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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Date published:
September 16, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Vuelta start in Seville for 2010

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) gets into his fresh gold jersey. He keeps the race lead.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 12:20 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Night-time prologue, red to replace gold leader's jersey

    The Southern Spanish city of Seville will host the start of the Vuelta a España in 2010, it was announced on Thursday by race organisers. Vuelta director, Javier Guillén also revealed a decision to change the colour of the race leader's jersey from gold to red.

    Speaking at the finish of stage 15 of the current Vuelta in Córdoba, Guillén and the Andalucían Minister for Commerce, Tourism and Sport, Luciano Alonso said the 65th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour will begin with an eight kilometre night-time prologue along the banks of the River Guadalquivir.

    "Seville is a place consistent with the history and tradition of the best race in Spain and one of the best in the world; a cherry on a magnificent cake," said Guillén, according to Spanish press agency EFE. "The community is linked to cycling through a team [Andalucía Cajasur – Ed.] and this year the region has hosted five stages of the race."

    The start in the Andalucían capital of Seville will be the fifth to take place in the region this decade. Seville was host to the start of stage 12 in the first edition of the Vuelta a España in 1935 and in recent year's Andalucía has played host to four Vuelta starts (2000, 2005, 2006 and 2008).

    Guillén also announced that the race leader's jersey will be changed from its current gold colour to red for next year. He explained the decision by saying: "The Vuelta has commitment to innovation and hence the creation of the red jersey."

    It will be the fourth evolution for the Vuelta's overall leader jersey, which began as an orange colour. It was changed into a yellow jersey, before changing again to a gold iteration in the 1990s. Currently, a red jersey is worn by the leader of the Vuelta's mountains classification.

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  • Devolder furious with non-selection in Belgium's Worlds team

    Stijn Devolder (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 12:32 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Bomans says Belgian team to fully support Gilbert, unable to justify Devolder's selection

    Belgian Stijn Devolder is furious at missing the World Championship team selection, calling it "the biggest humiliation of my career."

    "We are going to Mendrisio with one leader: Philippe Gilbert," national director Carlo Bomans told Het Nieuwsblad. "The rest of the selection will help him. It's either that or stay home."

    Bomans announced the Belgian team on Monday, naming eight of the nine riders. Devolder is one of the five riders up for the final spot, which Bomans will announce next Wednesday.

    The road race is four days later, Sunday, in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The 13.8-kilometre circuit repeated 19 times, a total of 262.2 kilometres and 4655 metres of climbing.

    "I thought I was a certain pick," insisted Devolder, who is currently riding the Vuelta a España. "If you list three riders in Belgium, you list [Tom] Boonen, Devolder and Gilbert. Right? Other than Boonen, nobody has a record like I do."

    Devolder raced the Vuelta especially to prepare for the Worlds, he pointed out. He is currently 103rd overall and 1:50:53 behind leader Alejandro Valverde.

    Bomans said that Devolder, 30, had not gone on the offensive in the race. "Then who has, other than team leader Philippe Gilbert?" continued Devolder.

    Being put on the long list for the remaining slot "is yet another insult, the greatest humiliation of my career." He may stop his season early if he misses the final ninth spot, he said.

    Devolder's only victory this season was in the one-day Classic Ronde van Vlaanderen, in April. "With his condition at the Ronde he left everyone behind him," Bomans said. "But I want riders who are good now."

    Bomans said he discussed his selection with Devolder and that he could not justify his inclusion.

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  • Roels motivated by Córdoba ride

    Dominik Roels (Milram)
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 13:23 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Fast descent nets high placing for Milram's Dominik Roels

    Team Milram's Dominik Roels is satisfied with his showing in his debut Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España. He took third behind winner Lars Boom on stage 15 into Córdoba yesterday after he attacked on the final descent.

    "It is my first three-week Tour and so far it has been great," he told Cyclingnews.

    The race started nearly three weeks ago with four stages through The Netherlands and Belgium. It ends this Sunday in Madrid.

    "I have been in two attacks in Holland already, close to my home in Germany, and I really also wanted to be in another attack like today. In Holland it was a bit easier [to get away] because not everyone wanted to be in it, but now I am really happy to have presented myself like this."

    The profile of yesterday's stage made it clear that a break could succeed, and there was a serious battles before the right escape established itself. Only riders who were not a threat to the general classification contenders would be given leeway and while that right blend of riders was being sorted out, the speed was high.

    "I really worked hard, as the whole team did, to get into the group," he said. "It took maybe 50 kilometres, and so we were really lucky to be in there. It was fine once the group was set, but it was certain that on the final climb it would be all out for the win."

    His teammate Martin Velits attacked at the bottom of the second ascent of the San Jeronimo climb.

    "I followed with Boom and Serafín Martínez. Boom went on and I followed for a bit but then I couldn't hang on."

    The 2006 German under 23 champion said Dutchman Boom was riding too quickly. He was caught by a group containing Velits and was dropped by them before the top, but he fought back on.

    "I really had to struggle to hang on. I went all out on the descent... on the lap before I had memorised what turns I could go all out on, so I managed to get third on the stage."

  • Boom, Hoogerland earn Dutch Worlds team spot after strong Vuelta

    Lars Boom on the attack.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 16:04 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Netherlands announce five of six its six riders for Mendrisio Worlds

    Lars Boom and Johnny Hoogerland have used their good results at the Vuelta a España to earn a place on The Netherlands' World Championships team. The Dutch Federation announced today five of the six riders for the race next week in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    Robert Gesink, currently second overall in the Vuelta, Karsten Kroon and Koos Moerenhout will join Boom and Hoogerland. Laurens ten Dam, Sebastian Langeveld, Bram Tankink and Pieter Weening are the candidates for the final place.

    Team Rabobank's Boom, 23, won the 15th stage of the Vuelta yesterday in Córdoba, the first Dutch Grand Tour stage victory since 2005. He also won the Tour of Belgium this season.

    Boom is a multiple World Champion, he won the cyclo-cross title in 2008 and the Under 23 time trial in 2007.

    Hoogerland, 25, rides for the Professional Continental Team Vacansoleil. He has been a familiar sight in escape groups during this year's Vuelta. In March he won the first stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and held on to win the overall title.

    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, but nations like The Netherlands and France can only bring six. The UCI decided the numbers based on team rankings as of August 15.

  • Bronchitis knocks Gerdemann out of Worlds

    Linus Gerdemann (Milram) ran out of luck on the final descent. He punctured and then crashed.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 17:50 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Bad luck continues after Vuelta crash

    Linus Gerdemann wanted to use the Vuelta a España to prepare for the World Championships, and on stage 10, the Milram rider launched a promising attack. But it turned out to be the end of his plans for both races.

    Everything was going according to plan, he told Cyclingnews on Tuesday afternoon. “With my attack on the 10th stage, I wanted to test my form, and everything looked quite promising. But this day could not have ended more unluckily for me.”

    Alone in the lead, Gerdemann flatted on the descent of the day's only climb. The neutral service technicians gave him the wrong tyre, and he subsequently crashed on the next curve.

    "First I had the flat front wheel, and then I even crashed. It was all quite disappointing," he said, especially as the stage win looked to be his.

    Things didn't get better. "Since the crash, I was in a lot of pain, and had to abandon the Vuelta. Now I have come down with bronchitis and can't do anything at all."

    The sickness has knocked him out of the worlds, scheduled for September 23 to 27 in Mendrisio, Switzerland.  He was left off of the German team, at his own request.

    Gerdemann can't train for the next few days because of the antibiotics. "That is, of course, too bad, because I was highly motivated for the worlds. But I will miss at least one week of training, and that in the absolute preparation time for the Worlds."

    Riding the worlds wouldn't have any point, he concluded "if I could neither do anything myself nor be a good support for my teammates."

  • Soeder leads Austria in Mendrisio

    Christiane Soeder (Team SV CML Fincon) on her way to winning the women's race.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 19:25 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Austrian looks for third consecutive Worlds medal

    Christiane Soeder will lead the Austrian team at the World Championships, as she looks for her third consecutive worlds time trial medal. Austria announced on Tuesday its teams for the Worlds on September 23-27 in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    Soeder, 34, will ride both the time trial and the road race. In the time trial, she finished third in 2007 and second in 2008. At the Beijing Olympics last summer, Soeder finished fourth in the road race and seventh in the time trial. This season, she has seven victories for Cervelo TestTeam, most recently winning the first two stages of the Tour Cycliste Feminin International Ardeche.

    Soeder is Austria's only entry in the women's time trial. She will be joined by Daniela Pintarelli in the road race.

    Thomas Rohregger (Milram), Peter Wrolich (Milram) and Gerhard Trampusch (Elk Haus) will ride the men's road race. "We have a small team and have to see what we can do with it," said Rohregger, going into his third World Championships.

    Austrian World Championship Team

    Men's elite road race
    Thomas Rohregger
    Gerhard Trampusch
    Peter Wrolich

    Under 23 road race
    Matthias Brändle
    Stefen Denifl
    Daniel Schorn
    Martin Schöffman
    Riccardo Zoldi

    Under 23 men's time trial
    Matthias Krizek
    Second rider to be announced next weekend

    Women's road race
    Daniela Pintarelli
    Christiane Soeder

    Women's time trial
    Christiane Soeder

  • Garmin signing Kessiakoff feeling Vuelta pace

    Fredrik Kessiakoff (Fuji - Servetto) rolls to the line.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 22:04 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Swede plans to finish Spanish Tour, then head to Worlds

    With the Worlds just 10 days away, it is perhaps no surprise that 44 riders had quit an extremely tough Vuelta going into today's 16th stage. Many of the big names who started the race in Assen two-and-a-half weeks ago made no secret of the fact that they had come to sharpen themselves up for the Worlds in Mendrisio and wouldn't be sticking around until the Vuelta's finish in Madrid this Sunday.

    But there are some riders planning both to finish in the Spanish capital and be competitive in Mendrisio, and among them is Fuji-Servetto's Fredrik Kessiakoff. The 29-year-old Swede is coming to the end of his first full road season and admits he's finding it hard going at the Vuelta, his second major tour of the season after the Giro.

    "I'm doing OK, but I'm not in great form," he told Cyclingnews before today's stage start in Córdoba. "It wasn't the goal for me to come here and aim for the GC or anything like that. I came most of all for experience, and planned to get into a break on a stage or two. I did manage that on one stage but the break didn't work out. The problem has been that there are so many guys here motivated to do well. Yesterday [on stage 15] we rode flat out for 70km before the break went, and it's tough riding that hard after two weeks of racing."

    In common with many other riders and observers, the Swede says this year's Vuelta route is almost too hard. "There are only about 10 guys here who are actually racing. The rest of us are just surviving," says the ex-mountain biker.

    "The volume of racing has been a big shock for me, too, coming from mountain biking where I raced on perhaps 25 to 30 days a year. I would race on a Sunday, then go home to rest and prepare for a race the following Sunday. After the Vuelta, though, I will have raced on more than 100 days this year. In addition, I've been used to racing for 90 minutes to two hours, but on the road I'm doing four to eight hours."

    Despite his...

  • New Vuelta sponsors face €1 million payout

    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 0:30 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Spanish back countryman

    Online betting company William Hill stands to make a big payout if Alejandro Valverde go on to win his first Grand Tour in Madrid on Sunday. It stated this week that 90 percent of all bets received have been for Valverde, and that this means that the green jersey sponsors would have to shell out €1 million if he tops the podium.

    “Spanish gamblers have supported Valverde as if defeat is out of the question and he looks certain to repay their patriotic faith,” said spokesman David Hood. “This is the first year has sponsored La Vuelta and it has meant that many more people have had a bet than ever before.

    “Unfortunately they have almost all bet on Alejandro and it could prove to be a very expensive event for us.”

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