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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Date published:
September 13, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Gesink, Mollema and Hoogerland in Dutch Worlds team

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) is having a difficult Tour de France
    Article published:
    September 12, 2011, 17:18 BST
    Cycling News

    All-Katusha line-up for Russia

    Rabobank riders dominate the make-up of the Dutch squad for the world championships road race in Copenhagen, which was announced on Monday.

    Fresh from winning the points classification at the Vuelta a España, the in-form Bauke Mollema will be accompanied by Robert Gesink, who was a strong second at the GP de Quebec on Friday and Lars Boom, who will be hoping to make an impression on the strongman’s course in Denmark.

    Giro d’Italia pink jersey wearer Pieter Weening and Maarten Tjallingii have also been named in the squad.

    There are three representatives from the Netherlands’ other WorldTour team, Vancansoleil-DCM. Johnny Hoogerland is liable to be an aggressive presence in Copenhagen, and he is joined by Wout Poels and fast-finishing national champion Pim Ligthart.

    The experienced Niki Terpstra (Quick Step) rounds out the selection, while Lieuwe Westra and Stef Clement will ride the time trial.

    Elsewhere, the Russian squad for the Worlds will be composed exclusively of Katusha riders. Incidentally, the WorldTour team this year made history by sending a team made up only of Russian riders to the Tour de France.

    Paris-Brussels winner Denis Galimzyanov could well prove to be the danger man for the Russians, and the young sprinter will be accompanied by Vladimir Isaichev, Alexander Porsev, Mikhail Ignatiev and Vladimir Gusev.

  • White discusses Australia's Worlds selections for Copenhagen

    Matt Goss (HTC - Highroad) is the first Australian to win Milan-San Remo.
    Article published:
    September 12, 2011, 22:50 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Why experience got the nod over youth

    With Monday's announcement of Australia's final selections for the UCI Road World Championships later this month, the nation's Professional Men's Road Coordinator Matt White said that there are "a few sleeping giants" among the team of nine selected for the elite road race while the course itself could prove considerably harder than first thought.

    Headlined by 2011 Milan-San Remo winner Matt Goss, the Australian team for Copenhagen also includes Stuart O'Grady, Baden Cooke, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Michael Rogers, Simon Clarke, Chris Sutton and Heinrich Haussler. Much has been made of the battle to make the final selection with Leigh Howard, Michael Matthews, Robbie McEwen and Rory Sutherland missing out while Adam Hansen and Mark Renshaw were named as reserves. Why Renshaw missed out puzzled many, but White was adamant that it was a decision based on the course.

    White is firm of the belief that the team will be in with a shot regardless of whether the road race finale comes down to a bunch sprint, or a closely-fought battle between a handful of riders following a breakaway.

    "With what's happened with [Matt] Gossy's preparation, that's one card we can certainly play and we're not really going to know his form until race day because he's had a little bit different preparation to what we originally planned," White told Cyclingnews. "But we've also got a lot of guys who are going well at the moment and that are very capable of mixing it up in breakaways throughout the race."

    Gerrans, whom White believes is in "the form of his life," Clarke, Haussler and Hayman appear to be the men most likely to appear in a breakaway whether it be in the standard early escape or in the aggressive final 50...

  • Wesley Sulzberger to link up with GreenEdge in 2012

    Wesley Sulzberger (FDJ)
    Article published:
    September 13, 2011, 1:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian feels he has matured a lot at FDJ

    GreenEdge have added to their one day classics stocks with the signing of 24-year-old Wesley Sulzberger.

    The Tasmanian native, who has ridden the last three seasons with French team FDJ, has followed a steady development trajectory since his 2007 U/23 World Championships silver medal and believes that under the tutelage of Simon Gerrans, he can start producing results at the highest level.

    "I see myself as being able to play a role in the Ardennes classics, particularly riding alongside Simon," said Sulzberger. "Firstly, I’ll be there to help Simon win one of those big races but also to learn from him as these are the races that suit my capabilities and where I want to get some big results in the future. Winning one of the big one-day races is the main goal.

    "I’d love to win the Amstel Gold Race or a race like that. I’m still really young and I’m not going to be able to knock one of those off tomorrow but down the track that’s what I’m aiming for."

    Like Gerrans, Sulzberger is the type of rider that relishes riding in small groups where he can hold his own on the climbs, and still be competitive at a stage finish. Breaks, and more selective races like the Ardennes are thus well-suited to Sulzberger, and that's where he hopes to build his success in the years ahead.

    "Over the last few seasons I’ve learnt that I probably don’t have the physical requirements to be one of the big general classification contenders in the Tours of France, Italy or Spain but I’ll be aiming for a stage win at these races in the future," said the Tasmanian.

    "I know I’m strong in a select group, in a small breakaway, and in those situations I’m normally one of the faster guys which gives me a chance to win."

    Having come through the AIS program, like a number of the other GreenEdge recruits already announced, Sulzberger is also looking forward to linking back up...

  • Boonen calls time on season

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    September 13, 2011, 3:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Worlds participation over as injuries prove too much for Belgian

    Tom Boonen (Quickstep) has decided that he will finish his season early, admitting that the injuries he sustained at the Vuelta a Espana have gotten the better of him. The Quickstep rider had been hoping to ride the World Championships, but after consulting with national selector Carlo Bomans on the weekend, they both agreed it would be best for Boonen skip the race in favour of recovery.

    The Belgian was forced to abandon the Vuelta after breaking his Scaphoid, a small bone in the wrist on stage 15. The most recent examinations, conducted yesterday in Herentals have also revealed a further fracture, which had been hidden by swelling. Boonen will have to wear a cast for at least the next two weeks, completely ruling out of any chance he had to ride in Copenhagen.

    "I'm really upset," said Boonen. "I really wanted to participate in this World title. The route was perfect for me and the preparation program I was working on would have taken me to the championship event in top form.

    "Unfortunately, rather than diminishing, the pain in my hand is increasing day by day and I simply cannot race in this condition. I relinquish my place on the squad to an athlete who can be of use to our national team. I wish the Belgian team a championship rich in success in Copenhagen.

    "As for me, I need to recover the function in my left hand 100 per cent and then lay out a program for the 2012 season with my team, hoping to have a luckier season than the one I'm having now."

    Boonen, the 2005 world champion, had been one of the Belgian team's designated leaders, and his powerful sprint will be something the team will miss in his absence.

  • Papp reportedly sold EPO to Longo's husband

    The ageless Jeannie Longo Ciprelli en route to victory.
    Article published:
    September 13, 2011, 9:16 BST
    Cycling News

    E-mails indicate transaction and delivery to close relative in France

    While France awaits the announcement of the team for the upcoming World Championships, Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, who has an incredible 59 national and 13 world titles to her name, has become entangled in a headline grabbing doping investigation. Just a few days after it was announced that she failed to provide appropriate information on her whereabouts three times within 18 months, risking a two-year suspension, reports in French newspaper L'Equipe suggest that Longo-Ciprelli's husband and coach bought EPO via the internet.

    The events date back to April 2007, with L'Equipe publishing emails exchanges between Joe Papp, a Chinese contact and Ciprelli. Papp himself has confirmed the dealings in an interview with L'Equipe and the delivery of EPO to Yolande Ciprelli, a close relative of the couple who lives very near their home in the French Alps.

    A police investigation cannot be opened against Ciprelli because of a three-year statute of limitations for the alleged crimes. There is also no direct proof that Longo used the EPO that was sent to France from China. However the damning evidence published by L'Equipe is a further blow to Longo's credibility.   

    "Ciprelli did not mention her name, but he talked of his wife," Papp told L'Equipe. "I understood that Longo was the beneficiary of the EPO, based on the messages. But he insisted to pay for it himself and that the package should be sent to a third person."

    The French Cycling Federation moved quickly to investigate the reports in L'Equipe, announcing the opening of a formal investigation and suspending Patrice Ciprelli as a coach. Both Longo-Ciprelli and Ciprelli have yet to comment on the reports. 

  • Gilbert plays mind games with his world championship rivals

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) on the podium
    Article published:
    September 13, 2011, 11:18 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Belgian team leader insists he is not the favourite for Copenhagen

    Philippe Gilbert maybe the world's number one ranked rider after dominating the classics and totaling 17 victories but he insisted he is not one of the favourites for the upcoming world championships in Copenhagen.

    Following the announcement of the Belgian team for the road race, Gilbert admitted that the team would miss top sprinter Tom Boonen, who was forced to miss the world championships as he recovers from a fractured wrist.

    "They point at us as favourites, but we don't have a sprinter," Gilbert told DHnet, reflecting on the flatness of the course which could see a bunch sprint finish. "We miss the ultimate weapon - we'll have to do it without a rival for the pure sprinters: Greipel, Cavendish, Farrar and this sort of super fast men."

    However the 29-year-old Omega Pharma-Lotto rider, who is back in his native Belgium after winning the GP de Quebec at the week-end, also saw a positive aspect to losing Boonen.

    "It's not too bad, because then they can't ask us to control the race - it will be up to the Germans, Brits, Americans and others," he said when asked for comment by Het Nieuwsblad.

    Gilbert is convinced that the Belgian squad will be strong for the 266km road race.

    "Between Nuyens, Vansummeren and myself, we've won the bulk of the great one-day races this season," the winner of all three 2011 Ardennes Classics said. He hopes that the race distance, possible windy conditions, hard racing and the 300 metre uphill finishing straight will be to his advantage.

    "If the other nations make the race hard, then perhaps I stand a chance," Gilbert conceded. This...

  • Ciprelli denies EPO purchase, Pitel outraged by links to the case

    Edwige Pitel (Michela) en route to a second place finish.
    Article published:
    September 13, 2011, 12:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Longo's husband considering legal action

    Following the publication of e-mails allegedly exchanged between Patrice Ciprelli, husband and coach of Jeannie Longo, and the former US rider and drug dealer Joe Papp, the Frenchman has denied any involvement.

    In a statement made by his lawyer, Bruno Ravaz, Ciprelli accused the newspaper L'Equipe of having faked the documents in which the purchase of 80,000 iu of EPO is being discussed.

    "Patrice Ciprelli formally denies any implication. To him, they are crude fakes and so he may resort to filing suit in this affair," said the statement.

    In an interview with L'Equipe, Papp confirmed the transaction. The French Cycling Federation has already opened an investigation and suspended Ciprelli from coaching.

    The revelations have also indirectly implicated another French rider, Edwige Pitel, who was coached by Ciprelli in 2007 when the alleged EPO purchase took place. Pitel was outraged to see her name linked to performance-enhancing drugs in the L'Equipe report, which mentioned that it was Pitel and not Longo who became French champion that year, two months after the alleged emails were sent.

    "I am disgusted to have my name tainted like this, by association and without any proof," Pitel told RTL radio on Tuesday morning. "I have always been against doping and now I am being sullied in an EPO affair. As I understand it, I am never mentioned in the exchanges. Just because he coached me in 2007 and because I beat Jeannie, they are saying that it [the EPO] was for me..."

    "My conscience is crystal clear, but what has been done is done. The association has been made and now there will always be a doubt about me," she deplored.

  • Italy names world championships teams

    Italy rolled out a strong lineup in the elite men’s road race and controlled much of the 257.5 kilometre race. Unfortunately the few kilometres Italy didn’t control were the closing two and the team were shutout of the medals after looking like dominating proceedings earlier in the day.
    Article published:
    September 13, 2011, 13:05 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Bettini says the Azzurri are ready to be aggressive

    Italian national coach Paolo Bettini has confirmed the Elite men’s team for the world championships, giving sprinters Daniele Bennati and Sacha Modolo key roles but insisting that Italy will be ready to go on the attack and blow apart the race if necessary.

    As widely expected, Bettini selected Manuel Belletti and Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF), Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek), Oscar Gatto and Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini- Neri), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-ISD), Daniel Oss and Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale), Luca Paolini (Katusha) and Matteo Tosatto (Saxo Bank-SunGard).

    Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad) and Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) have been selected to ride the time trial. The nine riders that start the race will be decided just before the event on Sunday September 25.

    “Our mentality for the road race will be ‘All for one and one for all,’ and we’ll be ready for anything,” Tuttobiciweb reported him as saying at the official announcement in Milan.

    “I’m not convinced that it will be a big bunch sprint. The course is hard and it’ll be a nervous race. The circuit is a lot like Madrid in 2005 but it’ll be more technical because we’ll be on narrower roads. The finish is slightly uphill after 266km of racing and so will be hard.

    “I followed the Canadian races closely and Gilbert impressed me, I think he’s the big favourite. We’ve also got to watch out for Peter Sagan, the Spanish team that has Freire and the USA who have Farrar. Cavendish will be part of a team of eight and not three like in Australia, so Great Britain will have to do their bit in the race too. Australia looks a very united team, Denmark will be dangerous on home roads and then Hushovd is a lone wolf who will be as dangerous as ever.”