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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 11, 2013

Date published:
August 11, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Richie Porte: I'm ready to lead Sky at 2014 Giro d'Italia

    Richie Porte (Sky) at the post-Tour criterium in Herentals
    Article published:
    August 10, 2013, 12:12 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Australian looks to lead Sky in Italian grand tour

    Richie Porte (Team Sky) has confirmed that he will take aim at the maglia rosa and the overall title at the Giro d’Italia next year. The Australian, who won Paris-Nice earlier this year before helping Chris Froome win the Tour, believes he is now ready to lead a team in a grand tour. The Giro was Porte's breakthrough race, as he led the event for several days in 2010 before finishing 7th overall and picking up the white jersey.

    “It is definitely planned but we’ve only just finished the Tour so I’ve not looked into it too much. It would be nice to have a goal like that for next year and take on a little bit more responsibility for myself,” he told Cyclingnews from his base in France.

    “I am ready. Winning something like Paris-Nice, which I know is eight days rather than three weeks, it’s essentially the same goal. You try and stay out of trouble and I think this season I’ve shown that I can do well for myself if I’m given the opportunities. It is a big goal.”

    Since the Tour, Porte has competed in the criterium circuit in Belgium and Holland but this week he will head to the United States for a stint of racing that includes the US Pro Challenge and then the two Canadian WorldTour one day races. Unlike last year, the Tasmanian will forgo the Vuelta.

    “Last year I did the Tour and then went straight into the Vuelta but I’m happy not to be going back to back this year, as last year it was too much going back-to-back with grand tours. The Vuelta is a great race but on paper this year it also looks like one of the hardest three week races you can do,” he said.

    “I’ll do Colorado, and I’ll head there this week. I’m looking...

  • Grabsch let go by Omega Pharma-Quick Step

    Bert Grabsch finishes up
    Article published:
    August 10, 2013, 14:04 BST
    José Been

    German on the look out for a new team

    Bert Grabsch will not wear the colours of Omega Pharma-Quick Step next year. The 38-year old German confirmed this to Radsport News. Grabsch was part of the Belgian WorldTour team for two seasons.

    “It didn’t come as a surprise to myself,” Grabsch said. “I was not nominated to ride the Tour de France and after the Tour of Austria they told me I wouldn’t do the Vuelta either. That was a clear sign to me.”

    Grabsch started his career in 1998 with the small German team Agro Adler Brandenburg. After two more years in small German teams, he made the move to Phonak. The rider from East Germany had his biggest victories at T-Mobile where he rode for five seasons from 2007.

    In 2008, in Varese, he won the world time trial title ahead of Svein Tuft and David Zabriskie. All of his big victories were in races against the clock like the 7th stage in the 2007 Vuelta and the 4th stage in the 2009 Dauphine Libéré. He also won the German national time trial titles in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 and came second to Tony Martin in 2012.

    Grabsch doesn’t think of retirement yet. “I am still very motivated and open to a new contract.” His biggest goal this season is the time trial at the world championships in Florence. “I hope the German cycling union will nominate me to ride there. The course suits me.” He is on the shortlist and will hear on September 13 if he will ride the race on September 25.

    Last year in the Netherlands Grabsch finished 36th in the time trial and was not part of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team that took the title in the team time trial. He finished 8th in the Olympic individual time trial.

    “There are offers,” Grabsch told Radsport News, “but I will deal with those after the World Championships. If the offers aren’t good, I will end my career.”

    Grabsch didn’t win for Omega...

  • Reedie lines up to replace Fahey as WADA head

    Newly elected WADA president Australian John Fahey (left) shakes hands with outgoing president Dick Pound
    Article published:
    August 10, 2013, 15:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Brit set to succeed after IOC selection

    Craig Reedie is set to take over from current World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey, who will step down at the end of the year.

    British Olympic official, Reedie was selected by the IOC executive board on Friday, beating off Edwin Moses and Patrick Schamasch to the nomination.

    The vote for the next WADA head takes place in November with Reedie’s victory already a formality. Britain already has one nomination for the head of the UCI in place, with Brian Cookson taking on Pat McQuaid for the chair in Aigle, Switzerland.

    The main challenge ahead of Reedie will be to establish credibility in clean sport. Cycling has been hit by a number of damaging revelations since the USADA report last year, while the UCI. It’s not the only sport to have faced negative headlines, with tennis, sport in Australian and now athletics all facing up to positive tests and systematic doping.

    "It is daunting, if you look at the last seven, eight weeks of news," Reedie is reported to have said on the website. "Yes, it is daunting."

    Reedie, 72, is already on WADA's executive committee, and is a former Chairman of the British Olympic Association (1992–2005). He is also still a representative of the International Olympic Committee

  • Creed to debut as team director at Tour of Alberta

    Mike Creed (Optum) following stage one of the Merco Cycling Classic.
    Article published:
    August 10, 2013, 16:35 BST
    Pat Malach

    Recently retired pro to direct Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis

    After announcing his retirement from racing earlier this season, Michael Creed is wasting no time moving into the next phase of his cycling career. The 32-year-old from Colorado Springs will slide behind the wheel of a team car to direct Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis at the upcoming Tour of Alberta in September.

    "I had talked to one of the riders, Adam Myerson, a while back about how I was looking to get into directing," Creed said. "I was having a lot of problems with my back. I've been fighting my back for seven years now, and I just had the feeling it wasn't getting better."

    Creed, one of the most decorated amateur riders in US history, started his pro career in 2000 with 7Up-Colorado Cyclist before moving on to Prime Alliance, US Postal Service, Discovery Channel, Slipstream, Rock Racing, Team Type 1 and finally Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, where he rode from 2011 through this year.

    Following a slow start to a season in which he struggled to finish the handful of races he started, Creed, who is driving the team bus for Optum this week at the Tour of Utah, decided to call it quits as far as racing, but he's not ready to walk away from the sport that has been a focus for more than half of his life.

    "I really enjoy going to races and sharing the knowledge, and I still want to be a part of that," he said. "I saw that Mountain Khakis didn't have a permanent full-time guy, so I just kind of threw that out there. I didn't hear much about it until maybe a month ago, and then things moved rather quickly. I couldn't be more excited."

    The former ProTour rider and multi-time national champion said the switch from saddle to driver's seat is a natural progression that completes a change in attitude that started years ago.

    "My goals shifted, and it was a slow process," Creed said. "In the...

  • Dan Martin heads to Vuelta to lead Garmin's challenge

    He's behind you: Dan Martin checks to see if the group are in pursuit
    Article published:
    August 10, 2013, 23:00 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Irishman confirms he'll lead at Giro in 2014

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) will line up for the Vuelta a Espana later this month as his team’s GC contender, but the Irishman isn’t taking any of that pressure to heart, stating that he’ll take it day-by-day in the race.

    The Irishman, who has picked up a number of high profile wins this season will also lead his country at the Worlds next month before building up for the Giro d’Italia next spring. The 2014 edition of the race will start in Belfast and is only the second time a Grand Tour has visited Martin’s home shores.

    “I’ll be there for GC,” he told Cyclingnews from his base in Girona, Spain.

    “I’ve only done it once and my allergies were bad there, but since my treatment it doesn’t appear to affect me anymore. I guess we’ll find out but I’ll go in with the aim of riding GC but where I differ from most GC guys is that I will take it day-by-day. I prefer to see it as 21 one-day races rather than counting beans and trying to save as much energy,” he said.

    The start in Belfast is a major coup for cycling in Ireland and comes just months before the Tour de France’s start in the United Kingdom.

    “Cycling is Ireland is just getting bigger and bigger. Especially with what happened at the Tour. It’s getting a lot of press, and Irish sport is suffering at the moment, so it’s going to be an interesting May. I just hope the weather is okay.”

    The trip to Belfast is still a long way off however. After recovering from the Tour de France, Martin remained in Spain, training on the roads near his home. He skipped the majority of the post-Tour criteriums as he recovered from the illness that affected the last week of his Tour but is now building up for an assault on the Vuelta.

  • Villumsen closes out 2013 Route de France with overall win

    New Zealand National Time Trial Champion, Linda Villumsen
    Article published:
    August 11, 2013, 2:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling win againla

    Linda Villumsen rounded out Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s dominance at the 2013 Route de France by soloing to the overall victory on the final stage of the race. The win marked Wiggle’s seventh stage win in a row after Giorgia Bronzini had claimed the first six stages of the race in unprecedented fashion. Only Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) produced anything of a challenge having won the opening prologue.

    “It’s been really hard because the courses haven’t been that challenging, really,” Villumsen said at the finish, having won by nearly six minutes from the chase group that included Johansson (Orica-AIS).

    “Everyone’s been trying for a short while, but it’s been a really fast race and hard to get away for any team. Today it was just that bit harder, and that made the difference.”

    Villumsen’s attack came on the toughest part of the stage, with the first seriously hard climb of the race.

    “It was really hard before that as well,” she explained. “We had a few climbs, but that was the steepest one of the day, and when [Stevens] initially attacked I didn’t think I could do that speed. But I looked around and all the others were a bit tired, so I tried to bridge to her and it worked out. Then I just took the downhill at my own speed, and I was alone at the bottom of it.”

    The win marks Villumsen’s second overall title in La Route de France, having taken the crown in 2006.

    “Finally a different person won!” said Wiggle Honda’s directeur sportif Simon Cope. “We knew that this steep climb was coming, and we knew that Stevens would have a go, and she did. Linda went across to her, and then had a little bit of a dig on the descent, because it was technical. So she dropped her on the descent for 40 seconds, and just kept going.”

  • Downing not ready to hang up his bike

    Russell Downing (Team NetApp - Endura)
    Article published:
    August 11, 2013, 9:39 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    First Brit to win at Team Sky reflects on short-lived experience

    The Arctic Race of Norway has put the name of Russell Downing back on the map after he was the most aggressive rider on stage 2.

    After not having raced for seven weeks, the fast man from Doncaster, who now rides for NetApp-Endura, showed that his passion for cycling is intact at the age of 35, even though his condition might not be at the same level as some time ago.

    Downing was the first ever Briton to have won a race for Team Sky: stage 2 of the 2010 Criterium International, in Porto-Vecchio, Corsica, where the British squad launched its second successful Tour de France campaign a month and half ago.

    “That was a good race,” Downing said in a conversation with Cyclingnews in Svolær, Norway.

    “We also won the team time trial at the Tour of Qatar and I was part of that. But my first memory of racing for Team Sky was the criterium in Adelaide prior to the Tour Down Under. As we started our lead out train, everyone was looking at us and we delivered Greg Henderson and CJ Sutton for a 1-2. That was impressive.”

    After more than ten years racing for teams short in budget (from Team Brite Voice in 1998 to CandiTV-Marshall Pasta RT in 2009) in Europe and the US, the popular British rider finally got his opportunity to race at the world’s highest level but his two-year contract was not extended despite his admirable efforts. He made the top 10 (8th) of stage 18 of the 2011 Giro d’Italia when Team Sky didn’t have much more to celebrate.

    “I had a big crash and I felt so much pain but I didn’t want to quit”, he recalled. “I thought that I might not get another chance to ride a Grand Tour. When I didn’t get selected for the Tour of...

  • Cannondale left unhappy after Ratto’s Burgos relegation

    Roux and Daniele Ratto (Cannondale), right before colliding in the finish line
    Article published:
    August 11, 2013, 10:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Roux awarded stage win

    Team Cannodale were left disappointed after Daniele Ratto was relegated from first place at the end of stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos. The win passed to FDJ’s Anthony Roux after Ratto was adjudged to have moved from his original racing line.

    The Italian had thought he’d won fairly and was celebrating when the race jury informed him that they’d awarded Roux with the win.

    The final 300 meters of the stage, which otherwise had been rolling and even comfortable for most of the day, were intricate and narrow, with three turns including a final switchback where the finish line was placed.

    Ratto was first coming into the finale but his move pushed Roux towards the barriers and forced the Frenchman to brake.

    “It’s a big disappointment for Cannondale Pro Cycling after the decision of the jury at Vuelta a Burgos,” said the team’s director sportif Mario Scirea.

    "It's not easy to accept the relegation of Ratto. The video showed that Daniele was following the road. The finish line was placed in bend and he was just turning. He was also reared-end by Roux and this is why his left foot took out of the pedal.”

    "We wanted to watch the video together with the jury but the French judge already took their decisions. We lodged our complaint but it was not useful. It's big pity: from our side Daniele took a regular victory".

    Ratto was relegated to 71st place, while Roux now leads the standings by two seconds, with Simone Ponzi (Astana Pro Team) hot on the Frenchman’s heels.