- Article published:
- September 15, 2010, 20:28
- Cycling News
Time trial success gives HTC-Columbia its 100th win of 2010
With his victory in the 46km Vuelta a España time trial today, Slovakia's Peter Velits is poised to become the first rider from that country to stand on the podium in the sport's biggest events after he moved into third overall behind the race's new leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo).
Velits also handed his HTC-Columbia team its 100th win of the year, and topped the achievements of his compatriot Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo), who won two stages and the points classification in Paris-Nice.
The success of Velits was rather unexpected, even by his team. The 25-year-old held big promise after a 2007 win in the U23 world championship road race, but after two years at Team Milram and only one win he and twin brother Martin came to HTC-Columbia looking to have a break-out season. Still, Velits wasn't considered a GC contender until his strong and consistent finishes in the Vuelta's summit finishes.
"We came to the Vuelta to win stages with Mark Cavendish but also to prepare the future and building up riders like Peter Velits and Tejay Van Garderen as GC riders," said directeur sportif Tristan Hoffman at the beginning of the Spanish Tour. While Van Garderen had strong performances early, Velits's maturity shone through in the final week of the tour, and today's victory is the apex of his career to date.
"This is my first time trial victory," Velits said in Peñafiel. "It's unbelievable that it happened at the Tour of Spain. I can't describe it. To beat Cancellara who is the absolute top TT rider makes it even more of a surprise."
The top three of the Vuelta is now made up of the riders who finished together at the Lagos de Covadonga - Nibali, Mosquera and Velits - and the young Slovakian hopes it will stay that way to Madrid on Sunday. "I'll try to keep my spot on the podium as hard as I can," Velits said.
"There's one more climbing stage on Saturday at Bola del Mundo. I'll do everything I can. I'm already very happy with the victory I got. It's possible that I'd be fighting for the overall victory if I didn't lose time in Cotobello, but every day at the Vuelta I've given my best and I'm more than satisfied with the position I have now."
Peter Velits might well be the first Slovakian to reach the final podium of a Grand Tour on Sunday on the Paseo della Castellana in Madrid. After that, he and his brother will ride the world championship in Australia in support of Sagan, whose ambition is no less than becoming the youngest winner of the rainbow jersey after coming second in the Pro Tour GP Montreal three days ago.
- Article published:
- September 15, 2010, 21:47
- Cycling News
No broken bones after run-in with motorbike
Cervélo TestTeam's Theo Bos joined his teammate Thor Hushovd on the sidelines of the Vuelta a España today after crashing in the time trial in Peñafiel.
The team will now continue the race with only four riders, including Carlos Sastre and Xavier Tondo who are both in the top 10 overall.
While Hushovd abandoned to prepare for the world championships, Philippe Mauduit, directeur sportif of Cervélo TestTeam, was shocked by the crash of Bos. "What happened to Theo is unbelievable. I saw him approaching the motorbike of a photographer that was parked well on the right side of the road.
"I thought he was going to profit from the protection from the wind but he had his head down, he didn't see the obstacle and he went straight into it. It was pretty violent."
Bos was examined at a hospital and cleared of any serious injuries or broken bones. Today's stage could be the 27-year-old Dutchman's last race with Cervélo TestTeam, which will fold at the end of the year. He will return to the Rabobank team next season.
- Article published:
- September 16, 2010, 04:59
- Kirsten Frattini
USAC COO discusses code 2.1.009 enforcement
The Tour of Utah is taking steps to join the list of International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned events slated to take place in the United States of America in 2011. According to USA Cycling’s Chief Operating Officer, Sean Petty, the coveted National Racing Calendar (NRC) stage race plans to upgrade to a UCI 2.1 license.
“I think a lot of factors have contributed to them wanting to become UCI next year,” Petty told Cyclingnews. “They have to step up on the budget and they are looking at that. The UCI code [2.1.009] might not have directly influenced their decision but it may have played a role in it.”
International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid has said the sport’s governing body intends to enforce code 2.1.009, which prohibits ProTour and Professional Continental teams from competing in national level events where only UCI Continental teams of the country, regional and club teams, national teams and mixed teams may participate.
“There will be no more exceptions for ProTour and Pro Continental teams to compete in national calendar races,” Petty said. “That is our understanding.”
An agreement was reached between the UCI and USA Cycling over the last two years that allowed ProTour and Professional Continental teams to register three riders in national calendar events like Tour of the Gila, Tour of Utah and the Cascade Cycling Classic. The entry was conditional on the riders not wearing their official team clothing. In addition BMC Racing team started a full roster at this year’s Tour of Utah, based on an exemption worked out between USA Cycling and the UCI in advance.
“I think it’s been tremendously beneficial and helpful for the growth of the Tour of the Gila and Tour of Utah to have riders like Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Jason McCartney, Dave Zabriskie and George Hincapie racing in those events,” Petty said. “I think that Gila in particular would not have existed if it wasn’t for the infusion of those riders and support from SRAM. It is now a high profile event on the calendar. We went from a race being gone to a race being on the UCI calendar and it is easy to point to how the interest was generated.
“In the US, we want to work to find a way to showcase our top riders on a more regular basis,” he added. “We just don’t have enough UCI races. We were on middle ground in allowing three rider to race in non-team kits and working around the rule to help that. It was a real benefit for cycling in the US and to the development of those races.
“It is a missed opportunity but we understand the UCI’s position to try and support and grow the ProTour and those teams have signed up for that racing program,” he said. “It’s tough because it was great to see those guys and build those races outside of the UCI and work to get more races on the UCI, certainly that was the goal, but in the meantime it was nice to have those riders to raise the interest in both of those events. Now here we are with those events on the UCI calendar.”
This year there were four UCI-sanctioned races in the US that included the Tour of California, Tour of the Battenkill, Philadelphia International Championships and the Univest Grand Prix. It was announced last month that New Mexico’s Tour of the Gila would make the necessary arrangements to become a UCI 2.2 level event. In addition Colorado’s inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge will be a UCI 2.1 sanctioned stage race and according to Petty the Tour of Utah will likely be a UCI 2.1 event also.
“That [the enforcement of code 2.1.009] was one of the reasons we worked hard with Gila and Utah to have those events on the UCI calendar,” Petty said. “Utah took a big step up, they have always been a well run race but adding Levi Leipheimer and George Hincapie brought in interest and support from the media and sponsors in the area. It created more desire for them to accelerate their involvement on the UCI calendar. So much so, that we are discussing UCI 2.1 status for the Tour of Utah. That is a tremendous leap and can be attributed to the participation of BMC team and Levi Leipheimer this year.
“I think the Tour of Utah was a tremendous race on the NRC and has continued to be so,” he added. “But it was a commitment they have decided on in order to take that next step to get on the UCI calendar. Having seen that this year, it seems like that it is a worthwhile effort on their part.”
This year the Tour of Utah was held from August 17-22 and feared to overlap with the proposed August date of the Quiznos Pro Challenge. The two events will not overlap next year according to Petty and the USA Cycling and UCI are scheduled to discuss the possible dates of each event during the UCI Road World Championships, held in Australia at the end of this month.
“Right now we are working with the UCI for the proposed dates for both races,” Petty said. “We have to find the proper slots for the Quiznos Pro Challenge and how that works with the Canadian ProTour races. We’ve had discussions and will continue to have discussions with the UCI on those dates.
“Nothing has been resolved yet and the calendar will be approved by the management committee at the upcoming World Championships in Melbourne,” he added. “We will continue to discuss that over the next 10 days before that meeting.”
- Article published:
- September 16, 2010, 05:12
- Kirsten Frattini
RadioShack fields five at USPRO Championships
Team RadioShack likes its odds of winning a starts and stripes jersey, with the squad fielding a five-man roster at the USA Cycling Pro Championships held this weekend in Greenville, South Carolina. Levi Leipheimer is eyeing the time trial title on Saturday and his teammate Chris Horner is in good shape to contest the road title held on Sunday.
“I'd like to think I have a good shot at winning the time trial and with a team of five guys in the road race, I think RadioShack has a good shot at winning that,” Leipheimer told Cyclingnews.
RadioShack has two riders registered to start the time trial on Saturday, including Leipheimer and Matthew Busche. Leipheimer won the time trial national championships in 1999. He has a long list of strong performances in the individual event, including three time trial wins that lead to his three consecutive overall victories at the Tour of California from 2007-09. He also placed third in the time trial at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
He is one of several favourites to win the event including Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong), Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Peter Stetina (Garmin-Transitions) and Paul Mach (Bissell). Noticeably absent from the start list is defending champion Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions), who is currently competing at the Vuelta a España.
Leipheimer is also a former road champion having won the event in 2007. He and Busche will join teammates Horner, Jason McCartney and Bjorn Selander for the road race held the following day.
Horner last competed in the USPro Road Race in 2005, when the event was held in conjunction with the Philadelphia International Cycling Championships. He placed second to race winner Chris Wherry in a three-man breakaway that also included Danny Pate.
He has never competed on the Greenville course due to scheduling conflicts with the Vuelta or injury. This year he placed top 10 in the Tour de France and is one of the favourites to win the title. He intends on putting his best foot forward to capture the stars and stripes jersey for the first time in his career.
“The form is good, so I do believe I will be there at the finish of the race with a chance to win,” Horner told Cyclingnews. “Last time I did USPro was in Philly. I’ve never been on the new course. It will take a lot of teamwork to win for sure. I'm sure the team will decide during the race who has the form to win.”
RadioShack is not the only team with strength in numbers. BMC Racing team will field a team of five riders including defending champion George Hincapie, Chad Beyer, Brent Bookwalter, Chris Butler and Jeff Louder. Other strong teams include Garmin-Transitions and domestic teams Kelly Benefit Strategies, Mountain Khakis-Jittery Joes, Bissell, Jamis-Sutter Home, UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis and Jelly Belly-Kenda.
“I think BMC and us will more than likely be racing together early on in the race then against each other near the finish,” Horner said.
Leipheimer and Horner recently competed in North America’s inaugural ProTour races, held in Quebec City and Montreal last weekend. “The ProTour races in Canada were important for our team so I wouldn't categorize them as ‘preparation’ for USPro, but they didn’t hurt, that’s for sure,” Leipheimer said.
- Article published:
- September 16, 2010, 09:43
- Hedwig Kröner
Defending world champion "will be competitive" for Geelong
BMC Racing manager John Lelangue is hopeful that the 2009 world champion Cadel Evans will be in contention to defend his title at the Worlds in Geelong, Australia, despite having just come back to racing after fracturing his elbow at the Tour de France two months ago.
At his penultimate race wearing the rainbow jersey, the Grand Prix de Wallonie in Belgium on Wednesday, Evans finished a very respectable third behind Paul Martens (Rabobank) and Riccardo Ricco (Vacansoleil). The more than 200km-long and hilly event was only the third race for Evans after his come-back from injury, and Lelangue confirmed that his rider was very motivated to defend his world title at the big event two weeks from now.
"He lost some time because of his elbow, but Cadel is able to replicate high intensities in training and he has an enormous ability to motivate himself that is very impressive," Lelangue told L'Equipe. "If the same thing had happened to any other rider, I would have said that you can't count on him anymore. But I believe that Cadel will be competitive."
Evans himself was also hopeful that he will be in contention to defend his rainbow jersey in his home country.
"My form is good," he said. "I might not be as fit as last year because of my broken elbow. I was forced to stop cycling for two weeks - stop racing for six - but I still hope that I will be one of the favourites in Melbourne, even if the big favourite is [Philippe] Gilbert."
Evans, a respected spring classics rider as well as Grand Tour contender, won the Flèche Wallonne this year. The Worlds course in Geelong has been described as a Classics course, similar to the Tour of Flanders.
"But it's not always the favourite who wins [the Worlds]," the Australian warned. "I wasn't the big favourite, last year in Mendirisio..."
- Article published:
- September 16, 2010, 10:35
- Barry Ryan
Italian's biological passport hearing postponed to October 21
Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Doimo) has spoken of his frustration at the delay in his hearing before the Italian Olympic Committee’s (CONI) anti-doping tribunal. Pellizzotti has been out of action since May, when the UCI announced that its biological passport programme had uncovered anomalies in his blood values. In July CONI’s anti-doping prosecutor Francesco Plotino recommended a two-year suspension for the Italian rider.
Pellizotti has been unable to race while he waits for his case to be heard. He was originally supposed to appear before Plotino today (September 16), but that hearing has been postponed until October 21.
“At this point, I’m almost ashamed to be Italian,” Pellizotti told Il Messaggero Veneto. “I feel like I’m being taken for a ride. I haven't been accused on the basis of any proof, but only on the basis of very debatable and uncertain blood values from six months before.”
Pellizotti’s abnormal blood values date back to 2009, when he enjoyed his best-ever season. The Italian finished second overall at the Giro d’Italia and went on to win the King of the Mountains title at the Tour de France. He was first informed by the UCI that he was under investigation in early 2010.
“Along with my lawyer and the Liquigas-Doimo team doctor Roberto Corsetti, I believe that we have amply demonstrated that the values disputed by the biological passport are natural,” Pellizotti said. “Yet they have still delayed until the second half of October a hearing about debatable values, the last of which dates from July of last year.”
Earlier this year, CONI handed out two-year suspensions to Pietro Caucchioli and Francesco De Bonis on the basis of results from their biological passports.
- Article published:
- September 16, 2010, 10:54
- Daniel Benson
German pulls out of Tour of Britain but will still ride Worlds
Despite pulling out on stage 5 of the Tour of Britain through illness, Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) will race at the Worlds, where he will aim to defeat favourite and current world time trial champion, Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank).
Martin finished third last year but has improved his time trialling in the last twelve months. He comprehensively beat Cancellara in time trials at both the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse. Cancellara on the other hand won both races against the clock in this year’s Tour de France.
Both men have raced different programmes since the Tour de France in their build ups to the Worlds, with Martin preferring to race the Tour of Britain and Cancellara competing at the Vuelta.
“You have to decide if you want to do three weeks at the Vuelta or the Tour of Britain,” Martin told Cyclingnews.
“It’s nice that we can choose between the two races and it’s nice that the Tour of Britain still exists. A lot of races have disappeared. There are many in Germany, the Tour of Germany included, that don’t exist any more.”
Despite pulling out of the Tour of Britain, Martin has been in fine form since his disappointing Tour de France, where he failed to make any impression on GC.
“My Worlds preparation is going well. I had a big win the Eneco Tour and that shows me that my form is really good. I was at the Tour of Britain to go easier because I want to be fresh at the Worlds, so I didn’t want to go too deep at in Britain.”
It isn’t just about getting the miles in. Martin has also been hard at work improving his position on the bike.
“I was here in the UK doing wind tunnel testing. We’ve found a new position for me that makes sense. We’re always looking at what we can do better and we try and develop things bit by bit in order to help me get on the top step of the podium at Worlds. The changes we’ve had will certainly make a difference but I can’t talk about them too much.”
Any changes to his position and precious seconds saved will only enhance Martin’s billing as Cancellara’s biggest challenger. For now though, the German isn’t allowing himself to be caught up in the hype.
“The past shows that we’re the strongest guys in time trials,” he said. “I hope it will be the same at the Worlds, with a close final but to beat him I need to have a perfect day. I have a chance though. If I make the podium it would still be a good result but I’m aiming for the win.”
- Article published:
- September 16, 2010, 11:13
- Barry Ryan
Feels Vacansoleil teammate rode against him in GP de Wallonie finale
Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) has criticised his new teammate Riccardo Riccò’s performance at the GP de Wallonie yesterday and accused the Italian of riding against him in the finale.
“I accelerated on the last climb to try and win the race, but when I turned around I saw three riders on my wheel, including Riccò,” Leukemans told La Dernière Heure afterwards. “He should have left a gap so as to oblige [Paul] Martens and [Cadel] Evans to ride.”
Rabobank’s Martens eventually won the race, outsprinting Riccò and Evans, and Leukemans laid the blame squarely on the Italians shoulders. “Riccò was stuck to me and we gave it to Martens on a plate,” he said.
Leukemans, who ultimately finished in 6th place, had before the race questioned his team’s decision to sign the polarizing Riccò in mid-season. “Riccò does not have a UCI point,” he told Sporza. “I still wonder why the team would take a rider with no points.”
Riccò returned from a two-year suspension for the use of CERA in March of this year in the colours of Ceramica Flaminia. In August, Riccò signed for Vacansoleil after Flaminia’s repeated failure to be invited to the major races prompted him to buy out his contract with the Italian team.
Vacansoleil was not on the final list of 26 teams for the Tour of Lombardy announced by race organisers RCS Sport on Tuesday.