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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, June 26, 2011

Date published:
June 26, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Sanchez ready for Tour de France after taking Spanish time trial title

    2011 Spanish time trial champion Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    June 25, 2011, 9:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Adapting to life at Rabobank has taken time

    The season did not start well for Luis Leon Sanchez, but the Rabobank rider thinks he has finally turned the corner after winning in the Spanish national time trial, just a week before the Tour de France.

    It was Sanchez' third national time trial title, after winning in 2008 and 2010. It was also his first success of the year. Sanchez signed with Rabobank this year after spending the seven previous years of his career with Spanish teams.

    "Above all, I am very happy because the start of the season has been a bit difficult for me, with a new team and colleagues, more difficult than I thought. I've done the Dauphine and I've focused for nearly a month on training at altitude, and it seems things are on track. Now we have to keep working and doing things right," he said, according to biciciclismo.com.

    The 27-year-old is now heading into his fifth Tour de France, and know his role in the biggest race of the season. “It's a crucial moment for the team because the Tour is very important. We have a clear leader with Gesink and we'll try to stay close to Contador. We know that winning is difficult and Contador is the favourite, but we will be close to him," Sanchez said.

  • Kruijswijk and ten Dam extend with Rabobank

    Steven Kruijswijk of Rabobank was happy with his third-place overall finish
    Article published:
    June 25, 2011, 10:59 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Skil-Shimano extends with Veelers and Timmer

    Steven Kruijswijk and Laurens ten Dam, two of Rabobank's best riders at the recent Tour de Suisse have extended their contracts with the Dutch team. Skil-Shimano also announced that it has extended the contracts of Tom Veelers and Albert Timmer.

    Kruijswijk, 24, finished ninth in this year's Giro d'Italia and third in the Tour de Suisse.  His new contract with the team has been extended through to include 2014.

    He rode for the Rabobank Continental team from 2007 to 2009 before joining the ProTeam in 2010. He finished 18th overall in the Giro last year. Kruijswijk will not ride the Tour de France this year, as “the team management thinks it irresponsible for a young rider  to ride two Grand Tours in quick succession,” according to the team website.

    Kruijswijk said that he quickly reached the agreement with the team, and that it was a logical step in his career.  "Why would I leave after 2012? That idea never occurred to me. I wanted to stay at Rabobank. I feel at home here. Another two years will be nice. This team is perfect for me. There is a strong organization and a strong team. Plus we have a very stable and loyal sponsor, therefore there is a high certainty of survival. No, it was not hard to choose. "

    Ten Dam, 30, also started his career with the Rabobank Continental team, but then rode for several other teams...

  • Boonen confident, Gilbert hopeful, Devolder dismissive

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) made a late but unsuccessful attack
    Article published:
    June 25, 2011, 13:17 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Big name Belgian riders talk before their championship race

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) hopes to win the Belgian national road championship, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) thinks he also has a good chance to take the title, while defending champion Stijn Devolder of Vacansoleil has admitted he has virtually no chance of retaining the red, yellow and black Belgian national champion's jersey.

     “I definitely want to be champion and will go all out,” Boonen said, according to Sporza. "The course this year is too easy," he added. “I'd prefer something harder and more selective.”

    An outsider has a good chance to win this year, but if it comes to a mass sprint, Boonen will be ready.  “I am confident that my sprint is good enough,” he said.

    Boonen, who won the national title in 2009,  that “I will take as much risk as in the Belgian nationals as in the first Tour stage. The nationals are just as important to me, the jersey is so beautiful."

    Gilbert sees good chances

    Philippe Gilbert, the number one rider in the UCI WorldTour ranking and the dominant rider of this year's Spring classics, hopes to finally win the Belgian national road championship.

    “If the opportunity arises, given my condition, why not?” he told dhnet.be.

    “On this type of flat course, everyone has a chance. Even an average rider. I will not ask the team to ride for me because I'm hoping my teammates, some of whom may have difficulty finding a team next year, can also get a result. A victory, even a podium place, can secure their future for the next two or three seasons.”

    Gilbert has ridden the Belgian national...

  • Is Giro d’Italia Angelo Zomegnan director about to be sacked?

    Race director Angelo Zomegnan
    Article published:
    June 25, 2011, 19:15 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    RCS Sport considering plans to change race organisation

    Giro d’Italia director Angelo Zomegnan is being blamed for the problems and disappointments of this year’s race and looks set to be replaced after a series of high level meeting at event organisers RCS Sport.

    Everyone within the Milan-based organisation is staying tight-lipped, but according to the Tuttosport newspaper, Zomegnan’s time in charge of the Giro d’Italia, and other races such as Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Lombardy, seems over. Cyclingnews has heard similar comments from well informed sources both within and close to the RCS Media Group.

    Zomegnan is currently on holiday and did not reply when called by Cyclingnews.

    Rumours of Zomegnan’s demise first circulated during the Giro d’Italia dominated by Alberto Contador. Italian television was not happy with this year’s race and pointed the finger at Zomegnan, suggesting the extremely tough race route had reduced the appeal of the Giro. Zomegnan was praised for how he dealt with the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt but came under fire for the way he handled the bitter dispute with the riders and teams about the safety and race support measures put in place for the Crostis climb on stage 14.

    Since taking the position of race director, Zomegnan has helped raise the international profile of the Giro d’Italia, despite competition from the Amgen Tour of California. The introduction of dirt road sections and testing climbs produced some spectacular racing, especially in 2010. Zomegnan had also been working on a plan to start the Giro in Washington, DC.

    However, RCS Sport now runs its events far more carefully and is not satisfied with them just serving to boost sales of the group's daily sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. Zomegnan worked...

  • Another Dutch start for the Vuelta a Espana?

    That's a no bull bull!
    Article published:
    June 25, 2011, 20:52 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Drenthe likely for 2015 Spanish tour

    The Vuelta a Espana is likely to start in the Netherlands in 2015, with the city of Drenthe's bid "at 99.9%" certainty, according to reports.

    Unipublic director Javier Guillen made the estimate to NOS, and reflected on the 2009 start of the Spanish race in Assen. "In 2009 it was a great success - something good which we want to repeat," Guillen said.

    Jos Vaessen, who headed up the bid for the Vuelta's visit to Drenthe, told NOS that the country hopes to host several stages.

    "We're talking about a team time trial and three stages in the northern Netherlands. As part of the 2028 Olympic Plan, we want to show that major sporting events can be held even in the northern provinces."

    The last time the Vuelta started in the Netherlands in 2009, the country held four stages before an early rest day transfer of the race to Spain.

  • Grabsch calls German time trial title one of most important career wins

    World Champion Bert Grabsch (Columbia-HTC)
    Article published:
    June 26, 2011, 10:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    HTC-Highroad rider hopes to secure Tour de France place

    Bert Grabsch took his fourth German time trial title on Friday, and described it “on of the most important” wins in his career. The 35-year-old HTC-Highroad rider is now looking forward to riding the Tour de France, with the World Championships and 2012 London Olympics as more distant goals.

    “I think this was one of the most important German championships for me,” he told Radsport-News.com. "I am very happy. This win is one of the most important of my career.”

    Grabsch is known as a hard working rouleur and his last solo win was two years ago, ironically, the German time trial title. He had been struggling with health problems before riding the recent Tour de Suisse and the German time trial championships.

    He considered his performance on the 42.5km course in Neuwied as “one of the most perfect” time trials he has ever ridden.  “I think the best one I did was in 2008 when I won the Worlds title.  Everything worked out perfectly then too.”

    After his usual early season racing, Grabsch had a break for most of April but that's when his problems began. “Absolutely nothing went right. Neither in the Tour of Romandie nor in California.  Then I was diagnosed with a virus,” he explained.

    Further rest was not possible becausethe team was short-handed and he had to ride the Tour of Bayern.  Things finally started going better at the Tour de Suisse.

    Grabsch must now wait and hear if he wil lbe selected for the HTC-Highroad team for the Tour de France. He is...

  • 2011 National Championships index page

    Matthew Busche (RadioShack) is the USPRO National Champion for the next year.
    Article published:
    June 26, 2011, 11:31 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Quick links to national championships around the globe

    It's that time of year when national championship results are arriving fast and furious. Keep abreast of all the national championship action throughout the globe with this handy reference to road race and time trial events.

    Australia: Road race - Elite men, Elite/U23 women, U23 men; Time trial - Elite men, Elite/U23 women, U23 men
    Austria:  Road race - Elite men, Elite women
    Belarus: Road race - Elite men; Time trial - Elite men, Elite women
    Belgium: Road race - Elite men, Elite women
    Brazil: Road race -

  • Eight teams interested in Hushovd for 2012

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    June 26, 2011, 12:28 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    World Champion happy to consider French teams

    Eight teams are interested in signing Thor Hushovd for the coming season.  The 33 year-old world champion said that he had not yet decided whether he would leave Garmin-Cervelo at the end of the season but confirmed the interest and offers from other teams, and indicated he might be interested in riding for a French team.

    “I will not comment on the teams involved. I am not interested in going into it. Now it's time for the (national) championship and the Tour de France. I have people who will take care of it and follow it up for me,” Hushovd told Procycling.no.

    The Norwegian website claimed the eight teams include three ProTour teams and five Professional Continental teams.

    Hushovd, who rode for Credit Agricole for nine years, is very popular with the French teams, with Cofidis, Saur Sojasun and Francaise des Jeux said to be amongst those interested. Europcar has already said that it has opened negotiations with the Norwegian.

    “Yes, most French teams have shown interest in me,” Hushovd confirmed.

    “I need a good set-up around me for the races I can win in a season. In addition, it is important to me to have a good equipment, a good economic fuondation and the right attitude. I won't go to a team with a suspect reputation, but I would like to go back to France. I enjoy it there and I know the language from before.”