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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Date published:
August 21, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Froome satisfied with first mountains performance

    Chris Froome was on the back foot but gained time on Contador
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 22:38 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Briton's steady pace pays off as Contador fails to shed Sky rider

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) made no less than seven separate attacks on Monday's ascent of the Arrate in the Vuelta a España, but although they wreaked some important damage amongst the main peloton, they were not enough to sink either stage winner and new leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) or two of the top pre-race favourites, Giro runner-up Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Tour runner-up Chris Froome (Sky).

    Unlike Rodríguez, Froome did not manage to stay with Contador at the precise moment the Saxo Bank rider made his move, but each time his steadier pace saw the Briton return to the four-strong lead group. Third on the stage, Froome is now fourth overall, 20 seconds back.

    "We have some really hard stages coming up, so today was not a stage to push too hard," Froome said later.

    "I didn't see any need to close those gaps down, I was trying to control him at my own speed."

    "Coming here after [doing] the Tour and Olympics was a bit of an unknown, but the legs are doing all right and we should be in for a good few weeks of racing."

    "It was a good day for Chris and a good start to the mountain stages for us," Sky sports director Marcus Ljungvist told Cyclingnews.

    "We'd toughened things up at the foot of the climb to try and make things harder for everybody and then Chis showed he has got the condition to be right at the front of the race."

    "That sort of attack by Alberto is very typical of the way he races, and it's logical he's so keen and fresh after his long time away from racing. We were expecting it."

    As for tomorrow's final ascent of Valdezcaray, longer and less steep Ljungvist says "it's very different to today's. If it's windy it could be tough, but I think we'll see a bigger group at the...

  • Spidertech-C10 lose three men in opening stage in Colorado

    David Boily (Spidertech) fighting for KOM points on Mt. Diablo.
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 0:42 BST
    Pat Malach

    Team spread thin by racing on two continents

    Spidertech-C10 had a rough go of it Monday during the first stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, with three of the squad's eight riders abandoning early in the race. Flavio De Luna, Zach Bell and David Boily, who wore the KOM jersey briefly in the Tour of California, all climbed into the broom wagon before the first KOM during the 202 km stage from Durango to Telluride.

    Team director Steve Bauer said the Spidertech-C10 roster is spread out pretty thin, with one squad currently racing in Europe and another racing this week in Colorado.

    "We could use maybe a stronger roster definitely with a tough race," he said. "But we chose to focus on two areas, Europe and here, to get ready for (the upcoming UCI races in) Montreal and Quebec and see how that works."

    Bauer said De Luna crashed hard at the Tour of Utah just two weeks previously and was marginal for the race in Colorado. "We just don't have enough players, so we put him in," Bauer said.

    Zach Bell competed with the Canadian track cycling team during the London Olympics, where he finished eighth in the omnium at the beginning of the month, and he was thrown into this race without much preparation or rest. "We didn't expect him to be great," Bauer said. "And he's not very good."

    Boily is another matter. The 22-year-old climber, who was second overall at the Tour de l'Avenir and wore yellow for four days there, seemed well suited for the climbing in Colorado but faltered early and withdrew from the race within the first 30 km.

  • 110th Goulburn to Sydney to pay tribute to Williams

    Robbie Williams celebrates his win at the 2007 Goulburn - Sydney
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 2:54 BST
    Cycling News

    170km Classic takes centre stage in 2012

    Race organisers have announced that this year's 110th anniversary of the Paradice Investment Management Goulburn to Sydney Cycle Classic will pay special respect to former winner Robbie Williams who sadly passed away last week.

    This year's Classic will be held on September 15 and 16.

    "This event has such a great history and this year a major focus is being placed on the 110 years since the race was first run," said race ambassador and rugby union great, Simon Poidevin.

    Williams took out the historic event in 2007 in remarkable circumstances. The Drapac rider was dropped on the final climb, Razorback Range, before a desperate chase where he caught the breakaway group with two kilometres left to race and then launching a solo attack to win.

    As previously reported, the opening day prologue, which has featured in the last two editions of the race has been removed in favour of a stand-alone criterium. The Goulburn to Sydney is the seventh event on the Australian National Road Series and is pivotal as the calendar reaches a crescendo in October.

    The 170km Classic commences on Sunday September 16 at 7.30am with the race departing Goulburn and following the Hume Highway to Berrima, Mittagong, Bargo, Tahmoor, Picton and Razorback before finishing in Camden on the outskirts of Sydney at 11.15am.

    The 2011 title was won by eventual NRS champion, Nathan Haas with Genesys teammate Steele Von Hoff winning the 170km road race.

  • Horner, Busche provide options for RadioShack-Nissan in Colorado

    Chris Horner (Radioshack) stayed out of trouble in the bunch on today's stage.
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 3:58 BST
    Peter Hymas

    ProTour squad fields very deep roster for USA Pro Challenge

    While defending USA Pro Challenge champion Levi Leipheimer returns to Colorado in Omega Pharma-Quickstep kit, RadioShack-Nissan has fielded a squad in this year's edition which may yet again deliver the overall victor in Denver next Sunday. Figuring prominently on the roster are a pair of Americans who are each making their USA Pro Challenge debut and could be the wearer of the race's final yellow jersey: Chris Horner and Matthew Busche.

    Horner was slated to compete in last year's inaugural edition, but a blood clot in his lung stemming from his crash at the Tour de France kept the him out of the peloton for the remainder of the 2011 season and into the early part of this year's calendar. Horner was very pleased to be on the start line in Durango on Monday for the race's first stage.

    "I was motivated watching it on the couch last year with the blood clot to come and do it with some good form this year," Horner told Cyclingnews.

    Most recently, Horner finished the Tour of Utah in seventh overall, 1:19 behind winner Johann Tschopp (BMC Racing Team), and prior to that the 40-year-old American finished 13th at the Tour de France followed by competing in the Olympic Games road race.

    "The Tour de France is the training that I have coming in here that will shape whether or not I have good form or no form. I haven't had much recovery. I came from the Tour de France and I kept training because I had the Olympics and then I had Utah a week after that, so I kept training from there. Then I went back to Bend and still kept training from there.

  • Farrar opens USA Pro Challenge account with gusto

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) wins the stage in Telluride
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 5:09 BST
    Peter Hymas

    Garmin-Sharp sprinter's year-long winless drought ends in Telluride

    Tyler Farrar was a popular winner of the opening stage at the USA Pro Challenge and his victory couldn't have provided a better start to Garmin-Sharp's campaign in their home state of Colorado. Not only did Farrar claim his first victory since July 4, 2011, when he earned his first and only Tour de France stage win, but the 28-year-old sprinter also picked up the leader's jersey and the sprint classification jersey at the conclusion of a strenuous, mountainous 202.1km day of racing from Durango to Telluride.

    Farrar's recent stint stateside to the Tour of Utah and now the USA Pro Challenge wasn't originally on his program, and Garmin-Sharp's strategy today featured very aggressive racing by their GC threats Tom Danielson and Peter Stetina, but when Danielson's and Stetina's near stage-long escape came to naught in the closing kilometres Farrar was there to capitalize on a sprint finale. And with that, a disastrous season characterized by crashes and near misses has been put to right.

    "It's been a really rough year as far as crashes go, the last few months have been disastrous," said Farrar. "It really means a lot to me to finally get something positive and moving in the right direction again. Obviously, as a sprinter, we're very much judged for our wins - seconds, thirds, fourths don't count.

    "During the Tour I had a sit-down with [Garmin-Sharp directeur sportif] Allan Peiper and we were just talking about the race programme and the end of the season. He threw it out there, 'do you want to go back to do Utah and Colorado? They're not really races for you but it might be fun for you to go back and race in the States a little bit' and I said 'why not?'"

    "Today, personally, I knew there was a chance of a sprint but we weren't riding...

  • Promising signs for Rabobank with Gesink and Mollema at Vuelta

    Bauke Mollema (Rabobank Cycling Team) at the start
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 7:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Co-captains remain close to the specialists on mountain finish

    Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema were pleased to get through the first mountain test during stage at this year’s Vuelta a España. Stage 3 finished at the top of Alto de Arrate and the Rabobank duo were only seconds behind the front four of Valverde, Rodriguez, Froome and Contador.

    "Those four really stood out. Especially Contador and Valverde who accelerated a lot. But we kept coming back. Robert and I easily kept up behind those four. So this is a good day for us," Mollema told Rabosport.

    Gesink and Mollema were part of the ten-rider group that came in six seconds behind the winning group and while the short and steep climb was not to the Dutchmens liking, the marginal gap was a promising sign for the coming days.

    "Those accelerations were a little too much for us, but they weren’t able to pull further away either," Mollema said,

    "A first uphill finish is always exciting, but it went well today. I was never a rider for this kind of explosive things, but the difference with the specialists is only six seconds," said Gesink.

    It’s been a long season for Gesink who began his year at Vuelta a Andalucia in February however, he’s eager to make up for his crash-marred Tour de France where he eventually abandoned on stage 12. It will be one of the heavier racing schedules the 26-year-old has endured in the past seasons but he’s feeling confident after his result on stage 3.

    "We can really achieve things with this. Obviously it is turning into a long season for me now. I was very curious to see how I would do, but...

  • Contador: Winning the stage was not important

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) at the start of the stage
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 8:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Van Den Broeck and Menchov suffer in attacking finale

    Alberto Contador may have marked the wrong man when he chose to follow the wheel of Chris Froome (Sky) on the downhill run to the finish of stage 3 at the Vuelta a España but the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank leader insists his focus lies in Madrid - when the tour wraps up on 9 September.

    "It was a shame not to get the stage win but the goal is in Madrid and I before the stage started I would have been more than happy with this result," Contador told Europa Press.

    Contador said he was "happy with the feelings" after he rode to a fourth place in Alto de Arrate. The former Vuelta champion attacked numerous times but could do little to rattle the day’s winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). He did however, distance contenders Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) and Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM).

    "You hope that in this first mountain stage, the race stays calm, because will get better every day," Lotto team manager Herman Frison told Sporza. "But that was clearly not the case, because the four big favorites opened the game."

    Van Den Broeck lost 3:23 and finished in 70th place while De Gendt came in 2:07 down on the Valverde and Contador group. The Lotto Belisol rider and his team have placed little pressure on Van Den Broeck but believe that his race is not completely lost.

    "Jurgen didn’t feel good and could not go with the second group. Hopefully he will be better in the...

  • Fischer joins FDJ-BigMat

    Murilo Fischer (Garmin-Transitions)
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 9:57 BST
    Cycling News

    Brazilian signs two-year deal with French team

    After having raced three years for American outfit Garmin, Murilo Fischer will start a new chapter of his career by joining French team FDJ-BigMat for the next two seasons. The Brazilian revealed the news to Pedaladas on Monday, confirming that he signed a two-year contract with the squad directed by Marc Madiot.

    Fischer, whose main task at Garmin was to support Tyler Farrar in the bunch sprints, will certainly be a good value to FDJ in view of the steady rise of its two young fast men, Hamburg winner Arnaud Démare and French champion Nacer Bouhanni. The 33-year-old, and two-time Brazilian champion, will add more experience to the team, having started his career in 2004 at Domina Vacanze.

    Fischer won the overall UCI Europe Tour in 2005, his most successful season. His last individual victory came in 2011 at the Trofeo Magaluf-Palmanova, one of the stages of the Mallorca Challenge.