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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Date published:
September 19, 2012, 07:00
  • Arndt finishes career with a flourish on the Cauberg

    Judith Arndt (Germany) goes off into retirement as world champion
    Article published:
    September 18, 2012, 17:54
    Barry Ryan

    German retires after second world time trial title

    Judith Arndt brings the curtain down on her professional career at the world championships in Limburg this week and the German secured herself the perfect send-off by taking victory in the elite women's time trial on Tuesday.

    The sting in the tail of the testing 24.1km course was the stiff climb of the Cauberg just before the finish, and this was precisely where Arndt confirmed her superiority by padding out her advantage over her closest challengers to claim her second successive time trial title, and the fourth rainbow jersey of her lengthy career across all disciplines.

    Just 10 seconds clear of second-placed Evelyn Stevens (USA) at the second check point after 16.1km, Arndt measured her effort well ahead of the daunting finale, and her tempo on the Cauberg saw her stretch her lead out to 33 seconds by the finish.

    "It was very hard with the Cauberg but I knew that beforehand and there was a descent before you get to Valkenburg, so you could get a bit of a rest there," Arndt said afterwards. "When you know the Cauberg is about 2km from the finish, it's just a mental thing and you give everything you can. It's painful, but it's three minutes where you just go with everything."

    The three minutes that separated Arndt from the rainbow jersey were also the final three minutes of time trialling of her career. The 36-year-old confessed that a sense of relief that it was all at an end swept over her on crossing the line.

    "I felt kind of emotional but also relieved that it's all over – not only the time trial but also my career," Arndt said. "You'd have to make yourself suffer with every race and every training ride and it was getting pretty hard in the last few years, so it's nice to end with a success like this."

    Arndt smiled when she was asked why she was hanging up her wheels when she was still so competitive at world level – her gold in Valkenburg follows a silver medal at last month's London 2012 Olympics.

    "Why am I stopping? Because I've had enough! I started in '91, and that's 21 years ago. I've had to train almost every day and I've had so many races, and you don't have time at home with your partner. It's just difficult and I don't want to do it anymore."

    Arndt was congratulated after the finish by her partner Anna, and the German paid tribute to her support. "We didn't talk really – I had 180 heart rate so I couldn't really say anything," Arndt said. "She said before the race that she would be waiting there, so I was looking for her. She has really supported me for the last four years and I think it's quite hard for the partner."

    When she rolled to a halt past the finish line, Arndt was seen to ask if she had indeed done enough to knock Evelyn Stevens out of the hot seat and take gold for herself.

    "I had heard someone saying at the Cauberg that I was leading by half a minute, but I wasn't sure," she said, before joking: "I turned around at the finish to read my time, but you know my eyes are not really that good anymore, so I had to ask."

    World championships
  • Stevens celebrates second medal at this year's road Worlds

    Evelyn Stevens (USA) won the silver medal in Limburg
    Article published:
    September 18, 2012, 18:40
    Daniel Benson

    American earns silver medal in individual time trial

    Evelyn Stevens (United States) picked up her second medal in this year's road world championships with silver in the women's individual time trial. The American all-rounder won gold in the team time trial with her Specialized - lululemon squad on the first day of the championships, but finished second to Germany's Judith Arndt in Tuesday's 24.1-kilometre test against the clock.

    Stevens crossed the line to take the lead but had a nervous wait with six riders still out on the course. When Britain's Emma Pooley could only manage second, Stevens was assured of a medal with only Arndt and Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) still to finish.

    "There were women that I've never beaten at this level on this scale, so for me, it was a nervous wait," she told Cyclingnews after the race.

    "I knew I had a good time trial so I was there sitting and waiting, but I know that to beat Judith would have been very challenging. I gave it all I could and I left it all out there on the course. Of course you always want to win, but I was pretty happy with what I was able to do today.

    Stevens, who admitted that her time trial skills were not as accomplished as some of her top rivals, was only six seconds behind Arndt at the first time check but was tied with Pooley and Villumsen at the 10.7-kilometre mark. She picked up speed over the second part of the course, relegating Villumsen to bronze and Pooley to fourth.

    "I just went out hard. It's only 24.1km, so it wasn't that long. I knew I just had to go out as hard as I could and I tried to split up into a bunch of different time trials. For me the Cauberg was a prologue. I didn't even think about it until I got to the foot of the climb, and then it was about giving it everything, and getting everything out of my system.

    "Actually, the false flat after the climb was probably the most important bit," she said. "But I think the whole course is key, when it's only 24.1km every kilometre matters, especially when you're competing against such good competition."

    Stevens missed out on Olympic time trial selection to fellow Americans Amber Neben and Kristin Armstrong, but after winning a silver, and with the road race still to come, she has already earmarked the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 as a target.

    "It was very disappointing not to get the trial ride at the Olympics, but you can't have everything go in your favour and I've had a pretty great career so far. It's good motivation and it makes me want it, and to go to the next Olympics and win really bad."

    World championships
  • Bole signs with Vacansoleil-DCM

    Grega Bole (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    September 18, 2012, 20:28
    Cycling News

    Lampre rider joins Dutch team in view of Classis

    Grega Bole has been announced to have signed with Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM for the coming season. The 27-year-old Slovenian has been with the Italian Lampre team for the last three seasons, and notably won a stage at the 2011 Dauphiné, the 2011 Slovenian national championship as well as the GP Ouest France in Plouay last year.

    Vacansoleil has added Bole to its roster in view of the Classics. "Grega Bole joins Vacansoleil-DCM for 2013. Slovenian fits profile of classic rider," the team indicated on Twitter on Tuesday. The WorldTour outfit thus changes its core roster for the Classics, also having announced the signing of Juan Antonio Flecha, following the departure of Stijn Devolder.


  • Sulzberger to replace Rogers for world championships

    Tasmanian pair: Wes Sulzberger and Matt Goss at the startline in Melbourne.
    Article published:
    September 18, 2012, 21:15
    Cycling News

    Tonsillitis knocks out former time trial champ

    Cycling Australia announced today that it has chosen Wesley Sulzberger to join five of his Orica-GreenEdge teammates on the nine-man team for the world championships road race on Sunday.

    Sulzberger replaces Michael Rogers, who is suffering from tonsillitis and was forced to drop out. It is the first time Rogers has missed the Worlds in 13 years.

    "It's always a blow to lose a rider of the calibre of Michael Rogers from a national team," said Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Kevin Tabotta. "Michael adds so much value physically and tactically to our worlds teams.

    "This season has been one of his best and his experience will be missed on Sunday."

    Tabotta had to choose between Garmin-Sharp's Nathan Haas and Sulzberger, who will take part in his fourth road world championships. He claimed a silver medal as an under 23 in 2007.

    "We needed to bring in someone who we know has the experience and current form to provide the support needed for team plan," said Tabotta. "Wes has world championship and big race experience and we're confident he will provide solid back up for the team leaders in their pursuit of a podium result."

    Sulzberger said via Twitter that he was "very honoured to have been given the position", while Haas wished him and the team luck and said, "Would love to have raced for Australia at worlds, not meant to be this year."

    Australia will be represented in the 267km road race on Sunday by Orica-GreenEdge riders Simon Clarke, Allan Davis, Simon Gerrans and Sulzberger, as well as Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Sharp), Michael Matthews (Rabobank), Richie Porte (Sky) and David Tanner (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff).

    In the time trial, Luke Durbridge and Cameron Meyer (both Orica-GreenEdge) will take part for Australia.

  • Gallery: Italian Worlds team trains in Valkenburg

    Luca Paolini is the team's regista, or road captain.
    Article published:
    September 19, 2012, 00:47
    Cycling News

    Bettini promises attacking display

    Italian coach Paolo Bettini has promised that his team will go on the offensive in Sunday’s world championships road race in Valkenburg. After a disappointing showing in Copenhagen last year, the squadra azzurra is determined to bounce back, with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) leading the line.

    “No, you won’t see the team playing catenaccio – we’re not interested in shutting down the race like in the past. We have to break the race open,” Bettini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “We don’t have a Gilbert or a Valverde, the kind of athlete who you can bring to the foot of the Cauberg and give him the responsibility of getting a result with reasonable certainty that he will deliver.”

    Instead, Bettini will ask his youthful line-up – riders with past doping suspensions and riders currently under investigation were not considered for selection – to be “a bit rebellious” and go on the attack.

    “If you wait, you risk having regrets,” he said. “It’s better to be at the front instead of following. The team is young but it knows how to race. I’ll tell everyone: ‘Have a go.’”

    Vincenzo Nibali’s strong showing on the Cauberg in Sunday’s team time trial offered some timely encouragement to the Italian squad. Bettini had seemed unconvinced by the Sicilian’s potential to lead the team in Valkenburg earlier in the season, but Nibali’s consistency in the classics impressed the national coach.

    “He’s not just a rider for the grand tours anymore, he showed that at Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he took risks to try and win,” Bettini said. “The harder the race is, the better it is for him.

    “These Worlds could be really very open. I really believe in the team I’ve put together. There’s nothing to lose and nothing to fear.”


    World championships
  • Japanese "expelled" from Tour of China

    Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team) wins stage 4 of the Tour of China
    Article published:
    September 19, 2012, 01:53
    Jane Aubrey

    Safety a concern for Global Cycling Promotion ahead of Tour of Beijing

    Japanese riders competing at the second Tour of China have been drawn into a diplomatic row over an uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea, with the UCI expressing a concern first and foremost for competitor safety.

    Sovereignty has provided a rallying point for the Chinese for at least the last 150 years.

    The trigger for the tension between China and Japan has been the latest twist in a long-running tug-of-war over the Diaoyo Islands (as known to Chinese) or the Senkaku Islands (as known to Japanese). Already a disputed territory, the islands were nationalised by the Japanese over the weekend when some of the islands were bought by the government from their private Japanese owner. The timing of the sale has proved critical with commemorations taking place on Tuesday for the Manchurian Incident of 1931, when the Japanese invaded the north of China, known as Manchuria. The incident was a catalyst for the revolution of 1949 and the creation of The People's Republic of China by Mao Zedong.

    For now, Japanese riders, staff, journalists and photographers have been asked to leave this week's Tour of China, while Chinese badminton players have been withdrawn from a tournament in Japan, according to reports.

    "It is true that Japanese were expelled," UCI President Pat McQuaid confirmed to Reuters.

    Most notably, Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team) had been sitting fourth in the UCI AsiaTour rankings and was a stage winner in the first Tour of China. Nishitani may have started the prologue on Sunday but by Stage 1, he had left the race and so did his chances of climbing the rankings.

    Meantime, with the high-profile Tour of Beijing due to begin on October 9, Global Cycling Promotion which runs the event is monitoring the situation closely.

    "What matters is everyone's safety and it is true that the situation can become worrying," GCP director Alain Rumpf told Reuters.

    The Japanese Embassy has suspended passport services in China for the time being.


  • Cromwell set for attacking world championship

    Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-Greenedge) in the break
    Article published:
    September 19, 2012, 04:11
    Jane Aubrey

    In-form Australian continues to aim high

    Tiffany Cromwell might just be in the form of her career. The 24-year-old from Adelaide will lead the Australian women's team for Saturday's road race at the UCI World Championships in Limburg with a heightened confidence off the back of an inspired season with Orica-AIS.

    The 128.8 kilometre course is well-suited to Cromwell's strengths and abilities. Cromwell, along with teammates Amanda Spratt, Gracie Elvin, Rachel Neylan, Jessie Maclean and Loren Rowney have now joined Shara Gillow in Holland with the latter travelling early to compete in the time trials. After a relaxed preparation in Varese under the guidance of David McPartland, the team is ready and as Cromwell says, "the hard work has been done."

    Cromwell didn't really have a choice heading into the 2012 season. 2011 had been "a massive mess" having left Lotto-Honda, Cromwell thought about hanging up the bike, before joining Hitec Products-UCK. Now with Orica-AIS, Cromwell has found her perfect fit.

    "I think it was a move that I needed," she told Cyclingnews. "To come in to a team that's well-organised, professional, a good group of girls - it's not about one rider, ever. It's a team where everybody gets an opportunity. It's brought out the best in me."

    The back half of Cromwell's season has been a stand-out after several close calls including her second career top 10 at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, top 10 at GP Elsy Jacobs; then came the breakthrough. After over 100km solo, Cromwell won the fifth stage of the Giro Donne - it was her first victory since 2009.

    It was too late to force her way into selection for the Olympic team but Cromwell dismisses the idea that missing out on the three-woman team fuelled what was to come. Instead she kept doing what she had been doing.

    "It was always going to be difficult," Cromwell admits. "They [selectors] went for the sprinter, the time trialist and the opportunist / worker. It was always going to be close between Spratty and myself because our results had been so similar and we're similar in terms of our riding style. It went to Spratty. I have full respect for her.

    "Everybody wants to go to the Olympics," Cromwell continued. "It would have been a great opportunity. I was a little bit disappointed at first but I put it behind me. I focused on what I could focus on. I just got back to business and racing my bike. It's worked. I've got the best results that I've had in my career this year."

    Cromwell let loose at GP Plouay, forcing the definitive split on the penultimate lap and eventually finishing second to Marianne Vos. The result lifted Cromwell to ninth in the final World Cup standings of the season but she was not done yet. Earlier this month, Crowell finished eighth overall at the Giro della Toscana Int. Femminile.

    A careful analysis of the parcours and her competitors leaves Cromwell with the feeling that it may be only one or two riders will be fighting it out to the finish line after the Cauberg on Saturday. The race is there to be attacked and Cromwell, in her third world championship appearance, believes Australia has just the team to do it with.

    "I think we will still be looked at as underdogs," Cromwell said. "Certainly I'm going to be a little bit more marked now with the late results.

    "I look at our team as more of an opportunistic team; we're not the most experienced team. For half the team this is their first world championships. Cycling Australia is looking at developing for the future. We've got quite a few different cards we can play. It's a versatile team. We're not favourites but I think we can surprise a few people."

    Cromwell knows that a top 10 is well within her reach - "... but top five would be great. A podium would be amazing. You can aim high; you've got nothing to lose."

    If her season has been steadily building towards this world championships race, Cromwell won't be one to let the occasion get under her skin and it's an attitude that she hopes will resonate with her teammates, despite three of them making their debut.

    "Basically it's just another race; it just has a striped jersey at the end - which obviously is pretty cool to win," she admits.

    "You can't be afraid to not finish. You just need to do your job and get out of there."

    World championships
  • Grenda, Wurf join Team Polygon for Tour of Tasmania

    Ben Grenda kicks things off for Genesys Wealth Advisers in 2011 with victory in the National Under 23 Mens Criterium Championship in Ballarat.
    Article published:
    September 19, 2012, 05:19
    Cycling News

    Local exports hoped to play a development role

    Team Polygon has received a huge boost heading into the Tour of Tasmania next month, announcing that home-grown talent, Ben Grenda and Cameron Wurf will guest ride for the team.

    For the team formerly known as Pure Tasmania, a development team from the island state, having two experienced riders the likes of Wurf and Grenda available for the stage race is central to aiding the continued development of 18-year-old Alex Clements.

    "We're really looking to get a good result for Alex," team manager Nigel Baker said. "Obviously it depends on how the race unfolds but in the past, Alex has been someone who can maintain a good GC position.

    "But now we've got a few options for GC with Ben and Cameron coming in."

    Wurf is currently riding the Tour of China with Champion System and will return to Liquigas for the 2013 season after a one-year absence. The 29-year-old finished as runner-up in the Tour of Qinghai Lake earlier in the year. Grenda meanwhile, graduated from the highly-successful Genesys Wealth Advisers outfit to Rapha Condor – Sharp this season He's a former under 23 Australian criterium champion and comes from a family rich in cycling history. Grenda's grandfather, Ron, was a triple-Australian sprint cycling champion and is the team masseur for the tour.

    "It's going to be great for the younger guys, just to have his experience and knowledge," said Baker. Grenda's father Michael won gold in the 4000m team pursuit in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

    "We're also really lucky to have Gene Bates as head coach," continued Baker. He's phenomenal with tactics and really knows how to get the best out of the guys."

    Racing in familiar territory could pay off for Team Polygon with Baker rating it the toughest edition of the race he's seen.

    "I think the second stage [from New Norfolk to Lake Pedder] will be a bigger challenge than what people think, and the Golden Valley stage to Great Lake will definitely shape the tour," he said.

    "I think it's going to take a really good climber to win it and I think that we've got that. It's not going to be won on the intermediate sprints, it will be won out on the road."

    The Tour of Tasmania marks the final round of the Scody Cup and begins October 2.