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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 23, 2013

Date published:
August 23, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Kreuziger: "A top result in the Vuelta will be a bonus."

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) outsprinted Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) for second place at Clasica San Sebastian
    Article published:
    August 23, 2013, 6:40 BST
    William Fotheringham

    "It’s not your words that decide the leadership, its your legs."

    Six weeks after his best result to date in the Tour de France - fifth overall in Paris - and four months after his first major Classic win in the Amstel Gold, Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) feels that after such a strong first half of the season, he has no points to prove in the Vuelta a España this August. But as the 27-year-old tells Cyclingnews, he is still determined, at least initially, to give it 100 percent for the overall of cycling's third Grand Tour of 2013.

    "It's a bit of a voyage in the dark for me, I'm asking myself the same question," Kreuziger says when asked about his ambitions for the Vuelta. "But the first three or four days of the Vuelta are definitely tough enough for me to get some sort of an answer."

    "I did a good Tour de France, then I rode well in San Sebastian [finishing third] then I stopped riding for an entire week. I did a bit of training at altitude and then I've been building up slowly but steadily for this. So my head is where it should be - but as for my legs, that's only going to be decided on the road."

    Kreuziger has ridden the Vuelta three times, the last in 2010, when he finished a reasonable but not headline-grabbing 28th overall. And although the 2013 race route looks daunting, he says there is no point in getting stage fright, as it were, before the Vuelta actually gets underway.

    "We've already been to see the stage two mountain top finish and although it's hard, I'm pretty sure we'll see 20 riders finishing all together at the top," he says. He downplays the importance of the first stage too, saying, "The team time trial route is hard, but not exceptionally so and we've got a bunch of good riders for it - with [Michael]...

  • Movistar extend contracts with five riders

    Beñat Intxausti recently renewed with Movistar
    Article published:
    August 23, 2013, 8:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Intxausti, Rojas, Visconti, and Herrada brothers sign for two more seasons

    Following the re-signing of Pablo Lastras and Rubén Plaza, Movistar has managed to hold onto another five riders from its current roster.

    Benat Intxausti presents a promising GC prospect in the coming years for the Movistar team after winning a stage and finishing eighth overall at the Giro d'Italia this season. The 27-year-old, who has been a professional since 2007, will be looking to take another step up with the Spanish team over the following two years. His performance at the upcoming Vuelta a España will give a clear indication as to his progression since May.

    José Joaquín Rojas has had eight top ten sprint finishes so far this year, including a podium on the third stage of the Tour de France. Rojas is another rider who at 28, will be looking to excel over the next two years and convert some of these near misses into victories. On the other hand, with two stage wins at the Giro this year, Giovanni Visconti can rest easy knowing he has already got his runs on the board.

    The real excitement for the Spanish team lies with the prospects of young Jesús Herrada. The 23-year-old surprised many when he won the Spanish road race championships this year with a brilliant last kilometre attack. Jesús' older brother, José Herrada, actually came across to Movistar in 2012 a year after his then 21-year-old brother had joined the...

  • Cookson: we must abide by the election rules

    UCI Presidential candidate Brian Cookson
    Article published:
    August 23, 2013, 9:27 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Disappointed that candidates' manifestos are being ignored

    With the election of a new president of the UCI lurching towards a conclusion next month, Brian Cookson has expressed his disappointment in the fact that the manifestos for each candidate have taken a backseat. Cookson along with incumbent President Pat McQuaid issued their manifestos earlier in the campaign, however the focal point of the election has been over McQuaid's hunt for a national federation to support him. It has led to condemnation from Cookson’s camp, while McQuaid has relied on the support of a possible rule change in the UCI rules to get this far.

    Cookson threw his hat into the ring in June. Since then he and McQuaid have both issued their individual manifestos. However, in reality very little scrutiny has been given to both men’s mandates. Instead, the election process has been shrouded in controversy.

    McQuaid has seen two international nominations to support his candidacy revoked and his participation in the election vote in September is not yet certain, with a possible challenge over his subsequent nominations from Morocco and Thailand.

    “I think there are serious questions to be asked. I think we all want a democratic and fair election but the important thing is that there are rules and that we all abide by them,” Cookson told Cyclingnews.

    “By all means change them and have a different election next time but what really worries a lot of people is that we can have these retrospective changes. The analogy I made was that I thought I was riding the pursuit and then all of sudden it might be a points race or a team pursuit. Just when you start to pull ahead the rules get changed and that’s not right. I think people understand that all across the world and it’s caused a lot of outrage from everyone I’ve talked to.

    Cookson claims that ‘everyone’...

  • Fahlin to Wiggle Honda in 2014

    Emilia Fahlin moved to Hitec from the Specialized - Lululemon squad
    Article published:
    August 23, 2013, 10:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Swede moves to Australian team from Hitec Products

    Swedish national champion Emilia Fahlin will ride for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling as of 2014, the Australian team announced Friday. Only 24 years old, she has ridden professionally since 2007 and can claim numerous prestigious titles.

    "Emilia Fahlin is a well-known name in women's cycling, she has always been a reliable winner and worker in the world's biggest and strongest teams," said team manager Rochelle Gilmore.

    "Emilia was a perfect addition to Wiggle Honda, she will add significant strength to the team, to our lead-outs, to our TTT and TT's…" Gilmore said. "Plus Emilia herself is a very fast sprinter. Most importantly, Emilia shares the same passion as her new team members to promote women's cycling and pave the way for the next generation of young female athletes."

    "I'm pretty excited," said Fahlin. "It's the first year that Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling has been running but I see it as a really exciting project. Also because they're working to promote women's cycling, which is something that I see as very important, and something I really want to be a part of.

    "So that was one key factor, and another is that it's the first year that the team has been running and it's had a great, great year," she said. "I want to be part of that, and to help the team develop further next year."

    Fahlin has earned two national road titles and three time trial titles so far in her career. She turned pro with T-Mobile, which ultimately became Team Specialized-lululemon. She joined Hitec Products this year.

  • Nibali: the Vuelta is never predictable

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) had a quiet opening stage at the Tour of Poland
    Article published:
    August 23, 2013, 11:16 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Italian favourite reflects on second Grand Tour challenge

    If Chris Froome’s victory in the Tour de France was one that many cycling fans saw coming from a long way off, and Vincenzo Nibali’s win in the Giro was all but a foregone conclusion once Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)’s victory bid collapsed, the Italian star warned that the Vuelta a España is a different kettle of fish altogether.

    “The Vuelta is a hard race to say ‘this will happen’ or ‘this will happen’, because we’ve all ridden hard this season already,” Astana's Nibali  - who nonetheless is tipped as the big favourite for overall victory in Madrid on September 15th – told Cyclingnews.

    “I’ve done the Giro, and [top Spanish favourites] Alejandro [Valverde] and Joaquim [Rodriguez] have done the Tour, and your second peak of form in a season is always a bit shorter than the first. ”Nibali’s track record in Spain  proves the 28-year-old Sicilian’s point. In 2010, after winning the Vuelta, he then rode it again in 2011 but was only able to finish seventh. And in 2013?

    “I didn’t do so well in the Tour of Poland”-  his first build-up race for the autumn, where he was 53rd overall -  “but taking third in the Vuelta a Burgos was a good sign,” Nibali reasoned.

    “I eased back a little after that, but I’ve come here feeling good and with a strong team. I’ll be taking it on the day by day, on the hunt for stage wins or the overall depending on how things go” - and whether his form will be as strong as he hopes.

    This year’s Vuelta features an extremely difficult route, with 11 summit finishes, but Nibali told Cyclingnews that “is pretty much what we...

  • Rodríguez: Vuelta will stay undecided until the Angliru

    A front view of Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) in the wind tunnel
    Article published:
    August 23, 2013, 12:11 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Catalan veteran gunning for first ever major Tour win

    In 2008 and 2011, the last two times the Angliru was tackled in the Vuelta a Espana, it has acted as the deciding factor in the race - and leading contender Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) says he fully expects it to do the same in 2013, when the Angliru will be the Vuelta’s last of eleven summit finishes.

    “Consistency will be the key to winning, but I think the Vuelta will still be wide open right up until the Angliru” Rodriguez told Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Friday.

    “The race will be very exciting as a result, and that can only be good for the Vuelta.”

    Rodríguez has taken podium finishes on each of the last three Grand Tours he has completed, with a second overall in the 2012 Giro, third in the Vuelta last year and third in the Tour de France this summer. It is, he feels, “time I actually won one. My initial objective is to do better than third in Madrid last year, but that won’t be easy.”

    “After that I will go for it in the World’s, which is a tough circuit and I think very good for me.”

    He denies, though, that being a top favourite in his home race means more pressure for him. “The years go by but I am getting better at taking responsibility,” he told El Mundo. “I’m in good shape technically and physically and above all I’ve got a great deal of support from my team.”

    Nonetheless, after opting for the Tour rather than the Giro this year, “My build-up has been different to 2012. I took a few days off after the Tour because I was very tired. All of the rest I’ve had  afterwards, though, hasn’t felt like it’s been enough.” The precedent of Chris Froome, who...

  • Duggan once again in queen stage break at USA Pro Challenge

    Timmy Duggan (Saxo-Tinkoff) rides in the bunch.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2013, 13:00 BST
    Peter Hymas

    Saxo-Tinkoff American on home roads in support of Rory Sutherland

    For the second straight year Timmy Duggan infiltrated the break of the day during the USA Pro Challenge's queen stage. Last year's escape in the penultimate stage from Golden to Boulder, with a finish atop Flagstaff Mountain, was the hottest ticket of the race as every Colorado-based rider wanted to shine on a memorable parcours in front of huge crowds. Duggan, then riding for Liquigas-Cannondale in his national champion's kit, threw his hat in the ring for stage glory and ultimately placed fifth on the day.

    This year, riding for Team Saxo-Tinkoff, Duggan as well as teammate Michael Rogers made the early 10-man break in the stage from Steamboat Springs to Beaver Creek. The Saxo-Tinkoff pair's goal was to ride in support of GC contender Rory Sutherland, winner of the 2012 queen stage to Flagstaff Mountain, who started the day in 11th overall, 41 seconds behind leader Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp).

    After an opening flurry of attacks, kicked off by none other than Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) and Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard), the right combination of riders ultimately consolidated off the front after 20km of racing.

    "It was the queen stage of the race, definitely hard terrain, everybody wants to be in the breakaway and tactically it's nice to have some guys in the breakaway," Duggan told Cyclingnews. "It was certainly a high-powered break there, with a lot of world championship medals and jerseys in there. It was good to have both me and Mick in there, plus two guys from Sky [Danny Pate and Kanstantsin Siutsou]."

    Others on the attack included Larry Warbasse (BMC), Davide Villella (Cannondale), KOM leader Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Serghei...

  • Valverde: My mission is to be first in Madrid

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
    Article published:
    August 23, 2013, 14:04 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Vuelta 2013 runner-up looking for repeat of 2009 victory

    With two first places overall, a second, third fourth and fifth overall as well as numerous stage wins, the Vuelta a España holds no secrets for Alejandro Valverde, who will be pushing for a second outright victory this August after a roller coaster ride in the Tour de France.

    The Movistar rider looked set to be a top challenger in the Tour de France with an impressive performance in the Pyrenees, where he was the last non-Sky rider to lose contact with Chris Froome at Ax-3Domaines. However, five days later Valverde lost contact and a huge amount of time on the other main favourites when he punctured and waited for a wheel change just when the race was getting blown apart in crosswinds on stage 13.

    He finally finished eighth overall, a result that  was impressive considering the big setback of stage 13. But it was all but overshadowed by team-mate’s Nairo Quintana’s dramatic Tour debut, as the Colombian captured second in Paris as well as the King of the Mountains prize, the Best Young Riders classification and a stage win at Annecy.

    With no Quintana in the Vuelta, Valverde will be Movistar’s undisputed team leader for the Spanish Grand Tour. He is in top condition, he said, and is the last winner in a Grand Tour stage finish at Peyragudes, during the 2012 Tour.

    Speaking in a long press conference held in the gardens of his team hotel in Pontevedra, Valverde recognised that riders who went all out in the Tour could pay a high price in the third week of the Vuelta - as happened to Chris Froome last year.

    “That will be the toughest moment of the race, the last week is very demanding,” Valverde said. “And that will favour both Sergio Henao (Sky) and Vincenzo Nibali [Team Astana],...