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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, October 18, 2009

Date published:
October 18, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Ullrich visited doctor Fuentes 24 times

    Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) salutes from the podium
    Article published:
    October 17, 2009, 14:04 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Former Tour de France winner visited doctor in Madrid, according to German magazine

    Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich visited Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in Madrid 24 times from 2003 to 2006, according to the German news magazine Spiegel. The visits are said to have been organised by Rudy Pevenage, former Team T-Mobile director, and the evidence for them was found on his computer.

    Pevenage, considered to be Ullrich's mentor when the German was racing, told German investigators that the visits were aimed at helping Ullrich's weight problems and that he had no knowledge of any blood doping that may have taken place.

    Investigators from the German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA, federal police) seized a computer from Pevenage and were able to recover material that had been deleted from the hard disc.

    The records showed that Ullrich flew secretly to Madrid eight times between February 2005 and May 2006, and that Pevenage himself flew to Madrid 15 times between December 2003 and April 2006.

    "Ullrich used the doping system of the Spanish doctor Dr. Fuentes in order to use performance-enhancing products and methods to prepare himself for competitions, in defiance of his contract," the BKA report concluded. Ullrich did not comment on the charges.

    When questioned by the BKA, Pevenage said that Ullrich and Fuentes met "about five or six times a year." Ullrich asked him to to establish the contact because of his "weight problems" and Pevenage claimed he "had no knowledge" of any blood handlings.

    Ullrich was suspended by T-Mobile Team on the eve of the 2006 Tour de France for his involvement with Fuentes, and later fired by the team. He retired in February of the following year. The BKA started its investigation of him in July 2006, and closed the investigation in March 2008 when Ullrich paid a fine of 250,000 euro.

  • Gilbert wins Lombardia thanks to World Champion's work

    Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) out-sprinted Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) to take the biggest win of his carrer.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2009, 19:43 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Evans and Silence-Lotto team pull together for Gilbert's fourth consecutive win

    Belgian Philippe Gilbert took his fourth consecutive win today in Como, Italy, thanks to the work of World Champion Cadel Evans and the rest of his Silence-Lotto team.

    Since finishing sixth behind Evans at the World Championships, Gilbert has raced and won Coppa Sabatini, Paris-Tours, Giro del Piemonte and today, Giro di Lombardia.

    "Matthew Lloyd set a good rhythm for me on the Civiglio climb, and it was easy to stay behind him. I attacked first, then Evans. He allowed me to mark Damiano Cunego," Gilbert said after his win.

    Silence-Lotto started with few wins this season, but it has ended on a high with Evans' win at Worlds and Gilbert's streak. Gilbert took his first win in Italy, a stage at the Giro d'Italia in May, and then a stage and overall of the Ster Elektrotoer in June. Since finishing sixth in the Worlds on September 27, he has been unstoppable.

    Gilbert said he is on top form and some of his rivals are weakening towards the end of the season. "I am also very thin these days, which helps. Then, I have a strong team and they worked hard today, including Evans."

    Silence-Lotto worked with Lampre in the early part of Lombardia to catch the escape of four riders: Sergey Klimov (Katusha), Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil), Marco Velo (Quick Step) and Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale). Evans and Gilbert positioned themselves well over Ghisallo, preceding the Civiglio and San Fermo climbs in the final 20 kilometres.

    Gilbert's attack at the top of Civiglio brought out Spaniard Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The chasers caught them, but Gilbert started another attack on San Fermo. Sánchez joined him and the duo had 11 seconds at the top, 5.7 kilometres to race. They worked together to arrive with 15 seconds for the final kilometre along Como's lakeside.

    "I was confident," said Gilbert. "Before the last kilometre I felt we had enough time and it is always easy to do a sprint with two instead of...

  • Lombardia: Gesink ends season on high

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) powers up the San Fermo Della Battaglia climb.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2009, 19:54 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Dutchman wins Emilia, sixth in Lombardia despite Vuelta crash

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) ended his season in Como, Italy, on a high Saturday placing sixth in the Giro di Lombardia, backing up his recent win in Giro dell'Emilia and classification ride at the Vuelta a España.

    "When you go for the classification in a Grand Tour you kill yourself. I was just happy to have my form back for Emilia," Dutchman Gesink told Cyclingnews.

    Gesink finished the race on Como's lakefront in the chase group behind the winning escape of Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Added with Emilia seven days ago, it is courageous return from his crash in the Vuelta a España in September.

    Gesink, 23, sat second in the overall classification of the Vuelta in the third week. He was ready to make his mark in a Grand Tour and amends for abandoning the Tour de France with a fractured wrist. Stage 17 to Talavera de la Reina changed his plans; he crashed and suffered a deep cut to his left knee.

    Gesink finished the Vuelta a España sixth and recovered for his season finale. Based near Como, in Bellagio, he trained on Lombardia's Ghisallo and the once-used Muro di Sormano. He won Emilia at the end of five circuits up the San Luca climb and marked himself as a favourite for Lombardia.

    "I placed sixth and I rode well, so that is a good way to end the season."

    Gesink formed part of the front group of riders over the Ghisallo ahead of the race's final climbs, the Civiglio and San Fermo. Ahead of the Civiglio and a dangerous descent to San Fermo, he ordered his Dutch team to the front to capture the six-man escape.

    "It is good thing to show yourself and take the lead. I hoped to be better after the team's work and really attack on the next climbs."

    Gesink failed to follow the attack of Gilbert and then Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) on San Fermo, but remained with the chase group over the next six kilometres.

    He ends his...

  • Wiggins opposes revised Olympic track programme

    Brad Wiggins (Garmin Slipstream) shows his approval of some warmer weather down under for the 2009 Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2009, 22:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Briton fears changes will kill off endurance track cycling

    While Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) wrapped up overall victory and his 2009 road season in Australia's Jayco Herald Sun Tour on Saturday, thoughts of track racing, specifically the International Cycling Unions's (UCI) recommendation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the elimination of three marquee endurance events from the 2012 Olympics, weighed on the 29-year-old Briton's mind.

    "They've changed the program now, given the women a load of events. It's a shame, it will probably end up killing off track endurance cycling," Wiggins told the Brisbane Times.

    Last month the UCI recommended to the IOC the elimination of the men's individual pursuit, madison and points race in order to equalize the amount of men's and women's track events in the Olympic Games. Currently, the men have seven events (individual sprint, team sprint, keirin, individual pursuit, team pursuit, points race and madison) while the women have three (individual sprint, individual pursuit and points race).

    The proposed Olympic track programme for the 2012 Olympics in London would have five events each for men and women: individual sprint, team sprint, keirin, team pursuit and an omnium.

    "We're pawns in their game. We're just riders, it doesn't matter what we think," Wiggins told the Brisbane Times. He said the new programme was unfortunate "for the younger guys".

    Wiggins has been a multi-time Olympic medalist in two of the events slated to be eliminated, the individual pursuit and madison. Wiggins earned the gold medal in the individual pursuit at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. He also won the bronze medal in the

  • Sánchez comes up short in Como

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) after finishing a close second place to Philippe Gilbert.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2009, 23:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Third Lombardia podium appearance in four years, but victory eludes Spaniard

    Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) came tantalizingly close to winning the 103rd edition of the Giro di Lombardia on Saturday, but the 31-year-old Spaniard was edged out at the finish line by Belgium's Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) in a two-man sprint for the final Monument of the 2009 calendar.

    Sánchez, the reigning Olympic road champion, was the only rider to answer Gilbert's powerful surge near the summit of Lombardia's final climb, the San Fermo Della Battaglia, whose summit lies less than six kilometres from the finish line in Como.

    The leading duo worked smoothly together over the closing kilometres with a lead that never extended beyond 15 seconds over a select 14-man chase group containing race favourites such as defending champion Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and the Astana pair of Alexandre Vinokourov and Chris Horner.

    Gilbert, displaying incredible post-Worlds form with consecutive victories in the Coppa Sabatini, Paris-Tours and Giro del Piemonte in recent weeks, led out the sprint but Sánchez was unable to find the speed to come around the 27-year-old Belgian.

    "I hit upon the worst opponent in the finale of this great Classic," said Sánchez of the Belgian race winner. "Gilbert is a rider capable of winning bunch sprints, he won ahead of Boonen in Paris-Tours, and he has claimed four straight wins to end the season. He's a great rider and I can only congratulate him.

    "I felt good all day. On the Civiglio I attacked to force a selection, the fewer people the better approaching the finish. The trouble was that on the descent there was a regrouping and the final selection was made on the San Fermo."

    While the Spaniard was on good late-season form, having finished the Vuelta a España in second overall followed by a fourth place finish in the world road championships, Sánchez was lacking the finishing punch which won him the 2008 Beijing...

  • Cunego empty handed in Lombardia, blames teammate Santambrogio

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) in Giro di Lombardia
    Article published:
    October 18, 2009, 12:28 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Giro di Lombardia: Damiano Cunego misses chance at fourth win

    Damiano Cunego's attempt at a fourth Giro di Lombardia win yesterday in Como, Italy, failed for what he believes was lack of team Lampre support.

    "I need someone there to help me, I practically did it all on my own," Italy's Cunego told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Cunego, who finished 14th, said teammate Mauro Santambrogio failed to follow team orders in the final 20 kilometres, over the Civiglio and San Fermo climbs. Italy's Santambrogio formed an escape group of six after Ghisallo that lasted until the Civiglio. The top of the climb left a rapid descent with many tight turns and 15.7 kilometres to the finish.

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) attacked before San Fermo, joined by Santambrogio and then Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank).

    "The plan was that Santambrogio was to only pull for me, instead there was a gap and he went, continuing in the escape," said Cunego. "It seemed fine, the others teams had to chase. Then he was the first to be dropped on San Fermo when my rivals all had teammates."

    Eventual winner Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) had teammate Cadel Evans. Evans chased Vinokourov's attack and put Gilbert in position for his attack at the top of San Fermo.

    Gilbert escaped for the win with Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Cunego tried to take third place in the sprint of 13 riders, but another rider blocked him before the finish line.

    Lombardia was Cunego's last race with Santambrogio, who will ride for BMC Racing next season.

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  • Larsson gives his all for Kolobnev

    Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank) at Lombardia, starting Civiglio
    Article published:
    October 18, 2009, 13:37 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Larsson aggressive in Lombardia finale

    Swede Gustav Larsson allowed his Saxo Bank teammates to fight with the favourites at the Giro di Lombardia yesterday in Como, Italy. Alexandr Kolobnev took the sprint for third after teammate Larsson's escape in the final 30 kilometres, including the race's final two climbs.

    "Jakob [Fuglsang] and Alexandr were our two leaders, and they did pretty good. I was out there just to keep our team covered in the breakaway, which was good for us," Larsson told Cyclingnews.

    Larsson escaped with Mauro Santambrogio (Lampre), Daniel Martin (Garmin), Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) and Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil) after the Ghisallo climb, 40 kilometres to race. Larsson lost contact with the others at the start of the Civiglio climb, but remained with the group of favourites that was chasing.

    He attacked before San Fermo to form a new three-man lead group: Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), Santambrogio and teammate Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank). The trio stayed away until six kilometres to race, 300 metres from the top of San Fermo, where Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) started his winning move.

    "I was on the limit when I got there. I tried to help the group, but I did not have anything for the climbs," continued Larsson. "The first one [Civiglio] went okay, but on the last one [San Fermo] I could not continue. I had to push myself hard and I was suffering to the finish."

    Larsson finished in 37th, 2:01 behind Gilbert, but Kolobnev made the podium and Fuglsang finishes 16th. He ends his season at the Japan Cup on October 25.

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  • Fédrigo remains with Bbox despite team losing ProTour licence

    Frenchman Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
    Article published:
    October 18, 2009, 16:27 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Fédrigo avoids troubles of terminating contract with Bbox Bouygues Telecom

    Frenchman Pierrick Fédrigo will stay with Bbox Bouygues Telecom though the team failed to receive a ProTour licence renewal for 2010.

    "The best thing for everyone is to finish my last year [of contract] and then a change of scenery for 2011," Fédrigo told L'Equipe today. "A fight would not have been good for anyone, especially for me. I would lose a lot of time and energy."

    He joined the French team in 2005 and still has a contract for 2010.

    Bbox Bouygues has had a ProTour, or first division, licence since the inception of the ranking system in 2005. Its licence runs through the end of this year, but it received official notice November 29 from the International Cycling Union (UCI) that it failed to meet renewal requirements.

    It will have to race 2010 at the Professional Continental level, or second division.

    Fédrigo is one of Bbox Bouygues Telecom's best-known riders with Thomas Voeckler. He became a full-time professional in 2000 and has won two stages in the Tour de France, 2006 and 2009.