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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 21, 2009

Date published:
September 21, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Greipel grabs another in Madrid

    Andre Greipel won the points classification in the Vuelta.
    Article published:
    September 20, 2009, 20:38 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Four stages and green jersey mark excellent Vuelta

    By his own admission, his goals coming in the Vuelta a España were far more modest than his actual achievements, and as a result André Greipel is increasingly confident in his abilities.

    The Columbia-HTC rider scorched to his fourth stage victory of the race today, coming back from approximately 15th place with 500 metres to go to hit the line first. He comfortably beat Liquigas’ Daniele Bennati and the Slovenian rider Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil), sealing a decisive victory in the points classification.

    "The guys did an incredible leadout and I am really pleased with that," he said afterwards. "I was really happy when we could cross the line first.

    "I’m also delighted with four stage wins. We came here with a strong team for the sprints. It was hard for them to survive during the mountains. I am really thankful that they stayed with me during the Vuelta and could support me during the sprint stages."

    The 27-year-old won a stage in the Giro d’Italia last year but was clearly a level above that in this Tour of Spain, netting more victories than he had expected and also sealing his first Grand Tour points title.

    "This was a very important step for my career and confidence," he said. "Before I came to the Vuelta I thought maybe I would win one stage if it was possible. But now I won four, and we took five with the team [Greg Henderson also triumphed]. It is incredible for us."

    Greipel’s final total in the green jersey contest was 150 points, 39 more than that amassed by race winner Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne). He had been concerned about his chances when he and a large number of riders were controversially docked 25 points on the Sierra Nevada stage, but finally proved a decisive victor in that contest.

    That too has done much to advance his career, and to underline that Columbia’s sprinting is not just a one man, Mark Cavendish show.

    "Taking this...

  • Reaction from Vuelta's final stage

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto) made up the 2009 Vuelta a Espana podium.
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 1:11 BST
    Les Clarke

    Party time as engaging battle concludes in Madrid

    Philip Deignan (Cervélo TestTeam) - 39th on stage, ninth overall @ 11:08

    "It was a lot better than I expected. I thought top 20, so it's way more than I expected. I am very happy. It's a lot to build on for the next few years, so hopefully I can improve on it. The stage win was a bit more special than the GC, especially the stage that it was and how I won it."

    "The team had really big belief in me from the start. I was the second GC guy behind Marchante, but he had a few bad days, so his GC hopes went out the window. They had a lot of faith in me and told me, 'you can do it,' and they really supported me. They helped me to start believing in myself.

    "The stage to Sierra Nevada was definitely the worst stage. I had some stomach problems that day, but I got through it."

    "[Stephen] Roche is on a completely different level. It's been a while since an Irish guy was up there, so it feels nice. I didn't know anything about cycling when they were up there, it's only now in the past few years and I've been looking back to what Roche and [Sean] Kelly achieved, it's incredible what they did."

    André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) - first on stage, 107th overall @ 2:36:32 - points classification winner

    "With two kilometres to go I was a bit far back, but [teammate] Greg Henderson did a brilliant job taking me through to the front end of the bunch. It was a bit uphill so I waited a little longer than usual for accelerating away for the finish. Everybody in the team helped. I was just the lucky one who got to cross the line in first place."

    "The green jersey was very difficult to get because this was such a mountainous Vuelta, but in the build-up to the sprints I could count on a lot of support from my teammates, and that made all the difference.

    "I had the best lead-out of all of the sprinters here, particularly thanks to my [Columbia-HTC] teammates Marcel Sieberg and...

  • Evans pleased with Vuelta podium place, now Worlds

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) rides in the final stage of the Vuelta, thinking of Worlds
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 9:53 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Australian's Vuelta podium brings focus to Worlds push

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) raced to the third Grand Tour podium place of his career on the final weekend of the Vuelta a España, placing third in the time trial and jumping over Ivan Basso. He then finished alongside the other race favourites on Sunday's final stage, ending the three-week race third overall behind Alejandro Valverde.

    That final placing went a small way towards getting over the disappointment of dropping out of contention for the win last Saturday, when he punctured at a crucial moment and ended up losing one minute and 26 seconds. His final deficit to Valverde was just one minute and 32 seconds, so clearly he would have challenged him all the way.

    Evans was able to see the bright side to things on Sunday morning. "Getting to the podium is a bit better than the last time I was here at the Vuelta," he told Cyclingnews of last year. "I was in the same situation then but lost out on third by ten seconds... when that happens, it's hard to take.

    "And going from fourth to third is a much more satisfying move. I was just exhausted that season, as I'd done eight stage races for the GC, done the Beijing [Olympic trials] race, came back, trained for three or four days at home, and then came to the Vuelta. I was just spent from all that. Then I had to continue on for the overall ProTour win."

    Evans came to this year's Vuelta aiming to win the race. He drew motivation from what was a tough time at the Tour de France, where he was only 30th after being runner-up in 2007 and 2008. "I got ill there. I lost time in the team time trial, fair enough, but from the Verbier stage onwards I had some breathing difficulties and some health problems.

    "We worked out what was wrong and hopefully it will be avoidable for the future. But these things happen. Not many people believe it, but I am always working to do my best."

    So, logical question, does the Vuelta podium make up for the disappointment of the...

  • Hoogerland surprised himself at Vuelta

    Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) is making his Grand Tour debut in Spain.
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 12:01 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Hoogerland looking forward to helping Dutch team at Worlds

    Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) emerged as the public's favourite during the Vuelta a España, due to his multiple escapes. He earned a 12th place overall finish, and also an invitation to the World Championships Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    The Netherlands can bring only six riders in this year's Worlds road race. Hoogerland said he had tears in his eyes when national coach Leo van Vliet called him. "I was very happy. I will ride all out for the team," he told De Telegraaf.

    Hoogerland, 26, said he was surprised by his new popularity, and by his own performance. "I know that everyone was full of praise. I never dreamt that I could ride so well," he told ANP.

    His personal highlight of the race was the end of stage eight, when he "duelled with [David] Moncoutié" on the final climb up the Alto de Aitana, although he is not really a climber.

    "What did I learn about myself? I never give up."

    Another proud moment for him was when Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) asked for his help before a stage. Evans tapped him on the shoulder, and Hoogerland modestly asked if he was in the way. No, Evans said, he wanted to know if Hoogerland might help him if he became isolate during the stage.

    "It says something when such a great rider asks you that."

    Hoogerland is now looking towards next season, with an eye to the later Spring Classics. He hopes to ride Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

  • Gárate and Kozontchouk extend with Rabobank

    Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) claims victory at Mt Ventoux
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 12:13 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Mont Ventoux king Gárate and Kozontchouk continue with Dutch Rabobank team

    Juan Manuel Gárate and Dmitry Kozontchouk both extended their contracts with Rabobank for one year, the Dutch ProTour team announced.

    Spaniard Gárate, 33, saved the Tour de France this year for the team when he won the Mont Ventoux stage. His contract, which ran through 2010, will now go through the 2011 season. He joined Rabobank this year after three years with Quick Step. He turned professional with Lampre in 2000.

    Russian Kozontchouk, 25, had a contract that expired at the end of this year, but he extended for one more year. He worked his way up through the Rabobank ranks after he joined its Continental team in 2005.

  • AG2R signs three for 2010: Bérard, Ravard, Goddaert

    Anthony Ravard (Agritubel) on the podium.
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 12:26 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Bérard, Ravard, Goddaert join AG2R La Mondiale for next two seasons

    AG2R La Mondiale signed cyclists Julien Bérard, Anthony Ravard and Kristof Goddaert for the next two seasons. The French team announced today that it made the decision after the International Cycling Union (UCI) prolonged its ProTour licence for three more years.

    Frenchman Anthony Ravard, 26, joins after riding three years with team Agritubel. He won the Tour de Normandie, Circuit de la Sarthe and Classic de l’Indre in 2008 and a stage of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes this season.

    Belgian Kristof Goddaert, 22, joins from Belgium's Topsport Vlaanderen. He finished ninth in the 2008 Paris-Tours in his first year as a professional and confirmed his talent this season with several placings, including third at the national championships and Paris-Bruxelles.

    Frenchman Julien Bérard, 22, will make his professional debut with AG2R. He won a stage and held the overall jersey for five days at the Tour de l’Avenir this month. He also won a stage of the Ronde de l’Isard and the Tour de l’Ardèche Méridionale overall.

  • Millar to lead Britain at Worlds

    David Millar to lead Britain at Worlds
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 12:44 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Millar to captain Britain, Cavendish to confirm, Froome and Wiggins for time trial

    Scot David Millar will be the British team's captain at the World Championships Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland. British Cycling announced today ten riders to form its eventual nine-man team.

    Britain also named Mark Cavendish in the squad, but he will make a decision to participate at the end of this week.

    Millar will receive support by eight riders to be drawn from Cavendish, Ben Swift, Roger Hammond, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard, Russell Downing, Geraint Thomas, Dan Lloyd and Steve Cummings. British Cycling named Jeremy Hunt as a reserve.

    Head coach Rod Ellingworth told Cyclingnews that confirmation a final selection had been complicated in recent weeks.

    "We've had a bit of a bad patch with illness and injuries. Dave [Millar's] been ill at the Vuelta a España, Roger Hammond had that big fall at the Vuelta and really knocked himself up a bit. Daniel Lloyd and Chris Froome fell at the Tour of Britain and Mark Cavendish has been ill," said Ellingworth.

    "So the last couple of weeks haven't been great for us, but this is what it's all about. This is what makes the Worlds harder than any other race in the year and these are the things that we're looking at to learn from."

    Although Cavendish has been named in the short list, Ellingworth indicated that the Manxman will decide at the last minute. "He's okay, he's over [the illness], but its just about getting back on the bike and getting the feeling back. So he'll potentially be named in the [final] team, but it will be a late decision for him.

    "I'm going to have to really work on the reserve riders and make sure that they keep their head on for another week because anything can happen," Ellingworth continued.

    While the final road team will not be confirmed until the days before the race, British Cycling confirmed Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome for the time trial. Wiggins and Hunt were members of the long list, but both decided to pull...

  • Kirchen a Russian asset, says Tchmil

    Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen to help Russians and win with Katusha
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 14:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Kim Kirchen to help developing Russians and win at team Katusha

    Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen will help developing Russian cyclists at team Katusha, said team manager Andrei Tchmil. Kirchen, winner of last year's Flèche Wallonne, joins Katusha after two years with team Columbia.

    "We have a particular system, helping Russian cycling to grow," Tchmil told Cyclingnews. "The riders that we bring on are here to give results and also help our young Russians develop."

    Katusha debuted this year, built from former team Tinkoff Credit Systems. More than half (15) of its 28 riders are Russian.

    The team is part of the Russian Global Cycling Project foundation, which receives funds from sponsors Gazprom, Itera and Rostechnologii. The project's aim is to support the development of cycling in Russia.

    Spaniard Joaquím Rodríguez joins Kirchen for 2010 alongside the team's current Russians and Filippo Pozzato, Robbie McEwen and Brit Ben Swift.

    "I think that that Kirchen has a good chance in our team to confirm what he has already shown," said Tchmil. "Kirchen will give a big hand to the team in short stage races and the classics in Belgium, the Ardennes."

    Kirchen won a stage of the 2007 Tour de France and held the leader's yellow jersey for four days last year.

    He won stage seven of the Tour de Suisse and the national time trial championships this year. He will lead his nation with Andy Schleck at the World Championships Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland.