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Latest Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 25, 2009

Date published:
June 25, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Junior World champ becomes pro

    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 10:00 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Johan Le Bon youngest pro at age 18

    Johan Le Bon, 2008 junior World and European champion, has signed his first professional contract with French Continental team Bretagne-Schullerand. At 18 years of age, Le Bon will become the youngest pro rider in the peloton.

    The promising Frenchman made the decision to start his career in his home region of Brittanny, despite interest from several ProTour teams.

    His first pro contract will start on July 1, and runs through until 2011. Le Bon will make his first appearance as a pro at the Mediterranean Games on July 3 in Pescara, Italy.

    The Frenchman recently won the UCI U23 Nations Cup event in Saguenay, Canada.

  • Gilbert the favourite for Belgian championships

    Gilbert is looking forward to racing the Belgian national championships this weekend, in his 'backyard'
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 10:02 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Silence-Lotto rider will race on home turf

    Philippe Gilbert will be one of the favourites at the Belgian national championship road race this Sunday in Aywaille. The Silence-Lotto rider will have the advantage of racing on well-known roads, as the event is virtually taking place in his back yard.

    Gilbert felt confident, but was also cautious on what he sees as a tricky parcours. "[Racing at home] is going to be an additional motivation for Sunday. But the route is very special. It is difficult, but not overly difficult," explained the Classics specialist to TV show Sportweekend.

    The Belgian road race championship will be decided on a 13.8km-long circuit starting and finishing in Aywaille. The riders will complete 17 laps of the course for a total distance of 234.6 kilometres. In the first half the course ascends an altitude of 150 metres in the middle of the parcours. The second half is predominantly downhill, with the last 500 metres leading up to the finish completely flat.

    Gilbert, who won stage four of the Ster Elektrotoer in the region as well as the stage race's overall classification, was looking forward to it. "My legs feel good. Still, the stage finish [at Ster Elektrotoer] suited me well with a climb just before the line - at the national championship, the finish is different, as it is flat. There are only three places on the podium, so we don't need ten people together at the finish!"

    Silence-Lotto will be aiming to make the race as hard as possible for Gilbert's competitors. The outgoing Belgian champ, Jurgen Roelandts, is also part of the team but it is understood that Gilbert will be the squad's leader against the other Belgian ProTour team, Quick Step, and a number of dark horses.

    "Gilbert is in top form, as is the whole of our team," Silence-Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant told La Dernière Heure. "For the Belgian champs, we will also count on Van Avermaet, who is coming back strong. As well as on Roelandts and...

  • Horrillo out of hospital

    A rescue worker and Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank) are lifted into the helicopter which will transport the Spanish rider to a hospital after his serious accident on stage eight.
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 10:29 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Spaniard's chances of comeback uncertain

    Pedro Horrillo has been released from hospital and is hoping to return to racing, but the Spaniard's chances of making a comeback in the peloton are still unkown. “It would be very painful to have to say goodbye to cycling in this way. But if it is so, then I have to accept it,” Horrillo said at a press conference on Wednesday, having left the hospital nearly six weeks after his horrifying crash in the Giro d'Italia.

    “I can only conclude that I am a lucky man,” the Rabobank rider added. “It is a great miracle that I am still alive today.”

    Horrillo fell nearly 80 metres in a ravine when he crashed in the Giro's eighth stage. He was placed in an induced coma for five days, and suffered numerous injuries, including two collapsed lungs, a complicated open fracture of his femur, and spinal injuries. At the press gathering, he was still wearing a back and neck brace.

    Horrillo's first priority was to return home to his family. During his recovery, he said, his number one priority was to "be better and to be with my family again as soon as possible.” But his profession called to him, too. “Soon I began to dream of cycling again. It is a passion. It haunted me to think that I may never be able to compete again, but fortunately they assured me that this question had not yet been answered.”

    The 34-year-old continued, “Now my greatest desire is to return to racing. I know I must be patient and not too fast to force things.” His motivation to return is high, but Horrillo is realistic enough to know that it may not be possible.


  • Spanish national championships to provide Caisse d'Epargne's final three

    Caisse d'Epargne have confirmed six riders for their Tour de France team
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 11:01 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Excluded Valverde turns attention to national championships

    Caisse d'Epargne have confirmed their first six riders for the Tour de France on Wednesday. The team will announce the final three riders after the Spanish national championships on Sunday in the Cantabria region.

    David Arroyo, Ivan Gutiérrez, Luis Pasamontes, Oscar Pereiro, Luis León Sánchez and Xabier Zandio are the six riders confirmed to start the Tour in Monaco on July 4.

    Three final three riders will be selected from Rui Costa, Arnaud Coyot, José Joaquin Rojas and Rigoberto Uran.

    Despite his exclusion from the Tour de France squad, Alejandro Valverde will be aiming to defend his Spanish national title when the men’s road race takes place on Sunday. The reigning champion will benefit from the strong presence of his Caisse d'Epargne team mates on a hilly 196km course between Comillas and Cueva el Soplao. Alberto Contador (Astana) is expected to be one of the main challengers to Valverde’s title defence.

  • Cyclingnews podcast: Episode 17

    Lance Armstrong took the win in Nevada City.
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 12:42 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Back by popular demand

    After a three day hiatus, the Cyclingnews podcast is back by popular demand with an action packed Episode 17. It's a full 23 minutes long this week, thanks to an eight minute interview with Cervelo's Dan Fleeman, who is gearing up for this weekend's British national road championships in Abergavenny, Wales.

    But there's more. To fill the space this week, Cyclingnews' Daniel Benson and BikeRadar's Jeff Jones talk about what happened in the Tour de Suisse, Lance and Levi's domination of the Nevada City Classic, Tom Boonen's Tour uncertainty principle and Bernhard Kohl's ongoing contribution to the sport of cycling.

    You can subscribe to the podcasts via iTunes (or just go to iTunes and search for 'cyclingnews') or via this XML feed:

    You can also download the podcasts directly by clicking on these links:

    • June 25: Tour de Suisse, national championships, Dan Fleeman, Lance and Levi, Tom Boonen and Bernhard Kohl
    • June 18: Dauphine Libere, Tour de Suisse and more
    • June 12: Dauphine Libere, Columbia's vast Tour army, Kohl and the blood passport, Astana, Greg LeMond in Coventry and Christian Vande Velde
    • June 5: Giro d'Italia final, Taylor Phinney, Mark Cavendish and the Dauphine Libere
    • May 28: Giro d'Italia week 2...