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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, September 22, 2012

Date published:
September 22, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Vasseur bets on surprises for Worlds road race

    Cédric Vasseur (Quickstep-Innergetic) won the day before and can now retire happily, having won his second Tour stage 10 years after the first.
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 18:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Former rider rates Cauberg circuit as "trying"

    Former rider Cédric Vasseur knows the roads of the upcoming world championships road race well, having raced the 1998 Worlds in Valkenburg as well as the Amstel Gold Race several times during his pro career. The Frenchman shared his thoughts about the course and its favourites with Velochrono, pointing out that the decisive moment of the event could come from another hill than the well-known Cauberg, and that some less marked riders had good chances of success if they attacked from further out.

    "This circuit is trying," Vasseur assessed, taking into account not only its length and climbing gradients but also the narrow roads, the riders' nervousness and overall speed. "Of course, we think of the Cauberg often [a key section - ed.] but there's also the Bemelerberg [900m at 5% gradient - ed.] just before it. It's a long false flat where you have to beware of breakaways. The Cauberg is harder, but it has good visibility and a long straight at the end. The other climb is twisty with limited visibility. You'll have to watch out for riders of the likes of (Lars Petter) Nordhaug [who just won the GP Montreal - ed.]."

    While the Frenchman admitted that the race could come down to a last-minute breakaway sprint of pre-race favourites ("Valverde, Gilbert, Gerrans, Freire, Boonen, to name but a few") he didn't rule out that less likely moves earlier in the race could also be successful. "Maybe we'll have to wait for the Cauberg but indeed, I think that a victorious attack can be made from far out, possibly with 50 or 60 kilometres to go. And from the other side of the circuit," he said.

    "I mentioned Nordhaug, but there is also Tiernan-Locke. With what he's shown at the Tour of Britain, this could be a dangerous guy. Perhaps not for the win but he's fresh and he'll surely...

  • Moser mixes past and present at Worlds

    Moremo Moser could be Italy's best hope for the world title
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 20:55 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Liquigas neo-pro lines up in Italian team

    Hailing from a nation whose cycling culture is laden with nostalgia, it was perhaps inevitable that Moreno Moser would be the centre of much attention at the Italian team’s final press conference ahead of the world championships road race in Valkenburg.

    The Liquigas-Cannondale neo-professional is the nephew of the former world champion Francesco Moser and is blessed with an acceleration that the Italian press has compared repeatedly to the famous sparata that carried his uncle’s fierce rival Giuseppe Saronni, to the rainbow jersey in Goodwood in 1982.

    Yet for all that history weighs upon Moser, the prominence of his position in this Italian team is due in part to his federation’s desire to distance itself from the ghosts the recent past. Riders who have been suspended for doping or implicated in doping investigations have been barred from selection and, consequently Paolo Bettini’s team has a largely youthful air.

    While Vincenzo Nibali is the natural leader of the Italian team, Moser is set to be handed a significant degree of freedom alongside Diego Ulissi. Still only 21 years of age, however, Moser admitted that he is unsure if he has the endurance necessary to last the course over 267km.

    “That’s potentially a problem and it’s the reason that I’m not putting too much pressure on myself,” Moser told Cyclingnews in Maastricht on Thursday.

    “I’ve only done one race that long before, the Italian championships (where he finished third). I felt really good there but obviously the level is different here so we’ll see.”

    As for his role on Sunday, Moser said that nothing would be...

  • Third-year pro Felline leads Italian under 23 team

    Third-year pro Fabio Felline is still eligible for the under-23 road race, where he will lead the Italian team.
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 22:11 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Androni-Venezuela rider would have been ineligible in 2010

    After resisting the temptation to field Andrea Guardini in the under 23 road race at last year's world championships in Copenhagen, Italy has broken from that policy in Valkenburg and named Pro Continental rider Fabio Felline (Androni-Venezuela) in its under 23 line-up this time around.

    Since the old divide between amateur and professional came to an end 1995 (when, incidentally, Dutchman Danny Nelissen took gold in the amateur Worlds during a hiatus in his own professional career), the line dividing the two replacement categories of under 23 and elite has grown ever more faint.

    Gerald Ciolek (Germany) won the title as a Pro Continental rider in 2006 and Peter Velits (Slovakia) repeated the feat a year later. Both riders came from the German-based Wiesenhoff squad.

    According to current UCI regulations, any rider under the age of 23 may participate in the Worlds, with the exception of those who ride for WorldTour squads. In spite of that regulation, however, Italy had by and large picked from the dilettante ranks, although in 2009, an exception was made for Damiano Caruso, then of LPR.

    Speaking at the presentation of the Italian teams in Maastricht, however, under 23 coach Marino Amadori hinted that the federation's policy has now definitively shifted.

    "We've opened to include a professional rider, just like everyone else does," Amadori said of his decision to select Felline. "He's a boy of real value and we thought it would be worth doing for his future."

    A third-year professional, Felline has already raced for at both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. Indeed, the irony is that in his first year as a professional in 2010, Felline was ineligible for the under 23 Worlds as he raced at WorldTour level...

  • Worlds 2012: Big weekend for Bettini and Jalabert

    Omega Pharma - Quick Step
    Article published:
    September 22, 2012, 9:39 BST
    Daniel Friebe

    Cycling News HD on the nations desperate for glory in Valkenburg

    For two former powerhouses of the sport the need for success at the World Championships is getting desperate. Daniel Friebe looks at the pressure facing the directeur sportifs of the French and Italian road race teams for Cycling News HD

    There was a time when the World Championship road race wasn’t really the World Championships at all. It was a three-way shoot-‘em-up between Belgium, Italy and France, with other nations playing the role of walk-on cannon fodder. The first staging was in Nürenberg in 1927. Not until after the War did the troika release their stranglehold, with Switzerland and Ferdi Kübler the beneficiary.

    How times have changed. Not so much for Belgium; they’re alright Jack… or Tom, or Sep, or most likely Phil. Okay, the last gold at the end of their rainbow came in Madrid in 2005, but no one’s talking about that stat betokening a great cycling nation’s demise. Not until Gilbert gets Sagan-ed on the Cauberg they won’t be, anyway.

    For those old transalpine enemies the French and Italians, alas, it’s a different story. France’s last triumph came courtesy of Laurent Brochard at San Sebastian in 1997. Italy’s was just four years ago and completed a hat-trick of consecutive wins – but the combined curses of those rainbows have been lashing the Bel Paese ever since. Their collective fortunes have mirrored those of the 2008 winner, Alessandro Ballan, who has never reproduced anything remotely similar in the past four seasons or outrun the spectre of doping controversy.

    So what of their respective prospects in Valkenburg? How will their coaches Laurent Jalabert, who...

  • Cancellara to fulfil contract and stay with RadioShack in 2013

    Article published:
    September 22, 2012, 11:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Luxembourg team also signs Bob Jungels

    Fabian Cancellara and talented young Luxembourg rider Bob Jungels will be teammates at RadioShack-Nissan in 2013. Cancellara is said to have wanted to leave the team, but must stay, while Jungels is looking forward to making his professional debut in the Luxembourg-registered team.

    Cancellara, 31, wanted to leave the team this year after Fränk Schleck's Tour de France doping positive and the USADA case against team manager Johan Bruyneel, according to However he has a contract for 2013, and his attorneys were unable to find a way to break it.

    Blick reported that Cancellara considered buying his way out of the contract but the cost would have been a year's salary, estimated by the Swiss newspaper to be 1.65 million Euro,

    Bruyneel was happy with the news that his classics leader was staying with the team. "Fabian fulfills his contract and we will accommodate him,” he told Blick. This is expect ed to mean the Swiss rider will work more with Italian directeur sportif Luca Guercilena. 

    Cancellara has had a difficult 2012 season, mainly due to a badly fracture collarbone he suffered at the Tour of Flanders. After again crashing in the Olympic road race and finishing only seventh in the Olympic time trial, he decided to end is season early. He is not competiting at the World championships, to the dissatisfaction of the Swiss Cycling Federation.

    Jungels adds new Luxembourg talent to team

    RadioShack-Nissan is working to rebuild its roster after a difficult season. The team has added another Luxembourg talent to its ranks by signing Jungels, who is riding the Under 23 World championship road race today on his 20th birthday. He has signed with the team for two years. He was with the related Leopard-Trek Continental Team his...

  • Vacansoleil-DCM confirms 2013 roster

    The 2012 Vacansoleil team
    Article published:
    September 22, 2012, 13:35 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    De Gendt, Westra and Flecha to lead Dutch team

    Vacansoleil-DCM has confirmed its roster for 2013, with four new riders so far confirmed, while seven riders are set to leave the Dutch team.

    Thomas De Gendt and Lieuwe Westra are named as team leaders. De Gendt finished third overall at the Giro d’Italia after winning the stage to the summit of the Stelvio, while Westra was second at Paris-Nice behind Bradley Wiggins and won the Tour of Denmark.

    New signings announced for 2013 include Slovenian national champion Grega Bole – who joins from Lampre-ISD and experienced classics rider Juan Antonio Flecha – who joins from Team Sky. Neo-pros for 2013 are Willem Wauters and 19 year-old Danny van Poppel, the son of team directeur sportif and former professional Jean-Paul van Poppel.

    Seven riders have not been retained by Vacansoleil-DCM: Stijn Devolder, Gustav Erik Larsson, Stefan Denifl, Matteo Carrara, Jacek Morajko, Martin Mortensen and Marcello Pavarin. Devolder is heading to RadioShack-Nissan, while Denifl is joining the new Swiss IAM Cycling team.

    Vacansoleil-DCM for 2013: Thomas De Gendt, Lieuwe Westra, Kris Boeckmans, Romain Feillu, Johnny Hoogerland, Martijn Keizer, Wesley Kreder, Sergey Lagutin, Maurits Lammertink, Bjorn Leukemans, Pim Ligthart, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Marco Marcato, Tomasz Marczynski, Barry Markus,Wouter Mol, Nikita Novikov, Wout Poels, Mirko Selvaggi, Rafa Valls, Kenny Van Hummel, Frederik Veuchelen and Danny van Poppel.

  • McQuaid reluctant to elaborate on Kimmage case

    UCI President Pat McQuaid speaks to the press
    Article published:
    September 22, 2012, 14:05 BST
    Barry Ryan

    UCI president denies he is opposed to freedom of the press

    In the wake of news that his defamation proceedings against Paul Kimmage will be heard in court in December, UCI president Pat McQuaid has refuted the claim that he is opposed to the freedom of the press.

    McQuaid, former UCI president Hein Verbruggen and the UCI itself launched their joint action against the journalist and former professional rider in January of this year, seeking damages of 8,000 Swiss Francs each. They have also demanded that Kimmage take out advertisements in the international media publicising the court’s final order.

    Speaking at a press conference in Valkenburg on Saturday, McQuaid denied that his action constituted an attack on the free press, pointing to the fact that the UCI has also launched equivalent proceedings against Floyd Landis.

    “First of all, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that as there is a court case coming up,” McQuaid said. “Secondly, we have reported and stated already why we have done this and thirdly, we have also done the same thing against Floyd Landis. So it’s not a question of the press, it’s a question of the UCI.”

    McQuaid and Verbruggen are understood to be suing Kimmage in response to criticisms he levelled against the UCI in an interview with L’Équipe in 2011. The Irishman also published an extensive interview with Landis in The Sunday Times in January 2011, the full transcript of which subsequently appeared on, in which Landis detailed his encounters with the UCI hierarchy.

    Cyclingnews asked McQuaid why he had not taken legal action against L’Équipe or The Sunday Times for publishing the allegedly defamatory comments, but instead pursued Kimmage personally through the courts.

  • Double or quits for Oscar Freire at the World championships

    Oscar Freire (Katusha), awarded most combative at the Grand Prix de Wallonie, was part of a late race break which was caught in the closing kilometres.
    Article published:
    September 22, 2012, 17:05 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Veteran Spaniard says Limburg course suits him

    Three-time World champion Oscar Freire of Spain is just hours away from what could be his last ever professional bike race, and it is appropriate that he should ride his final World championships at Valkenburg, where he rode his first World’s way back in 1998.

    “I finished 17th,” Freire told Cyclingnews on Saturday. “There was a group away with the winners, but I’d punctured when the break went, and I was at the front of the next group that finished the course. I can remember it was cold, windy and really tough.”

    “I wasn’t under any pressure, though, I was young and I didn’t care about anything. There were ten of us Spanish, a bigger team than you have now. But I’d taken silver in the World Amateur Championships the year before (in San Sebastian) - I think that could have been a better result if I hadn’t punctured - and I knew then that World championships was going to be my thing.”

    “It’s nice to finish racing here in Valkenburg, where it all started and in a country, Holland, where I’ve spent most of my career [with Rabobank]. It’s a coincidence that I’m here, but there couldn’t be a better way of finishing.”

    Could it be over, though? Freire has said that if he wins he will -probably- continue for another year, and his results indicate that he is in with a serious chance.

    A series of real near-misses (and two wins this year), including fourth in the Amstel Gold Race, just a stone’s throw away from the finish on Sunday, fourth in Ghent-Wevelgem, third in the recent Paris-Brussels, seventh in Milan-San Remo and twelfth in Flanders, are results any...