Cycling newcomer a contender for US elite women's road championship
Evelyn Stevens captured her second consecutive National Racing Calendar (NRC) stage race title at the BMC Cascade Cycling Classic, after winning the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic just one week prior. The bike racing newcomer has her eyes set on winning a stars and stripes jersey at the Elite US National Championships held from July 28-August 2 in Bend, Oregon.
"You never know," Stevens said. "It's going to be a hard race and there are a lot of really strong women out there. It will be based on how you ride it and possibly even having the luck that day. Of course I'm going to give it my best go."
The national road championship will provide some tough competition including current US national time trial champion, Alison Powers (Team Type 1), and the reigning double national champion in the road race and criterium, Brooke Miller (TIBCO), along with her teammates Amber Rais, Katharine Carroll and Lauren Tamayo. Other strong contenders for the win include Kathryn Mattis (Webcor-Builders), Shelley Olds (Proman Hitsquad), Jessica Phillips (LipSmackers), Kristin McGrath and Chrissy Ruiter (Value Act Capital) among many other standout women.
Stevens heads into the national championships on good form having won the six-stage Cascade Cycling Classic, while guest riding for the Webcor-Builders team, ahead of power-house Amber Rais (TIBCO) who placed second and US National Time Trial Champion Alison Powers (Team Type 1) who placed third.
"There were only six of us but it felt like there were 25 Webcor riders out there," said Stevens. "I think we all gave it everything we had to keep me in the jersey and it was super hard. I couldn't have won this race without them, there's no way. Each and every one of those riders gave everything they got. It's awesome... really cool to have won two stage races."
Stevens grew up in Boston, Massachusetts but now calls New York City her home. She joined the Century Road Club Association's (CRCA) after...
The duo may have kept things relatively civil during the Tour de France but now that the race is over, it seems the gloves are off between Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong, first and third overall at the French Grand Tour. On Monday Contador finally gave his full thoughts on the team situation. During the Tour he had played down talk of conflict, saying that the media was exaggerating the tension between the two race winners and that things were better than rumours suggested.
However as the finale drew closer, the cracks were definitely starting to appear, with both Armstrong and team boss Johan Bruyneel publicly faulting Contador’s tactics after Wednesday’s stage to Le Grand-Bornand. Then on Saturday Armstrong chose to go for a meal and wine with the sponsors of the new Radioshack team rather than attend the Tour win celebration for Contador.
On Sunday the chemistry between the two on the podium was notably very cool, with no congratulation of the Spaniard’s win; by Monday, all pretence at diplomacy was ditched by both riders.
“My relationship with Lance Armstrong is zero," Contador said in a Madrid press conference, according to AFP. “He is a great rider and has completed a great race but it is another thing on a personal level, where I have never had great admiration for him and I never will."
Armstrong responded via his Twitter feed on Monday evening, and was clearly angry. “Seeing these comments from AC (Alberto Contador). If I were him I’d drop this drivel and start thanking his team. W/o (without) them he doesn’t win.”
He then followed that up with another message, referring back to comments he made when Contador got the hunger knock in Paris-Nice and lost the race lead.
“Hey pistolero, there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’. What did I say in March? Lots to learn. Restated,” Tweeted Armstrong.
Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen has made a successful return to racing at a post-Tour de France criterium in Aalst, Belgium. McEwen finished second to Tour green jersey runner-up Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC).
“Got second to Cav, felt ok,” McEwen wrote on his Twitter. “Lots more work to do but going right direction. Now work on power plus muscle mass.”
McEwen’s return in Aalst came one day earlier than expected, with the rider telling Cyclingnews in July today’s criterium in Diksmuide, Belgium would be his return. McEwen suffered a broken leg in an accident during stage two of the Tour of Belgium, his return to racing after being forced to miss the Giro d'Italia through injuries sustained in a crash during the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen.
Despite entering the twilight years of a highly decorated career, McEwen has no plans of retiring this season. The sprinter is hopeful of returning to next year’s Tour to challenge the blistering pace demonstrated by Cavendish.
"I've got a contract until the end of next year; I'll definitely still be going around, for sure,” said McEwen. “And I hope I'm still going around at the front and able to win races. I think that's realistic –
“I've broken my leg but I haven't snapped it off! I've still got two legs and I'm already riding the bike,” McEwen said in June. “With a lot of hard work I would expect to reach the same level again."
Michael Rasmussen has contested a cycling race for the first time since his International Cycling Union (UCI) suspension concluded on July 25. The Dane finished second to Aleksejs Saramotins (Team Designa Køkken) at the Designa Grand Prix in Kjellerup, Denmark.
While the UCI is pursuing Rasmussen for a fine of one year’s salary in a case that will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the governing body hasn’t yet opposed his return to racing. "As Mr Rasmussen has also appealed to the CAS to contest his pledge, the UCI has decided not to oppose Mr Rasmussen's return to competition, pending the CAS's judgment," the UCI told AFP.
Rasmussen’s return to cycling comes two years and two days after he won the Tour de France’s decisive stage 16, virtually assuring him of victory. That night he was fired by his Rabobank squad and secretly removed from the country as details of lies Rasmussen told over his whereabouts began to emerge.
Italian cycling commentator Davide Cassani, himself a former professional, revealed he has seen Rasmussen training in Italy’s Dolomites on June 13, 2007. Rasmussen’s whereabouts form, which is regularly submitted to the UCI for anti-doping purposes, had Rasmussen in Mexico at this time.
Rasmussen had appealed a Monaco Cycling Federation decision on July 1, 2008 to ban him for two years. The ban was upheld by CAS in January this year, seeing him banned from the sport for two years since his victory on the Col d’Aubisque.
The fifth Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland has attracted a record field of 143 cyclists from all Australian states and New Zealand. Tour director John Craven said he was thrilled by the field size, up 70 percent on last year.
“It’s not only the numbers, it’s the quality which will make this tour a great spectacle,” Craven said.
World omnium champion Leigh Howard, Beijing Olympian Jack Bobridge, Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sean Finning, Victorian road champion David Pell and top New Zealanders Jeremy Yates and Brett Tivers head the entries.
Geelong’s Leigh Howard, 19, last year went on to triumph in the Scody Cup after winning the Paynesville criterium in the Gippsland tour. He is among the favourites to win the 2009 event.
“I think people sometimes underestimate how hard these events are,” Howard said. “They come back from overseas expecting to dominate and get a lesson. The intensity of the racing is quite incredible and it will be a very tough challenge to win the Tour of Gippsland.”
The five-day tour will start on Wednesday, July 29, with a testing 51km stage from Traralgon to Boolarra.
Perfomances of Contador and Armstrong help team to €33,000 per day
Astana claimed more than a third of the prize money available at this year's Tour de France. The Kazakh squad amassed €697,050 [approx US$995,000] after it finished the Tour with three riders in the top ten on general classification.
Alberto Contador won his second Tour de France while Lance Armstrong and Andreas Klöden claimed third and sixth, respectively. Astana also claimed the team classification by virtue of the high overall positions of its riders.
Andy Schleck's second place at the Tour and stage wins for Fabian Cancellara , Frank Schleck and Nicki Sorenson meant that Team Saxo Bank finished with €362,850, ahead of Liquigas, whose win in the mountains classification through Franco Pellizotti helped to net them €156,360.
Despite Mark Cavendish's six stage wins Columbia-HTC were fifth on the list, bringing in €102,300 over the three week race.
The lowest earners were Lampre-NGC, who claimed €17,040. The sum earned by the Italian squad equates to about €811 for each of the 21 stages of the race. In comparison, Astana's total means that they earned, on average, a little over €33,000 per day.
The list below details the prize money earned by each of the teams that participated in the 2009 Tour de France:
X-rays reveal Hincapie rode Tour's final four stages with break
George Hincapie has confirmed that he suffered a broken collarbone during the Tour de France, after undergoing x-rays on Tuesday.
Hincapie announced the news through Twitter on Tuesday morning. "Got some bad news this am. X ray confirmed my collarbone is broken," read the post.
The Columbia-HTC rider suffered the injury in a crash on July 22, during the Tour's stage 17 from Bourg Saint Maurice to Le Grand Bornand. Cyclingnews spoke to Hincapie a day after his crash, prior to his start in the stage 18 individual time trial in Annecy.
"It’s about survival," he said. "I don't know if can even get down in the time trial position. It’s about survival and to get better in the next few days. I rode the last 70km injured yesterday but I was able to ride, I was in pain but I could get out of the saddle. I'm hoping I can do the same in the next few days."
In spite of his injuries, Hincapie rode the final four stages of the Grand Tour. The 36-year-old continued his lead out support for team captain, Mark Cavendish, who claimed six stages during the Tour, including stages 18 and 21.
Hincapie's crash occurred four days after he came within five seconds of the Tour lead on stage 14. He had been part of a day-long breakaway but fell agonisingly close to the yellow jersey at the finish in Besançon.
"I'm disappointed I didn't get it [yellow]," Hincapie told Cyclingnews in Annecy. "I'm not the sort of person to start wars in the press or anything so I don't want to reflect on who did what or why. I'm just disappointed that I was so close and that it was one of my last opportunities to wear yellow."
Hincapie missed out on the race leader's jersey after the teams of then leader, Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale), and Garmin-Slipstream moved to the front of the bunch. At the time Garmin's involvement in the chase provoked an angry response from Columbia team manager, Bob Stapleton....
Is Lance Armstrong trying to recruit the one rider who could match Tour de France winner Alberto Contador in the mountains for his new RadioShack team?
French newspaper L'Equipe seems to think so, and has linked Andy Schleck, who finished the Tour de France one step above Armstrong on the podium, to the nascent squad.
The report claims that negotiations between the powerful young Luxembourger and the seven-time Tour de France champion are in an advanced stage, but that Armstrong is reluctant to bring Fränk on board because he thinks the elder brother would hinder Andy's progress.
According to the Saxo Bank team web site, both Schlecks have a contract with the squad of Bjarne Riis through the 2010 season.