Greipel's first victory in the German championships, and he wrote afterward in his blog that he was "happy and proud I will be wearing the jersey with the black-red-gold stripes on my body at the start of the Tour de France. This is something very special!"

    By beating MTN-Qhubeka's Gerald Ciolek and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano), Greipel said it showed that his perparation has gone well, "and I am looking forward to a hopefully exciting duel with my competitors."

    Even Sagan, who won his title for the third time, was excited to win again in Slovakia. "I'm really proud to be the national champion. Fans in Slovakia are really warm with me and to take a win in front of them is a way to say thanks.

    "Today I finished in the best way my road to the Tour de France. My sensations are good, better than at the Tour de Suisse, and the form is how I wanted. I had no chance to test myself in bunch sprit, as will happen in France, but for sure I know I'll be stronger on the climbs. I'll try to exploit this advantage for the challenge for the green jersey with Cavendish, Greipel and the other contenders," Sagan said.

    Cavendish also avoided a bunch sprint in winning his British national championship in Glasgow today. He escaped with Sky's Ian Stannard and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), and then powered away in the finale to take his first road national...

  • Classic Devolder back to his best at Belgian road championships

    Stijn Devolder (RadioShack) celebrates his first win since his last Belgian title in 2010
    Article published:
    June 24, 2013, 3:44 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack Leopard capture five national titles ahead of Tour de France

    Not since the 2010 Belgian road championships - where he took the road and time trial title - has Stijn Devolder taken to the top step of the podium. In fact it has been a full two years since the two-time Tour of Flanders winner has stepped onto a podium and while he won't be able to show-off his national stripes after taking his third Belgian road title at the Tour de France, the 33-year-old has shown that he is far from down and out.

    After two seasons at Vacansoleil-DCM failed to deliver the same kind of results that many expected from Devolder, the 2013 season and move to RadioShack Leopard appeared to given him the kick he needed. Devolder has never been a prolific winner but has often managed to focus solely around a set number of targets and often deliver. Arriving at the finish of the 220km Belgian championship marked a return of 'old' as he rode across the line in solo trademark style.

    Using his ability against the clock the RadioShack Leopard rider put in one searing move with 25km to go after his teammate Jan Bakelants was finally brought back after forcing the pace in a late-race breakaway. One big acceleration was all that was needed to create the race-winning move, with Devolder admitting he had been hiding his form during the day and in races leading up to the championships so he wouldn't been seen as a threat for the win.

    "I can't believe I won this! I knew how good I was, but I had been hiding my shape a bit because I didn't want to be named as a favorite. There were so many favorites, and I didn't want to start the race with pressure," said Devolder on his team site.

    "I was...

  • Brammeier Irish Champion for a record fourth straight year

    Matt Brammeier (Champion System)
    Article published:
    June 24, 2013, 5:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Champion System rider succeeds from breakaway

    Matt Brammeier (Champion System) ride to a record fourth straight Irish road championship on Sunday.

    The 28-year-old, as he has in so many races this season, featured on a six-man breakaway eventually out-sprinting three of his companions to take the title.

    Brammeier said that he found extra motivation for the race in a conversation he had with his grandmother before she passed away.

    "It was the hardest of the four titles to win," Brammeier said. "I lost my grandma recently and one of the last things she said to me was how proud she was and how proud my granddad would have been of me. I had that in my mind all day and really wanted to win it for them. It was a special day and I'll never forget it."

    While the peloton was without Dan Martin or Nicolas Roche, Brammeier still had quality in opposition in the form of Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) who earlier this month finished as runner-up in the Tour de Beauce. Deignan, along with Brammeier and Philip Lavery (Amicale Cycliste Bisontine) were part of the early break before being joined by three other chasers.

    "I gambled all on the sprint, hit out hard with 200 meters to go and never looked back," Brammeier said. "I got a good jump and won by a good margin."

    Lavery finished second while Damien Shaw (Aqua Blue) was third.

    Champion System general manager Ed Beamon was impressed by Brammeier's effort.

    "To repeat as a national champion is such a difficult task, but Matt has done it four years in a row and that's beyond unbelievable," he said.

    "It's great to have national champions on the team," Beamon said. "We started the season with five, but it is that much more exciting when a guy wins the championship as a member of our team."

  • German National Anti-Doping Agency to pursue Ullrich

    Germany's Jan Ullrich in 2006
    Article published:
    June 24, 2013, 6:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Tour winner urged to "share his knowledge"

    The German National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) is keen to hold talks with Jan Ullrich in the wake of his interview confessing to the use of blood transfusions during his career.

    On the weekend, a report in Focus revealed more about Ullrich's relationship with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes than had previously come to light during his time in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    "Almost everyone at the time was taking performance-enhancing substances," Ullrich said. "I didn't take anything that was not taken by the others. It would only have been cheating for me if I had gotten an advantage which was not the case. I just wanted to ensure I had an equal opportunity."

    NADA welcomed the admission but urged Ullrich to "share his knowledge" with the organisation.

    "A full confession would bring further insights than can then be incorporated into the work of NADA," said a statement. "For clean sport, it is important that he not only admits his crime, but also mentions the named of other participants in the background.

    "NADA will also try and make contact with Jan Ullrich to find out more clues and background."

  • Sojasun select all French team for Tour de France

    Saur-Sojasun pose for their team photo at the start of Scheldeprijs
    Article published:
    June 24, 2013, 9:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Cofidis names Levarlet as ninth rider

    Team Sojasun has named nine French riders to tackle the Tour de France. Jonathan Hivert, who has taken three of the team's four season victories, is on the team, and two riders will make their grand tour debut.

    Hivert won the overall title in the Etoile de Besseges in February, and also has two stage wins at the Vuelta a Andalucia to his credit. Most recently he finished second overall at the Tour de Luxembourg.

    Maxime Mederal and Alexis Vuillermoz will be riding the Tour for the first time. “The composition of this team was based on the level of form and competitiveness of the riders,” team manager Stephane Heulot told the AFP news agency. “They know that the Tour is not a pleasure trip and that they will be held accountability to their teammates who were not selected."

    Cofidis announced Guillaume Levarlet as the ninth rider on their line-up, having preferred to wait until after the French championships to do so. Manager Yvon Sanquer indicated that he had also been considering naming Adrian Petit, but instead decided to save the youngster for the Vuelta a Espana.

    Sojasun for the Tour de France: Anthony Delaplace (Fra), Julien El Farès (Fra), Brice Feillu (Fra), Jonathan Hivert (Fra), Cyril Lemoine (Fra), Jean-Marc Marino (Fra), Julien Simon (Fra), Maxime Mederel (Fra), Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra)

    Cofidis for the Tour de France: Yoann Bagot (Fra), Jérôme Coppel (Fra), Egoitz Garcia (Spa), Christophe Le Mével (Fra), Guillaume Levarlet (Fra), Luis Angel Maté (Fra), Rudy Molard (Fra), Dani Navarro...

  • Crash knocks Gesink out of Dutch Road Championships

    Robert Gesink (Blanco) had bad luck today but looked strong
    Article published:
    June 24, 2013, 10:54 BST
    Cycling News

    Blanco rider with bruised ribs ahead of Tour de France

    Robert Gesink failed to finish The Dutch Road Championships on Sunday after crashing during the neutralised start to the 228.8km race. The fall meant he could not perform at the expected level and instead went about duly performing team duties before withdrawing later in the race won by Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM).

    "I had problems with it from the start. The race got off to a bad start and you try to ride through it, but you can imagine it’s not pleasant. We’ll have to see how serious it is,” said Gesink on his team site.

    The crash during the weekend's race marks another blow for the rider who was given the news that his teammate Bauke Mollema would lead Blanco at the Tour de France. Gesink's disappointing ride at the Giro d'Italia where he pulled out following Stage 18's mountain time trial and Mollema's impressive ride at the Tour de Suisse led team management to re-assess the seemingly fragile Gesink's role in the French grand tour.

    "Robert will have a relatively open role but will be expected to take care of Bauke in the high mountain stages together with Laurens," said directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven during the revealing of the Blanco team for the 100th edition of the Tour de France.

    An update on Gesink's condition is not yet known but it would appear he is still on track to line-up on Corsica for the Grand Départ this coming Saturday.


  • Tour de France 2013: Valverde leads Movistar into battle

    Iván Gutiérrez, Valverde (Movistar), Mancebo (5hr)
    Article published:
    June 24, 2013, 11:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Quintana and Rui Costa also included

    As expected Alejandro Valverde will lead Movistar at the Tour de France, which starts June 29 on the island of Corsica. The former Vuelta winner will be backed up by a strong line-up including Nairo Quintana and Tour de Suisse winner Rui Costa.

    “Our goal is to try and get Alejandro on the overall podium,” said team manager Eusebio Unzué, who guided Miguel Indurain, Pedro Delgado and Oscar Pereiro to Tour de France glory in the past.

    Valverde, now 33, won a stage in last year’s Tour de France but failed to make an impression on the overall classification. His return to racing came after serving a two-year ban for a doping offence. However Unzué believes that the climber, who went on to finish second in last year’s Vuelta a Espana, has a chance of claiming a podium spot this year.

    “It is his biggest ambition this year, and we have put all our efforts together this season to have him fit to contest it. The last tests during the Spanish road championships show us we have achieved it - he's coming in perfect form. I think he hasn't been capable of reaching further steps in the Tour more as a matter of bad luck than anything else. I'm convinced he has a Tour podium in his legs, and this must be his chance,” he said.

    One rider who has been marked a potential successor to Valverde’s leadership is Quintana. The Colombian has not raced since Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April but the 23-year-old enjoyed a fine spring campaign.

    “We have to be cautious about Nairo. I think he created such big expectations due to his impressive results, but I don't think he's prepared for us to put on his shoulders such a massive responsibility of fighting for the Tour overall,” said Unzué.


  • Blanco becomes Team Belkin ahead of Tour de France

    Team Blanco now has a real brand behind the logo
    Article published:
    June 24, 2013, 12:57 BST
    Cycling News

    American sponsor announced

    Team Belkin will replace the Blanco Pro Racing Team, making its debut at the Tour de France. The riders will wear the green colours of the new team sponsor in Corsica on Saturday for the start of the race, while the contract will run for two and a half years.

    Belkin is a US-based firm which makes products ranging from wireless home networking and entertainment, to mobile accessories, energy management, and an extensive range of cables.

    The team has run so far this year as Blanco, following the loss last autumn of title sponsor Rabobank. The Dutch bank pulled out after a string of damaging headlines involving doping within the sport.

    The Blanco management team have been coy about their search for a new sponsor in the last few months but Belkin began to surface as a potential replacement during the Giro d'Italia. Monday's news signifies a major boost for both the team and Dutch cycling as a whole.

    “We have had a very hectic period behind us, but in Belkin we have found a tremendous new sponsor. Right from the first contact, the discussions went very well. We have shared values: we want to win as a team but we attach a lot of importance to the manner in which we win. I also want to thank Rabobank: they provided for the continuity and gave us the opportunity to find a new sponsor. Now we are really underway," said team manager Richard Plugge.

    The team's Tour de France leader Bauke Mollema echoed Plugge's comments. “I’ve believed from day one the management would be able to find a new sponsor despite the challenging economic period we face. Therefore, my focus was on training and racing. If we did not have sponsor before the Tour began, that might have been cause for concern but happily that is not the case. I am very pleased that we can know continue to grow and become even more...