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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 21, 2011

Date published:
August 21, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Le Mével targets Vuelta a España top ten

    Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo) leads the chase.
    Article published:
    August 20, 2011, 18:36 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carrey

    Frenchman co-leads Garmin-Cervélo with Irish climber Dan Martin

    Christophe Le Mével (Garmin-Cervélo) is aiming for the general classification in his third Vuelta a España participation. “I would like to for a good classification,” he had told Cyclingnews in a video interview at the Tour of Poland recently.

    “With Dan Martin, we can work together to be in the top 10,” he said, and the US team planned has planned that the Irish climber will share the team leadership with the 31-year-old Frenchman.

    Le Mével was 15th in last year’s Vuelta, and since 2009 he’s given sold performances in all of the grand tours in which he’s raced, except for the 2010 Tour de France, a result which was the trigger for his move from FDJ to Garmin.

    The Vuelta’s mountainous parcours is hard but “less than the Giro,” says Le Mével. The Breton-born rider and Swiss resident is particularly excited to discover the ascent of the Angliru, on stage 15. “I like the steep climbs but it’ll be my first time”.

    Next year Le Mével expects to go back to the Tour de France, where he finished 10th in 2009. “I’m French and it’s the best race for me,” he explained. Moreover, he doesn’t intend to race the Giro again, despite his 15th place overall last June. “Every year I have [pollen] allergies at the same period”.
     

  • Vinokourov to resume in Lombardy

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) waves from the Giro del Trentino podium after winning stage one
    Article published:
    August 20, 2011, 19:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Final race for Astana man if all goes to plan

    Alexandre Vinokourov may return to competition at the Tour of Lombardy on October 15 for one last race before he ends his career.

    The Astana rider broke his right femur in a crash during the Tour de France and said he would retire rather than fight to come back from the injury.

    That all changed after a follow-up visit to his surgeon at the Hospital La Pitié Salpêtrière, Professor Yves Catonné, on Friday.

    "The exams revealed that I'm recovering very well from my injury after my crash in last Tour de France. The doctors told me that if I wish, I could start training in the coming days. So, if everything goes well, I may compete for Tour de Lombardie, which is the last race of the season and could be the last race to end my career."

    Vinokourov said he wished to race to help the team gain more points in the UCI teams classification as well as earning qualifying points for the Olympic Games for the Kazakh Federation.

  • Team Sky falters in Vuelta team time trial

    Bradley Wiggins and Sky had a torrid time of it, and could only finish 20th.
    Article published:
    August 20, 2011, 20:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Crash and poor communication hold up Wiggins

    Team Sky kicked off its 2012 Vuelta with a disappointing performance in the team time trial in Benidorm, Spain. The team came into the event amongst the favourites to win the 13.5 kilometer course but a combination of bad luck and poor communication cost the team dearly. They limped home in 20th place. 42 seconds down winners, Leopard Trek.

    Bradley Wiggins, the team’s hope for the GC, was at one point left with three teammates. It meant the team had to sit up and wait, because a team's time is measured on the fifth rider across the line.

    The team’s bad luck began inside the opening kilometre when Kurt-Asle Arvensen crashed, impeding Xabier Zandio. The Spaniard, who will aim to help Wiggins in the mountains, was able to chase back on. Later in the course the team were put in even greater difficulty, dropping down to four riders. It was Zandio who managed to solo across and save Sky’s blushes. His ride allowed Sky to regroup in the run to the finish and cross the line with the minimum number of riders.

    Sports Director Steven de Jongh said on the team’s website that the race had not gone to plan. “It was a really tough start,” he said.

    “We lost Kurt after a kilometre. He came down and so did Zandio. Xabier had to chase down the group after that and then in the final we were down with four guys.

    “A rider sat up and didn’t really understand what was going on. It was tough to hear on the radio with the public shouting so it was a difficult situation. So we are disappointed with the start but we have to look beyond that.”

    Sky wasn’t the only team to suffer on what had looked like a technical but undemanding course along the seafront: Geox-TMC,...

  • Vuelta team time trial has unexpected outcomes

    Nibali and his Liquigas team came out best of the GC contenders
    Article published:
    August 20, 2011, 23:06 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Teams react to technical Benidorm course

    The stage standings of the opening team time trial of the Vuelta a Espana had several teams in unexpected places: teams that have previously dominated the discipline or had high aspirations like Garmin-Cervélo, Team Sky and RadioShack were nowhere near the winners Leopard Trek, while Liquigas-Cannondale, which took 15th in the Tour de France test, came a close second overall.

    Defending Vuelta a Espana champion Vincenzo Nibali was understandably pleased with the performance, which put him on top of all of the main overall contenders.

    "In the first part of the stage, Eros Capecchi and I did most of the work because that's where we could gain time," Nibali said. "It was a risk because it meant losing men who could have been helpful at the end but it was a calculated risk. I'm not surprised because we always do well at team time trials. The Tour de France this year was an exception. It's a good day for me because I've gained time on my adversaries."

    Skil-Shimano held the early fast time in its Vuelta debut, ending the day in seventh overall, a pleasant surprise for the Dutch team. "The tactic was: stay united in the 3km long climb, not take any risk in the downhill and ride flat out on the flat," said team captain Alexandre Geniez. "It was quite simple and it went well for our team. We're happy with our result. This is my first Grand Tour and I mostly want to be competitive in the mountain."

    Several team had mishaps on the technical Benidorm course, with riders from Geox, Saxo Bank, Lampre and Sky crashing and others suffering mechanical issues.

    Two-time Vuelta winner Denis Menchov lost almost 40...

  • Roulston has options despite poor season

    Hayden Roulston (HTC-Highroad) at the start
    Article published:
    August 21, 2011, 2:23 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    HTC-Highroad rider's future in WorldTour undecided

    With the end of the HTC-Highroad team, New Zealander Hayden Roulston is left looking for another team to continue his career, but is undecided as to whether he will be on a ProTeam in 2012. The New Zealand road champion said he has options despite having a less-than-stellar season.

    After winning his national title in January, Roulston was having a great start to the season, helping his teammate Matt Goss to a narrow second at the Tour Down Under and then assisting with two Tour of Oman stage wins.

    When March rolled in, however, the year ground to a halt as the 30-year-old was hit by illness at Tirreno-Adriatico and had to work to get back into form for the Tour of the Basque Country in April.

    "Then I got hit by a car just before I was going to leave for Pais Basque," Roulston said. "It was literally 70m from my house on a really narrow street. You're not really meant to drive on it, and I was riding up the blind side of the street and a car came out of the side. It really took the shoulder out of the socket."

    One of the slowest injuries to heal, a separated shoulder kept Roulston out of competition for two months at a time when his team's future was still uncertain, and every result would count toward a possible future contract.

    "I tried to come back and it was really tough, mentally and physically. I wasn't in a good space in my head and I struggled," Roulston said.

    Finally getting back to competition in June, Roulston was still waiting to hear about whether HTC-Highroad owner Bob Stapleton would find a sponsor to allow the team to continue, but come August the team was done.

    "Everyone thought...

  • Rathe and Howes join Garmin-Cervelo

    Alex Howes (Chipotle Development) in the KOM jersey and working at the front.
    Article published:
    August 21, 2011, 4:27 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Young riders step up from feeder team

    Jacob Rathe and Alex Howes will ride for Garmin-Cervelo in 2012, moving up from the team’s U23 development team. Both riders have penned two-year contracts with Jonathan Vaughters’ WorldTour team.

    Both riders were awarded the deals after the Tour of Portugal where both riders performed well and in which Rathe won a stage.

    "Jacob has just been a consistent performer all year. He started out riding well at the beginning of the year. Then he was third at the U23 Paris-Roubaix and then at the nationals he was again one of the strongest guys. He didn’t win but he helped a teammate win so he was right there," said Vaughters.

    "Wining a stage at the Tour of Portugal sealed the deal. You can get lucky once in a race and pop into form but when you perform day in day out like he has been then that’s talent. That’s not a fluke."

    Rathe will join up with the professionals at end of the season. Next season he will compete in a number of one day races, with Vaughters of the opinion that he could be a strong Classics rider. Howes, who Cyclingnews featured last month, has been part of Sliptream’s ranks 2007 and has risen from the junior ranks. He has performed well in a number of stage races this year.

    Vaughters has a number of places to fill for 2012. Thor Hushovd is the biggest departure in name but the majority of the Australian wing are also set to leave. Alex Rasmussen has been brought in to strengthen the team, along with Sebastian Rosseler.

    Rathe and Howes may...

  • Gesink needs to enjoy Colorado experience

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) is having a difficult Tour de France
    Article published:
    August 21, 2011, 6:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rabobank trainer says USA Pro Cycling Challenge will be a test

    Rabobank's Robert Gesink returns to racing this week at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, following his disappointing Tour de France campaign where he finished 33rd overall.

    The Dutchman crashed heavily during the Tour's fifth stage and struggled through the remaining two weeks of racing, admitting that the result ‘wasn't much fun' but it's hoped that the high-altitude event in Colarado will bring both a change of luck and in mood.

    After making it to Paris, Gesink escaped to Scotland for a few days to "recharge the batteries" before resuming training again back home in the Netherlands.

    "Because this is Robert's first race since the Tour, he should just be happy to go for it," explained Rabobank trainer Louis Delahaye to website Rabosport.nl, who accompanied the team to Colarado. "There is a very strong field at the start, with, among others, Basso, Evans and Schleck. We will also see if he is fully recovered the physical limitations of the Tour de France. "

    Admitting that Gesink will find the demanding parcours tough going, Delahaye said that the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was a good place for the 25-year-old to re-boot his season ahead of the Giro di Lombardia in October.

    "For Robert, it is important that he enjoy sitting on the bike every day," he said.

    Rabobank take on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge with a team of six men after stagiaire Marc Goos, who was the general classification winner of the Vuelta Ciclista a Leon earlier this month, fractured his hip.

     

  • Fuglsang follows in Michaelsen's footsteps at Vuelta a España

    Jakob Fuglsang donned the red leader's jersey
    Article published:
    August 21, 2011, 10:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Leopard Trek rider becomes second Dane to hold overall lead

    Jakob Fuglsang became the second Dane to lead the Vuelta a España following Leopard Trek’s victory in the opening team trial in Benidorm on Saturday, but he admitted that it was not planned that he would lead the squad over the line at the finish.

    “I was at the front with about 200 metres left and I just went as fast as I could,” Fuglsang said according to feltet.dk. “I really thought someone would pass me but there wasn’t anybody.

    “Our goal today was simply to do a good time trial. We knew if we did a good time trial we could win. This is a really special moment for the team - and for me, to pull on the leader’s jersey at the Grand Tour, that’s amazing.”

    Fittingly, the first Dane to lead the Vuelta was in the team car behind Fuglsang and his teammates. Lars Michaelsen, now a sports director at Leopard Trek, won the opening stage of the Vuelta in Estoril, Portugal in 1997.

    Michaelsen, who was riding for TVM, enjoyed two spells and four days in the then-yellow jersey of race leader during the opening week of the race, before losing it definitively to Laurent Jalabert on the road to Granada.

    “Until today, I was the only Danish rider to have worn the leader’s jersey at the Vuelta,” Michaelsen said. “In 1997, I won the first stage and held on to the jersey for four days. It has been longer than I thought it would be that somebody would come and take the jersey. It’s a nice experience to be part of passing along the leader’s jersey to the second Danish rider to wear it.”

    Although an early crash that saw Davide Viganò and Robert Wagner go down reduced Leopard Trek to seven riders for the bulk of...