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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 26, 2013

Date published:
August 26, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Bontrager development team to continue in 2014

    The Bontrager team is hoping the USA Pro Challenge isn't their swan song
    Article published:
    August 26, 2013, 2:20 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    New sponsor in the works for Axel Merckx's squad

    After a brief scare that his team might not be able to replace Trek and its subsidiary, Bontrager with a new title sponsor for next season, Axel Merckx told Cyclingnews Sunday that his development team will return in 2014.

    The team's future was temporarily in doubt after Trek took over title sponsorship of the RadioShack Leopard World Tour team next year and would not be able to continue to support the US-based Continental team. But Merckx said Sunday before the final stage of the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado that he has a "handshake agreement" with a new sponsor.

    "To me it's a deal, and to them it's a deal, too," he said. "But we just need to put it on paper and make everything official and then make the announcement. It's going to be really exciting and I'm really glad about it."

    Merckx will also take over ownership of the team, which has produced a steady stream of riders for the WorldTour.

    "To be honest, it is a different step because it is going to be my team," Merckx said. "It was my team a little bit before, but Trek had lots of say in it. But now I'm going to take ownership of it, and with a new partner we're going to be able to build on something for the long term."

    Although Merckx has enough financial commitments line up to move forward with his team at its current level, he said, he is still seeking out new partners for next season and beyond.

    "We're not at 100 percent of where we want to be with the budget, but I have enough to at least start a team and try to keep it at the same level as it is right now," he said. "It is a huge relief for me and a huge relief for some of the staff and some riders. It's been a stressful few weeks, but I'm glad that...

  • Ewan too good for Zabel at l'Avenir

    Caleb Ewan (Australia) celebrates as he crosses the finish line on stage 1 of the Tour de l'Avenir
    Article published:
    August 26, 2013, 3:29 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Young Australian takes sixth win in Europe for 2013

    Caleb Ewan (Australia) nabbed his sixth win of his European campaign at the Tour de l'Avenir on Sunday, out-sprinting German young-gun Rick Zabel.

    It was the fourth clash of 2013 for the pair, and Ewan once again came out on top with the first stage of the ‘Tour of the Future', a 145.8km stage between Louhans and Arbois. So far, Zabel's runner-up placing to the Australian is as close as he's got with Ewan now defeating Zabel on three occasions.

    The Australian team had reconned the stage prior to the event, and it was homework which clearly paid off with the 1.7km 6% Cat.4 climb just four kilometres before the finish, followed by two sharp right-hand bends coming into the final 200 metres proving challenging.

    "The stage was not that easy because we do not know if the last climb would be difficult," Ewan said following his victory, reported directvelo.com. "It was a perfect stage for the sprinters until we got to this climb. But the guys on the team did a great job today and I just had to follow them."

    A breakaway of two riders had escaped the bunch early on in the stage, building an advantage of around six minutes until the Belgian and Australian teams took responsibility for the chase with around 40km remaining. With 10km to go, Ewan's teammates Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner Calvin Watson, Brad Linfield and Adam Phelan had reduced the gap to a minute with Sam Spokes them leading the way ahead of the all-important climb. With the threat of the breakaway over, Damien Howson then ensured Ewan was in an ideal position on the climb.

    "At the top, I moved into third wheel," Ewan explained. "At this point I felt good.

    "On the...

  • Lack of testing in Borneo leaves more questions than answers

    Kolahdozhagh and Mizbani (TPT) celebrate the stage victory and crushing blow to other GC hopefuls
    Article published:
    August 26, 2013, 4:45 BST
    By:
    Jono Lovelock

    Discontent grows in UCI Asia Tour

    The Tour of Borneo drew to a close last week, but the fallout following the fourth stage is continuing to unfold. The queen stage of the tour finished with a dominating two-man victory with Tabriz Petrochemical duo Ghader Mizbani and Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour finishing over six minutes in front of their nearest rivals on the stage.

    After multiple attacks the Iranian pair eventually found themselves clear of a 14-man chase group. The group which contained New Zealand time trial champion, Joseph Cooper (Huon-Genesys), 2014 Sky trainee Nathan Earle (Huon-Genesys), John Ebsen (Baku) and Sea Keong Loh (OCBC) remained dedicated to the chase but the leading Iranian duo pulled away regardless.

    Within the initial 30 kilometres of their escapee along the mostly flat valley floor, Mizbani and Pourseyedigolakhour put five minutes into the chasing group of which eight riders remained fully committed. It was only on the final 10 kilometre climb of the day that the two leaders began to concede time after extending their lead to over 11 minutes.

    For many within the peloton it was a feeling of déjà vu. Only a few months earlier, Mizbani, along with teammate Amir Kolahdozhagh, finished eight minutes in front of the nearest chasers during the fifth stage of the Tour of Singkarak. In fact it has become a common occurrence to witness powerful two-up attacks from the Tabriz team.

    During the Tour of Qinghai Lake in 2010, Hossein Askari and Medhi Sohrabi (Tabriz) took off halfway through the sixth stage. This time they had a passenger in the 18-year-old Nikola Kozomara (Partizan SRBIJA). When the young Serbian's team...

  • Cycling Australia to back Cookson in UCI presidential race

    Cadel Evans with Gerry Ryan and Klaus Mueller
    Article published:
    August 26, 2013, 6:36 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Re-election of McQuaid unanimously rejected

    Cycling Australia (CA) will not vote to re-elect incumbent UCI president Pat McQuaid. Cycling Australia cemented its position following an address from Cookson during his visit to Australia over the weekend which coincided with a CA board meeting.

    Outgoing Cycling Australia president, Klaus Mueller, said the decision was unanimous.

    "We are supporting Cookson. It was unanimous with all [CA] board members present," Mueller told the Sydney Morning Herald.

    Although partly complimentary of current president Pat McQuaid, Mueller believed his handling of the United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation into Lance Armstrong and his associates was inadequate.

    "CA has enjoyed a very good relationship with Pat over the years and we recognise the significant work he has done to help globalise the sport and address the doping culture that besieged professional men’s road cycling.

    "However, the inadequate response in dealing with the fallout from the Armstrong affair and subsequent allegations brought against the UCI has emphasised a need for leadership change to allow the sport to move on and realise its enormous potential," added Mueller.

    Mueller highlighted three specific issues that swayed the 10 out of 11 CA board members present over the weekend.

    "We felt [Cookson] was in a better position to restore the reputation and integrity of the UCI and the sport internationally," said Mueller. "Also he agreed he would do everything in his power to improve the governance structures, to make those more accountable and efficient and reflect what a modern sporting body should look like."

    Mueller stated that CA are advocates for a changed...

  • Close but no cigar for Katusha at the Vuelta

    Dani Moreno (Katusha) and Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    August 26, 2013, 9:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Moreno in second, Rodriguez in seventh for Russian squad

    After only two stages at the Vuelta a España, the cards are already on the table. And for Team Katusha, their two trump cards, Daniel Moreno and Joaquim Rodriguez, remain at the top of the deck after both performed well on the Vuelta's first of eleven uphill finishes.

    Katusha came into the race with Joaquim Rodriguez as their designated team leader, but it was teammate Daniel Moreno who claimed second on the stage.

    Following Leopold Konig's (NetApp-Endura) attack in the final two kilometres, it was Moreno who responded and shot across the gap that the Czech rider had built. As Rodriguez and the other GC contenders marked each other the race continued to unfold up the road. Nicholas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) had the strongest attack in the final 500 metres to seal the win, with Moreno coming in two seconds adrift.

    The Spaniard was disappointed not to take the stage, but given the uncertainty of his form following the Tour de France, the 59 kilogram climber remained upbeat.

    "In the final part I was ahead so I tried to attack," said Moreno. "I had good, but not great, feelings about my shape. The first days of a Grand Tour after a rest period are always like this though. It's a pity I couldn't win, but the second place is a good result".

    Rodriguez hesitated before attempting to follow the move of his teammate, claiming a lack of racing condition following a hefty break after the Tour de France.

    "I saw Moreno attack but I couldn't follow him immediately," said Rodriguez. "I was in a good shape, but the lack of racing conditioned my performance....

  • Bos and Belkin looking for cause of low cortisol levels

    Theo Bos (Blanco) has plenty to smile about after his sprint victory in stage 2 of the Ster ZLM Toer
    Article published:
    August 26, 2013, 11:03 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch rider returns home “a broken man”

    Neither Theo Bos nor Team Belkin has any idea how the Dutch rider came to have such a low cortisol level. They deny, however, that the test results were caused by the use of any medication.

    Bos was withdrawn from the Vuelta a Espana squad on Friday when pre-race medical tests showed that his cortisol levels were too low. He has already returned to his home in Monaco.

    His only comment so far came Saturday on Twitter. “Broken man right now. Instead of racing tonight I fly back home to rest. Incredible. Good luck to the boys of @TeamBelkin”.

    “We do no know the cause and Theo has no idea. Now we will see together how this can be,” Belkin team manager Richard Plugge said to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

    Bos would have been allowed to start in the Vuelta under UCI rules, but the Dutch team is a member of the MPCC ((Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible). The MPCC requires that riders whose cortisol levels are too low cannot race.

    There are several reasons as to why the levels may be so low. "In ninety percent of cases, the too-low cortisol levels are due to use of cortisone. But there may be another reason underlying that we do not know,” MPCC director Roger Legeay told De Telegraaf.

    "These are our rules and we adhere to them," Belkin spokesman Leon Brouwer told Gelderlander.nl.

    Cyclists may use cortisones if they have a TUE (therapeutic use exemption). But Bos does not have one, nor does he need one, the team said.

    His most recent race was the Eneco Tour, which he abandoned with saddle sore problems. However, the team said, he was given no medication in the lead-up to the Vuelta. “”Because then we...

  • Pinotti's pupil Villumsen is back and she's motivated

    New Zealand National Time Trial Champion, Linda Villumsen
    Article published:
    August 26, 2013, 11:47 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Wiggle rider returns to the top of women's cycling

    Linda Villumsen has praised Marco Pinotti for helping her return to the top of women’s cycling. The New Zealand rider took an extended break from international cycling at the end of the 2012 season but came back in July of this year. Despite the gap in racing she rode to an impressive overall victory in the La Route de France this month.

    Villumsen has been coached by Pinotti ever since the pair rode together under the HTC-Columbia banner in 2010.

    “It was the last year when I was on HTC and we started talking about training. We’re both the same type of riders, both time trialists who like to study the numbers in training. But I couldn’t thank him enough because without him I couldn’t have come back because it was a long time to be away from that level. My first race back was the Giro and I can only thank him because he obviously gave me the right training,” she told Cyclingnews.

    “He’s there any time of the day, any time I have something to ask him about, he’s there within minutes to reply with the best possible advice. He plans days, or weeks ahead depending on what’s coming up and at the moment we’re looking together at the Worlds.”

    There are a number of races between now and the Worlds but Florence will mark a year since Villumsen decided to take a break from racing.

    Villumsen rode for the Orica  team in 2012 but towards the end of the year the press were informed that the she would be retiring.

    “I was taking a break. The press release from Orica was more like I’d retired but what it meant to say was that I’d retired from the team. I had been training and racing with my local team. I’d done a few races over Christmas and nationals so it wasn’t like I had complete time off but I’d really not been racing near...

  • Encouraging signs for Pozzovivo at Vuelta

    Domenicao Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) in good spirits
    Article published:
    August 26, 2013, 12:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    AG2R's GC man regaining lost time

    AG2R's Domenico Pozzovivo finished the second stage of the Vuelta a España in third position behind a flying Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkov) and a resurgent Daniel Moreno (Katusha).

    After losing 1 minute and 41 seconds in the opening team time trial on stage one, Pozzovivo was relieved to show that he could slowly etch back time when the race turned uphill.

    "Yesterday, on the team time-trial, I noticed that my feeling was pretty good," said Pozzovivo. "I had a little doubt at the start this morning because it was today the first stage that finishes on a bump."

    He may have only taken back 12 seconds, but for the 53 kilogram Italian climber, stage two showed promise that should only get brighter as the climbs get longer and the gradients steeper.

    "I felt well throughout the race and I was well-supported by my teammates. I stayed into the bunch on the climb but I suffered in the flat part with a crosswind," said the Italian. "The last part of the ascent was a little steeper and I saw that three riders attacked so I tried to stay with them.

    "We looked each other in the last kilometre and this is where I tried my luck. The last 200 meters were a little bit easier and thus in the favour of Nicolas Roche and Daniel Moreno who are faster than me on this kind of final," he added. "I'm glad after this stage, even if I don't win. I save some time on my competitors and it's a great morale booster!"