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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Date published:
September 27, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Rabobank ready to build a womens' team around Marianne Vos

    Marianne Vos finds little consolation with another silver medal
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 12:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Updated: Dutch Bank confirms sponsorship deal

    Rabobank has confirmed it will build a women’s team around Marianne Vos for 2012, further extending its backing for cycling in the Netherlands.

    According to the De Telegraaf newspaper, Rabobank had been working in secret to build a team around Vos, and is willing to make significant funds available. The bank confirmed the news in a statement on its website, with the sponsorship lasting at least two years.

    “After sixteen year of cycling sponsorship by Rabobank in the Netherlands, from 2012 the support will be extended to sponsoring a women's team. The team will be part of the Rabobank Cycling Teams and will be built around multiple world champion Marianne Vos,” the statement said.

    Bert Bruggink, a member of the Executive Board of Rabobank in the Netherlands, said: "Starting a women's team is a logical step, given the width of our support for cycling. Of course we are already involved in women's cycling through our partnership with the KNWU (Netherlands Cycling Federation). Now, with our own team built around Marianne Vos, we’ve completed the picture."

    Rabobank will take over Vos’ current Nederland Bloeit team.

    "We hope our experience and expertise will help strengthen women's cycling,” said Harold Knebel, the general manager of the Rabobank Cycling Teams. "This sponsorship is not entirely unexpected. It’s the right time to support Marianne and her team given the uncertainty about its survival."

    The Nederland Bloeit team is managed by the former TVM sprinter Jeroen Blijlevens. He welcomed the arrival of Rabobank as the team’s new sponsor.

    "We’re grateful for the opportunity that the Rabobank Cycling Teams has offered us," he said.

    Marianne...

  • Bettini responds to criticism of Italian performance

    National coach Paolo Bettini says hello
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 13:46 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian coach unhappy with how his riders contested the sprint

    Italian national coach Paolo Bettini has come under pressure at home after his riders failed to work together in the hectic sprint that decided the elite men road race and ended with Mark Cavendish pulling on the rainbow jersey.

    Daniele Bennati was the Italian team’s designated sprinter but he lost contact with the lead-out train that was supposed to protect him in the final kilometres. Bennati never likes fighting for position in a sprint and found himself blocked and unable to use his speed. He finished 14th, the worst result for Italy since Giuseppe Saronni finished 17th in the 1983 world championships in Altenrheim, Switzerland.

    Saronni was one of the fiercest critics of the Italian team. 2002 world champion Mario Cipollini also spoke out, criticizing the Italian team for not understanding that the race was always going to end in a sprint. He questioned the idea of two lead out trains and suggested the riders had little experience of leading out a sprint.

    Bettini shrugged off the calls for his resignation but was also critical of his riders.

    “If someone wants my head, I’ll happily offer it. It’s not a problem and I can laugh it off,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s not an easy job but I decided to take instead of sitting at home and just criticising. I’ve worked well with the guys and have been happy to do it.”

    The former two-time world champion had still to analyse the race in detail but conceded that the Italian team had become derailed in the final kilometres and in the chaotic sprint.

    “Last year in Geelong the team all gave 100% but then Pozzato failed to take his chance. This time something didn’t work as it should have done,” he said.

    ...

  • Voeckler has no regrets about Worlds attack

    Thomas Voeckler (France) on the attack late in the race.
    Article published:
    September 26, 2011, 23:05 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman to continue to Tour of Lombardy

    The odds may have been stacked against escapees, but Thomas Voeckler (France) was a typically pugnacious presence in the UCI World Championships road race in Copenhagen on Sunday, as he attempted to break the sprinters' stranglehold on the race by sparking a three-man break on the penultimate lap.

    On the least selective course since Zolder in 2002, Voeckler's attack was ultimately an exercise in tilting at windmills, as Bradley Wiggins and the British team shut down the move to set up victory for Mark Cavendish. Speaking to reporters shortly after crossing the line, however, a tired Voeckler had no qualms about his quixotic effort.

    "I was hoping for a surprise but I don't have any regrets," Voeckler said. "Frankly, when see who won, you can't have any regrets about trying. I think it was better to attack than to finish down in the peloton in the sprint."

    Voeckler was joined in his initial attack by Nikki Sorensen (Denmark) and Klaas Lodewijk (Belgium), but for different reasons, he found his accomplices lacked his own sense of urgency. "Sorensen thought that there were two laps left when in fact we were coming into the last one, and I think Lodewijk was thinking about [Philippe] Gilbert behind so he didn't really risk everything," Voeckler said ruefully.

    Though Johnny Hoogerland (Netherlands) provided robust reinforcement on the final lap as their lead hovered around the 15-second mark, Wiggins' metronomic pursuit behind meant that the break was always doomed to failure and after another late rally, Voeckler was definitively brought to heel with 7km to race.

    It was an aggressive day of racing all around from the French team, and manager Laurent Jalabert had earlier sent Anthony Roux and the stylish Yoann Offredo up the road in a bid to break the...

  • Rogers happy to have got the job done for Australia

    Michael Rogers (far right) with Australian teammates prior to the elite men's road race in Copenhagen
    Article published:
    September 27, 2011, 0:28 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Doubts Renshaw would have made a difference to Goss' sprint

    Michael Rogers' selection for Australia for the UCI World Championships raised more than a few eyebrows, given his race days had been few and far between in recent months however, his inspired performance on Sunday showed his end of season form may just be a new beginning.

    Four months off the bike, waiting for your body to heal itself when there is no medicinal cure must have seemed like a lifetime, but it was a time and space that Rogers knew all too well as the 31-year-old battled a third bout of glandular fever earlier this season. By late August, he was ready to return to racing at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, followed by the GP Plouay – it wasn't a lot to go on but with the Tour of Britain under his belt, Rogers found himself lining up for his 11th world titles.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews the morning after the Australians delivered Matt Goss to a silver medal behind Mark Cavendish, Rogers mulled over whether he had been surprised at his own performance in Copenhagen.

    "No, not really," he answered after about five seconds of thought. "That's where I come out and do my best in the long races... I think that with so many years of doing this stuff, I know it's in there, it just had to come out for this race, that's all."

    Remarkably, though it had always been a small beacon of hope, a place in the line-up that proved a nightmare for Australian selectors to define was something that Rogers had only been able to fully commit to until after Plouay, he explained.

    "It wasn't the best year in my career – these things happen and you can't always have your best year but I got the most out of it that I could," he said. "I did the training...

  • Docker joins GreenEdge in boost to classics line up

    Australian rider Mitchell Docker does a strength effort.
    Article published:
    September 27, 2011, 2:43 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Melbournian expecting selection battle

    As GreenEdge eyes both a UCI ProTour licence and a strong performance in the classics in 2012, Mitch Docker has been announced as the latest recruit for the fledgling outfit.

    The Melbournian's rise in Europe coincided with his joining Skil-Shimano in 2009, having previously ridden for Drapac since 2006. The 2011 season saw Docker finish an impressive sixth at Gent Wevelgem and 15th at Paris-Roubaix.

    "I'm looking forward to doing the classics and the build-up to those races with events like Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico, which is racing I haven't had in the past," Docker said in a GreenEdge press release. "It will be interesting to see how that extra race preparation helps my performance.

    "But it won't be easy to make our team for the classics. This year I was 15th at Paris-Roubaix but that doesn't mean I'm a certainty to ride it next year.

    "Having this sort of selection pressure is good. One of the things that make just about any sporting team successful is that it's hard just to make the team. We'll have that at GreenEdge. It will be hard to make the cut.

    "The important thing is that being selected on the team isn't necessarily based on if I'm winning or not but the role I'm playing in the team and how that contributes to GreenEdge winning."

    Docker was full of praise for the role that Skil-Shimano had played in his development, which lead to a second place at the Halle-Ingooigem in 2009 before stage victories at the Delta Tour and Route du Sud in France, along with a fifth placing on general classification at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen in 2010.

    "My time at Skil has been great. They gave me so many opportunities and as a young rider they never rushed my development, which will help my career long-term," he said.

    Docker is the 15th Australian to have joined...

  • Sevilla given six month ban for Hydroxyethyl Starch positive

    Stage nine winner Oscar Sevilla on the podium.
    Article published:
    September 27, 2011, 4:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard will not appeal decision, hopes to race again in 2012

    Oscar Sevilla (Gobernacion De Antioquia-Indeportes Antiquia) has been handed a six month suspension by the Spanish Cycling Federation for his Hydroxyethyl Starch (HES) positive that occurred in last year’s Vuelta a Colombia.

    The announcement comes after a protracted 13 month investigation into Sevilla’s actions, and the nature of the case. He was initially banned from racing in September, 2010, however the Spanish Federation allowed him to go back to competition in late October because the substance does not carry an automatic provisional suspension under WADA rules.

    He has since raced at a number of events including this year’s Vuelta a Colombia, the Tour of Utah, and most recently at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. It is yet unknown if he will be stripped of his results at these races.

    Sevilla’s team, Gobernacion De Antioquia-Indeportes Antiquia, has decided to stand by him, commenting in an official release that after careful analysis of the findings in the report from the Spanish Federation, it can find no wrong in the 34-year-old’s actions, although it does accept that he will have to serve a suspension.

    "In the analysis of the case, the resolution acknowledges that [the positive test] was involuntary, due to emergency medical treatment, and the substance Hydroxyethyl Starch did not increase athletic performance by Oscar Sevilla," it stated.

    "Once he completes the penalty, we will bring him back to the elite team's roster for the 2012 cycling season."

    Hydroxyethyl Starch, a blood volume expander sometimes used to treat trauma patients does not directly enhance performance, however some experts have commented that it

  • Merckx takes on Tour Down Under's community ride

    Race organiser Eddy Merckx also went out for a ride.
    Article published:
    September 27, 2011, 5:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Menglers Hill on the agenda for cycling great

    Eddy Merckx will get a first-hand look at the parcours for the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under when the cycling legend gets back on the bike for the official recreational ride of the UCI ProTour event, the Bupa Challenge Tour.

    The Bupa Challenge Tour, will be held on Friday, 20 January 2012, covering a distance of 138km, from Norwood to Tanunda with four distance options on offer – Merckx choosing to take on the 33km option from Tanunda which includes Menglers Hill in the Barossa Valley.

    Merckx's commitment to pull on a Bupa Challenge Tour jersey and participate is a massive coup as the ride celebrates 10 years in 2012. Events South Australia General Manager, Hitaf Rasheed, said this would be a fantastic opportunity for cycling fans to get up close and personal with the cycling legend.

    "Eddy Merckx is considered the greatest and most successful cyclist of all time, having worn the yellow jersey for a record 96 days throughout his career. It is very generous of him to make time in his schedule whilst in Adelaide to ride with the fans," she said.

    Santos Tour Down Under organisers are urging everyone to pull on their lycra and take to the streets to begin their preparations now for the 2012 Bupa Challenge Tour.

    "I would encourage anyone who has thought about riding to register now, as it is not everyday that you can say you have ridden with a true cycling legend. There is probably no better way we could commemorate the 10 year milestone of the Bupa Challenge Tour than having a cycling figure of Eddy's stature be involved," she said.

    "We are also encouraging participants to remember to register to Ride for a Reason and assist in the fight against cancer. This is an opportunity to not only do something for you but others as well."

    ...
  • BMC announce team for Circuit Franco-Belge

    Michael Schar (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    September 27, 2011, 7:02 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    DS Verbrugghe thinks race will be shaped by seasonal conditions

    BMC Racing team has announced its squad for the upcoming Circuit Franco-Belge and team director Rik Verbrugghe thinks that weather conditions, rather than the parcours, will be decisive in shaping the character of the four day stage race.

    "The weather conditions are always a big factor [in Franco-Belge]," Verbrugghe said. "If there is wind or bad weather, it could be a strange race. But with good weather, it could also be four days of sprints."

    The autumn can often be a tumultuous time in Belgium, with day-to-day changes from heavy rains, cold snaps, and sometimes even light snow.

    Michael Schär, one of the key member of Cadel Evans' Tour de France winning team, will line up at the race on the back of a heavy late season schedule and says with a team full of classics specialists, BMC will be well placed to have a successful race - rain or shine.

    "With Taylor Phinney, who has good form from the worlds, and Alessandro Ballan, who has a super experience in these kind of races, we are going to try to work together and go for a result," Schär said.

    The Circuit Franco-Belge starts on September 29 in Mouscron.

    BMC Racing Team Circuit Franco-Belge Roster:

    Alessandro Ballan (Ita), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Mathias Frank (Swi), Steve Morabito (Swi), Taylor Phinney (USA), Ivan Santaromita (Ita), Michael Schär (Swi), Johann Tschopp (Swi).