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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 17, 2009

Date published:
December 17, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Vuelta presentation to shape Sastre's season

    Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    December 16, 2009, 10:15 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Spaniard to start in Catalunya, Grand Tours to be decided soon

    Carlos Sastre will decide on his 2010 racing calendar after Wednesday's presentation of the Vuelta a España route. The Cervélo TestTeam captain said in picking which of the Grand Tours to ride, he would put “all three races on the table” before he makes a final decision.

    Race organiser Unipublic will present the 2010 Vuelta Wednesday at midday (CET) in Sevilla, Spain.

    “I will not consider this issue until I know the Vuelta course,” he said at a press conference Tuesday, according to the Spanish news agency EFE. However, the 2008 Tour winner has confirmed that he will make his season debut at the Vuelta a Catalunya (March 22-28).

    Sastre's “strengthened and reinforced” Cervélo team will gather for a training camp in Portugal on January 8.

    This season the 34-year old Spaniard finished third overall in the Giro d'Italia and 17th in the Tour de France. In 2008 he won the Tour de France and finished third in the Vuelta.

  • Vos named Dutch female athlete of the year

    Marianne Vos (Netherlands) won gold in the 2009 European 'cross championships
    Article published:
    December 16, 2009, 10:25 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Vos claims honour for second consecutive year

    Marianne Vos has been named the Netherlands' female athlete of the year for the second consecutive year. The award was voted for by members of the NOC*NSF (Netherlands Olympic Committee and Netherlands Sports Federation).

    Vos was unable to attend due to a training camp in South Africa, however her father, Henk Vos, accepted the award on her behalf.

    The 23-year-old won due to her outstanding performances in different disciplines. She started off the year by winning the World cyclo-cross championship and the European title. On the road, she finished second in the World championships in Mendrisio, and won the Dutch national title and, for the third time in a row, La Fleche Wallonne Feminine.

  • Tour de France beckons for Samuel Sánchez

    Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    December 16, 2009, 10:30 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Olympic champion to miss Classics, will target stage race success

    Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez has plotted a completely different approach to the season next year, with the Spaniard to target week-long stage races and the Tour de France, rather than the emphasis he placed on the Classics, Vuelta and World Championships in 2009.

    The 31-year-old Euskaltel-Euskadi captain finished fourth in Flèche Wallonne and was second overall in the Vuelta a España, but has decided to shake things up a bit and structure things differently.

    “Last year the team talked amongst ourselves and we saw that the Vuelta a España had a course that pleased us. We also had a World Championships that was very hard,” a relaxed, friendly Sánchez told Cyclingnews on Tuesday evening. “I believe that the Vuelta España is the best preparation for the World Championships. That meant that we decided I should focus on the first part of the season and on the end of it, leaving out the Tour.

    “This coming year, the aims will be different – I want to have a good early part of the season, and a good Tour de France. As for the Vuelta, I don’t know yet.”

    Aside from trying something new and chasing a greater number of victories in 2010 – this season was characterised by near-misses in some very big events – Sánchez’s decision is also due to the parcours of the Worlds in Geelong, Australia.

    “I think it is going to be a World Championship for sprinters,” he said, explaining why preparation for that race won’t shape his season like it did this year. “For riders like myself, it will be more difficult to win one like that. We’ll have to see.”

    Sánchez finished just 55 seconds behind Alejandro Valverde in the Vuelta and could perhaps have taken the Maillot oro to Madrid had he not lost time early on. He crashed on stage eight and the following day conceded 49...

  • Vuelta 2010: Route announced

    The 2010 Vuelta a España route map
    Article published:
    December 16, 2009, 12:19 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    2010 Vuelta a España to feature lots of mountains, few time trials

    Cyclingnews' 2010 Vuelta a España coverage.

    The 2010 Vuelta a España will feature fewer time trials and more mountains. The route for the 65th edition of the race was presented Wednesday midday in Sevilla, Spain where the race will start with a night-time team time trial, on August 28.

    The race will have only two time trials: the race opener and an individual time trial in Penafiel (46 km) on the 17th stage.

    There will be six mountain top finishes, with two newcomers to the race: the Cotobello (stage 16) and the Bola del Mundo, near Madrid on the penultimate stage, which is expected to decide the overall winner.

    Other mountaintop finishes include the Lagos de Covadonga (Stage 15), Andorra (Stage 11), the Xorret del Catí (stage eight) and the Pena Carbarga (Stage 14).

    The third stage in Malaga will have a spectacular finale, with the Castillo de Gibralfaro in the background. Stage 16 features the Cresta del Gallo a few kilometres before the finish.

    The 2010 course travels counter-clockwise, starting at Sevilla in the country's south-western corner and then travelling over to the Mediterranean coast over nine stages. A rest and transfer day takes the peloton up to Tarragon, where the riders will start in on the northern part of the country, including a visit to Andorra for stages 11 and 12.

    A short transfer to the west brings the riders to more mountains and the Basque country for stages 13 to 16. Another rest and transfer day takes things to the centre of the country for the closing stages, which include the Penafiel time trial and the finale in Madrid on September 19.

    The race also features for the first time a red jersey for the leader of the overall...

  • Double collarbone fracture for Liquigas' Bodnar

    Maciej Bodnar (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    December 16, 2009, 13:31 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Polish time trial Champion injured in training crash

    Maciej Bodnar of Liquigas will have to postpone his season start after a training accident left him with a double fracture of his collarbone.

    The Polish rider was in Valencia Benicasin, Spain. “I fell near a roundabout and my arm went down on the pavement,” he told

    He has to travelled to Italy for surgery.

    “Unfortunately this incident ruins my plans and the team's plans,” Bodnar said. “But I intend to return to the peloton soon.”

    Bodnar, 24, turned professional with Liquigas in 2008. He won the Polish national time trial title this year.

  • Indergand beats Cancellara to Swiss cyclist of the year

    Reto Indergand (Switzerland)
    Article published:
    December 17, 2009, 8:08 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Para-cyclist Schwaller takes women's honour

    Fabian Cancellara won nearly everything in 2009, starting with the prologue of the Tour of California in February to the World time trial title in Mendrisio in September. But neither these victories nor the overall title in the Tour de Suisse helped him in his homeland, as he failed to claim the title of Swiss cyclist of the year.

    That honour, which was decided by fans, went instead to mountain biker Reto Indergand. The Swiss youngster, who turned 18 yesterday, won the bronze medal at the World MTB championships in Canberra in September.

    The title of female cyclist of the year was claimed by Ursula Schwaller, who won three gold medals at the International Cycling Union's Para-Cycling road world championships in Bologna, Italy, in September. The 33-year-old won both the individual time trial and road race for hand bikes, and also helped the Swiss team win the relay title.

  • South African cycling legend dies

    South African cycling legend Alan van Heerden after recent bypass surgery.
    Article published:
    December 17, 2009, 9:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Car accident claims life of '79 Giro stage winner

    The man claimed to be South Africa's greatest-ever cyclist, Alan van Heerden, has died following a motor accident near Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday afternoon.

    Whilst full details of the accident are still unknown, it appeared he was travelling in the left lane and hit a concrete barrier. He was thrown from the vehicle and sustained damage to an artery in his shoulder, a broken pelvis, severe head injuries and brain trauma.

    According to correspondence from van Heerden's sister, despite all efforts to stem the bleeding, particularly on the brain, he died at 3.10pm on Tuesday, 15 December.

    The 56-year-old was the first rider from his country to win a stage in a grand tour, taking stage seven of the 1979 Giro d'Italia. Tour de France stage winner Robbie Hunter has labelled van Heerden the best rider his nation has ever produced.

    Alan van Heerden had recently undergone bypass surgery following complications related to injuries sustained during his career as a professional. He rode for the Peugeot-Esso-Michelin squad during his time as a professional in Europe.

    The memorial service for van Heerden will be held at 10:00am on Saturday, December 19, at Fourways Memorial Park, with an invitation open to the general public.

  • Quick Step still has its eye on Contador

    Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere hopes to sign Alberto Contador for the 2010 season.
    Article published:
    December 17, 2009, 9:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lefevere hopes to sign 2009 Tour champion

    Alberto Contador decided to ride for Team Astana in 2010, but Quick Step hasn't given up hope of signing the Tour de France champion in the future. Team manager Patrick Lefevere said he will continue to go after Contador in the coming year.

    Lefevere told the Gazet van Antwerpen that he expected Contador and his helpers to change teams again after the 2010 season, “so I am still negotiating his possible arrival.”

    He was disappointed not to have signed the Spaniard. “I knew who the competitors were: Garmin and Caisse d'Epargne. There was nothing secretive about his agent's actions. But I did have the feeling that Quick Step was in the pole position.”

    The Belgian team is keeping the vacancies on the roster until the 2009 Tour champion announces a final commitment. “I held four spots open,” Lefevere said, “one for Contador himself and for three of his close teammates. I won't fill them until the opportunity presents itself.”

    The 27-year-old continues to make a great impression on Lefevere. “Last Saturday, Contador phoned me to thank me for the interest. Something like that happens to me rarely,” he noted. “Alberto is obviously a polite boy.”