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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Date published:
September 08, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Main sponsor wanted for Fuji-Servetto

    A Fuji - Servetto rider tackles a climb during the stage 12 time trial.
    Article published:
    September 07, 2009, 22:11 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Team manager denies falling out with Mauro Gianetti

    Fuji-Servetto team manager Josean Fernández Matxin has revealed that he is looking for "a primary sponsor" for 2010 and has denied rumours of a falling-out between himself and team boss Mauro Gianetti. "I don’t know where these stories have come from," Matxin said of reports of his dispute with Gianetti. "As things stand, we haven’t decided anything. The team’s ProTour licence is held jointly between Gianetti and myself and the relationship between us is as good as ever."

    Speaking to at the Vuelta, Matxin admitted that he hopes that the problems his team has had in getting invites to races this season will cease in 2010. The team, which was racked by scandals last year when it was backed by Saunier Duval, did not get an invite to the Tour de France despite holding a ProTour licence. The team’s entry to the Vuelta was only guaranteed at the last minute following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Speaking about his hopes for 2010, Matxin said: "Fuji and Servetto are planning to continue to back us, but we’re looking for a primary sponsor. We want to move the team forwards, which is no easy thing at the moment." With that main sponsor still to be found, Matxin admitted that all of the team’s riders, even those who do have a contract for next season "have freedom to move".

    Matxin acknowledged that there is not much he and Gianetti can do to prevent the team’s best riders being cherry-picked by other squads, but doesn’t think they will have much problem filling their roster for next season. "Spanish riders aren’t getting a lot of offers from abroad," he said, hinting at where he’s likely to be looking for new talent if his best riders do move on.

    Fredrik Kessiakoff has already left the team for Garmin-Slipstream.

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  • House leads 1,200 strong charity ride

    British road race champion Kristian House prepares for the 145km leg of The Prostate Cancer Charity ride.
    Article published:
    September 08, 2009, 6:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Public tackles Tour of Britain’s fifth stage

    Great Britain's road race champion Kristian House led a field of more than 1,200 cyclists for 'The Tour of Britain' charity ride at the weekend. Entrants rode the 145 kilometres that will make up this month’s Tour of Britain’s stage five to race money for prostate cancer.

    “Anything that gets people on bikes is a good thing and this is a fantastic event,” said House. “Obviously, the cause, fighting prostate cancer, is a very important one and I will do anything to support that if I can. To ride the route of the Stoke-on-Trent leg of The Tour of Britain is really good practice for me and its great to do it with so many people.

    “Last year the finish in Stoke, right in the city centre, was unreal,” he added. “The crowds were so loud and enthusiastic. To race in a city where I used to live in front of people who have supported me is really special.”

    Riders set off at from the gantry outside the iconic Britannia Football stadium, home of Stoke City Football Club. Participants took between five and seven hours to completed the course, which will be covered by some of the world’s best cyclist in a fortnight and features 2006 metres of climbing.

    Two smaller routes - the 70km Challenge Ride or 20km Family Ride - were also contested by those not up to the full 145 kilometres. More than £150,000 was raised for The Prostate Cancer Charity. The seven day Tour of Britain starts this Saturday.

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  • Broken hand could end Vande Velde’s Missouri

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin - Slipstream)
    Article published:
    September 08, 2009, 6:15 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Misery in Missouri for Vande Velde

    Christian Vande Velde’s (Garmin-Slipstream) string of bad luck continued at the Tour of Missouri when he crashed in the closing metres of the opening stage in St. Louis. Doctor’s examinations show the defending champion sustained a hairline fracture at the base of his second metacarpal in his right hand.

    “Luck has not been on my side this year,” said Vande Velde, who will attempt to start stage two in St. Genevieve. “I went down in the big crash with 500 metres to go. I crashed into the guys and went down into a fire hydrant. It could have been a lot worse. Racing is going to be painful, but I'm the defending champion and continuing is important to me and my team. I'll be at the start tomorrow."

    Signs of a tough-luck season came when Vande Velde crashed during the Giro d’Italia’s third stage in May, where doctors confirmed he has fractured five vertebrae, his pelvis and one rib. He recovered well enough to place eight overall in the Tour de France, only to go down again at the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany on August 15, injuring his hip.

    After some much needed healing time at his home in Illinois, Vande Velde felt recovered enough to defend his title at the Tour of Missouri this week. "Christian's had a hard year, but as he's shown over and over he's an incredibly tough athlete,” said team owner Jonathan Vaughters. “He's determined to start tomorrow and that says a lot about his character."

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  • Cavendish emotional over Hincapie’s departure

    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) rides with stage winner and teammate Mark Cavendish.
    Article published:
    September 08, 2009, 6:43 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Manxman thanks childhood hero, friend for his contribution

    Sprinter Mark Cavendish is savoring his final days with mentor and friend George Hincapie before parting ways in Kansas City on Sunday. The Tour of Missouri marks USPro Champion Hincapie’s final hurrah with the Columbia-HTC team before moving to BMC Racing Team for season 2010.

    Cavendish won Missouri’s opening stage in convincing fashion, benefiting from the help of his near-unrivaled Columbia-HTC lead-out. The young talent spent the better part of the circuit race glued to Hincapie’s wheel, a place he is comfortable and assured of his inevitable success in a sprint finale. For Cavendish and fans alike, it is difficult to imagine a race without the guidance of the famed veteran he has come to know as Big George.

    “To be perfectly honest I get pretty emotional talking about it,” said Cavendish, who admitted he is not quite ready to say goodbye. “Even when George was talking about it at the press conference yesterday I was [emotional].”

    A quick look into Cavendish’s achievements this year starts with a milestone win at the Milan-Sanremo. He went on to don the maglia rosa in the Giro d’Italia after a team effort to smash the opening team time trial, then win two additional stages. But he made history in July when he won a sixth stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysees. His win today marked a 22nd season victory and he attributes much of that success to the care of Hincapie during the races.

    “George has been an instrumental part of my success and my career and I’m really sad to not race with him anymore,” Cavendish said. “He’s been like a big brother to me. We’ve went on so well together in the last years. He’s such a big, big part of the team. He’s like the grand daddy of the team. He looks after everyone, he looks after me.”

    Hincapie confirmed in the pre-race press conference that the Tour of Missouri...

  • Davis’ Vuelta campaign ends prematurely

    Australia's Allan Davis (Quick Step).
    Article published:
    September 08, 2009, 9:53 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Quick Step team-mate Barredo also out

    Quick Step’s Allan Davis and Carlos Barredo have been forced to withdraw from the Vuelta a España during stage nine due to stomach complaints. Both riders have been hampered by the problem in recent stages, but struggled through until today’s stage.

    "Since the beginning of the Vuelta I had a feeling that something wasn’t right,” said Davis. “I was never able to be at a hundred percent in the final [sprints]. Today the situation got even worse. I had a stomach ache and had to stop a few times. My Vuelta ends here. Now I want to understand the cause of the problem to resolve it as quickly as possible.”

    Like Davis Barredo also reported a worsening of the situation since finishing stage eight the previous day. Barredo had hoped for a strong showing in Spain to gain worlds selection, while Davis was also named on Australia’s long list at the weekend for the Swiss event.

    "During yesterday’s stage I was suffering a lot, but I wanted to finish the stage to try and regain my strength,” said Barredo. “Unfortunately since yesterday evening the situation has gotten worse. I haven’t been able to eat anything and today during the race I had no energy.

    “I’m really sorry for myself and for the team,” he added. “My goal had been to have a good Vuelta with my team and work towards the World Championships. It’s going to be harder to get a place in the Spanish selection, but I’m going to try. My conditioning is still really good."

    Davis was 34 minutes down at the conclusion of stage eight while Barredo was just 11 minutes behind.

  • Ex-Spain coach wanted Contador for new team

    Tour de France champion Alberto Contador waves to supporters from a balcony in his home town of Pinto, near Madrid.
    Article published:
    September 08, 2009, 10:21 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Tour champion hopes for decision within a fortnight

    While Astana, Caisse d’Epargne, Garmin, Quick Step and perhaps even Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso duel for Alberto Contador’s signature, recently ousted Spanish national coach Paco Antequera has revealed that he had also been hoping to sign up the two-time Tour de France winner to a new team. Antequera told El Correo he had a couple of sponsors lined up to support a team with Contador as leader and himself as directeur sportif.

    “But it’s all come to a halt,” he said. “Alberto has got a year left on his contract with Astana and for the moment the Kazakhs aren’t prepared to rescind it. While this is the case, he won’t sign with me, with Fernando Alonso or with anyone else. We will have to wait and see what will happen next season.”

    Antequera had been the Spanish coach until he was relieved of his post in mysterious circumstances earlier this year. Having guided Spanish riders to 13 medals during his 11 years as coach for the road team, he’s now unemployed and looking for a new project – but still unhappy with his treatment by the Spanish federation.

    “I’m still waiting for official communication from them,” Antequera revealed. “At the start of the year they told me there wasn’t enough money to renew my contract. So I managed to find a sponsor who would pay me when any championships were taking place, but money can’t have been the reason because they still didn’t want me to continue. Now José Luis de Santos has taken over my role and I still don’t know why they have thrown me out.”

    Meanwhile, Alberto Contador has once again said that he would like to get out of his contract with Astana. Speaking during a visit to Belgium for a criterium appearance, Contador said he would like to change team and, “be able to ride the Tour with a team completely at my service. Which one will it be? I don’t know at...

  • UCI wants more spectacle on London Olympic courses

    The crowds in London came out in full force and the police had everything under control.
    Article published:
    September 08, 2009, 10:39 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Tour, Beijing set a high bar for London organisers

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) has asked the organiser of the road events at the 2012 London Olympic Games to change the proposed road race course in order to include more of London’s most renowned landmarks. As things stand, the London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOCOG) had proposed a circuit based that rose from Regent's Park to Primrose Hill and Kentish Town, and then up Highgate West Hill to Hampstead Heath.

    The UCI would prefer to see a course more in line with 2008 Oympic Games in Beijing, which started in Tiananmen Square and took in sections of the Great Wall of China, or the London prologue of the 2007 Tour de France. That course featured many of central London’s most famous sights including the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

    According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the UCI would like to see a route featuring Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, then heading west out of London to Windsor Castle and Eton College. From there, the riders would return to central London via the Surrey Downs for a finishing circuit.

    If LOCOG complies with the UCI’s request the nature of the road race is likely to change completely. The possible removal of Highgate’s West Hill would certainly please sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, who would be hotly favoured on a course finishing on a flattish circuit in central London.

    “We are in discussions with the UCI about what this route might be and will undergo full consultation about any proposed changes in due course,” a LOCOG spokesman told the Daily Telegraph. A decision on the final route for the road race is expected by the end of the year.

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  • Tempers flare after Vuelta's stage nine sprint

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) crosses the line ahead of David de la Fuente (Fuji-Servetto), Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    September 08, 2009, 11:00 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Evans cools afterwards, to apologize to Gesink

    As the battle intensifies for positions on the Vuelta a España's general classification, things got rough-and-tumble at the end of Monday's ninth stage. Alejandro Valverde sprinted to third place and into the leader's gold jersey, while behind him Cadel Evans and Robert Gesink battled it – quite literally.

    As the two riders entered the final corner, both Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Gesink (Rabobank) were on the right-hand side of a small bunch that also included Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas). Gesink moved over to his right at the same time as the Australian attempted to pass on his inside. Evans retaliated with a head-butt to the ribs of the 14-centimetre taller Dutch rider.

    After reaching the finish line, Evans complained that he had been hindered in the sprint, and that Gesink should have given him priority, as leader of the race. "I loathe him. I have nothing nice to say about Gesink," he said, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

    However, the Australian had cooled down later. "In the final, a 'racing incident' with another rider in the last 200m stopped me trying to defend the leader's jersey," Evans wrote on his website. "Very frustrating on my part; I did let my competitor know about it, probably with a bit too much of my racing spirit and frustration. No hard feelings towards my colleague there, apologies will be in order."

    Gesink shrugged the whole incident off. Replays of the incident seem to indicate that he held his line, as Valverde passed on his left and Evans attempted to move around on his right. Taking the narrower line, the angle of the barriers further restricted Evans as he attempted to pass. "Afterwards he was angry because he could not defend the jersey, but I couldn't do anything," Gesink said on his team's website.

    Gesink was defended by none other than new overall leader Valverde. "Gesink did nothing wrong," he said. "It is a sprint that only lasts...