- Article published:
- September 17, 2010, 13:22
- Cycling News
Rooijakkers, Goesinnen, Long and Wilmann gone
Skil-Shimano is cleaning house for the coming season, and has announced four riders who will no longer be with the team for 2011.
Peter Rooijakkers, Floris Goesinnen and Jin Long have not been offered new contracts, while the team mutually agreed with Frederik Wilmann to terminate the last year of his two-year contract.
The Dutch team had considered applying for ProTour status in 2011, but will remain a Professional Continental team.
Rooijakkers, 30, has been with the team since 2006. He started the Tour de France in 2009 but had to abandon after suffering a broken arm in a crash during the fourth stage team time trial.
Goesinnen, 27, has also been with the team since 2006, as has Jin Long
Wilmann's story is different, the Norwegian having only joined the team this year on a two-year contract, after riding for Continental Norwegian teams since 2005. The team said it decided “in close consultation” with him to terminate the contract.
Wilmann indicated that it was his decision to leave, as he felt he was not developing at the team, and that he ought to be riding the Grand Tours at this point in his career.
Team manager Ivan Spekenbrink told Procycling.no, “We feel that we did not have the 100 percent commitment” from the rider. “We increasingly had the feeling that further development would become difficult. He was not 100 percent behind the team's philosophy and was not dedicated enough in his work."
- Article published:
- September 17, 2010, 23:09
- Cycling News
Belgian leader unbeatable in Toledo
In a similar style as last year in Agnani at the end of the penultimate stage of the Giro d'Italia, Philippe Gilbert stormed to victory in Toledo at the Vuelta a España and enjoyed a quick meeting with 82-year-old local living cycling legend Federico Bahamontes. The winner of the 1959 Tour de France, known as "the eagle of Toledo" was full of praise for the Belgian's explosive finale.
"This was an extraordinary stage finish with a big crowd and a great winner," Bahamontes told Cyclingnews on the finishing line. "Obviously, the strongest rider won today. I don't personally know Philippe Gilbert but he knew the finish in our town of Toledo because he's been here last year. In the steepest part of the climb, he gained six or seven metres and that's why his win looked easy. I don't know him but I'm a fan of him."
Anybody would be a fan of Gilbert when he does such a perfect job. "I chose to not attack on the climb but stay in the bunch under control until the final ascent," the Omega Pharma-Lotto rider said. "Luis Leon Sanchez was the most dangerous guy there but there was a headwind and when I saw [David] Millar doing the hard work of the chase, I was quite happy because I know his skills when it comes to driving the bunch.
"I decided to open the sprint from far out. I thought it was the best way to beat Tyler Farrar. It's an honour of course to beat the second fastest sprinter in the world (after Mark Cavendish who was a little behind today, ed.) but above all it was a stage finish that suited me to perfection. For me to beat Farrar is less of a surprise uphill than if it had happened on a dead-flat road."
After winning two stages and wearing the red jersey for five days, the 28-year-old Belgian is more than ever a favourite for the world championship, a race he finished in sixth position last year. While many cyclists are used to hiding before the big events, Gilbert gave one more warning to his potential rivals in Geelong, including Italy's captain Filippo Pozzato who challenged him but had to realize that he couldn't aim at a better result than third in Toledo.
"I chose my goals at the beginning of the year and everyone has understood that after the Spring classics, I'm only focusing on the world championship," Gilbert said. "There's no surprise. I'm timing it right. I'm in perfect shape and I hope for the best outcome in Australia."
Gilbert has won the last two editions of Paris-Tours but the French autumnal classic will be held only one week after the world championship and it seems hardly compatible to aim for winning both. "I'm not sure what I'll be doing one week after the Worlds road race and if I'll be able to recover in time," he said. "For now, I'm totally focused on the rainbow jersey, that's what I want. If I don't get it, I'll try to get my revenge at Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy like last year but this is not what I'm aiming for at the moment.
"I came to the Vuelta with the goal of winning a stage and I've won two, so I'm more than satisfied, especially with the great condition I'm feeling in now," Gilbert said. "I have no regrets missing out on the green jersey because that was not my priority. I've thought about it, I've envisaged winning the points classification at some stage but I've preferred not to take any unnecessary risk.
"I'm not going to win a bunch sprint on the flat but there's a big risk of ruining all the good work with a crash. Had I won the green jersey at the Vuelta, it wouldn't have changed much my conclusions of this three-week race. It's totally positive."
The course of the world championship from Melbourne to Geelong is said to perfectly suit Gilbert and he'll have a dedicated and strong Belgian team at his service on October 3rd.
- Article published:
- September 18, 2010, 01:35
- Cycling News
Tough finish favours an in form Philippe
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) - sixth on stage, overall leader: "Yesterday Federico Bahamontes came to the start and described today's stage finale to me. I'm grateful for that because it helped me.
"Knowing what it was like, I put myself at the front in the last ten kilometres with Daniele Bennati close to me all the time, so I felt safe. I've seen a gap was being created, so I went full gas.
To gain 12 seconds in such a short distance is a big bonus before tomorrow. I feel much better with a 50-second margin, although I know Bola del Mundo is going to be hard."
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - stage winner, 45th overall @ 1:15:30: "There was great work by my team all day. I chose not to attack on the climb but stay in the bunch and control until the final ascent.
"Luis Leon Sanchez was the most dangerous guy there but there was a head wind and when I saw Millar doing the hard work of the chase, I was quite happy because I know his skills when it comes to driving the bunch. I've decided to open the sprint for far out. I thought it was the best way to beat Tyler Farrar."
Xavier Florencio (Cervélo TestTeam) - 146th on stage, 99th overall @ 2:23:41: "We had ten minutes' lead but four riders in the break, that was not enough with the headwind we faced.
"When I heard that the teams of the sprinters had gone to the head of the peloton, when I heard HTC-Columbia and Omega Pharma-Lotto, I understood that it was game over."
Konstantin Sivtsov (HTC-Columbia) - 82nd on stage, 38th overall @ 55:45: "I've recovered from my bad sickness on stage eight. For three days after that, I've felt very bad but now I'm okay to work or break away. I'm happy and motivated. Someone had to stay with Peter Velits today but it could be somebody else other than me.
"I haven't been very fortunate this season. At the Tour of the Basque country I broke a collarbone when my handlebar broke in two pieces during my training for time trial. I've been operated on and I managed to come back on time for the Tour de France but only for the role of domestique for Cavendish and Rogers.
"Here as well I've managed to help my leaders but this sickness has prevented me from trying to get a stage win like at the Tour of Italy last year."
Jean-Christophe Péraud (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - 121st on stage, 31st overall @ 41:55: "I've learnt a lot about myself during these three weeks but I know that I prefer the one-week long races. In three weeks, we've time to get bored sometimes.
"I'll keep a great memory of stage nine during which I've virtually been the race leader and at the end of which I was fifth on GC. My worst day has been stage 16 to Cotobello where I lost everything."
- Article published:
- September 18, 2010, 09:07
- Cycling News
Swiss rider said he needs rest and time with his family
The relationship between Fabian Cancellara and his Saxo Bank team seems to have worsened after the Swiss rider unexpectedly dropped out of the Vuelta a España on Friday afternoon, only 20km into the stage.
“Everyone on the team has worked their ass off in the last few weeks. It's just not OK. That is not how we do things,” directeur sportif Bradley McGee told Sporten.tv2.dk. “But if he has to do it, he has to do it. He is the one who must be able to sleep at night. I just feel sorry for him.
“I want an explanation from Fabian and I think he owes an explanation to his teammates, as to why he left here without even saying goodbye,” he added.
McGee told the Reuters news agency that “We are extremely disappointed with Fabian's exit. It is not the way a great champion should behave. He decided to get off the bike for still unknown reasons. He hurried to the airport to catch a plane, and now he has turned off his cell phone.”
Cancellara gave only a minimal explanation, saying on his twitter “Quit today la vuelta. It was the best way. Need some rest and stay with family. 2 days no bike and after restart prep. For the worlds. “
Sporten.dk talked to Cancellara at the Madrid airport Friday evening, and said that he did not appear particularly bothered by leaving the race. He confirmed that he was considering all of his options for a possible new team for next year.
“I have to watch what I say, especially in Denmark. But it is true that I am also thinking of my own ambitions and goals right now. It is also why I take every offer seriously, " he said.
- Article published:
- September 18, 2010, 09:15
- Cycling News
Galician close to making a breakthrough
Ezequiel Mosquera may only 50 seconds away from the overall victory at the Vuelta a España but he hasn't been hiding his nerves during the past few days since the 46km individual time trial in Peñafiel put him in an unexpectedly favourable situation.
It's been the opposite for Joaquin Rodriguez who is almost four minutes down on race leader Vincenzo Nibali ahead of the crucial penultimate stage to Bola del Mundo.
"It's now a duel between Mosquera and myself," Nibali has repeated in the past few days. The Italian enjoyed a 12-second bonus thanks to the tricky finale in Toledo where splits in the bunch created gaps.
"There was so much tension in the last kilometre," Mosquera said on the finishing line. "When we reached the curves, I was side by side with Fränk Schleck and I almost fell when he punctured. I was at the limit. I couldn't do more.
"In this kind of uphill finish, Nibali has a better jump than me. My team-mate David Garcia Dapena has done his best to bring me back up but when we passed over the last bridge, I almost couldn't breathe anymore."
Schleck punctured inside the last three kilometres and was therefore given the same time as most of the members of the peloton by the judges, which was 14 seconds more than Nibali.
"Yesterday Federico Bahamontes came to the start and described today's stage finale to me," Nibali explained. "I'm grateful for that because it helped me. Knowing what it was like, I put myself at the front in the last ten kilometres with Daniele Bennati close to me all the time, so I felt safe.
I saw a gap was being created, so I went full gas. To gain 12 seconds in such a short distance is a big bonus before tomorrow. I feel much better with a 50-second margin, although I know Bola del Mundo is going to be hard."
Bola del Mundo is introduced as the Spanish equivalent of the legendary Mont Ventoux at the Tour de France. It's even higher and longer than the "giant of Provence". It's the first time the Vuelta has used the ascent of the region of Navacerrada, which lies near Madrid.
"In August, I went and reconnoitred the uphill finish of Bola del Mundo," said Carlos Sastre, who has a unique occasion to finally win a stage at the very end of the third of his three Grand Tours this year. "It's a very hard climb, and a long one as well (more than 20km).
"We'll start at sea level to reach 2,447 metres altitude and the average gradient is 12 percent. It's an ideal conclusion for the event."
"I'll have to attack," admitted Mosquera, although he's not the only climber with this kind of intention as Joaquin Rodriguez and Fränk Schleck, who sit in fourth and fifth position respectively just under four minutes down on the race leader, also haven't signed off on their Vuelta just yet.
"I hope for a good day and good legs," Mosquera continued. "I look serene but I'm not. I'm very nervous and I find it hard to sleep at night. If I lose the Vuelta, I hope it won't be for less than 12 seconds, otherwise what has happened today would be too bitter.
"I wish my nervousness to turn into something favourable when I'm climbing to try and win the Vuelta," added the 34-year-old who dreamt of the podium after finishing fifth, fifth and fourth in the only three Vueltas he has taken part in, all of them in the past three years.
"In the past few days, I've heard spectators yelling my name on the road sides. It makes me proud. I hope it'll help me find the strength I'm missing because of not sleeping well due to my stress. The Vuelta remains open. I'll give everything for the win," concluded the amiable Spaniard.
- Article published:
- September 18, 2010, 10:13
- Stephen Farrand
An ear infection means Gasparotto takes his place for Melbourne
Marco Pinotti has been forced to pull out of the Italian team for the world championships in Australia because of an ear infection.
The HTC-Columbia rider had been selected to ride both the time trial and the road race but will replaced by Enrico Gasparotto in the road race.
"I was ill with a cold before the Tour of Britain and it developed into an ear infection. I might be better in a few days but the Italian team leaves for Australia on Tuesday and I didn’t know if I'd be okay to fly by then," Pinotti told Cyclingnews.
"I took antibiotics during the Tour of Britain but I visited an ear specialist in Italy after I pulled out of the race and he advised me against flying such a long distance while I still had the problem. The Italian Federation rightly didn't want to take any risks and opted to change the team."
"It's a pity because it would have been the first time I'd ridden the road race. I also think I had a chance of a medal in the time trial. Hopefully I can recover quickly and target the Tour of Lombardy and the GP des Nations time trial. They will now be my world championships."
Italian national coach Paolo Bettini moved quickly to name Gasparotto as Pinotti's replacement. Bettini has still to decide who, if anyone, will replace Pinotti in the time trial.
Marzio Bruseghin was the planned reserve but he has 15 stitches in his arm after a crash at the Vuelta. That leaves Vincenzo Nibali as the only possible candidate. However the young Liquigas-Doimo is fighting for overall victory in the Vuelta. If he rides the time trial, it could affect his build-up for the road race.
- Article published:
- September 18, 2010, 11:11
- Stephen Farrand
Federation forced to defend the validity of its biological passport system
The legal and biological validity of the UCI's biological passport programme will go under close scrutiny in front of the Court for Arbitration for Sport after the UCI decided to appeal against the Slovenian Cycling Federation's decision to clear Tadej Valjavec of an anti-doping violation.
According to the AFP news agency, the UCI met Friday's deadline to file an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport based in Lausanne, Switzerland. No hearing date has been set but the case is expected to take several months.
Valjavec was provisionally suspended by the Ag2-La Mondiale in early May after the UCI revealed that blood values on his biological passport showed suspected signs of doping. Italy's Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Doimo) and Spain's Jesus Rosendo (Andalucia-Cajasur) were also named by the UCI as having suspicious biological passport data.
Valjavec is a stage race rider and finished seventh overall in the Tour de Suisse after leading the race for several days. He also finished in tenth at the Tour de France in 2008. During his career he has ridden for Fassa Bortolo, Phonak, Lampre and Ag2r-La Mondiale.
In accordance with UCI regulations, the Slovenian national federation was asked to begin disciplinary proceedings against Valjavec. They eventually refused to discipline him, accepting that variations in his blood values could have been caused by a stomach ulcer, altitude training, using a hypobaric chamber and treatment with a corticoid after a wasp sting. He was reintegrated into the AG2r-La Mondiale team in July and rode the Tour du Doubs at the end of August.
In documents explain their decision, which were published by Tuttobici , the Slovenian Federation called into question the validity of the UCI's passport scheme. The documents claim that "the statistical methods adopted by the biological passport cannot demonstrate the use of doping techniques but only evidence eventual unusual value that could be explained by physiological origins."
The Slovenian federation also claimed the UCI biological passport does not take into account the altitude of where a rider lives and trains.The UCI did not reply when contacted by Cyclingnews.
The eventual CAS sentence could either strengthen or weaken the validity of the UCI's passport system. Several riders have already been suspended using the long-term study of blood values even though they banned substances such as EPO were not found in an anti-doping test.
- Article published:
- September 18, 2010, 12:15
- Stephen Farrand
American talks intimately about why he decided to confess to doping
Floyd Landis has responded to criticism of his scheduled appearance at the Deakin University’s 'New Pathways for Professional Cycling' conference during the world championships in Australia by publishing a revealing statement on the site of the event.
On Friday the organizing committee of the world championships withdrew its support for the conference in Geelong. Media director David Culbert told the Herald Sun newspaper: “Providing Floyd Landis with a soapbox to deliver a tirade like he did on the eve of the Tour of California is not something the world championship organisers want."
Landis has replied by explaining how he wishes to be a catalyst for change so that other riders can learn from his mistakes and won't have to face the same consequences.
"The conclusions reached and the learning taken away by me during that time (of the ban for doping) are now moving me to correct, to the extent possible, the effect of those decisions on others and to speak out in a manner so that today’s young and future professional and amateur athletes can learn from my choices and, hopefully, avoid the same painful consequences which I have suffered and which I continue to suffer today. In other words, like Deakin University, I too want to be a catalyst for positive change," Landis writes in the statement.
"My intention in participating in the conference is simple. By offering an inside perspective of an athlete confronted with decisions regarding the use of banned performance enhancing drugs, I hope to be able to contribute to a better understanding of how those decisions come to be made, and how athletes can be better supported by those in a position to facilitate better decisions and decision making, including owners, sponsors, doctors, directors, riders and fans."
"I have always loved racing my bicycle. For me, racing as a professional was a dream come true and it represented the culmination of years of very hard, very painful, dedicated work."
"Having felt those dreams collapse, having experienced the result of my work publicly evaporate and having subjected the sport I love to unnecessary criticism, I now must be of service and do what I can to help others avoid a similar fate. And it was with that intention, not one of scandal and attack as has been suggested by my critics, that I accepted Mr. Hardie’s invitation to participate in the conference."
"To be clear, I do not wish to use the conference as a 'soapbox,' nor do I wish to 'hijack' the world championships. I will not and cannot discuss events or circumstances related to the ongoing investigations and lawsuits involving Lance Armstrong and certain of his current and former business associates and teammates, including what I saw and heard during the relevant time periods."
"Indeed, the behavior and comments of the persons and organizations that seek to shut down the conference as a consequence of my participation demonstrate that they are interested only in selfishly perpetuating their own positions and purported authority at the expense of progressive reform and in total disregard of the sport’s long-term interests, including those of the riders and fans, which they are charged to protect."
In a footnote to the statement, Landis also explained in more personal terms, why he has now confessed to doping during his career. He also described attempts to discredit him as misguided and fear-driven by people who wish to "temporarily sustain a manufactured truth that does not square with reality of their life."
"I hope you can appreciate my effort here to footnote some of those conclusions and learning which provide important context to the discussions concerning my disclosures and their purpose, but which are not necessarily relevant to the purpose of this statement," Landis writes.
"The most important of these conclusions and learning are not cycling specific and appear to me now as common sense solutions to living at peace with oneself and the world; solutions to which I was blinded by a desire to win in a sport that all but requires its participants at the highest levels to disregard the rules in order to effectively compete."
"Attempting to create and sustain a truth that does not square precisely with one’s reality will always ultimately fail. The energy and efforts expended in that attempt are wasted and can never be recovered or recycled into more productive or fruitful personal or social endeavors. The emptiness and unease that results from such a waste create a rattle within that can only be quieted by ongoing efforts to live in integrity and truth, and one cannot permit their past mistakes and indiscretions to forever commit them to travel a road on which they are no longer comfortable. I’ve traveled that troubled road and the consequent pain remains fresh with me. Integrity and truth cannot be nuanced or partial. Truth is nothing if it is not complete, and the story of my life cannot truthfully be told if facts important to it are omitted such that the story continues to mislead. My decision to disclose the regular use of banned doping products by me and by others with whom I have been associated is simply part of my process to square all the realities of my life and to make amends to those other than myself that have also suffered as a consequence of my poor choices."
"Attempts by others to make that process into something other than I have described above, and to discredit my current efforts by pointing to my past mistakes (which I have acknowledged), simply represent their continuing, misplaced, misguided and fear-driven efforts to temporarily sustain a manufactured truth that does not square with reality of their life."