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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 16, 2010

Date published:
September 16, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Velits poised to be first Slovakian on Grand Tour podium

    Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) celebrates his first Grand Tour stage victory.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2010, 20:28 BST
    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...

  • Bos crashes out of Vuelta in time trial

    Theo Bos (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    September 15, 2010, 21:47 BST
    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.

  • Tour of Utah jumps to UCI 2.1 in 2011

    George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team) comes to Utah for the first time to give it a try.
    Article published:
    September 16, 2010, 4:59 BST
    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...

  • Leipheimer, Horner look for US titles in Greenville

    Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack)
    Article published:
    September 16, 2010, 5:12 BST
    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...

  • Lelangue believes in Evans

    Team manager John Lelangue came to the team after a history of working for the Tour de France organisation.
    Article published:
    September 16, 2010, 9:43 BST
    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..."

  • Pellizotti frustated at CONI delay

    Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas - Doimo)
    Article published:
    September 16, 2010, 10:35 BST
    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.

  • Martin still on course for Worlds showdown with Cancellara

    Race leader Tony Martin held onto his advantage by finishing 8th.
    Article published:
    September 16, 2010, 10:54 BST
    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...

  • Leukemans unhappy with Riccò's performance

    Vacansoleil rider Bjorn Leukemans.
    Article published:
    September 16, 2010, 11:13 BST
    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.