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Latest Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Date published:
June 24, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Wegmann aims for third national title

    Fabian Wegmann (Team Milram) looked pretty pleased with his race win.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2009, 11:05 BST
    By:
    Susan Wesetmeyer

    German course could be more suited to sprinters

    Fabian Wegmann aims to defend his German national championship road title on Sunday and win his third straight title but the Team Milram rider knows that the course profile does not  suit him.

    "It will be very difficult, but I'm really ambitious," he told Cyclingnews at the Milram Tour de France squad presentation Tuesday in Dortmund, Germany.

    Being German champion for two consecutive years "was good," Wegmann said. ”To wear this special jersey is a great feeling, and every time I put it on I'm reminded of my win. It's not like the with other wins as you can forget them very quickly. You wear the national jersey for a year, or in my case two years, and for me, it was two very nice wins and a great experience."

    Wegmann, who turned 29 earlier this week, said that the main problem was the course in Cottbus. "240 totally flat kilometres isn't really what I do best," he said.

    It seems likely that the race will come down to a mass sprint, in which case his favourites would be, "Gerald Ciolek, Andre Greipel and Heinrich Haussler."

    Greipel, of Team Columbia-Highroad, has said that it would be difficult to win with just four teammates compared to the 17 German Milram riders. "I see it that way too. It's clear that it will be hard for him and we will try to make his life hard," Wegmann said with a laugh.

    If he is successful,Wegmann would be third rider to win the title three years in a row. The others were Hennes Junkermann (1959-1961) and Winfried Bölke (1965-1967).

  • Outgoing Italian champion Simeoni reflects

    Italian Champion Filippo Simeoni (Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce)
    Article published:
    June 24, 2009, 11:29 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Filippo Simeoni's bittersweet year

    Filippo Simeoni will close a bittersweet year in the prized Italian Champion jersey today at the Giro dell'Appennino. There is little chance he will repeat his 2008 surprise national title win this Sunday in Imola, Italy.

    "It was a great feeling to be able to race in the tricolore jersey. It was a dream I had since I was a little boy. It gave me a lot of popularity with all the fans," Simeoni told Cyclingnews.

    Simeoni attacked with four kilometres remaining at the 2008 championships in Bergamo and held his advantage to the finish. His move caught the favourites off guard, but the win was unwelcomed by some.

    This April, Giro d'Italia organisers refused to include Simeoni's team Ceramica Flaminia in the final selection. The decision by head director Angelo Zomegnan rehashed the Armstrong incident and prompted critics to question the Italian champion's absence.

    "You could never find a simple reason from Zomegnan as to why the Italian champion or my team was left out of the Giro, there are no excuses for this behaviour. It remains the bitterest moment of the year."

    The decision prompted Simeoni to return his championship jersey to the Italian federation. It was the first time it had been returned in its 100-year history.

    "It was a strong gesture that was full of the rage that I had towards Zomegnan and the Giro organisers. When I was racing outside of Italy people would tell me it was wrong, but many would tell me that they appreciated the important and strong message I made and that Zomegnan made a mistake."

    Simeoni changed his mind and kept racing in the champion jersey so he would not be labelled "disrespectful". He competed in the Route du Sud in France last week and will wear the jersey for the last time today in Italy's Giro dell'Appennino.

    He will line up Sunday at the 2009 Italian Championships in his team jersey. The riders will race 260.4 kilometres, which...

  • Vaughters downplays Contador rumours

    Alberto Contador (Astana) readies for the Olympics.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2009, 12:06 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Aborted move by Astana riders to Garmin unconfirmed

    Garmin-Slipstream team manager Jonathan Vaughters declined to confirm or deny rumours that 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador had been close to signing with the US team and riding this year's Tour with them.

    Spaniard Contador, domestiques Benjamin Noval and Sergio Paulinho plus Contador's preferred mechanic and soigneur were set to jump ship had Astana folded, according to US media reports. Astana's Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and others would have ridden the Tour under the Livestrong-Trek name.

    The rumoured split ultimately didn't happen due to a last minute sponsor payment which kept Astana together. It suggests that there is a real rift within the Kazakhstan-backed team which could lead to further tensions at the Tour de France.

    "We always keep our negotiations confidential, with any rider, until they are complete," Vaughters told Cyclingnews today. "It's just best for the rider, his current sponsors and all parties involved."

    The latest media reports suggest that there was indeed some truth to Contador's move. Herbalife was to be Garmin's secondary sponsor and the team sent bicycles to Contador, said an Astana source.

    Armstrong commented on the story on Monday. "Just read this [the article]," he wrote on Twitter. "JL [US writer Joe Lindsey, who broke the story - ed.] may not be far off on this (for once). I'm choosing to ignore and remove myself from drama. TdF – hard enough."

    Cyclingnews asked Vaughters if the arrival of a Tour winner would have caused concern for Christian Vande Velde. Vande Velde was aiming for a podium spot prior to breaking several bones in the Giro d'Italia.

    "Christian is a team leader and team player," he answered. "He's a guy that only worries about the fit and function of new teammates. He thinks of this team as his family, and only wants what's best for his family. He's just not one to get caught up on specific roles.

    ...
  • Di Luca pleased with Worlds circuit

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) leads Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    June 24, 2009, 12:25 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Italians previewed "difficult" Mendrisio course

    Danilo Di Luca believes the 2009 World Championships course he tested yesterday in Mendrisio, Switzerland, will allow him a chance to win the famed rainbow jersey.

    "It's a very hard course, certainly the hardest in the last 10 years. It is suited to my characteristics, the last climb is only two kilometres from the arrival. If I have the condition I had at the Giro d'Italia I will have a chance at victory," he told Cyclingnews.

    Italians Di Luca, Alessandro Ballan, Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Stefano Garzelli, Filippo Pozzato, Vincenzo Nibali and Giovanni Visconti rode three laps of the course followed by national director Franco Ballerini.

    "In the past there have been some other hard courses, like in Columbia or Agrigento, but this is 13.8 kilometres long and so there will be a lot of laps, and 4655 metres of climbing. There will never be a chance to relax and you will always need to be at the front, ready to fight."

    Cyclists will repeat Mendrisio's course 19 times for a total of 262.2 kilometres. Each lap contains the Acqua Fresca climb (1600 meters long, with the last 780 meters averaging above 10%) and the Novazzano climb (1750m long).

    "The first one has a really hard section, but the second climb also has a pretty stiff gradient, then it eases off and starts again. At the end of 262 kilometres and 38 climbs, the course will be very difficult."

    Di Luca named Spain's Alejandro Valverde as his number one rival because "he is so fast on these types of climbs." He also noted Luxembourg's Fränk and Andy Schleck

    Di Luca has not raced the Worlds since he helped Paolo Bettini win the 2006 title in Salzburg, Austria. Ballerini assured him of a spot last year when he left Di Luca off the team.

    "If my condition is what it was at the Giro then I will certainly be the captain. We will see if there will be a co-captain, depending on the others' conditions in August and...

  • Tour de France: Team roster summary

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    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 8:00 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Cyclingnews' update on the rosters for all 20 Tour de France teams

    Agritubel

    Full team confirmed: Maxime Bouet, Sylvain Calzati, Brice Feillu, Romain Feillu, Eduardo Gonzalo, David Le Lay, Geoffroy Lequatre, Christophe Moreau and Nicolas Vogondy.

    AG2R La Mondiale

    Full team confirmed: Jose-Luis Arrieta, Cyril Dessel, Hubert Dupont, Vladimir Efimkin, Stéphane Goubert, Lloyd Mondory, Rinaldo Nocentini, Christophe Riblon and Nicolas Roche.

    Astana

    Full team confirmed: Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer, Dmitriy Muravyev, Sergio Paulinho, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast and Haimar Zubeldia.

    BBox Bouygues Telecom

    Full team confirmed: Yukiya Arashiro, Pierrick Fedrigo, William Bonnet, Saïd Haddou, Laurent Lefèvre, Alexandre Pichot, Pierre Rolland, Thomas Voeckler and Yuriy Trofimov.

    Caisse d'Epargne

    Full team confirmed: David Arroyo, Rui Costa, Arnaud Coyot, Ivan Gutiérrez, Luis Pasamontes, Oscar Pereiro, José Joaquin Rojas, Luis León Sánchez and Rigoberto Uran.

    Cervélo TestTeam

    Full team confirmed: Inigo Cuesta, Volodymir Gustov, Heinrich Haussler, Thor Hushovd, Andreas Klier, Brett Lancaster, José Angel Gomez Marchante, Hayden Roulston and Carlos Sastre.

    Cofidis Le Credit en Ligne

    Full team confirmed: Stéphane Augé, Samuel Dumoulin, Leonardo Duque, Bingen Fernandez, Christophe Kern, Sébastien Minard, Amaël Moinard, David Moncoutié and Rémi Pauriol.

    Team Columbia - HTC

    Full team confirmed: Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel,  Bert Grabsch, George...