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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Date published:
September 22, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Bellis improves after scooter crash, in stable condition

    Manx Jonathan Bellis
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 17:54 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Jonathan Bellis' status improves to stable two days after scooter crash

    Manx cyclist Jonathan Bellis' condition has improved to stable from critical. The 21-year-old Bellis suffered head injuries in a motor scooter accident early Saturday morning in Quarrata, Italy.

    The accident occurred at 3:30 in Quarrata, where fellow Manx cyclist Mark Cavendish lives. Bellis was wearing a helmet and travelling along Via IV Novembre, according to Il Tirreno. Medics took Bellis to a hospital in Careggi, north of Firenze.

    Police are determining the cause of the accident.

    National British Under 23 director Max Sciandri immediately joined Bellis at the hospital. Bellis' parents flew to Italy Saturday after they heard of the accident, according to isleofman.com.

    Bellis is in Quarrata to train with other British riders and Sciandri. British Cycling had him listed him on the preliminary list of riders for elite World Championships Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    He finished third in the 2007 Under 23 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. After a trainee period with ProTour team Saxo Bank last fall, he turned professional with the team this season.

    "We are saddened by the news of Jonathan's accident, but we know that he is in good hands at the hospital in Florence. Our thoughts and hopes go out to Jonathan, his family and friends," said Saxo Bank team owner, Bjarne Riis.

  • Hesjedal leads Canadian Worlds team

    Canadian Ryder Hesjedal wins at the Vuelta a España
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 18:50 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Vuelta stage winner Hesjedal heads Canadian Worlds team with Barry, Tuft

    Ryder Hesjedal will lead team Canada with Michael Barry and Svein Tuft at the World Championships Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    Hesjedal is in top form following his stage win in Vuelta a España's stage to Alto de Velefique last Friday, September 11. Barry and Tuft complete the three-man team.

    Tuft finished second in the time trial last year in Varese, Italy. He will also represent Canada this year in the time trial with Christian Meier.

    Elite team:
    • Michael Barry (RR)
    • Ryder Hesjedal (RR)
    • Svein Tuft (RR/TT)
    • Christian Meier (TT)

    Under 23 Men
    • Ryan Anderson (RR/TT)
    • Guillaume Boivin (RR)
    • David Boily (RR)
    • David Veilleux (RR/TT)

    Canada only once finished on the podium in the World Championships road race. Steve Bauer placed third at the 1984 edition in Barcelona, Spain, behind Belgian Claude Criquielion and Italian Claudio Corti. Tuft was the first Canadian to finish on the time trial podium.

    Canada hosted the Worlds twice: 2003 in Hamilton and 1974 in Montréal.

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed last month the number of riders allowed for each nation. Ten nations may have the maximum number of nine riders based on team rankings as of August 15.
     

  • Fuglsang pleased with Grand Tour debut

    Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) finishes second on the stage, his best result in his Grand Tour debut
    Article published:
    September 21, 2009, 18:52 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Dane feeling good about Worlds form

    While his debut in the Vuelta a España didn't approach the sixth place overall he achieved in both the Volta a Catalunya and the Dauphiné Libéré, Saxo Bank's Jakob Fuglsang is satisfied with his Grand Tour debut.

    "I am happy, it was well done. I don't think I can be disappointed with my Tour," the friendly Dane told Cyclingnews at the race's finish in Madrid. "Three times I was in a breakaway, and three times I had the possibility to win a stage. I didn't succeed, but still to be three times in the top three in my first Grand Tour - I am really happy with that."

    The 24-year-old took the first of those placings when he was third on stage 10 to Murcia, then went on to net a fine second behind Damiano Cunego (Lampre) at La Pandera and then third in Avila last Thursday. He ended the three week Vuelta 56th overall.

    Importantly, he came to the finish feeling like his form was on the up. "I felt a lot better this week. After stage 11 and 12 I was dead. If somebody said ‘okay, you can go home now,' I would have taken the offer and done it. But I am really happy that I continued until the end. I was feeling better and better the last days. It has been really good.

    "Everybody tells me doing a Grand Tour makes a difference to you as a rider. I hope they are right because it would be nice to have that little bit extra. If so, I think it is worth it. I think it really helps."

    For the riders in the Vuelta, a big question centres around how they will recover from the race, and if they will be fatigued or at their top form for the world championships. Many contenders pulled out before the finish in order to ensure they are fresh, while others such as Fuglsang, Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and, of course, race winner Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) were fully committed until the end.

    Fuglsang's good sensations in the final week make him...

  • Vuelta win moves Valverde to second in world ranking

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Eparnge)
    Article published:
    September 22, 2009, 0:38 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    Other Vuelta a España protagonists rise up the rankings

    Alejandro Valverde's win in the Vuelta a España moved the Spaniard into second place on the International Cycling Union's (UCI) Individual World Rankings, released on Monday.

    The Caisse d'Epargne rider had previously been in sixth position prior to his victory in the Spanish Grand Tour.

    Valverde's ascension in the UCI Individual World Rankings was also duplicated by the other nine riders who finished in the top 10 at the Vuelta a España. Vuelta runner-up Samuel Sánchez (Euskatlet-Euskadi) leapt from 35th to eighth position while third place finisher Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) moved from ninth to fourth position.

    Vuelta fourth place finisher Ivan Basso rose 20 positions in the UCI ranking, jumping from 32nd to 12th. Spain's Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia), fifth overall in the Vuelta, made his first appearance of the year in the rankings at 51st due to his Vuelta performance.

    The rider who made the largest leap on the UCI rankings was Philip Deignan (Cervelo TestTeam), a stage winner and ninth overall finisher in the Vuelta a España. The Irishman soared 172 positions on the individual ranking, jumping from 243rd to 71st.

    Vuelta points jersey winner and multi-stage winner André Greipel (Team Columbia-HTC) also made a significant jump from 120th position to 52nd as did Slovenian sprinter and Vuelta stage winner Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil), rising to 99th from 173rd.

    Alberto Contador (Astana) continues to lead the rankings while Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank), previously in second, dropped one position to third.

    The team rankings underwent a minor re-shuffling of the top 10, most notably Caisse d'Epargne's rise from sixth to second. Silence-Lotto and Rabobank each moved up one position respectively. Spain's Xacobeo Galicia made its first appearance of the year in the team rankings at 21st position. Astana remains the top ranked team.

    Spain remains atop the nations...

  • No Giro del Lazio in 2009

    Italian Francesco Masciarelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) finished second in the Tre Valli Varesine.
    Article published:
    September 22, 2009, 1:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Date clash seals fate of 75th edition

    Giro del Lazio organiser RCS Sport has announced that this year's edition of the race - the 75th - has been cancelled.

    Citing organisation difficulties encountered due to the proximity of the event to the Memorial Cimurri, the name behind races such as the Giro d'Italia and Milan-Sanremo decided to cancel the 2009 edition.

    The Memorial Cimurri will take place on October 3 whilst the Giro del Lazio was slated for the next day. The dates have prompted RCS Sport to declare it's looking for an alternative slot on the calendar for next season, according to tuttobiciweb.it.

    "The spatial distance of the two commitments - according to RCS Sport - means each of the two races can't be run with the best possible teams. So for the Giro del Lazio we are looking at a different place on the international calendar," explained the organiser.

    Won last year by Francesco Masciarelli, the semi-classic's palmares boasts Italian greats such as Michele Bartoli, Paolo Bettini, Andrea Tafi, Gianni Bugno, Maurizio Fondriest and Francesco Moser.

  • Xacobeo Galicia delighted with Vuelta dividend

    The Xacobeo Galicia squad is presented on the final podium.
    Article published:
    September 22, 2009, 1:46 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Professional Continental squad shows how it's done

    Spanish Professional Continental squad Xacobeo Galicia provided arguably the biggest surprise of this year's Vuelta a España by taking out the teams classification ahead of the best of the ProTour.

    While most of the big teams lost members due to preparations for the upcoming road world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, the focus of the Xacobeo Galicia team remained firmly on the Vuelta and the regional squad made good on its efforts to take home the teams prize.

    Álvaro Pino's outfit boasted fifth-placed rider Ezequiel Mosquera and Serafin Martinez, who won the Solidario sprint classification, but the sum of its efforts equalled more than a top five overall or an individual classification. The directeur sportif admitted that "from day one [we aimed for] the team standings," according to Europa Press.

    "We knew that it was [going to be] difficult and eventually we made it. It is one of the podiums that always made me dream so much as a rider or as a directeur... it reflects the work of everyone," he added.

    As is the case for many smaller squads, funding is a constant issue that hangs over the heads of team management and riders. The performance of the Xacobeo Galicia outfit at this year's Vuelta should go a long way in securing its future, something Pino says is not completely certain but at least stable for the time being.

    "So far, as some newspaper say, I have had no communication [about sponsorship]; we have a contract until the end of 2010," he explained. "Those who decide are the bosses, but I hope there are no problems and [we can] formalise the [team's] continuity for more than two years."

  • Consistency, maturity key to Valverde's title

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) savors his time in the golden jersey.
    Article published:
    September 22, 2009, 2:23 BST
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Rivals and manager agree on Spaniard's grand tour pedigree

    While Alejandro Valverde has received praise from all quarters for his winning performance in this year's Vuelta a España, fellow contender Samuel Sanchez and Caisse d'Epargne manager Eusebio Unzué have explained why the Spaniard managed to make the title his after years of trying.

    "At the end he was the best of La Vuelta. There were 21 days of competition - what is at a premium is consistency, and Valverde struggled the least. I had few delays over the 3000 kilometres and didn't win because Valverde was better than me and took advantage of my mistakes," said Samuel Sanchez, who finished second overall to Valverde.

    The consistency the Olympic road race champion speaks of could be seen when Valverde remained solid as rivals such as Robert Gesink, Cadel Evans, Sanchez and Ezequiel Mosquera experienced bad fortune in the form of crashes, poorly-timed mechanical problems or minor form slumps in the mountains.

    Caisse d'Epargne general manager Eusebio Unzué explained that this stoicism is due in a large part to Valverde's increased maturity. In previous editions of the Vuelta, Valverde has stumbled at crucial times whilst in contention for overall honours, resulting in a dramatic drop in the standings or a podium near-miss as the race reached Madrid. In 2009 none of the old scenarios resurfaced and he displayed what many had predicted up to five years ago.

    "In recent years he had created around him a 'fatal' image because he could not stay focused for three weeks but we showed that this was not the case this year. At 29, now he's more mature," Unzué told Europa Press.

    "This tour was very difficult for our team," he continued. "We harnessed the strength of the team, which did a great job, and Alejandro Valverde, who was perfect. All they saw was that he had the threat of his rivals under control. He is a great rider," said Unzué.

    Foe now turns friend as Sanchez is anticipating...

  • WADA approves 2010 List of Prohibited Substances

    Newly elected WADA president Australian John Fahey (left) shakes hands with outgoing president Dick Pound
    Article published:
    September 22, 2009, 9:56 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Salbutamol permitted below threshold, pseudoephedrine banned

    The Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has approved its new list of Prohibited Substances and Methods for 2010. While the new list will be published on October 1, WADA has already released two major changes, both taking effect on January 1, 2010.

    In a significant change to the WADA list, asthma medication salbutamol will no longer require a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), but rather a simplified declaration of use. The use of the substance, which remains prohibited if its concentration is found to be above 1,000 nanograms per millilitre of urine, will be permitted below this threshold without a TUE. According to WADA, "this measure will allow the handling of salbutamol by anti-doping organizations in a more cost-efficient way."

    But this step has already led to some controversy within anti-doping institutions. According to Michel Rieu, scientist at the French Anti-Doping Agency, salbutamol should remain banned in any concentration. Rieu said to L'Equipe that in order to reach the 1000 ng/ml threshold, "you really have to mess things up and not follow classic doping protocol. Those who cheat use salbutamol as a cure, out of competition, and are careful not to reach these kind of concentrations during competition."

    The use of salbutamol in cycling is wide-spread and many pro cyclists justify their intake of the substance by citing breathing problems due to asthma. Alessandro Petacchi, for example, tested positive for the drug in 2007. The Italian's urine values exceeded the 1000 ng/ml threshold, and the athlete was forced to prove that this high finding was a consequence of his therapeutic use of the asthma medication.

    Pseudoephedrine banned

    Pseudoephedrine will be reintroduced to the WADA list as a stimulant. Pseudoephedrine had been banned until 2004, when it was included in the...