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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 21, 2012

Date published:
January 21, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Lloyd boosted by Damiani's trust

    Matthew Lloyd (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 22:00 GMT
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    New chances for Australian rider at Lampre-ISD team

    While many observers expected Matt Lloyd to be part of the newly formed GreenEdge team, the king of the mountain at the 2010 Giro d'Italia opted to race for the Lampre-ISD team after an eight-month break in his career due to a fall-out with Omega Pharma-Lotto. A runner up to Simon Gerrans at the Australian national championship, the uphill finish at Willunga Hill makes him a potential winner of the Santos Tour Down Under.

    Lloyd possibly wouldn't be in the same state of form and serenity without Lampre-ISD team manager Roberto Damiani, who formerly directed him at Omega Pharma-Lotto. The highly respected Italian coach watched him riding the Australian nationals in Ballarat two weeks ago.

    "I must admit that I was a little bit surprised to see Matt going so well," Damiani told Cyclingnews in Adelaide. "Apart from a couple of races in Australia in September and October, he hadn't raced for eight months. After that he came to Europe to undergo testing at the Mapei centre, so I realized that his condition was very good but it's been a pleasant surprise to see him perform so well."

    The first four stages of the Santos Tour Down Under have confirmed Lloyd's capacities of competing at the highest level of cycling again at the age of 28. "We just expect from him that he gives the best of what he has," Damiani said. "We're behind him at 100 percent. But we don't put any pressure on him. The level of this race is very, very high! Matt can finish up there with the best riders, even though Willunga Hill isn't the ideal climb for him. He knows the climb, he has done well there in the past but he's a pure climber. He's built for the Gavia and the Mont Ventoux more than Willunga Hill where the...

  • Docker in hospital after training camp crash

    Mitchell Docker (UniSA-Australia) gets aero.
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 23:47 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian concussed, suffers fractured hand, cheekbone

    Mitch Docker is being treated in hospital after suffering serious injuries in a training camp crash with the Australian WorldTour outfit GreenEdge in Fall Creek, Victoria.

    Docker reportedly overcooked a corner on a descent, lost control and crashed into a cutting just off the road.

    Team doctor Dr Peter Barnes, who is with Docker in Melbourne said the head injuries were the biggest concern.

    "Mitch has a minor fracture on his hand and his cheekbone, but neither require treatment," said Dr. Barnes. "He had a major concussion and for that reason he still needs to be under observation and further examination. I spoke to him this morning and he’s already feeling significantly better."

    Matt White said the team's thoughts were with Docker at the stage 5 start of the Tour Down Under in McLaren Vale.

    The Australian is expected to be released from intensive care, possibly as soon as this evening. It remains to be seen how long he'll be off the bike, though his spring Classic's campaign should not be in jeopardy.

  • Wouter Mol on his 2012 Tour Down Under as the 'obscure pro'

    Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM).
    Article published:
    January 21, 2012, 10:22 GMT
    By:
    Alex Hinds

    Title bestowed by local cycling club, after Vichot and Madrazo

    Professional peloton journeyman Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM) is riding the Santos Tour Down Under with a very special honour.

    Mol has been bestowed with the title of the ‘2012 obscure pro’, an initiative started by the Port Adelaide Cycling Club to help give a rider who perhaps normally doesn’t get as much attention from the crowd his own personal tifosi.

    Last year, the rider selected was Angel Madrazo (Movistar), while Arthur Vichot (FDJ) was honoured the year before, with branded t-shirts, autograph requests, and road art all common occurrences.

    The Vacansoleil-DCM team embraced the title and contacted Port Adelaide Cycling Club to see what they had planned this year, only to find that things weren’t quite as organised as they have been previously.

    "I’m really enjoying my time here, it’s a great country," said Mol on Thursday. "But so far most of the attention has been over twitter. I have lots of online supporters thanks to this role, but not so many real supporters out there. I saw all the pictures from last year, and I was excited. But so far that hasn’t happened."

    Things changed for the Dutchman on Friday’s stage four to Tanunda, however, when he not only met some of his fans, but got himself a nice little souvenir. On Saturday's stage to Willunga he noticed even more.

    "It’s nice, it’s a little honour, and yeah for sure it’s fun," said Mol. "My girlfriend keeps calling me up and asking ‘have you seen your fans’, and we laugh. It’s always great to have more support. It’s really added to the experience."

  • Gerrans on the verge of ticking another box for GreenEdge

    Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) is the new overall leader.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2012, 10:50 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Solo assault on Willunga bittersweet for Australian champion

    There was a lot riding on the queen stage of the Tour Down Under to Old Willunga Hill for GreenEdge. One of their general classification hopes – Simon Gerrans or Cameron Meyer – had to fire. It was a case of ochre or perish, not only for the team but for a local cycling public eager for meaningful results from the Australian WorldTour debutants.

    "It's all going to come down to nine minutes," GreenEdge sports director Matt White told Cyclingnews prior to the stage start at McLaren Vale. "There is a lot riding on today but it's the same as the nationals. That panned out. You've got to have faith in people and Gerro delivered at the nationals and I'm pretty confident he's going to deliver today."

    With one lap remaining of the Willunga climb, Gerrans was flying solo against a quartet of Movistar men, including perhaps his biggest threat on the general classification, Alejandro Valverde. Also present were Rohan Dennis, Bernard Sulzberger (UniSA-Australia), Tiago Machado, Linus Gerdemann, Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Nissan), Michael Rogers, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Danny Pate, Geraint Thomas (Sky Procycling), Michael Matthews (Rabobank Cycling Team), Martin Kohler, Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing Team), Jack Bauer (Garmin-Barracuda) and Gerald Ciolek (Omega Pharma-Quickstep).

    Eyeing the prize, Gerrans explained post-race that he "gave it everything he had" to get his hands on the stage win which had so far eluded his team.

    "Going into this stage I didn't pinpoint one particular rider but coming into that last climb there, Movistar had a whole bunch of guys that were giving each other a hand and I was by myself so I pinpointed Valverde as the man to follow," the 31-year-old said. "I marked him for the last couple of k...

  • Gallery: GreenEdge at the Tour Down Under

    Stuart O'Grady working hard up Old Willunga Hill.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2012, 11:37 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian team sets up Gerrans on Old Willunga Hill

    Coming into stage 5 of the Santos Tour Down Under, GreenEdge had precious little to show for their considerable efforts in the race to date. As Australia’s first-ever WorldTour outfit, the team was determined to put on a show in front of its home fans and knew that Saturday’s stage to Old Willunga Hill might well prove to be their final opportunity.

    With Simon Gerrans clearly on song after his recent national championship victory, the GreenEdge tactic was a simple one – to keep the former Sky rider in contention until the final ascent of Old Willunga Hill. He was shepherded by his teammates through the early exchanges, and then duly made the cut when the race split up in the finale.

    Although Gerrans was outgunned by the controversial Alejandro Valverde in the finishing sprint, he had the considerable consolation of taking command of the ochre jersey of race leader with just a 90km criterium to come. With a host of rouleurs and fastmen in their ranks, GreenEdge seem well-placed to control affairs but it will be a tense afternoon’s racing in Adelaide.

    Photographer Mark Gunter closely followed GreenEdge before and during stage 5, as they looked to take control of the Tour Down Under and put on a show in front of the home fans. You can view the Cyclingnews gallery here.


     

  • Gutierrez praises Valverde’s comeback victory

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the podium.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2012, 12:37 GMT
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Movistar will not contest GC on final stage

    At the top of Old Willunga Hill, the Santos Tour Down Under interviewer Paul Sherwen has had to talk for a few seconds more before he could get some words from stage 5 winner Alejandro Valverde, as his teammate Jose Ivan Gutierrez wanted to give him a big hug. There was a lot of emotion between the two old Spanish warriors reunited in competition like brothers in arms.

    “For me, Alejandro is an exceptional sportsman,” Gutierrez told Cyclingnews in Adelaide a couple of hours later. “I know him very well. The day I heard the news of his ban, I was very sad. In my 13-year long career, I’ve had the pleasure of rooming to with the likes of Laurent Jalabert, Abraham Olano and Jose Maria Jimenez, but I can’t look at all those great champions with as much fascination as I do for Valverde. He was born only for cycling. Today, the sport of cycling has recovered a true champion.”

    Valverde’s victory was his first since he returned from suspension following his implication in Operacion Puerto, the investigation into blood doping which centred on the activities of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

    “I believe this win can give great joy to Spanish cycling and our Movistar team,” Gutierrez continued. “Alberto Contador is the world’s best rider for three-week racing. Lance Armstrong was a ‘grandissimo’ champion but mostly at the Tour de France. Valverde is the most versatile of all riders. From the junior categories to the Grand Tours, he has won every kind of race. But he needs to be part of a group that shows him affection. Friendship and dedication are important for him to succeed.”

    Valverde had good reasons for being full of praise for...

  • Rogers closes in on final Tour Down Under podium

    Michael Rogers
    Article published:
    January 21, 2012, 13:14 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Solid week capped with attacking ride on Willunga

    While many had been anticipating Michael Rogers' Sky teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen to light up the two climbs of Old Willunga Hill on Saturday's queen stage of the Tour Down Under, it was the Australian who came closest to the podium.

    Rogers finished fourth on the 151.5 kilometre stage from McLaren Vale to Old Willunga Hill, four seconds off the pace of winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Boasson Hagen was in the mix, and finished in sixth after fading in the final few hundred metres. Rogers' efforts earned him fourth place on the general classification, 14 seconds back from the time shared by Simon Gerrans and Alejandro Valverde.

    "It's a little victory for myself there today," Rogers told Cyclingnews, clearly pleased with the day's result. "I achieved a goal which was to get the best out of myself and I really did it so I'm really happy."

    Rogers, Boasson Hagen, and Danny Pate began the final ascent of the climb in good position and it was the Australian who launched an attack with a kilometre to the finish.

    "Obviously it was a lot of headwind up the last hill and I just said well, it's either sit on and not beat them in the sprint or have a go," Rogers explained.

    Valverde's interests were protected by his teammate Javier Moreno and Rogers' blast was short-lived, but he set himself up for a strong finale and admitted afterwards that he was "a little bit surprised" with his ride.

    "I knew I was around the mark," Rogers said. "Nationals is always the first race and it takes me three or four days before I get really good race legs."

    It has been Rogers' consistency this week – he finished in the front group every day bar stage 2 where Uni-SA's Will Clarke stayed away for a solo victory in Stirling...

  • Video: Phil Anderson's analysis of Tour Down Under stage 5

    Simon Gerrans takes over the lead with only one stage to go.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2012, 14:05 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian weighs up the Gerrans-Valverde battle

    Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) moved into the ochre jersey of race leader on the penultimate stage of the Santos Tour Down Under after a tight battle with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the slopes of Old Willunga Hill. In his exclusive video analysis for Cyclingnews, Phil Anderson runs the rule over the day’s action and discusses Gerrans’ chances of holding onto the overall lead on the final stage.

    Anderson was concerned by how isolated Gerrans was in the finale, and while he believes the GreenEdge man has the nous to secure victory, it will be a close fought affair. “Going into the last stage level on time is a huge risk,” warns Anderson.
     

     

    Experience the world’s most iconic cycling events riding alongside one of cycling’s true legends, Phil Anderson. Phil and his team lead a suite of cycling tours to the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, la Vuelta, and more. To find out more visit www.philandersoncyclingtours.com or email enquiries@philandersoncyclingtours.com