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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Date published:
August 07, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • 2012 Settimana Lombarda cancelled

    Italian champion Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) wins the final stage at Settimana Lombarda.
    Article published:
    August 06, 2012, 16:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Late withdrawal of sponsors prompts decision

    The Settimana Lombarda will not take place in 2012 due to financial difficulties, organiser GS Domus announced on Monday. The race was scheduled to take place from August 28 to September 1, taking in a route through the provinces of Bergamo and Brescia in Lombardy. It switched from its traditional spring date to early September last season, when Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat) emerged victorious.

    “It was a difficult decision and one which we only took definitively in the last hours,” organisation president Stefano Civettini said on Monday. “In recent months we have put considerable work into trying to organise an event in keeping with the history of our beloved Settimana Lombarda. In fact, the stages had already been designed.”

    The Settimana Lombarda – like many other races in Italy and beyond – had struggled in recent years due to the global financial crisis, but it was the late withdrawal of several sponsors that saw the organisers take the decision to pull the plug on the 2012 edition of the race.

    “The already difficult general economic situation […] was exacerbated by the withdrawal of some sponsors right at the last minute, which made it impossible to have the economic guarantees necessary to put on the race,” Civettini said.

    “From a sentimental point of view, it wasn’t an easy decision, but it was a considered one. We thought that a race rich in history and intrigue like ours didn’t deserve a sub-par edition. We decided to take a year’s sabbatical in order to come back next year even more motivated and convinced that we can continue to write the history of a race that has existed for over 40 years.”

    The Settimana Lombarda was first...

  • Norway not giving up on 2016 world championships

    Former World champion Thor Hushovd (BMC)
    Article published:
    August 06, 2012, 19:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Federation President calls Qatar championships hopeless

    The Norwegian cycling community was disappointed that its country is apparently out of the running for the chance to host the UCI World Championships in 2016. Former world champion Thor Hushovd had hoped to end his career at the Worlds in Bergen, while the Norwegian cycling federation president called a championship in Qatar "completely hopeless".

    Norway and Qatar were amongst the candidates for 2017, but on Saturday, Cyclingnews was told, “There is no other candidate for 2016, only Qatar.”

    Harald Tiedemann Hansen, president of the Norwegian cycling federation, told why he thought Qatar had taken the lead. "It is true that the United States, which is organizing for  2015, has faced some challenges. Qatar has shown its willingness to be a reserve in 2015, on short notice. If they do not take over the championship from the United States, they have pretty much been promised the championships in 2016."

    He did not like the idea for several reasons. "To be honest, it's completely hopeless. Firstly: It is incredibly hot in the month of September there. In addition, the terrain is completely flat. I cannot think of any ways that Qatar is a better candidate than Norway with a view to the cycling world championships."

    Tiedemann Hansen has not given up hope entirely, though. "We are in dialogue about the 2017, but have not given up on 2016."

    Hushovd, who won the World title in 2010, had hoped to end his career with the Worlds road race in Oslo,when he would be 38. He wouldn't keep on racing were hiscountry were to host the championships in a later year. "No, I don't think so," he said when asked if he would continue until...

  • BMC signs Oss and Nerz for 2013 season

    A battered Daniel Oss is ready for another round at the Tour
    Article published:
    August 07, 2012, 0:53 BST
    Cycling News

    Reinforcements delivered for classics and grand tours

    Current Liquigas-Cannondale riders Daniel Oss and Dominik Nerz will head to the BMC Racing team at the end of this year. Oss and Nerz’s signing to the US registered team will be additional firepower to the early season classics and grand tours. Oss will be on-hand during the spring classics and grand tours while Nerz is more suited to the hilly one-day and stage races.

    "Daniel is qualified to ride all of the early-season classic races and any of the grand tours," said general manager Jim Ochowicz. "Dominic is more of a climber and will be equally as productive for the team in some of the Ardennes Classics, as well as the grand tours. We're happy to have them joining us for 2013," he said.

    BMC signed a number of high profile riders last season in the hope of building a team capable of taking victories in the spring classics but they failed to deliver. Thankfully Alessandro Ballan’s consistency landed a couple of podium spots but for all the money spent during the transfer season, results were extremely limited.

    Even with last year’s unstoppable force Philippe Gilbert and multiple Tour de France stage winner Thor Hushovd, the best the team could manage was third place at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix with Ballan and a third from Gilbert at Flèche Wallonne. While Oss is far from a prolific winner, his strength and reliability in the sprints will be a great asset to the team.

    "I'm looking forward to new goals and new experiences," said Oss. "It will also...

  • Nordhaug leaving Sky for Rabobank at end of season

    Lars Petter Nordhaug (Sky Professional Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    August 07, 2012, 4:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Two-year deal is recognition of rider's ability

    Three years on from signing with Sky Procycling, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Rabobank have announced a two-year contract. Nordhaug will line up in the Dutch team’s colours for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The 28-year-old has shown his versatility in both one-day and stage races enough times this year to gain his attention from a number of teams.

    "During my career, I’ve always looked up to the Rabobank team, now I’m very happy I can ride with the team.

    "There were more teams interested in me. But Rabobank is a strong team with good riders, I really want to ride with them," he told Rabobsport.

    Nordhaug began the 2012 season at the Challenge Majorca where he won the third day of racing in the Trofeo Deia. The Norwegian dropped his breakaway companions on the day’s final climb and soloed to the finish. He then went on to take fourth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné and sixth at Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He wasn’t however, selected for his Sky team’s Giro d’Italia or Tour de France line-up.

    "Sky is a great team, I was satisfied there, but I am ready to develop myself further.

    "I hope I can contribute to the team in the classics in the Ardennes and in the competitions with shorter stages. I have showed myself with results, but I am also strong in helping other riders in the race. I hope I can fulfill that with Rabobank as well," he said.

    Rabobank’s technical director Erik Breukink reiterated Nordhaug comments regarding the ability of this developing rider. His ability to finish...

  • Safety is the number one concern for Contador at Eneco Tour

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) signs on at the Eneco Tour.
    Article published:
    August 07, 2012, 6:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard delighted to be back racing with his teammates

    Alberto Contador made his return to the professional ranks yesterday when the opening stage of the Eneco Tour began. Having missed barely half of the season, it was unsurprising to see Contador having little trouble in his first competitive day since his ban ended. He was however, pleased to make it through an eventful stage on a parcours that is not suited to his characteristics.

    "I had a pretty good feeling, considering that it was not the best day to debut, with more than 200 kilometres, rain, wind and all flat," he said at the finish. "I don’t think we climbed more than 100 meters in the whole stage."

    The Eneco Tour is being used by Contador and his Saxo Bank-Tinkoff team as preparation for the Vuelta a España. The nine-man roster is yet to be announced but Contador will have to negotiate a further six stages before assessing his ability to win the final grand tour of the year - for a second time.

    "For us it was all about safety and not taking any silly risks, going to the front of the pack and staying out of trouble and we succeeded perfectly. The riders were working brilliantly as a team and Alberto seems as strong and determined as ever. Tomorrow, we hope for a very good result on the team time trial and we have to put in a 100 percent effort in order to deliver just that and put Alberto as close to the top of the rankings as possible," said team director Fabrizio Guidi.

    Contador will be able to test his condition against the clock in the penultimate day during stage six’s 17.4 kilometre individual time trial but admits that the main priority is...

  • Voigt puts doubt aside after Tour de France

    German rider Jens Voigt
    Article published:
    August 07, 2012, 8:01 BST
    Pat Malach

    If the pressure is there I can still perform

    Jens Voigt, the popular Grand Tour veteran and stalwart ProTeam rider, told media assembled for the Tour of Utah pre-race press conference that he plans to race for one more year through the 2013 season. The 40-year-old Radioshack-Nissan rider said his recent performance at the Tour de France, where he finished third on stage 10, convinced him to go on.

    "This year, not every race I was in perfect condition or shape," he told Cyclingnews. "So I sort of doubted myself a little bit, like am I losing it? Should I stop? Is it not there anymore? But then I did a good Tour de France and it showed me that if it's important, if the pressure is there, I can still perform. If I am needed and people rely on me, I can still do it."

    Voigt's early season lapses caused a little bit of doubt to creep into his confidence, but taking second at the Tour of California time trial boosted his morale. Then he initiated the early breakaway on the Mt. Baldy stage before launching teammate Chris Horner on an all-day adventure off the front.

    "This year would have been the first year where I would say, 'Look, 70 percent yes, I'm gonna do the Tour, 30 percent maybe not," Voigt said. "In the past I would have said, 'Of course I'm going to do the Tour. Of course, what a question. But this year I didn't really know. I believed I had a chance, a fair chance, but it wasn't a given, it wasn't 100 percent. But at California, it looked like I'm good in the mountains and my time trialing. I'm still there. I could...

  • Kittel makes winning return at Eneco Tour

    Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) is the first leader of the 2012 Eneco Tour.
    Article published:
    August 07, 2012, 10:24 BST
    Cycling News

    German back in action after Tour de France illness

    Forced out of his debut Tour de France in the opening week by illness, Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) made a winning return to competitive action at the Eneco Tour on Monday, taking his 8th victory of the season with a fine sprint in Middelburg.

    “I hadn’t won a race for almost two months [stage 4 of the Ster ZLM Toer],” Kittel told La Dernière Heure. “As a winner, this success is important for me, and it’s also a way of giving confidence to my teammates.”

    Kittel’s team played a crucial role in his victory on Monday. On the fast run-in to Middelburg, they kept him clear of the crash that split the peloton inside the final 3 kilometres and marshalled him into the perfect position to win the bunch sprint ahead of Arnaud Demare (FDJ-BigMat).

    “We showed again that we’re a strong group,” Kittel said. “Everybody saw that and I just needed to finish off that work again.”

    The German had spent two weeks off the bike after abandoning the Tour on the road to Saint-Quentin on stage 5. After processing that disappointment, Kittel was keen to get back into the winning habit at the Eneco Tour as he prepares for the Vuelta a España, which gets underway on August 18.

    “I hadn’t raced since I abandoned the Tour on the fifth stage and in my head, it was as though I hadn’t ridden the Tour at all,” Kittel said. “Straight afterwards, I went to the seaside in northern German with my girlfriend to recover. I went two weeks without training but since then I’ve worked hard and I’m getting the benefit from it.”

    Kittel leads the Eneco Tour into...

  • Mancebo looking for success at Tour of Utah

    Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist) heads back to the finish.
    Article published:
    August 07, 2012, 13:45 BST
    Pat Malach

    Competitive Cyclist team loses Beyer in training crash

    The Competitive Cyclist squad of National Race Calendar leader Francisco Mancebo is hoping to make a statement this week during the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, which marks its only appearance at one of the big UCI stage races in the US this year.

    But the 2009 Utah champion's team suffered a blow Monday when Chad Beyer crashed during a training ride and will not start Tuesday's stage 1 after receiving more than 60 stitches to repair lacerations on his face. "I was riding right next to him," said teammate Mike Olheiser. "The next thing I know he did a face plant onto the road. It was just one of those freak things."

    Team director Gord Fraser said Beyer's crash and injuries have helped put things into perspective.

    "It's just a bike race," Fraser said. "You know you hear that every once in a while and I kind of roll my eyes when I hear it. But after what I saw today with Chad crashing and splitting his face open, it reminds you, with all due respect to the race and the Larry H. Miller Group, it is just a bike race. We are here to put our stamp on the race, but at the same time it was a really good reminder of what's important."

    Fraser said that despite breaking a wrist at the Cascade Cycling Classic just a few weeks earlier, Beyer was confident about his chances to perform well at Utah. Now the team will replace him with Tommy Nankervis, who conveniently lives in salt Lake City.

    "Tommy's a real scrappy rider, and he gives us a real speed element," Fraser said. "He was seventh on a stage here last year, so he's not a bad guy to have on call. We're pretty happy with that, but I really feel bad for Chad."

    The Utah-based squad, which also leads the NRC team competition, competed at the UCI 2.2...