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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, October 3, 2010

Date published:
October 03, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • BBox set to survive as Voeckler opts not to sign for Cofidis

    Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) celebrates with team boss Jean Rene Bernaudeau
    Article published:
    October 02, 2010, 14:20 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Europcar to sponsor team in 2011

    Bbox-Bouygues Telecom’s future appears to be guaranteed for another season after it emerged that Thomas Voeckler has reversed his decision to leave for Cofidis. Reports in the French press have named car-hire firm Europcar as the team’s new sponsor, although a formal announcement is not expected until Monday.

    Voeckler announced on Friday morning that he would sign for Cofidis for 2011 in the likely event that Jean-René Bernaudeau failed to secure a new sponsor for the Bbox-Bouygues Telecom team. However, on Saturday Cofidis manager Eric Boyer revealed that Voeckler had changed his mind overnight.

    “Thomas has taken the decision not to sign and that’s regrettable,” Boyer told Reuters. “I don’t think that anybody could have proposed better conditions to him than us in order to pursue his career. It’s not that Cofidis broke off the negotiations, it’s Thomas who took the decision not to sign.”

    Voeckler’s about-turn strongly suggests that his manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has been successful in his eleventh-hour search for a sponsor.

    According to Cyclismactu.net, Bernaudeau signed a deal with Europcar early on Saturday afternoon. The website also revealed that Europcar agreed to sponsor the team only on the condition that the French champion Voeckler remained with the team.

    Bernaudeau was due to deliver his team’s dossier to the UCI on Thursday in order to ensure its place in the peloton next season but the Frenchman was given an extension until Monday in order to facilitate his late bid to find a sponsor to save the team.
     

  • Vos disappointed by fourth straight silver medal

    Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Emma Johansson (Sweden) couldn't top Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) on the day.
    Article published:
    October 02, 2010, 15:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch rider has medaled five years in a row for new record

    Marianne Vos won gold her first time at the Worlds road race, back in 2006, and has been on the podium every year since then. Once again, for the fourth year in a row, the Dutch rider ended up with the silver medal – not the one she wanted.

    How did it happen this year? “If I had sprinted later, then the escapees Judith Arndt and Nicole Cooke would have sprinted for the gold, “ she told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “So I took off at 300 metres from the finish and I felt the Italian Giorgia Bronzini coming up. I had no choice.”

    Her teammate Annemiek van Vleuten was supposed to help in the end, but punctured and was unable to get back to the front. When Arndt and Cooke attacked, Vos considering going with them, but decided to wait for help. “Anne did not come back and I did not hear until later that she had punctured. Too bad, she might have played a role in the sprint,” Vos told the ANP news agency.

    The 23-year-old has now moved past French legend Jeanne Longo by winning a medal five years in a row. “It's obviously nice to ride Longo to out of the books. I won silver, but of course I came here for gold.

    “In Varese, I was very disappointed because I was too eager and actually gave away the gold. This edition is close to it in terms of disappointment."

  • Worlds: Pozzato not counting on sprint finish in elite men's road race

    Filippo Pozzato gets dressed for the cold
    Article published:
    October 02, 2010, 17:00 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian looking to Bugno for inspiration ahead of Sunday's road race

    Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) does not believe that the sprint finishes seen in the under 23 and women's road races at the world championships will necessarily be repeated in the elite men's race on Sunday.

    "The pro race will be different," Pozzato told Gazzetta dello Sport. "You'll just need to pick the right moments. What happened in the under 23 race doesn't hold true for the professionals."

    After seeing Philippe Gilbert's form at close quarters at the Vuelta a España, it is not surprising that Pozzato views the Belgian as the favourite to take the rainbow jersey but he warns that he must first distance the sprinters in order to win. "If he wants to make the difference, Gilbert will have to try and drop riders like [Oscar] Freire, [Matthew] Goss and [Allan] Davis."

    Another rider who could feature in the finale is Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), and Pozzato will be on his guard for the sort of the attack that resulted in him finishing behind the Swiss at the 2008 Milan-San Remo. "On the false flat after the last climb, Cancellara could get a gap and go to the finish."

    Pozzato was slightly more reticent in discussing his own tactics, simply stating that he hoped to "ride the perfect race". However, a hint may be provided by his choice of viewing since he arrived in Australia last week.

    "I remember the Worlds that [Gianni] Bugno won, especially the one in Benidorm in 1992," Pozzato said. "This week I've watched it again and again on tape. I hope to have learned something." Bugno took a sprint victory ahead of Laurent Jalabert and a select group of riders in 1992 on a slightly uphill finishing straight, and it's clear that Pozzato envisages a similar shake-up at the finish in Geelong.

    Growing pains

    Pozzato's own relationship with the world championships stretches back 12 years, to when he was beaten by Ireland's Mark Scanlon in the junior road race in Valkenberg. The man from...

  • Tour du Limousin gets an upgrade

    Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank), 2010 Tour du Limousin winner.
    Article published:
    October 02, 2010, 21:06 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    French race promoted to 2.HC category event

    The Tour of Limousin is getting an upgrade for 2011, when it will be an 2.HC event as categorized by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The French race is part of the UCI's European calendar, and it's next edition will happen August 16 to August 19, 2011.

    The upgrade puts the Tour du Limoson in the same category as other international races such as the Four Days of Dunkirk, the Tour of Luxembourg, Bayern-Rundfahrt, the Tour de Wallonie, the Tour of Belgium and the Criterium International. There are 13 2.HC events on the European calendar for next season.

    "The Tour du Limosin has joined the ranks of these famous races," read a statement from organizers. "That's one way to place a little more importance on the Tour du Limousin. It's a breakthrough in the sport."

    Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank) won the most recent edition of the race.

  • Opportunities help Henderson win in 2010

    Gregory Henderson (Team Sky) on the podium after an Eneco Tour stage win
    Article published:
    October 03, 2010, 2:50 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Kiwi pleased with season despite Commonwealth Games withdrawal

    Today's elite men's road race at the UCI Road World Championships will be the last event of the season for Greg Henderson after the New Zealander withdrew from his nation's Commonwealth Games squad.

    Henderson explained the reasons for his withdrawal to Cyclingnews and said a move from HTC-Columbia to Team Sky at the end of last year has paid dividends during a season that saw him take six victories.

    "Katie [Mactier, Henderson's wife] and I sat down a few weeks ago after the Tour of Britain as we were flying home and weighed up the pros and cons," said Henderson.

    "The cons for me, at this stage, outweighed the pros. I then decided to call it a season at the end of this race.

    "We're going to have a week here in Melbourne - this is my home away from home - then we'll head to Bali for a week to relax and have a holiday," he added.

    The 34-year-old from Dunedin started the season with a win in the Down Under Classic in Australia before taking a stage victories in Paris-Nice, Ster Elektrotoer, the Tour of Benelux and Tour of Britain, where he took the points classification. He also rode the Giro d'Italia and had five top-five stage placings despite some bad luck on occasions.

    It all adds up to one of his best seasons, and Henderson admitted as much, although the only blip on his radar was missing the year's biggest race, the Tour de France.

    "The only thing I was disapointed in was missing the Tour selection. They backed everything on Wiggins, which didn't pan out so well... other than that I was happy with my season," said Henderson.

    "I won six times this year and for me that's a good season. I was happy with the team - to get the team up and running first year, we did a tremendous job."

    Whilst predominantly being a domestique at HTC-Columbia, Henderson's move to Team Sky was prompted by the chance to be a protected rider in sprints more often. He says that the British squad's trust in his...

  • Worlds: Breschel almost beats the best

    Matti Breschel (Denmark) on the podium with his silver medal.
    Article published:
    October 03, 2010, 8:56 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Danish rider looks forward to strong 2011

    Denmark's Matti Breschel edged himself one step closer to a win in the UCI Road World Championships elite men's road race this afternoon when he added a silver medal to the bronze he won in 2008.

    Breschel took third in the 2008 Worlds decider in Varese, Italy, when Alessandro Ballan claimed the title and he then finished seventh in last year's world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    In today's race he opened the sprint finish, taking Allan Davis with him, as Thor Hushovd hugged the barriers. Ultimately the plan didn't work for a gold medal and the Dane expressed his disappointment.

    "I just went with everything and Thor passed me with 50 or 30 metres to go. At the moment of course I'm disappointed because today I was going for the victory. But second place is a good result," he said.

    "In the sprint, I think I had the wheel of Greg Van Avermaet and he opened with 200m to go - it's a pretty long sprint considering we had done 260km and it was uphill. But I tried with everything and unfortunately Thor was too strong."

    Breschel was one of six Danish riders who almost played their cards to perfection against the big teams such as Australia and Belgium; while riders from Denmark and Norway filled the first two places on the podium, the fancied power nations mustered a third place - Australia's Allan Davis took the bronze.

    Breschel said that the lack of race radios may have been one of the smaller teams' advantages. "I don't know about the bigger teams - maybe they would need a radio. It's easier for Denmark and Norway - smaller teams... I don't know," he said.

    He admitted that the course "was really hard" and that "the steep climb was hard", but with his name rarely entering the equation in the discussion about potential world champions, Breschel said his underdog status was another advantage.

    "Being the underdog suited me pretty well - I've had two races since August so I've just been training,...

  • Philippe Gilbert doesn’t regret courageous attacks

    Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) was in great form but was ultimately left disappointed in Geelong.
    Article published:
    October 03, 2010, 9:54 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Headwind prevented him from staying away

    Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) was probably the strongest rider at Geelong’s world championship and certainly the most aggressive. But he didn’t get his due reward as the headwind put an end to his third and last attack with 2.5km to go.

    “I have nothing to regret,” the Belgian said at the finish line. “I’ve worked for a couple of months to win this race and I was physically very strong and fresh as well. I’ve given my best but unfortunately, the wind was blowing against my interests at the end.”

    The Belgian team had imagined that the wind might do damage in the initial section from Melbourne to Geelong. “But until we arrived on the circuit, there was no wind at all,” Gilbert explained. “Then it started blowing but I had to try and break away anyway. After my first attack, when a group came across to ours, I saw from their faces that Thor Hushovd and Oscar Freire were very fresh, that’s why I decided to attack again. I didn’t feel myself fast enough to beat a sprinter like Hushovd. I put it in the big ring, it allowed me to re-start strongly at the top of the hill but it was headwind after that. It wasn’t easy to resist on the big boulevards in such conditions.”

    “It’s a pity”, he continued, “but that’s the way it goes. It’s cycling I guess. This is a sport where the strongest is never sure to win. It’s not a sport with just two men against each other. There are many riders and many factors.”

    Gilbert would have appreciated a bit of help from Filippo Pozzato (Italy) when they were together at the front. “I didn’t understand the Italians’ tactics,” he said. “Pozzato didn’t do a thing.”

    On his return to Europe, Gilbert will figure out whether or not he can aim at a third consecutive victory at Paris-Tours next week. “It all depends on how I recover...

  • Next stop for Hushovd: Roubaix

    Thor Hushovd (Norway) shows some tongue while holding his new gold medal.
    Article published:
    October 03, 2010, 10:33 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Norwegian world champ craves Classics crown

    After becoming road world champion on Sunday in Geelong, Australia, Thor Hushovd says a Paris-Roubaix crown is next on his list of career goals.

    The Norwegian has coveted the Roubaix title for many years now and was clear in his response to questions regarding what's left to achieve in his decorated career.

    "There are so many things left because it's cycling and there are so many races, but I think my main goal for now is Paris-Roubaix. It's been my goal for many years and a big dream for me to win.

    "To win a big Classic with this jersey would be nice."

    Asked if the rainbow stripes are more important than his green jersey for the points classification at the Tour de France, Hushovd swiftly replied: "This is bigger - it's the world championships. Absolutely for me this jersey is the biggest one, together with Paris-Roubaix," he said.

    And it's Hushovd's pedigree as a Classics rider - as it is for fellow podium placers Matti Breschel and Allan Davis - that got the Norwegian through the tough 260km parcours, which was the subject of much speculation throughout the last six months, while the likes of pure sprinters such as Mark Cavendish failed to get close to the win.

    "During the season I heard it was a sprinter's race and then when we got closer to the race we heard that it was harder and when I saw the course I kind of got surprised how hard it was. So then it was for the climbers," he explained.

    "Then we saw how the under 23 guys rode it and we thought, 'Ah, maybe it's a sprinters' course anyway'. It was a really tough one today - all of us are good sprinters but we are not pure sprinters - so I think that we had to hang in there and believe that we could make it.

    "I think Mark Cavendish is just a pure sprinter; when you see the races he's the fastest sprinter in the world when it's flat and not too hard. If you look at my last victories there's often a climb at the end or a hard sprint like...