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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 11, 2010

Date published:
October 11, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Paris-Tours a consolation prize for Freire after the Worlds

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) celebrates his victory
    Article published:
    October 10, 2010, 20:01 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniard not sure to retire at the end of 2011

    Oscar Freire wanted to become the first pro cyclist to win four road world championship titles, but instead he made history by being the first Spaniard to win Paris-Tours. It was a bit of a consolation prize, but not exactly what he was hoping for in October. He will also remain the last winner on the Avenue of Grammont as tramway construction will force the finish to another venue in the future.

    "Every year I've tried to win Paris-Tours," said Freire, who won in his eleventh attempt. "But I never had good luck until today. Sometimes the attacking riders arrived for the win, sometimes I tried with them but we never stayed away to the finish. This time I was at the front to watch what happened. I felt very good."

    Freire was exceptional indeed, timing his sprint into the wind perfectly to claim the win over Lampre's Angelo Furlan. "With 200 metres to go, Robbie McEwen changed his direction and I had to brake, otherwise I would have crashed. I thought it was maybe over. Normally one mistake is too much in such a sprint but today I managed to go again." He impressed the other riders like Philippe Gilbert who witnessed the Spaniard revving back up to full speed again after nearly coming to a stop.

    "I knew I had good condition to win the Worlds," Freire continued. "My adversaries surprised me in a moment that forced to the Spanish team to work a lot and it became a bad day for us. I was nervous in Geelong, I spent a lot of energy, I lost my concentration. But I knew today I had another chance. It's a different race but Paris-Tours is also an important race."

    The victory followed a six-month drought for the Spaniard, who last won a race in April at the Tour of the Basque Country following his superb victory in Milan-San Remo. Freire missed the Giro d'Italia and then underwent an operation on his sinuses just after a disappointing Tour de France.

    "I was not good in the middle of the season because of my sinus problems, but I...

  • Martin motivated after second in Giro dell'Emilia

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions) lights it up on the climb
    Article published:
    October 10, 2010, 20:17 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Garmin-Transitions rider looking for result in Lombardy

    Daniel Martin (Garmin-Transitions) insists he will head to the Giro di Lombardia next Sunday with "no pressure" after he displayed strong condition at Italian races this weekend, including second at the Giro dell'Emilia.

    "Lombardia's such a long race. The weather could play a part, you've got to have luck and at this stage of the year things can be different from day-to-day. Hopefully things fall into place next weekend and I can get a good result out of it. If not I've had a great season anyway so I'm going into it with no pressure," he told Cyclingnews after the GP Beghelli on Sunday.

    The Irishman finished one second behind Robert Gesink (Rabobank) at the Giro dell'Emilia on Saturday, after having led a select group for much of the final two kilometres of the race. It was Martin's first race since mid-September and although disappointed to have missed the top step of the podium, he was pleased with his performance.

    "Having not raced since the Tour of Britain it was a bit of an unknown as to how my form was," he said. "But I'd been training pretty well and had great motivation to race. I'm still feeling super-fresh. That's a big part of it at this time of the year. I didn't know how my legs were going to be and although it hurt at the start I recovered during the race. By the last few laps I was feeling really strong."

    With an uphill finish to Saturday's race Martin and eventual winner Gesink were the most likely candidates for victory from a 14-man group that also included third-placegetter Michele Scarponi (Androni-Giocattoli), Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha), Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo), among others. While it was the Dutchman's second successive win at the event, Saturday's race represented Martin's first participation.

    "I showed well in the race, it was just a bit disappointing that Gesink had better tactics that me. We're probably as equally as strong as one another but I...

  • Stybar continues winning streak in Ruddervoorde

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet-Fidea) rode away on the final lap to win.
    Article published:
    October 10, 2010, 20:47 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    World champion four for four heading into World Cup round

    World champion Zdenek Stybar continued his season-long winning streak in Ruddervoorde on Sunday afternoon, claiming the opening round of the Superprestige series over Bart Aernouts. With four wins in a row, the Telenet Fidea rider now heads to the first World Cup round of the season with confidence and good form.

    Yet Stybar, who also won the GvA Trophy series opener, is cautious about declaring his form. "You can never say that you're riding a level higher than the rest because that's so dangerous; next race I can be a level below the others," Stybar explained.

    The 24-year-old Czech faced a strong challenge from Belgian Bart Aernouts (Rabo-Giant), while other favorites like Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) focused on the battle for third place. But even with his commanding back-to-back wins in Belgium, Stybar says the early season wins are no prediction of things to come.

    "Last year Niels Albert led all three classification in January but in three weeks he lost everything," Stybar said. "I just go for the next race and for now I'm just enjoying it. It might be the first and last time in this [world champion] jersey."

    Stybar was complimentary of the performance of Aernouts, who has three podium finishes to his name this season - as many as he had in all of 2009. "Bart was an ideal partner in front," Stybar said. "I'm really happy for him. Last year he often narrowly missed the podium and now he almost won the race. I didn't want to try it like three laps before the end because I was really happy that he was with me riding for the win. We both live in Essen and sometimes we train together. He's my friend and I wanted to help him to grab his chance to get on the podium."

    Aernouts nearly left Stybar behind in the sand pit on the penultimate lap, staying on his bike through the entire section while Stybar dismounted halfway through. "He tried really well and he actually surprised me as I couldn't...

  • Millar proud to win bronze for Scotland

    David MIllar (Scotland) won the bronze medal in the men's road race at the 2010 Commonwealth Games
    Article published:
    October 10, 2010, 22:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Calls teammates "as good as my pro team"

    David Millar won Scotland's first ever Commonwealth Games road cycling medal with bronze at the end of an epic road race in the centre of Delhi.

    Millar declared himself "very proud" after finishing third to Allan Davis of Australia and Hayden Roulston of New Zealand, who, with Millar, Dave McCann of Northern Ireland and Chris Sutton of Australia, were in the five-man group that fought it out for the medals.

    In the closing stages Millar was the main aggressor, trying repeatedly to break clear in a bid to avoid having to sprint against Davis, one of the fastest finishers in the world. But with Sutton able to counter Millar's attacks and then lead out Davis for the sprint, Millar had to be content with bronze.

    Millar was well supported with a full complement of six Team Scotland riders in the race, and he paid tribute at the finish to the work done by his teammates. In the first half of the race it was David Lines, James McCallum and Ross Creber, while Evan Oliphant and Andy Fenn were the riders assigned to support him - and be in the mix themselves - in the second half of a 168km race run off in 41-degree heat.

    "I really enjoyed racing with this jersey and with this team," said Millar. "Three of the boys were looking after me in the first half of the race, and it was Evan and Andy's job to follow the attacks when they started coming in the second half.

    "They all excelled - they were as good as my pro' team. They were all very motivated and I think motivation has a big effect. I wouldn't have got the medal without them and I'm proud of them all.

    "I feel very proud of myself too," he continued. "I haven't raced with such heart and with such passion for a long time. I came here for [Wednesday's] time trial, but I went really deep today, and I'd like to say thank you to Scotland for having me.

    "It was an epic race, it just kept going, and it goes to show that you don't need a hard course to make a great race. It...

  • Australia’s Neylan signs with Geox for 2011

    Rachel Neyland (Australian National Team) missed out on the Worlds squad after a nasty training crash.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2010, 1:10 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Deal follows turbulent month for Neylan

    Australian cyclist Rachel Neylan has announced that she will join the Geox-Pasta Zara women’s team, after signing a contract to ride for the squad next season. The deal comes off the back of a difficult month for Neylan, who was forced out of the Australian squad for the UCI Road World Championships in Geelong after suffering a serious accident at a training camp in Italy weeks before.

    “I am really looking forward to the opportunity to race in a world class team also to be able to continue my development and step up [to the] professional ranks of women’s cycling as I progress toward my ever increasingly clear goals,” Neylan wrote on

    Neylan’s accident occurred at 65km/h while descending the Passo Stelvio, Italy, after her front tyre punctured, leaving Neylan with a broken jaw. Neylan had plates and screws inserted after being transported to a hospital in Innsbruck, Austria, that day, but it ruled the former rower out of competing in the world championships on home soil

    “It’s been tough few weeks, missing on a potential opportunity to race a home world championships, but I’m motivated with confidence in my future and opportunity in 2011 has helped immensely to know that I’m only at the start,” wrote Neylan. “I have had a successful rehab period over the past six weeks – all injuries are well healed to the extent that I was able to complete it with a return to racing at the pre-Worlds Herald Sun Classic in Ballarat.

    “I have put my feet up for a few weeks offseason to refresh mentally before beginning preparation for the 2011 season,” she added.

    The Geox team, which will be based off this year’s Footon-Servetto squad, will be one of three ProTour teams to run fully fledged women’s programs in 2011. Garmin-Cervelo will run a women’s program next season after merging with the bike manufacturer, while...

  • Furlan hopes Paris-Tours result will secure new contract

    Gert Steegmans (Radioshack), Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Angelo Furlan (Lampre) on the Paris-Tours podium
    Article published:
    October 11, 2010, 4:48 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    No room for Furlan at Lampre-ISD in 2011

    Angelo Furlan is hoping his second place at Paris-Tours at the weekend will help save his professional career, as the rider is without a contract for 2011. Furlan rode with Italy’s Lampre-Farnese Vini ProTour squad this season but says the squad didn’t trust him and that few starts has meant even less results to earn him a deal for next season.

    “Lampre has signed seven Ukrainians [for next year] and I’ve been told there’s no more space for me,” the 33-year-old explained. “My problem is that I haven’t raced a lot this year and I need to race a lot to perform. Lampre hasn’t trust me.

    “I’d like to get a start in a foreign team and I hope to find one like Crédit Agricole, where I’ve spent the two most beautiful years of my life,” he added. “That was a team with no stress, where the management was very happy in case of winning but if not the atmosphere remained serene.”

    Lampre- Farnese Vini will become Lampre-ISD next year, with the Ukrainian sponsor bringing seven Ukrainian riders with it.

    Furlan finished second to Oscar Freire Gomez (Rabobank) as the French race arrived on the Avenue de Grammont. The Italian rider held off Belgian Gert Steegmans (Team Radioshack) for second place, one of his best results this year.

    “I believed I’d win, I’ve dreamt of it and I needed it,” Furlan told Cyclingnews. “If there wasn’t this head wind, I would have won because I came out of the Vuelta with good form. I chose to open the sprint with 300 metres to go because you need to take risks to win.

    “It’s no shame to loose to a champion like Freire,” he added. “Second to him equals winning but I’m a bit disappointed to have been so close to the win and not make it.”

    Furlan finished runner-up on two stages of the International Presidency Turkey Tour in April, which...

  • Cavendish compares Delhi racing to the Classics

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) waves to the crowd
    Article published:
    October 11, 2010, 7:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Proud Manxman feels he let teammates down

    Mark Cavendish has compared the Commonwealth Games road race in Delhi, India, to a Spring Classic, after endless attacks left a select group of three hardened riders to contend for the medals. Cavendish said he was proud of his teammates for placing him in the lead group as the race neared its end, but Cavendish couldn’t keep up the pace of medal winners Allan Davis (Australia), Hayden Roulston (New Zealand) and David Millar (Scotland).

    "It turned out it was me at the end in a group and all the strong nations had two riders each and you can't really compete there,” said Cavendish. “That was difficult.

    "It was like a classic, just wearing down. I'm not used to doing that,” said Cavendish. “My races now, I have to sit in and sprint. I used to like getting stuck in, but with my commitments as a sprinter now, you can't do that. You kind of lose the edge a bit with doing that. I enjoyed it out there and I gave it everything.”

    Cavendish was quick to praise Millar on not just his strength, but the Scott’s attempts to help him make the final selection. The Manxman said with such inexperienced squads it was in the interests of teams like Isle of Man and Scotland to join forces against teams like Australia, which won the race with Davis and also placed Chris Sutton in fourth.

    "He was incredibly strong,” Cavendish said of Millar, before making a prediction of the rider’s hopes in the time trial. “It'll be two medals, because I'm positive he'll win on Wednesday. He did a great ride and he helped me out a little bit at the end and I'm sorry I didn't have the legs to stay there.

    "It's kind of in your interests [to work together]. It doesn't matter what type of race it is if you've got three teams with two riders per team then the other people who are single, it's the only way you can stay there,” he said. “You're better in numbers."

    But the bulk of...

  • Year of uncertainty continues for Riis

    Bjarne Riis thinks Lance Armstrong will struggle against his younger opponents
    Article published:
    October 11, 2010, 9:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Planning for 2011 with or without Contador

    It has been a year of uncertainty for Bjarne Riis, as he has coped with the loss of not only his main sponsor but also his three top riders. The sponsor question has been resolved, but he now faces the possibility of losing new signing, three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

    “It's hard to take it easy at the moment. But I have no choice," Riis said in an interview with

    Contador faces a possible suspension for up to two years after testing positive for Clenbuterol at the Tour de France this summer. He denies having used the banned product, claiming it was the result of food contamination.

    If the Spaniard is unable to join the team, Riis must come up with another idea. “I've thought of a plan B. But what it involves, I will not go into here and now,” he said. The plan is believed to involve differing mixtures of riders, giving certain riders more freedom in races.

    The Dane may be looking in vain for victories in 2011. The departing riders include the top winners of the team, such as Fabian Cancellara with eight, Alex Rasmussen and Fränk Schleck with four each. In fact, the riders who are leaving the team accounted for nearly two-thirds of the team's total victories, 24 of 37.

    Riis hopes to replace Cancellara in the Spring Classics with Nick Nuyens. The Belgian has won the Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but his best finish in one of the top Classics was second in the 2008 Ronde van Vlaanderen. Cancellara has twice won Paris-Roubaix, and Milan-SanRemo and the Ronde van Vlaanderen once each.

    The Saxo Bank team owner, who has transformed the sagging careers of a number of riders, hopes to do the same with Nuyens. “Nuyens is a good outsider. A typical underdog. I hope to get him back to the level he had before," said Riis.

    Nuyens is, in fact, the last of the big-name signings to the team. “There will be other names for now...