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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 20, 2009

Date published:
September 20, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Demoralised Gesink wants to hold Vuelta's sixth place

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) prepares for Vuelta a España's Toledo time trial.
    Article published:
    September 19, 2009, 16:32 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Rabobank's Robert Gesink gradually feeling better after Vuelta a España crash

    Dutchman Robert Gesink has decided to start today's Vuelta a España time trial, demoralised after losing time yesterday. His Rabobank team indicated yesterday evening that the Dutchman was undecided about continuing to Madrid, but he is currently warming up for the stage and defence of his sixth place overall.

    "He feels a bit better," said directeur sportif Eric Breukink. "The worst day was just after the crash. He was a bit better yesterday but for that [tough] stage it was not enough. Now his morale is down and it is difficult, but he wants to continue and try to save his place in the general [classification].

    "He is not super, but he accepts the situation. It was bad luck. He was on the level to reach the podium, so it's hard for him."

    Gesink, 23, had been second overall, but yesterday evening finished four minutes 44 back and dropped to sixth. He starts today's time trial 3:19 behind Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) in fifth and 1:29 ahead of Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre-NGC).

    Gesink crashed Wednesday on the stage to Talavera de la Reina and he suffered various injuries, including a deep wound to his knee.

    Due to the tough nature of the Worlds course next Sunday, Gesink would have started as one of the favourites. Breukink feels he's still likely to go, but that Gesink will make a final decision next week.

    "He wants to do the Worlds as planned. But maybe three days after the Vuelta you have to see how he is. If he feels very bad, maybe he is better not to start the Worlds."

  • Danielson confirms for worlds

    Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) after winning the TT in Burgos.
    Article published:
    September 19, 2009, 17:07 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Illness and injury will not prevent American from racing

    Illness forced Tom Danielson to withdraw from the Vuelta a España on the Thursday’s stage to Avila, but the Garmin-Slipstream rider has said that he intends to travel to Mendrisio next week and take part in the World Championships.

    "Since I stopped racing my body has had a chance to focus on getting well," he told Cyclingnews on Saturday afternoon. "I am hoping that in a few more days I will be almost back to normal."

    Danielson rode strongly in the Vuelta until getting sick with flu, and was named last week as leading the US campaign in the time trial and road race. He plans to do both, using the first as a gauge to see how well he has recovered.

    "I will do the TT and see how I feel…it should help open me up and give me an idea where I am at. I didn’t have a choice about stopping the Vuelta – my lungs were so full of fluid I was drowning. By the top of the first climb I couldn't breathe at all."

    Rather than being demoralised, he’s looked at the positive aspects of his Spanish campaign and remains focussed. "The motivation is high because I really want to continue to build on the level I had in the Vuelta," he said. "I think the difference between me now and before is that I am able to turn the page, turn my back on disappointment and move forward.

    "I know now what I am capable of and its not worth an ounce of energy dwelling on anything negative. So, yes, I'll be at the worlds with a confident smile on my face."

  • Millar: we found our mojo

    David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) pops the bubbly.
    Article published:
    September 19, 2009, 22:27 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Scot nets hat-trick for Garmin-Slipstream

    Garmin-Slipstream is hardly the Austin Powers of cycling, but as David Millar said today, the team has found its mojo in this year’s Vuelta. Prior to the start of the race it had clocked up a maddening run of near misses in Grand Tours, but once Tyler Farrar scooped its first win on stage eleven to Caravaca de la Cruz, everything fell into place.

    Ryder Hesjedal triumphed two days later, with only the rest day interrupting what was two consecutive stage wins. Then today Millar made it three from twenty when he stormed to time trial success in Todelo.

    The purple patch saw other important victories. Tom Danielson rode strongly until he was struck down by illness, but his performance was an achievement after years of struggles. Chris Sutton clocked up a sprint triumph in the Tour of Britain, and on the other side of the pond, Dave Zabriskie nabbed the time trial and overall classification in the Tour of Missouri.

    In fact, since August 8th and Danielson’s time trial win in the Tour of Burgos, the argyle armada has topped the podium thirteen times.

    "It is an odd thing in sport," a relaxed Millar said, when asked about the team's turnaround. "Sometimes it is just a question of mojo. When Tyler won, I think we had four or five wins in the space of the week. That is very unlike us... so, yes, I think it has changed some certain things.

    "I think Ryder’s victory was enormous. That was great to see and he is becoming a great rider. The team is changing, we are growing. We are only two years old…in fact, we are not even two years at this level. So it is normal that we are taking steps and getting bigger and bigger."

    Millar based his Vuelta around this stage, staking his personal ambition on winning here. He was fifteenth in the prologue and then finished second in the Valencia time trial, conceding 32 seconds to Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank). Cancellara’s withdrawal to prepare for the...

  • Caisse d'Epargne says harmony between Valverde and Contador

    Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde, l-r, possible 2010 teammates.
    Article published:
    September 20, 2009, 11:18 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Contador and Valverde could co-exist if on same team

    Alejandro Valverde has nearly won this year's Vuelta a España and stated that he will now think more confidently about victory in the Tour de France. But Alberto Contador, two-time winner of the Tour de France, may join Valverde's Caisse d'Epargne team for 2010.

    Valverde's team is one of those interested in signing Alberto Contador, and in theory that could cause a clash with two potential leaders.

    Not so, insists Caisse d'Epargne directeur sportif Alfonso Galilea. "They are friends. They have spoken to each other, and if they are in the same team, there are a lot of races all around the season for both," he told Cyclingnews. "Alejandro would be a very good partner for Alberto for some races, and for some races Alberto for Alejandro. But the first question is what is going to happen with the [Astana] contract?"

    As Contador said on Friday, he is still in limbo as regards his existing deal for 2010. He has one year remaining with Astana but wants to leave the team, and Caisse d'Epargne is one of his strong choices. He described the prospect of racing for the team as 'very interesting' in his press conference at the Vuelta.

    But he, like the teams who are courting his signature, must wait and see what unfolds with his current Astana deal. "At this moment, we have no news [about signing him]," said Galilea. "We have spoken with him, as have many other teams. The main problem is that Alberto has a contract with Astana.

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) told Cyclingnews yesterday, it could take several weeks before the situation is clarified with Astana. Valverde also faces a wait as later this year he will face two hearings with the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS).

    One is an appeal against Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) relating to his two-year ban on racing in Italy. The second is more crucial and could result in worldwide ban. The UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) started a...

  • Bellis in hospital after scooter crash

    Jonathan Bellis (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    September 20, 2009, 12:12 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Jonathan Bellis in critical condition after crash on scooter in Italy

    Manx cyclist Jonathan Bellis (Saxo Bank) is in critical condition following a crash on a motor scooter early Saturday morning in Quarrata, Italy. He suffered head injuries in the accident.

    The accident occurred at 3:30 in Quarrata, where fellow Manx cyclist Mark Cavendish lives. Medics took Bellis to a hospital in Careggi, north of Firenze, according to tuttobiciweb.

    Police are determining the cause of the accident.

    Bellis, 21, is in Quarrata to train with other British riders and national British Under 23 director Max Sciandri. Bellis is on the preliminary list of riders for elite World Championships next Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    "All our focus and attention right now is on Johnny and his family and ensuring that they are looked after and given the best possible care at this time," said British Cycling's Performance Director.

  • Merlo wins for out-going Barloworld

    Italy's Michele Merlo (Barloworld)
    Article published:
    September 20, 2009, 12:59 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Italy's Merlo takes Tour of Britain's London stage, possible last win for Barloworld

    Italy's Michele Merlo, 25, captured what might be team Barloworld's last win in the Tour of Britain. He out-sprinted Spaniard Koldo Fernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi) in yesterday's final stage in London.

    "I'm so proud with Michele and I'd like to thank all the riders for their commitment and team-work," team manager Claudio Corti said. "Today's win could be the last one of the season for the team and for Barloworld. It was nice to take it here in London."

    Barloworld-Bianchi's base is in Italy, but it's registered in Great Britain. The team includes several Anglophone riders: John-Lee Augustyn, Robert Hunter, Geraint Thomas, Steven Cummings, Chris Froome and Daryl Impey. Four of them have made the jump up to race for ProTour team Sky in 2010.

    Barloworld decided to end its sponsorship after last year's Tour de France. The team's cyclist, Moisés Dueñas, tested positive for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO). Despite the bad news, Corti and Barloworld agreed last autumn to continue working together through 2009.

    Over its seven years Barloworld has grown from a South African team to an international level team. It received wild card invitations to the 2007 and 2008 Tour de France. In its debut appearance it won a stage with South African Robert Hunter and the mountains classification with Colombian Mauricio Soler.

    Corti told Cyclingnews that he will decide soon if he will continue in 2010 with a new sponsor.

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) won four stages and the overall of the Tour of Britain. The race is in its sixth year, this year starting in Scunthorpe and ending in London.

  • Bozic keeps fingers crossed for bunch gallop

    Stage 6 winner Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil)
    Article published:
    September 20, 2009, 15:09 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Slovenian Borut Bozic wants second Vuelta a España stage win

    Borut Bozic is hoping he can land another Vuelta a España stage victory today in Madrid to add to his win in Xativa and better his second place in Venlo.

    He was in good form at today's start in Rivas Vaciamadrid, although he confessed that he was unsure know how his legs would feel at the end of the day.

    "I hope that I feel good in the sprint," Bozic (Vacansoleil) told Cyclingnews. "I can say nothing now about that, as we will find out in the last lap when the speed will go up! But I hope that I will be ready to do a strong sprint."

    Competitors such as Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) and Gerald Ciolek (Milram) have already left the race, and so in theory any gallop should be better for him.

    "With less sprinters here, it makes it difficult as there are a lot of teams who don't have their fast guy," he continued. "It is not a real sprint. But usually Columbia should control it today. Hopefully they will have five or six guys at the end and pull the bunch at full gas. I expect a normal sprint."

    Next up for Bozic, 29, is the World Championships, where he will ride his final race of the season to help his Slovenian teammates such as Jani Brajkovic. Past that, he's not yet certain of his plans.

    "Next year, I should have the contract [with Vacansoleil]. I would like to stay with the team but we are in negotiations with them at the moment."

  • Roels extends with Milram

    Dominik Roels (Milram)
    Article published:
    September 20, 2009, 19:45 BST
    Cycling News

    One more year for 22-year-old German

    Team Milram announced Sunday that it had extended the contract with German Dominik Roels for one more year. The 22-year-old Roels just completed his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, in Madrid.

    "I am overjoyed to be able to ride another year with Team Milram,“ said Roels, who signed his contract with manager Gerry van Gerwen after his strong time trial Saturday.

    "The last few weeks have given me a lot of self-confidence. I am convinced that I can carry this momentum over the winter and build on this performance next year.“

    Van Gerwen was impressed with Roels' aggressive riding during his first Grand Tour. Roels took third place on stage 15 to Cordoba from a breakaway.  "He is still quite young and has indicated what kind of potential he has.

    "I think that in the future he will bring in some good results. Especially if he can continue to improve his always-better form.“