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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 25, 2011

Date published:
September 25, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Bronzini wins psychological battle in Copenhagen

    Two: Bronzini reminds everyone she is a double world champion
    Article published:
    September 24, 2011, 20:50 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Italian denies Vos for second year in a row

    While the elite women's road race at the UCI Road World Championships ultimately came down to a sprint royale, champion Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) revealed that the tense afternoon of racing was something of a psychological battle between the main contenders.

    Bronzini entered as the defending champion, but Marianne Vos (Netherlands) was the pre-race favourite following her phenomenal string of victories this season, while the experienced Ina Teutenberg had the support of a strong German team. All three would finish on the podium, but Canada's Clara Hughes threatened to spring an upset when she entered the final lap with 34 seconds in hand over the peloton, after attacking with three laps to go.

    "I never thought that she would get to the finish alone, because Marianne [Vos] would never, never, never have allowed it," Bronzini stressed in the post-race press conference. "Besides Germany would probably have helped her too."

    In a race that was locked in stalemate almost from the outset, Bronzini refused to blink even as Hughes' lead stretched out. "I told the girls absolutely not to move a muscle on the front to chase her," Bronzini said. "I said if the others think we're going to chase her down, they're very much mistaken. I told them not do anything, just stay near the front but no more."

    At one point, Bronzini even played the bluff of sending her teammate Elisa Longo Borghini off the front to plant seeds of doubt in Vos and Teutenberg's minds. "I made her do it because the pace was dropping a little bit and so that the others wouldn't know what we were doing, maybe make them think that I wasn't going well and to stress them out a little bit more," she said, smiling. "I think I even...

  • Vos takes fifth consecutive silver medal at road Worlds

    Marianne Vos struggled to accpet defeat
    Article published:
    September 24, 2011, 22:11 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Dutch woman's frustrating streak continues

    A class apart throughout the 2011 season, Marianne Vos (Netherlands) once again suffered heartache on the sport's biggest stage in Copenhagen on Saturday. For the fifth consecutive year, the Dutchwoman stood on the second step of the podium at the UCI Road World Championships after being pipped in the sprint in the elite women's road race by Giorgia Bronzini (Italy).

    Vos, who won the world title in her first season as an elite rider in 2006, could scarcely hide her frustration on crossing the line and admitted afterwards that she was a little too hesitant in launching her sprint against the defending champion Bronzini.

    "I didn't believe it was possible to get five silvers in a row," Vos said. "I made a mistake not to go in the sprint. It was a bit late, and when I started the sprint I think it was close but not enough."

    Nontheless, Vos insisted that Bronzini had been the strongest rider on the day. "Giorgia is a fantastic sprinter, she won in a great way. Of course you think back about whether you made a mistake in the sprint, but I didn't. She was the best."

    The race itself was a dour, tactical affair that was locked in stalemate until Canada's Clara Hughes gamely upped the ante with a solo move three laps from the finish. Vos explained that the nature of the course meant that the Dutch squad had little option but to pin their hopes on a bunch finish, and that her teammates had patrolled the race to that end.

    "It was a perfect race for us," she said. "We knew it was going to be hard to get away in a small group or alone, so we tried to stay in front with all the team. We were prepared for a bunch sprint, and they placed me in a perfect position...

  • In-form Gerrans a genuine danger man

    Simon Gerrans (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    September 24, 2011, 23:57 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian hunting for breakaway chances in Copenhagen

    Simon Gerrans looms as one of several genuine chances for Australia for today's elite men's road race at the 2011 UCI World Championships in Copenhagen, with Australian Men's Road Coordinator Matt White claiming the 31-year-old "is in the form of his life."

    Gerrans countered White's enthusiasm by explaining that it's probably the best form that he's experienced "at this time of year," when speaking to Cyclingnews prior to his departure from his home in Monaco, to Copenhagen to meet up with the rest of the Australian squad.

    "It's kind of hard to compare condition-wise between this stage of the season and the spring or during the Tour de France because there's so many guys on different levels," he said. "I definitely feel like I'm doing well at the moment."

    Coming off this year's Tour, Gerrans topped the General Classification at the Tour of Denmark – his first overall victory since the 2006 Herald Sun Tour, before going on to finish as runner-up at the GP Plouay. It's a run of form that the Victorian puts down to simply being in good health from June onwards, and also coming away from the Tour de France injury-free given he was forced to endure three separate heavy crashes before finally withdrawing with a broken arm on last year's eighth stage.

    "I got through the Tour de France unscathed this year, which is a lot more than what most guys can say, and in good health so I was able to convert that into some good results throughout August and I've just been doing what I can to maintain that kind of form now through until the end of the season," Gerrans explained.

  • Teutenberg, Vos and Bronzini call for minimum wage in women's cycling

    A word back to the team car - Ina Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Highroad)
    Article published:
    September 25, 2011, 2:25 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Worlds podium react to McQuaid's comments

    UCI president Pat McQuaid's assessment that women's cycling has "not developed enough" for a guaranteed minimum wage for riders was met with robust criticism from the podium finishers in the women's road race at the UCI World Championships.

    At a press conference on Saturday morning, McQuaid was questioned on whether the UCI had plans to introduce regulations governing minimum salaries in women's cycling.

    "We have an agreement in men's sport, but women's cycling has not developed enough that we are at that level yet," he replied.

    World champion Bronzini was informed of the comment when she met the press after the race, and stated that the time was ripe for women riders to have more closely regulated contracts. "We're not less than the men," she said.

    Bronze medallist Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany) was more outspoken when she outlined her stance on the matter. "Why do they say that? I think that's total bullshit," she said. "We've seen in the last number of years that it's getting more and more professional. The level is getting harder. You can't come to a race anymore and win if you are not fit. I don't know why guys would deserve a minimum salary and women don't. We're living in the 21st century so there should be equal rights for everybody."

    Marianne Vos (Netherlands), who took a fifth consecutive silver medal in the road race, supported Teutenberg's rebuttal of the UCI's position, pointing out that a minimum wage would also serve to raise the level of women's cycling and aid in its development.

    "I think we all do as much for the sport as the men do, so why not equal it?" Vos asked. "Of course, it's a younger sport than the men's...

  • Hosking sixth in Worlds debut

    Chloe Hosking (HTC-HighRoad) in the bunch, early in the race.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2011, 5:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Barras says it's a promising result ahead of London

    Canberra's Chloe Hosking has enjoyed a promising world championship debut with sixth place in the elite women's road race in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    The 20-year-old mixed it up with her more experienced rivals in the bunch sprint to decide the title but it was defending champion Giorgia Bronzini of Italy who triumphed on the uphill drag to the line.

    She completed the 140 kilometre course in a time of 3:21:28 to edge out Marianne Vos (NED) who won in 2006 but since then has been a perennial bridesmaid with five straight silver medals. Germany's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg was third.

    Hosking, who rides with pro team HTC - Highroad, says she's happy with her result and that she managed to avoid crashing during the perilous last lap.

    "I was just hoping to stay upright. There were crashes left, right and centre coming down the back straight," said Hosking. "It was fast and it was dodgy but I came away with a sixth at my first world championships so I'm happy."

    As has been the case with the previous races the medals have been decided in a frantic dash to the line.

    "I was hoping that on that last little kick up it would break into a smaller group but it didn't and I think, you've seen in the last few races it's such a fast course. To stay away is not so easy," said Hosking. "We never wanted to do a lead out train it was more of a sit in, protect yourself and if the girls could, if they still had it in their legs, fire missiles and see if they it would string it out."

    Cycling Australian women's road coach, Martin Barras, says the team performance augers well for next year.

    "When you look at where our team has been that is our best result for the last few years," said Barras. "I am not going to go and get overly excited with a sixth place, (but) the fact is it comes from a young girl it is a step in the...

  • Armstrong denies latest links to Ferrari

    Lance Armstrong rocked up and won
    Article published:
    September 25, 2011, 7:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Seven-time Tour winner "immune to any controversy"

    Lance Armstrong has criticised a report by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera which published details of the international investigation into the activities of Dr. Michele Ferrari and his many clients, including the seven-time Tour de France winner.

    Speaking at the XTERRA USA Championship — an off-road triathlon, where he finished fifth, Armstrong denied any continued business links with the Ferrari family.

    "I've always maintained those guys are my friends and that's not going to change," he said.

    "To be honest, I'm totally immune to any controversy... I've been listening to this stuff for 15 years."

    While Ferrari was handed a lifetime ban by the Italian Cycling Federation following accusations that he was a preparatore for many top cyclists, including Armstrong, he was cleared of any criminal charges in 2006. However, any rider shown to have worked with Ferrari faces a sporting ban. Armstrong ended his professional relationship in 2004.

    In response to this week's report in the Italian broadsheet, Ferrari issued a statement on Thursday denying the allegations and said "my son Stefano is administering a website which offers personalized training consultancy to various cyclists and triathletes; Lance Armstrong is among them."

    Armstrong denied this latest link at the triathlon event and argued that the report in Corriere della Sera was timed to interfere with his appearance there and at the United Nations where he represented his LiveStrong charity.

    "It's no accident they leaked that this week," he said. "It's just the clowns on the other side just capitalizing on all you guys standing here. And you guys fall right into it."

    Armstrong has never failed a drug test although he is currently being...

  • Spain ready for all scenarios at Worlds, says Flecha

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) in Southern California, where he can speak his native Spanish everywhere.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2011, 7:56 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Freire's men not concerned with eliminating sprinters

    There was a relaxed atmosphere in the Spanish camp on the eve of the UCI World Championships road race in Copenhagen, with the experienced Juan Antonio Flecha explaining that Oscar Freire and his team are ready to deal with any scenario that arises in Copenhagen.

    In the build-up to the race, swathes of column inches have been taken up by speculation over just how many riders will still be in contention in the final lap of one of the least exacting Worlds courses in recent years, but in Flecha's view, any such guess work is idle and even counter-productive.

    "I don't know, I don't even think about it," Flecha told Cyclingnews at the team hotel on Saturday. "For me, if you think about how many riders there will be at the end, you are already worrying too much about it. It's not up to us. Oscar [Freire] is able to win whatever the conditions, however the race is at the end. We will adapt to whatever comes."

    While the Italian and Belgian teams have hinted that they will look to reduce the peloton and shed the likes of Mark Cavendish before the finale, Flecha said that the Spanish team was not unduly concerned by the race's difficulty or otherwise.

    "I think Oscar has showed that he is capable of winning bunch sprints of 200 riders and of winning alone. He can win in many different ways, so he is confident," Flecha said. "It's not that the race has to be one way, it's not that the race has to be hard to get rid of Cavendish or whoever. I think Oscar is able to win in many different ways and he will adapt to whatever comes at the end."

    In spite of the embarrassment of riches at Spain's disposal over the past decade, Freire has consistently been the man chosen to lead the line at the Worlds. For...

  • Holm picks Cavendish to win Worlds title

    Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) has won the London-Surry Cycle Classic.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2011, 9:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Dane sees Greipel as major rival

    If Mark Cavendish is in top form today at the UCI World Championships road race, “he will win by 20 meters,” according to his HTC-Highroad directeur sportif Brian Holm. The main rival will be former teammate Andre Greipel of Germany.

    Examining the British sprint leadout, Holm said, “With Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and David Millar for Cavendish, it doesn't look bad.”

    If he had to bet on someone other than Cavendish, “it would probably be Greipel,” he said.  “The Germans are so strong with Danilo Hondo to lead the way for them.  The Germans have a very good team with leadout for Greipel.

    Holm noted, however, that the course makes the race unpredictable, as was shown when it was included in last year's Tour of Denmark.  Hayden Roulston of HTC-Columbia won that stage.

    “That is a very good example that it is not always as you expect. What he did was almost impossible. But it's harder than people think.”