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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 31, 2011

Date published:
July 31, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Roche ready to make amends for Tour de France

    Ireland's Nicolas Roche (AG2R) moved up to 5th overall with another fine display.
    Article published:
    July 30, 2011, 10:41 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Irishman looking to San Sebastian and Vuelta a España

    Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) lines up in the Clasica San Sebastian determined to kick-start his season in the wake of a disappointing Tour de France. A week after finishing 26th overall in Paris, Roche arrives at the race with the Vuelta a España already in mind.

    “It’s true that I came out of the Tour de France really tired, the opposite to last year where I finished stronger than I’d started,” Roche told L’Équipe.

    The Irishman’s Tour was compromised even before the start when he crashed at the Critérium du Dauphiné and he admitted that he was struggling to find his best form throughout the race. “I’m still paying the consequences of my crash,” he said.

    The Clasica San Sebastian is a race that traditionally favours those who have ridden the Tour, and Roche will be hoping that the three weeks of racing in July will stand to him. Last year, he finished 8th after coming from the Tour, and he is aiming to be in contention again this time around.

    “I’m a little bit at sea physically but the Clasica is a race that I really like,” Roche said. “You often find the protagonists of the Tour there. Last year, out of the ten riders in the break, nine were coming out of the Tour.”

    As ever, the key to the race will be the two ascensions of the Alto de Jaizkibel, and Roche believes that it is a climb that suits his characteristics.

    “It’s a climb that you go up fast,” he said. “You arrive at the bottom at high speed. It’s...

  • Cunego returns to one-day action in San Sebastian

    Damiano Cunego is satisfied with his performance in this year's Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 30, 2011, 11:56 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian confident after strong Tour de France

    Fresh from finishing 7th overall at the Tour de France, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) returns to action at the Clasica San Sebastian high on confidence.

    The Italian opted to spend the week at home in Cerro Veronese rather than contesting post-Tour criteriums and arrives in Spain hoping to shine on a course well-suited to his characteristics. However, Cunego warned that the climb of the Jaizkibel is not always as decisive as it ought to be.

    “Technically there shouldn’t be problems, but there have always been strange races [at the Clasica San Sebastian],” Cunego told Gazzetta dello Sport. “After the Jaizkibel, there have been riders who’ve gotten back on and then counter-attacked and it’s all over… But maybe this will be the right occasion for me.”

    The second half of Cunego’s season will see him focus largely on one-day races, but he was pleased to reiterate his credentials as a stage racer at the Tour de France. Winner of the Giro d’Italia in 2004, Cunego had never scaled such heights over three weeks since but he explained that preparing specifically for the Tour had paid rich dividends.

    “It did me good to work at altitude, it did me good to lose a couple of kilos,” Cunego said. “I’ve realised that I can’t do the spring classics and the Giro in the same year at a high level.”

    Already a triple winner of the Tour of Lombardy, Cunego has a fourth triumph in the Race of the Falling Leaves in his sights this October. “I now have clear ideas for the end of the season, where I will aim straight for the Tour of Lombardy,” he...

  • O'Grady and Goss set for Olympic test event

    Stuart O'Grady (Leopard Trek)
    Article published:
    July 30, 2011, 19:06 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Haussler part of strong Australian team

    Stuart O’Grady (Leopard Trek) and Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) have been named as part of a strong Australian line-up for the London 2012 Olympics test event on August 14.

    Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo), Michael Matthews (Rabobank) and Leigh Howard (HTC-Highroad) form the rest of the five-man team that will take part in the London-Surrey Cycle Classic, which takes place over the London 2012 road race course.

    “It might be a test event but we're definitely going to win and with this group we've got the talent to do that," Cycling Australia Professional Men's Road Coordinator, Matt White said.

    Haussler makes his long-awaited Australian debut in the event, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, O’Grady’s inclusion will raise his hopes of making a sixth Olympic appearance in London next year. The 37-year-old made his Olympic debut 19 years ago, winning a silver medal in the team pursuit in Barcelona.

    Milan-San Remo winner Matt Goss will be looking not only to reconnoitre the London 2012 course but to stake a claim for leadership of the Australian team at the Worlds in Copenhagen.

    "All five can do the job and we're going to win in London in August and then we're heading to Denmark in September to win again at the World Championships,” White said.

    Although the race is only 140km in length rather than the full 250km that the bunch will face at the Olympics in twelve months’ time, White believes that the London-Surrey Cycle Classic is worth taking seriously.

    "The test event provides an opportunity for us to take a close look at the course under race conditions and, even though it's a shorter race than the Olympic race will be, it's...

  • Andriato makes his mark at Tour do Rio

    Rafael Andriato makes amends for yesterday's near miss with victory on stage 2.
    Article published:
    July 30, 2011, 22:36 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Brazilian set to ride for Italian Pro Continental team Farnese Vini in 2012

    It's been hard to escape the name Rafael Andriato at the Tour do Rio as the Brazilian has been the talk of the local media at his home race.

    The Petroli Firenze rider claimed second on the Tour's opening stage before going one better on Stage 2. The following stage saw the 23-year-old tough it out over the final Cat. 1 climb to sit just 16 seconds off the yellow jersey of Juan Suarez with the Brazilians of the belief that he would be in the mix come Sunday's fifth and final stage.

    Speaking with Cyclingnews before Stage 3 got underway on Saturday, Andriato was not backing away from the challenge either.

    "It's my big goal for the back half of the season," he said. "I've never won a stage race so that would be nice to do this in my home country."

    Unfortunately, Andriato was unable to make the day's breakaway and so dropped from second to 14th on general classification, drawing a line through any chance he may have had but the all-rounder has a few events left to tick off before he joins Pro Continental squad Farnese Vini for the 2012 season.

    Next month Andriato will ride the GP di Poggiana in Italy where he has been plying his trade for the past three seasons and earlier in 2011 won the GP Industrie del Marmo. He will then remain on the continent to represent Brazil at the world championships before heading to South America for the Pan American Games.

    Andriato believes that solid results as he finishes up with Petroli Firenze will hold him in...

  • Video: Martin ready to defend Tour of Poland title

    2011 Giro della Toscana champion Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    July 30, 2011, 23:50 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Irishman finds motivation in #1 bib

    Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) has experienced both the lows and highs of professional cycling at the Tour of Poland having abandoned in 2009 due to sickness only to return in 2010 to win both a stage and general classification, the biggest victory of his career thus far.

    The 24-year-old Irishman is happy to be back at the Tour of Poland as defending champion and tells Cyclingnews' Pierre Carrey he can claim victory yet again. The parcours is slightly different than the previous edition, and Martin noted the stage he won in 2010 will not be contested this year, but he thinks its favourable nonetheless and will likely be won by seconds, making positioning a critical factor.

    Martin prefers the races in the latter half of the season when his allergies aren't a factor where he can "let the legs do the talking". He was inspired by his teammates' performance at the Tour de France, where Garmin-Cervelo won four stages, and hopes to draw on the team's high wave of morale in Poland.

  • Gilbert looking forward to rest

    2011 Clasica San Sebastian champion Philippe Gilbert flies the Belgian flag.
    Article published:
    July 31, 2011, 10:27 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian still undecided on 2012 team

    In spite of his victory at the Clasica San Sebastian on Saturday, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has admitted that last week’s round of post-Tour de France criteriums had taken their toll.

    With 13 wins to his name this season, it is hardly surprising that Gilbert has been the star attraction at a number of criteriums since the Tour finished, but the Belgian champion has acknowledged that he is in need of some time off after racing almost every day since the beginning of July. He will return to action at the Eneco Tour on August 8.

    “Now, I’m looking forward to a bit of rest,” Gilbert told La Dernière Heure. “I’ve pinned a number on my back for almost thirty consecutive days and that begins to tell.”

    Gilbert’s preparation for the Clasica San Sebastian was hardly ideal, given his busy schedule of travel and evening racing.

    “The last few days have been particularly tiring, with five criteriums and a late plane journey to the Basque Country,” he said. “However, I was still fresh enough to do something great in the Clasica.”

    While Gilbert’s winning move came on the outskirts of San Sebastian itself, the Alto de Jaizkibel was crucial to his victory. The race’s signature climb was tackled twice this year, something which Gilbert felt benefited him more than others.

    “It was climbed slower and that suited me because in principle it’s a bit too long for me,” he explained. “I was able to get over it easily and even accelerate at the summit. But I waited until the last minute to make the decisive attack because the others were sitting...

  • Klöden and Brajkovic to lead RadioShack in Vuelta a España

    Andreas Kloden (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    July 31, 2011, 10:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Injured Tour riders returning to racing

    Andreas Klöden and Janez Brajkovic will ride the Vuelta a Espana for RadioShack. The team announced that the two captains, who both had abandon the Tour de France due to injuries, were among the seven riders already set for the race in Spain, which starts on August 20.

    Klöden crashed numerous times in the Tour, and had to leave the race on the 13th stage with back problems. The Vuelta will be his first race back. “Klöden has focused on recovering from the crashes and has started light training,” team manger Johan Bruyneel told BiciCiclismo.com.

    Klöden “was the best” in the Tour, and if he had not been injured, “would likely have been on the podium,” Bruyneel said.

    Brajkovic was the first of RadioShack's four Tour captains to leave the race, when he suffered a concussion and broken collarbone in a crash on the fifth stage. As preparation for the Vuelta he will ride the Tour of Utah (August 7-14).

    The team's other two Tour captains were Christopher Horner, who abandoned the race with a concussion after the seventh stage, and Levi Leipheimer, the only one of the four to finish the race. Both will ride the Tour of Utah and the US ProCycling Challenge in Colorado (August 22-28).

    The other five riders nominated for the Vuelta are Spaniards Haimar Zubeldia and Markel Irizar, and Portugese riders Tiago Machado, Sergio Paulinho and Nelson Oliveira.  The remaining two riders will be announced later.

  • Marc De Maar wears first ever Curaçao champion's jersey

    Marc de Maar (Quick Step) is champion of Curacao.
    Article published:
    July 31, 2011, 17:07 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carrey

    Quick Step rider aiming to race London 2012 Olympics

    Yellow and blue, with stripes and stars, the Curaçao National Champion's jersey was worn for the first time by Marc De Maar on stage one of the Tour of Poland.

    The Quick Step rider had already won the championships last year in both the road race and the time trial but he wasn’t allowed to wear a special jersey on that occasion. Following changes in the political situation in Curaçao since, however, De Maar is now able to don the colours of national champion in competition.

    The island of Curaçao became independent on 10 October 2010 as the Netherlands Antilles were dissolved. That entity previously merged Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire (ABC Islands).

    At that date, De Maar lost his dual Dutch and Antillean nationality. “I had to decide and I opted for Curaçao because I've got a strong relationship with this country,” he told Cyclingnews. “My father is from there, I'm a resident there since last year when I raced for the US team UnitedHealthcare and I still live in Curaçao in winter.”

    De Maar also noted that “Curaçao cycling needs some publicity” and that he wants to support cycling on the island.

    With a population of 173,000 and based in the Lesser Antilles, the island of Curaçao is more famous for the Amstel Curaçao Race, its annual criterium with some of the best world riders in winter, than for its local cycling talents.

    The island's new ambassador, De Maar, aged 27, was born in Assen, the Netherlands. He rode for the Rabobank feeder team from 2004 to 2005 and then spent four years in the ProTour squad. Plagued by injuries, however, his competitive outings were limited.

    After a...