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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 5, 2013

Date published:
September 05, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Nibali: back in red again at the Vuelta a Espana

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is the Vuelta a Espana leader after the stage 11 time trial and was joined on the podium by Miguel Indurain
    Article published:
    September 04, 2013, 21:37 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Italian regains GC lead despite fighting wasp sting

    For the third time in this year's Vuelta a Espana, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has taken the race lead, and on each occasion his hold has become steadily more tenacious - even if the Italian was battling a wasp sting from training on Tuesday that left him feeling extremely groggy on the morning of the time trial.

    Although the swelling had gone down some by the afternoon, Nibali still raced and did his post-stage interviews with dark glasses that mostly hid the painful visible knock-on effects - red, puffed-up eyes - of the sting.

    Nibali queried the wisdom of unspecified anti-doping regulations - whether of the MPCC, to which Astana belongs, or WADA was not clear - which apparently did not permit him to receive full medical treatment for the sting. He did say, in any case, that the effects of the sting were diminishing as the day continued.

    Whatever the internal effects, Nibali still managed to capture fourth on the stage and move into the lead with a 33-second advantage over Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff), whilst Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and former leader Chris Horner (RadioShack Trek) are a little further back, at 46 seconds.

    "I wouldn't know how this affected my performance, but this morning when I woke up it was very painful. It had been all right but it got worse overnight. Then little by little, when I went out on the bike I slowly got better," Nibali said.

    He described the time trial as "complicated, with a first part that climbed constantly and then a second, faster, part. But I didn't have any problems because the descent was not so difficult and the curves not too complicated."

    He will defend the lead "day by day and keeping a close eye on my...

  • Cancellara still weighing Worlds options after Vuelta time trial win

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack) celebrates his stage win in the Vuelta
    Article published:
    September 04, 2013, 23:53 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    First victory at Vuelta since 2009 for Swiss champion

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) forged on towards the world championships with a victory that he had not initially counted on, a time trial stage at the Vuelta, but which will do his morale no harm whatsoever.

    Should Cancellara finally concentrate on taking a fifth Worlds time trial title in Venice in a few weeks' time, his victory over Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will provide a welcome reference point. And Cancellara hinted as much when he said that it is "always nice to win, but it's how it looks on paper that counts more" - as an indication, presumably, that in the grand scheme of things, Cancellara remains a huge force to be reckoned with in the time trials. In the Classics, Cancellara's victories in E-3, Paris-Roubaix and Flanders speak for themselves.

    "Winning - I know what that is like, it's how many seconds other riders lost [that counts]."

    Looking at the win itself, Cancellara said, "In the end I've just done my homework. It's all about looking at the details, where I took time."

    The Swiss champion said his third time trial win of the season - after a stage victory in the Tour of Austria as well as the Swiss national championship - was worth the two-hour long wait at the winner's podium whilst the overall contenders completed the course.

    "If I lost, all this waiting around would be a waste of time and I would just go off to the hotel. But having won, I'm really happy about it, and I can see I'm on the good road."

    The good road to where, though? The world time trial, road race or trade team time trial? Despite such a blistering chrono result,...

  • Cycling Canada to back Cookson for UCI president

    UCI Presidential candidate Brian Cookson
    Article published:
    September 05, 2013, 2:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Board of Directors: "Growth in cycling has been on the back of deceit and cheats"

    The Board of Directors of Cycling Canada have recently made public a letter stating that they will be supporting Brian Cookson in his bid to become president of the UCI at the UCI congress in Florence, Italy, on September 27.

    The Board cited feedback from "concerned Canadian cyclists and key stakeholders" that called for "more transparency and accountability within the governance structure of the UCI" as their primary reason for supporting Cookson.

    The Board prefaced their criticisms of McQuaid by acknowledging the positive advances that have been made under his leadership with continued globalisation of the sport and the biological passport as the two main achievements. In fact, the Board was very diplomatic, referring only to "the current leadership" and not singling out McQuaid when voicing their displeasure.

    "The current leadership has brought about considerable growth through globalization of cycling with the new UCI pro-tour continental series and the introduction of the biological passport, which was very forward thinking and has aided in cleaning up the sport," the letter stated. "Canada has benefited from this rise in popularity, the globalization of the sport and a cleaner peloton."

    "Despite these successes, one realizes that with the pervasive revelations of doping this growth in cycling has been on the back of deceit and cheats," the letter continues. "This has left a dark cloud of uncertainty and scepticism surrounding cycling as a whole, a tarnished public perception, where we have seen parents question bringing their children to the sport and sponsors, supporters and government funding bodies leaving the sport.

    "As we look from the current global climate toward the future of our sport, it is as important to stand for openness, transparency, accountability, and honesty as it is to deliver on these high goals. There is a need and a call for leadership change not only to improve the perception of cycling but to...

  • Slagter moves into KOM lead at Tour of Alberta

    Tom Jelte Slagter (Belkin)
    Article published:
    September 05, 2013, 5:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutchman meeting his targets on the way to Worlds

    Tom-Jelte Slagter (Belkin) believes he is on course for the 2013 UCI Road World Championships in Florence, Italy, after taking the opening King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour of Alberta in Canada.

    Having recently been confirmed as part of the Netherlands squad to tackle the World Championships later this month, Slagter is happy with his progress thus far.

    "I didn't think I could win the time trial, so I decided to focus on the climb. I really went for it and it paid off," explained the 24-year-old.

    "This jersey makes it an extra nice day. It's good for my confidence. Going to the World's was a goal," he continued.

    Slagter started the season with a victory at the Tour Down Under and since then has remained a consistent performer for the Belkin squad. Youth and relative inexperience should rule Slagter out as a top-line contender for the rainbow jersey, but his mix of climbing and sprinting abilities mean he remains an outside chance.

    Hypotheticals aside, Slagter will continue his build up to the Championships by defending his KOM jersey in Alberta and then race the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal WorldTour races later in the month.

    "We're going to defend this jersey in the days to come … with the jersey on my shoulders, I've got something to compete for here in Alberta. It will be a good preparation for the races to come."

  • De Weert seriously injured in Vuelta time trial crash

    Kevin de Weert (Omega Pharma - Quick Step)
    Article published:
    September 05, 2013, 9:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider with cervical fracture

    Wednesday's time trial in the Vuelta a España ended disastrously for Kevin de Weert. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider was transported directly to hospital after a crash left him with multiple serious injuries.

    The 31-year-old suffered a fractured left tibia, a ruptured patellar tendon in the left knee, and a fractured right collarbone. Most seriously, he “was also diagnosed with a cervical fracture, without displacement and without neurological consequences.” He never lost consciousness, the team said.

    De Weert was on a downhill section when the wind caught his front wheel. Teammate Tony Martin, who finished second on the stage, said that “If I had won today, I would have dedicated the win to my teammate Kevin de Weert.”

    Martin added, “When you hear something like that, everything else loses importance. I didn't think of the second place anymore. In such moments, you know once again what is really important in life.”

  • Di Luca asked to collaborate by CONI anti-doping investigators

    Danilo Di Luca was a late addition to the Vini Fantini team
    Article published:
    September 05, 2013, 10:38 BST
    Cycling News

    "Whoever wasn't a fan of mine before won't be a fan now either"

    Danilo Di Luca met with anti-doping investigators from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome for an hour on Wednesday to answer questions regarding his positive test for EPO, announced during this year’s Giro d’Italia.

    The positive test, which took place on April 29 but was only revealed in the final days of the Giro, was the second of Di Luca’s career following the positive control for CERA that saw him stripped of his second place finish at the centenary Giro in 2009.

    Previously suspended for six months in 2007 for working with banned doctor Carlo Santuccione, it is believed that Di Luca now faces a ban of between eight and twelve years for what amounts to a third doping offence.

    “We spoke but I can’t tell you what I said,” Di Luca told reporters after the hearing, according to Tuttobici. “Did I confess? I can’t tell you, but they have asked me to collaborate.”

    The grim irony, of course, is that Di Luca’s two-year suspension for his 2009 CERA positive was reduced by nine months in recognition of the information he provided to CONI’s anti-doping investigators and the longstanding Padua-based doping inquiry headed by Benedetto Roberti.

    Indeed, the last time Di Luca answered questions outside Rome’s Stadio Olimpico was in October 2010, following the reduction of his ban, when he said that he had collaborated “in favour of cycling.”

    On Wednesday, the 37-year-old Di Luca acknowledged that he was now facing a lengthy ban and was vague on whether or not he would look to stay involved with cycling in the future. “I’m already doing other things, so I’ll see,” Di...

  • Monfort joins Lotto Belisol from RadioShack

    Maxime Monfort gives an interview
    Article published:
    September 05, 2013, 11:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Sergeant signs Belgian for two years

    Maxime Monfort has signed a two-year contract with Belgian team Lotto Belisol. The move sees him leave RadioShack-Leopard after two seasons with the squad.

    Monfort, 30, is a time trial and GC rider. He has won the overall title in both the Tour of Luxembourg (2004) and the Bayern Rundfahrt (2010).  This year he was fourth overall in the  Tour Méditerranéen and 14th in the Tour de France.

    He turned pro in 2004 with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago and has since ridden with Cofidis, Columbia-High Road, and Leopard/RadioShack.

    “With some riders, like André Greipel, Adam Hansen and Marcel Sieberg, I rode together at HTC and Columbia. The list is long,” he said on the Lotto website. “Of course I also know Tony Gallopin very well, with whom I'm riding in the same team now, and who'll also make the move.”

    Monfort was happy to be returning to a Belgian team. “It's special for me after I have been riding in foreign teams for several years. On the sportive level I get great opportunities here. The complete programme has yet to be discussed, but I'll be a protected rider in short stage races and Grand Tours like Giro or Vuelta. In the Tour I'm prepared to work for Jurgen Van den Broeck who has already proven to have chances for a podium place.

    “Apart from that I also want to pass my experience, acquired by being a pro for ten years now, to the young riders in the team."

    Lotto Belisol manger Marc Sergeant said that Monfort  “perfectly fits in the team. He's a Belgian with a lot of experience, gained in different foreign teams and he's keen on riding again for a Belgian squad. He's a rider for stage races who can render us a service with his climbing capacities and good time trial in both big and small stage races.”

  • Bradley Wiggins to lead Team Sky at Tour of Britain

    Bradley Wiggins kisses his yellow jersey after winning the individual time trial and effectively securing the Tour de France 2012 overall title.
    Article published:
    September 05, 2013, 12:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Race forms part of Worlds training

    Team Sky has confirmed that 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins will lead the team at the Tour of Britain later this month. Wiggins, who missed this year’s Tour de France, will use the British race as part of his build up to the Worlds later in the month.

    Wiggins will be joined by Ian Stannard, Josh Edmondson, Bernhard Eisel, Mathew Hayman and David Lopez, in Sky’s six-man line-up.

    "I'm really looking forward to the Tour of Britain; it's a race I’m fond of and it’s nice to see it growing in stature each year,” Wiggins announced on Sky’s team website.

    “The crowds and the roads make it special and it’s always very humbling to see the fantastic support that we get from the public. I’m coming into the race feeling really good. It finishes in close proximity to the world time trial championships which is my main late-season goal. The Tour of Britain is always a tough event and I’m looking forward to getting started."

    The race starts on September 15 with a 201km stage from Peebles - Drumlanrig Castle. The race may start in Scotland but over the following days it travels through the north of England, and Wales, before a finishing stage in London on September 22.

    Wiggins was forced to abandon the race last year due to illness but with a 16k time trial on stage 3 this year, he is one of the pre-race favourites for the overall win.

    Sky will be joined at the race by four other WorldTour teams Garmin-Sharp, Movistar, Omega Pharma and Cannondale. However, last year’s defending champion, Jonathan Tiernan Locke – now with Team Sky – has not been selected.