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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 2, 2013

Date published:
September 02, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Caja Rural lines out their plans for the future

    Caja Rural are riding Vivelo bikes this year
    Article published:
    September 01, 2013, 11:15 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spain’s third pro team will not target WorldTour

    With Spain’s sponsorship crisis set to deepen to its worst levels in decades in 2014, with the end of the Euskaltel team, there had been hopes that Caja Rural, Spain’s only Pro Continental squad, might start signing up some of the big names on offer.

    Not so, sports director Jaime Gutierrez tells Cyclingnews. Rather, as a team that has made a name for itself taking stage wins and getting into breaks - like when Antonio Piedra took a Vuelta stage victory ahead of all the overall contenders at the Lagos de Covadonga climb last year and this season with popular riders like Amets Txurruka - Caja Rural has no plans to change in the future.

    “Rather than feel pleased we’re going to get more publicity, we’re worried about how Euskaltel-Euskadi’s disappearance reflects the sponsorship crisis here in Spain,” Gutierrez said. “This isn’t good news for us or anybody. If there’s a way out of the crisis, I think we have to look at teams like ours that are small-scale and which have limited budgets rather than big WorldTour squads, that don’t scare the sponsors off.”

    With their main sponsor a savings bank from the northerly region of Navarre, and the second, RGA, the bank’s own insurance company, Caja Rural currently has a budget of around 2 to 2.5 million euros and no plans for a major increase or to snap up any Euskaltel-Euskadi leaders looking for a squad in 2014. “Apart from anything else, a lot of them have contracts running into next year or beyond and we’re waiting to see what happens when it comes to sorting out their early termination,” Gutierrez says. “That situation is all a bit chaotic at the moment and it’s all a bit on standby.”

  • Mollema and ten Dam lose time on Vuelta stage 8

    Profronde van Surhuisterveen criterium podium (L-R): Chris Froome, Bauke Mollema and Lieuwe Westra
    Article published:
    September 01, 2013, 12:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Belkin's GC hopes hit hard

    Belkin endured a 'ride to forget' on stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana with both their GC hopes fading on the Peñas Blancas.

    Heading into the decisive stage, Bauke Mollema was within a minute of the race lead, and with Laurens ten Dam at 1:12 the team had reasons to be optimistic as the peloton raced towards another summit finish.

    However with sustained pressure from Netapp-Endura and then a flurry of attacks from the overall contenders both Belkin leaders found themselves on the back foot. By the end of the climb ten Dam had conceded another 59 seconds, while Mollema had lost 2:33. Ten dam now sits in 17th place, 2:02 down on race leader Nicolas Roche, with Mollema in 25th, 3:12 in arrears.

    “With 11 kilometres to go I reached out for a gel in my back pocket and banged my elbow against a sign above the road,” ten Dam said after the stage.

    “It really hurt and I found it quite difficult to get back into the rhythm. Despite the fact that standing on the bike's pedals was hard, I still managed to catch up with the front. However, at that moment, there was an attack and I blew up. I’ll just have to wait and see how my elbow reacts but this is a downer because the legs were pretty good.”

    Mollema, who finished 6th in this year’s Tour de France, admitted that he simply didn’t have the legs once the peloton reached the final climb. He was forced to sit up and ride at his own pace.

    “At the beginning of the stage and at the foot of the final climb, I already felt my legs weren’t at their best. When I was dropped, I started riding my own pace. In the last kilometres, I was able to accelerate and take back some time. It’s a pity I lose this much time because the whole week I’ve felt good. But well, tomorrow is another...

  • Team Sky buoyed by Vuelta stage to Alto de Peñas Blancas

    Rigoberto Uran (Sky).
    Article published:
    September 01, 2013, 13:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Uran holds top ten place, Henao recovers

    Team Sky put in a solid display on stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana with Rigoberto Uran slipping one place to eighth but holding his top ten position overall, while Sergio Henao moved up in GC.

    Sky came into the Vuelta with Uran and Henao as potential overall contenders in the race. However Henao lost time on stage two of the race.

    On the slopes of the final climb Uran finished 10th after Henao had helped him on the climb. The stage was won by Leopold Konig (Team NetApp-Endura) but Uran crossed the line in a select group that included Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) and Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale).

    Henao crossed the line in 15th place, and moved up in the overall to 26th.

    "It was a good day today," sports director Marcus Ljungqvist said on the team’s website.

    “"We were happy to see Sergio back up there and Rigo performing well. It was a tough climb at the finish, especially at the start with the really steep sections. It was more of a steady one after that but it was a long effort in the heat. The riders will have felt that one."

    Earlier in the stage Sky had sent Dario Cataldo up the road in the day’s main break. The Italian was among three of the last riders to be caught on the final climb but Ljungqvist stressed that the GC was the primary objective.

    “The main thing today is that the GC looks good. Rigo is looking solid and Sergio is moving back up. We have a steep finish tomorrow and then another big day on Monday. Let’s see what happens.”


  • Dale Stetina seriously injured from cycling accident in Colorado

    Dale Stetina presents the junior men's road race national champion's jersey to his son Peter at the 2005 US road nationals in Park City, Utah
    Article published:
    September 01, 2013, 15:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Former US champion and Olympian airlifted to Boulder hospital

    U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame inductee Dale Stetina, a multi-time national road champion and Olympian plus father of professional cyclist Peter Stetina, was seriously injured on Saturday when he crashed on his bicycle after swerving to avoid a collision with a motorist outside of Boulder, Colorado.

    Such were the extent of his injuries that Stetina had to be airlifted to Boulder Community Hospital where his injuries were reported as "life-threatening" by Boulder's Daily Camera.

    According to the Daily Camera Stetina, 57, was travelling east in a group of cyclists on Lefthand Canyon when a Jeep SUV, headed west, crossed the center line and drove onto the shoulder on the opposite side of the road. All of the cyclists were able to avoid colliding with the vehicle but one cyclist, Stetina, lost control while taking evasive action and crashed heavily.

    The Boulder County Sheriff's Office stated that Stetina suffered head injuries, with additional information provided via an email published on Steve Tilford's personal website.

    "Today as we descended from Ward in Left Hand Canyon, Dale was involved in a serious bicycle accident that was caused by a vehicle pulling onto the road as he descended towards it," read the email.

    "Dale did not hit the car, but hit the pavement, landing face first, suffering significant facial and ocular damage, and loss of responsiveness. EMTs were on the scene rapidly, he received good care. He was flown to Boulder Community Hospital in a Flight for Life helicopter. He is there now in ICU.

    "The CatScan diagnosis revealed brain stem injuries. The neurosurgeon describes the injuries as very serious. Dale is in tough shape. The future of...

  • Roche upbeat despite losing Vuelta lead to Moreno

    Nicholas Roche (Saxo Bank) lost his overall lead to Moreno
    Article published:
    September 01, 2013, 18:20 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Irishman one second behind Spaniard

    One day after he managed to become Ireland’s first leader of the Vuelta since Sean Kelly in 1988, a short but ultra steep climb in the mountains of northern Andalusia saw Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) squeezed out of the top spot by the bare minimum of one second.

    Fourth at the finish, Roche managed to limit the gap on Dani Moreno to just eight seconds as the road reared upwards like the wall of a house. But combined with the time bonuses on offer to the first three riders across the line and the time gap, it was enough to lose the lead.

    It was clearly a blow, but the 29-year-old took it calmly and expressed determination to keep fighting for a top placing. It is also true that come what may his stage two win and his spell in the leader’s jersey are not going to disappear, and if Roche wanted a consolation prize of some sorts, although he lost both the overall lead and the ‘combined’ classification top spot on Sunday, he remained in control of the King of the Mountains jersey.

    “I’m half sad, half okay with what happened,” Roche said afterwards. “Yesterday [Saturday] was great, but every day is a different one. It was a tough little climb.

    “I can be pleased because I did well on it, I got fourth, so I know my legs are in good shape. Tomorrow I hope to be able to get that second back, or at least not to lose more time."

    Whilst for Roche personally the Vuelta is already his most successful Grand Tour to date by a long chalk, it is a sign of his growing confidence that he is beginning to look longer term. On Saturday, he was determined to enjoy the day’s lead come what may, 24 hours later he was, he said, “thinking about the time trial, which I hope will be good for me.”

    Whilst Roman Kreuziger lost more time and is...

  • Moreno no longer daunted by Grand Tour limelight

    For the first time in his career Daniel Moreno (Katusha) dons the leader's jersey at a Grand Tour
    Article published:
    September 01, 2013, 19:40 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard denies he's Katusha's long-term Vuelta leader

    When Dani Moreno moved to Katusha in 2011 following a poor single season as a GC contender at Lotto, one of the reasons the Spaniard gave for his turn-around in results on the Russian team was pressure - or, rather, the lack of it.

    Whereas at the Belgian squad he reacted badly to the attention requisite with being the stand-out Grand Tour leader of a major team, at Katusha he was overshadowed by his friend and teammate Joaquim Rodriguez. With lower expectations, paradoxically, the Madrileño climber produced better results.

    However, at Flèche Wallonne this spring, Moreno proved that when Rodriguez is injured - as he was at Amstel, ceding the team's lead to Moreno for Flèche - he is now far more comfortable with a leader's role than he used to be. And at Valdepeñas de Jaén, where Rodriguez won in 2011, this time Moreno stuck his head above the parapet even further - to the point where he took his second stage win of the Vuelta and his first ever Grand Tour lead.

    If he successfully defends it on Monday's stage, the questions about whether he is now poised to overshadow Rodriguez for good in the 2013 Vuelta at least will likely become even more frequent.

    For now, as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Rodriguez continue to mark each other closely, once again Moreno was able to take advantage of that to break away alone on the Valdepeñas Mur.

    As a close friend of Rodriguez, too, with whom he rooms regularly during races, he knew exactly what kind of form...

  • Lefevere says Poels and Acevedo are coming to Omega Pharma-QuickStep

    Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) rode strong today to remain in fourth place in the overall.
    Article published:
    September 01, 2013, 21:50 BST
    José Been

    Two new signings for Belgian team

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Patrick Lefevere has reached agreements with Vacansoleil-DCM’s Wout Poels and Jamis-Hagens Berman’s Janier Acevedo for 2014.

    “I have a verbal agreement with both of them. We virtually shacked hands yesterday so I hope they keep their word,” the Belgian manager told VRT television show De Zevende Dag.

    Wout Poels is 25 years old and has been part of Vacansoleil-DCM since the team started five years ago. Before that the rider from the south of Holland was part of the Continental team led by Vacansoleil-DCM manager Daan Luijckx. Poels won a stage in this year’s Tour de l’Ain and also won stages there in 2010 and 2011. He has agreed to a one-year deal

    “Wout Poels will ride classics like Flèche Wallonne, Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège for us. We also need some extra support in races like Tirreno-Adriatico and Vuelta al País Vasco where he performed well this year, “ Lefevere said. Poels was 9th in the Basque Country and 10th in Italy.

    Janier Acevedo is one of the most prolific climbers on the American scene. The Colombian  is currently part of the US-based Continental team Jamis-Hagens Berman and leads the UCI America Tour rankings. “Acevedo will come to us to work for Rigoberto Urán. He is even from the same village in Colombia,” Lefevere said.

    The 27-year-old Acevedo won stage 2 in this year’s

  • LeMond and Pitallier to back Cookson in UCI elections

    Greg LeMond
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 3:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Three-time Tour winner says Brit brings "honest and transparent leadership"

    Greg LeMond and French Cycling Federation Honorary President, Jean Pitallier, have both announced their support for Brian Cookson in the UCI presidential race.

    Touted as a candidate by Change Cycling Now last year, LeMond spoke to reporters whilst at Eurobike in Germany where he voiced his concerns that cycling has lost its way. For Cookson, the support of the regularly outspoken LeMond comes as a boost in his bid to secure UCI presidency.

    "I have met and spent some time discussing with Brian about where cycling lost its way, how it lost its way, and what to do to bring the sport back to where it is not only a sport that leads by example, but a sport that inspires people once again," said Lemond. "I feel confident after meeting Brian that his interest is to bring honest and transparent leadership to a sport that so desperately needs it.

    "My hope is Brian will be the one to bring all interested parties together to once and for all do what needed to be done years before, find solutions, both short term and long term, and to make it a priority that cycling comes first," added Lemond.

    "The choice between Pat McQuaid and Brian Cookson is, I believe a clear one: only Brian can deliver the change cycling needs."

    Pitallier, a French Cycling Federation figure for more than three decades, added further support for Cookson.

    "For the dignity of the sport of cycling, it is time to turn the page and bring about a healthy change for international cycling," said Pitallier. "Brian Cookson has presided over great things at British Cycling and has my full and total support to become the next President of the UCI."

    Speaking from the UCI MTB World Championships, Cookson expressed his gratitude to have the backing of Lemond and Pitallier.

    "I am proud to have the backing of respected figures like Greg and Jean and I would...