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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, September 4, 2010

Date published:
September 04, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Bennati chasing sprinter's role for world championships

    Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo) on the podium
    Article published:
    September 03, 2010, 12:18 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Liquigas rider hopes to be selected for Italian team

    Italian sprinter Daniele Bennati has suffered with illness and injury for the last two years but showed he is back on form with second place behind Thor Hushovd at the Vuelta a Espana on Thursday

    The 29 year-old Tuscan missed both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France but hopes to hit his best form during the Vuelta and secure a place in the Italian nine-rider squad for the world championships in Melbourne.

    Italian coach Paolo Bettini faces the dilemma of whether to include a strong sprinter like Bennati in the team or go for a more aggressive line-up. The finishing circuit in Geelong seems too tough for a pure sprinter but Bennati proved at the Vuelta that he can climb and sprint as well Thor Hushovd and Allan Davis of Australia. He could be Italy's best option if the world championships is a controlled race and ends in a sprint.

    According to Gazzetta dello Sport, there is only a 30% chance that Bettini will select a sprinter for the Italian team. But if he does, Bennati is favourite for the place. Bettini will be at the Vuelta this weekend and Bennati hopes to convince him he deserve a place on the plane for Melbourne. Bettini will name his team on September 15.

    "I still hope to get a place in the team," Bennati told Gazzetta dello Sport after the finish in Murcia.

    "Second place is like a win for me and is a huge boost for my morale. Thor was better than me but I could have been closer. It was just a pity that as I was going past Gilbert, he moved left a little and I had to stop pedaling for a second."

    "I'm suffering from the changes in pace during the race but that's because I didn’t do the Tour de France and haven't raced much. But my form is growing and my data proves it. I put out 1500 watts in the sprint. That's not bad after such a tough stage."

    Bennati went deep on the late climb that caused the likes of Mark Cavendish, Alessandro Petacchi, Tyler Farrar and Oscar Freire...

  • Spain names long list for world championships

    Spanish TT champion Luis Leon Sanchez takes a drink
    Article published:
    September 03, 2010, 12:52 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Alberto Contador not amongst 21 riders

    Alberto Contador will again miss the world championships but Spanish national coach Jose Luis de Santos has named a long-list of 21 other riders who are all under consideration for the team.

    Luis Leon Sanchez of Caisse d'Epargne, the current Spanish national time trial champion, has been named for the time trial, with the second rider to be selected after the Vuelta a Espana.

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and one other unnamed rider are set to lead the team for the Elite men's road race on October 3, “but we will wait until the end of the Vuelta, as you can always come to some harm,” de Santos said on the Spanish Cycling Federation website. He noted, however, that Freire is still suffering from the nose and sinus problems which have plagued him for two years. “If he is not all right, he will be the first to say so.”

    Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez is not riding the Vuelta, but is still in the running for the national team. “He has a different season and after the Tour, could not hold his form for the Vuelta,” de Santos said. “He's doing another race calendar, and if he is well, I will take him.”

    Three-time Tour de France winner Contador has virtually ended his season after the Tour and any possibility of him riding the worlds championships ended when he injured his knee in a recent training accident.  De Santos said that he spoke with Contador on the phone. “He told me that he would rather not extend his season, but would prefer to prepare for next year."

    Also missing form the team is Alejandro Valverde, who is serving a doping suspension. “We are going to miss him, not only in the race, but in all ways, as he creates a good atmosphere,” de Santos claimed.

    Long list for Spain's world championship team:
    Javier Moreno (Andalucía-Cajasur), Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez, Pablo Lastras, Luis Pasamontes,...

  • Fignon laid to rest in Paris cemetery

    Relatives and friends attend the funeral ceremony for French cycling champion Laurent Fignon at the Pere Lachaise crematorium in Paris.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2010, 15:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Donations may be made for medical research

    Friends and family of Laurent Fignon said their final goodbyes on Friday as the French cycling great was laid to rest in a Paris crematorium. The two-time Tour de France winner succumbed to cancer earlier this week at the age of 50.

    His family announced that in lieu of flowers it would appreciate donations to the ICM Institute, a Paris research facility specializing in brain and spinal cord disorders.

    The funeral was attended by some of cycling's elites, including Bernard Hinualt, Sean Kelly, Alain Gallopin, and Alain Bondue. Christian Prudhomme represented the Tour de France.

    “Up until the end he did not think he would die,” his wife Valerie told the French newspaper Le Parisien. “We knew it was fatal. But we believed …. and he was so strong.”

    Fignon's cancer was first diagnosed in the spring of 2009. He continued his work commentating on the Tour de France for French television this summer. The day after the Tour ended, he suffered a pleural effusion, which is excess fluid in the area of the lungs. “The effusion could not be stopped and the metastases spread very, very quickly,” Valerie said.

    The Fignons were together for 10 years and married for two and a half years. “I did not know the champion,” his widow said. “I met him after that. I really feel there were two Laurent Fignon – the cyclist and the one whose life came afterwards.

    “He was natural, he was in love, generous. And a little grumpy, as everyone knows. He was a good husband, someone you could really count on. I spent many very, very good moments with him. I will miss him,” Valerie Fignon concluded.

    His family has said that those who wish to remember the late cyclist could make donations to the ICM Institute, a French organisation that says of itself, “The goal of the ICM - Brain and Spine Institute, is to support the development of...

  • Cancellara laughs about being 3 million euro man

    Fabian Cancellara awaits the start of stage four.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2010, 16:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Swiss superstar yet to decide about defending world champion title

    On the start line of stage 7 at the Vuelta a España on the Miguel Indurain avenue in Murcia, Fabian Cancellara had a big laugh at being dubbed "the 3 million euro man". It was reported in the media yesterday that team Saxo Bank owner Bjarne Riis was prepared to let another team buy out his contract for the somewhat ridiculous price of 3 million euros.

    Cancellara has one more year on his contract with the Danish outfit, but he has been courted by several other teams.  He said on his personal website earlier this week that he was open to new ideas, but said today that he hadn't heard any such statements from Riis about a buy-out price.

    "I don't know where that came from," Cancellara told Cyclingnews. "I've seen some stuff on the internet but I don't know if these are really quotes from Bjarne Riis. When I post something on my official website, you can be sure this is what I want people to know, but I haven't seen anything like that from Bjarne yet. Anyway, Bjarne is going to visit us at the Vuelta sometimes and we'll speak about it. For now, the less I talk about it, the better."

    Cancellara didn't know when the meeting might take place but sources at Saxo Bank indicated that Riis is going to join his team at the Vuelta on the first rest day in Tarragona on Monday.

    On a sporting aspect, he talked about the Vuelta. "I'm taking it day by day," the Olympic champion said. "Normally I'm here to prepare for the world championships but if I don't have the right condition, I might re-consider my participation to the Worlds because I can only lose." In the past four years, Cancellara has won the world championship for time trial three times plus the Olympic title, and he'd like to remain unbeaten.

    The coming two weeks at the Vuelta will give him the right indications about his condition and his motivation to make an attempt to become the first man to claim four world titles for time trial. Michael Rogers also won...

  • Team Sky soigneur dies in hospital

    Team Sky soigneur Txema González died at the age of 43 after suffering a blood infection.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2010, 19:25 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Txema Gonzalez struck by blood infection

    Team Sky officials have confirmed that soigneur Txema Gonzalez has died in Seville, five days after he was taken to hospital with a virus that developed into a sepsis blood infection.

    Team principal Dave Brailsford said: "We are devastated to report that Txema tragically passed away on Friday evening in hospital in Seville. His close family were with him."

    Brailsford paid tribute to the friendly 43 year-old Spaniard, adding: "Txema will be remembered as a warm-hearted colleague who was a joy to work with and was universally respected by our team and throughout the pro cycling scene. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

    The Vuelta director general, Javier Guillen told Spanish public television of Gonzalez’s death just a few minutes after the end of the seventh stage won by Alessandro Petacchi.

    "It's a real blow, we knew that he was in a critical condition but we didn’t imagine it would come to this,” he said.

    Guillen said a minute’s silence would be held in memory of Gonzalez before the start of Saturday’s eighth stage of the Vuelta.

    “He was part of the Vuelta and it is the least we can do.”

    According to reports in Spanish media, race doctors at the Vuelta believe the virus which has struck Team Sky may have originated from a food source but Gonzalez’s health deteriorated rapidly after he developed a blood infection.

    Spain's Juan Antonio Flecha was forced to abandon the Vuelta during Friday’s seventh stage. John Lee Augustyn and Ben Swift pulled out on stage three and other riders and staff have been affected by a viral infection. However Team Sky said the infection that led to Gonzalez’s death had nothing to do with the viral infection affecting the riders.

    Team Sky's Head of Medical Dr Steve Peters said: "Txema contracted a bacterial infection which entered the bloodstream and developed into sepsis. The toxins from this...

  • Phinney dampens BMC-signing rumors

    Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong) rides to victory on the Tour of Utah's opening stage.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2010, 21:28 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    American still undecided on 2011 team

    Wide spread rumors have linked American Taylor Phinney to a four-year contract with the US-based Professional Continental team BMC Racing. However, the double world track pursuit champion set the record straight on Twitter today stating that he has not yet signed an agreement for the 2011 season.

    "Uhhhh...For the record, I have not signed ANYTHING with anyone yet," said Phinney in recent rebut on Twitter. "When I sign with a team, trust me Tweeps, you will be the FIRST to know!"

    One of the first reports was from the Sporza, a Belgian sports channel, stating that Phinney would likely sign a four-year contract with BMC Racing. "I don’t really know how this got on all the websites and I’ve been trying to look into it myself," Phinney said. "BMC Racing denied that they sent a press release to Sporza. But on Sporza it was said that, and I’m quoting them, ‘I would likely be going to BMC.’

    "I’m still weighing my options so I can’t say that I’m likely to be going anywhere next year," Phinney added.

    The reports continued on the French website, stating that the Phinney will not be competing for US-based ProTour Team RadioShack in 2011. The cycling prodigy currently competes for the team’s Under 23 program Trek-Livestrong but recently raced under the RadioShack banner at the Tour of Denmark as a trainee.

    The website further reported that Phinney may have changed his mind and is likely to join the US-based Professional Continental team BMC Racing as it makes a bid to step up to ProTour status in 2011. If so, Phinney would be joining the likes of World Champion Cadel Evans, former World Champion Allessandro Ballan and US National Road Champion George Hincapie.

    The team recently announced six new signings that included Italians Manuel Quinziato and Ivan Santaromita, Belgians Yannick Eijssen and Greg Van Avermaet, France’s Amaël Moinard and Swiss rider...

  • Radioshack signs Cardoso, Sergent and Kwiatkowski

    Jesse Sergent (Trek-Livestrong) got the yellow jersey as well as the white jersey.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2010, 22:09 BST
    Laura Weislo

    More transfer news from Lampre, AG2R and Skil-Shimano

    Team Radioshack announced three more signings for the upcoming season today. The US-based squad brought in Portuguese rider Manuel Antonio Cardoso from Footon-Servetto, New Zealander Jesse Sergent from its Trek-Livestrong U23 team and Pole Michal Kwiatkowski from the Caja Rural Continental squad.

    Cardoso, winner of a stage in the 2010 Tour Down Under, has 33 victories to his name as a professional rider including the 2009 national championship.

    Sergent has been riding with Radioshack as a trainee since August. He is a silver medalist in the track world championships in the individual pursuit, won the time trial stage in the Tour of Gila over specialists Levi Leipheimer and Dave Zabriskie, and has a bronze medal from the Summer Olympics in Beijing in the team pursuit.

    Kwiatkowski, 20, is a former junior world time trial champion (2008), a double European champion (road race 2007, time trial 2008) and the current Polish U23 champion.

    "All three riders are classy riders. They have a lot of potential," said Radioshack team manager Johan Bruyneel. "We believe in them. These talents will be well surrounded by our experienced riders. We need to work on the future of Team RadioShack and of cycling in general. This is a first step. Currently we are negotiating with other potential future riders for our 2011 team."

    Other transfer news

    Another Pole will be stepping up into the ProTour. Lampre announced this week the signing of Przemyslaw Niemiec.

    Niemiec, 30, has been with Miche since 2004 and with Amore & Vita prior to that. He won a stage of the Coppi e Bartali race this year, one stage of the Giro del Trentino in 2009 and the final overall classification of Route du Sud 2009 and of Giro di Slovenia 2005.

    "Each time that we took part in races in which Niemiec was there too, we could see his amazing performances on climbs," said team manager Giuseppe Saronni. "Przemyslaw has outstanding...

  • Team Sky withdraws from Vuelta a Espana

    Team Sky soigneur Txema González died at the age of 43 after suffering a blood infection.
    Article published:
    September 04, 2010, 7:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Team to attend Gonzalez' funeral next week

    Team Sky has withdrawn from the Vuelta a Espana following the death of soigneur Txema Gonzalez Friday.  The team made the announcement early Saturday morning.

    Team principal Dave Brailsford announced the decision, which was supported by Gonzalez' family.  The soigneur died at the age of 43 after spending five days in hospital in Seville.  He had a bacterial infection which developed into a sepsis blood infection.

    “Txema's death is devastating to everyone in Team Sky,” Brailsford said in a press release.  “We've lost a good friend, a much respected and valued colleague.

    "We have considered all the elements very carefully and this is the only decision we could take. It's the right one; to show respect to Txema and to look after our team.

    He added that the family has asked the team to attend the funeral next week, “and we will of course be there to support them and to pay our respects."

    Brailsford also noted that several riders and other staff members have become ill during the race due to an several viral infection, which is not related to Gonzalez'  illness.  "The medical conditions are different but we need to take care of our team."  Three riders have already been forced to abandon the race.

    "The organisers of the Vuelta and the UCI have both been informed of our decision and we are deeply grateful for their cooperation and understanding.

    "We wish all the other teams in the race well and will now take time to deal with this tragic news."