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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 17, 2011

Date published:
October 17, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Bronzini returns to Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan

    Two: Bronzini reminds everyone she is a double world champion
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 12:45 BST
    Cycling News

    World champion to concentrate on London Olympics

    Two-time world road champion Giorgia Bronzini is returning to the Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan team for 2012. The Italian had previously raced for the team in 2004 and from 2007 to 2009.

    “Giorgia is back home,” said team manager Maurizio Fabretto. “With us she grew up, she matured. Then she exploded in the last two years, winning two World road titles, one after another.

    “Giorgia is 28 years old and can still win. We will provide all we can for this to happen. Having already ridden with us, Giorgia knows that she will find a team where professionalism, competence and hunger for victories are characteristic.”

    Bronzini was also enthusiastic. "It was not easy to decide. I chose Maurizio Fabretto's team for several reasons. I believe in him and in his project. Pasta Zara has a president who has always believed in womens' cycling and has also demonstrated that this year by sponsoring the Giro Donne. Diadora  is a leading international brand in the sports world, and not only in cycling.”

    She was also looking forward to working with her new sport director, former rider Diana Ziliute. “In 2009 we were teammates,” she said in the team's press release. “She has a lot of experience, has won a lot on the pedals. She is a woman who is stubborn and serious.”

    Both the team and the rider agreed that the 2012 season will be dedicated to the London Olympics, with Bronzini calling it “my one true goal. In London I will try to be at my best, to compete all out with the best. The Olympic course seems perfect, designed just for my characteristics. It's a golden opportunity.”

  • Kittel feeling no pressure to emulate 2011 season

    Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano)
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 13:45 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    German admits to fatigue after 17 race wins

    In a word, Marcel Kittel's 2011 season has been prolific. Having collected his 16th and 17th wins of the season at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour this week, the powerful German gave further credence to the notion that as far as neo pros go, Kittel is the standout among his peers.

    After claiming victory number 17 on the inner-city criterium circuit in Melbourne, a beaming Kittel explained that most of the fun was to look for the best possible position in the final hunt to the line. "I like fighting for position," the 23-year-old Skil-Shimano sprinter said. "It's exciting. I like it."

    Of course, at 188 centimetres tall and weighing 80 kilograms - that's taller and heavier than compatriot Andre Greipel - size is definitely on his side.

    "For me the most important thing in the sprint is that it's always fair and I try to stay calm," Kittel said. "Of course there's a lot of excitement and a lot of riders try to keep their position. When I have my position I try to keep it but I'm also ready to fight for it but normally it's enough when they see me - it helps," he admitted.

    It's been quite the season for the Arnstadt native, having kicked off 2011 by taking out the fifth stage of the Tour de Langkawi, won four stages at the Four Days of Dunkirk, won the first stage and then overall at the Delta Tour Zeeland, four stages at the Tour of Poland, along with stage seven of the Vuelta a Espana in his Grand Tour debut. In the lead up to the UCI Road World Championships, Kittel edged Andre Greipel for the win at the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen and before heading to Australia for the Sun Tour, drew even with Peter Sagan's tally of 15 victories at the Sparkassen...

  • Lund returning to Saxo Bank

    Anders Lund was the engine on the Leopard Trek train.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 14:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Dane back after one year with Leopard Trek

    Anders Lund is returning to Saxo Bank-SunGard after having been with Leopard Trek this year.  The Dane, who previously raced for Bjarne Riis' team from 2007 to 2010, signed a one-year contract.

    "Anders was one of the riders we were sad to let go last year, so of course we are delighted he is now returning,” Riis said. “He is still pretty young, but despite that, he has gained solid experience as a pro bike rider already.

    “He is a great all rounder and a rider, who can compete and play a vital part of a team in almost any race from the cobblestone classics and the Ardennes classics to Grand Tours. We look forward to continue his development.”

    Lund was happy to return. “I must say I feel extremely privileged. Not only did I find a new team, I found a fantastic team, and this was far from certain because of my situation. So of course I'm thrilled. I have always said, I had a great spell with this team, so to return is the best possible outcome for me.

    "First and foremost I hope to get back to the level I had last year and show that I can be a great help for my teammates. I really want to get another shot at the classics and a Grand Tour. Then my goal would also be to get that first win as a pro. But now is all about getting back to the level from last year," said the 26-year-old.

  • Cobo renews with Geox

    A family affair for Juan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC) on the Vuelta podium.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 17:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Vuelta winner hopes to target Tour

    Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo has confirmed he will remain with his Geox-TMC squad for another year. He made the announcement at the presentation of the Criterium de Alcobendas today.

    The 30-year-old entertained offers from several WorldTour teams following his emergence as a Grand Tour champion, but ultimately decided to remain with the organisation of Mauro Gianetti.

    Despite his team not being in the WorldTour this season, and according to the UCI, not applying to be in the sport's top tier of teams next year, Cobo still has aspirations of contesting the Tour de France.

    "My plans are to ride the Tour, and then depending on how much strength I have left, I will participate in the Vuelta a España, because I would be thrilled to start with bib number one," Cobo said.

    It wouldn't be the first time at the Tour de France for Cobo, who finished 19th overall in 2007. He was second on the 2008 10th stage to Hautacam, where he and Saunier Duval teammate Leonardo Piepoli crushed the competition. Cobo never had the opportunity to finish that year's Tour because the entire team left the race after Riccardo Ricco tested positive for EPO-CERA.

    Cobo was promoted to winner of the Hautacam stage after Piepoli too was found positive for the same drug in tests performed after the race was over.

    Yet the Geox team's start at the Tour de France is far from assured. They were not granted a discretionary invitation this year, and sponsorship questions have prevented the team from strengthening its roster in order to attract the attention of the Tour organisers.

    Cobo will star in the Criterium de...

  • "More complete" 2012 Giro d'Italia to Nibali's liking

    Vicenzo Nibali (Liquigas Cannondale)
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 18:30 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sicilian would have preferred similar route this year

    It remains to be seen whether Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) lines up at the 2012 Giro d'Italia, but the Sicilian admitted that the route was more to his liking that of this year's onerous edition.

    Nibali battled gamely in the face of Alberto Contador's domination in May, and finished a creditable third in Milan. Rumoured to be building his 2012 campaign around the Tour de France, however, there was a palpably wistful air about Nibali as he mulled over the route after the official presentation in Milan on Sunday.

    "Maybe I would have preferred a Giro like that this year, but that's the way it goes," a Nibali told Cyclingnews. "It's a very nice Giro, well-designed. I like it a lot."

    An oft-repeated truism at RAI's Via Mecenate studios on Sunday afternoon was that the 2012 Giro will be a "more human" affair. But to Nibali's mind, it is simply a case that the route is more balanced, with ample space for a wider array of players in the race's narrative.

    "The tough stages all come in the last week, and there aren't too many stages with sterrato (unpaved roads) or that are hard to manage, so it's much less complicated," he said. "There should be a bit more for the sprinters too, so it's a more complete Giro than last year."

    Like his stablemate Ivan Basso, Nibali was reticent to comment on his plans for next season, and would neither confirm nor rule out his participation in the Giro. This year, Nibali led at the Giro while Basso prepared for the Tour on Mount Etna, and it appears that Liquigas-Cannondale's key men will again divide up the stage racing calendar in 2012.

    "We'll decide on the programme at our first training camp," Nibali said. "Right now, it's hard to even think about what I should do next year,...

  • Daniel Lloyd ends season with broken collarbone

    Dan Lloyd was back in action with Garmin-Cervelo
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 19:24 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Brit still waiting on contract for 2012

    Daniel Lloyd has finished his season in disappointing fashion having crashed out of the Giro di Lombardia with a broken collarbone. The Garmin-Cervelo rider was hoping to use the race to put himself in the shop window as his future is uncertain ahead of next season.

    Lloyd moved across to Garmin with a raft of Cervelo riders at the end of 2010 and the American outfit continued his existing contract. However, while the Cervelo riders have either moved on or settled into the team, Lloyd has not yet been offered a deal for 2012.

    "There's still no progress on that front," he told Cyclingnews.

    "It's not a definite ‘no' with this team but I'm still looking around. I've talked to a few teams with the contacts that I have, but they seem to be full, what with one team disappearing and two others merged. I think a lot of teams have been waiting on the outcome of that, but obviously it's a little bit worrying as it's the last race of the season."

    With good form building towards the end of the year Lombardia offered Lloyd with a chance to make some headlines in either an early break or strong finish. However he was dropped on the first major climb, having not fully recovered from the Giro del Piemonte, where he had led a dangerous counter-attack. Then came the crash that ended his race.

    "We hit this fairly slow corner and I hit a hole in the road. Both my arms slipped off the bars and that was it. I'm going to give a few people some calls and see if it needs an operation. It's the end of the season so it's not like I need to be back on the bike in 10 days," he told Cyclingnews.

    Part of Lloyd's problem lies in the fact that he has struggled to gain WorldTour points, having sacrificed his chances for...

  • Seeing is believing for Cunego at 2012 Giro d'Italia

    Damiano Cunego at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 20:20 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Italian hopes transfers are reduced

    While the 2012 Giro d'Italia was touted as a more human edition of the race at the official presentation in Milan on Sunday, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) remains to be convinced that post-stage transfers have been significantly reduced on recent years.

    "Let's hope so, but I'll believe it when I see it," Cunego told Cyclingnews. "It seems to be a well-designed route and the climbs are still there, I saw plenty of them. As a rider, though, I wish there were fewer transfers, especially after stages. In the last few years, there have really been a lot of them and they've cut into our recovery time."

    Cunego, who skipped the 2011 Giro to focus on the Tour de France, was broadly positive about the route, although he was quick to point out that a cursory glance at the map doesn't offer a true idea of what he will face in May.

    "In the presentation, the most beautiful parts are always highlighted. For now it seems like a beautiful route, but we'll see if that's still the case when we ride it," he noted.

    Two stages in particular stand out for Cunego – stage 16 to Falzes and the penultimate day's stage over the Mortirolo to the top of the Stelvio. It was on the road to Falzes that Cunego retook the pink jersey and definitively wrested leadership of the Saeco squad from Gilberto Simoni during their bitter internal struggle at the 2004 Giro.

    "I've got great memories of that stage, because I won it and took the pink jersey," Cunego said. "It marked the beginning of a great career and it's still ongoing. As for the Stelvio, I think that's the hardest stage."

    After returning to stage racing prominence last summer with second at the Tour de Suisse and 7th at the Tour de France, Cunego could well be tempted to...

  • Video: Savio lauds "modern" Giro d'Italia

    Gianni Savio
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 21:10 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Androni Giocattoli has not signed Di Luca or Rebellin

    Gianni Savio has welcomed the 2012 Giro d’Italia route, calling it  "a modern Giro for a modern cycling". Most who attended the race presentation on Sunday gave the race parcours a positive review as organisers RCS look to shift the image of the race into a more palatable challenge for competitors.

    Savio, who manages the Androni Giocattoli team, managed to place a rider in the top ten in each stage of this year’s race as well as guiding José Rujano to 7th overall.

    Although Savio must wait for the wildcard process to conclude before his team is guaranteed of a place in next year’s race he said that the 2012 looked more balanced and that it suited both climbers and sprinters.

    No Di Luca or Rebellin

    Androni has signed one neo-professional for next season and will race with 16 riders next year. Savio ruled out a move for former Androni rider David Rebellin as well as Danilo Di Luca, who will not be kept on by Katusha for 2012.