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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 13, 2011

Date published:
August 13, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Hushovd not to participate in 2012 Tour de France?

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    August 12, 2011, 14:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Evans claims sole leadership at BMC for title defence

    During his homecoming celebration in Melbourne, Australia, 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans suggested that was not going to share the team leadership at next year's event with world champion Thor Hushovd, who will join his BMC team in 2012.

    In order to defend his crown, Evans said that he needed full team support and was unwilling to have a sprinter like Hushovd in the squad's nine-man roster during the Tour. "Regarding Thor coming to the team, the main objective of (team president) Jim Ochowicz was to get some guys onto the team to get some results early so they wouldn't rely just on me for race wins at the start of the year," he told Reuters.

    "I said: 'Look Jim, you want to bring a sprinter to the team, I don't want to ride with a sprinter, because I've done that and I've done my share. If I do the Tour I want to do it for the win.'

    "I was fairly clear about that and Jim was accepting of that, so it's under that basis that Thor comes to our team."

    During his years at Lotto, Evans regularly had to share team leadership with fellow countryman and sprinter Robbie McEwen. His comments suggest that Hushovd, who has earned a total of ten stage victories at the Tour de France so far and could be a team leader in his own right, may be left out of the event to focus solely on Evans.

    Hushovd, who has not been selected by his Garmin-Cervelo team to ride the upcoming Vuelta a Espana, has not yet reacted to Evans' comments yet. However, when he and the BMC team announced their agreement earlier this week, the Norwegian said that his "biggest goal" yet was to win Paris-Roubaix.

  • Time Trial could reshuffle the overall at Tour of Utah

    Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) and race leader Sergio Henao (Gobernacion De Antioquia) on the attack.
    Article published:
    August 12, 2011, 16:47 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Henao, Sevilla, Leipheimer and Brajkovic look for additional seconds

    The Tour of Utah’s overall classification is separated by a mere 21 seconds between the top five overall contenders, led by Sergio Henao (Gobernacion de Antioquia), heading into the stage three time trial. The high-quality peloton boasts a series of time trial specialists that are hoping to move closer to the yellow jersey while others vie for a stage win.

    The stage three time trial is held on the race way at the Miller Motorsports Park. It is a 15.6 kilometer circuit with some tight turns on a smooth and flat tarmac. The parcours is well suited to US National Champion Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervelo) who said he was feeling good the day before the event.

    The top riders in the overall classification include Henao, followed by his teammate Oscar Sevilla at seven seconds, Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) at 13 seconds, Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) at 18 seconds and Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) 21 seconds in arrears.

    Henao’s directeur sportif, Santiago Botero, is not confident that he is capable of maintaining his overall lead in the time trial and pointed to Leipheimer as the race favourite.

    “We will try to keep the yellow jersey,” Botero said. “But it will not be easy. Everyone knows that Levi is strong in the time trial. Our riders are not, Sergio and Oscar, they are normal in the time trial.”

    Leipheimer placed second in the time trial last year to stage winner Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing). He went on to win the overall title following the queen stage five that finished on Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.

    However, he admitted that he is not 100 percent confident that he or Brajkovic will be capable of overtaking Henao’s race lead during the time trial.

    “I don’t...

  • Casper to AG2R

    Jimmy Casper (Saur - Sojasun)
    Article published:
    August 12, 2011, 17:49 BST
    Cycling News

    French sprinter moves up into WorldTour again

    AG2R La Mondiale has announced the signing of Jimmy Casper, who has inked a one-year deal with the team managed by Vincent Lavenu. Casper is currently racing for Professional Continental team Saur-Sojasun and has just netted his sixth season victory at the Tour de l'Ain.

    "I'm excited to come back to a WorldTour team in 2012 after having spent several seasons in the Pro Continental ranks," said the 33-year-old, whose former teams include Unibet (2007) and Agritubel (2008) after he left Cofidis in 2006. "I'm eager to prove my worth and hope to build on this season's end to score victories for AG2R in 2012."

    Casper, whose contract includes an option for 2013, won a stage at the Tour de France in 2006.

    AG2R also announced that Ben Gastauer's contract has been extended for another two years.

  • Video: Marcato improves in WorldTour races

    Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) is most combative for the day
    Article published:
    August 12, 2011, 19:28 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    Vacansoleil rider talks about stepping up

    Having claimed third in the Tour of Poland, Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) has confirmed his abilities in the biggest races.

    “This year is my first year in WorldTour and I’m happy," he told Cyclingnews in a video interview. “I mature every year."

    In fact the 27-year-old Italian has already shown himself at the ProTour level in the past: 8th in the Tour of Poland (2009), 8th in Amstel Gold Race (2010), 9th in GP Plouay (2010) and 10th in the Vattenfall Cyclassics (2010). His team, where he's ridden for three years, has joined the first division only last winter, though.

    This year Marcato finished 15th in Milan-San Remo and secured two top-ten stage placings in his first Tour de France. He says he was, “in good condition” after the Tour and now can claim team leader’s status at “stages races, not so long, not with very long climbs, like here [at the Tour of Poland]."

    Next year he says he will be more ambitious, notably on the Ardennes Classics and a Grand Tour, either the Giro d'Italia or Tour de France.

    By the end of the year Marcato might race the world championships in Copenhagen, even if the parcours seems too flat for him. “The Italian coach [Paolo Bettini] called me and I’m happy," he said. “In the team I always help the sprinters so I know how to bring them into a good position in a sprint."

  • King back to racing at Tour of Utah

    The US Pro Podium: Ted King (Liquigas), Matthew Busche (RadioShack), and George Hincapie (BMC).
    Article published:
    August 13, 2011, 1:12 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    American recovered from broken collarbone

    As news of rider transfers begins to circulate, Ted King can relax having signed a two-year deal with ProTeam Liquigas-Cannondale that will extend his time with the Italian outfit to the end of 2012. The New England native is looking forward to his second round with the Italian outfit and he is hoping for an injury-free and successful season to come.

    "I signed again for next year," King told Cyclingnews. "I signed on for two years last year, which was nice. This year was the first year doing the sprint classics and to be on board for the classics for 2012 and with the team again is huge. I can communicate now in Italian. I am looking forward to next year."

    King joined the Liquigas-Cannondale squad after competing for one season with Cervelo Test Team. He began his season at the Giro di Sardegna and went on to compete in the spring Classics. His good form rolled into the Amgen Tour of California followed by the USA Pro Cycling Championships, where to placed third behind race winner Matthew Busche (RadioShack) and George Hincapie (BMC Racing).

    After a great first half of the season however, King was forced to take several weeks off to recover after breaking his collarbone at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships in early June.

    "It was a distant break on the collarbone and not just cycling related," King said. "When the break is so far out the healing isn’t guaranteed. I was able to get surgery quickly and get back on the bike in a week, starting with the trainer."

    "I had good results coming out of nationals but it sucked to break my collarbone a week later,"...

  • Vasseur: BMC not the best option for Gilbert

    Philippe Gilbert powers to the finish line.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2011, 3:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Former rider thinks Gilbert would get more support from Omega Pharma-Quick Step

    While Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) continues to negotiate with a number of teams for the 2012 season, former French rider Cédric Vasseur says the most likely option, BMC Racing Team, is "not ideal", because of Cadel Evans and Thor Hushovd's co-leadership next year.

    On the RTBF, where he works as an expert, Vasseur said that he felt that going to BMC would be a counter-productive move for a rider like Gilbert.

    "I don't see a world number one sharing his schedule with potential winners of the Tour de France or Paris-Roubaix," commented Vasseur. "Because of his exceptional success, Philippe Gilbert deserves an exceptional team for 2012, 2013 and 2014. That's why his choice is very important."

    Vasseur, who finished his career with Quick Step in 2006 and 2007, says the Belgian team is a more supportive structure than BMC for Gilbert.

    "Omega Pharma-Quick Step is a good option. What about a successful alliance between Boonen and Gilbert? But before he even starts to think about the future he still has to sort his contract issues out - and fix them in order to regain his mental freedom."

    Gilbert's transfer saga took an unexpected turn when Omega Pharma, the co-sponsor of his current team Lotto, announced they still had a contract with the Belgian through the end of 2012. Though that situation remains unresolved Vasseur was adamant that Gilbert would be better suited to remaining with a Belgian team rather than the American BMC team.

    "The best thing for him would be to race in a Belgian team of course", Vasseur says about the Omega Pharma-Quick Step's option. "A 100 percent Belgian team would grant him a successful career until the end of his days. He's...

  • Bajadali targets Snowbird in Tour of Utah

    Andrew Bajadali (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) tries to get another break going.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2011, 5:47 BST
    Laura Weislo

    American recovering from knee injury

    In 2005, before the Tour of Utah was internationally recognized, Colorado's Andrew Bajadali claimed the overall victory with a win atop Mt. Nebo. Six years later the 38-year-old Boulder resident is looking for another top finish here and a confirmation that his health issues are behind him.

    A noted climber who has races like the Tour of Thailand and Redlands Classic to his name, as well as mountains classifications in the Mt. Hood classic and Tour of Utah, Bajadali has been suffering from a knee problem which plagued him in 2010, but an off-season surgery has helped to alleviate his pain. After a long build-up from his lay-off, the Kelly Benefit Strategies/OptumHealth rider is ready to attack the Wasatch Mountain summit on the Tour of Utah's final stage to the Snowbird Ski Resort.

    Bajadali had been held back by a tracking issue in his kneecap that caused him pain, and after months of trying physiotherapy and every non-surgical intervention possible, he gave in and went under the knife.

    "I threw in the towel at Cascade Classic last year and decided to refocus on this year and get knee surgery in the off season," Bajadali told Cyclingnews.

    "It's taken a long time to recover from that and get some decent fitness, so it's been a frustrating year for me. I'm not used to performing, but hopefully I can do something this week."

    He has been focusing his season around Tour of Utah and the upcoming USA Pro Cycling Challenge, but his team did not earn an invitation to the Colorado event.

    "It's probably why I am coming on form now, the whole season has been based around these two races."

    So far the Kelly Benefit...

  • Gretsch earns most aggressive jersey after Utah time trial

    Patrick Gretsch is an up and coming German star.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2011, 9:21 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    German looking forward to future with Skil-Shimano

    Patrick Gretsch (HTC-Highroad) pulled on the most aggressive rider’s jersey after a respectable third place during the stage three time trial at the Tour of Utah on Friday. The German time trial specialist held the fastest time of the day until virtually the end, when his time of 17:43 was surpassed by teammate and stage winner Tejay van Garderen and runner up Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack).

    "Sure I am happy with the jersey," Gretsch said. "Tejay did the Tour and it’s a home race for him and so as long as the win stays in the team that is fine. I am not surprised with his time. I knew that he was in great shape after the Tour and he is super motivated. It is also his birthday today and so he was super motivated and I knew that he could do well."

    Gretsch’s strong performance is also not surprising. He is a five-time former junior world champion and placed twice on the podium at the under 23 time trial worlds in 2008 and 2009. In addition, he was an under 23 German time trial champion and recently won the opening stage at the Ster ZLM Tour.

    "For me as a time trialist, it [the stage] was one of the reasons why I am here," Gretsch said. "I did all that I could and I am satisfied with that. I crossed my fingers and hoped that my time stayed in first, but it didn’t. As long as the win stayed with in the team we are all happy."

    Gretsch joined HTC-Highroad in 2010 following a three year stint with Thuringer Energie Team. He expressed his regret that the US-registered team is disbanding at the end of the season, but can take solace in knowing his future for 2012 is secured.

    "I will ride for Skil-Shimano next year," Gretsch said. "It is a team with a big future and I am really happy with that. I think we were all disappointed with the end of HTC-Highroad. We are all trying to enjoy our last few months together. It is really emotional and we are all like friends. I am looking to the future."