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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 19, 2012

Date published:
August 19, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Kiryienka to Sky for three years

    Vasili Kiryienka
    Article published:
    August 18, 2012, 16:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Belarus rider leaves Movistar after four years

    Vasil Kiryienka has signed to ride with Team Sky for the next three seasons, according to The Belarus rider has been with Movistar for the last four years.

    The 31-year old rode with Tinkoff Credit in 2007 and 2008, before moving to Caisse d'Epargne in 2009. 

    He had his breakthrough year in 2011, when he won stages at the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, as well as the overall title in the Route du Sud. He also won a stage in the Giro in 2008.

    Kiryienka has no wins this season but finished sixth overall in the Criterium du Dauphine.

  • Castroviejo celebrates breakthrough lead in Vuelta

    First race leader Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Movistar)
    Article published:
    August 18, 2012, 22:58 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard is first rider home in big home win for Movistar

    Movistar had numerous reasons for celebrating its victory in the Vuelta a Espana's opening team time trial on Saturday. Apart from being based in Pamplona ever since the team first came into being as Reynolds in the early 1980s, it was also Spain's first victory in a team time trial in a Grand Tour since 2003. Reynolds later became Banesto, then Caisse D'Epargne.

    As for Jonathan Castroviejo he is well-known locally in Pamplona, coming from Getxo in nearby Bilbao, just 90 minutes away by car. And although Castroviejo does have a win in a Tour of Romandie prologue from 2011 in his palmares, leading the Vuelta and a Grand Tour for the first time in his career is a huge step forward for the 25-year-old, a time trial specialist who took second in the Spanish national's this summer and ninth in the Olympic time trial.

    "We did very well considering we lost two riders early on and thought the differences would be much smaller, maybe one or two seconds," Castroviejo said afterwards.

    "There wasn't anything decided about who would cross the line first, I was on the front by chance. But I'm very happy to be in the lead."

    "Winning here at home for Movistar is something really significant. We knew the route well and that made a big difference for all of us, but on a personal level I'm having a good August, too."

    "I did well in the Olympics and Eneco [where he took sixth overall] and I'm here to help the team, but this is a very special moment for me."

    Asked about the searing heat - which was above 40 degrees (Celsius) late into the evening, Castroviejo said he didnt' think it was a factor. "Everybody's been here since Wednesday, so they've all had to deal...

  • Contador satisfied with technical Vuelta opening

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 1:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Ice vests used to combat heat following TTT

    Alberto Contador was happy with the performance of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank during the first stage, a team time trial, at this year’s Vuelta a España. His team was the second-to-last to leave the starting house and despite losing 14 seconds to Movistar, Contador was pleased to get through the technical course without any problems.

    "We did a very, very good time. We have to be happy, the team has given everything and whatever the result, I am very happy with the team and its motivation," Contador said at the finish.

    Contador was the first Saxo Bank-Tinkoff rider across the line with his team ending the night with the seventh fastest time. Four riders finished with the former Vuelta winner, including Daniel Navarro, Sergio Paulinho, Bruno Pires and Rafal Majka. The narrow and twisting course meant few teams finished with more than five riders, whilst a number encountered problems along the route.

    "I heard there was a fall and involved several riders including Gasparoto and Tiralongo, but Sky has also had problems," Contador said.

    The heat is always a factor at the Vuelta but the days leading up to the start were extremely difficult. Having the TTT held during the early evening made the conditions a little easier for the riders however, Contador and his teammates were quick to put on ice vests before riding back to the hotel nearby.

    "I had not seen them for a long time and although it was only 16 kilometers, in a three week tour every day is important and so I'm very happy. Now we have to go home and recover, tomorrow will be a very demanding day," he said.

    "I am grateful and from here I thank everyone who has been...

  • USA Pro Challenge contenders expect another tight GC contest

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin) working hard on the climb
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 3:20 BST
    Peter Hymas

    Vande Velde: It's going to be nickels and dimes all week

    While the USA Pro Challenge parcours is considered tougher than its 2011 inaugural edition, with likely only one stage for the sprinters and more than 42,000 feet (12,800m) of climbing over its 682.7 mile (1,098.7km) parcours, the general classification contenders expect the final yellow jersey will be decided by a mere handful of seconds.

    In 2011 Levi Leipheimer beat runner-up Christian Vande Velde by 11 seconds overall, with Tejay van Garderen rounding out the podium at 17 seconds. Speaking at the pre-race press conference on the Fort Lewis College campus in Durango, defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) expected a similar GC scenario this year.

    "It's going to be difficult because there's not a lot of opportunities to gain time, but there's a lot of opportunities to lose time," said Leipheimer. "You need a strong team and clearly BMC and Garmin have brought strong teams. We have the utmost respect for everybody in this race."

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) admitted to being caught off guard on the opening road stage of the 2011 edition, where Levi Leipheimer prevailed on the punchy final climb to Mt. Crested Butte, and stated that's it's all about maintaining consistency throughout the upcoming seven stages.

    "I think it's going to be nickel and dimes all throughout the week," said Vande Velde. "Like Levi said, you're not going to gain a lot of time but you can lose a lot of time. Levi took all of his time out of me on that first day last year in Crested Butte and that was...

  • Orica-GreenEdge tackling Vuelta with multiple objectives

    Cameron Meyer talks to the audience.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 5:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Team focussing on stage wins and rider development

    After a mid-field result in the opening team time trial at the Vuelta a España team director Neil Stephens said his Orica-GreenEdge squad had performed to expectations. The Australian-registered team has achieved two WorldTour TTT wins this season at Tirreno-Adriatico and Eneco Tour however, most of those riders are not racing the Vuelta and as such, the tactics were different compared to aiming for the win.

    "We’ve prioritized other goals for this race. Our guys will do their best here, and I imagine we’ll finish around mid-field. Anything more would be a highly successful day for us," said Stephens.

    The team finished with five riders and was led across the line by Allan Davis - 33 seconds down on the stage winning team Movistar. The team played it safe along the technical route and took few risks over the 16.5km course. The team’s general classification hopes remained intact with Cameron Meyer crossing the line along with Simon Clarke, Wesley Sulzberger and Daniel Teklehaymanot - who is making his Grand Tour debut along with a number of his teammates.

    "We started out well," noted Stephens. "In situations like this, teams can get too eager in the first half. We paced ourselves exactly right, and we were able to carry that pace throughout our effort."

    "Obviously, when you’re not up for the stage win, you don’t take any risks. We didn’t blow through the corners. We did what we needed to do to stay safe," said Stephens.

    "Daniel's inclusion into our Vuelta squad is a crucial step in his development," explained Stephens. "He has become...

  • BMC arrive at USA Pro Cycling Challenge with talented roster

    Taylor Phinney talks to the media at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 7:25 BST
    Pat Malach

    Van Garderen for the overall, Phinney eyeing final TT

    BMC Racing has assembled a talented roster for the second year of the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, but local riders Tejay van Garderen and Taylor Phinney have especially big plans for next week

    Van Garderen, who placed third in Colorado last year and recently won the best young rider competition in the Tour de France with a fifth-place overall finish, said he is most defeinitely here to win the USA Pro Cycling Challenge this year.

    "Absolutely," van Garderen, 24, said Saturday at the pre-race press conference. "That's the goal. That's what I'm here to do. We have a strong team around me, and I think we have a good shot. We're all motivated, but it's going to be a big challenge, and it will be hard to do."

    Joining van Garderen and Phinney on the start line Monday in Durango will be 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, Mathias Frank, Ivan Santaromita, Michael Schär and recent Tour of Utah winner Johann Tschopp.

    Phinney said he plans to work for van Garderen throughout the week of racing, but he will also look for his own chances, especially during the final-stage individual time trial in Denver.

    "For sure, yeah," Phinney, 22, said of his hopes to make splash in on the final stage. "I mean it's nine miles, 15 km on the final day in Denver. It's going to be a spectacle. And it's a...

  • Nibali, Basso and Duggan headline Liquigas-Cannondale in Colorado

    2012 has been a huge year for Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 8:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Moser looking to continue his "incredible season"

    Vincenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso are making their return to racing after completing the Tour de France for their Liquigas-Cannondale team. Nibali was chosen to be part of the Italian national team for the London Olympic Games road race after his third-place at the Tour de France, while the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will be Basso’s first competitive day since riding into Paris almost a month ago.

    Both Italians have stated their competitive intentions for the seven-day race however, altitude and lack of race rhythm will factor into their ability to stay with the best.

    "I’ve recovered from the exertion of the Tour, I’m still lack a bit of racing rhythm. Nevertheless I’m still determined to make my mark and also support my teammates," said Basso prior to the start of the tour.

    "I expect to have a big end to the season and want to achieve major new goals," said Nibali. "Colorado is the right race for getting back into the swing of competitive riding. This is my first race for a while so I’m not making any predictions, but I’m certainly not here just to go for a spin. It’s a difficult parcours and I love new challenges," he said.

    Nibali will likely be the top contender for the overall classification however the team brings a number of riders who will also look to make their mark over the coming days. One of this year’s standouts from Liquigas-Cannondale is Moreno Moser. The 21-year-old has taken a number of impressive victories this year including...

  • Confidence high at Rabobank after Vuelta opener

    The Rabobank team had a long wait but were eventually pushed down by Movistar
    Article published:
    August 19, 2012, 10:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Team time trial third place a good start for Dutch oufit

    While Rabobank's placing in Saturday's opening team trial at the 2012 Vuelta a Espana was in some ways agonising - they led for around an hour before being beaten by Movistar, who were the last team out on the road - the result has set things up nicely for the Dutch team, who have brought a strong-looking squad to Spain.

    Bauke Mollema and Robert Gesink have ambitions of making at least the top ten in the overall GC and Lars Boom and Matti Breschel will fancy their chances in the sprint stages. All nine riders proved their well being in Pamplona yesterday and it was a performance that suggested that Rabobank will be a force to be reckoned with.

    When the stage ended, Rabobank was ultimately bumped from second to third place, as Vuelta organizers made a correction in the timing -- although the team thought it was at first the winner and then the second-placed.

    “Second is obviously a shame, considering how long we sat on the hot seats," Mollema, who finished fourth overall at last year's Vuelta and won the points classification, told the Rabobank website.

    "[But] Beforehand, you’re hoping for such a good result. We leave a lot of the most important GC riders behind us. Of course second place is a pity, considering how long we sat on the hot seat. But we started off well. This is a good place to start. It was something else to be sitting in that stadium. We saw everyone finishing below us. And when Sky rode by with a worse time, we knew we had achieved a good result. This does boost our confidence.”

    Boom echoed Mollema's comments, and revealed that the team were surprised to be faster than some of the other more fancied teams, including Team Sky.

    "We rode well," he...