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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, September 24, 2011

Date published:
September 24, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • McCartney and Deignan join UnitedHealthcare in 2012

    Philip Deignan (Radioshack) started the breakaway
    Article published:
    September 23, 2011, 13:16 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Pro Continental team also signs Louder, Day and Thomson

    Momentum Sports Group (MSG), owners and operators of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, has added horsepower to its roster by signing ProTeam riders Jason McCartney and Philip Deignan from RadioShack, and Jeff Louder from BMC Racing as well as domestic riders Ben Day from Kenda/5-hour Energy and Jay Thomson from Bissell. The second year UCI Professional Continental outfit will put a greater emphasis on international racing while maintaining its focus on performing well at the Tour of California, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge in 2012.

    “These kinds of riders have won races, and having them step up, we are looking forward to having new cards to play,” said UnitedHealthcare manager Mike Tamayo. “We welcome having more cards to play and several riders who could potentially be general classification leaders. It is my job to keep them focused and riding well together.”

    McCartney returns to MSG having competed under its previous team HealthNet in 2003 and 2004, when he qualified for the Olympic Games after winning the pre-event trials in the road race. He went on to ride for Discovery Channel from 2005-07, Team CSC in 2008 and 2009 and most recently RadioShack for 2010 and 2011.

    “We’ve kept in touch with Jason over the years and we have always been interested in him, knowing that at one point he could bring his leadership and experience to a team like ours,” Tamayo said. “Instead of being one of many guys on a team like RadioShack, he can focus on helping to develop a newer team and program.”

    “We consider our team to be one of the top teams in the country and for so many years we ran a Continental team bringing up new guys and new talent such as Tyler Farrar, Ryder...

  • Wiggins suggests Tour de France and Olympics are too much for Cavendish

    Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) rode to a silver medal in Copenhagen.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2011, 14:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Briton says he can win the Tour in 2012

    Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky believes he can win the Tour de France next year – if he rides it.  The Briton is also pondering how to tackle the Tour-Olympics double, and is concerned about how Mark Cavendish will cope with the two races.  It is anticipated that Cavendish is will soon announce that he will ride for Sky in the coming season.

    Cavendish is expected to ride for the green jersey at the Tour again next year, and try to win the closing stage on the Champs Elysees for the fourth consecutive year.  The problem is that the London Olympics follow very closely upon the Tour, and Cavendish, as well as Wiggins, has his eye on London.

    "It's doable," Wiggins said, according to the Guardian newspaper. "But is it doable after the Tour de France, winning the green jersey and all that? I don't think it is, and I think he knows that. There's a lot to think about.

    "The Olympic road race is five days after Paris. Someone's going to pay the price for that. Someone like Cav would want to win the stage in Paris and then win the Olympic road race, potentially nailed from the Tour, and it's probably not going to happen for him. So something's got to give, whether that's the green jersey, half the Tour or not even starting the Tour in an attempt to win the Olympic road race."

    A possible solution would be for Sky to focus on Wiggins' bid for overall honours at the Tour, leaving Cavendish to focus on the Olympics. "I might not be in their plans, it might be all about Cav and winning the green jersey, in which case I don't go to the Tour," Wiggins said. "I can think I can win the Tour but it still depends on their plans. I've given up worrying about stuff like...

  • Garner credits development programme for Worlds success

    Lucy Garner picks up Great Britain's first gold medal at the Worlds
    Article published:
    September 23, 2011, 17:15 BST
    Daniel Benson

    British rider wins gold in first junior year

    Both Lucy Garner and her coach praised the British Olympic Development Programme in helping the 17-year-old claim gold in the junior women’s road race at the UCI World Championships in Copenhagen.

    Garner took out a perfectly timed sprint to win by several bike lengths after what had been almost two hours of frantic junior women’s racing.

    "I didn’t expect this. The team worked really hard and I couldn’t have asked for more from the team," Garner said at the finish.

    "They put in early attacks and I was just trying to keep sheltered during the whole race. On the last lap there were still two riders away but I did try and give it a go but it all came back together."

    Garner joined the Olympic Development Programme (ODP) back in October of last year, having been part of a British Talent Team for the past two seasons. Despite being in her first year of junior competition she has seamlessly made the step up and won a number of domestic races, as well as the road race at the recent Youth Commonwealth Games.

    "It’s been incredible. Training with the ODP especially. We went to the Youth Commonwealth Games a few weeks ago and we did a lot of training for Worlds which was really good. It was on the Isle of Man and it got is really ready for this race," she said.

    "The whole team itself, we’re all friends, and we all trust each other and tell each other how we’re feeling in the race. They did an incredible amount of work out there."

    Matt Winston, who coaches Garner, told Cyclingnews that the ODP has been a integral part of Garner’s development as a rider

    "We’ve done a lot of preparation for the Worlds. Being with that group, and there are six girls on the ODP at...

  • Gilbert wants to make Worlds as hard as possible

    Philippe Gilbert speaks at the post-race press conference
    Article published:
    September 23, 2011, 19:00 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian downplays rumoured Hushovd alliance

    With 18 wins to his name, the 2011 season is already sure to be remembered as Philippe Gilbert’s annus mirabilus, but the Belgian has shown few signs of relenting in these final weeks of the campaign and he lines up at Sunday’s UCI World Championships road race as one of the outstanding favourites to take the rainbow jersey.

    The Copenhagen course is something of a curiosity, however: while the circuit itself is arguably not difficult enough for a puncheur such as Gilbert to make the difference, the distance and speed could still be enough to eliminate a number of the fastest finishers from contention.

    Speaking at his final pre-race press conference in Virum on Friday morning, Gilbert pointed out that the lightly climbing finishing straight will be an additional complicating factor in a race that seems to defy definition.

    “If it’s a sprint finish, I think it will be very difficult because it goes up for 500 metres and you could easily make a mistake by going too early or too late,” Gilbert warned. "It’s not easy to judge your effort and it’s difficult to say when you have to go.”

    When pressed as to when he would go, Gilbert broke into a broad smile. “I have no idea,” he grinned. “At the right moment.”

    After the press conference finished, Gilbert was a little more expansive about how best to tackle the rise to the line: “I’ve tried it a few times in training and if you go too early you explode on the way. If you start with 300 to go, you can never reach the line in first position, so it’s really hard.”

    While that finale provides a testing sting in the tail to the 266km course, the race’s opening salvoes will require particular vigilance. The action gets...

  • Fenn credits French pair’s timing in under 23 Worlds

    U23 men's bronze medalist Andrew Fenn (Great Britain)
    Article published:
    September 23, 2011, 20:00 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Bronze medallist believes Cavendish can triumph on Sunday

    Tackling the final rise to the finish line on the UCI World Championships course near Copenhagen is something of a balancing act, as Andy Fenn (Great Britain) discovered in the under 23 men’s road race on Friday.

    After feeling his way towards the head of the peloton in the slipstream of lead-out man Luke Rowe in the final kilometre, Fenn appeared well-placed to take the rainbow jersey as the road kicked up towards the finish. Inside the final two hundred metres, however, the French double act of Arnaud Démare and Adrien Petit came roaring past to divide up the spoils between them, leaving the third step of the podium to Fenn.

    "I thought I’d wait rather than go too soon. I moved up on the left just towards the finish. I got a good lead out from Luke Rowe and took it up but I got jumped by the two French guys on my right," Fenn said ruefully at the post-race press conference.

    "They got it spot on. It’s a hard finish to judge and it’s slightly uphill and I needed to get it right. I didn’t want to go too early. I was in third position coming around the last corner and second position with 300 to go, but they came from behind. They came with a bit of speed in an uphill finish and got it right on the day."

    The An Post-Sean Kelly rider admitted that he had mixed emotions about his bronze medal. "I’m obviously happy because I think the team today deserved a medal. They rode really well, but I was disappointed not to get the win for them as well."

    Can Cavendish cope?

    Looking ahead to the elite men’s road race on Sunday, Fenn was asked if he had any advice for his compatriot Mark Cavendish on how to negotiate the deceptive finale.

    "It’s going to be hard to...

  • Video: Hushovd denies any pact with Gilbert for Worlds

    World Champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin Cervelo)
    Article published:
    September 23, 2011, 22:15 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Norwegian says they're not friends in the race

    Defending world champion Thor Hushovd said he will give no quarter or enter into an alliance with his future trade teammate Philippe Gilbert on Sunday's UCI road world championships.

    Speaking at the Norwegian team's pre-race press conference today, Hushovd rubbished previous speculation that he would collaborate with the Belgian at Sunday's elite men's road race in Rudersdal near Copenhagen. The pair, who are friends off the bike, will team up at BMC Racing in 2012.

    "Of course he's my friend but like in the Tour de France if he tried to fight to take my position I gave him my elbow, because when we race he's not my friend anymore. It's the same on Sunday," said Hushovd, who could become the first back-to-back world champion since Italy's Paolo Bettini in 2006/07.

    In the Belgian press conference, Gilbert also quashed any speculation the pair would collaborate.

    33-year-old Hushovd also said that comparing this course with last year's route in Geelong, Australia, he felt his chances of winning in Denmark were better because the 2011 course is easier, although the final uphill sprint is harder. Last year it was the opposite he said, and he needed a "super-good" day to take the win.

    Come Sunday, Hushovd believes it will be difficult to drop pure sprinters such as Great Britain's much-fancied Mark Cavendish, he said, adding that the extreme distance could be a factor in deciding the winner.

    "It's a course where riders will not get dropped. Myself and Mark Cavendish will not get dropped on one of the climbs because they are not hard enough. The thing is who will have the most power in the final sprint after 266km."

    Hushovd's usual route into the world championships would be to ride the Vuelta a Espana, but his current team,...

  • Démare and Petit rule the roost in Copenhagen sprint

    Arnaud Demare, left, and Adrien Petit claim gold and silver for France in the U23 men's world championship.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2011, 23:51 BST
    Barry Ryan

    French pair bring club understanding to under 23 Worlds

    Arnaud Démare and Adrien Petit's double act paid rich dividends for France in the under 23 men's road race at the UCI World Championships on Friday after the sprinter and his lead-out man scored a famous one-two in Copenhagen.

    Petit and Démare have been teammates at both Team Wasquehal and CC Nogent-sur-Oise in recent seasons, and the pair's innate understanding came to the fore when they expertly weighted their effort on the uphill drag to the line to thunder past Andy Fenn (Great Britain) in the bunch sprint, securing gold and silver for France.

    "Adrien led me out to perfection, I had complete confidence in him," Démare said afterwards. "We took the last corner in 6th and 7th position. We waited a long time to launch our sprint because the false flat was quite hard. I passed him with 100 metres to go, and for him to take second place too, well, it's a double satisfaction."

    Démare finished in 5th place in a similar bunch finish in Geelong twelve months ago, and he credited Petit's presence for making all the difference in the finale on Friday.

    "In Australia, I went from 300 metres out and it was too early," he admitted. "This time, I had a fantastic lead-out man."

    Silver medallist Petit explained that his role in the French team had been made very clear from the outset, and that he had and Démare had worked closely together in the run-up to the Worlds.

    "When I was selected, it was to be Arnaud's lead-out man," Petit said. "We rode together at the Tour de Moselle recently and were able to iron out some more details afterwards before training together on the course in the last couple of...

  • Cramps fell pre-race favourite Hepburn in finale

    Michael Hepburn (Australia) stays attentive during the under 23 men's road race in Copenhagen
    Article published:
    September 24, 2011, 1:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian praises the efforts of his teammates

    Despite a mountain of effort by teammate Luke Durbridge, outright favourite heading into yesterday's under 23 men's road race Australia's Michael Hepburn failed to figure in the final dash for the line in Copenhagen. Arnaud Démare led a French 1-2 to the line, with Andy Fenn (Great Britain) coming home in third.

    Largely staying clear of any trouble as the race blew apart over the final two laps, the Australians moved to the front of the bunch with newly-crowned under 23 time trial world champion Durbridge driving hard off the front, with Tom Palmer protecting Hepburn.

    It was as if Hepburn's prophecy became self-fulfilling:

    "I think the chances of a medal is good as long as it doesn't come down to a bunch sprint since we really don't have a pure sprinter on the team," the 20-year-old had said following his bronze medal ride on Wednesday.

    As the peloton hit the final rise to the finish line, Australia was left with just Hepburn and Palmer, and the pair became swamped by Italians, French and the team from Great Britain. With 200 metres to go, Hepburn succumbed to leg cramp and he was unable to compete. He finished in 21st place, the best of the Australians with Palmer next best in 88th and 20 seconds back, Jay McCarthy 104th, Rohan Dennis 105th and Durbridge 106th. Richard Lang failed to finish.

    "I was in a perfect position and could not have been set up by my team any better," Hepburn said.

    "I was really confident with 400 (metres) to go and then when I tried to step off I cramped up in both legs and went backwards.

    "It's a long finish and all credit to the French riders."