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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 26, 2012

Date published:
July 26, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Nibali: sprint not a certainty at London 2012 Olympics

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) on the final podium in Paris.
    Article published:
    July 25, 2012, 10:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian hopes for selective race

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is nurturing some ambitions of his own for the London 2012 Olympics road race, as he believes that the course could prove more selective than previously expected.

    A bunch sprint has long been predicted for Saturday’s race, and the five-man Italian team duly includes fast men Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox), but fresh from his third place finish at the Tour de France, Nibali is determined to play his own card first.

    “It’s not a given that it will end in a sprint,” Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve come out of the Tour in great condition and I’m aiming to do a great race. I’m not giving up on my personal ambitions before we start, but if instead the race stays together until the final lap, then I’ll put myself at the disposal of the quickest azzurri. Let’s say that at that point, I’d give what I hope to receive at the Worlds in Valkenburg on a much more selective course.”

    While Mark Cavendish (Sky) is the favourite to take Olympic gold, particularly given the strength of the British team at his disposal, Nibali reckons that a man with no teammates in the race could upset the odds on the Mall on Saturday afternoon. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) is the only Slovak in the race, but after winning three stages and the green jersey at the Tour, he arrives in London on something of a high.

    “If there’s a sprint, Cavendish will certainly be the number one favourite but Sagan could cause him a lot of problems,” Nibali said. “In any case, I’m not so convinced that it will finish in a sprint....

  • Stybar looking ahead to Vuelta and Worlds

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) celebrates his victory in stage 4 at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque
    Article published:
    July 25, 2012, 11:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Cyclo-cross not number one priority for forseeable future

    The last few months have seen Zdenek Stybar's performances on the road improve rapidly, and the 26-year-old Czech has revealed that he will continue to make road racing his priority over the coming months.

    The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider has secured stage wins on the road at the Four Days of Dunkirk and the Tour of Poland this season. Such performances have made him hungry for more and Stybar has stated that he will not jeopardise his prospects of further road success next year by packing too much into his winter cyclo-cross schedule. He has already ruled out the Cyclo-cross World Championships in the USA next February as, he says, the race comes too close to the start of the Classics season. Stybar is a two-time winner of the cyclo-cross world title, taking the crown in 2010 and 2011.

    "The world championships in America? It is too late," Stybar told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. "I can already say now that the cyclo-cross world championships are less important than the Flemish classics."

    Stybar is currently in action at the Tour de Wallonie in Belgium, where he lies 17th overall with one stage to go. The race is all part of a grand plan to arrive at the start line of the road world championships in Valkenberg in top condition. He will complete his preparations for that race at the Vuelta a España (Aug 18 - Sep 9), which will be Stybar's first grand tour.

    "From now on, everything is in the name of the Worlds in Valkenburg," Stybar said. "After the Tour of Wallonia I will begin my preparation for the Vuelta. This is my first grand tour. In Madrid [where the Vuelta finishes on September 9] I want to be in shape for the start of the Road World...

  • French President backs Yorkshire bid for 2016 Tour de France start

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) has made history as the first British Tour de France champion.
    Article published:
    July 25, 2012, 12:23 BST
    Mark Robinson

    Ed Milliband reveals positive talks with François Hollande

    Yorkshire's bid to host the start of the 2016 Tour de France has reportedly received the backing of the new French President after the leader of the UK's Labour Party revealed that he had engaged in some positive talks with François Hollande in Paris following Bradley Wiggins' victory in the 2012 race in Paris last weekend. Wiggins (Team Sky) became the first British rider to win the Tour in the race's 109-year history.

    UK opposition leader Ed Milliband, who is the MP for Doncaster North in the county of Yorkshire, said: "The president was very supportive. It would be a good thing for Yorkshire. It would be a great thing for my constituency. I am backing 'Le Bid.'"

    After recent successes staging the start of the Tour abroad, race organisers ASO have stated their desire to have a foreign start every two years going forward. This year's race began in the Belgian town of Liege, and the the cities of Florence, Barcelona and Doha have reportedly lined up bids for the 2014 Grand Depart. Yorkshire's bid for 2016 is now gathering pace and, if selected, the route in the north of England is likely to feature the picturesque Sutton Bank as one of the climbs. Britain previously hosted the start of the race in London in 2007.

    "We have strong cross-party political support within the county to make this happen and now we have the support of President François Hollande, which is great news for our bid," the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Gary Verity, told Cyclingnews.

    "Yorkshire is seen by many as the spiritual heartland of cycling in the UK. We have the cycling heritage, we have...

  • IG Pro Cycling Index: Wiggins is world's best rider

    Froome, Wiggins and Nibali on the podium
    Article published:
    July 25, 2012, 15:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour de France victory catapults Briton into first place

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is the new leader of the IG Pro Cycling Index after his emphatic victory at the 2012 Tour de France.

    Wiggins scored 1200 points for winning the Tour de France, 120 points for each of his stage victories and 15 points for every day he wore the yellow jersey. That boosted his points total to a massive 5259 and lifts him from fourth to first place. He moved past Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and now leads the Index by 931 points.

    Sagan is now second in the IG Pro Cycling Index after his own hugely successful Tour de France. The talented Slovakian celebrated his three stage wins with three different victory salutes and went on to dominate the green jersey points competition, becoming the youngest ever rider to pull on the green jersey on the final podium in Paris.

    Sagan has a total of 4328 points. Rodriguez dropped from first place to third and now has 4320 points, with Boonen fourth with 4267 points. Neither of those two riders raced in the Tour.

    Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali - a teammate of Sagan at Liquigas - climbed from ninth to sixth after his third place overall in the Tour, and Wiggins' teammate Chris Froome’s second place overall and two stage victories lifted him from 28th to ninth place. He was one of the biggest revelations of this year's race.

    The IG Pro Cycling Index is a continuous 12-month rolling index, so each rider’s position changes as they score points and lose points from the year before.

    2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC) slipped from sixth to 23rd after his points total was...

  • Bronzini expects waiting game at London Olympics

    World Champion, Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora Pasta Zara)
    Article published:
    July 25, 2012, 17:33 BST
    Cycling News

    World champion points to Olds as wildcard for women's road race

    World champion Giorgia Bronzini believes the London 2012 Olympics women’s road race might prove to be a tense, tactical affair, something which she feels could play to her advantage. The Italian won her second consecutive world title in Copenhagen last September by beating Marianne Vos in the bunch sprint at the end of a race that was deadlocked for much of the day.

    "Honestly, anything could happen," Bronzini told "In Copenhagen, some countries committed the error of not attacking from distance, leaving everything in the hands of the sprinters. Will that repeat itself? Who knows, it will depend on the tactics they adopt, but I do think that it could be a waiting race."

    Bronzini expects to renew her rivalry with her fellow world championship medallists in London, namely Vos and Ina Teutenberg (Germany), but she warned that Shelley Olds (USA) was not to be under-rated. The American took a stage victory ahead of Bronzini at the recent Giro Donne, a race in which, in Bronzini’s opinion, Olds “really shook up the deck."

    "My rivals should be the usual ones, from Vos to Teutenberg to Cooke (Great Britain), but that’s not counting the outsiders, like Shelley Olds, who had not been included in the group of contenders for the win," Bronzini said.

    As was the case at this point in 2011, Bronzini’s campaign in the rainbow jersey has yet to fully ignite. Her world title win put an altogether different slant on her season, and she is hoping for more of the same in London.

    "My season has been low-key because I was out injured for a month right when I would have had the chance to take some results," she said. "This prevented me from having something concrete to show for my efforts. Let’s put it this way – I’ve built up a bit of anger to use in...

  • White: Australia to ride aggressive Olympic road race

    Matt White and Cadel Evans talk after a training ride in Surrey, England
    Article published:
    July 25, 2012, 23:10 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Team has more than one card to play

    The Olympic Games is all about medals, and when it comes to the lottery of a professional road race, almost any colour will do. Heading into Saturday's men's road race Australia look set to cover all bases, with a line-up combining speed and aggression.

    Packed with experience - four of their five started the men's road race in Beijing four years ago - the team are capable of packing a complete punch with Matthew Goss their sprinting card, while his teammates comprise of former world champions and Tour de France stage winners.

    Matt White, who oversaw a silver medal for the team in Copenhagen's Worlds last year, has changed hats, sidelining his seat in the GreenEdge car for another stint of national service. The former pro, who was in London for the Olympic test event last summer believes that few teams will dedicate their recourses to a sprint.

    "The different thing about this Olympic Games compared to a typical world championships is that the race will be won and lost between 80 kilometres to go and 50 kilometres to go. Because the last lap is so far from the finish I think there's going to be lot more action before the finish," team director Matt White told Cyclingnews.

    "There aren't too many countries that will be interested in a bunch sprint. There's the Australians the Germans and the Brits, and there's the one man Slovakian show as well. Most of the traditional cycling nations don't want a sprint because they've got very limited chances of a medal. I expect the race to be aggressive early; otherwise it just plays into the hands of the Pomms."

    White believes that the British team are unlikely to place a rider in the break, ensuring that Cavendish has...

  • Kelderman extends deal with Rabobank

    Wilco Kelderman (Rabobank) took the young rider's jersey.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2012, 1:47 BST
    Cycling News

    New deal takes Dutchman through until the end of 2014

    Twenty-one-year-old Wilco Kelderman has been rewarded for his impressive debut pro season with Rabobank with his current contract extended through until the end of 2014.

    After a difficult start to 2011, Kelderman won the Tour of Norway and Thüringen-Rundfahrt, U23. This season, the Dutch hope finished eighth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné, which cemented the promise shown at the Tour of California, where he finished seventh on GC. Both performances earned him the young rider classification.

    "Wilco is a talent that we are keen to help advance in his development," said Rabobank technical director Erik Breukink. "He's already shown some nice results on the road, but he's still at the beginning of his career. We are happy that he has chosen to extend his stay with us."

    Kelderman meanwhile, said that he was pleased with the team's move explaining it "expresses a lot of faith," in his abilities.

    "Last year I moved up from the continental team to the pro team. The first half of the year was all about settling in, but I've been well taken care of and now feel super comfortable. The Rabobank Cycling Team is the biggest team in the Netherlands - I'm very happy to be riding for them."


  • Pat McQuaid: Olympic road race to showcase London’s iconic sights

    Article published:
    July 26, 2012, 3:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Up to a million people expected to line the course around London

    There’s been no shortage of commentary surrounding the men’s road race at the upcoming London Olympic Games. Opinon has been divided over whether the race will come down to a bunch sprint or if perhaps Box Hill will split the race apart. One thing however is certain; the opening ceremony is just over a day away and the men’s race will kick off the following morning as first event of the entire Games.

    "I arrived here on Sunday night and the papers here are just full of cycling," said UCI President and IOC member Pat McQuaid. "All of the IOC people were delighted that it [Bradley Wiggins' Tour victory] happened the week before the Games. They were opening the newspapers and seeing Wiggins, Wiggins, Wiggins."

    London’s iconic scenery will be on show for the world to see and with cycling on a post-Tour de France high, there’s no better way to also showcase the sport.

    "Road cycling has that opportunity, to portray the backdrop, to portray and pass-by the iconic buildings and the beautiful regions in whatever city that may be in," McQuaid said in a UCI release.

    "In this case it's London. It starts in The Mall and goes straight passed Buckingham Palace and likewise that will be the finish at the end of the day," he said. "It’s passing some of the best places in London."

    Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, both riding for the Sky team and representing Great Britain will be race’s centre of attention as Cavendish seeks to add an Olympic title to his impressive palmares.

    "It would be great if it happened because it's another edition to this fairy-tale story," McQuaid told The Associated Press. "It would be great for cycling...