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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Date published:
September 03, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Nibali upbeat after second place in Vuelta a Espana stage to Hazallanas

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) went after Horner alone, but could not close the gap
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 19:37 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Italian failed to regain time on Horner but distanced other rivals

    A searing counter-attack by Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) netted the Shark of Messina second place on stage 10 of the Vuelta a España and second place in the overall standings. While the Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) have posed questions on the shorter, punchier ascents, Nibali is well able to respond when the big climbs come into view.

    Together with former teammate Ivan Basso (Cannondale), another GC contender on the rise, and current teammate Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), the 2013 Giro d’Italia winner made much of the running on the Hazallanas climb. It took some time for Nibali to shake off the little front group of contenders, but when the Shark finally snapped hard enough to break away from his rivals, only Horner was able to withstand his attack.

    “It was a very tough stage, very difficult with the heat early on,” Nibali said. “But at the end things worked out pretty well. Jakob [Fugslang] did a very good job and then after that we had good control on things and I’ve taken seconds on some of my principal rivals.”

    Asked if he had wanted the lead, Nibali retorted, “I always want the lead. But Horner was ahead, I knew it was going to be hard to catch him.

    “But I think that’s fine, because there’s still a long, long way to go. We’ve got a nice rest day now, but then there’s a time trial straight after that.”

    Ironically enough, given there are so many mountain stages, that time trial could prove to be the pivotal turning point in a tightly-packed general classification battle, where Nibali trails Horner by 43 seconds.

    Asked who the big rivals were as the race reached its near half-way point, Nibali said,...

  • Euskaltel-Euskadi riders, management express delight at team's survival

    Euskatel - Euskadi in action
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 20:36 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    F1 champ Fernando Alonso set to buy out WorldTour licence, team continues in 2014

    At the Hotel Santa Cruz high on the slopes of Sierra Nevada, the race headquarters for the Vuelta a España's stage 10 finish, riders rushed around getting showered and changed prior to heading to nearby Granada airport for a transfer north. But one team were taking their time about it all: with their future suddenly looking enormously brighter, the Euskaltel-Euskadi riders and management looked as if catching an airplane was the last thing on their minds.

    "We're OK for next year?" rider Pablo Urtasun asked incredulously when Cyclingnews told him about the upcoming deal with Fernando Alonso, news which had broken during the stage. And it was only when a passing Euskaltel-Euskadi team soigneur confirmed the all-but-sealed deal that, with a huge grin, Urtasun conceded that this was the best piece of news the squad could possible receive.

    "I've got to say I'm happy, it's great news, cycling needed this," Urtasun said. "The sport was going to be a bit desolate in Spain with just one WorldTour team in it."

    "Now the team is going to keep going. It's a relief. There's been a real mixture of nerves, sadness and tension in the team in the last few weeks in particular, when it looked as if a lot of riders and families were all going to be on the dole and that was it."

    The team will lose its Basque roots in part, perhaps, but as Urtasun says "the important thing is that it's going ahead. At least now we can forget this subject, just get on with racing at the Vuelta."

    "It's huge news," Samuel...

  • Moreno loses Vuelta a España lead after 24 hour spell in red

    Daniel Moreno (Katusha) won his second stage of the 2013 Vuelta at Valdepeñas de Jaén
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 21:27 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    "I felt weak right from the start" says Spaniard

    In Spain they have a saying, veterans always know a little bit more and when Dani Moreno (Katusha) swung a leg over the bike this morning for stage 10 of the Vuelta a España, the 31-year-old says he knew he was in for a tough day.

    Dropped about half way up the final Hazallanas climb, Moreno completed the climb in twelfth place, 2:22 back and slumped to sixth overall. And as the experienced pro told reporters afterwards, he had seen this bad day coming and could do nothing about it.

    "That last climb was very tough, as soon as the stage started, I knew I wasn't on my best day," Moreno said. "Fortunately Purito [Katusha teammate Joaquim Rodriguez] was not so far back." Rodriguez finished fifth and in the same position overall, 24 seconds ahead of Moreno. "I just lost it today. I just hope this was my one bad day of the Vuelta."

    He made no excuses of the fact that he came off in the neutralized section in a big crash, although the fact that "somebody's chainring ran into my knee didn't help. I was a little bit hurt by that, but there wasn't anything I could have done. You always notice something after a crash like that, but it wasn't really so bad."

    Moreno's 'haul' from the Vuelta, in any case, is anything but poor. Rodriguez's right-hand man has taken two stage wins, had a day in the lead, his first ever in a Grand Tour, and is still atop of the points classification. From now on, though, it's safe to assume he will be concentrating solely on helping his friend and teammate Rodriguez net his first Grand Tour.

  • USA Cycling president Johnson hopes for fair UCI election

    USA Cycling president Steve Johnson speaks at the press conference announcing the new European training base in the Limburg province of the Netherlands.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2013, 0:35 BST
    Cycling News

    American one of 42 voting delegates

    When USA Cycling president Steve Johnson joined a group of national federations asking for the Court of Arbitration for Sport to make a definitive ruling on the UCI election rules, he wasn't just representing cycling in the US, he weighed in as one of 42 delegates who will decide the leadership of the governing body for the next four years.

    Johnson is one of nine individuals who will represent the continental confederation, a huge swath of the cycling landscape that runs from Argentina to Canada, in the voting for the next UCI president, which will take place at the UCI road world championships in Florence, Italy on September 27.

    Johnson and his colleagues are concerned that the "innovative" interpretations of the UCI's nomination procedures by sitting president Pat McQuaid could lead to legal challenges after the election, and USA Cycling, together with the federations of Russia, Canada, Algeria and Finland have asked for the CAS to weigh in on the specific wording of the rules regarding which federation can nominate a candidate.

    McQuaid hails from Ireland, but Cycling Ireland withdrew its nomination after the member clubs objected. He lives in Switzerland, but the Swiss federation also withdrew his nomination. He has garnered nominations from Morocco and Thailand, but these have been met with objections over whether or not honorary memberships can be considered for nomination.


  • Enforced rest period for Moreno Moser

    Cannondale will line up with Moreno Moser as an outside contender
    Article published:
    September 03, 2013, 1:26 BST
    Cycling News

    Cannondale rider to undergo testing

    Moreno Moser has been withdrawn from racing by his Cannondale team citing fatigue and a lowered immune system as the reasons for his prescribed lay-off. Whether or not this will spell the end of the season for the 22-year-old Italian is currently unclear.

    Moser has had a heavy schedule for a rider of his age with 68 racing days this season including Tirreno-Adriatico, Tours of Romandie and Suisse as well as a debut at the Tour de France. The debut was not without success after Moser finished third on stage 18 to Alpe d'Huez, but it appears the heavy schedule has finally taken its toll.

    Moser failed to finish the penultimate stage of the recent Eneco Tour in Belgium, and then failed to complete the Vattenfall Classics in Germany soon after.

    According to his Cannondale team, Moser will now undergo testing and specialised consulting and then schedule a return to racing.

    In positive news for the Cannondale team, Fabio Sabatini -who crashed and fractured his T11 and T12 vertebrae during the third stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge- has been given the green light to return to Italy.

    Two days after the crash, Sabatini was operated on at the Intermountain Neurosurgery and Neuroscience Institute at St. Anthony Hospital in Denver in order to stabilise the fractures. Nearly two weeks after the initial crash, Sabatini has now recovered to a point whereby he is fit enough to fly home.

    His surgeon -Dr Amit Agarwala- and team doctor -Dr Roberto Corsetti- have agreed that Sabatini will slowly return to racing over the next four months.

  • Gallery: Tour of Alberta press conference

    The pre-race press conference was in the stylish Edmonton city hall.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2013, 2:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Evans, Sagan, Hesjedal gather in Edmonton

    As riders flocked to the Canadian province of Alberta ahead of its inaugural UCI tour, the cycling media turned its attention to the pre-race press conference where headline riders greeted fans and photographers alike to preview the upcoming race.

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) looked confident of continuing his successful North American stint thus far, whilst Fred Rodriguez (Jelly Belly) discussed how he would go about attempting to beat the Slovak sprinting sensation.

    Cadel Evans (BMC) and Robert Gesink (Belkin) both stated that the Tour of Alberta was primarily a training race as they attempted to recover lost form, whereas Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp) is expected to perform for his home crowd.

  • Bart de Clercq withdraws from Vuelta

    Tim Wellens pushes Bart De Clercq in the last kilometer
    Article published:
    September 03, 2013, 4:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Vanendert brothers also brought down in bad day for Lotto-Belisol

    Bart de Clercq (Lotto-Belisol) withdrew from the Vuelta a España after a crash in the neutral zone of the tenth stage on Tuesday. Jelle and Dennis Vanendert were brought down in the same incident but fared better with both of the brothers finishing the stage. The withdrawal was a big loss for the Lotto team with de Clercq going into the stage the best placed GC rider in 20th position, only 2:33 down on then race leader Daniel Moreno (Katusha).

    De Clercq continued to race but an inability to flex his knee forced his retirement.

    "This is very much bad luck. The official start wasn't even given this afternoon, which makes it all the more painful," said de Clercq. "Nine times out of ten you only have some abrasions and there isn't too much damage, but now my knee must have been hit by a handlebar or a pedal. I couldn't fold my leg anymore.

    "I saw my knee was swollen and that I had a bruise, but I didn't want to give up immediately. Twice I tried to get on the bike again, but I wasn't able to make rotations. There was no need to insist."

    "The crash happened on a descending part," explained de Clercq. "Although we were only in the neutral zone the speed was around 50 or 60 kilometers an hour. I didn't see what caused the crash but one moment riders were crashing in front of me.

    "There was panic and everybody braked, but because of the speed it wasn't possible to stand still. I tumbled over some riders and others bumped into me.

    "I had hoped for a good GC and it was definitely possible to move up some places. It's very tough that one moment has changed this. This is hard."

    Initial x-rays in Granada were positive, showing no fractures for de Clercq who will now return to Belgium for a full diagnosis of his injuries.

  • Gerdemann looks to lead MTN-Qhubeka into Grand Tours

    Leopard Trek's Linus Gerdemann takes his first win of the season at the Tour de Luxembourg.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2013, 9:32 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    German ready to return to racing after a year off

    Linus Gerdemann never doubted that he would return to racing. After an involuntary year off in 2013, the German will take to the road again next season for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, looking to lead the only African Professional Continental team in its hoped-for Grand Tour debut.

    “I was always confident that I would find a team that fits to me -- where I can come back to where I was and bring in my qualities,” he told Cyclingnews.

    And why did he not find a ride this season? “As the negotiations with RadioShack went on for quite some time after their management change, it was quite late when these talks didn’t materialise. Budgets were spent and the interesting teams had already finalized their rosters.”

    He spent a year away from racing but continued to ride his bike. "I also spent a lot of time with my friends. Most importantly I could relax mentally and start fresh into 2014."

    Friendship also played a role in his signing with MTN-Qhubeka as, “through my friends Gerald (Ciolek) and Andreas (Stauff) I heard a lot of positive things about this team already.  It is a great project and I like it being more than just about cycling. The team serves a higher purpose and I want to be part of it. It is also very professionally managed and I will have the perfect environment to start a successful 2014 season."

    Gerdemann and Ciolek have spent years together on the same teams, and even transferred over from  Team Columbia-Highroad to Milram for the 2009 season. He explained their relationship to Cyclingnews, and why their won't be any conflict between the two team captains.

    “He is like my little cycling-brother. We are really good friends and also spent a lot of time together off the bike. Within the team we won’t have any...