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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 19, 2011

Date published:
August 19, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Wurf aggravates fracture to miss out on Vuelta debut

    Cameron Wurf (Liquigas-Cannondale) is ready to make his Tour Down Under bow.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2011, 5:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian laments timing after also being forced to sit out Tour

    Cameron Wurf (Liquigas-Cannondale) is set to miss his second straight Grand Tour after a rib-injury sustained while racing in Italy a month ago, flared up at the Eneco Tour. The former rower was officially ruled out yesterday when the Vuelta organisers realeased the final start list for the race, but the Australian had known his fate since Monday.

    "Should i have noticed when the initial fracture actually occured 4 weeks ago while racing in Arona I would probably well and truly be healed up by now," said Wurf on his blog.

    "Instead I have managed to aggravate the fracture and in turn made it worse [when I raced at Eneco] which has put my recovery back probably 3 weeks. Unfortunately this means I'll miss another Grand Tour for the 2011 season."

    The team and Wurf made the decision in consultation with medical staff, after it became clear that the chance of re-fracturing the rib again were too high.

    "While the selfish side of me would be prepared to take the risk  - as I still feel even with the pain at the moment i could do a good job - the risk of somthing going wrong and jeoporadising the team's effort to defend Vincenzo Nibali's crown, meant the only option was to step aside."

    The blow is particulalry demoralising for Wurf, who missed the Tour de France earlier in the year after coming down with a stomach virus two weeks out from the July 2 start. The former Olympic rower will now change his focus and schedule as he wraps up his season before heading back to Australia.

  • Philippe Gilbert signs for BMC

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had to settle for second overall.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2011, 8:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian joins up with Evans and Hushovd

    The Philippe Gilbert transfer saga has finally come to a close with Team BMC announcing today  that they had won the race for the Belgian's signature. Gilbert had been weighing up whether to stay with current team Omega Pharma-Lotto or to move on, and it seems the prospects of linking up with Thor Hushovd and Cadel Evans in 2012, and a multi-million Euro contract, was too good an opportunity to turn down.

    The deal ties Gilbert with the team until the end of the 2014 season, however the value has not been disclosed by BMC. Gilbert's 2011 season so far has seen him dominate the classics as well as develop his skills in short stage races. Team Manager Jim Ochowicz welcomed Gilbert, who he believes to be coming to BMC in the prime of his career.

    "He will act as one of our leaders during the classics and other races throughout the season," Ochowicz said. "His power and tenacity will play a big role in support of Cadel's defense of his Tour de France title."

    Ochowicz also believes there is plenty Gilbert can pass on to the growing number of talented youngsters at BMC.

    "His experience will be shared in a mentorship role to the younger riders on the team like Taylor Phinney and Greg Van Avermaet as they continue to develop their skills in the classics."

    For his part Gilbert was relieved to finally be able to announce his 2012 team after a long period of legal to-and-froing with regard to his current contract. The Belgian admitted that once the all-clear was given the decision was easy.

    "BMC were interested in me from the beginning," Gilbert said. "Plus, I know the team well. They are well-organized, very professional and a close group."

    Gilbert also explained that he'd be following a similar program in 2012 to...

  • Vuelta winner González arrested on fraud charges

    Article published:
    August 19, 2011, 10:27 BST
    Peter Cossins

    2002 Vuelta champion tried to flee when police arrived to detain him

    2002 Vuelta a España champion Aitor González has been arrested by Spanish police on suspicion of trying to defraud a bank out of 1,500 euros. The former Kelme, Fassa Bortolo and Euskaltel rider was detained along with two other men, reported to be the president and the administrator of a tenants’ association of a building in the Spanish city of León.

    These two men, who are brothers, are said to have falsified documents in order to open a bank account in the name of the tenants’ association and then withdrew money from the bank based on false receipts for work on the building that had not been carried out. Suspecting that something was amiss, the bank contacted the police in León, who arrested one of the brothers.

    It was discovered that the other brother was living in the southern city of Alicante, just 30km from Benidorm where the 2011 Vuelta starts on Saturday. A request was sent to police in Alicante to detain the second brother. When police arrived at the address they had been given on Wednesday [August 17], they saw González coming out of the house. Seeing them, González attempted to flee but was quickly apprehended.

    The police searched the 2002 Vuelta winner and found a number of falsified documents linking him to the alleged offences, including a contract relating to the establishment of an association and blank tax and telephone bills. Police arrested the second brother the following day and charged him with document fraud and identity theft.

    Among other documents and equipment seized during a search of the second brother’s home were 19 bank cards, a printer and scanner, two computers, two chequebooks and a Russian passport, as well 400 other documents in a variety of different...

  • Nibali confident ahead of Vuelta defence

    Vincenzo Nibali leads teammate Ivan Basso
    Article published:
    August 19, 2011, 11:26 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Italian picks out Antón and Rodríguez as his two principal rivals

    After spending the last week checking out climbs that are new to him, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) says that he has the motivation and form to put up a strong defence of his Vuelta a España title. Speaking on the eve of the race, the Liquigas rider also picked out Igor Antón and Joaquim Rodríguez as his two biggest rivals.

    “They are a level above the rest because the race is taking place in their home country and they are sure to be protagonists,” Nibali told Europa Press.

    Nibali added that he would also keeping a close watch on Denis Menchov and Michele Scarponi, “without forgetting” Bradley Wiggins and Jurgen Van den Broeck.

    With regard to his own hopes, Nibali says the key to success for him is “tranquillity, I don’t want to load myself with too much pressure and feel obliged to win. My team has 100 per cent confidence in me and I hope that the final result will be the same as last year.”

    The Sicilian said he’s glad to be back in Spain after taking last year’s Vuelta title. “That gave me enormous satisfaction, repeating it will be difficult, but I feel mentally strong and have a great deal of determination. I’ve got a committed team behind me and they are prepared to do all they can to help me win again.”

    Nibali has followed a similar path into the Vuelta as he did last year. After finishing third in the Giro d’Italia, he took a few days rest, then spent July at an high-altitude training camp on the San Pellegrino pass in Italy. “When I returned to racing I felt good, much as I did last year.

  • Rodríguez: I’m riding the Vuelta to win

    Joaquim Rodríguez in the 2011 Katusha team kit
    Article published:
    August 19, 2011, 12:29 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Katusha leader confident his form is better than last year

    Buoyed by victory in the recent Vuelta a Burgos, where he had a significant edge on everyone on the climbs, Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodríguez (Katusha) says that his clear goal going into the Vuelta a España is to win his national tour.

    After finishing fifth at the Giro in May and the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, when he also won back-to-back mountain stages, Rodríguez has not raced as much as this summer as he did last year when he rode the Tour de France before lining up a the Vuelta. Although he led the 2010 race for one day in second week and another during the final week, he flopped spectacularly in the final time trial to drop back to fourth overall at the finish in Madrid.

    “I feel better than I did last year, I’m really keen to see how far I can go,” he told a press conference in his team’s Benidorm hotel. “Winning in Burgos makes me feel a little more relaxed because it is reassuring to find out that the work you’ve put in is going well.”

    Rodríguez admitted he also got carried away with the thought of winning a stage and wearing the leader’s red jersey through his home region of Catalonia last year. This, he said, contributed significantly to his loss of form in the final week.

    The Katusha leader picked out the Salamanca time trial and the mountain stages in Asturias during the Vuelta’s third week as the race’s key points. “To finish on the highest step of the podium I need to improve...

  • Video: Dowsett talks about his start in cycling and hemophilia

    Alex Dowsett wears his special blood red Oakleys in support of World Haemophilia Day
    Article published:
    August 19, 2011, 14:19 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Final part of CN's interview with Sky rider

    In the final video interview with Alex Dowsett, the Team Sky rider talks about how he started in the sport of cycling as well how he deals with hemophilia.

    The 22-year-old began mountain biking at a young age, inspired by his father and a local club. From there, he went from strength to strength, finishing second behind Ian Stannard in the national school boy championships.

    However cycling wasn’t his first sporting love. To keep his hemophilia at bay, Dowsett took up swimming, with his parents taking to him to classes five nights a week, and twice on Sunday. But even though doctors told him he would "better of playing chess rather than cycling" he stuck with it.

    His hemophilia does of course have a serious side, and he must wear identification at all times. The Team Sky car carries medication in case he crashes.

    You can read more about hemophilia here.

  • Sagan ready for Vuelta debut

    The final podium at the Tour of Poland (l-r): Daniel Martin, Peter Sagan, Marco Marcato
    Article published:
    August 19, 2011, 16:15 BST
    Cycling News

    First Grand Tour for Slovak sensation

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) will line-up at the start of his first Grand Tour on Saturday, as he aims to help propel teammate Vincenzo Nibali to his second straight Vuelta a España win.

    The 21-year-old sensation will look for stage wins as well as making it to the race finish in Madrid on September 11.

    “This is a completely new experience for me so I’m curious to see how I’ll perform over three weeks,” Sagan said.

    “Even though they’ve been demanding I’ve only ever competed in short stage races until now and this will be totally different. I need to keep my form consistent throughout the race without too many dips in performance if I want to get to Madrid.

    "The parcours features a series of really tough stages so it’ll be hard but exciting as well. I love challenges and this one is definitely a major challenge.”

    Sagan will have a number of opportunities to win his first Grand Tour stage. Able to compete with the best sprinters in the world, he can also climb, as demonstrated by his impressive stage win at the Tour de Suisse earlier this year. Despite his fast rise to the top of the sport since turning professional last year, Liquigas-Cannondale has wisely eased Sagan into stage racing, saving him from the pressure and hype of this year's Tour.

    “Everything has worked out well so far and I’ve managed to compete at the highest levels thanks to good training and preparation," said Sagan. "I’d love to win a stage, that’s obvious, but I don’t want to build up too many expectations or put pressure on myself. I’ve tried to keep a cool head when...

  • No decision means no Vuelta for Mosquera

    Ezequiel Mosquera attended the presentation in hopes his doping case will be overturned
    Article published:
    August 19, 2011, 18:48 BST
    Pete Cossins

    Last year's Vuelta runner-up is still waiting on doping verdict

    A year on from finishing runner-up to Vincenzo Nibali in the Vuelta a España and then finding out that he had tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch (HES) in an out-of-competition test done just prior to that race, Ezequiel Mosquera is the big absentee from this year's race. Having finished in the top five in each of the last four Vueltas, the Vacansoleil rider will be watching this edition at home as he continues to wait for a verdict to be delivered on that test.

    Having confirmed his move to Vacansoleil in the middle of last year's Vuelta, former Xacobeo-Galicia team leader Mosquera has still to make his competitive debut in the Dutch team's colours, and says in an interview with Spanish newspaper Meta2Mil that he feels like he's been banned already.

    "It's been 10 months since they informed me of the HES issue," said Mosquera. "Honestly, I think I've become a bit of a martyr, but at least it's forced me to spend some time thinking about my life away from the bike and to enjoy being at home with my wife and my baby girl, who was born this year."

    He admits that he still has no idea when a verdict will be delivered in the case, and says that he has now stopped training as he doesn't not believe he will be able to compete this year at all. "It was in the hands of the UCI for seven months without them giving us any kind of reply. In the end they passed the issue onto the Spanish federation and that's where it's been for the last three months. I hope that it's resolved soon because I don't think there's really much to argue about. The reality is that more than 10 months have gone by now and I feel like I've been sanctioned."