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First Edition Cycling News, September 10, 2008

Date published:
September 10, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Metro Volkswagen needs riders

    Article published:
    September 10, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Vielha

    The Metro Volkswagen Cycling Team is looking to expand its programs for 2009. Metro Volkswagen,...

    The Metro Volkswagen Cycling Team is looking to expand its programs for 2009. Metro Volkswagen, managed by team director Nathan Rogut, is looking to grow both its men's and women's programs for 2009. The women's program will be the primary focus moving into 2009 season, with hopes to continue its strong performances both nationally and regionally from 2008.

    The program will focus on NRC events and is also in the works with possible international racing. On the men's side, the program will focus on the U25 riders and will do a strong regional and NRC program. Female riders interested should be Cat 1, 2 and Men should be Cat 1 and U25.

    If interested please e-mail Nathan Rogut at fcscycling@sbcglobal.net

    (Additional editorial assistance provided by Tomas Nilsson.)

  • Father versus son in Denmark

    Article published:
    September 10, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Vielha

    Sunday's finale in the national Danish racing series Post Cup will feature two generations of the...

    Sunday's finale in the national Danish racing series Post Cup will feature two generations of the family Guldhammer. While Rasmus Guldhammer is riding Tour de l'Avenir not just his older brother Thomas (Team Designa Køkken) but also his father Michael will take the start in Odder Sunday, the Danish web site cyclingworld.dk reported.

    Michael Guldhammer won the Danish Championships in 1989 and the Danish road series, called Tuborg Cup, in 1990. He picked up his cycling career a while ago, and now at 46 he has once again reached the top elite level, class A. Sunday's race in Odder will go more or less on the same roads as where Michael Guldhammer won his national champion's jersey, the Dannebrogen, in 1989.

  • Cancellara may not defend title

    Article published:
    September 10, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Vielha

    Reigning world and olympic champion Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC Saxo Bank) might not start in the...

    Reigning world and olympic champion Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC Saxo Bank) might not start in the upcoming World Championships in Varese, Italy.

    "Physically it's no problem but I am not sure if I have the will and the motivation to start. And if I'm not completely motivated, I don't want to start," Cancellara told the Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick.

    "During the Olympics I was in seventh heaven but it did not last long," said Cancellara, who feels he may need a break after such a busy season. "I'm just a human being, not a machine," he said.

  • Astana amidst complicated race

    Article published:
    September 10, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Vielha

    By Bjorn Haake in Vielha Astana's Levi Leipheimer first gained, then lost the golden jersey in the...

    By Bjorn Haake in Vielha

    Astana's Levi Leipheimer first gained, then lost the golden jersey in the Vuelta a España before the race's first rest day, and then regained and re-lost the jersey as the race headed into the mountains. With a strong team performance on stage eight, he ascended back onto the top of the leader board, but on a day that started with a climb and sparked attacks from the end of the neutral zone, he lost the lead to Egoi Martinez (Eustaltel-Euskadi), his former teammate.

    Before the start of stage 9, General Manager Johan Bruyneel gave his point of view about the one-two positions that Leipheimer and Alberto Contador occupied, now second and third after the takeover by Martinez. "It's good, but the real serious work still has to start. In Asturias the two stages next weekend are very, very hard, a lot harder than these ones."

    Bruyneel was cautiously optimistic about the team's race so far. "We are happy with the situation, but we have the favourite and it is not easy to control the race. We will see what happens."

    The team order is strictly put in place, though. "Alberto is the leader of the team. If the logic is respected, he is the best climber. The Angliru is very steep, in theory it should be good for him. But it's always good to have a second guy up there."

    Bruyneel explained the team's stranglehold on the race very simply. "This was our main goal of the season, once we knew the Tour didn't want us."

    The team has turned the page on the exclusion. Bruyneel didn't see any point in keeping complaining about it. He did however acknowledge that "I won't forget about it. I didn't a clear explanation of why we were excluded; the explanations that have been given, aren't good enough for me."

    Bruyneel was adamant in the fact that "the team had been reorganised...

  • Dietzen weighing options

    Article published:
    September 10, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Zaragoza

    By Bjorn Haake in Zaragoza Reimund Dietzen, a Gerolsteiner Directeur Sportif knows his employment...

    By Bjorn Haake in Zaragoza

    Reimund Dietzen, a Gerolsteiner Directeur Sportif knows his employment situation is uncertain, but the German hasn't started his job search yet. He had been holding out for the team to find a new sponsor and continue with the same organisation. "I was waiting until the end," he said. I was really hoping that we would find a sponsor."

    New offers haven't been hard to come by, and Dietzen is keeping his options open. "I have already been approached by a few people. I will check it out and see if there is anything interesting. Then I would like to stay involved in cycling."

    But if it doesn't work out, Dietzen will have a plan, too. "Otherwise, I have more time for my family." He also has a second business option. "I am running cycling tours five kilometres from where I live." This would indicate that Dietzen could spend more time in his adopted home in Tarragona, Spain. Located south of Barcelona near the coast, it is a great way of combining cycling with some relaxing at the beach.

    He won't have to miss contact with his compatriots, either. "Most of the people who sign up for the tours are Germans. They want to go enjoy the sun in Spain... And it is a really beautiful area." He sought the area even when he was a professional cyclist. "It is one of the best country side for cycling in my opinion."

    Dietzen was always drawn to Spain, and his best wins came here. He won several stages in the Vuelta a España and finished second in the overall classification in 1987 and 1988.

    In the current race, Dietzen has one rider placed in a good position, even though things didn't start ideal. "Oliver Zaugg weighs only 56 kilograms and in the flat time trial he lost a lot of time." But now things start to look good for Zaugg, who is currently 15th in the overall. "There is no more flat time trial and I think he will move up some more. He is feeling well."

    Dietzen expects next weekend...

  • Hinault updates resume in team search

    Sébastien Hinault (Credit Agricole)
    Article published:
    September 10, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Zaragoza

    By Bjorn Haake in Zaragoza Sébastien Hinault of Crédit Agricole upgraded his resume with a strong...

    By Bjorn Haake in Zaragoza

    Sébastien Hinault of Crédit Agricole upgraded his resume with a strong sprint win in stage ten of the Vuelta a España. Hinault took the stage over Lloyd Mondory (AG2R) and Greg Van Avermaet (Silence - Lotto), with the sprint favourites Oscar Freire and Tom Boonen managing only fourth and fifth.

    The win should help the Crédit Agricole rider find a new contract. The team is not continuing its sponsorship and no one else has stepped in to take over the French team. Hinault knows that time is running out to find a home for 2009. "I don't have a team yet for next year, but I hope this [win] will help," he said. Hinault described the sprint victory as his biggest career win on an individual level. "In terms of the team, winning the team time trial in the 2001 Tour was the best," he added.

    This statement showed how close-knit the Crédit Agricole team is these days in spite of its impending demise. "The team just wants to close out the season well. We are very motivated at the Vuelta and everybody wants to go on the attack. Today it was me who won, but the whole team is motivated."

    Hinault doesn't want to leave it at that. "Yes, I definitely would like to win another stage, be it in a sprint or in a break." Hinault has the ingredients to shine in either type of finish.

    For him the end of the French squad is a sad affair. "It's a real pity that a team like ours has to stop. I was hoping until the end that Roger [Legeay] would find a new sponsor."

    Hinault is closing in to match his years as a professional with the number of wins. In his 12th season as a pro, the Vuelta win was his 11th victory. More importantly, his latest victory was taken over big names like Freire and Boonen, but it...

  • Hushovd signs with Cervélo for two years

    Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) during his winning ride of the opening Paris-Nice day.
    Article published:
    September 10, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet with additional reporting from Ben Atkins

    By Jean-François Quénet with additional reporting from Ben Atkins After Carlos Sastre, Thor Hushovd...

    By Jean-François Quénet with additional reporting from Ben Atkins

    After Carlos Sastre, Thor Hushovd is the second big name of the Tour de France signed by the newly born Cervélo Test team. The Norwegian has signed a two-years contract with the Swiss-based organisation set to be directed on the road by Scott Sunderland and Jean-Paul van Poppel.

    Hushovd, one of the fastest and most consistent sprinters in the sport has won six stages of the Tour de France, including the prologue of the 2006 race and stage 2 this year. He also won the green jersey in the 2005 race. The three-time Norwegian champion has ridden for the Credit Agricole team since turning professional with them in 2001. Unable to secure a sponsor to replace the French bank which ends its support at the season's end, the team was forced to allow its riders to seek contracts elsewhere.

    "I've had long discussions with the board and although it's a new team, I've had a very good feeling about it," Hushovd told Cyclingnews from his home in Switzerland. "They want to run this team in a new way. They'll focus on the results but also on the material. We'll try all the equipment. I will also have the best support for the Classics and the sprints in the Tour de France."

    After nine seasons at Crédit Agricole, a team he intended to never leave until it failed to find a new sponsor, the winner of the Tour de France says he's "ready for the big adventure". "I want to thank Roger Legeay for all the great years I've had with him," he added. "I really appreciate the way he runs a team and his drugs free policy."

    Although the season is not yet over for the French team, the Norwegian will not get another chance to wear the green and white in competition again. Advised by Crédit Agricole team doctor Joël Ménard, he decided to call it a season after receiving the results...

  • McQuaid assesses Armstrong return

    UCI President Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    September 10, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Shane Stokes Lance Armstrong's return to competitive cycling will guarantee many varied responses...

    By Shane Stokes

    Lance Armstrong's return to competitive cycling will guarantee many varied responses within the sport. Few would have predicted the Texan to come back over three years after he retired, and the big question is how successful he can be at 37 years of age?

    "There's nothing to stop him coming back – there is no administrative, legal or sporting issue to stop him," Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews on Tuesday. "From the UCI's point of view, he's free to race. He can come back but the question is if he can return to the same level; maybe he doesn't know that himself, maybe he just wants to see what he can do.

    "He's been a superb athlete, both in coming back from cancer and in winning seven Tours."

    Armstrong has said that he will compete in a completely transparent manner, undergoing regular anti-doping tests and releasing the results for scrutiny. McQuaid thinks this is a good idea. "He'll probably never shut up the no-gooders but it might give him the opportunity to prove he can do it clean."

    The news only became official on Tuesday but McQuaid said that the planning had been going on before that. "His management contacted the UCI three or four months ago to request that he be put into the [testing] system. He's already been on it a couple of months so if he starts racing in February, he'll be in the system for the required six months.

    "We really believe that the biological passport system is the way forward and if he came into that system and did the same [winning the Tour], it would show he is an incredible athlete."

    McQuaid added that there was no point in looking back at past seasons, and wondering if performances were clean or not. "We have to move forward," he said.

  • Peloton's players mull Armstrong comeback

    Lance Armstrong intends on contesting the Tour de France one more time Photo: © Jeff Tse/Cyclingnews
    Article published:
    September 10, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    By Daniel Benson, managing editor Cyclingnews and Mark Zalewski, North American Editor Lance...

    By Daniel Benson, managing editor Cyclingnews and Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

    Lance Armstrong announced Tuesday that he intends to not only come back to the sport which earned him fame and fortune, but that he will do so to win his eighth Tour de France. While he hasn't yet announced which team he will be a part of, speculation that he would join the Astana squad with his former director Johan Bruyneel has been rife, even if the team has officially denied the rumours.

    Armstrong insists that his motive is to step up cancer awareness world wide, but made it clear that he is taking his return seriously. His would-be competitors have expressed disbelief, skepticism, and in some cases, overwhelming enthusiasm for the return of the seven-time Tour champion. Even critics of Armstrong cannot discount the fact that he's an incredibly strong presence, and will draw crowds and money into the sport.

    Bob Stapleton – owner of Team Columbia

    "I'm waiting to see what the facts and circumstances are. But the question for me is what is it all about? Is it about winning an 8th Tour, about progressing the sport, about something good to help the fight against cancer... but what's the greater mission? If this is just about a return to glory that would be disappointing for me.

    "I don't know how you can go back and rewrite the history. He is a true American hero, there is no doubt about that. And he could come back and win, I would never underestimate him. Personally the story so far doesn't do it for me. But maybe it is about something bigger. He is passionate about cancer and probably concerned about the situation of the sport.

    "I think Lance is going to pick and hire the team he wants – not the other way around! Being anything other than Johan or Astana is very unlikely. It doesn't make any sense otherwise. It is much easier to go...