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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Date published:
August 13, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Valverde to lead Movistar at Vuelta

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) attacked the yellow jersey group on the final climb of stage 19
    Article published:
    August 13, 2013, 0:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Team to be finalised following Eneco Tour

    Alejandro Valverde has been selected to lead Team Movistar for this year's Vuelta a Espana. The 2009 Vuelta Champion will return to the 68th running of the Spanish grand tour in strong form with a strong team. The 33-year-old Spaniard is coming off a heavy season of racing and his recovery following the Tour de France will be crucial to his performance in Spain.

    In 2009 Valverde's path to Vuelta success came via a classics heavy spring and then a more moderate mid-year program that included two successive victories in the Critérium Du Dauphiné Libéré and the Vuelta a Burgos. Valverde came out of the Tour de France this year in impressive form and confirmed that with a second place at the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian only six days after the finish of the Tour. Whether that form remains is the question that needs answering.

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Ivan Basso (Cannondale) both showed they were on form to challenge Valverde after strong performances at the Vuelta a Burgos last week. If Nibali retains even a slither of his Giro-winning-self then he will certainly be the man to watch. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) may have claimed victory at the Vuelta a Burgos, and was the talk of the town during the centenary the Tour de France, but he will not be racing this year's Vuelta.

    Valverde last won an overall tour at the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol in Spain back in February. The remainder of the nine man squad will be finalised at the conclusion of the Eneco Tour which is currently being raced in Holland and Belgium. A 27.4...

  • Giacoppo, Huon-Genesys ready to fight for South Coast victory

    Anthony Giacoppo (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) claims his first NRS victory for 2013 on Stage 2 at Battle on the Border
    Article published:
    August 13, 2013, 1:20 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    In-form defending champion looking forward to added competition

    Three stage wins at the last-up Tour of Gippsland was enough to get Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers' sprinter Anthony Giacoppo "back on track" with the 27-year-old hoping it's a springboard to success for the remainder of the year.

    West Australian Giacoppo, defending champion at this week's seventh round of the Subaru National Road Series (NRS) event, the Tour of the Great South Coast, has been in training at the squad's home base with team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston in Tasmania with the short gap between races. With some members of Huon-Genesys headed to Asia for the Tour of Borneo, it's a different line-up that takes on Great South Coast with just half of the team in action from Gippsland.

    "It will be interesting to see what comes of it because I'd definitely like to go there and win the Tour," Giacoppo told Cyclingnews. "I'll certainly try and get some more stage wins along the way and if I can do that I'll be pretty happy."

    The overall victory at Gippsland escaped Huon-Genesys by just one second with Budget Forklift's Jack Anderson taking a well-deserved win. It was only the second time this season that the Orange Army had been defeated in the NRS after Euride Racing took their home event, the Adelaide Tour. While admitting such a narrow margin was cause for reflection, Giacoppo says that the team is a long way from being in a comfort zone as they chase the NRS team prize for the fourth-straight season.

    "As a team we don't expect to win everything," the 2012 Australian Criterium Champion explained. "Whilst we certainly did have a really strong team at Gippsland that could have won it, it did only come down to...

  • First day of school for Petacchi at Eneco Tour

    Alessandro Petacchi in QuickStep colours
    Article published:
    August 13, 2013, 4:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian designated lead-out man for Steegmans

    Alessandro Petacchi made his long-awaited return to WorldTour racing during the 175.3 kilometre opening stage of the Eneco Tour from Koksijde to Ardooie in Belgium on Monday. The opening sprint presented the chance for any one of the headline sprinters to claim the overall leader's jersey and for Petacchi it was a welcome return to two-wheeled action.

    The 39-year-old Italian has been racing professionally since 1996 and has an astounding 48 grand tour stage wins to his name. Nonetheless, having not raced since Paris-Roubaix with his former team Lampre-Merida, Petacchi equated his nervous return to that of his first day at school.

    "I was a little bit excited about this race, to be honest," explained the 2005 Milan-San Remo champion. "For me it was like the first day of school and I think the first day went well. I have to say the feeling was really good."

    Signed to Omega Pharma-QuickStep as a leadout man for Mark Cavendish, Petacchi is using the Eneco Tour to hone his abilities with Gert Steegmans.

    "Today my role was to stay with Gert Steegmans and try to do a good job for him for the sprint," said Petacchi. "But in the end we got lost in the final. I was in front and tried to stay there and do the sprint. Then when the real sprint started I was a little bit closed off."

    Mark Renshaw (Belkin), a fellow lead-out man, escaped the clutches of the thundering peloton for a surprise win, and Petacchi capped his return with a top ten performance. For the Italian veteran, however, it's...

  • Tschopp breaks collarbone in l'Ain crash

    The early break was dominated by IAM Cycling
    Article published:
    August 13, 2013, 5:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Bad run continues for IAM Cycling

    It's a matter of one in, one out, for the Swiss-based IAM Cycling team this season as their run of broken bones continues. Within a week of Heinrich Haussler and Stefan Denifl announcing their imminent return to racing, Johan Tschopp fell in the third stage of the Tour de l'Ain and broke his left collarbone.

    Tschopp was leading the break of the day down the col de Menthières on the 137.9 kilometre stage from Izernore to Lélex Monts-Jura when he led into and overshot a left-hand turn. Tschopp fell heavily and was later diagnosed by race medics as having broken his collarbone into three pieces. The escape continued on it's way with Tschopp's compatriot and teammate Sébastien Reichenbach providing the best result for the IAM team with sixth on the stage.

    The Swiss will now undergo surgery on his clavicle this Wednesday in Geneva to speed the recovery process. The break comes at the worst possible time for 31-year-old rider who was just starting to find his feet. After claiming the King of the Mountains title at Paris-Nice earlier in the year, Tschopp showed was close to re-capturing top form after finishing second in the recent Trofeo Matteoti.

    IAM started the season with consistent results during the spring classics thanks mainly to Heinrich Haussler but was dealt a heavy blow after missing an invite to the Tour de France.

    The Tour de l'Ain continues on Tuesday with Tom Jelte Slagter (Belkin) holding a four second lead over teammate Luis Leon Sanchez heading into the 134.3 kilometre final stage. Sébastien Reichenbach sits in seventh...

  • Nuyens to ride Vuelta in build-up to spring 2014

    Nick Nuyens (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    August 13, 2013, 9:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian's long ride back from hip fracture continues

    Racing just his second stage race since his return from a prolonged recovery from a hip fracture, Nick Nuyens (Garmin Sharp) may next ride the Vuelta a España.

    This week, the former Tour of Flanders winner is in action at the Eneco Tour, having only ridden the Tour de Wallonie, Halle - Ingooigem and ProRace Berlin since March. Nuyens had attempted the Ster ZLM Toer in June but was forced to abandon the opening stage.

    Nuyens' injury woe stems back to a crash at Paris-Nice in 2012, and he underwent surgery last September. The resulting muscle weakness forced the Belgian to abandon his spring campaign this season following the E3 Harelbeke.

    "I am very grateful for the patience the team have had with me," Nuyens told "They're not expecting any more results from me this year, but I'm looking to spring 2014."

    For now, Nuyens is taking a wait and see approach to the Eneco Tour, where he finished safely in the lead bunch on the opening stage won by Belkin's Mark Renshaw.

    "Providing this stage race isn't too bad, I'll ride the Vuelta."

  • Kittel takes lie detector test to prove he is clean

    German sprinting sensation Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    August 13, 2013, 9:57 BST
    Cycling News

    Argos-Shimano rider takes test for German magazine

    A lie detector test has shown that Marcel Kittel “has never used doping and is a clean athlete,” according to the psychologist who conducted the test. The Argos-Shimano sprinter, who won four stages at this year's Tour de France, took the test at the request of SportBild magazine

    Kittel was asked a variety of questions, and when asked if he had ever used drugs or illegal substances, or whether they had ever been offered to him, he replied no. The polygraph indicated that this was the truth.

    “The things that we measure during the interview remained very even. That is a sign of credibility,” said forensic psychologist Holger Leutz. 

    “Kittel makes us believe in a pure generation of cyclists. I dare say in response to what the detector indicates that Marcel Kittel has never used doping and is a clean athlete.”

    Kittel said that he had no problem taking a lie detector test. “I have nothing to hide, so I did it. I stand for clean sport and this test has confirmed that.”

    He noted doping protests at the Tour, and said that those individuals “are not coming for the sport, but come dressed as a syringe. All we do is fight for credibility and trust.”

    Kittel underwent UV light blood treatments “a few times” when he was 18-year-old and training at the Erfurt Olympic Center. Last month the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that such treatments were not considered to be doping.

    He is an outspoken anti-doping critic, who recently called for doping to be criminalized.

  • Nibali: I'm no Superman

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    August 13, 2013, 11:27 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Astana leader hints at going for stages at the Vuelta a Espana

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has hinted that he may not have the form to be an overall contender at the Vuelta a Espana, but hopes to end the final Grand Tour of the season at his best so that he can lead the Italian team at the world road race championships in Florence.

    Nibali struggled to be competitive at the Tour of Poland but looked far better at the recent Vuelta a Burgos, finishing third overall.

    He insisted that he is on the way back to a peak of form similar to the one he had in May when he dominated the Giro d'Italia, and is confident of handling two Grand Tours in one season. However he pointed out that he is no Superman and hinted he might not be able to challenge for overall victory against the likes of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and fellow Italian Ivan Basso (Cannondale).

    "I know I'm on my way back to being the rider I was at the Giro d'Italia and to be honest, I never doubted that I would," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "I know I can handle two Grand Tours in one season. In 2010 I finished third overall at the Giro d'Italia and I won the Vuelta, riding consistently well in both races. I've developed and matured since then, so I know I can do it."

    "But I'm no robot and neither is any rider. I haven't got a Superman cape with an S on it. You can't always be up there in every race and people know how busy I was after winning the Giro. It's normal that you pay for it in a hard race like the Tour of Poland, especially in those two tough opening stages."

    2010 Vuelta winner

    Nibali won the Vuelta in 2010, when still a relatively young Grand Tour contender. He now has the extra pressure of being the team leader at Astana and for Italy for the world...

  • Passion pays for Danielson with Utah victory

    Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) starts to gain time on the climb.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2013, 13:58 BST
    Pat Malach

    Garmin Sharp rider bounces back from disappointing Tour de France

    Tour of Utah winner Tom Danielson's first overall victory in more than six years is the product of a new-found motivation after having nearly been brought to the brink during the Tour de France.

    "Normally I'm in the race, and I'm kind of there and knowing I could be there, but then at crunch time I just can't do it," Danielson said moments after having secured the overall win at the 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah with a daring solo attack over Empire Pass in the closing kilometers of the race.

    "I think it's because I love cycling too much," Danielson said. "I'm afraid to lose it, so when I get to that moment, I almost choose to not take it because I'm afraid if I do take it and I don't succeed, then I failed. I just mentally kind of second-guess myself. But I had a different Tour de France this year, getting injured in the beginning, and I had a lot of time to reflect while I was getting my head kicked in in that race; you know, why am I doing this sport?"

    The 35-year-old, who is in the midst of his 12th professional season, answered that question for himself Sunday in front of several thousand cheering spectators along the finish line in Park City.

    After coming in second to Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) the day before during the stage 5 summit finish at Snowbird Ski Area, Danielson was placed second overall but tied on time with his friend and former teammate. When Garmin Sharp put pressure on the field over the lower slopes of Empire Pass during stage 6, Danielson surged away from Horner's yellow jersey group, then held off the chase during the harrowing descent into the finish line to claim the overall win.

    "I was very proud of myself, because it takes a lot of mental strength to go up against a competitor...