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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 13, 2012

Date published:
September 13, 2012, 01:00
  • Orica-GreenEDGE announces Worlds TTT line up

    Orica - GreenEdge time trials
    Article published:
    September 12, 2012, 09:25
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    White's team aiming for podium

    Orica-GreenEDGE has announced its line-up for Sunday’s Worlds team time trial with Sebastian Langeveld, Jens Mouris, Cameron Meyer, Luke Durbridge, Sam Bewley and Svein Tuft making up the six-man squad.

    "It’s certainly the strongest line-up we can put together in September and I think most teams are going to struggle to put their best six time trialists on the road and ready to go,” GreenEDGE’s Matt White told Cyclingnews.

    “It’s been a very long season for everyone, and it’s very close to the Vuelta to be using guys for a team time trial. Some guys are coming back from Canada and some have stopped their seasons. It’s the same for every team but I’m very happy with the group that we’ve got and we’ll be very competitive on Sunday.”

    In its debut season, the Australian WorldTour team has racked up victories in the team time trials at Tirreno–Adriatico and the Eneco Tour, and White has his team aiming at victory in Valkenburg.

    “Anything less than a podium and we’ll be disappointed,” White added.

    “To win is very achievable. We’ve won the team time trial Eneco and we’re only using one guy from the Vuelta. I’m very happy with the work we’ve done in the last couple of weekends together and it’s going to have to be a good team to beat our guys.”

    Orica-GreenEdge will face fierce opposition in the event. Rabobank, who single out Amstel with such vigour during the Classics, will send their strongest possible team, while Sky, BMC, and RadioShack have announced strong selections.

    “Looking on paper, Sky are going to have a good group, Rabobank and BMC, they’re the teams that will be competitive. On paper, Rabobank has a very consistent team and with the Worlds in Holland they’re going to put a lot of effort into it. Most teams don’t know their final six but they’ve put down a strong nine. It’s going to be really decent event.”

    “We had some people do recon a couple of months ago so we’ve seen the video and we’re going go up there on Thursday. It’s not a super technical course, it’s fast and flowing with a couple of climbs. Throwing in the Cauberg 1.7km from the finish, it’s got a lot of potential to implode so close to the finish. It’s a hard climb after one hour of racing.”
     

    Tags:
    World championships
  • Youthful Italian team named for world championships

    Italian team selector Paolo Bettini is at every race
    Article published:
    September 12, 2012, 10:22
    By:
    Cycling News

    I agree with federation's directive, says Bettini

    The Italian team for the world championships in Valkenburg was unveiled on Tuesday, with Vincenzo Nibali, Moreno Moser and Diego Ulissi leading a line-up that includes no riders currently under investigation for doping, as per the Italian Cycling Federation’s new selection policy.

    Speaking at a press conference in Milan, national coach Paolo Bettini said that he supported the federation’s directive, which also forbids the selection of riders who have served doping suspensions in excess of three months.

    “I agree fully with the federation’s decision and I’ve built the best national team possible,” Bettini said, according to Tuttobici. “The instructions were simple and clear – no riders who had been suspended for doping and no riders who are under investigation. So it was an obvious choice to build a team around young riders. Fortunately, we have a very important point of reference in Vincenzo Nibali and some good cards to play in Moreno Moser and Diego Ulissi, who is maybe our rider best-suited to the circuit in Holland.”

    Bettini has named an eleven-man pre-selection for the road race, and he will announce his final nine late next week. Joining Nibali, Moser and Ulissi in Limburg will be Luca Paolini (Katusha), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Nissan), Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Matteo Trentin, Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM).

    Only four of the selection - Nibali, Paolini, Gatto and Nocentini - have previously raced for the national team. 22-year-old Fabio Felline (Androni-Venezuela), who has already competed at both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, has been named as part of the under-23 team.

    Marco Pinotti (BMC) and Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) will compete in the individual time trial. “Pinotti is confident that the course suits him better than at the Olympics, and he never lets the side down when he wears the blue jersey,” Bettini said. “Malori ruled himself out of the Games because he didn’t feel good, but he wants to make up for that at the Worlds.”

    Bettini insisted that the FCI’s latest directives had not impacted greatly on his selection. Lamenting the dearth of in-form Italian riders, he said that Alessandro Ballan (BMC) was the only barred rider who had been in his plans for the Worlds. Ballan, the 2008 world champion, has been named in the Mantova-based doping investigation into his former Lampre team.

    “[FCI president Renato] Di Rocco asked me if the federation had put me in difficulty with its decisions, and I responded that I would have preferred if the riders themselves had made it hard for me to pick the team,” Bettini said. “Instead, apart from Ballan and the injured Enrico Gasparotto [who took to Twitter to refute claims that he has been implicated in the Padova investigation – ed.], I didn’t have any other names in my notebook.”

    Italian teams for the world championships:

    Elite men's road race: Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Nissan), Vincenzo Nibali, Eros Capecchi, Moreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale), Matteo Trentin, Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM).

    Elite men' time trial: Marco Pinotti (BMC), Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD)

    Elite women: Giada Borgato, Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora Pasta Zara), Noemi Cantele, Dalia Muccioli (BePink), Francesca Cauz (Top Girls), Elena Cecchini, Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini Giambenini), Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Product), Rossella Ratto (Verinlegno Fabiani).


     

    Tags:
    World championships
  • Boonen completes Worlds build-up at GP de Wallonie

    For the first time in his career Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has won Paris-Brussels
    Article published:
    September 12, 2012, 10:39
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian has Valkenburg on his mind

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) lines up in the Grand Prix de Wallonie on Wednesday, his final competitive outing ahead of the world championships road race in Valkenburg on September 23.

    While conventional wisdom suggests that the Vuelta a España provides the ideal build-up to the world championships, Boonen opted to compete at shorter stage races like the Eneco Tour and the Tour of Denmark, and he demonstrated his burgeoning form with victories at the World Ports Classic and Paris-Brussels in recent weeks.

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) will be Boonen’s co-leader in the Belgian team at the Worlds, and after a difficult season, he rediscovered the winning touch with two stage victories at the Vuelta.

    “We’ll see what the best option was at the world championships,” Boonen told Het Nieuwsblad. “I admit that that I considered other options but it was good to do other races rather than sticking to the same thing.”

    Gilbert won the GP de Wallonie twelve months ago but he will not be on hand this year as he recovers from his exertions at the Vuelta. The race concludes with an uphill finish at the citadel at Namur, but Boonen believes he has the form to conquer the climb.

    “I know the citadel, and it’s not exactly the Mur de Huy, so I want to win,” said Boonen.

    The hilly race should prove an exacting work-out ahead of the Valkenburg Worlds road race, in which the climb of the Cauberg comes just 1.5km before the finish line. Another member of Belgium's Worlds team, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) will also aim to be competitive on the road to Namur.

    "If he's recovered from his return trip from the races in Canada, Greg can do something here if it's a difficult race," BMC directeur sportif Rik Verbrugghe told La Dernière Heure.


     

    Tags:
    World championships
  • Vuelta route was reasonable, says Monfort

    Maxime Monfort (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    September 12, 2012, 11:59
    By:
    Cycling News

    "Sometimes it's harder to ride fast on a 7% slope"

    In spite of its ten summit finishes, Maxime Monfort (RadioShack-Nissan) believes that the route of the 2012 Vuelta a España was tough but not excessively so. Climbs like Mirador de Ézaro, Cuitu Negru and Bola del Mundo saw riders slow to a snail’s pace on slopes touching 30%, but Monfort felt that, on balance, the Vuelta route was “reasonable.”

    “The last week was very hard, but all told it was a reasonable Grand Tour, let’s say,” Monfort told La Dernière Heure. “We didn’t race the first two weeks at a very high rhythm. On the other hand, the final week was raced at a crazy speed. But in terms of the route, sure, there were some really hard climbs but it’s sometimes more difficult to ride fast on a 7% gradient than it is to climb up a really steep slope.”

    Monfort admitted that he was disappointed by his own performance, as he finished in 16th place in Madrid. 6th overall last season, the Belgian had hoped to come closer to matching that feat.

    “I set off with the aim of finishing in the top ten of the Vuelta a España again and I didn’t realise my objective, so I am disappointed,” Monfort said. “I thought I was well-set to finishing in the top ten and that I was going to gain in power as the race went on, but that wasn’t the case.”

    After battling to 16th place overall at the Tour de France in July, Monfort began to feel the strain in the second half of the Vuelta. He believes that riders who had not raced in pursuit of the general classification at the Tour were noticeably fresher in the finale of the Vuelta.

    “I was missing a bit of freshness in the final week of the Vuelta, like [Chris] Froome and [Nicolas] Roche,” he said. “On top of that, the level of this Vuelta was very high and I had been sick during the Tour. But I’m not looking for an excuse – even with a bit more luck, I don’t think I could have done any better than 12th or 13th.”

    The day after the Vuelta concluded, Monfort learned that he had not been selected for the world championships in Valkenburg, and he is now considering calling a halt to his season rather than continuing to the Tour of Lombardy as initially planned. “I don’t know if it’s worth training three weeks for the Tour of Lombardy, but I’m going to talk about it with my team before taking my decision.”
     

    Tags:
    World championships
  • Devenyns replaces Vandenbergh in Belgian Worlds team

    Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) at the start
    Article published:
    September 12, 2012, 15:45
    By:
    Cycling News

    Vanendert remains on the sidelines

    Stijn Vandenbergh has been forced to withdraw from the Belgian squad for the world championships due to a knee injury. He will be replaced by his Omega Pharma-QuickStep trade teammate Dries Devenyns.

    It is the second time this season that Vandenbergh has been forced out of a major event due to injury, after he had to pull out of the Tour de France on the eve of the race due to a saddle sore.

    "It's a sad moment for me because it was a great season so far," Vandenbergh said. "The Worlds is one of the biggest events and I was looking forward to helping the team get a good result but now I can't do it. It's a hard moment, but when you ride for your country you have to be 100 percent, which is not the case now.

    “We made this decision in agreement with Omega Pharma-QuickStep medical staff and Belgian national team coach Carlo Bomans. I hope to recover as best as possible to return to competition as soon as I can.”

    For Devenyns, Valkenburg will mark his first appearance in the world championships at elite level. The 29-year-old competed at the GP de Québec and GP de Montréal in Canada last weekend and will also line up at the GP Impanis – Van Petegem before travelling to Limburg.

    "I'm happy to be selected for Worlds," Devenyns said. "It's a big goal. I want to do well on this course, it’s good for me, so I think I can give a good contribution to the team.

    “Life is strange because I’m taking the place of Stijn, who is my teammate but also a friend. I am sad for him and hope he can recover well.”

    Devenyns gets the nod for the Belgian team ahead of Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol), who had already expressed his dismay at being named as a reserve for the Worlds. Vanendert finished second at Amstel Gold Race in April, a race which, like the Worlds, features the climbs of the Bemelerberg and Cauberg.

     


     

    Tags:
    World championships
  • Cavendish pays tribute to Wiggins' local knowledge

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) won his second straight stage at the Tour of Britain.
    Article published:
    September 12, 2012, 18:03
    By:
    Cycling News

    Manxman moves into overall lead at Tour of Britain

    Mark Cavendish paid tribute to the efforts of Bradley Wiggins and his Sky team on stage 4 of the Tour of Britain as the world champion claimed stage honours and the overall lead. Cavendish proved too quick for Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) and Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) in the sprint finish, to take his second successive stage win.

    Sky seized the initiative as the race entered the final 25 kilometres on exposed roads on the windswept run-in to the finish on Blackpool Promenade, and Cavendish explained that Wiggins’ local knowledge proved invaluable.

    “Bradley [Wiggins] lives not far from Blackpool and the route included a lot of the roads he uses for training,” Cavendish said. “He told us it was very open, and very windy, and he knew the exact place we should go on the attack. It was the perfect call.”

    Sky’s forcing in the crosswinds saw the front end of the peloton whittled down to fewer than 30 riders, but with Jonathan Tiernan-Locke among them, Endura Racing were willing to contribute to the pace-making in the finale.

    "It was a grim day but we ploughed through and waited until that moment 22km from home to split things apart, and although it was difficult to do that with a small team, the fact Endura were riding as well made it easier,” Cavendish said.

    The last survivors of the day’s early break were swept up inside the final 8 kilometres, and on the approach to Blackpool, Sky tried to engineer a scenario that would allow Luke Rowe to go clear and steal a march in the overall standings. When he was reeled back in, however, Cavendish was on hand to take the sprint with considerable ease, careering off overall leader Howard’s wheel 200 metres from the line.

    “On those last 5km along the front we just made it so fast that nobody else could get close to us,” Cavendish said. “We’d expected a crosswind, but in the end it felt like a tailwind, and we were flying. Luke’s going for the overall so we tried to let him get a bit of a gap like the other day, but then Leigh Howard jumped so I had to go with him, and then it was quite straightforward for me in the sprint.”

    Cavendish now leads the Tour of Britain overall by 6 seconds from Howard, with Boy van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare) a further 8 seconds back in third. He insisted that he harboured no overall ambitions of his own and was simply looking to enjoy his final days in the rainbow jersey.

    “I’m really happy to have gone into the lead, and although I can’t see myself keeping the jersey, we’d like to keep it in the team,” said Cavendish, who hinted that Luke Rowe would be the man to lead Sky’s challenge. "I’ve only got a few days left in the rainbow jersey now, so I’d like to wear that again as well."

    Speaking on the eve of the Tour of Britain, Cavendish compared his rapport with Sky to "a long-distance relationship" and hinted that he would part company with the team at the end of the season.
     

  • Samuel Sánchez optimistic for Worlds

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at the start of stage 4.
    Article published:
    September 12, 2012, 19:45
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Euskaltel leader confident Tour of Britain will get him into shape for Valkenburg

    It has been a very mixed season for Samuel Sánchez. The Euskaltel-Euskadi team leader started it with four main objectives: the Tour of the Basque Country, the Tour de France, the Olympics and the World Championship. After several near-misses, Sánchez finally claimed the overall prize in the Basque Country, but was forced out of the Tour with a fractured hand, which also prevented him from defending his Olympic road race title.

    Another heavy fall at last month's Tour du Poitou-Charentes jeopardised the Spaniard's hopes of racing at the Worlds. However, the injuries he sustained in the French race weren't as bad as initially feared, and this week he is making a debut appearance at the Tour of Britain, hoping to use it as a springboard for the Worlds.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews in Gretna Green just hours after it was announced that he is among Spain's nine selections for the world road race in Valkenburg, Sánchez was very happy both with his form and his first experience of Britain. "I really like what I've seen of the country so far – the people, the countryside, all the kids out watching the race. I'd like to come back on holiday with my family," he said, as easygoing and relaxed as ever.

    He confirmed that his form is getting better all the time and that he's increasingly optimistic about his hopes for the Worlds. "As long as I don't crash during this race, things are looking good for me. I'm taking it day by day. My arm is fine now. It's healed a lot faster than was expected when I crashed at the Tour – it was a hell of an impact, very hard. It meant that I had to go back to kilometre zero in terms of competition. But I've been working very hard," he said.

    "I wanted to get back into the rhythm of competition by riding here, I'm making some big efforts and really liking the race because it's not especially tough, but the pace is very quick. There's not too many riders here who are right at the very top level, so that means that it's a bit more comfortable, that there's less danger. It should set me up well for the Worlds and for the races I'm doing beyond that – Piemonte, Lombardy and the Tour de Beijing."

    With several strong Amstel Gold performances behind him, Sánchez knows all too well that the Valkenburg course should suit him. "It is very tough, there's no doubt about that," he said. "It's very similar to the Amstel Gold Race but it's tougher. Amstel is a race that I like and that I know I'm well suited to – narrow roads, rain, cold, just like it is at home in Asturias. I think if I get to the level that I want to be at then it will suit me very well, and I also think it will suit my team very well."

    With Vuelta a España podium finishers Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez also in the Spanish team alongside three-time world champion Oscar Freire, there's no doubt Spain's line-up has plenty of options, but Sánchez doesn't see Spain as obvious favourites for the rainbow jersey.

    "Spain have got a very strong team, at least in terms of results. That is because the riders who filled the podium at the Vuelta are part of the team. But I think there are stronger teams than Spain from a physical standpoint – Belgium are very strong, Italy are very strong. We will have to see what kind of shape the Spanish riders from the Vuelta are in at the Worlds, because the battle between them at the Vuelta was so intense," said Sánchez.

    He also revealed that he has been planning for the Worlds for some time already this season. "The fact that the finish is 2km beyond the Cauberg will change things tactically, as will the fact we will be racing without radios. I think that will suit me. I've been getting used to racing without a radio once again. I've raced quite a few times this year without a radio. I like it racing like that – I like it a lot. You have to improvise a lot, and no one can predict what is going to happen, but I really like that. It's a return to how cycling used to be," he said.

    Once again, though, he emphasised that his first task is to attain the form he needs to be competitive at the Worlds. "I hope I will be there. Like I said, I'm taking it day by day. I am improving. My only objective here is to get several days of competition under my belt – it's all about rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. It's quite a long race over 1,300km, almost half as long as a Grand Tour, but the good thing is that I'm not going to get the fatigue that always affects you at a Grand Tour. Don't forget that Mark Cavendish won the Worlds after riding here last year. Let's hope it works out the same way this year…"

    Tags:
    World championships
  • Noval and Hernandez re-sign with Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank

    Daniel Navarro and Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank)
    Article published:
    September 12, 2012, 23:40
    By:
    Cycling News

    Trusted domestiques to remain alonside Contador in 2013

    Benjamin Noval and Jesus Hernandez, two of Alberto Contador’s most reliable domestiques, have signed contract extensions with Saxo Bank-Tinkoff. Noval has signed a one-year deal with Riis’ team while the 30-year-old Hernandez has committed to riding for Saxo Bank for the next three seasons. Noval has ridden in the same team as Contador since 2007 with Hernandez from 2008.

    "Jesus and Benjamin have been very important in our win in the Vuelta, because of their dedication and loyalty towards Alberto and the team. Benjamin is the experienced and hardworking guy, who protects Alberto in the peloton, and Jesus is not only an asset on the climbs, but also a training companion of Alberto. At the same time both of them are great personalities to work with, so it was natural to renew their contracts," said Riis.

    Contador is close friends with his Spaniard teammates Hernandez and Noval who most recently supported him at the Vuelta a España. Contador insisted the duo make the move to Saxo Bank at the end of 2010 when, along with Daniel Navarro, they signed for Riis. Navarro has since signed a two-year deal with Cofidis but the signing of the remaining two speaks loudly for Contador’s commitment to Riis for the coming years.

    "For me Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank is in many ways one of the best teams in the world. Secondly, Alberto is part of this team. These are the two main drivers behind my decision to stay. I feel part of a family here, I like the atmosphere, and I like the way the team and Bjarne work with the riders," said Noval.

    Noval has played a significant role at the Tour de France throughout his career. The 33-year-old was part of Lance Armstong’s team during the 2004 and 2005 editions while also riding alongside Contador during the 2007 and 2010 Tours de France.

    "It was an easy decision to renew my contract. I very much like to be part of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, I have some great teammates here, and I'm happy to continue supporting Alberto in the races as he is a close friend of mine. I'm really looking forward to next season and hope for some big results for the team," said Hernandez.