- Article published:
- September 5, 2010, 19:14
- Cycling News
Basque rider takes win for Caisse d'Epargne
It’s party time for the cyclists from the province of Biscaia. On the day that the Euskaltel-Euskadi team intelligently defended the lead of Igor Anton against the twin threats of Olympic mountain biking silver medallist Jean-Christophe Péraud ,who was virtual leader for part of the stage, and Joaquin “Purito” Rodriguez, who tried to gain a second at the very end, David Lopez (Caisse d'Epargne) found glory with the stage win in Alcoy. It’s the first time that the 29-year-old from Bilbao has tasted victory at the Vuelta a Espana.
Lopez Garcia is normally a domestique although he did win a stage of the Tour of Germany at the Austrian ski resort of Sölden in 2007. That was his first year with Caisse d’Epargne after transferring from Euskaltel where he learnt his trade.
“The emotion this win generates is indescribable,” the Basque rider said after the finish. “I didn’t imagine that it could be so intense. In the final kilometres, I was scared of riders as strong as Roman Kreuziger and Giampaolo Caruso. I picked the right time to go solo and I’ve suffered a lot to maintain my advantage until the finishing line but it was worth it. In the last kilometre I realized I couldn’t lose.”
This is the first win of the Vuelta for a Caisse d’Epargne team that lined up at the race without defending champion Alejandro Valverde, who is currently banned, but with five riders supposed to share the captaincy: David Arroyo, Marzio Bruseghin, Rubén Plaza, Luis Leon Sanchez and Rigoberto Uran. “The crash that involved many riders on stage 8 has taken its toll,” said directeur sportif Yvon Ledanois. “Probably our best rider for GC is now Marzio Bruseghin after Arroyo and Sanchez’s crash.”
Plaza is convinced that he has better form here at the Vuelta than at the Tour de France, where he finished 12th overall. He’s hoping for a top five finish in Madrid. But whichever Caisse d’Epargne rider is in the best position in the mountain stages, he’ll find a loyal domestique in the person of Lopez, whose outlook will not be changed one bit by his fantastic stage win in Alcoy.
“There’s more serenity in the team since we know that we have a new sponsor (Movistar) for next year,” said Lopez. “We have unfinished business at the Vuelta and we're hoping for more success in the next two weeks. Anything can still happen.”
- Article published:
- September 5, 2010, 21:03
- Cycling News
Spaniard confirms two-year contract
Luis León Sánchez announced today that he has signed a two year contract with Rabobank. The 26-year-old Spaniard has spent the previous four seasons with Caisse d'Epargne, but has opted to not continue with the Spanish ProTour squad. Movistar, a major telephone brand owned by Telefonica, will replace Caisse d'Epargne in 2011 as title sponsor of Usebio Unzue's team.
"I make public the fact that I came to an agreement for two seasons with the team Rabobank," said Sánchez. "I am very happy and motivated to start a new stage in my sporting career. I also want to thank Team Rabobank for their interest as well as for trusting me."
Sanchez turned professional in 2004 with the Liberty Seguros squad and continued with the team through 2006, in which it was known as Astana-Würth. Sanchez moved to his current team, Caisse d'Epargne, in 2007.
Sanchez has six victories this season, including Clasica San Sebastian, the Spanish time trial championship (the second of his career), stage wins at the Tour Down Under, Volta ao Algarve and Circuit de la Sarthe, plus the general classification at Circuit de la Sarthe.
Sanchez has also finished second this season in stage 9 of the Tour de France as well as notching second overall at the Tour Down Under, Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice. Sanchez finished 11th overall at the Tour de France, the best general classification placing of his career at the French Grand Tour.
Sanchez is competing in the Vuelta a España and is currently in 19th overall after nine stages.
- Article published:
- September 6, 2010, 01:12
- Cycling News
Heat, hills and breakaway bandits
David Lopez-Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne) - stage winner, 21st overall @ 3:31:
"In the final kilometres, many attacks occurred. I was scared of riders as strong as Roman Kreuziger and Giampaolo Caruso. I found the right time to go solo and I suffered a lot to maintain my advantage until the finishing line but it was worth it.
In the last kilometre I realised I couldn't lose. It was a lot of suffering but the emotion this win generates is indescribable. I didn't imagine it could be so intense.
People often told me that my skills are bigger than my record book but I've been lucky to work for great captains. My best win so far was the one of Alejandro Valverde at the 2009 Tour of Spain for which I've contributed a lot. Of course this win is important for me.
Igor Anton and myself are both riders from Biscaia sharing the honours today. It means our work has paid off and I hope it'll inspire all the young Basque riders to do the same. I also hope that Caisse d'Epargne will shine again at the Vuelta. There's more serenity in the team since we know that we have a new sponsor for next year [Movistar]."
Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - 16th on stage, overall leader:
"What we did today has been interesting for the spectacle. At the end of the day, I'm happy to preserve my lead rather than let the jersey go to [Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jean-Christophe] Péraud. My team has worked all day.
Maybe people expected more from Purito [Rodriguez] but he's going very well. I believe in Nibali for the overall win, he's fresh."
Jean-Christophe Péraud (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - seventh on stage, fifth overall @ 0:52:
"I believed I could have taken the [leader's] jersey today because I was informed of the gaps. I'm disappointed. It would have been great to be paid back after all the efforts I've made today."
Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) - second on stage, 31st overall @ 6:02:
"I had a good stage for sure but it could have been a bit better. I made the mistake of letting the last guy [David Lopez] go. Even though the average speed [35.101km/h] doesn't show it, it was a very demanding stage. It took a lot of efforts to catch the breakaway and the heat has made our day more than hard. The rest day is most welcome after today's stage."
Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) - 29th on stage, 17th overall @ 2:11:
"We've reached the first rest day of the Vuelta after a really tough start. With the heat and mid-mountain stages, with an altitude difference of nearly 4000 metres today for example, it's been a really hard race.
"The headwinds stopped us from riding faster today and made it hard for any of the teams to ride tactically to break the peloton. It broke at the end, given how hard the rest of the day had been and the pace that we were riding at during the last kilometres.
"We managed to get Oscar Pujol in today's breakaway. He's doing a great Vuelta and he gave it everything he's got. From behind, we were riding at an easygoing pace, and controlling the Euskaltel riders at all times. I tried to be up there with the best and not to lose more time and we just keep pushing on bit by bit in this year's Vuelta a España."
David Moncoutié (Cofidis) - fourth on stage, mountains classification leader:
"I wasn't far from getting two stage wins in two days but at the end I paid for the efforts I produced yesterday. I chased all the attacks down except the last one but this has been another great day. I've ridden well for the king of the mountains classification - that remains my main target at the Vuelta."
Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) - 15th on stage, second overall @ 0:00:
"I tried everything I could to gain time on Igor Anton and take the red jersey but it was simply impossible. I'm disappointed. I absolutely wanted to lead the Vuelta when the race will be in my homeland of Catalunya on Tuesday."
Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) - 19th on stage, 13th overall @ 1:47:
"Hats off to Euskaltel! They did an intelligent job defending their leader's jersey. They rode very well.
"I saw many riders suffering today. Yesterday's stage has created some damage. It's okay that I was disappointed about losing time yesterday, isn't it? I have to admit that after eight weeks without racing, I couldn't do better.
"I must be honest with myself. The rest day tomorrow comes at the right time for me. However, today's stage has brought me the confidence back. I was riding well. I didn't have any problems in the hills like yesterday."
- Article published:
- September 6, 2010, 09:12
- Cycling News
Multiple abrasions as Lampre rider goes home to face doping challenge.
Alessandro Petacchi's difficult 2010 season continued after he was forced out of the Vuelta a Espana by a crash on Saturday. He will return to his home in Italy to face another doping challenge.
The Lampre-Farnesi Vini sprinter won Friday's stage, beating Mark Cavendish of HTC-Columbia at the line. It was his 19th career Vuelta stage win, and his eighth victory this season.
However things turned sour early in Saturday's seventh stage, as he went down with a number of other riders shortly before the first intermediate sprint. He had several abrasions and a cut on his right elbow which required stitches. Petacchi was able to finish the stage.
"It's a pity to quit the race right now as my legs were going better and better.” he told Eurosport.
"In the end, I couldn't do anything. The abrasions were so large that I couldn't go to the masseur and during the night I could not sleep. Also, today I couldn't hold the handlebars.
"The only comfort is that I won a stage before the crash."
Team doctor Matteo Beltemacchi said that he was worried about the open wound on the elbow. "In fact it was necessary to give stitches and to begin a course of antibiotics.
"During the night Alessandro could not sleep, his arm was totally raw and he had pain in the back and back side. Petacchi tried to stick it out, but he could not hold the handlebars and he was pedalling in a bad position.
"It was not possible to go on in this way."
The 36-year-old said that he is waiting for word from the Italian Olympic Committee as to whether it would refer or drop an investigation as to whether he used illegal doping products. He would face a lifetime suspension if he is found to have violated the rules.
- Article published:
- September 6, 2010, 09:22
- Greg Johnson
Floods hit Australian course
Wild weather over the weekend throughout Victoria, Australia, has left the 2010 UCI Road World Championship organisers with some mopping up to do, as parts of the Geelong course lay under water on Monday. Fortunately the severe weather system that caused the Barwon River to swell occurred three weeks before the cycling world’s attention is focused on Geelong, giving the floods time to subside before the world’s best cyclists start arriving Down Under.
The two sections of the course affected by flooding includes a temporary bridge and pathway that’s been constructed specifically for the event in Queens Park, as the existing bridge – which sits much higher up – wasn’t wide enough to meet the UCI’s technical requirements. Debris from the rainfall further up the 160 kilometre long river was stuck alongside the bridge today, as the water level sat just inches from the bridge’s surface level, while a tree at the entry of the bridge had shifted awkwardly across the bridge’s mouth as the soil around it was eroded away.
The other section of the course hit by flooding was Barrabool Rd, which was closed to traffic throughout Monday due to the extent of flooding. A local government official told The Geelong Advertiser that Mt Pleasant Rd could be used as an alternative to Barrabool Rd in the event that flooding was an issue closer to race day.
The bridge during construction with the river's water level at its normal height.
The bridge on Monday with flood levels yet to reach their expected peak. Photo: The Geelong Advertiser
Click here to see more images of the flooding.
- Article published:
- September 6, 2010, 09:43
- Susan Westemeyer
Ricco', Schumacher return in the Giro della Romagna
Patrik Sinkewitz secured his first victory of the season on Sunday and only his second win since completing his doping ban, by beating Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago – CSF) to win the Giro della Romagna. The ISD-Neri rider subsequently announced that he would stay with the team in 2011.
The Giro della Romagna also saw the return to racing of Stefan Schumacher after his two-year doping ban, as well as Riccardo Ricco's debut with Vacansoleil. Ricco' finished 25th, in the chase group that was 58 seconds behind Sinkewitz. Schumacher failed to finish.
Sinkewitz beat Pozzovivo after the two brokeway 33km from the finish and then the German was able to outsprint his rival and take the win by two seconds.
After much deliberation, Sinkewitz signed a contract extension with the ISD-Neri team, which will be known as Farnese Vini next year. “That was naturally a great weekend for me, with the contract extension and the race success,” he told Radsport-News.com. “I can hardly describe the feeling.”
Schumacher was riding for the Italian Miche team. It was his first race appearance since the 2008 world championship road race after serving a two-year ban after testing positive for EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France.
“I hit my physical limits today,” he told the “dpa” news agency after the race. “Up until the last climb I was in the 30-man leading group, and then had awful cramps.”
He vowed to keep on with his comeback. “I won't stick my head in the sand. All beginnings are difficult.”
- Article published:
- September 6, 2010, 10:46
- Stephen Farrand
Italian insists he lives in Monaco
Filippo Pozzato is under investigation for tax evasion in Italy but the Katusha rider has insisted he lives in Monaco and denies avoiding paying tax on his contract.
According to reports in the Italian press over the weekend, tax officials from Vicenza, near Pozzato’s home town of Sandrigo, suspect the 2006 Milan-San Remo winner has avoided paying tax in Italy since 2008. Italian media has reported that Pozzato could owe up to two million Euro. The classics rider is currently riding the Vuelta but denies tax evasion.
“It’s true I’ve been investigated by the Guardia di Finanza but that concerns 2008 when I was already living in Monaco. I categorically deny the amount that is contested,” Pozzato said in a statement.
“I’m not at all worried because there’s nothing that is false. I really do live in Monaco, where everybody knows me. I’m sure I can prove that I acted in good faith.”
Pozzato is the latest in a long line of Italian cyclists who have been investigated for tax evasion after apparently being based in Monaco during their careers.
Mario Cipollini reportedly paid the Italian tax authorities over a million Euro after a long investigation, but then won an appeal against the sentence. Paolo Bettini claims he resolved his problems with the Italian tax office before taking up the role of Italian national coach.
- Article published:
- September 6, 2010, 11:33
- Susan Westemeyer
Nine days see nine different teams win stages
The Vuelta a España has gone from a wide-open race to a tight battle between three riders divided by only two seconds – and all that after nine stages of intense racing. During Monday's first rest day, the peloton finally had a chance to recover from the exceptionally high temperatures and the testing hilly stages already covered.
So far no one rider or team has dominated in Spain. On Sunday evening, after stage nine, Igor Anton of Euskaltel-Euskadi was in the red leader's jersey but in the same time as second-placed Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha). Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Doimo is third, only two seconds back. It is a close fight but yet only two other riders are within a minute of the leaders: Xavier Tondo (Cervelo TestTeam) and former mountain biker Jean-Christophe Peraud (Omega Pharma-Lotto), after some surprise lackluster performances by some of the race's big-name favourites.
Stage one brought Mark Cavendish his first leader's jersey in his first ever Vuelta, as he was the first over the finish line after the 13km team time trial. Held at night under the lights, the course presented some problems, and the final team didn't finish until nearly midnight. Garmin-Transition and Sky put in worse-than-expected performances, and Rabobank surprised by finishing third from last.
Cavendish wasn't the first across the finish line the next day for stage two, after being passed at the last second by Yuaheni Hutarovich of FdJ. As Rabobank's Oscar Freire said, “Hutarovich? That's the first time I've heard that name.” The sprint stage took the usual route of a four-man break group which got away early and wasn't caught until late on a very hot day.
Classics rider Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) won the Classics looking third stage, charging away from the field on the ascending finish with a fine solo effort. Rodriguez and Anton gave notice of their intentions in this year's Vuelta, as they finished second and third behind the Belgian.
Once more, an early group got away on another boiling-hot day, and stayed away until near the end. The stage also saw the first of the pretenders to the throne disappear from the stage, as Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck finished over 14 minutes down.
Anton declared his intentions on stage four, proving to be the strongest on the steep closing climb with a gradient up to 23%. After taking Spain's first win at this year's Vuelta, the Euskaltel rider disclosed he had reconnoitred this finale six weeks earlier. Gilbert and Rodriguez weren't far behind at the finish. It was another far-too-hot day, with the usual escape group. The biggest victim of the day was Carlos Sastre, who lost 1:34, dropping out of contention.
The fifth stage was expected to see Cavendish's first sprint victory in the Vuelta, but the loss of key teammate Bernhard Eisel to illness left the Manx Missile in trouble. Too early in the wind, he finished only third, as Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Transitions scored not only the win but an important psychological advantage.
The fifth stage started with a moment of silence in memory of Laurent Fignon. Once things got under way, the peloton was happy to let an escape group go on yet another scorching-hot day, finally pulling them back in with 13km to go.
Stage six was a rolling stage with a steep Category two climb near the end, and it had Thor Hushovd's name just written all over it. The big Norwegian from Cervelo TestTeam didn't disappoint, and took the sprint of a 71-rider group which contained few of the pure sprinters. Gilbert held on to his leader's red jersey for another day, and the usual “early-breakaway-caught-late” scenario played out once again.
Alessandro Petacchi may be 36 years old and suffering from the stress of a doping investigation, but he proved he can still deliver. He took the sprint of the seventh stage to add to this year's seven other wins. And once again, Cavendish finished only second. The day featured, of course, the now-traditional breakaway which was caught near the finish.
The Vuelta's eighth stage was overshadowed by news of the death of Team Sky soigneur Txema Gonzalez, with the team subsequently deciding to withdraw from the race. The race went on, with an escape group successful on this “medium mountain” stage. David Moncoutie (Cofidis) got away on the final climb to claim his third Vuelta stage win in three years. Philippe Gilbert said goodbye to the leader's jersey as he finished three and a half minutes down, and Rabobank's Denis Menchov also lost time and any chance of victory, finishing a few seconds behind Gilbert.
Anton took over the leader's jersey, but not without confusion and controversy. He and Rodriguez finished with the same time, with both believing the Katusha rider would take the lead, but Anton got it on better results so far in the race.
On Sunday once again a member of the day's escape group made it to the end on another “medium mountain” stage which feature a total of seven category two and three climbs. David Lopez (Caisse d'Epargne) was exhausted but able to hang on and take the stage nine victory. He had been part of the day's 15-man escape group, which started breaking up with 50 km to go.
Although the top three riders are so close, not all the others have conceded defeat. Fränk Schleck of Saxo Bank indicated he thought he could make up the 1:47 he is down. the second and third weeks of the Vuelta will show if he can do it.
The first part of the race was dominated by no single sprinter or climber, with each stage won by different team and by riders from many different countries. Still, after only nine stages, as the riders enjoy the first rest day, it is beginning to look like a three-man race for the overall title in Madrid on September 19.