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First Edition Cycling News, November 30, 2008

Date published:
November 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT
  • O'Shea takes step toward Olympic dream

    Katherin O'Shea on her way to a win
    Article published:
    November 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Koksijde

    After her best finish to date, Bendigo's Katherine O'Shea has her sights firmly set on the next...

    After her best finish to date, Bendigo's Katherine O'Shea has her sights firmly set on the next Olympic Games in London. The 29-year-old business analyst won the cross country race at the Australian national mountain bike series round held in the Gold Coast hinterland on Saturday.

    The former softballer switched to mountain biking just three years ago after being selected for a development program for mountain bikers. The "Dirt Roads to London" program aims to prepare Australian female riders for the London 2012 Olympics.

    O'Shea praised the program aimed at building Australia's depth in women's cross country. "It's been fantastic. It got me into the sport and it's great having the other girls around to encourage you to turn up to these races."

    She will head overseas to race internationally next year and when asked if her long term goal of making the London Olympics was now closer she said, "Yeah for sure. Bring it on."

    In the race Saturday, O'Shea defeated series leader Jodie Willett and Jo Wall.

    See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Australian National Mountain Bike Series round two.

  • Walker and Duarte sign with Fuji-Servetto

    Article published:
    November 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Koksijde

    The Fuji-Servetto ProTour team signed two young riders for its 2009 squad announced earlier this...

    The Fuji-Servetto ProTour team signed two young riders for its 2009 squad announced earlier this week: Australian William Walker from Rabobank and U23 World Champion Fabio Duarte from Colombia is Passion.

    The 23-year-old Walker, one of Australia's hopes for the future, won his national U23 championship title in 2006. He was also the runner-up in the World U23 Championships in Madrid in 2005. He makes his move after two years on the Dutch Rabobank squad.

    Duarte, 23, will head into his third season as a professional. He previously raced for Serramenti Diquigiovanni in 2007 and Colombia is Passion in 2008.

    The pair will join four other 23 or under riders already signed, including Ermanno Capelli, Eros Capecchi, Arkaitz Durán and Beñat Intxausti.

  • Contentpolis-Murcia adds sprint power for 2009

    Article published:
    November 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Koksijde

    For 2009 the Spanish Pro Continental Contentopolis-Murcia squad has reinforced the sprinting prowess...

    For 2009 the Spanish Pro Continental Contentopolis-Murcia squad has reinforced the sprinting prowess of its Mikel Gaztañaga by signing two new proven winners. Javier Benítez has won stages in the Vuelta a Chihuahua, and Francisco Pacheco has five wins split among the Vuelta a Extremadura, CT Correios and Volta Portugal. In addition, the team also signed local Claudio Casas, who has been racing for Andalucía Cajasur during the two last seasons.

    Although there was some speculation about the future of the team after it missed the deadline for submitting some key documents to register with the UCI for 2009, the squad recently overcame budget issues and confirmed it will carry on next year and be part of the UCI's biological passport programme.

  • Swedish National 'Cross Championships

    Article published:
    November 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Koksijde

    Sweden held its first-ever national cyclo-cross championships in Gothenburg, Skatås, on Saturday....

    Sweden held its first-ever national cyclo-cross championships in Gothenburg, Skatås, on Saturday. Ten women and 33 men contested the event which was won by Kajsa Snihs (IK Jarl Rättvik) and Jens Westergren.

    Snihs defeated Hannah Myerscough (Trosa Vagnhärad CK) by 43 seconds and Martina Thomasson (Svanesunds GIF) by over a minute in the elite women's race while Westergren's winning margin was just three seconds ahead of Emil Lindgren (IK Hakarpspojkarna) and 52 seconds over Fredrik Ericsson (Team Cykelcity.se)

    See Cyclingnews' full coverage of Swedish National Cyclo-cross Championships.

  • Motivated Contador ready for Astana team training camp

    Alberto Contador
    Article published:
    November 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Koksijde

    Alberto Contador, who is recovering satisfactorily from an operation to repair a deviated septum...

    Alberto Contador, who is recovering satisfactorily from an operation to repair a deviated septum last Monday, will join his Astana teammates this weekend for a team training camp set to run through December 8. Contador will not be cleared to ride again until next Thursday, so in the meantime, he will focus on working in the gym.

    Contador said he's been just as busy this winter so far as he was last winter after winning the 2007 Tour de France. "I have had many commitments [after winning the 2008 Giro d'Italia and 2008 Vuelta a España], and I have not been able to disconnect as much as I had wanted, but I already have my focus in my mind [for next season], and I want to begin."

    He is eager to spend time with his old teammates meet his new ones as his colleagues and team management gather together to plan the 2009 season.

    "It will be good to increase the connection among us," said Contador of his expectations for the camp, "because now we don't have any pressure. We will make a strong team together and we will work so that the [next] year goes well.

    "The team of this year has been very good, and big reinforcements have come [for next year]. Haimar Zubeldia's quality is already known. He can play a fundamental part in the three-week races. Another great success of last hour has been the arrival of [Yaroslav] Popovych. He worked very hard in the Tour in 2007, and I have been very happy to know that he's returning with us.

    "And also arriving are riders like Jesús Hernández, with whom I train regularly. This year, he will help the quality of the team jump up."

    When asked about his most famous new teammate, Lance Armstrong, Contador said the team would benefit from Armstrong's experience. "He has been able to win seven Tours and knows what it takes physical and mentally. His contribution will be very positive for the team. His level is still unknown, but I...

  • Kupfernagel focused on Stevens Bikes

    Hanka Kupfernagel
    Article published:
    November 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Koksijde

    By Bjorn Haake in Koksijde Hanka Kupfernagel rode Focus bikes for the last few seasons. Her partner...

    By Bjorn Haake in Koksijde

    Hanka Kupfernagel rode Focus bikes for the last few seasons. Her partner and manager Mike Kluge had a long relationship with the Focus company, but this year, it was time for Kupfernagel to switch, and she achieved on Sunday a second place at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Koksijde on a Stevens Bikes.

    "On October 1, we officially switched over to Stevens," Kluge said. The timing was picked due to this year's schedule. "We decided to do the Olympics still on Focus and then switch."

    Kupfernagel and Kluge had no problem agreeing on which bike to use Saturday, but what they couldn't agree on was what tyres to use for the day's race. Kupfernagel went with knobbier tyres versus the slicker ones that winner Katie Compton put on.

    Kluge thought this played a part in the outcome of the race. "I think with the other tyre she could have won," he said.

    Kupfernagel herself blamed a tactical error for what cost her the win. "After the last corner I was in front. That was a mistake." But she was happy with second and acknowledged the strength of her competitors.

  • Voss balancing road with cross

    Paul Voss of the 3C team
    Article published:
    November 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Koksijde

    By Bjorn Haake in Koksijde Paul Voss did his first cyclo-cross race this season in Koksijde on...

    By Bjorn Haake in Koksijde

    Paul Voss did his first cyclo-cross race this season in Koksijde on Saturday. He was racing in his 3C Gruppe Lamonta outfit, but next season he will be taking race starts in a Milram outfit. Given that Voss has focused his training on the road and not prepared for 'cross, he was happy how the race in the Belgian dunes went for him although he suffered one problem.

    "The technical section in the sand was difficult for me." So the World Cup race became a game of catch-up game for Voss. "I always rode up to groups, but in the sand, I lost it again." He struggled especially on the downhill and sandy sections. Some riders opted to run down rather than ride.

    Voss had the goal of a top 20 finish and was not far off in 24th and just 24 seconds behind Richard Groendendaal, who was in 20th. Voss started strongly and was riding in front of Groendendaal in the earlier part of the race. "I think a top 20 would have been possible, but the technique will come over time," he said.

    Voss no longer can race in the U23 category. "Otherwise, I would not have chosen to race here," he said with a smile. His situation was unlike that of his compatriot Philipp Walsleben, who has dominated the U23 races this season, but opted to race with the elite men today. Voss praised the efforts by Walsleben. "I think he wanted to know how he compares to the men. He is the best German 'crosser we have at the moment and I think one day he will be atop the podium in the men's races."

    Voss has one big goal for his winter schedule. "My goal is to become German champion." He said he won't be disappointed if his plan doesn't work out, but said it was a driving motivator for him to do well on January 11 in Strullendorf. "Next year I am racing for Milram, and it would be nice to have the German championship jersey then."

    It is not yet clear if Voss will have to battle Walsleben, who could opt for the U23 race instead of the elite...

  • Sandy conditions mix up World Cup action in Koksijde

    Katie Compton
    Article published:
    November 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé and Bjorn Haake in Koksijde, Belgium

    By Brecht Decaluwé and Bjorn Haake in Koksijde, Belgium America's Katie Compton (Spike) and Erwin...

    By Brecht Decaluwé and Bjorn Haake in Koksijde, Belgium

    America's Katie Compton (Spike) and Erwin Vervecken (Fidea Cycling Team) won Saturday's fourth round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Koksijde, Belgium.

    Compton came from behind to outsprint World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel and Daphny van den Brand in the final sprint for her second World Cup victory in her career. The German Kupfernagel dominated most of the race while Compton overcame a poor start from back in the second row and joined the leaders later.

    "This was a very hard course and it was such a long sprint, but I'm so happy I got this win," Compton said. "Maybe I wasn't the strongest today, but I definitely was the smartest."

    The victory from Compton meant no threat for Kupfernagel's lead in the World Cup standings in which the German woman extended her lead over Van den Brand. However, Compton moved up to seventh position in the World Cup standings.

    The duo of Kupfernagel and Compton entered the finishing straight in that order. "I was first in that last bend and shouldn't have been in that position; that was a mistake that I shouldn't have made," Kupfernagel said.

    In the men's race, former World Champion Vervecken surprised many, including himself, by winning. The Belgian was among the four Fidea riders who joined Belgian Champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner) in front of the race in the ultimate lap.

    Nys hit the finishing straight with a good-sized lead over Vervecken, but the headwind and Vervecken's character proved to be too much. Vervecken managed to overtake Nys on the line and took a record fifth victory in Koksijde.

    "I didn't think that I could still win a World Cup race," said the 36-year-old Belgian. That opinion wasn't shared by Nys who said, "As long as Vervecken is riding he will cause trouble."

    Thanks to his second place in Koksijde, Nys strengthened his lead in the World Cup.

    "I'm...