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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, September 21, 2012

Date published:
September 21, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Illness puts Bronzini’s worlds preparation in doubt

    World champion Giorgia Bronzini still sporting bandages after her crash in the Exergy Tour
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 6:08 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Defending champion suffering from flu ahead of road race

    Reigning champion Giorgia Bronzini’s participation in Saturday’s women’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships has been cast into doubt as the Italian has been suffering from flu since her arrival in Limburg two days ago.

    "Since I got here two days ago, I’ve been suffering from a cold," Bronzini said in Maastricht. "I think it’s a sort of flu really, but I hope to recover in time for Saturday."

    At the Italian team press conference in Maastricht on Thursday evening, team manager Edoardo Savoldi said that Bronzini would be free to delay a decision on her participation until late on Friday. Bronzini is automatically granted a berth in the race as defending champion, and would participate in addition to Italy’s original quota of six riders.

    "As Giorgia would not be taking the place of another rider in any case, we can give her a bit of time to make her decision, but we certainly hope that she can line up," Savoldi said.

    Even if she does eventually take the start, Bronzini is unlikely to complete a remarkable hat-trick of world titles on a Valkenburg course that is significantly more testing than the circuits she faced in Geelong (2010) and Copenhagen (2011). In revealing his roster, Savoldi acknowledged that the squadra azzurra would have its work cut out to deny Marianne Vos (Netherlands) the rainbow jersey on home roads. Remarkably, the Dutchwoman has never finished outside the top two in the Worlds road race throughout her professional career, although her sole triumph...

  • Rasch joins Boasson Hagen at Sky for 2013

    Edvald Boasson Hagen and Gabriel Rasch in Norwegian colors
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 8:53 BST
    Cycling News

    Norwegian breaks original IAM contract

    After having announced his transfer from FDJ-BigMat to the IAM Cycling Team just a month ago, Gabriel Rasch has reportedly broken his contract with the new Swiss project and signed with Sky Procycling for 2013. Rasch was not included in the 23-man IAM Cycling roster announced just recently.

    "I know pretty much all the support from my time in the Crédit Agricole and Cervélo. I think the role I want to get in there is something I can grow. I also see a future role in the team," Rasch had told a little over a month ago.

    Rasch has reportedly now signed a one-year deal with the British Sky team however, the intention is to remain with the squad for two seasons. It’s a promising sign for the former Garmin-Cervélo rider who found himself without a team at the end of last season until FDJ-BigMat came along.

    The 36-year-old domestique has endured a long season in which he completed both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España despite knee troubles earlier in the year. After being left off the national team for the Olympic Games he now finds himself lining up for Norway at the World Championships in Valkenburg for the men’s road race. Rasch is currently training with his Norwegian teammates Lars Petter Nordhaug and Edvald Boasson Hagen.

    Having come out of the Vuelta in...

  • Nibali carries hopes as Italy faces new reality

    Vincenzo Nibali leads the Italian training ride
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 9:34 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Capecchi and Nizzolo named as reserves

    In a race where the final climb of the Cauberg is expected to be the ultimate arbiter, and with particularly compelling arguments anticipated from Spain and Belgium, a youthful Italian team may struggle to produce the kind of answers needed to secure victory at the UCI Road World Championships on Sunday.

    Yet even when they come more in hope than expectation, the Italians always travel to the Worlds in numbers, and a sizeable media presence gathered in Maastricht's rather soulless Forum district for the squadra azzurra's final press conference. Team manager Paolo Bettini admitted that without a reliably explosive puncheur in its ranks, his men will have to seek to upset the agenda rather than dictate it, a change from their traditional role.

    "We're living a different situation," Bettini acknowledged. "In other years, we had a very specific task to do, we were working to bring the right man to the right place, and then he would make his move. This year, it's a different national team, where we have six debutants. They have to go out and enjoy themselves."

    The worlds are always a very serious business in Italy, and Bettini quickly elaborated on what he meant, lest the polemica spark into life even before Monday morning's newspapers hit the stands. "Enjoying themselves means entering into the action in the knowledge that that there are other teams carrying the responsibility of keeping the race together until the foot of the Cauberg," he said. "We have different responsibilities and different opportunities."

    The inexperienced make-up of the team is due in part to the recent Italian federation directive barring riders under investigation for doping from selection, and president Renato Di Rocco reiterated his new stance, which prohibits many of the biggest names of the Italian gruppo of the past decade from riding at the worlds. "We will continue with in...

  • BMC re-sign four Swiss riders for 2013

    Michael Schar (BMC)
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 10:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Kohler, Morabito, Schär and Wyss extend their contracts

    BMC Racing team manager Jim Ochowicz has announced contract extensions for four of his Swiss riders. Martin Kohler, Steve Morabito, Michael Schär and Danilo Wyss will continue to ride for BMC in 2013. Both Morabito and Schär have been selected for the Swiss World’s road team while Kohler, who lead this year’s Tour Down Under for two days missed out on the final selection.

    “We're extremely pleased with the roles they have played over the past year, whether it was leading the Santos Tour Down Under for a few days like Martin, finishing runner-up at the Tour of Austria like Steve did in July, or helping support our team leaders in races like the Tour de France," said Ochowicz in a statement from the team.

    Kohler turned professional with BMC in 2008 when it was registered as a Professional Continental team and has remained with the squad ever since, while Wyss began his career with Saunier Duval – Prodir in 2007 before joining Kohler in 2008.

    Morabito most recently finished the Vuelta a España in 35th place overall following his strong showing at the Tour of Austria where he finished second to Jakob Fuglsang. Both Morabito and Schär have been with the team since 2010.

    BMC have announced only minor roster changes for the 2013 season.

  • Cavendish rates victory chances as "non-existent"

    World champion Mark Cavendish (Sky) won the Tour's final stage in Paris for the fourth straight year.
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 10:45 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Outgoing world champion prepares to say farewell to the rainbow jersey

    With a demanding finale on the Cauberg and many well-prepared Classics riders taking part in Sunday's World championship road race, defending champion Mark Cavendish has admitted that he will most likely have to say farewell to the rainbow jersey he won 12 months ago in Copenhagen. The British rider told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that he had no chance of defending his title.

    "The chance of retaking my world title is non-existent," Cavendish was quoted as saying by the paper. "Ten times the Cauberg is just too much for me. We have to be realistic."

    The nine-man Great Britain may thus have to follow a different race strategy in order to stand their ground against major nations such as Belgium, Spain and Italy. While the national squad still has to be officially confirmed, nine riders have been named: Mark Cavendish, Steve Cummings, Alex Dowsett, Chris Froome, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Jon Tiernan-Locke and Bradley Wiggins.

    "I can't win, but I'm here out of respect for the jersey and because I'll be wearing race number one. I always enjoy racing in the colours of the national team. You're not doing it for money, but for your country - that is special," Cavendish said, before hoping that another rider of his Team Sky trade team could take the world title on Sunday: Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen.

    "Boasson Hagen would be a nice successor. He'd deserve it. He's a great mate and a damn good rider," Cavendish said.

    Cavendish has worn the rainbow jersey with pride, knowing his sprint victory last year secured him an important place in cycling history.

    "Every rider who wants his name in the history books of cycling has to be world champion at least once. If you'd asked me on my 14th...

  • Tuscany 2013 world championship routes unveiled

    Paolo Bettini is the last Tuscan world champion
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 12:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Hilly finishing circuit includes a 4.6km climb

    The routes of the 2013 UCI world road race championships in Tuscany have been officially unveiled with the elite men’s road race predicted to be the toughest since Bernhard Hinault won the rainbow jersey in Sallanches, France in 1980.

    The road races start in Montecatini Terme and Lucca before heading to Florence for a testing and twisting 16.6km finishing circuit that includes a 4.6km climb to Fiesole. The elite men’s race is over 279.6km, and includes several other climbs and a loop through the centre of Renaissance Florence before 10 laps of the finishing circuit. Elite women will race for 134.7km and cover five laps of the finishing circuit.

    Despite Tuscany being one of the historic strongholds of Italian cycling and the birthplace of Gino Bartali, Fiorenzo Magni, Mario Cipollini and Paolo Bettini, the central Italian region has never hosted the world championships. A stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia is expected finish in Florence in 2013 and the city hopes to host the start of the Tour de France in 2014 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gino Bartali.

    “We hoping for a grand slam of events that no other city else has ever achieved,” Dario Nardella –the vice-mayor of Florence said during the official presentation of the race routes in Maastricht. “The world championships will be the biggest sporting event in our history. We’ll also be introducing a bike sharing scheme to further promote the use of bicycles.”

    The racing will begin, like this year in Limburg, with the team time trial for professional teams, with the men’s and...

  • Boonen and Gilbert show united front

    Tom Boonen leads the Belgian training ride
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 14:17 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Two leaders for two different scenarios for Belgium

    Pressed by reporters to sum up his feelings on sharing leadership of the Belgian World championships team with Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert insisted that it was a “win-win situation.”

    A few metres away, buried within another scrum of microphones and notepads at the Belgian team press event, Boonen was dutifully telling the Flemish media the same thing. But while Belgium’s two front men were singing from the same hymn sheet at the squad’s pre-race press conference in Vilt, they inadvertently revealed the potential for creative differences in their interpretations of the Valkenburg course.

    The final attacks of the race are expected on the Cauberg -a sharp climb ideally suited to an explosive puncheur such as Gilbert, and the Walloon has twice triumphed atop the climb at the end of the Amstel Gold Race. Yet the finish line is 1.5km after the summit of the climb and Boonen believes that attacks on the Cauberg are doomed to be swept up before the line.

    “If the finish was on top of the Cauberg it would be difficult for me but there’s still a kilometre and a half to go after the summit, and I think that’s plenty of time to recover well and concentrate on the sprint that follows,” Boonen said. “It’s a classic course, a hard course, but I’m not afraid of it.”

    Across the room, Philippe Gilbert was envisaging an altogether different final 1500 metres. “I don’t think that you can make up the ground in a kilometre and a half,” he said. “Personally, I think that the gaps at the top of the Cauberg will stay more or less the same until the line.”

    After a listless opening half to the season that saw Gilbert ride in pale imitation of his dominant 2011 self, the BMC rider has gradually...

  • Dwaars door Vlaanderen moves to 1.HC status in 2013

    Terpstra's solo effort in the closing stages left the spectators breathless
    Article published:
    September 21, 2012, 16:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Upgrade for Flemish classic

    Dwaars door Vlaanderen, the traditional opener to the Flemish Classics, has received an upgrade as part of the 2013 UCI calendar. Next year, it will be categorized as a 1.HC race.

    "Obviously we are very pleased with this update of our competition," said race organizer Carlo Lambrecht in a statement posted on the event's website. "Indeed, this is a confirmation that Dwaars door Vlaanderen on the right track."

    He added that the move came to the "great satisfaction for our board, staff and sponsors".

    Dwaars door Vlaanderen, which began in 1945 as a stage race, joins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Scheldeprijs, De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne at the 1.HC level.

    In 2012, Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) won in a solo break.

    "Some will say that winning here is not a big fish but to me it's a nice greasy fish," Terpstra said.