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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 29, 2011

Date published:
August 29, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Martin's Vuelta stage win confirms Grand Tour pedigree

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) celebrates his stage win at La Covatilla.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2011, 8:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Irishman still non-committal about GC aspirations

    Daniel Martin’s (Garmin-Cervelo) victory atop the Sierra de Béjar on stage 9 of the Vuelta a España was a watershed moment for the 25-year-old. The stage win, ahead of Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), confirmed the Irishman can compete at the highest level, after fairly anonymous performances in his two previous Grand Tours; the 2010 Giro d’Italia, and the 2009 Vuelta.

    For Martin, the win was vindication for his efforts so far in this year’s Vuelta. Third place on the most difficult climb of the race so far, Sierra Nevada proved the Irishman was in good form, but victory still came as a surprise.

    "There are some of the best climbers in the world here, so to win this stage means a lot for me," Martin said. "I know I am good in small groups like this. It’s exciting for the future, but I prefer to think about the present. For now, I just want to enjoy this victory right now."

    Team Director Bingen Fernández also praised Martin, who he said showed strength and tactical nous to take the career defining victory.

    "[Today] brings a lot of satisfaction [to Daniel and everyone at the team]," said Fernandes. "It confirms that he can win against a world-class field in a Grand Tour. The wind made it difficult, but Martin rode the perfect tactics. When they caught him the first time, he chose to stay protected inside the bunch and then attacked [again in the final uphill] to win."

    It’s been another impressive year for Martin, who is quickly developing into one of the best young climbers in the peloton. Though now sitting in 11th overall at 55 seconds, Martin tempered any...

  • Nuyens and Mollema bookend the Vuelta TT start list

    Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) in the red jersey.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2011, 9:44 BST
    Cycling News

    All the start times for the Salamanca time trial

    Nick Nuyens of Saxo Bank-SunGard will be the first rider off in the only individual time trial of this year's Vuelta a Espana, with race leader Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) following him some three and a half hours later. Riders are expected to cover the flat 47km course around Salamanca in less than an hour.

    Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky is the favourite to win today and take over the race lead, with many observers expecting him to hold on to that lead through the end of the race. Currently one minute down in 13th place, he will start at 16:20 CET.

    World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara goes off early, at 13:41. HTC-Columbia's Tony Martin, another potential stage winner, leaves at 14:20, with teammate and former World Champion Bert Grabsch leaving at 13:59.

    The riders will leave at one-minute intervals. The final 28 riders will go every two minutes.

    3º PHINNEY, Taylor BMC RACING TEAM 13:11
    4º TIMMER, Albert SKIL - SHIMANO 13:12
    5º KLIER, Andreas TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO 13:13
    6º VEELERS, Tom SKIL - SHIMANO 13:14
    7º WAGNER, Robert LEOPARD TREK 13:15
    9º GENIEZ, Alexandre SKIL - SHIMANO 13:17
    10º LOBATO, Juan José ANDALUCIA - CAJA GRANADA 13:18

    11º DOI, Yukihiro SKIL - SHIMANO 13:19
    13º SUTTON, Christopher SKY PROCYCLING 13:21
    14º MARYCZ, Jaroslaw SAXO BANK SUNGARD 13:22
    15º BRANDLE, Matthias GEOX - TMC 13:23
    16º KITTEL, Marcel SKIL - SHIMANO 13:24

  • Kessiakoff happy to be back on track again at the Vuelta

    Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) looks pensive
    Article published:
    August 29, 2011, 10:58 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Astana rider looking forward to Madrid

    Fredrik Kessiakoff looks to have put his career back on track after a disappointing 18 month period. The Swedish rider finished 10th on stage 9 of the Vuelta and now sits 4th overall, just 18 seconds down on the race lead.

    It’s a far cry from the Kessiakoff who was released by Garmin-Transitions at the end of the 2010, and the rider who was omitted from Astana’s Tour de France line up at the last minute.

    “It’s been a steady Vuelta so far and I’m happy with that. That final climb on stage 9 was very tough and so was the day before. I’ve not been sure about my legs but in the end I was able to manage a solid effort and not lose too much time,” he told Cyclingnews.

    A strong climber Kessiakoff rode a tactically astute race, biding his time in the leading group instead of attacking into the headwind as the likes of Michele Scarponi and Nicholas Roche did.

    “You saw that when Scarponi went that there were a lot of attacks and people wanted to get away but it all kept coming back because of the wind on the climb. I just decided to stay put in the wheels and not do anything stupid. If you look at it now Scarponi wasn’t brilliant in the end and he lost a lot of time. Sure I lost some time but it’s just seconds.”

    Kessiakoff, a former mountain biker, came to the fore after a strong 2009 season with Fuji-Servetto in what was his first full season on the road. However a crash at the start of 2010 severely hindered his first year with Garmin and when it came to mid-August he had already hung up his wheels for the year and began preparing for 2011. With no results and the collaboration between Garmin and Cervelo, he found himself without a team until

  • Mollema "confident" ahead of Vuelta time trial test

    Bauke Mollema (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    August 29, 2011, 11:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Overall leader fears Wiggins in defence of red jersey

    Rabobank's Bauke Mollema may have lost out on his objective of a victory in yesterday's stage nine of the Vuelta a España, but the new overall leader was still happy with his achievement atop the La Covatilla climb and hopes to defend his red jersey in today's 47 kilometer time trial in Salamanca.

    After an impressive final climb, Mollema contested a three-man sprint to the line against Garmin-Cervélo’s Daniel Martin, the eventual winner, and Geox-TMC’s Juan Jose Cobo. Finishing second, the Dutchman said on his team's website that he hadn't paid enough attention to Martin's move and therefore lost out.

    "That was my only mistake today [yesterday]. I had the legs to win the stage and knew for sure that I could have beaten Martin, but I didn't watch out. I looked to the left and he jumped away to the right of Wiggins. It was downhill at that point, and I hadn't taken that into account. It's a shame, as otherwise it would have been a double victory," he admitted.

    Still, claiming the overall leader's jersey was "a great feeling" for the 24-year-old, who finished 12th in the 2010 Giro d'Italia and fifth in this year's Tour de Suisse. "I was going for the stage win, so I was very disappointed at first that I got second because of a small mistake. But then, when they said I had the leader's jersey, it was a great reward, too."

    Mollema did not race to his expectations at this year's Tour de France, finishing 70th, but is now building on a solid form to which the Tour largely contributed. "It's true that I need a lot of competition days to reach a good race rythm, and utlimately the Tour was a great preparation for this. I'm taking advantage of this now: my condition is great and my legs feel good," he...

  • Leopard Trek denies merger with RadioShack for 2012

    Fabian Cancellara looks after Leopard Trek leader Fränk Schleck
    Article published:
    August 29, 2011, 12:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Team spokesman says Nygaard will not leave team

    There will be no merger of Leopard Trek and RadioShack for the 2012 season, Leopard Trek spokesman Tim Vanderjeugde has said. He denied the reports in L'Equipe and other media that Brian Nygaard would leave the team, which would then merge with the American team run by Johan Bruyneel.

    “On the team's behalf, I can flatly deny that there is a merger with Radioshack," Vanderjeugde told

    “We see it as pure rumour. Nobody on our team has heard of any merger. Brian Nygaard is still on the payroll here at Leopard Trek and has not taken any decision to leave the team.”

    L'Equipe reported the possible merger, with Nygaard allegedly being forced out of the team after failing to find a title sponsor for the Luxembourg team.

  • Nibali rates Wiggins as overall favourite

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) after a warm stage.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2011, 13:49 BST
    Cycling News

    2010 Vuelta a España winner praises the Brit's climbing skills

    Following an impressive ride on the Vuelta a España's summit finish on stage nine, where Sky leader Bradley Wiggins finished fourth, defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) has said he now counted the Brit as one of his biggest favourites for the overall victory of the race.

    "After the climb he did, I see him now as one of the greatest favourites," the Italian told when asked about Wiggins' performance. Indeed, the Sky rider forced the pace on the final climb of La Covantilla, and even if his greatest strength may be his time trialling - which he will be able to show in Salamanca today - Wiggins' climbing skills were truly impressive.

    "Some (favourites) are time trial specialists and others are climbers. There are still some summit finishes to go, as well as the 47km race against the clock. If there is something that last year's Vuelta taught me, it's that these races are won with regularity, day by day. There is still a lot to come before Madrid," he added.

    Wiggins himself was "delighted" with his climbing performance on Sunday and is expected to make the best of his time trial abilities on Monday's 47km-course, certainly imporving his 13th placing on GC. "Tomorrow is where I am expecting to make the most of my gains and everything I earned here was a bonus - it was a fantastic finish and it couldn’t have gone any better," said the Sky rider in the finish on Sunday.

    Nibali, meanwhile, finished sixth on the stage and is now third on general...

  • Van den Broeck satisfied with Vuelta a España performance

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is back in action after suffering injury at the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2011, 14:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian overall contender hopes for good time trial result

    Although he conceded 19 seconds in the Vuelta a España's first "real" mountaintop finish yesterday, Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jurgen Van den Broeck is happy with his performance in the Spanish grand tour. Currently fifth overall, the Belgian hopes to put some time into his Spanish GC rivals in Monday's time trial in Salamanca.

    "I only had to let go in the end, so it's not so bad," Van Den Broeck told Belgian reporters in the finish in La Covatilla on Sunday. "I'm already happy just to be here, so why should I cry over those 19 seconds?"

    Van Den Broeck, had suffered multiple fractures and a collapsed lung in July when he crashed out of the Tour de France on stage nine. His team management was also very satisfied with his showing. "Jurgen is only back to racing since one week. If you concede 19 seconds to the winner on the first real mountain pass, you surely can't complain," said sports director Dirk De Wolf.

    His respectable performance on the the Vuelta's mountaintop finish has made him confident for what is still to come.

    "The first balance sheet will be done in Salamanca [the 47km time trial on Monday - ed.]," he added. Omega Pharma's second sports director, Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, revealed that VDB's aim will be to put as much time into his rivals there as possible. "I can see that Jurgen has a lot of confidence. The way I see it, he can have a good strike at Rodriguez, Anton and a few others," said Heynderickx.

    Joaquin 'Purito' Rodriguez, currently second overall, is expected to lose several minutes on the Salamanca...

  • UCI declares final Tour de France doping tests negative

    Cadel Evans (BMC) gave Australia a big win.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2011, 18:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Kolobnev's positive the doping controversy of the race

    The UCI announced today that it has received the results of the final anti-doping controls taken during the Tour de France, and all have been declared negative. The UCI's Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) was the recipient of the complete dossier from the Châtenay-Malabry, Lausanne and Cologne testing laboratories.

    The only doping case at the Tour involved Katusha's Alexandr Kolobnev, whose hydrochlorothiazide test results were confirmed by the B-sample last month. While the Russian denies having intentionally used the substance, which can act as a masking agent, he has been suspended by his team, pending the outcome of the official disciplinary procedure being carried out by the Russian cycling federation.

    UCI President Pat McQuaid was pleased with the outcome of the tests, crediting his organisation's recent anti-doping measures, including the biological passport, for the results.

    "It also indicates that there has been a change of mentality and behaviour within the peloton. Our sport is on the right track and we will continue to use all means available to protect it," said McQuaid in a press release from the UCI.

    With the final test results in, the outcome of this year's race appears confirmed, unlike that of the 2010 Tour de France. Alberto Contador's positive for clenbuterol is still up in the air, pending a November arbitration hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    The UCI has faced criticism from the French anti-doping authorities in recent years, with former AFLD director Pierre Bordry accusing the organisation of favoring teams and being less than thorough in its anti-doping scheme. With a change of guard in the AFLD,...