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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 7, 2011

Date published:
August 07, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Kwiatkowski, Golas join QuickStep

    Michal Kwiatkowski (RadioShack) on the podium for his third place overall finish.
    Article published:
    August 06, 2011, 9:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian team continues to sign new riders for 2012

    Two of Poland's top talents: Michal Kwiatkowski and Michal Golas, will join the QuickStep Cycling Team for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the Belgian team has announced.

    Golas, 27, currently races with the Vacansoleil-DCM squad, and is leading the mountains classification at the Tour de Pologne, while Kwiatkowski comes from Team RadioShack as a podium finisher at the Driedaagse De Panne - Koksijde and Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen this year.

    Kwiatkowski, 21, was also junior time trial world champion in 2008, the European time trial champion in 2008 and road champion in 2008.

    "The arrival of these two young Polish riders contributes to the team's current project of internationalisation for the near future," said team manager Patrick Lefevere. "They are two interesting, young guys in whom we want to invest for the future of the team. In addition, Poland is an important country and it's growing in terms of cycling culture and passion, as shown by the ever improving quality of the Tour de Pologne."

    The Quick Step team recently confirmed it will join forces with the Omega Pharma brand to create a new team in 2012. Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel have already extended their contract with the team. Martin and Peter Velits, and Belgian Stijn Vandenbergh have also agreed to join for 2012.

    Details of all confirmed rider transfers can be found at the Cyclingnews guide to transfer 2011-2012.

  • Leipheimer aims to defend Tour of Utah title

    A happy Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) claimed a come-from-behind victory at the Tour de Suisse.
    Article published:
    August 06, 2011, 13:20 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Higher quality field could pose a bigger threat

    Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) is aiming to defend his overall title at the newly upgraded UCI 2.1 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah held between August 9-14 in the high mountains around Salt Lake City. The American has studied the event's key stages and is hopeful about his chances of winning against the top-notch competition in attendance this year.

    "Hopefully I am good enough to win the Tour of Utah," Leipheimer told Cyclingnews. "There is going to be a better field here this year so I can't say that I will, but I will definitely try."

    Leipheimer has recovered from his disappointing Tour de France, during which all of the team's general classification hopefuls crashed. Leipheimer went down on stage 5, and lost more than a minute, and then again on stage 7, conceding all hope of a top finish in the Tour.

    The Tour de Suisse winner finished the Tour de France in 32nd place overall, more than an hour behind race winner Cadel Evans; his worst Tour de France finish of a career which included a podium placing in 2007. He is hopeful that his form will be there after a post-Tour break.

    "I took nine days of barely riding my bike," Leipheimer said. "After the Tour you have to take a big rest. Especially looking forward to Utah and Colorado, which are two high altitude races, you have to recover and be fresh.

    "Form after the Tour de France is always a little bit of an unknown. I'm sure I'm strong but at the same time, you try and recover and inevitably lose a little bit of that race power from resting. But, it comes back quickly. Hopefully my form comes back quick...

  • Video: Dan Martin upbeat despite his Tour of Poland defeat

    Daniel Martin goes for broke on the final stage.
    Article published:
    August 06, 2011, 20:05 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    Garmin-Cervelo rider looking forward to the Vuelta

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) could not stop Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) from snatching overall victory in the Tour of Poland but the Irishman knew that the result of the final stage was always out of his control.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews just seconds after crossing the finish line in Kraków, Martin took defeat on the chin, seeing the positive aspects of his performance. Last year he won overall and this year he finished a close second. But he is confident of his form as he prepares for the Vuelta a Espana.

    “First last year second this year, it’s not so bad,” Martin said.

    “Especially on a course that not really suited to my characteristics. That’s why I attacked on the penultimate climb to try and take more time. I knew that. Even though the last climb was hard, it was always going to hard to drop him. I got second and I won a stage, so I’ve got to be happy.

    “I had no control in the result (today) and so it all depended what Sagan did in the final sprint. It wasn’t important what I did, I just had to follow and not lose time.”

    Martin was congratulated by race organiser Czesław Lang and final stage winner Marcel Kittel. Despite defeat, his thoughts quickly turned to the Vuelta a Espana, where he is determined to do well after failing to land a place in the Garmin-Cervelo team for the Tour de France.

    “My form is definitely in the right place. Now I’ve got to rest and improve even more and aim to do something big at the Vuelta.” Martin said.

  • Sagan targets stage wins at the Vuelta

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) took over the race leadership
    Article published:
    August 06, 2011, 22:07 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    Liquigas' 21-year-old talent to make Grand Tour debut

    The Tour of Poland's winner, Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), plans to race the Vuelta a Espana which starts on August 20 in Benindorm, officially with low-key ambitions. "I will go without any pressure, and not for the general classification," Sagan said after the Tour of Poland's final stage in Krakow.

    In only his second season as a professional, Sagan, 21, will compete in his first Grand Tour.

    "Tranquillo" is the Liquigas-Cannondale staff's motto when they speak about the young Slovak rider.

    Mario Scirea, Liquigas-Cannondale's directeur sportif, confirms his protégé won't chase a place in GC. "We have got Vicenzo Nibali for that purpose," he told Cyclingnews. "In the mountains, we expect to see young riders like Eros Capecchi and Damiano Caruso. So Peter will fight for stage victories."

    Despite his young age, Sagan already has seven wins at the WordTour level in his palmares: two stages in the 2010 Paris-Nice, two in this year's Tour of Romandie, two in the Tour of Poland with the overall victory as the cream at the top of the cake.

    At the Vuelta, Scirea thinks Sagan can do well in sprints. "Especially in uphill finishes, like in the Tour of Poland's fourth stage. Peter is explosive, with characteristics similar to Philippe Gilbert or Edvald Boasson Hagen."

    Liquigas-Cannondale's directeur sportif wouldn't reveal any clear plan for Sagan. "We'll take the Vuelta day by day. We are always very careful with him because he's very young. The race will be important also for his experience."

    Depending on his condition after three weeks of racing at the Vuelta, Sagan might take part in the Tour of Lombardy later in the fall. "But he's strong now in early August and nothing grants he'll be...

  • The 2012 Tour of Poland could be held during the Tour de France

    The final podium at the Tour of Poland (l-r): Daniel Martin, Peter Sagan, Marco Marcato
    Article published:
    August 07, 2011, 10:07 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    Organiser wants to change the date to avoid a clash with the Olympics

    The 2012 Tour of Poland could be held at the same time as the Tour de France in order to avoid the London Olympic Games, organiser Czeslaw Lang has told Cyclingnews.

    “We’ve asked the UCI if it’s possible to move the dates,” he said. “Because of the TV coverage, it's impossible to have the race at the same time as the Olympics.”

    The London 2012 Olympics will be held from July 27 to August 12, with the men’s road on July 28.

    By anticipating the date of the race, the Tour of Poland would be held the same time as the Tour de France, which will start on 30 June from Liège and end on July 22. If the UCI approves the new July date, the Tour of Poland could be an attractive alternative for riders targeting the Olympics.

    “The race would be held during the last week of the Tour de France,” Lang said. Provisional dates for the seven-day race would be Sunday July 15 to Saturday July 21.

    Lang is obviously not perturbed about his race being run in the shadow of the Tour de France.

    “There's no rivalry between our races. The Tour de France might even help the Tour of Poland to be known all around the world.” he said.

    As many of the Tour of Poland stages finish at around 7:00pm CET, it would be possible to watch the action from Poland after the finish of the Tour de France stages. The Tour of Poland organiser suggested that holding two WorldTour events could have other benefits.

    “The WorldTour teams have at least 25 riders and so have the capacity to race on two fronts. The Tour of Poland would be a great opportunity for the riders who usually have little chance to race during the Tour de France.”

    2012 route

    The 2012 Tour of Poland race route hasn’t been made official...

  • Feillu fractures collarbone in final Tour of Poland sprint

    Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    August 07, 2011, 11:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman hoping for quick recovery

    Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) crashed out of the Tour of Poland just 120 metres from the finish line of the final stage in Kraków, fracturing his right collarbone and threatening his hopes of leading the French team at this year’s world championships.

    Feillu was critcised by Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel for his erratic sprinting style during the Tour de France, with Cavendish calling him a kamikaze for the way he jumps around from wheel to wheel. The Frenchman revealed on his website that he was following Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) as he tried to move up for the final acceleration to the line in Kraków. It is not known what caused the crash but Feillu went down at high speed and also suffered numerous cuts and bruises.

    “I’m leaving for Belgium today and I’ll have an operation on the fracture tomorrow (Monday). It’s a clean break with an easy displacement to operate on,” he wrote in a message.

    His Vacansoleil team suggested Feillu would be out of action for some weeks in a Twitter message, which would seem to end his chances of being the leader of the French team for the world championships in Copenhagen on September 25. However Feillu is determined to try and recover as quickly as possible and has already identified a possible date for his return to racing.

    “I think I’ll be able to get back to training in four days on home trainer and then on the road in about 15 days. That would allow me to return to competition and be on form for Paris-Brussels (September 10),” he wrote.

  • Dimitri Champion chasing WorldTour points to secure 2012 contract

    French Champion Dimitri Champion (Ag2R-La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    August 07, 2011, 18:41 BST
    Cycling News

    New UCI rules forcing teams to change transfer strategies

    Dimitri Champion’s desperate chase of a contract for 2012 has highlighted the position of many riders as a consequence of the new UCI ProTeam application system that forced teams to chase points to earn a place in the first division of the sport.

    Champion was French national champion in 2009 and joined the AG2r-La Mondiale team on the back of that success. However he has struggled since then and his 2011 season has been wrecked by a fractured vertebrae at the Paris-Camembert race in April. He now has few UCI ranking points and so is considered of little value to any team.

    French newspaper L’Equipe explained his plight on Sunday, revealing that five of his teammates at Ag2r-La Mondiale could also be without a team for 2012 if team manager Vincent Lavenu opts to sign other riders who have more ranking points. The demise of HTC-Highroad and the merger of Omega Pharma and Quick Step team has released a flood of riders onto the market and meant that many riders are now racing the final part of the season in pursuit of points rather than riding loyally for their teams.

    Champion went on the attack in the recent Paris-Correze race, knowing he desperately needs some success and points.

    “I gave it a go because you never know. I needed it. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced like that,” he told L’Equipe. “I’m thinking about points now because I know my future could depend on them.”

    L’Equipe claimed that the places of teammates Julien Loubet, Cyril Dessel, David Le Lay, Kristof Goddaert and Yuriy Krivtsov are also at risk for 2012. The French team is ranked a lowly sixteenth in the current UCI WorldTeam rankings. Ag2r-La Mondiale is the only French...

  • Bookwalter tips teammate Louder as Tour of Utah GC threat

    Brent Bookwalter (BMC) cruising along on the climb.
    Article published:
    August 07, 2011, 20:35 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    American to start Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) is hoping that his Tour de France form continues into the upcoming Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah held from August 9-14 around Salt Lake City. However, the focus will not be on him for the high-altitude, six-day event, but on his teammate and former overall winner Jeff Louder.

    "It's in a tough spot on the calendar as far as filling out the roster, post-Tour, two days after the Tour of Poland, during the Eneco Tour and right before the Vuelta a Espana," Bookwalter said. "Honestly I've been a little disconnected since the Tour so I'm not up to speed on the details of everyone's form as far as the team is concerned.

    "I know the race means a lot to Jeff Louder. He's proven he can deliver at this race and has had some good rest since his last race so I'm sure he's gonna be motivated and a good guy for us to rally behind. As far as me, I'm waiting until the start line to get too amped up, but hopefully it will be a good 'back to racing' after the Tour."

    Bookwalter has had success at the Tour of Utah, winning the prologue and placing fifth overall in 2009. However the event is now in its sixth edition and upgraded to a UCI 2.1 ranking with the sport's governing body and is now permitted to invite ProTeams, Pro Continental teams and Continental teams.

    "Utah has been a nice race to me in the past, but with the upgrade to a UCI 2.1 and a much stronger field than in years past, it's gonna be a much different and more demanding race this year," Bookwalter said.

    The Tour of Utah peloton will include other Tour de France participants including George Hincapie (BMC Racing), Tejay Van Garderen and...