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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Date published:
August 11, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Horner speaks of Tour disappointment

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) was eighth on the stage and moved up to tenth overall.
    Article published:
    August 10, 2010, 18:20 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    American would exchange top 10 finish for Armstrong victory

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) says that he would gladly have swapped his top ten placing at the Tour de France to have ridden in the service of an overall winner. In an interview with the Bend Bulletin, the American spoke of his regret at Lance Armstrong's failure to land an eighth yellow jersey in Paris.

    "Ten years from now, I'll be disappointed that we didn't win an eighth Tour de France with Lance. It would have been a special moment," Horner said. "Finishing top 10 is cool. I love it. But to say you're on the team on which Lance won his eighth Tour de France would be one step above.

    "When I was training with Lance in Aspen before the Tour last year, we talked about having a new team and that I'd be on it, and going to the Tour and helping him win it. So when you see he's crashed, it rocks everything that you've been focusing on for the whole year. For me it was kind of devastating," Horner said.

    Horner has never ridden on a Tour de France-winning team. He was one of Cadel Evans's key lieutenants at Lotto when he finished second in the 2007 edition and last year he failed to make the Astana team that included overall winner Alberto Contador.

    Horner appeared nonplussed by the fact that the time he lost waiting for Armstrong on his disastrous stage to Morzine may ultimately have cost him a significantly higher placing in Paris. "I didn't have the legs to go with Andy [Schleck] and [Alberto] Contador, and [Denis] Menchov had a fabulous time trial in the last TT stage, so I don't think I could've done top three," he said, admitting that sixth place would have been the summit of his ambition in any case.

    That said, the 38-year-old Horner already has an eye on next year's race and fired an early blow in the race to lead RadioShack next time around. "Hopefully, I've earned a position on the team to be riding the Tour as one of the favorites, and I'll be a guy who's being looked after," he said.

    Now in his...

  • Sky announces Vuelta a España line-up

    Thomas Lofkvist (Sky)
    Article published:
    August 10, 2010, 19:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Emphasis on stage victories in Spain

    Team Sky has named a line-up for the Vuelta a España that shows a notable shift in emphasis from their maiden Tour de France in July. While Thomas Löfkvist will lead Sky's assault on the overall classification, team principal Dave Brailsford admitted that his squad will be "heading to the Vuelta with a stage-win mentality."

    "We want to be attacking," Brailsford said. "It's a good opportunity for all the guys - we'll choose our days and the stages to take the race on."

    Sky's debut Tour was built around delivering a podium finish for Bradley Wiggins, but the Englishman ultimately struggled for form. Accordingly, their Vuelta objectives are a little more balanced. In particular, Brailsford is looking to Simon Gerrans and home rider Juan Antonio Flecha to deliver a stage victory for the English team. Gerrans claimed a Vuelta stage win last year and lists victories in all three major tours on his palmares, while the canny Flecha won the Omloop Het Nieuwsbland this season.

    "It's a home tour for Flecha and he'll obviously be looking to shine," Brailsford said. "Simon Gerrans is a key stage winner, that's his forte and how he made his name. Unfortunately he had to drop out of the Tour because of injury so he wants to get out there in Spain and try and search out some stage wins."

    The British trio of Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift are also included in the roster, as are Finland's Kjell Carlström, Norway's Lars-Peter Nordhaug and South African John-Lee Augustyn.

    Simon Gerrans returns to action at the Tour du Limousin and is looking forward to making up for his personal Tour disappointment at the Vuelta. "It's a big, big race and it's given me a real focus for the last part of the year," he said. "We've got a strong team to go for stage wins and get in the crucial breaks. Pretty much everyone on the team is capable of doing that if and when the opportunity arises."

    The Sky team in full is: Thomas...

  • Australia releases revised worlds list

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo TestTeam) catches his breath after victory
    Article published:
    August 11, 2010, 3:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Haussler confirmed as potential starter

    Cycling Australia has confirmed that Heinrich Haussler is on its long list for this year’s UCI Road World Championships as the national body narrowed down the candidates for the event. Haussler has raced under a German licence since moving to the country during his teenage years, but speculation he would switch to an Australian affiliation was finally confirmed last month as he announced he would surrender his German citizenship.

    The revised elite men’s long list features 15 names, down from 22 on the list released in June. With the addition of Haussler, who was granted consideration for the squad under extenuating circumstances, some eight riders have been removed from contention, including both current Australian champions Cameron and Travis Meyer.

    Other riders no longer under consideration for the squad include Graeme Brown, Simon Clarke, Brett Lancaster, Matthew Lloyd, Luke Roberts and Matthew Wilson. Based off its current standing in the nations ranking, Australia will qualify nine riders for the road race and two for the time trial, meaning the squad could be narrowed by as much as a further six riders.

    The remaining 15 on the elite men’s long list includes: Baden Cooke, Allan Davis, Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans, Matthew Goss, Adam Hansen, Heinrich Haussler, Mathew Hayman, Robbie Mcewen, Stuart O'Grady Oam, Richie Porte, Mark Renshaw, Michael Rogers, Wesley Sulzberger and Chris Sutton. Of those riders Evans, Porte and Rogers are being considered for the two time trial positions.

    The final selection will be announced on August 24, when Cycling Australia also names the elite women’s long team.

    Under 23 squad

    The Under 23 squad has also been narrowed down from 12 riders to seven who will start the Geelong, Melbourne race. Australia will have five U23 placed in the road race and two in the time trial.

    Rohan Dennis is nominated for the time trial only, while either...

  • Bbox-Bouygues Telecom to extend sponsorship into 2011

    Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) made France proud with another stage win.
    Article published:
    August 11, 2010, 10:20 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    New co-sponsor also touted for French team

    Bbox-Bouygues Telecom are set to renew their sponsorship of Jean-Réne Bernaudeau’s cycling team for another season, according to L’Équipe. In an echo of last season, it appears that the squad has managed to secure its future thanks to some publicity-grabbing performances at the Tour de France.

    The French telecommunications company were initially due to withdraw their sponsorship at the end of 2009, but decided on a twelve-month stay of execution when Thomas Voeckler took a Tour stage win on the very day that Bouygues Telecom vice-president Emmanuel Forest visited the race in Perpignan. This time around, Voeckler and Pierrick Fédrigo each won stages, while Antony Charteau took the King of the Mountains title and Bouygues’ extended sponsorship is expected to be announced in the coming days.

    As well as shoring up his primary sponsor for 2011, L’Équipe also reports that Bernaudeau is looking to secure his team’s future into 2012. La Banque Postale is touted to be a co-sponsor of his squad next season before becoming main sponsor the following year. During the Tour, Bernaudeau admitted to having contacted “around forty” companies in search of sponsorship and stated his hope that the successes of Voeckler and Fédrigo would “speed up their decisions.”

    The Vendée department will also offer support to the locally-based squad in the coming year. The 2011 Tour begins in the region. It is as yet unclear as to whether the team's budget will allow it to seek a ProTour licence for the season.

    Once Bouygues Telecom’s sponsorship is confirmed for next season, Bernaudeau can set about re-signing his riders and staff, all of whose contracts expire in December. Thus far, only Steve Chainel and William Bonnet have left, both destined for La Française des Jeux.

    However, star rider Thomas Voeckler is keen to commit to...

  • Third grand tour for Carlos Sastre?

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo)
    Article published:
    August 11, 2010, 11:22 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Cervélo team leader wants Spanish team-mates backing him at Vuelta

    Carlos Sastre has indicated that he is likely to start the Vuelta a España on August 28. Speaking to the Diario de Ávila, the 2008 Tour de France champion said that the key issue to be resolved is the line-up of riders who would back him in the Cervélo team in Spain.

    “I’m just waiting for the decision from the team on who would be joining me [at the Vuelta],” said Sastre. “I would like to be able to count on the rest of the Spanish riders such as Óscar Pujol, Xavier Florencio, Xavi Tondo and Joaquín Novoa. The decision on that will be made this week.”

    If the 35-year-old Cervélo TestTeam leader does decide to start the Vuelta having already ridden and finished the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France this season, it would be the second time that he has taken on all three major tours in the same year. In 2006, Sastre helped then CSC team-mate Ivan Basso win the Giro title, then finished third at the Tour and fourth at the Vuelta. He said then that he would never attempt the feat again having finished the Vuelta “totally spent”.

    However, Sastre says that things are different this season. “This year I started racing much later on and I’m feeling good both physically and mentally as I showed at the San Sebastián Classic,” he said. Sastre took a career-best third place in Spain’s biggest one-day race at the end of July.

    Vuelta organisers Unipublic have been putting Cervélo under pressure to select Sastre for the season’s final grand tour. The team were one of Vuelta director Javier Guillén’s wild card picks for the race. Guillén indicated at the time that Cervélo’s place in the race was largely dependent on Sastre’s presence in the Cervélo team that will line up in Seville at the end of August.
     

  • Former World Cyclo-cross champion Simunek dies aged 48

    Radomir Simunek Sr.
    Article published:
    August 11, 2010, 14:11 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Czech idol won four rainbow jerseys

    The Czech former world-cyclo cross world champion Radomir Simunek died on Tuesday after suffering from cirrhosis of the liver. He was 48.

    Simunek was a cyclo-cross pioneer and one of the first riders from Eastern Europe to devote himself to a cycling career in Belgium, and he did so to great effect. Current world champion and fellow Czech Zdenek Stybar cited Simunek as an important influence, saying that he may never have been a bike racer had it not been for his predecessor.

    Simunek first won the rainbow jersey as a junior in 1980 and followed that up with back-to-back amateur titles in 1983 and 1984. The collapse of communism finally allowed the classy Simunek to turn professional in 1989 and he took victory in the professional world championship in Gieten in the Netherlands in 1991. This triumph ensured his place in history as the first man to win the cyclo-cross world title in all three categories, an achievement only recently matched by Lars Boom and Niels Albert.

    Simunek also took the Super Prestige classification on three occasions, as well as winning seven national senior titles, three in the old Czechoslovakia and four in the Czech Republic.

    France’s Dominque Arnould, himself world cyclo-cross champion in 1993, described the Czech as an idol. “He was pure technique. He was the ‘Mr. Cyclo-cross’ of the last twenty years,” he told L’Équipe.

    In 1992, Simunek was convicted of having caused a car accident in which three people were killed, but he was released from prison four months into his sentence after receiving a presidential pardon.

    Simunek retired from the sport aged 40, and in recent years had been coaching his son, Radomir Jr, who finished in 8th place at the last world cyclo-cross championships.

  • Riccò could land at Quick Step

    Patrick Lefevere is confident about his team
    Article published:
    August 11, 2010, 15:00 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Lefevere not concerned with Italian's past, will consult with sponsors

    Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere has said that he will meet with his sponsors tomorrow before deciding whether or not to open negotiations with Riccardo Riccò, but stated that he could see no reason why his team should not consider signing the controversial Italian.

    “I don’t see the difference between signing a rider like Ivan Basso and signing Riccò. They were both suspended for the same thing,” Lefevere told Cyclingnews.

    Riccò was handed a two-year doping ban in 2008 after testing positive for CERA at the Tour de France. He returned to competition in March of this year but his Ceramica Flamina team have not been invited to any major races since, including the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Riccò won the Tour of Austria in July.

    La Gazzetta dello Sport this morning reported that Lefevere was due to meet with Riccò later today, but the Belgian said that he has yet to speak with the rider.

    “I did not approach Riccò, he was offered to me by his agents,” Lefevere said. Riccò recently bought out his Flamina contract for €75,000 in order to facilitate a change of team in 2011. It is also understood that Vacansoleil have already offered him a deal for next season should talks with Quick Step not materialise.

    Lefevere was reluctant to be drawn on rumours that Riccò would start the Vuelta a España for Quick Step should he ultimately reach an agreement with the squad. With Tom Boonen set to miss the Vuelta, Quick Step are in need of some added firepower for the Spanish race.

    “If, if, if…It could be a possibility, but it’s all just hypothesis for now,” Lefevere explained. “Too many managers are leaking details to the media before they are confirmed. I will speak to my sponsor first.”

  • Zubeldia helps RadioShack make a point

    Spain's Haimar Zubeldia (Team Radioshack) was the quickest over the course.
    Article published:
    August 11, 2010, 15:35 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    The Shack aiming to prove Vuelta omission was a major mistake

    Haimar Zubeldia's prologue victory at the Tour de l'Ain was not only a personal milestone for the Basque rider who had not won for a decade, but also maintained RadioShack's semi-official campaign to demonstrate that their non-selection for the Vuelta a España was a ridiculous mistake.

    Zubeldia's success was his first since a time trial victory in the 2000 edition of the Bicicleta Vasca helped him take the overall title in that race. In the subsequent decade, there may not have been any wins for the Basque to celebrate, but he has established himself as one of the most dependable grand tour performers in the sport.

    Three times a top 10 finisher at the Tour de France, the 33-year-old Zubeldia has no outstanding weapon as a rider, a characteristic underlined by his lack of victories. However, as a strong climber, a very good time triallist and a canny tactician, the former Euskaltel team leader has long been a very solid performer, particularly in major stage races.

    It was a surprise when he opted to end his career-long commitment to Euskaltel in 2008 and join first Astana and then RadioShack. But during that period his new teams have taken advantage of his ability and experience by turning him into a super-domestique, supporting the likes of Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden.

    Although this new role means that Zubeldia rarely has the responsibility of leadership that he relished during his time with Euskaltel, he insists that he's enjoyed the switch. "I am not a winner. My job in the team is to help our grand tour riders in the mountains. I always kept working hard. This victory is a nice compensation for my hard work," he said after his prologue victory in France.

    Zubeldia also made pointed reference to his team's non-selection for his national tour, which Vuelta boss Javier Guillén said in mid-June had been made for "sporting reasons".

    "It is a pity and a shame that the Tour de...