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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 26, 2011

Date published:
September 26, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Vuelta abandon a blessing for Goss at Worlds

    Matt Goss was not happy with silver
    Article published:
    September 25, 2011, 23:42 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Australian emerges to take silver in Copenhagen

    Matt Goss arrived at the UCI World Championships road race with question marks over his form but he proved to be Mark Cavendish's closest challenger in the finishing sprint in Copenhagen.

    The Australian's Worlds preparations were dealt a severe blow when he was forced out of the Vuelta a España on the opening road stage due to illness, but he admitted afterwards that missing out on the Spanish race might ultimately have played to his advantage.

    "It wasn't ideal preparation having to pull out of the Vuelta, that's for sure, but at the same time it might have been a blessing in disguise because it was pretty hard this year," Goss said.

    Instead of slogging it out in a Vuelta marked by sweltering temperatures and soaring speeds, Goss was able to able to intersperse training and racing in September, with the contentious Giro di Padania forming the core of his build-up to the Worlds. The Milan-San Remo winner admitted that even on the morning of the race, he was unsure if he had the legs to lead the Australian charge in the finale.

    "I trained pretty well and raced okay but when I came in here I wasn't really 100 per cent sure," he said. "After about 150, 160 kilometres today, I noticed my legs starting to feel better and better. That's when I said to the guys that I felt I could do a good result and asked for their support, and they were awesome to help me. Around the 160km mark, I knew I could finish off the race well."

    While Great Britain, and Bradley Wiggins in particular, marshalled affairs in the closing laps of the race, the Australians...

  • Danes miss Breschel but put on a big show on home turf

    Chris Anker Sørensen makes it to the finish
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 1:27 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Bak, Mørkøv pay tribute to enthusiastic crowds

    Having lost Matti Breschel through injury the Danish men's team came into the Worlds road race without a main contender. Despite missing last year's silver medallist, the home nation put in an aggressive display, firing off several threatening attacks that had both the sprinters worried and the supporters entertained.

    Lars Bak was the first Danish rider to make a significant gap, breaking away from the bunch in pursuit of the remnants from two early breaks. The HTC-Highroad rider was brought back by the British team before the final lap.

    "I honestly thought that we rode the right race, just as we had planned it, but you knew with the wind and weather that we had today that it would be a bunch sprint. The British team rode a fantastic race, and Mark deserves his win every bit," Bak said at the finish, paying tribute to his teammate.

    "We missed Matti [Breschel] today," he added. "We have a very strong team, and Michael Mørkøv, me and the others did everything we could, but we really missed Matti today."

    "I have never heard this much noise before, it was an inferno of noise. It was almost as if my entire head was shaking, when I drove up the finishing stretch. I've never tried any think like it. It was really crazy out there. I am happy to have been a part of it," he said

    Although Bak was reined in, his aggression sparked a number of attacks from the front bunch. The next to try his luck was Thomas Voeckler (France). Glued to his wheel were Denmark's Nicki Sørensen and Belgium's Klaas Lodewijk.

    "I wanted to leave my mark on the race, and when we got clear of the pack, I initially thought that they had us...

  • White stands by Renshaw's non-selection

    Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad) at the sign on in Taunton
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 2:51 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Door still open for sprinter for London 2012

    Matt White declared Australia's silver medal in the men's Worlds road race a success and backed his call to leave Mark Renshaw at home. Matt Goss won silver behind Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) and the result secured Australia's third medal in three years in the men's race.

    "I'm very happy with that result," White told Cyclingnews. "We didn't go into the race as one of the big favourites. No one was rating Matt Goss because he hasn't had the results that people were expecting of him. We knew he was going well though."

    The Australians rode a tactically-sound race. Simon Clarke was dispatched in the first break of the day, allowing his teammates to rest easy in the bunch. The move also hurried Great Britain into a day of chasing, a measure Australia hoped would leave Cavendish exposed at the finish.

    After over 260km of racing and heading into the final turn only Australia, Great Britain and to some extent Germany, appeared to have structured leadouts, with Mat Hayman and Heinrich Haussler both visible towards the front of the field.

    "The plan was to have Hayman to take O'Grady into the bottom of the last climb and if it was a perfect world it would have been Hayman, O'Grady, Haussler and Goss. They got a little bit lost on that last corner but Haussler did a bloody good lead out."

    However Haussler and Goss split and despite Haussler pressing on Goss was forced to fight for himself.

    "Looking at the replay it looks like Cavendish was behind Gossy and Cavendish has snuck through underneath."

    The missing link?

    Heading into the Worlds the Australian camp was criticised for not selecting Mark Renshaw. The...

  • Italians fail to make impact in Worlds finale

    Luca Paolini (Italy)
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 4:56 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Worst finish for Azzurri since 1983

    The post mortems will begin in earnest in Italy on Monday morning and extend over the weeks and months to come after Daniele Bennati lost track of his lead-out and floundered to come in 14th behind Mark Cavendish in the UCI World Championships on Sunday. It was the squadra azzurra's worst placing in the Worlds since Giuseppe Saronni finished 17th in Altenrheim all the way back in 1983.

    Luca Paolini offered his snap judgement of the Italian performance after he rolled to a halt in the pits shortly after the finish. The veteran fulfilled the duties assigned to him beforehand by infiltrating a threatening mid-race break but his team made little further impact as an attacking force, save for a couple of short-lived digs from Giovanni Visconti which quickly fizzled out.

    "I'd give us a seven, maybe a seven-and-a-half out of ten, because I heard there were problems in the train in the last kilometre, and this didn't allow us to lead out a clean sprint for Bennati," Paolini told Cyclingnews. "Before that we tried to make the race a little more stretched. Maybe we were lacking another man with me in the break, but when we get back to the hotel we'll have a meeting and weigh it up."

    The Italian federation's decision to bar riders who have served suspensions for doping offences from lining up meant that there was a youthful feel to coach Paolo Bettini's team. Paolini, who was investigated as part of the Operazione Athena doping inquiry but has never been sanctioned, was the one the few riders with significant Worlds experience. Italy's regista, or road captain, in...

  • Sciandri praises Cavendish's Worlds performance

    Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) on the podium
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 7:28 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Thinks Manxman's announcement with Sky just a formality

    Max Sciandri, a friend and confidant of new world champion, Mark Cavendish, said the Worlds have been occupying the Manxman all year and that the sprint victory was just desserts after an impressive performance from the whole British team.

    "What can you really say? He deserved it," said Sciandri a coach at BMC racing, after the finish in Copenhagen.

    "[The Worlds] have been a massive deal for him this year. He’s been saying 'I’m going to put the stripes on the house here, I’m going to put the stripes on the car that way, I’m gonna buy a Harley with a rainbow tank…’ so you know, it’s always been in his mind - just like the Olympics are on his mind."

    The pair live near one another in Quarrata, in Tuscany and Sciandri has doled out advice and guidance to the 26-year-old in the five or six years they’ve known each other. Sciandri used to be director of Great Britain’s talent production line, the British Academy, where Cavendish also spent time as a young rider.

    "It’s good to see a British guy in a British team - if they announce it - with a rainbow jersey," said Sciandri who used to ride for Great Britain and came third in the Olympic road race in Atlanta in 1996. "I think we’re going to see it quite a lot of the jersey it in the front next year. He’s going to honour it in the best of ways I’m sure."

    In terms of performances, Sciandri said Cavendish’s victory today possibly trumps his ride at Milan-San Remo in 2009 when he sprinted out of a group and caught Cervelo Test Team’s Heinrich Haussler on the line. "He’s ticked a big box today."

    Sciandri, who retired from racing in 2004 also said BMC Racing was in the hunt to sign Cavendish, who now looks a dead certainty to opt for Team Sky in 2012.

    "I’m happy for him. I would loved for him to have signed with us with at BMC - [but] it was a just a possibility that...

  • Brajkovic considering three offers for 2012

    Janez Brajkovic (Team RadioShack)
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 10:20 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Slovenian a victim of the RadioShack-Leopard Trek merger

    Janez Brajkovic’s time under Johan Bruyneel's tutelage is set to end very soon, with the Slovenian rider confirming to Cyclingnews that he will be leaving the RadioShack team at the end of the season.

    Brajkovic’s position on the squad has been squeezed out following the merger of the RadioShack and Leopard Trek teams. Last week there were rumours that Bruyneel had been busy shopping Brajkovic to rival squads, with Astana reported to be interested if Bruyneel will help cover part of Brajkovic’s contract. Cyclingnews understands that two French teams are also interested in signing him as they fight for precious UCI ranking points in the hope of securing a ProTeam licence in 2012.

    “I’ll know more after the Worlds. I have some options but nothing has been signed yet. I’m considering other teams and we’ll see,” the rider told Cyclingnews before the start of the men’s road race.

    Asked if he was upset or disappointed to leave Bruyneel in such a manner and after riding for him for a number of years, Brajkovic said: “I’m not disappointed. I think every manager would do the same if he had the chance to have this merger. Having the Schlecks and Cancellara on the team is a great thing but maybe it’s time to make a change for myself. I’ve been with Johan for a long time now. We’ll see.”

    With such a powerful team for grand tours, Brajkovic would drop down the pecking order, perhaps to the same level as a rider like Jakob Fuglsang. He is set to be part of the new team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team in 2012. He has a contract with the Leopard Trek team that will hold the UCI ProTeam licence in 2012 and has been promised the role of team...

  • Great Britain tops the World Championships medal table

    The podium: Matt Goss (Australia), Mark Cavendish (Great Britain), Andre Griepel (Germany)
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 10:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Breakdown of medals by country

    Mark Cavendish’s victory in elite men road race gave Britain its second world title of this year’s world championships and top spot in the final medal table. Great Britain won six medals, one more than Australia and three more than third placed France.

    Great Britain also won gold in the junior women road race with Lucy Garner, while Bradley Wiggins and Elinor Barker won silver medals in the elite men time trial and the junior women time trial. Emma Pooley and Andrew Fenn completed the Great Britain medal haul with bronze medals in the women’s time trial and the under 23 men road race.

    Australia won world title is the under 23 men time trial with Luke Durbridge and Jessica Allen in the junior women time trial. Matt Goss took silver behind Cavendish in the elite men road race and David Edwards and Michael Hepburn won bronze medals in the under 23 men and junior men time trial events.

    France dominated the minor men’s road race events. Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier won the junior title, while Arnaud Demare and Adrien Petit took first and second in the under 23 road race.

    Some of the traditionally strong cycling nations finished well down the medal table. Italy won the women road race title but failed to land any other medals. Belgium picked up just two silver medals, the Netherlands won a silver and bronze medal, while Spain headed home empty handed.

    While the world championships are contested by nations, it could be argued that the HTC-Highroad team had the best world championship of all. Thanks to Mark Cavendish, Tony Martin and Judith Arndt, the...

  • Hushovd says two-captain strategy backfired for Norway

    Thor Hushovd was caught behind the crash
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 11:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Defending champion doomed by crash and no helpers

    A crash with six laps left to go cost Thor Hushovd the chance to repeat his 2010 victory in the UCI World Championships road race. After the race, the Norwegian criticized his team's tactics, saying the two-captain strategy worked to his disadvantage.

    The crash was big enough to block the road and hold up the riders behind it. Those caught up in or behind the crash went on to finish nearly nine minutes behind winner Mark Cavendish (Great Britain).

    Hushovd and Edvald Boasson Hagen came into the race as co-captains for the Norwegian team, which had only four riders. Boasson Hagen was ahead of the crash, as were Kurt Asle Arvesen and Gabriel Rasch, who stayed with him rather than returning to help Hushovd.

    “We should have only one captain for next year,” Hushovd told “Things are clearer.  It is easier for everyone to relate to it.”

    He did not blame Arvesen and Rasch for not helping him. With no race radios allowed, they did not know that he had been held up. “They didn't know what happened, so I cannot criticize Gabriel or Kurt.”

    It was Arvesen who had to make the decision not to help Hushovd, after Rasch pointed out that he was no longer there, about half a lap after the crash. “We considered what we should do. I talked with a commissioner and asked how far behind the group with Thor was. I was told they were several minutes behind us. I said to 'Gabba' that there was point in him going back.  'Gabba' alone could not have made a difference.”

    That left things up to Boasson Hagen, who said he was feeling good during the race and was satisfied with his eighth place finish.