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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, June 2, 2013

Date published:
June 02, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Gallery: Nibali tests Worlds course with Bettini

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) leads the ride on the climbs
    Article published:
    June 01, 2013, 15:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Giro d'Italia champion to lead Team Italy in Florence

    Italian national road manager Paolo Bettini took his long list of riders out for a reconnaissance ride over sections of the Worlds course last week.

    The Worlds take place in Florence later this year and Bettini has already confirmed that Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali will lead the team.

    "Nibali has completed a special chapter in his career and he can now go on to win the world title," Bettini told Gazzetta dello Sport last week.

    Nibali and Bettini were joined by a number of the Italian riders who made the long list, including Filippo Pozzato, Fabio Aru and Valerio Agnoli.

    A Italian rider has not won the Worlds road race since Alessandro Ballan claimed the title in 2008.

  • Froome red-hot favorite in Wiggins absence, says Sutton

    After the first prologue victory of his career, Chris Froome (Sky) wears the leader's yellow jersey at the Tour de Romandie.
    Article published:
    June 01, 2013, 18:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Wiggins needs inspiration to overcome setbacks

    With the injury of defending Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky will head into July with one team leader, Chris Froome, and according to Team Principal Shane Sutton, the loss of Wiggins weakens the team, but the lack of the intra-team competition of last year will benefit Froome.

    It was announced this week that a lingering knee issue and the illness Wiggins got in the Giro d'Italia have prevented him from training properly for the Tour.

    "Team Sky will be weakened but I'm sure Froomey will be breathing a lot easier. It takes away that threat of your teammate actually beating you, and I think he'll be really up for it now," Sutton said to BBC Radio Five Live.

    "Froome goes in as red-hot favorite to win the Tour and possibly the only guy that could have beaten him would have been Bradley."

    The illness and injury will be a big setback for Wiggins, one Sutton thinks will require some inspiration and innovation for him to overcome.

    "When you have a setback like this you need to take inspiration from others, so I'd cite Cadel Evans, who had a rough year last year but has come back to get on the podium of the Giro at 36," Sutton said to The Guardian. "Brad needs to set some goals as soon as possible, something to get him back on his bike. The best would probably be the Vuelta [a España] as preparation for the world championship individual time trial, which is a goal that has eluded him until now."

    Sutton suggested that the banner 2012 year that Wiggins had, which included victories from Paris-Nice, through the Tour de France and onto the Olympic Games time trial, as well as his obligations outside the sport, may have taken their...

  • Boonen back to winning ways at Heistse Pijl

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) wins the Heistse Pijl
    Article published:
    June 01, 2013, 20:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Kermesse win for Omega Pharma - QuickStep leader

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) bounced back to winning ways on Saturday, taking out the victory in the 170 kilometre Heistse Pijl. The Classics star beat Kenny Dehaes (Lotto-Belisol) and Sean De Bie (Leopard Trek) from a breakaway. The win was Boonen’s first this season and marked a successful comeback after an injury- and illness-hit spring campaign.

    Boonen suffered a severe bacterial infection in his left elbow in January, and was in hospital for several days. After finally returning to racing, he crashed early in the Tour of Flanders, suffering various injuries, including a broken rib. The Tour of Belgium was only his second race back.

    "I’m very happy about the race," Boonen said. "It was a tough race because we made it tough as a team, being all day in front. We made a great effort and really pushed it, and in the end I also won.

    "I attacked in the final on the last lap. I chose to attack on the last climb, which was more or less 2km on the cobblestones. I was solo, but in the final kilometer Dehaes was starting to come back to me. So, I waited for him and we went for the sprint. I am happy I was able to get the victory. It's always good when you raise your arms in a race. It's my second Kermesse victory of my life along with GP Zele in 2006. So, it's something special to win another one."

    QuickStep were a dominant force throughout the race, placing Boonen in the main 18-man move with Van Keirsbulck, and Kevin De Weert. The move went clear on lap ten (out of 17) with Boonen attacking on the last lap.

    "In the final there was a small group of six in the last lap," sport director Wilfried Peeters said.

    "Tom attacked on the last climb, but Dehaes came back to him on the descent. Tom went for the sprint and won."

    The race marked the team’s 33rd win of the season so...

  • Contador: the Tour is about more than two riders

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    June 01, 2013, 21:27 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniard returns to successful Dauphiné preparation programme

    Alberto Contador appeared fit and determined as he reached the Swiss Alps before tackling the Critérium du Dauphiné, which is his first race since Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April. He played down his ambitions to win the French stage race and insisted that the recent renouncement of defending champion Bradley Wiggins doesn't modify his mental approach of the Tour de France.

    "After the Classics, I really needed to take a rest," Contador told reporters in a press conference in Val d'Illiez. "The early part of my season had been long and intense. Now I've started a harder bloc of training than at the beginning of the year. It's too early for me to tell in what condition I am right now. There's still one month to go to the start of the Tour de France and the third week will be very difficult.

    "I'm at the Dauphiné to figure out my state of form and see if the engine needs some adjustments for the Tour. But I'm happy with my preparation."

    Contador has raced the Dauphiné only three times, each time prior to winning the Tour de France (although he was later disqualified from the 2010 victory after testing positive for clenbuterol), but he has never won the race. He isn't expecting that record to change.

    "Every time I've raced the Dauphiné," he continued, "it's been for gearing up for the Tour. I've come second [in 2010], third [in 2009] and sixth [in 2007] here before and once again, I'll race without thinking of the overall victory. The Tour is the goal. I'm motivated. I need to resume racing and ride long climbs. Shall there be a day to test myself, I'll give it a go but I'm looking at a bigger picture. The overall classification of the Tour de France is the one I want to win."

  • Critérium du Dauphiné: Stage 1 preview

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2013, 9:27 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Cyclingnews HD previews opening stage

    Start as you mean to go on. This is what the organisers of the Critérium du Dauphiné have planned for this year’s route. Gone is the short prologues and in is an opening mountains stage, to give us action from the off. Other than the time trial there is no stage without a classified climb, making life difficult for any sprinter lucky enough to take the start.

    The first climb of the day, the Côte du Morgins, is at 12.5km into the stage with a long descent to the foot of the Col du Corbier. There is barely a section of flat road on this course and the descents are not straightforward either. The parcours is perfect for a break to get away and stay away. Although anyone who has missed out on the escape won’t want to let them get too far up the road.

    Expect to see riders like Luis León Sánchez and Thomas Voeckler trying to get into the break. If the general classification contenders are feeling a little feisty then we may see something from them, but it is unlikely. They will want to keep their powder dry for the tougher stages, towards the end of the week. With the Giro attracting so many of the riders who normally take on the Tour de France, this year will be a mix of the well raced against the riders building into form. Stage one should proved us with a good benchmark as to how the two match up against each other.

    As you might expect, many of the Tour de France favourites will line up here. With the Alpe d’Huez later in the week, this race will be just as important as it has been in the past. The riders won’t just be testing their legs here; they will be making the first mental blows too.

    Cycling News HD

    For the full preview of Stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné download this week’s issue of Cycling...

  • Vaughters: Dollar for dollar, cycling is the most efficient marketing buy out there

    Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2013, 11:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Yet doping still scares sponsors away

    Despite the multitude of doping stories that have effected the sport of cycling, Garmin-Sharp’s Jonathan Vaughters has reinforced that the sport still offers a high level of return for potential sponsors.

    Vaughters, who is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Denver, was talking in light of the news that last month Cyclingnews had teamed up with sponsorship evaluation specialists Repucom to analyse the value of commercial sponsorship in professional cycling.

    “While the metrics are more efficient than almost any ad buy out there, there are a few factors that hold back companies coming in at the top level. Firstly, despite the strong return, a WorldTour team is still expensive. The average budget in 2013 is over 20 million USD, and that’s just average,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    “Yes, compared to soccer team's payroll it's small, but you have to remember that for a cycling team the revenue source is almost a 100 per cent sponsorship. A soccer team's budget is maybe 25% derived from sponsorship. So even though cycling is very efficient, it’s still expensive. There aren’t that many multinational companies that can afford a single marketing buy that big."

    However the issue of doping has been central to a number of sponsors leaving the sport in recent years. In 2012 Rabobank pulled the plug on their association with the sport after bankrolling one of the biggest teams in the sport since 1996. They even paid for the structure of the team – Blanco – to race in 2013 but without any Rabobank branding. On Saturday it was made public that technology company Belkin would assume the title sponsorship role at the team.

    "The repucom report and Belkin's entry into the sport are facts that support the efficiency of cycling sponsorships. Simply put: dollar for dollar, it is the most efficient marketing buy out there."

    "Doping issues may have...

  • Fred Rodriguez set for Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic

    Freddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly) gets doused after his big win.
    Article published:
    June 02, 2013, 13:20 BST
    Pat Malach

    US road champion back on top

    Philadelphia has been good to Fred Rodriguez. The four-time US Professional Road Race champion took his first three jerseys on the former nationals course here when it was part of the Philadelphia International Championship that decided the US title from 1985 though 2005. Rodriguez won the jersey twice in Philadelphia as the first US rider to cross the line, and he won the race outright in 2001.

    But when Rodriguez lines up Sunday for the inaugural Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic on a shorter 19.3km circuit that is focused around the Manayunk neighborhood and finishes on its infamous “wall”, he may find a few more obstacles in his path than he did when the former race ended on the flat, wide-open Ben Franklin Parkway near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Rodriguez is obviously no stranger to Manayunk, but he thrived on the fast finalès in the past, and a finish at the top of the 800 meter climb, which hits grades of 17 percent in its steepest sections, could lift this new race out of reach. Three days out from winning his latest US road race title in Chattanooga, Tennessee, however, and the 39-year-old who signed with Jelly belly just three weeks ago wasn't counting himself out.

    “I would say it's still a course that I could do well at,” he said this week during a conference call with reporters. “It's definitely going to change the game as far as who is going to win the race. In the past it's been more of a pure sprinter, and now it's going to be somebody who is fast and can climb.”

    Rodriguez, who initially retired from racing after the 2007 season but came back with Team Exergy in 2012, climbed...

  • Illness sees Talansky lose time at Criterium du Dauphiné

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2013, 16:19 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin-Sharp rider loses over 8 minutes

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) had a day to forget on stage 1 of the Criterium du Dauphiné losing over eight minutes to David Veilleux (Europcar) and dropping out of contention for the overall title.

    Talansky was among the pre-race favourites coming into the Dauphiné after a number of strong showings earlier in the season. However, on Thursday the American came down with an illness and on today's first stage he was forced to drop back on the penultimate climb.

    “Andrew had stomach problems,” Garmin-Sharp’s Geert Van Bondt told Cyclingnews.

    “With a hard stage like today it was very difficult for him. He was under pressure on the climbs and was vomiting. He had a pretty bad day actually.”

    “He’s not been feeling great since Thursday but he thought he was over the worst. Then today with the climbs it was clear he wasn’t 100 per cent. We’re just hoping that over the next couple of days he’ll be getting better and better and towards the end of the race he can be 100 per cent.”

    David Veilleux now leads the race with Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) over two minutes down.