A tweet from Philippe Gilbert overnight has shed some light on the seriousness of the injury the Belgian suffered in a crash at Eneco Tour last week.
The BMC rider said: "Today I was able to bend my leg to 70 degres (sic) there is maybe a chance to start the Vuelta. Lets stay optimistic…"
Such a message from the reigning world champion suggests that his injury is perhaps worse than what his team was willing to convey.
Gilbert, along with teammate Taylor Phinney, crashed with about 60km to go on Saturday's Eneco stage. The Belgian finished the stage after some help by several teammates, crossing the finish line in 22nd place before heading to the hospital. Examinations showed no serious injuries, but the injury required eight stitches.
He returned to his home in Monaco, and the doctors have ordered him several days of rest.
"I'm not the least worried that Phil will be at the start of the Vuelta," said team manager Yvon Ledanois. "It was impossible that he would start in the last stage of the Eneco Tour, but there's nothing broken or fundamentally injured. Phil will have three or four days' rest, but with the form he is in, I do not expect a decline."
"He will be there fully for the Vuelta. We have two, three stages picked out, but he especially wants to lay the foundation for the world championships."
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Selected riders on Campagnolo-sponsored teams will be testing the Italian manufacturers’ new slimmed down EPS battery at the Vuelta a España, which starts on Saturday. The new unit can be placed on the cross tube or inside the seat tube, and replaces the bulky external model often mounted on the bottom bracket shell.
Various pros on the Lotto-Belisol, Astana, Movistar, Ag2r-La Mondiale and Vacansoleil-DCM teams will be using the battery, which has also had a software tweak and will be officially unveiled at Eurobike 2013 next week.
The pen-shaped unit can be slotted down seat tubes on some electronic grouspset-accepting road frames, such as the Bianchi Oltre XR2 used by Vacansoleil-DCM. Alternatively, it can be tucked tucked into the cross tube, behind the headset, on time trial frames such as the Ridley Dean FAST.
Last month, leaked details suggested the battery offers almost 1,500km of riding on a single charge, weighs 50g less than the original EPS unit and will be compatible with Campagnolo Record and Athena groupsets.
Lotto-Belisol leader Jurgen Van Den Broeck was trialling the battery on a Dean FAST training frame at the Tour de France this year. For more information on Campagnolo EPS see eps.campagnolo.com.
My involvement in sport is over, says former UCI president
Former UCI President Hein Verbruggen has distanced himself from the current electoral contest between Pat McQuaid and Brian Cookson, insisting that he has “no opinion on anything.”
The Dutchman supported McQuaid as his successor when his tenure as UCI president came to an end in 2005, while McQuaid has defended Verbruggen against criticism of his record, and, in particular, allegations of impropriety in his treatment of Lance Armstrong.
McQuaid is now reliant on the contentious and still to be validated backing of the Moroccan and Thai cycling federations in order to contest the election, which takes place in Florence next month.
“I have absolutely no opinion on that. As a matter of fact, I have taken distance from sport and also from cycling, and I don’t want to be involved in anything anymore so I hope you appreciate that,” Verbruggen said. “This was a decision that I took a year ago, once I stepped down from SportAccord [the umbrella organisation for international sports federations - ed.] My involvement in sport is over and so I have even turned down a number of offers that I had in consulting in sport.”
While the 72-year-old Verbruggen remains listed as the honorary president of the UCI and an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee, he was adamant that his career in sports administration has come to an end but said that the decision was not linked to the fall-out of the Lance Armstrong affair.
US champion on the back foot heading into USA Pro Challenge
Four-time and current US professional road race champion Freddie Rodriguez got a little bit of a shock Tuesday as he rolled from the stage 2 finish at the USA Pro Challenge toward his Jelly Belly team bus. On the way to the parking lot he passed by the podium ceremony for the stage and heard the announcers call out the name of Cannondale's 23-year-old super star, Peter Sagan.
"Did Sagan get third," he asked a reporter. "Wow!"
Sagan is not unlike a younger Rodriguez, who was known either as sprinter who could climb or as a climber who could sprint. The 39-year-old former WorldTour rider said he sees potential for Sagan to be a GC threat in more races if he could cut a little weight.
"He sprints well because he's a little bit bigger right now," Rodriguez said.
"I mean if you look at him, he's chunky, but I bet if he got really lean and lost a little bit of muscle he'd be a GC contender. What was it, two years ago that he got top 10 at the Tour of California? So he's a versatile rider. I bet if he lost some weight he'd be a GC contender. That's my feel. He's that good of a rider."
Rodriguez delivered a shock of his own in June when he hung with the best in the US on the final climb of the nationals course in Chattanooga and then outsprinted BMC's Brent Bookwalter and UnitedHealthcare's Kiel Reijnen to take his fourth professional title. Now he'd like to add to his palmares in Colorado, and he'll be looking for some sprint stages throughout the rest of the week.
"I didn't expect to see Sagan up there today," he said of stages that may give sprinters a chance for glory. "But with that punch at the end I can see the last stage in Denver and that second-to-last stage. And even tomorrow looks promising. So there are a couple. It will...
Orica GreenEDGE has signed Mathew Hayman from Team Sky on a two-year contract.
The 35-year-old rider had spent the last four years with the British team having spent his earlier career at Rabobank.
“I have had a great four years at Sky,” said Hayman. “It was a wonderful experience, and I learned heaps.” However the lure of riding for Australia’s first WorldTour teams appears to have been too much for the former Commonwealth road race champion.
“I watched the team from the start,” he said. “There was talk about it for five years leading up to getting a license and sponsors. I followed along the whole way. Watching it evolve and feeling the excitement in Australia to finally get a team it can support was great.”
Hayman has forged a role for himself as a solid domestique, often sacrificing his own ambitions for others. Orica GreenEDGE will hope that aspect, coupled with this vast experience will make him an integral part of the team, which lost Stuart O’Grady to retirement just after this year’s Tour de France.
“Mat Hayman is a very important inclusion into our roster for 2014,” said Sport Director Matt White in a press release. “To have him on board and hopefully finish off his career with us is great news.”
“With Mat, we get a lot of experience in a lot of different races and a great leader for our younger riders,” noted White. “He's crucial to a lot of things we want to achieve.”
Hayman became one of Sky’s most important and successful Spring Classics riders, although he initially joined the team in order to help Juan Antonia Flecha. The Australian will be again target the Classics next season but also has one eye on the Tour de France; a race he has never participated in.
After losing Peter Kennaugh during stage 2 at the USA Pro Challenge, Team Sky's debut appearance Stateside took another hit when general classification hopeful Joe Dombrowski withdrew prior to stage 3 from Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs. Dombrowski was a revelation of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge when, riding for the US Continental Bontrager-Livestrong squad, he finished 10th overall and won the best young rider's jersey. His 2012 season also featured a monumental victory in Italy's Baby Giro as well as a fourth place overall finish at the Tour of Utah.
The 22-year-old American jumped to the WorldTour for 2013 with Team Sky and the USA Pro Challenge would be his first race in his home country in Sky colours. Sky brought a powerhouse squad to Colorado, replete with Tour de France champion Chris Froome, lieutenant Richie Porte plus Kanstantsin Siutsou and Peter Kennaugh from the squad's Tour roster.
Dombrowski was tipped as their general classification contender, but after suffering nosebleeds on the opening stage, his stint in Colorado ended after stage 2 with him in 26th place overall at 1:04, Sky's highest-placed rider on general classification.
"I had a nosebleed the first day during the stage and since I've been getting three, four, five nosebleeds a day," Dombrowski told Cyclingnews in Breckenridge prior to stage 3. "This morning I woke up with a lot of blood in my mouth so I went to the team doctor and he felt like it wasn't a good idea to keep racing and have it be a recurring thing. He just said I'm not allowed to start today."
Former Australian champion still with "unfinished business"
Carla Ryan lives in Girona, Spain, where she races with CyclelivePLUS-Zannata Ladies Team. She has spent the better part of the last decade racing successfully in Europe, but this year something has been bugging her, quite literally. As a former dual national Australian Champion and respected climber, she has a palmares that boasts an ability far greater than she has shown this season.
"This year I started off the year really well at nationals, I didn't win or anything but I was really in a good place, thinking 'yep this is going to be a good year,'" Ryan told Cyclingnews.
As the year unfolded, however, Ryan's performances deteriorated, leaving her wondering just what was going on. Even though she "knew something was wrong," she continued to "brush it off," ignoring the signals that her health was in decline.
"A week before the Tour of Czech I just got chronic cramps. I couldn't even get out of bed to ride my bike, it was just like something tearing my up inside," continued Ryan. "I even thought I might have had appendicitis!
"I knew something was wrong ... but the next day I felt fine. So I went to the race but I'd get through like 10-20 kilometres then I was just fighting like I've never had to fight before," explained Ryan. "I'm pushing my hardest and I'm at my maximum and I'm getting passed by so many girls and when you're one of the good climbers in the peloton and this is happening its quite demoralising. It's not normal. My training hasn't changed, so how can I be this bad?"
Hitting rock bottom
And as her performance plummeted further, the rumours began, and the frustration mounted.
"People that know me know that I'm not really in the media, I like to let the legs do the talking, but it's frustrating when I can't do that," said Ryan. "So yeah, you hear things, like people think that I'm no longer good anymore … and I started to think that too! I thought maybe I'm not...