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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, September 3, 2011

Date published:
September 03, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Van Avermaet: We have to unite behind Gilbert for Worlds

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)
    Article published:
    September 02, 2011, 8:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian thinks multi-pronged attack would be a mistake

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) has explained that if Belgium is to do well in the World Championships in Copenhagen in two weeks time, they must all ride for one rider. Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad the Belgian pin-pointed Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) as the team's natural leader after the Walloon's near perfect season.

    "The leader has to be Gilbert," said Van Avermaet. "I know people have talked about Tom Boonen being a co-leader, but for me it has to be Gilbert.

    "It's fine to have more than one protected rider, but to avoid conflicts, you have to have an overall leader. Gilbert is a complete rider, and has proved this season he can win on any terrain. The results are there, the choice for me is easy."

    Boonen along with Van Avermaet have been racing at the Vuelta a Espana where Belgian national selector Carlo Bomans has recently been visiting in the lead-up to the worlds. Bomans is the man who has to make the final decision on team captaincy, and he was far more non-committal when asked about the issue.

    "We won't be making any decision until the 12th September."

    Gilbert will join Van Avermaet next season at BMC. The two are former teammates after also spending time together at Omega Pharma Lotto.

  • Weylandt family welcomes baby girl

    Wouter Weylandt smiles for the cameras
    Article published:
    September 02, 2011, 9:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Girlfriend of deceased rider gives birth

    The girlfriend of the late Wouter Weylandt, An-Sophie De Graeve, has given birth to their baby daughter Alizée on Thursday evening. Both mother and child are in good health.

    "The birth went very well. Alizée came to this world at 7.05pm, she measures 51 centimetres and weighs 3.6kg," the family announced to the Belgian press on Friday morning.

    Wouter Weylandt passed away on May 9 this year at the Giro d'Italia. The Belgian Leopard Trek rider crashed on the descent of the Passo del Bocco and sustained fatal injuries. He was 26 years old.


  • Bennati looking for win to secure Worlds berth

    Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek) will be a contender on the flatter stages.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2011, 10:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian unable to match Sagan in sprint

    Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek) is still on the hunt for a Vuelta a España stage victory to secure leadership of the Italian team at the world championships after finishing third behind Peter Sagan in Pontevedra on Thursday.

    “I would have liked to win here to shut a few people up,” Bennati admitted to Gazzetta dello Sport after Thursday’s stage. “In Italy it seems that to do the Worlds, who knows what you have to do…”

    Bennati was overlooked for selection in Geelong twelve months ago.  Italian coach Paolo Bettini has long indicated that he would be his preferred captain this time around in Copenhagen, but with the caveat that the Tuscan picked up some victories ahead of the Worlds. Bennati has placed 6th, 4th and 3rd in Vuelta sprint finishes to date, as well as enjoying a day in the red jersey, but has failed to land a win.

    With Italian fast men Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) and Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) picking up bouquets elsewhere in recent days, Bennati was keen to point out that the depth of competition in Spain needs to be taken into account.

    “Here the level is very high and there are not many opportunities. It’s one thing to win here, another to win somewhere else. Even a placing here counts,” he said. “I’ll go on with my preparation anyway. Bettini told me to stay calm.”

    The finish in Pontevedra saw Bennati put in his best sprinting performance at the Vuelta thus far, but he was unable to match the ferocious speed of Sagan in the finale, while John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad) also pipped him for second place.

    “I wasn’t in great condition. Maybe I had...

  • Pinot breaks through in Italy

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and his third-place trophy.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2011, 11:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Young FDJ climber leads Settimana Lombarda, targets Giro di Lombardia

    At only 21 years of age, Thibaut Pinot has been building up solid results in the pro peloton this season. The French climber, a neo pro riding for FDJ, is currently leading the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda Bergamasca after winning its first stage in Castione della Presolana on Wednesday.

    Earlier this year, Pinot won the Tour d'Alsace and two stages at the Tour de l'Ain on top of finishing third overall at the Tour of Turkey. In June, he finished second behind Joaquin Rodriguez in the ultimate stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, and most recently scored a third place behind Davide Rebellin in the Tre Valli Varesine.

    FDJ coach Jacques Decrion has high hopes for the young climber. "He's a dedicated worker, a winner who can't conceive cycling without the victory," he told L'Equipe on Friday. "He doesn't lose faith when he's in difficulty. On the next day after a defeat, he's always very good. He is ambitious and sees his future in the big races."

    Pinot would like to continue his streak of success at the Giro di Lombardia on October 15, but first will concentrate on the overall victory of the Settimana Lombarda. With two hilly stages to go and Simone Stortoni (Colnago) and Davide Rebellin (Miche) on his heels at 23 and 33 seconds respectively, the race is far from over. Still, Pinot is confident and helped by teammate Arnold Jeannesson, who finished 15th at the Tour de France.

    "Arnold is very strong. I know I won't be alone in the final, so I should be OK," Pinot said. "The season is going great for me. I haven't raced too much, so I'm still fresh. I hope to go to the Giro di...

  • Boonen rides through pain to sixth place

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) before the start.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2011, 11:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Quickstep rider determined to ride Vuelta to the end

    Tom Boonen rode through his pain on Thursday to place sixth in the mass sprint finish in Pontevedra. The Quickstep rider had earlier that day disclosed that he was suffering from an open groin wound which makes it extremely painful to sit on the saddle.

    “In the beginning I felt good and I rode along,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “But with the miles, the pain from the hole in my perineum got stronger. As a consequence, you push a higher gear and destroy your good legs. And then you miss the explosiveness.”

    For the next few days, “I will try to survive the mountains in Asturias. Maybe I can pick out a stage afterwards. It's pretty hard work again the next day, but I will to go to Madrid. I have to go.”

    Boonen said that the heat and sweat had cause an irritation in the perinium, which had become an open wound.

  • Breschel ruled out of world championships

    Matti Breschel (Denmark) on the podium with his silver medal.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2011, 18:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Hand surgery forces Dane out of Copenhagen reckoning

    Matti Breschel (Rabobank) will miss the world championships on home roads in Copenhagen after learning on Friday that he requires hand surgery.

    The unfortunate Dane crashed out of the Vuelta a España on stage 6, fracturing two fingers and tearing a tendon in his right hand. He also suffered injuries to his left knee and hip in the fall.

    Breschel was set to have a plate inserted into his hand in the Netherlands on Friday afternoon to stabilise the fracture, and he informed Danish coach Lars Bonde that he would thus be unavailable for selection for the Worlds. Plagued by injury since he joined Rabobank from Saxo Bank-Sungard last winter, Breschel also missed out on the Classics due to persistent knee problems.

    “With Matti’s apologies, I will make the selection of the six Danish riders for the worlds championships after the Tour of Britain,” Danish coach Lars Bonde said, according to “I will take the six best individual Danish riders.”

    With a silver medal from Geelong last year and bronze medal from Varese in 2008, Breschel was a natural choice to lead the Danish squad on a course that appeared to be well-suited to his characteristics. Bonde acknowledged that his team would have to ride a more attacking race now that they won’t be able to count on Breschel’s rapid finish.

    “We still have good riders who can compete in the finale at the Worlds, but Matti’s absence means that we must ride more aggressively in the finale,” Bonde said. “The final tactic will be determined by individual performances between now and the Worlds.”

  • 2015 Vuelta to start with team time trial in Emmen?

    German Gerald Ciolek (Milram) wins stage two of the Vuelta a España in Emmen (in blue).
    Article published:
    September 02, 2011, 20:03 BST
    Cycling News

    2009 success could win Dutch town its bid

    The 2015 Vuelta a España might start in the Dutch town of Emmen with a team time trial, reported today. The town hosted the finish of stage 2 in 2009, when Gerald Ciolek sprinted to victory, and according to the race committee's head Jos Vaessen, the success of that event has given his town the edge in the competition for the 2015 depart of the Spanish Grand Tour.

    The proposed course incorporates the Afsluitdijk, a 32km causeway which provided a dramatic backdrop for the race in 2009, either as part of a team time trial or a normal stage.

    "It is 99 percent sure that the team time trial - the opening of the Vuelta - will go to Emmen," Vaessen said, adding that the Afsluitdijk was a major factor in the bidding. "They see it would make for good TV pictures," he said. "A dam like that is unique in Europe, in Spain they have no such thing. We are now looking at it. Maybe we can start halfway across the dam."

    In addition to the team time trial, the Dutch bid includes three stages spread across the three northern provinces.

  • TT1 signs Fortin, re-signs Reijnen

    Julian El Fares (Cofidis) on the podium after being awarded the stage victory
    Article published:
    September 03, 2011, 0:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Team confirms acquisition of El Fares

    Team Type 1-Sanofi has confirmed three more riders for its 2012 roster: American Kiel Reijnen, Italian Filippo Fortin and Julien El Fares.

    El Fares, comes from Cofidis along with Remy Cusin, adding more French talent to the team to please its Paris-based title sponsor Sanofi.

    "Julien brings a wealth of stage racing experience to us, especially from such a young rider. Two Tours de France, a Vuelta, the Dauphine, Paris-Nice, Romandie, Tirreno-Adriatico where he wore the leader's jersey and won the points classification, [Tour] Down Under, you name it. With Julien we see an opportunity to build on his results and build for the future," said team manager Vassili Davidenko.

    Reijnen continues with the team after having a bad start to the season because of an illness. "He has made a dramatic improvement over the summer and we're pleased to say he'll likely return to the peloton by the end of this season," said Davidenko. "He's a highly motivated, very intelligent young man who has overcome the aftereffects of an undiagnosed virus and we're glad he's coming back to us."

    Filippo Fortin comes from the Trevigiani Dynamon Bottoli U23 squad, and rode as a trainee for the Androni Giocattoli team in August.

    "Filippo won eight races in 2011, and has the kind of fast finish that really stands out among riders. We see a talented young rider with great potential in Filippo, and we are certain he will rise to the podium with Team Type 1 - Sanofi in 2012," Davidenko said.