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First Edition Cycling News, September 15, 2008

Date published:
September 15, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Young riders get head start on 'cross old guard

    Niels Albert (Palmans-Cras)
    Article published:
    September 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    By Brecht Decaluwé One week before the first North American UCI-race of the season the Belgian...

    By Brecht Decaluwé

    One week before the first North American UCI-race of the season the Belgian season officially traditionally kicked off with the A2 race in Erpe-Mere. All the best European riders were present except for world champion Lars Boom and last year's UCI number one Sven Nys who's taking a longer break after taking part in the Olympic cross country MTB race.

    Last season showed that the top of cyclo-cross had widened as a large crop of young riders like Lars Boom, Niels Albert and Zdenek Stybar started winning big races. If this race was any indication, the top of the rankings could be undergoing a permanent transformation as former world champions Bart Wellens, Erwin Vervecken and Richard Groenendaal learned today.

    While these riders had an off day, it turned out that last year's winner Niels Albert was already on form in sunny and dry Erpe-Mere, which is the home town from the last Belgian Tour de France winner Lucien Van Impe.

    The 22 year-old Albert jumped away during the second lap and the rest of the field didn't see him again before the race had ended. Klaas Vantornout, who won in Dudzele last week, started a solo pursuit on Albert but he had to settle for second place. Sven Vanthourenhout, who is Vantornout's team-mate at Sunweb-Projob, won the battle for third place ahead of cousin Dieter Vanthourenhout, Rob Peeters and Bart Aernouts. Richard Groenendaal was the first non-Belgian at the seventh place, finishing just ahead of the Fidea leaders Wellens and Vervecken who disappointed today.

    "This was a super Albert," the Sunweb riders who finished second and third admitted, "Niels' tempo was just set far too high for us." The winner explained that he had started very fast...

  • Domestic sprinters washed out in Missouri

    Article published:
    September 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Robbins in St. Charles, Missouri

    By Kirsten Robbins in St. Charles, Missouri Toyota United's sprinter Ivan Dominguez was the one man...

    By Kirsten Robbins in St. Charles, Missouri

    Toyota United's sprinter Ivan Dominguez was the one man everyone had thought would give Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish a run in the sprints in the Tour of Missouri. However, the closest the Cuban could get to winning a stage was second on Saturday's stage six. After that stage, Dominguez was looking forward to getting a second chance on Sunday, but was concerned that the race would be neutralised by the forecasted arrival of Hurricane Ike.

    Heavy rain was scheduled to hit north of the city at race time, and the possibility flood the course, and Dominguez was concerned about racing in a downpour. "I'm no Michael Phelps. I'm here to race my bike...not to swim!"

    "A few people have asked me if I'm wanting to win tomorrow," he continued. "From what I hear we might have some flooding. I hope we don't have problems with the hurricane because I'd really like to try my best to win. I'm not saying I'm going to win. I'm saying I'll try."

    Fortunately for the peloton, the rains let up earlier than expected, but the organisers were forced to shorten the circuit because of flooding on one part of the course. Dominguez was in his element on the shorter, more technical circuit, but fell shy of his goal of a stage win, finishing fourth behind Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas), Cavendish, and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Chipotle).

  • Rebellin readies for Worlds

    Article published:
    September 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Fuentes de Invierno

    By Bjorn Haake in Fuentes de Invierno Davide Rebellin did not take the start to stage 14 of the...

    By Bjorn Haake in Fuentes de Invierno

    Davide Rebellin did not take the start to stage 14 of the Vuelta a España. After his good 11th place on the Angliru, the Italian decided he had done enough tough preparation for the World Championships, which are held in Italy this year.

    At the top of the Angliru Rebellin told Cyclingnews how the day went for him. "The Angliru was very very tough. I think we have seen the strongest riders on the front today."

    Rebellin knew the climb, saying he had done it before, so he knew what to expect and how to best deal with it. "I was just trying to find my own rhythm." He was happy that the weather cooperated, too. "It was nice. That is better than when it is raining. Then it is more difficult and also more dangerous."

    His performance left him a happy man. "The form is good. I am preparing for the World Championships, so this was very good." He thinks the Italian team will be strong, and is expecting a great performance by the squadra azzura on home soil.

  • Arndt takes it in solo style

    A happy race podium - Holler, Arndt and Wild
    Article published:
    September 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Ben Atkins Judith Arndt (Columbia) won the Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt, the final round of...

    Unstoppable Columbia rider emphatically confirms World Cup

    By Ben Atkins

    Judith Arndt (Columbia) won the Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt, the final round of this year's World Cup. The former World champion attacked the breakaway of which she was part with around 14km to go – just before the bell to signal the last of ten 12.9km laps – and soloed away to finish over a minute clear. Swedish sprinter Monica Holler (Bigla) put in a late surge to take the sprint for second over Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands National Team.

    "Every win is big!" exclaimed Arndt to Cyclingnews after her victory, but this one is all the more surprising as the flatness of the course lends itself far more to a sprint than a breakaway. As the final round of the World Cup, however – a competition Arndt has already assured victory of – it means that she takes the title in the season long competition by an enormous margin over Susanne De Goede (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung) and Marianne Vos (DSB Bank).

    In the race's midway point a group of 19 riders escaped the peloton, consisting of: Vos and Tina Liebig (both DSB Bank), Charlotte Becker, De Goede and Larissa Kleinmann (all Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung), Arndt, Alex Rhodes and Luise Keller (all Columbia), Jennifer Hohl, Holler and Andrea Thürig (all Bigla), Susanne Ljungskog (Flexpoint), Sarah Grab (Specialized Designs for Women), Liesbeth Bakker (Vrienden Van Het Platteland), Karin Aune (Uniqa), Romy Kasper (German National Team), Wild and Chantal Blaak (Netherlands National Team), and Claudia Meyer (Team Stuttgart).

    As the race progressed, the group was whittled down to just ten by successive attacks from a number of riders, but none were able to get away until Arndt on the penultimate lap. As a fast finisher, but not as fast as many of the specialists, she felt that some of the names in that group could present problems at the finish,...

  • Rivals powerless to withstand Astana assault

    The Caisse d'Epargne team
    Article published:
    September 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Ben Atkins

    Most of the mountains are behind the riders after Sunday's stage to Fuentes de Invierno, and the...

    Most of the mountains are behind the riders after Sunday's stage to Fuentes de Invierno, and the damage has been done by the Astana squad. With the two mountain top finishes this weekend, Alberto Contador not only took the race's golden leader's jersey, but set his rivals back to a nearly insurmountable distance. With only his own Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer within striking distance, Contador's overall victory is nearly assured.

    Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre limited his losses, but still fell a further 20 seconds behind Contador on a day which is likely his second to last chance to make up time on his younger compatriot. He not only faces few chances to make up the 3:41 deficit, but now has a new challenger in Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia), who stole 16 seconds on the final climb.

    "In truth, I finished with just enough strength. I had more desire than strength, but it's good that I have gotten through another important day," Sastre admitted. "Today I want to especially congratulate Ezequiel Mosquera, a lad who last year did so well in the Tour of Spain and again today because he has tried to ensure a good position in the overall standings. What he has done today is commendable, because he rode intelligently, and it was good for him and his team."

    "We have seen a very powerful Astana team, which has controlled the race with ease and strengthens its lead, both first and second in the overall standings, with more security for the forthcoming stages and the future of this Vuelta," he said.

    Alejandro Valverde put his whole Caisse d'Epargne team on the front of the race to bring back the breakaway, but the captain could not find enough in reserve to pull of his goal of a stage win.

    "We tried to go for the stage win and I want to thank all my team-mates of the Caisse d'Epargne for the extraordinary job they did and for having trusting me," Valverde said. "I would have liked to dedicate a second stage win to them in...

  • Xacobeo team unhappy with Astana tactics

    Mosquera pulled for the entire final climb
    Article published:
    September 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Fuentes de Invierno

    By Bjorn Haake in Fuentes de Invierno Sunday's win by Alberto Contador in stage 14 of the Vuelta a...

    By Bjorn Haake in Fuentes de Invierno

    Sunday's win by Alberto Contador in stage 14 of the Vuelta a España was overshadowed by a small war of words from the Xacobeo Galicia team. Alvaro Pino, the directeur the team which hopes to move Ezequiel Mosquera onto the race's overall podium, was rather angry with the Astana team tactics. Mosquera set the pace for much of the final climb after his next closest rival on GC, Carlos Sastre, was dropped from the group. Astana allowed the 32-year-old to set the pace, and then attacked to take first and second on the stage.

    Pino was annoyed that the two would not even grant his rider a stage win after letting him do the work. "Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong did the work and let the others win. Here, they don't even let the small riders win."

    It is a sentiment that was not entirely shared by Contador. "The stage yesterday was enough, I really didn't think about the win today. I was interested in the gaps to my rivals in the overall. But if you can get a stage win it is even better. I have a lot of supporters here."

    Like yesterday, the chants "Contador – Contador – Contadooooor" were still echoing through the mountains long after the Spaniard had stepped off the podium for the fourth time and final time in his individual efforts (stage win, yellow jersey, white jersey, blue jersey).

    Instead, he explained that the decision was taken at the last possible moment. "We talked with the team car and they told us to go take the opportunity." Contador didn't think there was a problem. "Mosquera just wanted to ride and take time out of his rivals. He needed to gain time to get closer to the podium and that's what he did."

    Mosquera is now only 54 seconds off Sastre's third place spot. It is for that reason that Contador thought Xacobeo Galicia would not be too angry about it. "If the team of Mosquera is a bit upset, it is not too much, because they wanted to take...

  • Contador tightens grip on Vuelta

    Contador enjoys another day in the golden jersey.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Fuentes de Invierno

    By Bjorn Haake in Fuentes de Invierno Alberto Contador threw another punch at his rivals when he...

    By Bjorn Haake in Fuentes de Invierno

    Alberto Contador threw another punch at his rivals when he went clear of Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) in the final kilometres of stage 14 in the Vuelta a España on Sunday. Contador and Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer sat on Mosquera's wheel, who was desperately trying to put time into Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) in the heated battle for the third podium spot.

    The first two places are firmly in the hand of Astana, with Leipheimer trailing Contador by 1:17. Leipheimer has a comfortable margin of 2:24 over current third-placed Sastre. Contador elegantly described the Astana's stranglehold on the race. "The team knows how to control a race."

    Astana had indeed everything under control. They let the break of the day get away just far enough to make for a decent chase, then helped blow the race apart on the final climb up to the Fuentes de Invierno (which translates as 'springs of winter', which wasn't true to its name on this hot day with a clear blue sky). Contador repeated his words from yesterday about being in the drivers' seat.

    "I am very calm in light of the general classification situation." But he cautioned that it isn't over until it is over. "No, I am not the [overall] winner yet. You have to pay attention until the finish line in Madrid is crossed. We have to be careful, there will be lots of attacks." But Contador is happy to let the team control it and let Astana do its work so he can take out the final victory in one week's time.