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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 12, 2009

Date published:
October 12, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Giro d'Italia to cover Siena's gravel roads

    2010 Giro may feature the white gravel roads used in Siena's Eroica
    Article published:
    October 11, 2009, 12:57 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    2010 Giro d'Italia to use Monte Paschi Eroica route

    The 2010 Giro d'Italia, May 8 to 30, will include a stage over the white gravel roads around Siena, according to Tuttosport. Race organiser RCS Sport uses the rolling gravel roads annually in its race Monte Paschi Eroica.

    The one-day spring races nearly 60 of its 190 kilometres on white gravel roads (strade bianche). It finishes in Siena's Piazza del Campo, where the famous horse races (Palio) run. The start and finish cities of the speculated Giro d'Italia stage are unknown at this time.

    Italian newspaper Tuttosport released much of what it believes will be the 2010 Giro d'Italia route Wednesday. The newspaper is a direct rival with Gazzetta dello Sport, which belongs to RCS Sport.

    RCS Sport will present the official route of the 93rd Giro d'Italia October 24 in Milano. RCS sport announced Tuesday that it will hold the presentation at East End Studios, recording set of Italian television show X-Factor.

  • Pozzato wants revenge for Paris-Tours in Lombardy

    Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) rides in the Coppa Sabatini.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2009, 17:35 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian champion unhappy with fourth

    Filippo Pozzato has been the star of a spectacular ride as he chased alone between the three leaders and the chasers for the final five kilometres of Paris-Tours, managing to finish fourth with the first of the sprinters, Oscar Freire, hot on his heels.

    But he wasn't a happy man near the town hall of Tours. "I've been so close and the condition I had today allowed me to aim at a better result," said the Italian champion who seems to be strong at Paris-Tours every year but has not managed to read the race to perfection.

    Pozzato has been, with Philippe Gilbert, a consistently important actor of Paris-Tours. In 2007, they both escaped but didn't combine their efforts as much as Gilbert did with Tom Boonen today. "I spoke with Pozzato during the race," Gilbert revealed. "We agreed that we wouldn't repeat the same mistake again. Had we been together at the front again, we would have cooperated."

    "Unfortunately it didn't happen because I crashed before the others attacked," Pozzato told Cyclingnews. "I had to come back from behind the chasing group. I never managed to bridge the gap to the leading trio. I didn't have enough.

    "My regret is that many riders who don't have the legs for it still try and go to the front. That's how crashes happen."

    Pozzato left Tours with a huge disappointment but he said: "I've not said my last word for this year. I'm fit enough to go to the Tour of Lombardy with high ambitions on Saturday."

  • Gilbert claims last Avenue de Grammont victory in Paris-Tours

    Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto)
    Article published:
    October 11, 2009, 18:15 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Tram lines to force finish line move in 2010

    Philippe Gilbert became the first rider to win Paris-Tours twice in a row since Nicola Minali in 1995 and 1996, and now they will be the only riders to have done so on the 2.6km long avenue de Grammont which was until today the longest straight road for the finale of a big cycle race.

    Next year, the finish line will be relocated, possibly on the nearby Heurteloup street where Gilbert's compatriot Guido Reybroeck won Paris-Tours three times (1964, 1966, 1968).

    Works will begin soon in the French city for the construction of tramway rails, but Gilbert will still seek a third title next season. "I heard it might be a trickier finale. That could also play in my favour", said the Belgian of his favourite classic.

    A move from Française des Jeux to Silence-Lotto hasn't affected Gilbert's capacity to make the autumn French classic anything but a lottery. "To win this race, strategy is needed prior to the start," he explained. "I looked closely at the weather forecast yesterday and there was a big chance of a tailwind on the avenue de Grammont.

    "Therefore I put a 54 ring instead of the 53. I knew I had a bigger gear than my adversaries in the end. I was able to reach a higher speed than them. With 500 metres to go, I had in mind to start my sprint at the 250 metres mark but I chose to go at 300. I moved away from Tom Boonen to surprise him and avoid him sitting on my wheel."

    Gilbert disagreed that on paper he was the least fast of the three breakaway riders. Boonen and Borut Bozic have won bunch sprints in Grand Tours but not Gilbert.

    "I came second at the Vuelta," Gilbert argued. "I used to finish between 5th and 8th in the bunch sprints, but getting older I realized it was not worth the effort."

    The Walloon won Paris-Tours on his 100th day of racing this year. Aged 27, he still aims at winning Spring classics after finishing third in the Tour of Flanders, fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and...

  • Armstrong to join guests at Tour route presentation

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Lance Armstrong (Astana)
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 5:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tour’s top three, Cavendish on hand for 2010 unveiling

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has revealed Lance Armstrong will be Amaury Sport Organisation’s guest of honour at Wednesday’s 2010 route presentation. Armstrong will join the most successful riders from this year’s race as ASO takes the wraps off the 2010 course, which will start in Rotterdam.

    “The top three of 2009: winner Alberto Contador, Armstrong and Andy Schleck will be in Paris on Wednesday,” Prudhomme told Sporza.be. “Even Mark Cavendish, who won six stages this year, will be present.”

    Armstrong’s presence at the route presentation comes as his Radio Shack squad awaits a verdict from the International Cycling Union (UCI) on the team’s ProTour license application. A ProTour licence would assure Radio Shack of a place at next year’s Tour, however even if it’s not granted a licence ASO could grant it a wildcard entry to the race.

    Speculation over what will be included in next year’s course has been rife in recent weeks. Amid the rumours Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen claimed the 2010 Tour de France will feature two ascents of the Col du Tourmalet to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the climb's inclusion in the race.

    French website cyclingmodel.over-blog.com has raised the prospect of the first mountain stages of next year's Tour taking place in the Alps. The website listed the eighth stage, on Saturday, July 10, as the first possible mountain-top finish of the race. It suggested that the stage could finish at the ski resort of Les Rousses in the French department of Jura.

    Prudhomme will reveal the final and official race route on Wednesday, October 14.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed

  • Sentjens’ Milram move motivated by classics

    Roy Sentjens (Silence-Lotto) encountered reality of Spanish traffic laws
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 9:03 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Silence-Lotto rider leaves for German squad

    Roy Sentjens will join German squad Milram in 2010 after finishing his season with Silence-Lotto at Circuit Franco-Belge earlier this month. Sentjens announced the news on his personal website, saying he feared missing selection for his final races of 2009 which led to the late announcement.

    Sentjens was quick to dismiss reports in the Belgian media that he had re-signed with Silence-Lotto. “What I’m about to explain is some surprise,” he said. “In the newspapers has been that I’ve renewed my contract with Silence-Lotto for two years, but there’s nothing to that. From January I’ve signed with Milram for one year with an option for 2011. I deliberately published this late, because I feared otherwise not being selected for Franco Belge and Paris-Tours.”

    Sentjens indicated he wouldn’t be the only rider to leave Silence-Lotto for Milram next season. While he confirmed one of the outfit’s current riders would follow him, Sentjens wouldn’t say who.

    “The choice for Milram is deliberate, because in the spring classics I’ll have a free role, something I’m ready for at this age,” he said. “I’m starting from scratch, a whole new opportunity that I will grasp with both hands. I would like to thank everyone at silence-Lotto, but I look forward to next season…”

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed

  • Kohl accuses former Gerolsteiner doctor of doping involvement

    Bernard Kohl, 27, races at the 2008 Tour de France
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 11:48 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Doctor Mark Schmidt now works for Milram, denies allegations

    Suspended Austrian cyclist Bernhard Kohl accused former Gerolsteiner team doctor of supervising doping at the 2008 Tour de France, according to Austrian newspaper Kurier.

    "He oversaw the doping practices," said Kohl of team doctor Mark Schmidt. Schmidt advised Kohl how to dilute his blood in a saline solution, added Kohl.

    Kohl finished third overall and won the mountains classification of the 2008 Tour de France. However anti-doping results revealed he used the blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) CERA. He admitted to doping October 15.

    Kohl said he had a blood transfusion with the help of former manager Stefan Matschiner in Schmidt's hotel room in Aurillac, France, July 11. "I asked Schmidt where we can best organise the blood transfer. Mark offered his room," said Kohl. Schmidt went to dinner during the transfer.

    Kohl has worked with Austrian anti-doping police since he admitted doping. The Kurier interview is the first time he has implicated Schmidt in supervised doping.

    Schmidt, who now works for Milram, denies Kohl's claims. He "had no knowledge of the doping practices of Mr. Kohl during the Tour 2008," said his father and lawyer, Ansgar Schmidt.

    Kohl is serving a two-year suspension for doping.
     

  • Basso races Lombardia, memories of Chiappucci 15 years ago

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas) to race Lombardia without pressure
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 12:03 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Ivan Basso closes euro-season with Giro di Lombardia, at home without pressure

    Italian Ivan Basso (Liquigas) races Giro di Lombardia Saturday, a race he first saw in the team car of cycling legend Claudio Chiappucci.

    "It's beautiful to start from your home, there are always many fans out there for me," Basso told Cyclingnews. "I remember the first time I saw Lombardia, I was in the team car of Carrera, the year [1994] Chiappucci second behind [Vladislav] Bobrik. It was very beautiful."

    Basso finished third behind Damiano Cunego, his highest place in the race, 10 years later. He will start the last of five cycling's "Monuments" this year without pressure for the win, he said.

    "There are eight to 10 riders that are going stronger, I don't believe I am at the level to win. I am going well, I arrived in Emilia with the top riders but it is still a level below what it takes to win."

    The 103rd Giro di Lombardia starts in Varese and finishes in Como, 242 kilometres. The Madonna di Ghisallo, Civiglio and San Fermo climbs come in the final 60 kilometres and will decide the race.

    Basso's season goals were the Giro d'Italia in May, fifth overall, and the Vuelta a España in September, fourth. He won the overall of Giro del Trentino in April.

    He returned to the sport last year after a two-year suspension for his involvement with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, centre of the Operación Puerto doping investigation. He joined team Liquigas and raced the first and only race he could after his suspension ended, Japan Cup, October 26. He will officially end this season where he began his comeback last year, in Japan, October 25.
     

  • Martin eyes Lombardia success

    Ireland's Daniel Martin (Garmin-Slipstream) rides in Vuelta a España stage four.
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 14:56 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Irishman hopes to capitalise on good form

    Dan Martin will be looking to put a roller coaster season behind him at the Giro di Lombardia this weekend. The Garmin-Slipstream climber finished his first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España last month and will hope to capitalise on the good form it's given him over Lombardia's tough terrain.

    "I'm quite optimistic about Lombardia because of how I felt at the Worlds and after getting fifth at GP Ouest France earlier in the year," Martin said. "The form is pretty good. It's been a bit difficult not racing since the Worlds but helpfully I'll turn that on it's head in a positive way and I'll be fresh mentally and fresh physically because of the season I've had and missing the Tour.

    "Obviously, coming out of the Vuelta I was tired but I had good training up until the Worlds and was happy with how it went."

    Martin crashed during the Worlds and despite not racing since, is confident that he can perform at the tail end of what's been a difficult second season in the pro ranks.

    In fact, the Irishman's season has been one of promising highs and new lows. Despite early form at the Tour Méditerranéen and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, where he finished on the overall podium in both, Martin has been injured for the first time in his career and suffered the effects of a bug that kept him off the bike and in bed for over a week.

    "I've had relatively few racing days this year, perhaps around 60 now," said Martin. "Last year I did 75 and I'm capable of doing 80. With Lombardia it's a big case of who is fresh at the end of the year. Sometimes you see guys who have had a bad start to the year go well at Lombardia. Maybe I can be one of those guys."

    If...