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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, October 25, 2009

Date published:
October 25, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • A repeat Giro victory for Menchov?

    2009 Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov (Rabobank) was on hand.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2009, 18:24 BST
    Gregor Brown

    2009 Giro d'Italia believes he can beat Contador in a mountainous edition

    Russian Denis Menchov (Rabobank) believes the he has a chance of repeating his 2009 Giro d'Italia victory, beating favourites like Astana's Alberto Contador. At the race presentation Saturday in Milano, Menchov saw a mountainous 2010 route, similar to the one Spain's Contador won in 2008.

    "I am also a good climber," Menchov said to Cyclingnews. "I can do well in the climbs when my form is at its best. I finished fifth in 2008, which is not too bad. If I really want to go for the Giro win again, I will just modify my preparation to be in a position to win."

    The 2010 Giro d'Italia ends with an explosive week of climbing. Organiser RCS Sport unveiled a route that will take the riders up the Zoncolan, Plan de Corones, Mortirolo and Gavia climbs.

    "I like the stages in the last week, the mythical ones, like Mortirolo and Gavia."

    Menchov won this year's Giro d'Italia, but its route was a non-classical one criticised by some journalists and cyclists. It ended in Roma, far from the Giro's famous climbs in the Alps and Dolomites.

    Menchov finished third in the 2008 Tour de France and he may return to win it next year. He will decide in the next month if he will race both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, or the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.

    "I don't know which one suits me better, it's hard to say. I like the Giro, the mountains, but also the Tour's route. I think the two races are similar this year. They are both going to be hard races."

    Menchov placed fifth in 2006 Tour de France. His other Grand Tour victory was the Vuelta a España in 2007.

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  • Cunego's 2010 Giro d'Italia: stage wins

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
    Article published:
    October 24, 2009, 18:52 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Classification "too stressful" for 2004 winner

    Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre) saw potential in the 2010 Giro d'Italia route unveiled in Milano on Saturday. He counted three or four stages he could win instead of thinking of how to win the overall classification.

    "It is too stressful," Cunego said to Cyclingnews about racing for the overall classification. "It is easier to aim for a particular stage. You can show yourself better this way."

    Cunego won the 2004 Giro d'Italia, but in recent years has performed better in one-day races and stages of multi-day races. He went to the Vuelta a España last month to win stages and came home with two: Alto de Aitana and La Pandera.

    "I had a good test at the Vuelta. If I concentrate on particular stages I can go very well, whether in the Giro, the Tour or the Vuelta."

    Giro organiser RCS Sport presented a traditional route, one with high mountain climbs in the third week. The race, from May 8 to 30, will take the riders up the Zoncolan, Plan de Corones, Mortirolo and Gavia climbs in the final week.

    Cunego counted three or four stages that suit his strengths. "Not more," he said. "Maybe Terminillo in the first week and then there are lot of nervous stages in the second week. In the third week: Mortirolo or Plan de Corones, even if it is a time trial, it is a hard one."

    The Italian will decide over the winter if he will race the Giro d'Italia or Tour de France.

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  • Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt loses main sponsor

    Winner Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre NGC)
    Article published:
    October 25, 2009, 10:33 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Nürnberger Versicherung withdraws from all cycling sponsorship

    The future of Germany's Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt races may be be in doubt, after its principal sponsor Nürnberger Versicherung announced that it would cease its sponsorship of the event. The German insurance company, which has sponsored the races for 19 years, had earlier this year announced that it will also stop sponsoring the Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung women's team.

    The company indicated that cycling's reputation for doping problems was partially responsible, and that it was not receiving the hoped-for returns for its long-time sponsorship. In the future it intends to concentrate its sponsorship involvement in other sports.

    Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt, held in September, features not only a race for the men, but is also the final race in the Women's World Cup. The insurance company was the largest financial contributor to the races, contributing an estimated 180,000 Euro this year. The city of Altstadt said will try to find a new sponsor for the day of races

    The men's event at this year's event was won by Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre - NGC), while the women's World Cup race was won by Kirsten Wild (Cervélo).

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  • Sunderland says Giro's Dutch start will suit strong men

    Team Sky sports director Scott Sunderland.
    Article published:
    October 25, 2009, 15:55 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Sky sports director believes Giro's opening days could prove critical in race for overall

    Team Sky sports director Scott Sunderland believes the 2010 Giro d'Italia route will force teams to re-evaluate their selection for the Italian Grand Tour. Sunderland told Cyclingnews on Sunday that he expects the race's opening days in The Netherlands to see traditionally climber-based teams tempered with more robust squads, capable of seeing off the challenge of the first three stages.

    "It's a well thought out course, I think it's well balanced, but it's one where you'll have to be on your toes right from the start," he said. "With that prologue [in Amsterdam], you'll have to be a good technical rider. There are some narrow streets and the 'klinckers' [Dutch paving stones] could cause problems."

    With the first two road stages to be held within Dutch borders, Sunderland said the region's weather will have the potential to present conditions atypical of the Giro d'Italia.

    "Those couple of days in Holland throw up a whole bag of surprises," he said. "You'll go over the dyke, you'll have bridges and a lot of wind. The peloton might get really lucky and have no wind, but they could have wind and storms; everything thrown at them in the first three days of the race.

    "Typically in Italy you don’t have those strong winds, whereas we have seen those sorts of conditions in the Tour of Spain and the Tour de France, so it could add a different dimension to the Giro, which I think is quite good."

    Although Sunderland expects a level of status quo to return to the Giro once on Italian soil, he indicated that the stage four team time trial from Savigliano to Cuneo will be another factor in teams possibly starting the race with a little more bulk that usual.

    "Teams will have to be well thought out and well balanced. We'll go from three days in Holland to a rest day and then straight into a flat, very fast team time trial, that will suit the big drivers and sprinters teams," he said.

    Sunderland said the...

  • Hincapie embraces Tour of California route change

    US Champion George Hincapie
    Article published:
    October 25, 2009, 17:45 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    US Champion to head to California after Spring Classic goals

    George Hincapie hopes to bring his new BMC Racing team success next year in North America's marquee cycling event, the Tour of California. The US National Road Champion pointed to several stages where he envisions a personal victory after checking out the organizer's new plans to move the route inland toward the mountains.

    Last week the Tour of California owners, AEG Sports, released the start and finish cities for each of the eight stages in the fifth edition of the race, which is expected to cover nearly 800 miles. Although the specifics of each stage are yet to be confirmed, based on his general knowledge of the state's hilly inland terrain, the addition of a mountaintop finish at Big Bear Lake and an expected flat time trial in Los Angeles Hincapie has a good idea of places to make his mark.

    "I think it will be interesting to go up Big Bear for the climbers," Hincapie told Cyclingnews. "I think the circuit they want to do in Santa Monica up 'Rock Store' climb is similar to Paris Mountain and that will be good for me."

    "The time trial will probably be flat in LA, which is also good for me," he continued. "Overall I think the route is interesting and leaves the race wide open."

    The flat Los Angeles time trial has taken the place of the iconic, hilly test, held in the quaint Danish town of Solvang for the last four editions.

    "I think it will be interesting to do a time trial in downtown LA; it will be an experience," Hincapie said. "The Solvang time trial was probably a great combination of hilly and technical, it made it exciting for the spectators and for us. I don't know what the course is in LA yet, but I think it is good to change up the course to keep the fans exited and [travelling] all over to different cities around the State to watch the race."

    Tour de France prep?

    It is widely known that AEG requested a spot in May on the International Cycling Union's (UCI) 2010...