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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 12, 2012

Date published:
August 12, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Olympic gold medalist Hansen has Tour potential

    Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark) in full flight in the kilometre.
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 8:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Coach says he could be like Bradley Wiggins

    Recent Olympic omnium champion Lasse Norman Hansen could be the next Bradley Wiggins says Danish U23 coach Morten Bennekou. Wiggins built his career on the track and recently became Great Britain’s most successful Olympian when he won the time trial at the London Olympics.

    "I certainly would not deny that he [Hansen] will one day be like Bradley Wiggins, who was also fantastic on the track and now has won the Tour de France. He went from being a fast rider to be a climber, and Lasse could also follow this path," said Bennekou to

    Hansen is only 20-years-old and while his country’s coaches and staff see him destined for a prosperous career on the road, he’s not ready to step up to the professionals yet.

    "It is the track that created the rider that I am now. Of course I would like to hear what they have to offer out there, but basically I'm going to say no to everything. I'm not ready either mentally or physically to enter the professional scene yet," said Hansen.

    Hansen’s surprise win in the omnium was secured during a standout performance during the 15km scratch race when he finished in the front group which took a lap on the main field. This was made all the more special as he was involved in high-speed fall half way through the race.

    "He is gifted with a great motor and a tremendous spirit, and he has high resistance to lactic acid. It's also why everyone many teams are interested in him," says director of the Danish Cycling Union, Jesper Worre."

    Hansen has been linked with Bjarne Riis’ Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank...

  • Samuel Sanchez returns to action in San Sebastian

    Spain's Samuel Sanchez in relaxed mood at the 2012 Tour de France
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 11:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Euskaltel-Euskadi rider recovered from Tour crash injuries

    Samuel Sanchez is ready to return to racing after injuries forced him out of the both the Tour de France and the 2012 London Olympics. The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider will take on the Clasica San Sebastian on August 14.

    Sanchez crashed in the eighth stage of the Tour.  He suffered fractures to his right hand and left shoulder blade. Immediately after the crash he vowed to ride in the Olympics and defend his gold medal in the road race. However, after getting back on his bike a week after the crash, he was forced to renounce his plans, “one of the toughest decisions of his successul career,” as the team press release said.

    Having rested and recovered from the injuries, Sanchez resumed training on August 3 and is now ready to race again. He will not ride the Vuelta a Espana but will prepare for the World Championships in Valkenberg, Netherlands.

    Sanchez will be supported in San Sebastian by Igor Antón, Gorka Izagirre, Mikel Astarloza, Amets Txurruka, Mikel Landa, Ivan Velasco and Romain Sicard. Izagirre is coming off a successful Tour de France and Anton is preparing for the Vuelta.

  • Contador loving life back on the road

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) is building towards the Vuelta a Espana.
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 12:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard "very happy" after five stages of Eneco Tour

    After five completed stages of his long-awaited comeback to cycling, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) has declared himself satisfied with his performance at the Eneco Tour as he prepares to tackle the individual time trial on Saturday afternoon.

    Contador lies in 49th position in the overall general classification with two stages to go in Belgium and Holland. It is his first competitive race back on the circuit following the expiry of his six-month ban for a positive test for clenbuterol. He reserved special praise for the fans in Belgium and Holland, stating that he was happy with the support that they have given him.

    "The balance is very, very good," Contador told Marca. "I am delighted with the public and I feel at home in the Netherlands and in Belgium. There have been moments of danger in the race, especially at the finishes as the roads are narrow and everyone want to be at the front."

    Contador is using the WorldTour race as a warm up for the Vuelta a Espana, which starts in Pamplona on August 18. Having missed the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France because of his ban, the 29-year-old Spaniard will be looking to perform well in 2012's final grand tour and win it for the second time in his career. But he admits that Saturday's time trial will be a struggle for him as he looks to build his fitness.

    "There are riders who are in better shape," he said. "They have the speed that at present I do not have. But competing is the best training and I am hopeful of putting in a good trial."

  • Kyer exceeding expectations in Utah

    Julian Kyer (Juwi Solar) riding to second place in the TT.
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 15:00 BST
    Pat Malach

    Boulder native limbering up for Tour of Colorado

    Julian Kyer thought he was going to have to flee his home state of Colorado at the end of August. The 24-year-old from Boulder was afraid that watching the USA Pro Cycling Challenge roll through the state Aug. 20-26 without being able to participate would be too much to bear. Now the newest Bissell Pro Cycling Team rider is planning how to attack the race that once seemed out of the question this year.

    “I didn't even consider that as a possibility,” Kyer said this week at the Tour of Utah, where he is riding with his new Bissell team and sits 13th overall after four stages. “So just the fact that I get to do it is massive.”

    Although he only recently signed with Bissell through the end of the season, Kyer is no stranger to pro cycling. He rode for the former Trek-Livestrong team in 2009 and 2010, and then moved on to the Kelly Benefit Strategies team in 2011 when he aged out of the U23 development team. But Kyers' time at Kelly Benefit Strategies was short-lived and disappointing. He didn't get enough results to be asked back for a second year.

    “Last year I was anemic all year, and I didn't know until two days before USPro, basically,” he said. “I just couldn't get out of my own way last year, and I didn't earn my keep.”

    After failing to secure a contract with any UCI Continental team for 2012, Kyer signed with Colorado's Juwi Solar squad, a USA Cycling Domestic Elite amateur team that allowed him to compete in NRC races. For a rider who shined throughout his junior career and during his years with the Trek-Livestrong, stepping back to the amateur level was a bit of a blow. But Kyer used the disappointment to push himself back to the top.

    “Because I was a new rider and low on the totem pole, I'm not sure [Kelly Benefit Strategies] realized what a hole I was in,” he said. “They...

  • Slovenian Kump to Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank for a year

    Marko Kump (Adria Mobil)
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 16:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Youngster to bolster team's Classics faction

    Marko Kump will ride for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank for one year, the team has announced. The 23-year-old Slovenian will strengthen the Danish team's Spring Classics faction.

    Kump “is a strong all-rounder but excels in the tougher one-day races,” the team press release said.  In 2010 he won the U23 Tour of Flanders.

    The Slovenian has ridden for his homeland-based Continental-ranked team Adria Mobil from 2007 to 2010, and again this year. In 2011, he was with Geox-TMC. This season he leads the UCI Europe Tour, having won eight UCI races so far in 2012.

    "Marko is without a doubt a very talented guy, who I believe can grow into a great Spring Classics rider, but also make results in smaller stage races,” said team owner Bjarne Riis. “He is powerful, he is strong in hilly courses and also strong on the finish line. At the same time Marko has really impressed me this year, and I look forward to have him on the team.”

    "I'm just very excited and happy about this new opportunity and the fact that I'm going to ride for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank next year. It's a great team, so this is a dream come true. I really believe this is the best decision for me, when I think about my future development as a rider," Kump said.

  • Stybar makes grand tour debut in Vuelta a España

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) put in a massive effort to take a solo win in Cassel
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 18:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep also looks to Tony Martin in time trials

    Zdenek Stybar will make his Grand Tour debut next week at the Vuelta a España. The race will also see Tony Martin working on his return to top form, and as he helps Omega Pharma-QuickStep in the opening team time trial at the three-week Spanish race.

    The Belgian team announced its squad for the Vuelta on Saturday afternoon, with sports director Davide Bramati saying, "This year the race will be hard, with 13 stages considered medium or high mountain finishes. In the team we have good climbers, but also a rider as Steegmans who can be competitive in the six flat stages."

    Stybar is a former cross country world champion, who has concentrated on the road the last two years. This season he has won stages at the Four Days of Dunkirk and the Tour of Poland. "It will be important for him to gain confidence," in his first Grand Tour, Bramati said.

    Martin abandoned the Tour de France after breaking a bone in his hand early on, although he continued on through the ninth stage. The reigning world champion won the silver medal in the London Olympic time trial. In addition to seeing what he can do at the opening team time trial and the later individual time trial, "He could make another important step to returning to his top level, even in the mountains, after the fracture he suffered during the Tour."

    The team will also be looking to Dario Cataldo, Serge Pauwels and Kevin De Weert for GC positions. "The objective of the team will be to try to win at least a stage, and put our guys for the classification in the best possible position at the end of the race," Bramati said.

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep for the Vuelta a España: Dario Cataldo (Ita), Kevin De Weert...

  • Capecchi and Szmyd sign for Movistar

    Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale), followed by teammate Sylvester Szmyd, sets the pace on the Passo Pordoi.
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 20:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Liquigas duo pen two-year deals with Spanish outfit

    Movistar announced the signing of Liquigas-Cannondale's Eros Capecchi and Sylwester Szmyd. The pair have both signed two-year contracts with the Spanish team and will join at the end of the current season.

    Szmyd is known as a mountain strongman and at the age of 34, he is one of the most experienced and respected climbers in the peloton. Next season will be his 12th as a professional and the Pole will be charged with assisting Movistar's leaders Alejandro Valverde and Juan Jose Cobo at the Grand Tours over the next two years.

    Capecchi is eight years younger than Szmyd, and the Italian is currently in his second spell with Liquigas. He has four professional victories on his palmares, with the most notable being a stage win at the 2011 Giro d'Italia.

    Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué has welcomed the addition of the two riders to the team roster and stated that he was looking forward to working with them.

    "Szmyd has shown for many years that he is one of the best-equipped riders in the mountains and his incorporation is going to come in handy," he said. "Capecchi's talent still has considerable scope for progression and I hope that he may be able to achieve some important goals."

  • Thomas doesn’t want the Olympics Games to end

    Prologue winner Geraint Thomas (Sky) dons the leader's jersey at the Tour de Romandie.
    Article published:
    August 12, 2012, 1:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Returning to London for Closing Ceremony

    It may have been a little more than a week since the men’s Great Britain squad claimed the gold medal in the team pursuit but for Geraint Thomas, he’s yet to truly appreciate what he and his teammates have achieved. Thomas put aside his ambitions to return to the Tour de France this year so he could concentrate solely on the track. It’s a decision he does not regret.

    "When I was a kid, I dreamt of winning the Olympics one day. Now I am a double gold medallist and it just feels crazy. Even saying it out loud does not seem right," Thomas wrote on the BBC Sport website.

    "My experiences in London have definitely made it worthwhile sacrificing a year on the road with Team Sky to come here, and it confirmed what I already knew - the Olympics are huge and it is amazing to be part of something I grew up watching on TV," he said.

    Thomas and his teammates missed both the Opening and Closing Ceremony's at the Beijing Games but this time around, despite leaving London for a few days to return to his home town of Cardfiff, Thomas will be in the Olympic city when the Games comes to an end on Sunday night.

    "I think it's important to do that. The London Games for me are not just about going out there, competing and going for gold. It is important to soak up the whole occasion as well, because it is a once in a lifetime moment to compete in your home Olympics. I got goosebumps when I went into the athlete's village," Thomas said.

    There will be a few more road races for Thomas before he is able to take a break in October and while his success on the...