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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 3, 2009

Date published:
August 03, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Antón's victory sweet relief for Euskaltel - Euskadi

    Igor Antón (Euskaltel - Euskadi).
    Article published:
    August 03, 2009, 3:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Basque squad gets back to winning

    Igor Antón says his victory in the Subida a Urkiola was like "a dream" and the win is "very important" for his team. It comes at a time when Euskadi-Euskaltel faces the likelihood that Mikel Astarloza will face a suspension due to a positive doping control during the Tour de France.

    While Astarloza's Tour de France stage victory and subsequent fall from grace made headlines recently, Antón's win is relief for the squad that may come under pressure from sponsors as a result of the positive control, with the team told to ensure it steers clear of bad publicity in the future.

    It was back to racing on Sunday however, with Antón beating defending champion David Arroyo, the pair separated by Xavier Tondo and the appropriately-named Freddy Montaña, who finished in second and third respectively.

    "The truth is that I felt good throughout the day and I'm very happy about the victory," Antón told Europa Press. "Winning in this place is a dream. It's like our Mont Ventoux. The rhythm that he brought from the Tour de France was my guide and I want to thank the whole team for how it worked. They all sacrificed for me and I am very grateful for this work and that trust."

    Seven riders escaped heading into the last of the day's climbs, with Xavier Tondo (Andalusia), Freddy Montaña (Boyaca), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Beñat Intxausti (Fuji Servetto) and Patrick Sinkewitz (PSK Whirlpool-Author) unable to counter Antón's late attack.

    Last year's winner, Arroyo, was obviously disappointed with the day's proceedings and explained that his efforts to neutralise Antón's offensive cost him a spot on the podium. "I felt pretty good - it was a mistake to try my luck in the final 1500 metres with the intention of neutralising Igor Antón and limited my options," he said.

    "I joined Tondo in trying to reach Igor but it was impossible, and I paid for the effort...

  • Hammond finishes third in Tour of Denmark

    Roger Hammond (Cervélo TestTeam) finished third in the Tour of Denmark
    Article published:
    August 03, 2009, 11:25 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Briton secures podium spot in five-day race

    Briton's Roger Hammond closed the five-day Tour of Denmark in third overall and helped his Cervélo TestTeam to one stage win.

    "He has worked so hard for everybody else in all of the stages. He has earned first place as far as I am concerned," said Cervélo Team Director Marcello Albasini, prior to the final stage.

    Hammond ended the race 47 seconds behind winner Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) and 44 seconds behind Maurizio Biondo (Ceramica Flaminia).

    He moved from 19th to third in the general classification after Saturday's 115-kilometre stage to Køge. He made a four-man escape group with teammate, Jeremy Hunt. Hunt won the stage and Hammond took third.

    Cervélo teammate Simon Gerrans finished second in the first stage and 22-year-old Martin Reimer was third in the second stage.

    "I am also very proud of our young riders and how they have performed in this race. They have really worked hard, always up in front, and shown how talented they are," said Albasini.

    Hammond's next races are the Tour of Ireland, August 19 to 21, and the Vuelta a España, August 29 to September 20.

  • Greipel loses first sprint since comeback

    Andre Greipel dons the first yellow jersey of the Tour of Austria.
    Article published:
    August 03, 2009, 11:42 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    German chooses wrong gearing

    André Greipel failed to win the sprint finish in the first stage of the Tour of Poland, the first time he has lost such a sprint since returning from shoulder surgery in May.

    Team Columbia-HTC's Greipel, 27, had won 13 straight bunch sprints.

    German Greipel knew exactly who to blame for the loss: himself. His team controlled the race and set things up perfectly, but when he went to sprint he realised that he had "made a big mistake." He had a larger gear than usual installed because he anticipated strong tailwinds, but there was no wind in the finale.

    "In the finale I couldn't use the big gear as I hoped. The consequence is the first loss since my comeback this spring," he said. "It's a huge disappointment and I have to make it up to my teammates.”

    "He had a bit of bad luck, it's a shame," teammate Adam Hansen told Cyclingnews. "He had to dig deep to get back to the front and spent too much energy before his sprint. It was real hard for him as it was his first loss."

    Greipel opened this year by winning the first stage of the Tour Down Under and appeared to be on his way to defending his overall title in that race. However, he crashed into a motorcycle in the third stage and subsequently had to have surgery on his shoulder.

    Since then, Greipel has won stages in the 4 Jours du Dunkerque, Bayern Rundfahrt, Ster Elektrotoer, Österreich Rundfahrt and the Sachsen Tour, wearing the leader's jersey in each of those races. He also won the one-day races Neuseen Classics and the Philadelphia Championship.

    His 14 season victories are second most in the sport, with only teammate Mark Cavendish (20 wins) ahead of him.

  • Saxo Bank announce first contract extensions

    Saxo Bank
    Article published:
    August 03, 2009, 12:08 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Høj, Klostergaard and Lund continue through 2010

    Saxo Bank announced Sunday that Frank Høj, Kasper Klostergård and Anders Lund extended their contracts with the team.

    The three Danish riders agreed to stay with team Saxo Bank through the 2010 season. Saxo Bank says these re-signings are the first of a series of contract extensions for the team.

    "They have all three been part of our success this year and each in their own way deserve a new contract." said Bjarne Riis on the team's website.

    "I'm extremely happy to be able to stay with the team, where I feel I get the chance to both help out in the big races and also go for a result of my own once in a while," said Anders Lund. "I think I've learnt a lot during the last couple of seasons and I look forward to achieving results should the opportunity come along."

    Lund, 24, has been earmarked as a future talent by team owner, Riis. He has been with the team since 2007, when he joined under the banner of the team's former sponsor, CSC. Lund rode his second Giro d'Italia this year, finishing ninth on stage three into Valdobbiadene.

    Høj, 36, will continue in his role as one of the team's classics riders. He had an unlucky start to his first year with Saxo Bank this season. He suffered a broken collarbone in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, but recovered in time to claim third place in the Danish national championships.

    Klostergård's performances at this year at Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix helped to ensure his future with the team. The 26-year-old featured in the major breaks of each of the two classics.

  • Arroyo misses Urkiola repeat, ready for Burgos

    David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) shows the strain of tackling the 25-kilometre climb to the finish.
    Article published:
    August 03, 2009, 12:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Last year's Subida Urkiola winner fourth

    David Arroyo failed to repeat victory in the Subida Urkiola Sunday, but says he felt in good condition after the Tour de France and ahead of the Vuelta a Burgos.

    "It was important that the finish left a good taste in my mouth," said Arroyo. "I am looking forward to the Tour of Burgos."

    Arroyo won the one-day Subida Urkiola last year, ahead of Juan José Cobo and Sergio Pardilla. He went on to win stage 19 of the Vuelta a España in Segovia after a two-man escape in the last 50 kilometres.

    This year, Arroyo raced the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France three-week races. He helped his Caisse d'Epargne team win stage eight of the Tour with Luis León Sánchez.

    Arroyo had his chance to win yesterday in the 160.4-kilometre race that ends on the Urkiola climb in Spain's Basque region.

    "It was a controlled race up until the bottom of the last climb to Urkiola, where the attacks started," said Arroyo. "I felt good and stayed near the front up until 1500 metres, when Igor Antón attacked."

    Antón won the race ahead of Xavier Tondo (Andalucía-Cajasur) and Freddy Montaña (Boyaca). Arroyo finished fourth.

    He will race for the first time in Spain's Vuelta a Burgos five-day race starting on Wednesday. His Caisse d'Epargne teammate, Xabier Zandio, won last year.

    Zandio and Arroyo will be in the team with Alejandro Valverde, José Vicente Garcia, Vasil Kiryienka, Francisco Pérez, Joaquím Rodríguez and Rigoberto Uran.

  • Bettini interested in one day becoming Italian director

    Franco Ballerini talks to Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).
    Article published:
    August 03, 2009, 14:31 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Italian disappointed but confident after Di Luca's positive

    Former World and Olympic road champion, Paolo Bettini, indicated in Rome Friday that he would be interested in one day becoming the director of the Italian national team.

    “Thoughts of a return [to racing] do not enter my mind, I have truly retired," said Bettini according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "As a sportsman it is an obvious ambition to one day manage a national [team]. At the moment [Franco] Ballerini is in control and everything is going well. After that it may be looked at.”

    Bettini retired from professional cycling in 2008 after an 11-year career that included two World Championships (2006, 2007) and Gold at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

    He also commented to the Italian newspaper on the recent news of Danilo Di Luca's two positive tests for blood booster EPO-CERA during this year's Giro d'Italia.

    "I cannot understand and it is a big disappointment. We know that the controls are there and he had already endured an investigation," said Bettini. "It is a time when cycling is attempting to find [dopers] and it is. But we can't exclude the possibility that a new generation of doping will emerge soon."

    Bettini's comments came as he and current Italian national manager, Franco Ballerini, attended a conference between the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) and the Italian Sport Credit Institute (ICS).

    Despite the news of Di Luca's positive test Ballerini told La Gazzetta dello Sport he remains confident that the Italian team will be strong at September's World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    "Di Luca is out and that saddens us, but we have a great group," said Ballerini. "Alessandro Ballan is the current World Champion and at the Tour [Rinaldo] Nocentini rode well even after he lost the yellow jersey."

    La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Ballerini will remain the head of the Italian national team until at least the London 2012 Olympics.

  • Univest expands to UCI stage race

    The 2008 Univest GP was hit by hurricane rains.
    Article published:
    August 03, 2009, 15:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Team Time Trial to precede Pennsylvania classic

    Organisers of the Univest Grand Prix have expanded this year's event, adding a team time trial to make the event a two-day UCI stage race. The new stage will take place in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, September 11, followed by the Univest Grand Prix road race in Souderton the next day.

    John Eustice, the race promoter, worked with the UCI and USA Cycling to re-classify the event from a 1.2 one-day race to the 2.2 stage race.

    "We think this dynamic new format will prove to be very exciting for both spectators at the races and television viewers who can watch the races live on WFMZ Channel 69 and Universal Sports."

    The new team time trial will cover two laps of a tough and technical 3.8 mile loop through Allentown's Center City. The following day's 100-mile race will test riders with 6,000 feet of climbing over the 60-mile opening loop through Montgomery County's rolling hills and 10-laps of the finishing circuit in Souderton.

    Last year's race was won by Garmin's Lucas Euser, who endured pounding rain from the remnants of Hurrican Hannah to claim victory ahead of Swede Frederick Ericsson.

    Racing concludes on Sunday, September 13, with the non-UCI classified Univest Grand Prix Doylestown Criterium.

    Fans can take part in the fun with the Cyclosportif 100K recreational ride on Saturday, as well as a Family Fun Zone at the Univest Plaza in Souderton and races for children in Souderton and Doylestown.

  • Ballan set to leave Lampre

    World champion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-NGC)
    Article published:
    August 03, 2009, 17:18 BST
    Gregor Brown

    World Champion unhappy with one-year offer

    Italian Alessandro Ballan is prepared to leave team Lampre after five years and wins in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and the World Championships. He said yesterday that he is unhappy with the team's current proposed contract.

    "I have always like being at Lampre, but I believe it is over. They proposed only a one-year contract, I won't accept," Ballan told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Ballan's current contract with Italy's Lampre team expires at the end of 2009. He became professional with team in 2005 thanks partially to bike supplier Wilier.

    "It's been a great period with Ballan," team manager Giuseppe Saronni told Cyclingnews. "He turned professional with us and made it to the top of cycling, the World Championships and Ronde van Vlaanderen.

    "It's true, we made a one-year offer, we were not able to offer a contract of two years. He refused it and we have to accept he will no longer be with the team in 2010."

    Ballan established himself as a one-day rider with wins in the 2005 Trofeo Laigueglia and 2007 Ronde van Vlaanderen. Last year he finished fourth in Ronde, third in Paris-Roubaix and won the World Championships.

    Ballan has failed to win in the World Champion's rainbow jersey due to a virus that wiped out his spring and set him back for the summer. He has returned to racing, recently at the Tour de France and now in the Tour of Poland, and other teams are taking notice.

    "The market is open," Ballan told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Lance Armstrong, Astana, Sky and Rabobank want me, there is not a shortage of opportunities. To race with Lance [Armstrong at new team RadioShack] would be fantastic."

    Rabobank and Sky told Cyclingnews they were uninterested in signing Ballan. "We truly respect Alessandro as a person and as a professional rider, but we don't have any interest in signing him for next year," said Rabobank's spokesman, Luuc Eisenga. Scott Sunderland of...