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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 23, 2009

Date published:
August 23, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Cooke deflated by Plouay finish

    World champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), right, and French national champion Christelle Ferrier-Bruneau await the start of the GP de Plouay-Bretagne.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 8:10 BST
    Ben Atkins

    Puncture put Briton out of the picture

    Despite being visibly one of the strongest riders, Great Britain's world and Olympic champion Nicole Cooke was prevented from fighting for a podium spot behind compatriot Emma Pooley by a problem in the closing stages.

    "I couldn't [sprint], I had a rear puncture," she told Cyclingnews afterwards.

    "Well, I was ready to do a good sprint and at least get a measure of where I was with my sprinting and I'm really disappointed that as I punctured with a kilometre to go I couldn't even contest the sprint. Normally I want to give my best but today I couldn't because of a mechanical, but at least I was there and got something for the hard work I'd put in anyway."

    "I think the climbs were decisive rather than the wind," she said of the conditions on the course. She herself had launched a solo chase of Pooley inside the final lap, but although she managed to cut the gap in half - to less than 40 seconds - she was unable to close it completely and was forced to wait for what became the remains of the chase group.

    "They gave me the time checks," she said, confirming that she was aware of just how much she was gaining on the lone Cervélo rider, "but I knew that I had to measure my effort on the course, and the first part was just establishing my gap and then getting into my rhythm."

    Despite the disappointment of the race finale, Cooke's own form as well as the performance of other Britons in the race, most notably Pooley and the recent return from injury of Sharon Laws gives Cooke real cause for optimism for the defence of her world title in Mendriso, Switzerland, in less than five weeks' time.

    "Yeah, I think so; it's good," she agreed.

  • Cervélo teamwork wins out in Plouay

    Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) during her solo break, which lasted over 50 kilometres.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 8:18 BST
    Ben Atkins

    Bruins brutal on potential usurpers

    Emma Pooley's win in the GP de Plouay-Bretagne was as much a testament to the teamwork of the Cervélo TestTeam as it was the Briton's fantastic attack during the race. She was able to build and maintain her lead with such apparent ease thanks to strong support from her teammates behind in the peloton.

    Even after being one of the more active teams in the early stages, once Pooley had escaped anyone who tried to follow was immediately marked by one of her teammates, particularly Regina Bruins and Claudia Hausler.

    Despite a first lap crash that left her blooded and bruised on both sides, Bruins spent much of the latter half of the race responding to and stifling moves from a number of riders including previous winners Noemi Cantele and Nicole Brändli (both Bigla) and Marianne Vos (DSB Bank - Nederland Bloeit) as well as team efforts from Great Britain and Australia.

    "I had to cover all the attacks," Bruins told Cyclingnews immediately after the finish. "I was surprised about my own performance, and I followed attacks. Unfortunately I was not strong enough to go with Nicole Cooke but I think we did a very good job and Emma is a very good climber - the best in the World I think.

    "It's only possible when you have a good team together; it's not only me because in the first part Emilie [Aubry] and Lieselot [Decroix] also did a good job. Then you can do it together and then you can do this; so for Emma it's perfect and she is a super rider."

    Hausler was active in attacking a number of times and it could easily have been the young German that got away instead of Pooley. Once her teammate had escaped though, she joined Bruins in the frustration of any would be pursuit. The attacks though, as she explained, had been made a little earlier than usual due to the inclement conditions in the race's mid section.

    "Our plan was to attack a little later," she explained, "but the weather was like this [wind and...

  • Armstrong expects a 'Classic day'

    Lance Armstrong (Astana) in conversation with the announcer at the start of stage one.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 9:21 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Big battle expected on final stage of Tour of Ireland

    Astana rider Lance Armstrong is one of 22 riders still in contention for the overall win in the Tour of Ireland, which concludes today. The race reaches its finale on the streets of Cork city and there's a tough finishing circuit - which includes three ascents of the legbreaking St. Patrick's Hill plus two other climbs - is certain to shatter the main field.

    Sitting 20th overall, 26 seconds back, Armstrong told reporters after stage two, "Tomorrow will be tough, very tough. I suspect the field will get small very quickly, especially with circuits. If guys are not having a good day they will just pull in and take a shower. If the weather turns hard like it is supposed to do, it will be hard. It will be a Classic day."

    After two days of sun, the riders woke up to a wet morning and the forecast is that rain could well be in store for Cork. The effects of that on the steep climbs and tight, twisting bends will make things even more difficult than expected, with riders potentially being forced to stay seated to avoid wheelspins.

    Sean Kelly did precisely that when he won the last of his four Nissan Classic titles in 1991. On that day there were also stormy conditions and he broke clear with Sean Yates on the run in to Cork.

    Race leader Russell Downing will have a sense of déjà vu after also holding the lead going into the final stage last year, but he will hope that things turn out differently this time round. He also had a number of riders to watch then and on the last of four laps, Columbia rider Marco Pinotti surged clear and eked out an advantage sufficient to win the race.

    CandiTV Marshall's Pasta rider Downing has more riders to keep an eye on and lacks a strong team. However one thing is in his favour; there are just three finishing laps this year.

    "I hope I can hold on. They have reduced the circuit by one lap so if that was the case last year, I would have kept the jersey," said Downing. "It's...

  • Farrar surprises himself with hold on Eneco lead

    Race leader Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) won his third stage of the Eneco Tour.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 11:26 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Garmin rider pleased with overall performance at Benelux Tour

    Tyler Farrar defied even his own expectations as he maintained and extended his overall race lead at the Eneco Tour with his third stage win of the race on Saturday. The American admitted after his win in an uphill sprint in Libramont, Belgium, that he had expected to lose the race lead on the stage's hilly profile.

    "I was certain I would lose my leader's jersey today," Farrar told De Telegraaf after the stage. "The hills were difficult, but not steep enough for me to lose contact."

    Farrar highlighted his sprint versatility on the final ascent to the line as he triumphed in a photo finish ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) and Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-N.G.C). The win added to victories by Farrar on stages one and two of the Benelux race.

    The stage, which had taken the peloton through the Wallonie region of Belgium, had been punctuated by nine short, punchy climbs. Farrar said he was surprised with his performance, though with another 16 climbs on Sunday's stage five was realistic about his chances of defending the jersey to the end of the race on Tuesday in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

    "I go from day-to-day. Tomorrow we have another difficult stage. Today I surprised myself, so I am not saying that it is impossible. But I don't think I would consider myself to be one of the big favourites [for the overall]. Whatever happens, it has already been a great race"

    Victory on stage four also gave Farrar a ten-second bonus in the overall classification. He now holds a 20-second lead over fellow sprinter Tom Boonen and is a further three seconds ahead of third-placed Boasson Hagen.

    The Eneco Tour heads back into the Netherlands on Sunday for the fifth stage of the race. The peloton will compete on roads used for the Amstel Gold race, including an ascent of the Cauberg early in the stage.

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  • Engels extends contract with Quick Step

    Addy Engels (Quick.Step)
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 11:59 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dutch rider to ride for sixth year with Belgian team

    Addy Engels has extended his contract with Quick Step through the 2010 season.

    The 32-year-old Dutchman has been with the Belgian team since 2005. While Engels has not recorded any professional victories during his nine-year career, he is a strong climber and one of the team's key domestiques.

    Engels won the Dutch under-23 road title in 1998 and began his professional career with with Rabobank in 2000. He then rode for Bankgiroloterij for a year before joining Quick Step in 2005.

    He is currently racing at the Eneco Tour, where he is 110th, 28:43 behind race leader Tyler Farrar.

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  • Bichot to join BBox Bouygues Telecom in 2010

    Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) wins the opening stage of Paris-Correze.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 12:17 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Feillu brothers linked with Vacansoleil

    Freddy Bichot will join BBox Bouygues Telecom in 2010 after three seasons with Agritubel. The Frenchman becomes the latest rider to leave Agritubel as the team prepares to withdraw from professional cycling at the end of the current season.

    L'Equipe reports that the 29-year-old has signed on with Jean-René Bernaudeau's squad. For Bichot, it will be the third French team he has ridden for during his career. He began racing professionally with South African outfit Barloworld in 2003 before joining Française des Jeux, where he had earlier served as a stagiaire, in 2004.

    This year, Bichot has had his best season to date. He won a stage and finished second overall at this year's Paris-Correze. In 2005 he was the winner of the overall at Etoile de Bessèges.

    He has joined Brice and Romain Feillu as the latest departures from Agritubel. French website Cyclismag reported on Thursday that the Feillu brothers will join Dutch squad Vacansoleil in 2010.

    Brice Feillu won stage seven of this year's Tour de France from Barcelona to Andorra-Arcalis.

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  • Homesick Roche builds on post-Tour form in France

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 13:31 BST
    Ben Atkins

    Irish champion hopefull of strong performance at Grand Prix Ouest-France

    Nicolas Roche will wear the jersey of the Irish national champion at today’s Grand Prix Ouest-France, although he admitted to a level of dissapointment that the ProTour event had seen him miss out on his home race, the Tour of Ireland. However, with his French squad, AG2R-La Mondiale, expected to make an impression in one of France’s biggest one-day races and satisfy another ProTour commitment at the Eneco Tour, there was no prospect of one of it’s leading riders being released to his national team.

    "Can I be honest?" he smiled to Cyclingnews before the start of Grand Prix Ouest-France, in Plouay. "Of course I’d love to be in Ireland right now. It’s such a great moment to have your own country’s race, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it.

    "Friends of mine organise it as well," he said. "It’s the biggest thing in Ireland for cycling; it’s a real pity that I wasn’t able to make it. Now, I’m here today and I’m going to play my chance. I have to do my job before my pleasure, you know."

    At least, with his current form, the Irish champion has been given the luxury of being one of the team’s protected riders and hopes to be able to carve out a result for himself on the windy, undulating roads of northwest France. "Today I have a bit of a wild card," he said. "I’ll try and give myself a decent chance. It’s a long, difficult race, so the legs will have to speak for themselves."

    Roche has found himself stronger rather than fatigued after finishing a creditable 23rd in his debut Tour de France. Strong performances in the subsequent classic races - albeit without the results to show for his efforts - have given him the confidence to race for himself in the tough mid-summer events. "I was tired at the start [of the Tour de France], and slowly I had a bit of recovery," he said. "I was going all right in Clásica San Sebastián,...

  • Arndt to lead German women at Worlds

    The stage podium : Claudia Hausler (Cervelo TestTeam), Judith Arndt (Team Columbia HTC Women), Nicole Brandli (Bigla Cycling Team).
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 13:52 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    German federation releases long list

    Judith Arndt, who placed third in both the road race and time trial at the 2008 World championships, will lead the German women's team at this year's World championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, September 22 to 27.

    On Sunday the German Cycling Federation (BDR) released its long list of riders who will represent the country in the road race and time trial events. Nine women have been named, of whom six may ride in the road race.

    Arndt (Columbia-HTC) and Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nürnberger) are expected to ride for Germany in the time trial. Worrack is the current German time trial champion.

    The BDR said the final selection will be made after the season's final World Cup race, Rund um den Nürnberger Altstadt, to be contested on September 13.

    German women pre-selection for the World Championships:

    Judith Arndt (Team Columbia-HTC)
    Charlotte Becker (Equipe Nürnberger)
    Sarah Düster (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Claudia Häusler (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Luise Keller (Team Columbia-HTC)
    Tina Liebig (DSB-Bank)
    Eva Lutz (Equipe Nürnberger)
    Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Team Columbia-HTC)
    Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nürnberger

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