Karl Menzies (OUCH-Maxxis) capped off a successful weekend for Australians racing in the USA by capturing the overall title in the 2009 Tour of Elk Grove this weekend. For his efforts, he earned a $25,000 prize which he will share with his team.
The Tasmanian sprinter congratulated his teammates on a job well done in their efforts to maintain the race lead in the final stage, a criterium held in Elk Grove Village, Illinois on Sunday.
"All the fastest guys in the country were here and all the best teams," Menzies said. "It's just a shame you don't get this at every race. This is the best field assembled and it's amazing. Everyone comes here because there is good prize money but there is also great racing. The prize money was a bonus because we came here to win the race."
Menzies started the weekend by taking third place after the opening time trial. He moved into the race lead by virtue of capturing a time bonus for his second placed finish in the stage two road race on Saturday, and maintained it through the final criterium on Sunday.
Menzies' compatriot Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) finished off a long month of racing in the Great Lakes region with a win in the final criterium in Elk Grove. The Australian maneuvered his way through a cagey 200-metre dash to the line, outpacing runner-up Ken Hanson (Team Type 1) and Sebastian Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home), who placed third.
"Well, Karl's not really Australian because he's from Tasmania," laughed Cantwell. "The win today is really for my team, who did a lot of work. My guys rode for me and [Bernard] Sulzberger to get the win. It was a good weekend. The stage wins were our number one priority after we knew we weren't up there in the overall. Today we had the legs and it worked."
Cantwell and his teammate Bernard Sulzberger arrived to compete in the Tour of Elk Grove after a successful week at the International Cycling Classic, a 17-day string of races that...
Italian sprinter Danilo Napolitano has extended his contract with Team Katusha through 2011, the team announced Monday. Team director Andrei Tchmil was satisfied with the Sicilian's performance this season.
Napolitano won four races this year - one stage each in the Ruta del Sol, Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, Settimana Coppi e Bartali and Tour of Luxembourg. He has also been the primary lead-out man for Robbie McEwen.
"He showed his quality and he was able to take the responsibility when it was needed," said Tchmil. "We also knew his good character and we appreciated it."
“I’m happy to renewal my contract with Team Katusha," said Napolitano. "I found a good team and thanks to it I was be able to get good results. I hope to continue to improve so I can thank them for the confidence they've shown."
Vos trails by just three points after Vargarda round
Swede Emma Johansson held onto a slim three-point lead in the UCI Women's Road World Cup after Sunday's Open de Suède Vargarda. Johannsson won the third round, the Ronde van Drenthe, in the Netherlands in April. She has finished on the podium of every race in the series except the Tour de Berne, where she was fifth.
Johansson lost ground on former World Champion Marianne Vos, who won the Swedish round. Vos claimed her third World Cup victory yesterday. She also won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Fleche Wallonne.
Johansson knew exactly where she had to place in order to keep the World Cup leader's jersey going into the next round at the GP Plouay on August 22. "I knew I had to be third if Marianne won to keep the jersey. Three points, its not much, but I still get to ride in the jersey one more time."
The Cervelo TestTeam moved into third overall with Dutch rider Kirsten Wild after her second place finish in Sweden. The team also extended its lead in the teams classification with a win in the Open de Suède Vargarda team time trial on Friday.
Italy's team Ceramica Flaminia confirmed today that there was no pressure from the International Cycling Union (UCI) in its negotiations with cyclist Michael Rasmussen. Team Manager Roberto Marrone said statements by his sports director, Giuseppe Petito, in a Danish newspaper were false.
"I have never had pressure from anyone, including the UCI," Marrone told Cyclingnews. "We asked them specifically, 'Could there be problems with riders that had been disqualified?' They told us, 'Once the sporting sanction is over all riders can return.'"
Petito said the UCI was unhappy about the team talking to Rasmussen, according to Denmark's Ekstra Bladet newspaper.
"Words were attributed that were never given. We will be forced to refer [this] to our lawyers in order to protect our business," Marrone told Cyclingnews.
Rasmussen's former team Rabobank forced him out of the 2007 Tour de France while in the race leader's yellow jersey. The team made its decision after discrepancies were discovered in Rasmussen's whereabouts declarations to anti-doping authorities.
He served a two-year ban for violating anti-doping rules that ended on July 25, 2009.
Rasmussen and admitted doper Bernhard Kohl previously shared a manager, Stefan Matschiner. Austrian investigators have named Rasmussen in an investigation of organised blood doping that they said Matschiner facilitated.
The Ekstra Bladet also said the UCI warned of the Austrian investigation, Humanplasma, when its ProTour Manager Alain Rumpf met Marrone on June 5.
"In a meeting held with Roberto Marrone, Rumpf never mentioned the Humanplasma affair," said the UCI in a statement Saturday.
Ceramica Flaminia eventually decided against signing Rasmussen because it had already signed Riccardo Riccò last month. Riccò is currently on suspension for testing positive for blood booster EPO during...
Alexander Vinokourov is expected to return to racing on Tuesday at the Castillon-la-Bataille criterium in France, but will not race for Astana, the Kazakh team informed Cyclingnews on Monday.
Vinokourov will take part in the 45km criterium in Western France on Tuesday evening. The event will mark Vinokourov's first race since he completed a two-year ban for blood doping in the 2007 Tour de France. The 35-year-old's ban ended on July 23.
Vinokourov announced prior to this year's Tour de France that he expected to return to competition with Astana. However, the team's press officer Phillipe Maertens said on Monday that Vinokourov would not be racing under the team's name on Tuesday.
"When he [Vinokourov] is racing tomorrow, it will not be for Astana," said Maertens.
He added that Vinokourov had not yet reached any agreement to ride for the Astana squad. "I know he [Vinokourov] wants to come to our team but for the moment nothing is decided, nothing is done yet," he said.
"It can change in a few days, but for now [he is not a member of the team]."
Contador, Astana remain in the lead after San Sebastián
The San Sebastián Classic provided Czech rider Roman Kreuziger with an important opportunity to move up in the UCI's World Rankings this weekend. The Liquigas rider, who placed second to Spaniard Carlos Barredo, moved into third overall in the standings behind Tour de France winner Alberto Contador and Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck.
Kreuziger moved up from fifth overall and now, with 310 points, trails Contador by 217. He is only 24 points behind Schleck, who crashed out of the race and injured his back.
Sprint star Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) fell from third to fourth, while Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) moved down to fifth.
Kreuziger has gained points in the last three World Calendar races - the Tour of Switzerland, the Tour de France and the Clásica San Sebastian. His strong performance helped move the Liquigas team into third overall behind Astana and Saxo Bank.
The UCI (International Cycling Union) announced Monday that all current ProTour teams who will have their license expire at the end of this season are seeking renewal, and three additional teams have applied for the sport's top status for 2010.
A total of 21 teams are seeking ProTour status, which could lead to some squads being refused due to the UCI's agreement with Grand Tour organisers to limit the number of top tier teams.
"This is a situation that we are studying," McQuaid told Cyclingnews over the weekend. "What we are doing is raising the bar for ProTour teams. In doing so, one or two teams which are asking for licences to be renewed or to be granted for the first time will not meet the criteria. The rules state we can have up to 20 teams but, in continuing to raise the bar, it may mean that one or two teams may not get a licence."
Of the current 18 teams with ProTour status, five teams have licenses which run out at the end of 2009. AG2R La Mondiale, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Lampre NGC and Milram all are seeking renewal.
The Dutch Professional Contiental team Skil-Shimano has applied to step up to the next rung in 2010, as have new teams RadioShack and Team Sky (Great Britain).
The ProTour license requires teams to enter races on the ProTour calendar. In past years, the three Grand Tours were included on that list, but the split between the Grand Tour organisers and the UCI last year saw the teams forge a separate agreement with the race promoters which is good through 2010.
An agreement made between the UCI and the owners of the Tour de France in late 2008 ties the right to enter the Grand Tours to the UCI World Ranking, starting in 2011. This World Ranking combines the ProTour with the results of the Historical races.
The UCI's License Commission will begin making decisions on the applications in September.
Having withdrawn from the Tour de France after suffering a broken wrist in a crash during stage nine, Robert Gesink will be out for redemption when he starts the Vuelta a España in Assen on August 29. De Telegraaf reports that the Dutch rider will lead Rabobank's push in the year's third grand tour with the team announcing a preliminary lineup yesterday.
An exciting development is the grand tour debut of Lars Boom, the talented former cyclocross world champion who many believe will feature in the sport's biggest events in the future.
Six Dutch riders have been chosen for the event by team managers Erik Breukink and Adri van Houwelingen, with Gesink the captain and Boom making the squad in addition to Koos Moerenhout, Tom Leezer, Bram Tankink and Pieter Weening.
There are three places remaining on the team's race roster, to be selected from four riders, including experienced Spaniards Oscar Freire and Juan Manuel Garate, Colombian domestique Mauricio Ardila and German stalwart Paul Martens.
Despite recently breaking his wrist in the Clasica San Sebastian, the team is confident Garate can recover in time for his home grand tour. Rabobank will announce the remaining three riders after the Tour of Limousin, which ends on August 21.