- Article published:
- September 3, 2013, 21:50
- Stephen Farrand
Westra and Terpstra to ride the elite men's time trial
Tom-Jelte Slagter (Belkin) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) have been named in the Netherlands elite men's team for the world road race championships in Tuscany, completing a strong and balanced squad for the tough road race around Florence.
Tour Down Under winner Slagter and current Dutch national champion Hoogerland join Bauke Mollema, Laurens ten Dam, Robert Gesink and Wilco Kelderman (all Belkin) Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM), Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) and Pieter Weening (Orica-Green Edge) in the nine-rider team. All seem capable of performing well on the hilly course.
Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will ride the individual time trial. Lars Boom opted not ride the world championships as his partner is reportedly expecting their second child.
The elite men's road race will be held on Sunday September 29, with the Elite men's time trial on Wednesday September 25. The time trial covers a flat 57.9km course between Montecatini Terme and Florence. The road race is 272km long. It starts in Lucca before heading to Florence for the hilly circuit around Fiesole and the north of the Renaissance city.
Mollema is expected to lead the team but has struggled to remain an overall contender at the Vuelta a Espana.
"The world championships are still almost four weeks away. I know that all the riders will be 100% focused and keen for a Dutchman to do well," national coach Johan Lammerts said, cautious about the Netherlands' chances.
"We have to be realistic about what we can do. This is also the toughest course for the last 10 years."
- Article published:
- September 4, 2013, 00:57
- Cycling News
Villumsen chasing a fifth medal
Linda Villumsen and George Bennett will lead the New Zealand 14-strong team for the UCI Road World Championships in Florence, Italy later this month.
Villumsen, a four-time medallist at the world championships and the only Kiwi to have won a medal at the elite level, took a break following the London Olympic Games before returning with the Wiggle Honda team. The 28-year-old won the overall at La Route de France, was fifth at the Thuringen Rundfahrt and 14th overall in the Giro Rosa. She is currently leading the Tour of Ardeche after victory in the prologue.
Joining Villumsen in the women's line-up will be her Wiggle Honda teammate Emily Collins, Jo Kiesanowski (Team Tibco) and Reta Trotman who has impressed this season in Europe riding in her debut season for German pro team MaxxSolar, including finishing second in the mountain classification in Gracia Orlova Tour.
"Linda has an outstanding record in the time trial at the world championships and will be gunning to get to the top of the podium this year," said Mark Elliott, BikeNZ High Performance Director.
"She needed the break from the sport after the disappointment of the Olympics and the time out from the rigours of a professional team has done wonders. She has returned fresh and enthusiastic. Her results suggest she will be competitive on this tough road circuit and we have selected a strong team to support her."
Two more riders may be added to the women's squad dependent on results this week.
Meantime, Bennett has had an impressive season for RadioShack Leopard, including a top-10 performance at the USA Pro Challenge. He will be joined by Jack Bauer (Garmin Sharp) and London Olympic medallist Sam Bewley (Orica GreenEdge).
"George is the obvious go-to man for a course like this," said Elliott. "Jack has freshened up after his brilliant effort in the Tour de France and has trained specifically for the road race to support George while Sam will focus on protecting George in the first half of the race."
Bewley will line up with RadioShack Leopard teammate Jesse Sergent in the time trial.
James Oram, currently in his second year for the Bontrager pro team will lead the charge in the under-23 team. He will be joined by European-based Alex Frame (Thuringer Energie) and Dion Smith (Champion Systems) in the road race and national champion Michael Vink, a member of the BikeNZ endurance squad in Europe, in the time trial.
The BikeNZ team is:
Elite men: George Bennett (Radioshack Leopard, road race); Jack Bauer (Garmin Sharp, road race); Jesse Sergent (Radioshack Leopard, time trial); Sam Bewley (Orica GreenEdge, time trial, road race).
Elite women: Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda, time trial, road race); Emily Collins (Wiggle Honda, road race), Reta Trotman (Maxx Solar, road race); Jo Kiesanowski (Team Tibco, road race).
Under-23 men: James Oram (Bontrager, time trial, road race), Michael Vink (time trial); Dion Smith (Champion System, road race); Alex Frame (Thuringer Energie, road race).
Junior women: Devon Hiley (road race); Madison Campbell (road race).
- Article published:
- September 4, 2013, 02:16
- Cycling News
Medal defence on the line in Florence
USA Cycling will field a strong line-up of riders for the upcoming UCI Road World Championships later this month.
Joining automatic selections Freddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly Cycling), Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) will be current Vuelta a Espana overall leader Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard), Taylor Phinney (BMC), Alex Howes (Garmin Sharp) and Peter Stetina (Garmin Sharp).
Phinney, 2012 bronze medallist in the individual time trial, will get a chance to better that this month and will be joined by Talansky. The Garmin Sharp rider finished second in the time trials at Paris-Nice, prologue at the Tour of Romandie and the USA Pro Challenge.
Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp) was eligible to race courtesy of his fourth overall at the Tour of Romandie, however he declined his start.
Automatically selected for the elite women's road race are Mara Abbott (Exergy Twenty16), Shelley Olds (Team Tibco-To the Top), Carmen Small (Specialized-lululemon), Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) and Jade Wilcoxson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies). Runner-up at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and US elite women's road champion Megan Guanier (Rabobank-Liv-Giant) and overall winner of the Cascade Cycle Classic, Kristin McGrath (Exergy Twenty16) are the other selections.
Last year's silver medallist in the individual time trial Stevens, will be joined by national champion Small in the chrono.
The five-man under-23 contingent includes the four automatic nominations of Nathan Wilson (Bontrager Cycling Team), Lawson Craddock (Bontrager Cycling Team), Nathan Brown (Bontrager Cycling Team) and national U23 amateur champion Tanner Putt (Bontrager Cycling Team). Gavin Mannion (Bontrager Cycling Team) was selected as a discretionary pick after placing eighth at the Tour de l'Avenir in France last week.
Brown was also an automatic selection for the U23 individual time trial after winning the bronze medal at the national championships. He will be joined in the time trial by Craddock, a discretionary selection who finished just behind Brown in fourth place.
Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard)
Alex Howes (Garmin Sharp)
Taylor Phinney (BMC) – competing road race and time trial
Freddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly Cycling)
Peter Stetina (Garmin Sharp)
Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) – competing in road race and time trial
Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
Mara Abbott (Exergy Twenty16)
Megan Gaurnier (Rabobank-Liv-Giant)
Kristin McGrath (Exergy Twenty16)
Shelley Olds (Team Tibco-To the Top)
Carmen Small (Specialized-lululemon) – competing in road race and time trial
Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) – competing in road race and time trial
Jade Wilcoxson (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)
Nathan Brown (Bontrager Cycling Team) – competing in road race and time trial
Lawson Craddock (Bontrager Cycling Team) – competing in road race and time trial
Tanner Putt (Bontrager Cycling Team)
Nathan Wilson (Bontrager Cycling Team)
Gavin Mannion (Bontrager Cycling Team)
William Barta (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad))
Miguel Bryon (DCM Cycling Team)
Geofferey Curran (Get Crackin'-VRC)
Michael Dessau (Slipstream-Craddock Junior Development) – competing in time trial only
Zeke Mostov (Slipstream-Craddock Junior Development) – competing in road race and time trial
Justin Oien (MRI Endurance Elite Juniors)
Logan Owen (California Giant Cycling)
Kelly Catlin (Gopher Wheelmen) – competing in road race and time trial
Hanna Swan (Strive Racing) – competing in road race and time trial
Sara Youmans (Stranamanti Cycling - Keller Rohrback Cycling)
- Article published:
- September 4, 2013, 04:17
- Cycling News
Bomans in Spain to discuss form and Florence course
Defending Road World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) is yet to win a race in 2013, but the Belgian says that he won't be riding for anyone else come September 29.
In an interview with Cycling.be, Gilbert said: "I certainly do not want to work for someone else… It's such a nice course I want to try it for myself."
Gilbert is currently working on building his form at the Vuelta a Espana and he will be bet this week by national coach Carlos Bomans to discuss his thoughts on the world championship course.
Earlier this week, Gilbert earned his ninth podium for the season finishing runner-up to Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) on Stage 7. Asked by Nieuwsblad if Gilbert's current form was enough to earn him the title of leader of the Belgian team, Bomans would not say.
"He is getting better," he admitted. "In difficult circumstances. With that knee injury, racing the Vuelta is not easy. "
Gilbert was forced out of the Eneco Tour late last month following a crash which left the 31-year-old with stitches in his left knee.
Gilbert's lead in to his world championship victory in 2012 was also light-on in terms of results, winning two stages of the Vuelta before his victory on the Valkenburg circuit. He said there is no reason to think that this year is any different.
"Three weeks in Spain will give me freshness that will come in handy at the world championships," he said.
Belgium has qualified for seven riders in the men's road race.
- Article published:
- September 4, 2013, 07:15
- Susan Westemeyer
NetApp rider still recovering from emotional strain
Winning the seventh stage of the Vuelta a Espana was “a dream come true” for Leo König. The NetApp-Endura rider was awed to have won a stage in his very first Grand Tour.
“I came to this race to learn and to get a result, but mostly to learn,” he told Cyclingnews on the rest day. "It is still my first Grand Tour -- you set some goals and believe in them, but you don't really think that they will come true so early. To win a stage in my first year .....
“At first I could not believe it. It was like a dream come true.”
The Czech rider had stayed with the group of favourites on the climb up to the Altos Penas Blancas, and with two kilometres to go, he attacked and went after solo leader Igor Anton of Euskaltel. Four other riders came up and joined him, but with one kilometre to go, he shook them off.
“When I saw Igor Anton, I thought it was not going to happen because he seemed really strong. Then he started looking back and shaking his head, and I saw from his body that he was very tired and I realized I had a chance. I just kept going and thought maybe I could win. With 50 meters to go I realized it, that was the moment.”
The victory had its price, though. The ceremonies, interviews and formalities took over an hour after the stage, and he still had to ride back to the hotel. The emotional strain hit him, and his body reacted to it.
“I was, I don't know, just exhausted. Everything coming together after winning the stage and that took so long. I didn't sleep very well, with all the emotions and everything,” König told Cyclingnews.
He suffered from fever and sleeplessness for the next few days, but was able to maintain his good GC ranking. “Of course, yesterday when the guys from the team saw that I was not really good, they helped me keep on fighting. I looked really bad and I felt really bad. I even thought I might not be able to finish.
“But in my mind I saw the finish line and was determined to cross it and I did, with the team's help.”
Although he had dropped from fourth to eleventh overall, he is optimistic about his chances, and already starting to feel better. “It is better, it is better, not so bad. I woke up a little fresher than yesterday.”
König is not worried about losing time on Wednesday's time trial or in the two following flat-to-rolling stages. “I now have three more days to recover and we will have even more opportunities to bring in a good stage result. I want to stay in the top ten.”
How does winning the Vuelta stage compare to his victory in the Queen stage of the Tour of California? “You can't compare them. I would say it is quite different when you win a stage in a Grand Tour.”
König, 25, joined NetApp in 2011 and his contract runs through next season. The team on Tuesday announced that three other riders have extended their contracts through the 2014 season. Paul Voss came to the team this year when it merged with Endura. He has ridden all the team's WorldTour races, and brought in a top ten stage finish in the Criterium du Dauphine.
Fellow German Andreas Schillinger has been with the team since its inception. He was third in the Ronde van Drenthe, rounding out an all-NetApp podium.
Jose Mendes of Portugal came to the team this season, and had a top ten finish in his first race, at the queen state of the Tour de San Luis.
- Article published:
- September 4, 2013, 09:44
- Stephen Farrand
Gazzetta dello Sport claims low levels of EPO in sample leaves case in doubt
As Danilo Di Luca is questioned by the Italian anti-doping investigators in Rome about his positive test for EPO at the Giro d'Italia, it has emerged that his former Vini Fantini-Selle Italia teammate Mauro Santambrogio could be cleared of doping after doubts about the amount of EPO found in his urine sample.
According to Wednesday's Gazzetta dello Sport, Santambrogio was initially declared negative by the Rome anti-doping laboratory in a test carried out on a sample from May 4. However that sample was retested after Di Luca's positive test in the final week of the Giro d'Italia and declared positive.
Gazzetta dello Sport claims that a low level of EPO was identified possibly due to micro-dosing. It is widely accepted that a micro-dose of 500 units of EPO is very difficult to detect just 12 hours after it has been injected.
While it is reported that Santambrogio has requested the analysis of his B sample, it appears that the UCI has so far failed to push the procedure forward.
If Santambrogio's B sample proves to be negative for EPO then he will be formally cleared of doping.
Gazzetta has pointed out that in 2010 Vania Rossi, Riccardo Ricco's partner, was cleared of doping after her B sample was declared negative for CERA-EPO after showing a low result and a long drawn-out investigation.
Santambrogio was widely suspected of doping before and during the Giro d'Italia. He won the mountain stage to Jafferau and was overall contender until fading to ninth place in the final week of the race.
Di Luca facing a 8-12 year ban
Danilo Di Luca is expected to be questioned at length about his EPO positive by the anti-doping investigators of the Italian Olympic Committee. He opted against requesting the analysis of his B sample and seems ready to accept an eventual suspension.
He has already been suspended for six months in 2007 for working with the banned sports doctor Carlo Santuccione and for two years in 2009 after testing positive for CERA at the Giro d'Italia. Gazzetta suggests that Di Luca could be banned for between eight and 12 years for this third offence.
Doping is also a crime in Italy and so Di Luca could be investigated by police in his home town of Pescara.
Valentino Sciotti, the owner of the Farnese Vini company has called on Di Luca to confess in an open letter publish by several Italian media.
Sciotti forced the Vini Fantini team management to hire Di Luca in time for this year's Giro d'Italia. He has said he will renounce any legal action Di Luca if he fully collaborates with the authorities.
"I'm asking you to be a point of change between the doubts and shadows of cycling and a transparent sport where everyone can cheer for the show that they see, knowing that nothing can damage their faith and enthusiasm for sport," the letter reads.
"I can't offer you much because I've already given you what I could, I can only say that I'd admire your full collaboration so much that I'd end any legal action against you for the damage you caused my company and I'd again have faith in you."
- Article published:
- September 4, 2013, 10:44
- Alasdair Fotheringham
Fast, largely untechnical course with straightforward climb
Just like the Vuelta a España's one individual race against the clock in 2012, this year's test in Tarazona represents the one opportunity for the time triallists to regain the upper hand on the climbers. But if 2012’s technical and lumpy time trial made it impossible for the chrono-men to do so, 2013 is another story altogether.
Starting and finishing in Tarazona and 38.8 kilometres long, the time trial begins with a steady, grinding climb on well-surfaced roads. The climb is never steep, and there are sections where it flattens out briefly, but for the first six kilometres as the time trial heads out into the countryside around Tarazona on a double-width ‘A’ road, it is anything but technical.
This changes abruptly but briefly when the race goes through the small hamlet of Los Fayos. The road narrows and for half a kilometre or so the race goes onto gnarly little backstreet roads. It’s only when the course climbs out of the hamlet and onto the start of the climb, the third category Alto de Moncayo, that the route broadens out again.
The start of the Moncayo climb is actually almost three kilometres before it ‘officially’ begins in the Vuelta route maps and it is the hardest part too: a long, relentlessly rising ramp that takes the road away from the small clumps of woodland and little rivers, into the rolling dry semi-desert that makes much of the region seem so bleak.
The ‘official’ climb starts when the road reaches 720 metres above sea level - compared to 485 metres above sea level in Tarazona - and swings right into the national park, which consists of a huge area of forest. Now on a single track, the climb is very long - nine kilometres and rising to 1090 metres above sea level - but it is not at all steep. .
The first serious hairpin and slightly tougher gradient comes after about seven kilometres and the only technical segment, as the road switches direction and leads quickly towards the summit, is reached on very gently rising roads.
The downhill, following a couple of tricky corners, is very fast. Running down a single track, it’s easy to imagine riders hitting speeds of 80 kmh or more.
Coming out of the forest, there is a difficult right hand bend which the riders will reach at speed and a short technical section through a little village. The road kicks up briefly before swinging left onto an ‘A’ road where the only segment of flat road comes. This lasts three kilometers. This is also the only part of the course which is really exposed and if the wind is strong, it could put less well-built riders in trouble.
The final six kilometres of descent is again straightforward on wide, largely well-surfaced roads. All-in-all a course which essentially consists of 18 kilometres of very gentle climbing - apart from one steeper ‘ramp’ of around two kilometres - and 18 kilometres of very gentle descending is made for out-and-out time triallsts who can handle a bit of a gradient.
The weather, too, looks good for fast times: it is set to be warm, dry and clear all day, with temperatures rising to a hot but tolerable 30 degrees in the afternoon.
On paper, it’s a good opportunity for riders like Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick Step) to repeat his 2011 triumph, whilst the Vuelta’s climbers will have a tough time holding their own. With eleven summit finishes in this year’s race, though, they can hardly complain.
- Article published:
- September 4, 2013, 11:20
- Cycling News
Insurance company hoping to recover $3 million dollars
Lance Armstrong is under pressure to reveal more details about his doping past as legal cases against him gather pace.
According to the Associated Press news agency, a Texas judge has ordered Armstrong to provide documents and written answers to a series of questions by the end of September. The case could also reveal if and what Armstrong's former wife Kristin and UCI President Pat McQuaid knew about his doping.
The US-based news agency claims that Nebraska-based Acceptance Insurance Holding is seeking the information on Armstrong's doping as it tries to recover $3 million it paid Armstrong in bonuses between 1999 and 2001.
Armstrong's legal team is fighting the case but has so far been unable to stop the risk that the disgraced Texan could be forced to give sworn testimony about his doping. They have suggested that Acceptance Insurance Holding is engaged in a "harassing, malicious ... fishing expedition" intended to "make a spectacle of Armstrong's doping."
The case has been set for trial in April 2014.
Armstrong is under pressure to detail who helped him dope. Acceptance specifically asks for information on when and how Armstrong's closest friends, advisers, ex-wife and business partners learned of his doping.
The USADA reasoned decision included huge amounts of evidence about Armstrong's doping network, including some on the role of Kristin but Armstrong remained vague about details when he confessed to doping to Oprah Winfrey in January.
Armstrong is tied up in a series of legal battles. He recently settled with the Sunday Times for an undisclosed amount. US Federal prosecutors have joined a whistle-blower lawsuit that seeks to recover more than $30 million in sponsorship money paid to Armstrong by the U.S. Postal Service. SCA Promotions has sued Armstrong for $12 million it paid him in performance bonuses for victory at the Tour de France. A judge in California is also considering a class-action lawsuit by readers of his book 'It's Not About the Bike'.