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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 12, 2010

Date published:
September 12, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Cavendish accuses Farrar and Weylandt of combining against him

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) puts his arms up in victory
    Article published:
    September 11, 2010, 11:39 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Garmin-Transitions deny any collaboration

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) has accused his Vuelta a España sprint rivals of collaborating against him. The Manxman took his second consecutive stage win of the race at Burgos on Friday and afterwards revealed that he believes that Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) and Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) are working together in the race.

    “Wouter’s helping Farrar and that’s going to make it more difficult for us to control the points competition,” Cavendish told Reuters. “If you’ve got two guys from different teams working together that’s always going to be harder.”

    Cavendish was particular aggrieved about an incident during an intermediate sprint early on stage 13. “One went left, the other went right and they deliberately closed the door on me,” he said. “I’ve never made a protest about this sort of sprint before but I feel I was put at a disadvantage.”

    However, Garmin-Transitions sports director Bingen Fernandez denied any collusion between his rider and Weylandt. “I don’t believe the two are working together,” he said. “I haven’t actually seen the sprint in question, but I don’t think it would happen. From what I heard, each rider did his own sprint and that was that.”

    Cavendish currently leads the points classification with an advantage of 21 points over Farrar.

  • Kirchen aims to resume career in 2011

    Andrei Tchmil and Kim Kirchen
    Article published:
    September 11, 2010, 13:14 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Katusha manager Tchmil labels plan "irresponsible"

    Kim Kirchen (Katusha) wishes to return to racing, according to Het Nieuwsblad. The Luxembourg rider suffered a heart attack at the Tour de Suisse in June this year but hopes to resume his career with the aid of an implanted defibrillator.

    Kirchen collapsed after stage 7 of the Tour de Suisse and was subsequently placed in a medically induced coma. He spent almost three weeks in hospital. It is understood that he recently had the defibrillator implanted and has undertaken some light training spins.

    However, if Kirchen does indeed get the all-clear to return to racing, it seems increasingly likely that he will have to do so with a new team. His Katusha manager Andrei Tchmil is opposed to Kirchen’s plans to return, given the seriousness of his condition in June.

    “It’s irresponsible for someone to race now when in June he was close to death,” Tchmil said. “It’s a time bomb that could explode at any moment. I’m prepared to offer him a job on the team staff, but not as a rider.”

    Tchmil had already offered Kirchen a place on the team’s backroom staff at a meeting between the pair in July. For his part, 2008 Fleche Wallone winner Kirchen has consistently reiterated his wish to return to the peloton next season.

  • Cancellara leads Swiss men in Worlds

    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) on his way to the stage win
    Article published:
    September 11, 2010, 13:59 BST
    Cycling News

    World champion will take on both races

    Fabian Cancellara will go for both titles at the world championships in Melbourne. The Saxo Bank rider leads the Swiss men's team announced Friday by Swiss Cycling.

    The reigning world time trial champion will look to defend his title as the country's only nominee in that discipline.

    Cancellara will lead an eight-man team in the road race, with five ProTour riders and three from BMC Racing Team. He will be looking to take his record fourth time trial title, but has said that his primary aim is to win the road race.

    Swiss Cycling also announced the U23 men's team. The women's team was announced last month.

    Elite Men:
    Michael Albasini (HTC-Columbia)
    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) (road and time trial)
    Martin Elmiger (AG2R)
    Martin Kohler (BMC Racing Team)
    Steve Morabito (BMC Racing Team)
    Gregory Rast (RadioShack)
    Oliver Zaugg (Liquigas-Doimo)
    Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing Team)

    U23 Men:
    Michael Baer
    Silvain Dillier (road and time trial)
    Sebastien Reichenbach

  • Pinotti fine-tunes his form for Melbourne

    Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) drills it on the front.
    Article published:
    September 11, 2010, 15:37 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian rides the Tour of Britain after wind tunnel work with Mercedes

    Marco Pinotti is part of the powerful HTC-Columbia line-up at this week's Tour of Britain as he fine-tunes his form for the world championships in Australia, where he hopes to ride the time trial and, for the first time in his career, the road race.

    As Italian national time trial champion, the softly-spoken but totally dedicated rider from Bergamo is sure of a place in the time trial. But he is convinced he has the ability and experience to play a key role in the nine-rider Italian "Squadra" in Melbourne. He is hoping for a double call-up from Paolo Bettini next Tuesday morning when he officialises this year's Italian team.

    Pinotti would usually focus specifically on speed work for the time trial but is riding the weeklong Tour of Britain to give him a last block of intense road racing.

    "I think I've done enough to deserve a place and I think Bettini knows that. We've spoken quite a bit in recent weeks and he knows can trust me to do any job he decides to give," Pinotti told Cyclingnews.

    "I've been working on both my time trialing and my road racing endurance. Before I came to the Tour of Britain, I spent a day in the Mercedes Gran Prix wind tunnel near the Silverstone motor racing circuit, fine tuning my time trial position. I had a half a day and Tony Martin had the other half. We both made some minor adjustments that we hope will help us gain a few extra seconds for Melbourne. I've specifically tweaked my position for my Scott time trial bike and I've narrowed my arms a little."

    "After finishing fifth last year, I think I've got a chance of a medal in Melbourne. Obviously Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin will be fighting for the world title but third place is wide open."

    Pinotti admits this is his first trip to Britain since he came as a teenager with school in 1995. He was a little shocked about the British weather in mid-September and was surprised to have woken up overlooking a football pitch...

  • Anton's dream turns into a nightmare

    Igor Anton in the red leader's jersey
    Article published:
    September 11, 2010, 18:01 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniard vows to come back strong next year after crash takes him out of race

    Igor Anton will be remembered as a gentleman after the 2010 Vuelta a España. He acted and reacted as a great champion on his way to glory. He also faced with dignity the realization that he'd have to pull out of the race after a nasty crash at the bottom of the climb of Peña Cabarga where thousands of Basque fans had gathered to encourage him on stage 14 on Saturday.

    "I'll keep these 14 days at the Vuelta as happy memories. I've lived a dream," the Euskaltel racer said instead of complaining about his broken elbow and his bruises. Even once in the refuge of his team car upon withdrawing from the race, he gave a a friendly salute to the TV cameras before heading off to the hospital.

    "I crashed alone," said Anton. "I think I hit a hole or an obstacle. My hands went off the handlebar. I stood up and I saw blood all over the place, but I didn't know where I was or what was going on."

    "Instinctively I've tried to get back on my bike, and I realized my right elbow couldn't bend. Our team doctor came straight away. He touched my arm and said, 'Forget about it, it's broken.'"

    Thor Hushovd witnessed that the crashed occurred at 80km/h on the downhill section of a large road while all the GC contenders were fighting for positioning prior to the final climb. "Euskaltel has a lot of bad luck. I feel sorry for them," said the Norwegian champion.

    The Basque team was in a compact formation around its captain which meant Egoi Martinez being also went down, was injured and had to withdraw.

    "Anton had the Vuelta in his hands," said Carlos Sastre about the rider who was leading the race and had a good chance to increase his advantage with the time bonus allocated to the top three riders at the end of each stage.

    This is not the first time Anton experienced bad luck at the Vuelta. In 2008, he was sixth on GC when he crashed in stage 13, which finished at the top of the gruelling climb of the Anglirù. In...

  • Downing hopes for good performance at Tour of Britain

    Russell Downing (Sky) leads the peloton.
    Article published:
    September 11, 2010, 21:10 BST
    Richard Moore

    British rider in contract negotiations after good year

    Russell Downing (Team Sky) began his home tour on Saturday with the added incentive of winning a new contract for 2011. The Englishman, who has four wins to his name this season, began the Tour of Britain by claiming four bonus seconds in intermediate sprints before finishing ninth in Blackpool.

    His job at the finish had been to lead out Greg Henderson, but Downing said, "We didn't get it right today," as the New Zealander finished third behind stage winner Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia).

    "It almost worked but not quite," said Downing. "Just as I was about to finish my turn, the guys went on the left and Hendy got pinned on the right. He was coming back at the end but they got the jump on him."

    Downing's snaffling of bonus seconds suggests he has his eye on the overall classification this week, after going close in recent years. But the 32-year-old has the bigger goal of trying to land an extended deal with Team Sky, with his one-year contract now in its final months.

    "It's in negotiations at the moment," said Downing. "I'd say a solid ride here should settle it. I'm leaving it to Phil Griffiths, who negotiated for me last year, but I'd like to think I'm in a strong position.

    "It's been a long year, but a really good one. If someone had said I'd get four wins, and some seconds and third and also contribute to the team effort, I'd have been delighted.

    "It'd be nice to get a longer deal," Downing said. "It's taken me a while to get here [to a major team], and I want to stay at this level for a few years. I'm 32 but I'm not a 32-year-old who's ridden loads of Grand Tours. I'd say I'm pretty fresh."

  • Hesjedal and Gesink look for victory in Montreal

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    September 11, 2010, 21:24 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Friday's Quebec ProTour race suitable for Worlds course thinks Dutchman

    The Netherlands' Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Canada's Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) placed third and fourth, respectively at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec City on Friday and each is looking to improve upon their performance at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal on Sunday. The second ProTour event offers a longer and more challenging ascent that should better suit the pair of climbers.

    "I think I was fine in Quebec City and if Sunday's course suits me better, than that is more motivating," said Hesjedal. "I was confident coming out here on Wednesday, it's bike racing and things have to come together. We are out there for a long time, and you have to get through the racing to get to the hard moments in the final. I was happy to be able to get to those moments in Quebec City, and I hope to do that again on Sunday. I will get some good rest from now until then."

    Hesjedal, who placed seventh at the this year's Tour de France, forced a late-race breakaway on the challenging Cote de la Montagne at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec City on Friday. The crowds roared as he rode through the start-finish line with one lap to go, driving a breakaway that included Fabian Wagmann (Team Milram), Matti Breshcel, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Dries Devenyns (Quick Step).

    They five men were reabsorbed into a small chase group on the final climb when French national champion, Thomas Voeckler (BBox Bouygues Telecom) counter attacked in a solo victory to the finish line. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) sprinted ahead of the small group for second place ahead of Gesink in third and Hesjedal in fourth.

    "It was a typical moment of hesitation from the other riders and at that moment I was already on the limit from the what it took for me to get to that moment," Hesjedal said. "The last thing I was going to do was try and go again. He [Voeckler] took a great move and took advantage of that. It was hard to watch him ride away but there...

  • Oscar Freire leaves the Vuelta with the Worlds in mind

     Oscar Freire (Rabobank) talk to Europsort
    Article published:
    September 12, 2010, 9:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Early trip to Australia for training

    Oscar Freire told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 14 of the Vuelta a España that he was doing his last stage before pulling out. “As I didn’t come to the Vuelta with great shape, I need one week of recovery before I train again for the world championships,” said the triple world champion.

    Rabobank’s directeur sportif Adri van Houwelingen was more vague about the exact day of his retirement. “Oscar will stop one of these three days,” the Dutchman said. “He wants to go to Australia on Wednesday for ten days. He reckons the training he’ll do there will be better than what he’d do at the Vuelta. We’ve given him the green light to prepare for the world championship as he wants.”

    Freire was absent from the fight for the win in the sprints of the Vuelta until he finished sixth in Lleida on stage 12. “My condition is getting better,” the Spaniard noted. “But it’s not yet what I need for winning. I was feeling pretty bad at the start of the Vuelta because I hadn’t done great work before. I’ve raced a lot. The operation has stopped me for a while and I couldn’t expect miracles in such a hard Vuelta.”

    In the early plans for his 2010 season, Freire was supposed to start the Giro d’Italia for the first time at the age of 34. His Dutch sponsor Rabobank expected him to shine in the first few stages in the Netherlands but allergies forced him to withdraw and he was replaced by his young team-mate Steven Kruijswijk, who ended up as one of the revelations of the pink race (18th overall).

    Freire has done the Tour of Belgium, the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France but hasn’t won since stage 2 of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. His best results at the Tour de France were 5th in the last two bunch sprints in Bordeaux and Paris. In the Pyrénées, he suffered from the cold and rain and could hardly...