- Article published:
- August 26, 2011, 7:31 BST
- Cycling News
Nibali shows tactical nous to take advantage of concentration lapse
The Vuelta’s sixth stage to Córdoba rewarded an opportunistic move from the Liquigas-Cannondale team, with Vincenzo Nibali gaining a useful 17 seconds over his rivals on the day’s final descent.
"We saw a gap forming on the downhill, and we decided to push it," explained Nibali. "It was as simple as that - it turned out to be beneficial for me in the GC, a nice bonus."
Notably caught out were Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), who were naturally disappointed after losing time on an otherwise innocuous day.
"It really hasn’t been a great day. We’ve lost some precious time," said Rodriguez who admitted that he lacked the necessary focus at a crucial time in the final five kilometres. "The Liquigas team attacked at a location where I didn’t expect them to do so. I knew that the downhill was dangerous but they went away on a flat section where it was absurd to do so."
Rodriguez won yesterday's stage to Valdapenas de Jaen with an impressive attack on the final uphill, gaining 11 seconds over Nibali, but with the knowledge that he conceded 4:17 to the Italian in last year's time trial he's all too aware that every second is vital.
"That’s why I’m angry," said Rodriguez. "There’s still a long way to go in the Vuelta but 17 seconds are 17 seconds."
Scarponi meanwhile blamed himself for letting Nibali, a known ace descender, get a gap in the first place.
"It’s my fault that I’ve lost seventeen seconds from Nibali," said Scarponi. "Everyone knows that he’s the best downhill rider in the peloton and I wasn’t on his wheel. It’s...
- Article published:
- August 26, 2011, 8:00 BST
- Alex Hinds
Tour of the Murray River to test former national champion's form
Darren Lapthorne's 2010 was hardly a year to remember. A contract with the Pegasus project proved too good to be true when the team abruptly collapsed, leaving the Australian one of many caught without a team for the 2012 season, and questioning his future in the sport.
Nearly 12 months on, Lapthorne is back enjoying racing thanks to a life-line offered by his former team, Drapac. Although now working full-time to support himself, the 28-year-old explained to Cyclingnews that his craving for competition meant he wasn't quite ready to call it quits.
"At the start of the year I still didn’t know whether I wanted to pursue it, whether I wanted to just do it to stay fit etc. I had a couple of months of going ‘easy’ before I realised that I really do still love the competitive side of the sport still. I just enjoy racing too much.
"When Drapac approached me, I just thought it’d be perfect to get back into racing, with them, I’ve had so many great experiences with them over the years - it all just clicked."
Admittedly, Lapthorne concedes that the while constraints of working full-time makes cycling less of a 'career', he does see an upside.
"There’s considerably less pressure, because I’m of my job, I’ve got something to come back to if a race doesn’t quite go as planned," explained Lapthorne. "I’ve really got nothing to lose, and I think it’ll make me a bit more of a risk-taker when it comes to races."
"I’ve approached training in a different way. In the past it was all about doing the Ks but, this year with the constraints of time, I’ve really just tried to go as hard as possible in training to get the most out of it. I’m doing almost a quarter of the Ks - but when I do get to go...
- Article published:
- August 26, 2011, 10:00 BST
- Daniel Simms
New Zealander enjoying outstanding neo-pro year
Levi Leipheimer’s success at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was Team RadioShack’s second victory of the day on Thursday, after Kiwi Jesse Sergent won the stage four time trial and took the lead at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes race in France.
Sergent, a 23 year-old neo-pro with RadioShack posted a time of 25:10 on the 20.5 kilometre course around Chatelleraut, to take his fourth victory of the season, and with it the race lead. He now holds a 18 second lead over teammate Michal Kwiatkowski, ahead of the race's final stage to Poitiers.
"It was a pretty hard TT," said Sergent after the stage. "It was harder than I thought after seeing it on [reconnaissance]. It was up and down constantly. The climbs always took you out of your rhythm but I received such good direction from [Dirk] Demol and I had really good legs today."
RadioShack have high hopes for Sergent, with the New Zealander already posting a number of impressive results in 2011. At the recent Eneco Tour, Sergent beat David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo), Bert Grabsh (HTC-Highroad) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) to win the time trial stage.
Team Director Dirk Demol affirmed his confidence in the 23-year-old, commenting that he was never in any doubt that Sergent had the goods to win.
"It was no surprise to me," said Demol. "Jesse can do all TT courses. Today was not technical but demanding all the time with the up and down. Now tomorrow we will be defending this jersey for Jesse."
"It’s a tough finish tomorrow with a climb we have to do three times, but we have a strong team here. Our TT result shows that. I...
- Article published:
- August 26, 2011, 10:27 BST
- Susan Westemeyer
CONI announces new dates for September questioning
Michael Rasmussen has described the Italian doping investigation into his relations with a Mantova pharmacist as a “witch hunt” and claimed that there is no evidence against him. The Dane is scheduled to be questioned by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome on Monday.
“I must say that the witch hunt continues. There is simply no case and there are no doping tests or telephone intercepts or anything else to substantiate the charges against me,” Rasmussen told ekstrabladet.de.
The police and subsequent sporting investigation by CONI officials is looking into the possible distribution and use of amphetamines, growth hormone and other drugs from a pharmacy owned by Guido Nigrelli in Mariana Mantova. He worked closely with many of the riders and staff at the Lampre team.
Rasmussen said that he knew Nigrelli and used the pharmacy for his family's needs. “I bought medicine for my wife, my child, my dogs and myself, and I therefore know Nigrelli very well. I have never denied that," he said.
Italian investigators have taped telephone conversations between Rasmussen and Nigrelli. The cyclist said that those conversations were held while he was suspended (2007-2009), and that Nigrelli was trying to help him get a place on the Lampre team.
“There is absolutely no talk of illegal products or illegal practices. The interceptions only confirm that I know Guido Nigrelli,” he said.
Rasmussen called the investigation “a weird situation but I look forward to closing the matter once and for all.” He added: “If the charges weren't so serious and if the case didn't have...
- Article published:
- August 26, 2011, 11:42 BST
- Peter Hymas
Skil-Shimano sprinter in Colorado to improve his climbing
Very few sprinters were included in the rosters of the 17 teams taking part in the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge, but one of those who's competing in the seven-day stage race in the mountains of Colorado is Dutchman Kenny van Hummel of the Skil-Shimano squad.
While the first four stages are hardly suited to the 28-year-old Dutchman's strengths, Van Hummel told Cyclingnews that he considers stage four from Avon to Steamboat Springs as well as the final stage from Golden to Denver as the days most likely to finish in a field sprint.
Van Hummel famously struggled to beat the time cuts in the mountain stages of the 2009 Tour de France, but the Skil-Shimano rider has survived the two road stages thus far in Colorado with the goal of preserving as much strength as possible.
While sprint rivals Robert Förster (UnitedHealthcare) and Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) have each figured in the intermediate sprints in stages 1 and 2, Van Hummel is waiting for the chance to unleash his sprint in pursuit of stage victory in the days to come.
In his first ever race in the United States, Van Hummel told Cyclingnews that since he's moving to a ProTour squad in 2012 and will likely contest Grand Tours yet again, he chose to race in the mountainous USA Pro Cycling Challenge in order to improve his climbing ability.
- Article published:
- August 26, 2011, 12:06 BST
- Stephen Farrand
Bos, Matthews and Charteau also confirmed
The organisers of the Tour of Britain have announced that Jens Voigt will lead the six-rider Leopard Trek team at this year’s race.
The ever-aggressive German is currently riding the UC Pro Cycling Challenge in the USA but will be in Scotland for the start of the race on Sunday, September 11. The Tour of Britain lasts a week and ends in central London on Sunday, September 18.
Voigt leads a solid Leopard Trek line-up that also includes 2006 Tour of Britain winner Martin Pedersen, Will Clarke, Linus Gerdemann, Dominic Klemme and young Italian sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo. Voigt is likely to fire up the racing on British roads thanks to his aggressive style and legendary ‘hard as nails’ character.
The Tour of Britain could see a pre-world championships clash between many of the world’s best sprinters. Thor Hushovd has been named in the Garmin-Cervelo team for the race and organisers today confirmed that Theo Bos and Michael Matthews are in the provisional Rabobank squad for the race. The Tour of Britain ends exactly a week before the Elite men’s road race at the world championships in Copenhagen on September 25.
There is also a chance that Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) could also ride the Tour of Britain after pulling out of the Vuelta a Espana, while the Garmin-Cervelo team also includes Julian Dean and Britain’s Roger Hammond, Daniel Lloyd and David Millar.
Organisers also announced the line-up of the Europcar team for the race. Tour de France yellow jersey wearer Thomas Voeckler is not in the six-man team but 2010 polka-dot jersey winner Anthony Charteau is, along with Yukiya Arashiro and...