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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 29, 2009

Date published:
August 29, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Vuelta presents 198 riders in Assen

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    August 29, 2009, 8:24 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Vuelta a España presents 198 riders in Assen, Netherlands

    The 64th Vuelta a España presented all 198 riders from 22 teams in Assen, Netherlands, yesterday. Olympic Champion Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) will wear race number one.

    Defending champion Alberto Contador (Astana) skipped the race this year. Sánchez, Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) are favourites for the overall win.

    It is Alexander Vinokourov's first time to race a Grand Tour since he was disqualified from the 2007 Tour de France. He served a two-year suspension and returns to race with team Astana.

    The Vuelta a España starts today with a 4.5-kilometre time trial. There are four stages in The Netherlands before it transfers to Spain. The last stage is in Madrid, September 20.

  • Recovered Duggan ready to take on USPro Championships

    Stef Clement (Rabobank) outsprints Timothy Duggan (Garmin - Slipstream) to win the final stage of the Dauphiné.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2009, 9:03 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Duggan back at his best after Georgia crash

    Tim Duggan (Garmin-Slipstream) suffered a near fatal crash at the Tour de Georgia last year. Now, fully recovered from a brain injury, Duggan will join the peloton in the fight for the star and stripes jersey at the USPro Championships held in Greenville, South Carolina on Sunday.

    “Here I am, a year later and it’s been an amazing journey,” said Duggan at a pre-race press conference. “It’s been a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of patience and a lot of help from my friends and family and my team. It’s cool to see it come full circle and here I am with my team and riding it out for the win on Sunday. It’s cool to go from zero to back on top again in one year.”

    Duggan, 26, suffered from head trauma, a broken clavicle and scapula following a crash on a high speed descent during stage three of the Tour de Georgia last April. The USPro championship time trial in 2008 marked his first race back from partial recovery.

    “My one race that I did all year was at the time trial championships because I figured there was little risk of crashing on my head again,” he said. “I did that to kind of hang out with the boys and feel the speed again.”

    This year one of his most notable results included a second place in the final stage of the Dauphine Liberes in June. It was a result that marked the end of a long battle to regain his health and he welcomed the confidence booster.

    “That was huge for me, that really turned my faith around,” said Duggan. “Up until that point I was struggling, fighting and working so hard to come back. The whole beginning of the season and certainly a year ago when I was here, I really didn’t know if I would be able to obtain that level again. There’s always that question mark in the back of my mind ‘am I ever going to be able to be at the highest level again?’.”

    The USPro Championships...

  • Impey continues improvement, plans season finale

    Daryl Impey (Barloworld) at GP Carnago, his first race back since his crash.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2009, 11:52 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Daryl Impey happy with progress after crash, wants results in Veneto and upcoming races

    South Africa's Daryl Impey (Barloworld) is back from his horrific crash and ready for his first win since the Tour of Turkey. His quest begins today in northern Italy at the Giro del Veneto.

    "My condition has really improved since my first race back in Carnago," Impey told Cyclingnews. "Veneto and the other races left over will allow me to get my teeth into the races and do something."

    The 81st Giro del Veneto starts and ends in Padova, 199.6 kilometres. It covers the Castelnuovo climb three times prior to the smaller, Valico climb at 15.6 kilometres to race. Italy's Francesco Ginanni (Diquigiovanni) won the race last year.

    Impey, 24, returned to racing earlier this month after recovering from a crash in the Tour of Turkey. He won one stages and the overall classification despite breaking two vertebrae in the crash, caused by Theo Bos, in the final kilometre of the last stage.

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) suspended Dutchman Bos in July for one month, August 15 to September 14.

    "The pains and aches have passed," said Impey. "I did what the doctor said and now my back and all the rest is 100 percent. When I go on training rides of five or six hours there are no problems."

    Impey's first race back was Carnago, four months after his crash. He has also raced in one-day races Camaiore, Melinda and Bernocchi. After today's Giro del Veneto, he will race Romagna, Nürnberger Altstadt, Prato, Worlds, Cimurri, Beghelli and Piemonte.

    He will work for his teammates, but have his own opportunities depending on how the race develops. "It is difficult to say what can happen, in Italy's one-day races a break can go in the first five kilometres and then everyone behind will stop after 100 kilometres. Sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you are not."

    The World Championships, September 27, is still in doubt for Impey. South Africa can send a six-man team, but it refuses to send riders...

  • Hincapie a marked man at USPro championships

    Riders talk to the media ahead of this weekend's USPro Championship race.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2009, 15:11 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Collarbone healing, riding without team-mate

    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) is back in his own backyard and prepared to contest the stars and stripes jersey once again at the USPro Championships, held on Saturday and Sunday in Greenville, South Carolina.

    “I didn’t have the most ideal preparation because I haven’t been able to race in the last five weeks,” said Hincapie, who broke his collarbone during stage 17 of the Tour de France in July. “My collarbone is feeling better and I’m able to ride fairly normally now. I’m looking forward to racing the national championships right here in my home town and hopefully I can put on a great show.”

    Hincapie lost his only Columbia-HTC team-mate scheduled to contest the race, Craig Lewis, to the H1N1 virus – otherwise known as swine flu - a few days ago. He will once again race alone amongst an array of full squads registered to participate in the championship event.

    “Its tough,” Hincapie said. “My only hope is that I get lucky and get in a good break away and I have the legs. Even without a team of 10 or 15 riders, we’ll see. You can never give up hope before the start of the race. If everything goes well I should be there amongst the best guys and hopefully be able to finish it off at the end.”

    The USA Cycling USPro Championships will celebrate its fourth year at the Greenville location. Hincapie won the prestigious stars and stripes jersey in 2006. The race has since been shortened by one lap to 177 kilometres. It opens with three short circuits followed by four large circuits, that includes the challenging Paris Mountain, concluding with three short circuits in downtown Greenville.

    Hincapie was a marked man at last year’s race, forced to chase down attacks from a select breakaway of five riders on the last lap. In the end it was Tyler Hamilton (Rock Racing) who claimed the national title after he out sprinted Blake Caldwell...

  • Valjavec renews with AG2R La Mondiale

    Tadej Valjavec (AG2R) held onto his overall lead.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2009, 16:49 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Slovenian Tadej Valjavec renew through next season with France's AG2R La Mondiale

    Slovenian Tadej Valjavec renewed his contract through next season with France's AG2R La Mondiale, the team announced on Saturday.

    Valjavec starts the Vuelta a España three-week stage race in Assen, Netherlands. He wants to finish in the top ten overall, adding to his ninth place at the Giro d'Italia in May.

    "I'd also like to win a stage, which a Slovenian rider has never done," he said. "I really want to be the first to do so, especially since a lot of the stages suit my style."

    Valjavec turned professional in 2000 with Fassa Bortolo. He rode with Phonak and Lampre before joining AG2R in 2008. In his first year with AG2R,he placed 13th at the Giro d'Italia and 10th at the Tour de France.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world -

  • Basso fears Vuelta's early stages, looks to mountain triple

    Ivan Basso looks ahead to the Vuelta a España
    Article published:
    August 29, 2009, 17:27 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Ivan Basso looks ahead to Spain and the Vuelta a España's second half

    Ivan Basso is looking ahead to the Vuelta a España's second half in two weeks, after the race leaves The Netherlands and Belgium. The Italian is leading Team Liquigas and trying to win the overall classification.

    "The first stages are complicated not because of the climbing, but because of the tension. You have to keep in mind the wind and the crashes," Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport before the start.

    The Vuelta a España, from August 29 to September 20, starts today in Assen with a 4.8-kilometre time trail. The first four stages run through The Netherlands and Belgium, and the first pivotal stage will be the 30-kilometre time trial in Valencia on Friday according to Basso. 

    Regarding that important stage, Basso said, "My goal will be to finish, losing as little (time) as possible to the favourites. I also have to keep in mind the next day, when there will be the first mountaintop finish.

    "There is not one key stage in this Vuelta. I like the triple [Alto de Velefique, Sierra Nevada and Pandera - ed.] in Andalucía. If you are going well, you will find heaven, but if you feel bad it will be hell."

    It is Basso's first time racing the Vuelta a España. He finished fifth in this year's Giro d'Italia and won the 2006 edition. He placed second in the 2005 Tour de France.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world -

  • Armstrong admits tension at Tour with Contador

    Cool as a cucumber: Alberto Contador (Astana) speaks to Lance Armstrong (Astana) on the way up Mont Ventoux
    Article published:
    August 29, 2009, 20:39 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Armstrong confident for 2010 Tour

    Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong admitted there was "real tension" within his team Astana at the Tour de France last month. The team won the race with Alberto Contador, but the process of determining the team leader created problems.

    "There were not only tensions between him [Contador] and me, but other people [were] involved. There was quiet at the dinner table more than once," Armstrong told EuroSport last week.

    Armstrong explained that it was his first time to deal with that type of situation, but that the team went ahead with its job to secure the Tour win. Contador won the race by 4:11 over Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) in second and 5:24 over Armstrong in third.

    The rivalry between the two started last fall when Armstrong announced his comeback to cycling, within the same team as Contador. Armstrong won seven Tours under the direction of Bruyneel, but after he retired in 2005, Contador came to the team under Bruyneel and won the 2007 Tour.

    "I think that the main issue is that Bruyneel is smart. Bruyneel knows how to manage the team, manage the tactics and conserve the energy that we needed.  [He also knows how to] blow apart the race."

    Armstrong said the team's Tour de France tactic weren't as conflicted as people had expected. "With T-Mobile a few years ago – with (Jan) Ulrich, (Andreas) Klöden, (Alexandre) Vino(kourov) – everybody wanted to be a leader... this was different!"

    Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel will split with Astana and Contador effective at the end of this season. The American company RadioShack will sponsor their new team for two years Armstrong as announced on July 23.

    "My goal is to win the Tour," said Armstrong "I'm not sure that I can! I'm confident and realistic. I will go in confident, but also I will go knowing realistically that he [Contador] is very good."

    Armstrong said he can make improvements in his training and...

  • Cancellara starts Vuelta on golden note

    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) concentrates on another Grand Tour opener win
    Article published:
    August 29, 2009, 21:28 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Swiss time trial star wins opening stage

    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) won the 4.8km opening stage of the Vuelta a España on Saturday afternoon. The Swiss star blazed around the old racetrack in Assen, the Netherlands.

    Cancellara was fast on a track made slippery thanks to a downpour mid-race. He finished the five minute and 20 second race ahead of two sprinters, Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream).

    "I am extremely happy to win here in Holland and take the jersey of the Vuelta," said Cancellara. "Of course, it's been an objective for me and for the team to take the win in the prologue, but I am primarily here to get ready for the World Championship on home ground next month."

    "Honestly I did not expect to take the victory because of the raw competition from the other strong riders in peak shape, but I succeeded and I am very proud of my effort," said the Olympic time trial champion.

    Saxo Bank's director sportif Kim Andersen was pleased, too. "Fabian did what he was motivated to do, and it's a great start for us all to win on the prologue. The next stages are full of bonus seconds, so one of the sprinters might just take the leadership."

    Cancellara, who also started off this year's Tour de France with an opening stage win and time in the leader's jersey, will wear the Vuelta's gold leader's jersey when the peloton takes off for the 202km stage two from Assen to Emmen on