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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, September 26, 2009

Date published:
September 26, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • McQuaid re-elected as UCI president

    UCI President Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    September 25, 2009, 21:37 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Irishman emphasises "endless fight" against doping

    Pat McQuaid won an uncontested re-election as president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) in Lugano, Switzerland, on Friday. He will continue to serve for an addition four-year term.

    The Irishman emphasised his focus on the "endless fight" against doping. "It is an endless fight for the UCI, and one which I am determined that the UCI will continue," McQuaid told the AP news agency.

    "There is no place for cheats in our sport. We have had a good Tour de France, and at this stage I am not aware, for the first time in many years, that there are any positive controls," he added.

    Riders who cheat now have a better chance of getting caught, McQuaid explained, because of the biological passport programme. "We are no longer looking for a needle in a haystack," he said. "We do targeted testing. We test riders morning, noon and night. We chase after riders who we see have suspicious values. We test for more substances."

    Some 13,800 samples from 850 riders were taken this year, the UCI president noted. About 7,500 of them were unannounced out-of-competition controls; this is a dramatic increase from the figure of about 200 taken annually just three years ago.

    Looking back at his first term, McQuaid said that it was good that he was able to settle conflicts with the organisers of the three Grand Tours. "The most important thing is that they recognise the UCI is the government of the sport of cycling worldwide, and its authority as such is indisputable."

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  • Bahati announces formation of new American UCI squad

    Rahsaan Bahati (Rock & Republic) is the defending champion
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 8:26 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Rock Racing rider joins forces with Colorado Premier Training

    Rock Racing's Rahsaan Bahati finished off his week at the Interbike trade show by announcing his company, RAHA Sports Management, would launch a new North American International Cycling Union (UCI) squad in 2010. Despite the new venture, Bahati is hopeful his own contract to ride with Michael Ball’s team will be renewed for next season.

    “I think it’s likely [I will ride for Rock Racing] if it fits, if the program is going to move in the right direction,” he said. “I was there from the start, you know, I care about the program. With or without me, I wish them success because I have friends over there and cycling does need extra teams; it’s no fun if one goes away. I’m not bitter about anything, I’m not hoping the team fails good, not at all.

    “I don’t even know if they’re going to offer me a contract, I assume they are, however I am still under contract,” said Bahati. “They have the right to offer me a contract before anyone else.”

    Colorado Premier Training’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Owens was joined by Rick Crawford at the announcement. CPT will play an integral role in the team, working closely to develop the rider’s potential on the bike.

    While no riders have been confirmed for the outfit, Owens and Bahati admitted that Australia’s Nathan O’Neill is high on their list. Sponsors, and therefore the outfit’s name, are yet to be announced however the partners have already been secured and negotiations as to which will be the title sponsor are ongoing according to Crawford.

    Bahati says the team will focus on USA Cycling National Racing Calendar events in the United States of America during its first year, however didn’t rule out aiming for starts in some of the continent’s biggest races.

    “You know, with the budget the team has, there’s a possibility that the riders we can get...

  • Tour of Ireland dates confirmed for 2010

    Lance Armstrong (Astana) in conversation with the announcer at the start of stage one.
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 9:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Return to five days a sign of 2009 success

    After a successful edition in 2009, next year's Tour of Ireland will be held from August 18 to 22 and returns to a five-day format.

    This year's edition featured the participation of Lance Armstrong, the American coinciding his appearance in the race wih a global cancer conference in the Irish capital. His appearance drew massive media and spectator interest, which in reality helped the event survive.

    The return to a five-day format may be evidence of this, with event organiser Alan Rushton admitting that the success of this season's race allowed for additional support in 2010.

    "The race achieved fantastic results for us despite the challenges faced due to the economic climate," said Rushton "The very tough finale in Cork provided dramatic racing watched by thousands of spectators who lined St Patrick's Hill and the rest of the city circuit.

    "With the major TV and press coverage achieved there is now an excellent opportunity for key sponsors to come on board to capitalise on the domestic, European and Worldwide exposure."

    Rushton explained that he is pleased with the date allocated by the UCI; falling in the space between the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the Tour of Ireland should again feature some of the world's best riders.

    "We are delighted with the dates for next year," said Rushton. "Our spot on the calendar will help us in attracting another world class field in Ireland again next year.

    "This will be the fourth edition of the race which has been gaining larger audiences and press coverage every year. Having Lance Armstrong and Mark Cavendish on the race in ‘09 helped increase the profile of the event."

  • Cyclingnews' start lists for worlds road races

    Luca Paolini and Ivan Basso lead the huge Italian squad on a training ride around Mendrisio
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 9:10 BST
    Cycling News

    See who to barrack for this weekend

    The final selections have been made, the preparations undertaken and the time trials have been run and won. Now it's time for the road races.

    Cyclingnews has start lists for all three road races - U23 men, elite women and elite men - and they make for interesting reading ahead of the main events in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    The U23 men's race should prove to be an open affair, as it usually is, with the winner likely to come from an unexpected corner. That doesn't mean there aren't favourites for the title, however.

    The German, Italian and Danish teams are full of quality riders, with the likes of Gianluca Brambilla and Damiano Caruso leading the charge for the azzurri while Martin Reimer and Patrick Gretsch spearhead the German challenge.

    In the elite women's road race, Great Britain is again the overwhelming favourite, with all-conquering phenom Nicole Cooke having a crack at another crown, supported by the likes of Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws - the winning combination at last year's Olympics.

    Meanwhile, the blue riband elite men's event throws up its usual band of suspects for the title - the Italian, Spanish, Australian and Belgian teams are all in with a chance, while they'll be pushed by the likes of the Dutch, Norwegian and German squads.

    Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for all the latest news, results and photos from this year's UCI Road World Championships from Mendrisio.

    Click here for the U23 men's start list

    Click here for the Elite women's start list

  • Horner back for Lombardia, looking for a win

    Chris Horner heads to the podium after taking the overall lead.
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 9:19 BST
    Laura Weislo

    After four separate recoveries from fractures, American still determined

    American Chris Horner has been knocked out of racing with broken bones and faced frustrating recoveries four times this season. On each occasion he has returned to form and into the mix, knocking at the door of a strong result before the next crash sent him back to the sofa to heal a fracture.

    He'll get his last chance to salvage his season in October when he again returns to racing in Europe.

    "This year I've been a dark horse for almost any race I've been in, but I can't get through the races healthy," Horner told Cyclingnews. "There are four more races left, so that's why I want to go back and do them.

    "I feel like this year I've made a great leap in terms of where my fitness is and going up against all the big hitters. I don't need to go back because I need a contract. It's purely because I want to go back and get one win in."

    A crash in the Tour of California didn't stop the Astana (soon to be RadioShack - his contract is nearly final) rider from finishing the race, but the fractured knee kept him out of Paris-Nice. A return in the Tour of the Basque Country lasted four stages until another crash left him with a fractured collarbone.

    Coming back in the Giro d'Italia, Horner was eighth on the general classification after several tough mountain stages when a crash sent him packing with a fractured leg. The injury left him without the coveted Tour de France spot, but determined to shine in a Grand Tour, Horner returned to the Vuelta a Espana only to have another fall.

    "Forty guys went down in the rain and it was spectacular. I don't think it was anybody's fault. The roads were slippery and dangerous, and the race should have been neutralised long before the crash. The officials should have neutralised the race on GC at least - it was that dangerous. Guys were crashing all day."

    One slick roundabout later, Horner was back in the USA with two fractures in his left hand and another surprise; a...

  • Bozic extends contract with Vacansoleil

    Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil)
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 10:14 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Slovenian to remain with Dutch squad until 2011

    Borut Bozic has extended his contract with Vacansoleil and will remain with the Dutch team until the end of 2011.

    Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reports that the Slovenian sprinter has re-signed with the Pro Continental team after what has been the most successful season of his five-year career.

    Bozic's victory on stage six of the Vuelta a España was his fifth win of the year. He has also claimed stage wins at the Tour of Belgium, the Tour of Poland and the Tour du Limousin.

    He began racing with Vacansoleil this year after a season with Cycle Collstrop and, prior to that, with Team LPR. The sprinter began his professional career with Slovenian squad Perutnina Ptuj in 2004.

    "I am very pleased with the atmosphere in [at Vacansoleil] and happy that I am a part of it. I want to continue with them for the next two years," said Bozic, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

    The 29-year-old will compete for his native Slovenia in the World Championship road race on Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

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  • Millar: Vuelta the key to brutal Worlds

    David Millar to lead Britain at Worlds
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 10:39 BST
    Richard Moore

    Motivated Millar ready to lead strong British road race team

    David Millar has predicted a "very brutal" men’s World Championship road race on Sunday, and he is certain that the winner will be a rider who – like him – has ridden the Tour of Spain, which finished last week.

    "I think if you haven’t done the Vuelta you haven’t got a chance," said Millar, who will lead a nine-man British team into the title race. It’s the first time the country has qualified the maximum quota of riders, thanks mainly to the points accumulated by Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins – neither of whom, ironically, is riding on Sunday.

    But the change in the British team is reflected not only in its size. "Even last year, we were a bunch of individuals that would just rock up," said Millar. "There wasn’t much thought or motivation about it, but we have to thank not only Cav and Wiggo but [British coach] Rod Ellingworth. He has spent so much of the last year building this team, which is what I think we are for the first time. We feel we have a duty to perform here, rather than just turn up and get a free tracksuit."

    As designated leader, Millar admits he feels "a lot more responsibility," but the Scot’s form at the end of the Vuelta, particularly his victory in the penultimate stage, a time trial, has led some to suggest that he could figure at the sharp end of Sunday’s title race.

    That sharp end doesn’t come, as Millar said, until the final quarter – and until then it is a game of patience. The Vuelta was similar, but over three weeks rather than 260km. Though he felt able to attack in the final week in Spain, he held back, having determined to put all his eggs in the one basket.

    "I have a free, relaxed role," said Millar of Sunday’s race. "You’ve got to relax. Staying at the front [the entire race] is not my way of doing it, and you watch the guys who’ve done well in this race, they don’t do that.


  • Cooke withdraws from women's world championship road race

    Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), World and Olympic road race champion, sits on the front of the bunch.
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 14:33 BST
    Richard Moore

    Difficult preparation means an end to her time in the rainbow jersey

    Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) lined up for the defense of her world road title in Mendrisio with hope outweighing expectation. After what she admitted was a "difficult build-up", owing in part to a virus in July, the British rider was a shadow of the rider who completed the unique double of Olympic and world title just 12 months ago.

    Reflecting afterwards on the loss of her title, after she abandoned the race with four of the nine laps remaining, she said that she realised as early as the first climb that it wasn't to be her day. "I knew on the first climb that I wasn't where I should be," she said. "I thought, right, [I'll] try and stay in there as long as I can, and maybe I'll get through this. But it wasn't to be.

    "At the World Championships you have to be at your absolute best, but I was making the best of a very difficult build-up, especially the last couple of months.

    "It was a very hard race on a hard course, and I wasn't in the form I needed to be in to have a chance," she said. "I knew over the past two months it'd be difficult, but I tried my best. I really wanted to be there and to know that I'd tried [to defend my title]. But I just wasn't in the condition to be up there. Overall, obviously my form wasn't great in the build up to the worlds. I knew that."

    While the virus in July knocked Cooke for six, she also endured problems throughout the season with the team she launched on the back of her golden 2008 season. Vision 1 Racing Team struggled to attract a major sponsor, and the decision was taken to fold the squad a fortnight ago. Cooke admitted on Friday that this had been a "distraction," though she added that she has a new team for 2010 and will reveal her plans in the near future.

    Of the 2009 season, she said there have been positives. "There are two elements to it. My results haven't been at the level they were last year, when 2008 was an absolutely brilliant season, and one I'm immensely proud of. All...