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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 17, 2012

Date published:
September 17, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Ellingworth on Mark Cavendish's future

    Tour of Britain leader Mark Cavendish (Sky) in action during stage 5.
    Article published:
    September 16, 2012, 9:14 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Coach wants what's best for sprinter

    After last week’s confirmation that Mark Cavendish would begin negotiations to end his Sky contract, his coach Rod Ellingworth has told Cyclingnews that the rider’s Tour de France ambitions are central to any proposed move to a rival team.

    Ellingworth has been an integral part in Mark Cavendish’s development as a rider, from unpolished junior to world champion, and the Sky team coach’s modest demeanour belies the instrumental role he has played in Cavendish’s career.

    “It’s totally up to him. For me, I just want Mark to perform and to do what he does best,” Ellingworth told Cyclingnews at the World championships in Valkenburg, Holland.

    “It’s up to him then on where it’s best to be. That’s my interest for him. If it means him going then he has to go. From talking from a British cycling point of view as a British cycling coach, Mark’s a winner and he needs to go to a team where he can win bike races and it’s as clear as that really.”

    Ellingworth is not the first member of Sky’s fraternity to speak openly about Cavendish’s future. Dave Brailford lit the torch paper in July, telling the BBC that a move from Sky was a possibility after Cavendish was left isolated in a number of sprint lead-outs. Bradley Wiggins echoed his boss’s sentiments, adding that he could understand why Cavendish would depart after only a year of his contract at Sky.

    “Whether he stays at Team Sky or goes anywhere else, as long as he can go and win bike races that’s what he needs to be able to do. And if he doesn’t feel like he can win bike races at Team...

  • MTN-Qhubeka to become Africa’s first Pro Continental team

    Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN Qhubeka)
    Article published:
    September 16, 2012, 12:26 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Hopes for Tour de France ride by 2015 and first African world champion

    MTN-Qhubeka will become the first African team to obtain Pro Continental status in 2013 and the ambitious squad has designs on participating in the Tour de France within two years.

    At a presentation on the eve of the world championships in Valkenburg on Saturday, UCI head of sport Philippe Chevallier confirmed that MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will be granted a Pro Continental licence for next season, and he lauded the development as proof of cycling’s global progress since the establishment of the continental circuits in 2005.

    “In 2005, we only had two events on the African calendar, but it has developed over the past seven years,” Chevalier said. “To have a good African team like this will be great for African cycling and perhaps will inspire other teams.”

    The South African-registered MTN-Qhubeka squad was founded in 2007 and has competed at Continental level in recent years, as well as funding women’s and mountain bike outfits. Team principal Douglas Ryder is determined that his squad – 70% of which will be composed of African riders – will progress to WorldTour level in due course.

    “We’re registering as Africa’s first Pro Continental team and ultimately we want to produce an African world champion,” Ryder said. “Look at athletics – African distance runners are the best in the world, so why not cyclists?”

    Confirmation of MTN-Qhubeka’s elevation to Pro Continental level follows Friday’s announcement that Gerard Ciolek will join the squad from Omega Pharma-QuickStep for 2013. The team, which has a budget of €3.5 million, will also include Ignatas Konovalovas (Movistar), Andreas Stauff (Eddy Merckx-Indeland), Italian neo-pro Kristian Sbaragli and two additional European signings, yet to be announced.

    The team’s primary sporting aim is the promotion of African talent, however, and the majority of the squad...

  • Team Specialized - Lululemon wins opening title at Worlds 2012

    Specialized-lululemon en route to victory in the team time trial.
    Article published:
    September 16, 2012, 13:32 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    German team wins women's team time trial

    The favourites delivered in the women’s team time trial at the World Championships with Team Specialized - Lululemon taking gold ahead of Orica-AIS and AA Drink - Leontien.NL Cycling.

    Trixi Worrack, Ellen van Dijk, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Evelyn Stevens, Amber Neben and Charlotte Becker set the fastest time at each of the intermediate time checks and despite Orica holding them to less than a second after 11.9 kilometres, the advantage stretched out to 24 seconds by the finish. According to Stevens it was a case of practice makes perfect.

    “We came out in April to preview the course and it’s been huge focal point of the season. We knew the course inside and out. It was a technical course, you had to go fast on the flats, fast on the climbs but not too fast. A lot of the time Ina and Ellen were powering along on the flats and Charlotte, Trixi, Amber and myself were setting a tempo on the climbs. We practiced it a bunch this week. It’s exciting to target something and then get the win,” she said.

    While the majority of the competition lost riders early on, Specialized-lulemon were able to keep all six riders together until the ascent of the Cauberg, with Teutenberg swinging off after one final pull on the front.

    “The goal was to win,” Stevens added.

    “Ina did an incredible turn leading into the Cauberg and that was the plan to give us all a bit of a breather. We finished with five today but the goal was just to have the fastest time.”

    At the recent Ladies Tour in Holland Orica had pushed Specialized-lulemon all the way, finishing within 19 seconds over a similar course.

    “We knew that it would be a tight race and for sure,” Teutenberg said.

    “After 10 km were weren’t expecting a 30 second lead. That would have been wishful thinking. We knew we had to...

  • Worlds team time trial win whets Boonen's appetite

    Tom Boonen leads his Omega Pharma Quick Step team onto the podium
    Article published:
    September 16, 2012, 18:21 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian motivated for road race

    Tom Boonen got his rainbow week off to the best possible start when his Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad took victory in the inaugural elite men's team time trial at the road world championships in Valkenburg on Sunday, but the Belgian maintained that his motivation will not have been tempered ahead of next weekend's road race.

    Just like in 2005, Boonen has now won the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and a world title in the same season, but there were no rainbow jerseys on offer for the team time trial winners on Sunday. Perhaps with that in mind, the 31-year-old gently dismissed the notion that his startling 2012 haul - which also includes Gent-Wevelgem, E3 Harelbeke, the Belgian championship and Paris-Brussels - already constitutes the best season of his career.

    "It's a good season, maybe in the top three in my career but every season is different," said Boonen matter-of-factly. "I had a few good wins in the spring, I was national champion and now I have a good last part of the season but next Sunday is a different race but it doesn't matter what you've won before. You take the start like everyone else and try to win the race."

    The tactical minutiae of how Boonen and his national team co-leader Philippe Gilbert decide to dovetail their efforts will doubtless dominate the column inches in Belgium in the coming week, but on Sunday evening in Valkenburg, he was happy to focus on paying tribute to the efforts of his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates in what was a demanding team time trial.

    On a rolling 53.2km course that included the climbs of Lange Raarberg, Bergseweg and the Cauberg, Omega Pharma-QuickStep...

  • McQuaid hails world championship team time trials as success

    Edvald Boasson Hagen, Alex Dowsett, Juan Antonio Flecha, Sergio Montoya Henao, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas (Sky)
    Article published:
    September 16, 2012, 20:12 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    UCI President plans to grow both the men's and women's events

    UCI President Pat McQuaid hailed the trade team time trials at this year's road world championships a success but said that more would be done in order to grow both the men's and women's events. The women's event was won by German outfit Specialized - Lululemon, with Omega Pharma Quick Step claiming the men's race.

    "I was very pleased with today. I knew for some weeks or months that the teams were approaching this very seriously. There was wonderful participation from all the teams and when you see a close finish like that it's good for the race," he told Cyclingnews.

    "It's an event that will grow in importance and strength in the coming years."

    The UCI President said that the events were introduced in order to improve the depth of the world championships and give trade teams an opportunity to compete in a set of events that have previously been dominated by national teams. However McQuaid added that trade teams would never race in the road or individual time trials races.

    "This was part of a whole project about changing the whole week of the world championships. Instead of having a worlds just over the final weekend we wanted to try and create a bigger event for the cycling family, for the whole week," he said.

    "There has been comments made by some individuals that this would be the thin end of the wedge that and that in years to come the elite race would be for teams and not nations but that absolutely would never happen. This is an event for trade teams, the rest are for nations. There's too much history with the worlds cycling championships to start playing around with it."

    Although both team...

  • Cauberg misunderstanding costly for Phinney and BMC

    Alessandro Ballan, Philippe Gilbert, Taylor Phinney, Marco Pinotti, Manuel Quinziato and Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
    Article published:
    September 16, 2012, 21:41 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    BMC lose out on team time trial gold by three seconds

    Trailing Omega Pharma-QuickStep by just nine seconds at the final time check of the road world championships elite men's team time trial, the BMC team was still working in harmony and steadily clawing back ground in the final 13km-long run-in to Valkenburg. But as the road pitched upwards on the final climb of the Cauberg, their efforts would become more dissonant and their hopes of gold were dashed.

    The strongest climber in the BMC line-up, Tejay van Garderen gladly took up the baton on the Cauberg and began to conduct the orchestra, which still had all six of its players in situ, but the young American may have underestimated his own strength. Manuel Quinziato and Marco Pinotti soon found themselves unable to keep pace with his brisk tempo, though with the finish time determined by the fourth rider to cross the line, BMC still had the quartet necessary to record a winning time at that point.

    When Taylor Phinney began to waver further up the climb, however, BMC were left in a quandary, and their calls for van Garderen to alter the timbre of his pressing were drowned out by the cacophony of noise from the roadside. Alessandro Ballan and Philippe Gilbert eventually succeeded in relaying the message to van Garderen, and Phinney managed to latch back on for the final 1.5km-long push to the line, but that accidental deviation from the hymn sheet would prove costly - BMC came across the line in second place, just three seconds down on Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

    Phinney conceded after the race that the breakdown in communication on the Cauberg had perhaps cost...

  • Rogers ruled out of Australia's road team through illness

    Michael Rogers (Australia)
    Article published:
    September 17, 2012, 0:06 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    White pleased with Orica-GreenEdge bronze

    Orica-GreenEdge claimed third in the men's team time trial at the World Championships on Sunday, finishing behind Omega Pharma - QuickStep and BMC. The Australian team were consistent medal contenders almost throughout the 52.3 kilometre course, only dropping down to fourth place at the second time check. Despite finishing with the minimum of four riders, team director Matt White was pleased with the squad's performance.

    The Australian WorldTour team had targeted the win prior to the race but like Orica AIS team, had to settle for a place on the podium.

    "It was a good course but slower than a lot of people predicted. The guys were saying that the wind was a lot stronger than yesterday and it was a grind," White told Cyclingnews.

    "It wouldn't have been fun to finish fourth. Championships are about medals and it's satisfying to get one. We came here to win, like a few other teams, but some teams went too fast in the middle section, and we were steady through there. Those other two teams [BMC and Omega Pharma - QuickStep] were able to increase their pace in the second half of the race."

    White will now turn his attention away from trade team duties and concentrate on Australia's efforts in the men's elite time trial (Wednesday) and road race (Sunday). The road team will be led by Simon Gerrans - a pre-race favourite after his wins in Milan-San Remo and the recent, Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec. However the Australian team have been forced to make one change, with

  • Rejuventation of Omega Pharma-QuickStep continues with TTT world title

    Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra, Kristof Vandewalle and Peter Velits (OmegaPharma - QuickStep)
    Article published:
    September 17, 2012, 2:41 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    47 victories in 2012 and counting

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep demonstrated its widening scope by winning the elite men’s team time trial at the world championships in Valkenburg on Sunday after a decade of being the most consistent collective force in the cobbled classics.

    Established in 2001 as Domo and built around the classics aspirations of Johan Museeuw – who recently confessed to doping throughout his career – the Belgian squad’s seasons have traditionally centred on the first two Sundays in April. But while Tom Boonen again triumphed at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix this spring, the team’s campaign has been particularly notable for the startling run of success it has enjoyed on a number of new terrains.

    Tony Martin was among Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s spate of new signings last winter as the team looked to broaden its horizons beyond the classics, and his teammates were quick to credit the world time trial champion’s influence on the squad’s three-second victory on Sunday. Described as a "machine" by Boonen in the post-race press conference, Martin looked to downplay his role and insisted that the team’s win was a collective effort.

    "I think that on paper we had the strongest six riders but our job then was to come together as a team and find a good rhythm," Martin said. "The strongest always should think of the weakest and the weakest should think of the strongest. It’s not about showing you are the strongest or the best rider. At the end, we really made a good job and fought together as a...