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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 13, 2010

Date published:
September 13, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Gesink turns attention to Lombardy

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank).
    Article published:
    September 13, 2010, 9:30 BST
    Cycling News

    GP Montréal winner confident ahead of fall Classic

    After his win in yesterday's Grand Prix de Montréal, Rabobank's Robest Gesink is now focused on another strong showing in the celebrated fall Classic, the Giro di Lombardia.

    The Dutchman will not represent his country in the UCI road world championships in Geelong, Australia later this month and doesn't regret the decision, citing travel time, the Worlds course and his lofty ambitions for the northern Italian race as reasons why forgoing a crack at the rainbow stripes doesn't bother him.

    Gesink said on the Rabobank team's website: "24 hours on the plane is not good preparation for a one-day race. The course in Australia is also not difficult enough for me. I can really not make a difference.

    "With a different preparation and another course [in Lombardy] I made sure that the races here in Canada were perfect for me. No world championships. We're setting up everything for Lombardy."

    And he'll undoubtedly start the 'Race of the falling leaves' as one of the favourites after his excellent performance in Québec and Montréal; of particular note was his victory in the latter event, beating the likes of Samuel Sanchez, former world champion Alessandro Ballan and local boy Ryder Hesjedal, who finished one place below Gesink on the final general classification at this year's Tour de France.

    "This is the greatest victory so far in my career. The first win in a ProTour race. My first win on a course like this. But above all, the way I pulled myself inside out so much," he explained.

    Gesink believes that Montréal event was, "more difficult than in Québec. Since I was certainly as good as today, but the course was different. The Montréal [course] suited me better, though I still prefer the finish on top of that climb [in Québec], but you cannot have it all.

    "The finale began five laps before the end. But I've always sat in during the race," he said of his race-winning...

  • Sick note report: Boonen, Maaskant, Denifl facing time on the sidelines

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    September 13, 2010, 10:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Infections affecting racing schedules

    A variety of illnesses are sweeping through the peloton with Tom Boonen being forced to cancel an appearance, Martin Maaskant quitting races, and Austria facing the possible loss of two of their Worlds riders.

    Boonen (QuickStep) had to cancel his appearance at a sportif this weekend, the Innergetic Pijl. It would have been his first race in three months. “He is in bed with a cold,” team manager Patrick Lefevere said.

    "It is unfortunate for the organisers, but sick is sick," Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws. "I want to emphasise that Tom had every intention of coming.”

    Boonen is still recovering from surgery for the knee problems that have afflicted him this season. His last race was the Tour de Suisse in June, which he had to abandon.

    The former world champion plans to return to racing at the Circuit Franco-Belge.

    Maaskant started but did not finish either of this past weekend's races in Canada. The Garmin-Transitions rider said the he would let himself be examined to find out what is wrong. The Dutch rider dropped out of the GP Quebec on Friday after only 25 km, and in Sunday's GP du Montreal he abandoned after only one lap of the 12.6 km course.

    “I don't know what's going on,” he told De Telegraaf. “I think I need my blood checked again, because this is not normal.”

    He added: “It seems best to put an end to my season, come through the winter well and start again fresh in 2011.”

    Denifl, of Cervelo TestTeam, had to abandon the Vuelta this weekend. He had been suffering from a throat infection before the race.

    “My health problems have gotten worse in the last few days, he told “I have to listen to my body.”

    Bernhard Eisel of HTC-Columbia had to abandon the Vuelta due to illness, and said that he did not know if he would be able to ride the Worlds race in Melbourne. ...

  • Fränk Schleck: I've come to win the Vuelta

    A pensive Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) waits for the stage to get under way.
    Article published:
    September 13, 2010, 10:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Luxembourger says he is improving daily

    Fränk Schleck still believes he can win the Vuelta a Espana. The Saxo Bank rider used his climbing skills over the weekend to move up to seventh on GC, 2:48 down on leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo).

    His sixth place finish on Saturday's 14th stage moved him from 10th to sixth place. He finished sixth on the stage, only 35 seconds behind winner Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha). He was one of the few riders able to follow the attacks of Rodriguez, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia).

    "My form is improving day-by-day, and the podium and even the overall victory is still within reach,” he told

    "I understand that many must have previously been reluctant about my chances since I came here to the Vuelta after a break of eight weeks on top of my crash in the Tour de France.”

    "I am moving towards my best level again,” he said. “I am full of confidence. I've come to win the race.”

    Schleck was one of the victims of the Tour's third stage over the Belgian cobblestones. He returned to racing at the Vattenfalls Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany, the middle of August, but had to abandon that race. He has been named to lead the three-man Luxembourg team at the Worlds in Melbourne this fall.

  • Vacansoleil target overall success at the Tour of Britain

    Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) wins the combativity award.
    Article published:
    September 13, 2010, 10:35 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Hoogerland believes Dutch squad can beat Team Sky

    Team Sky took control at the Tour of Britain on Sunday but Dutchman Jonny Hoogerland believes his Vacansoleil team can still secure overall victory before the end of the race on Saturday.

    Greg Henderson won the stage in Stoke on Trent and now leads the overall by 14 seconds but like Team Sky, Vacansoleil also had three riders in the decisive 18-rider attack and Hoogerland believes they can use their combined strength to out-manoeuvre Henderson. They could even try to attack him on Constitution Hill, the brutal one-in-three cobbled climb that features in the final two kilometres of today’s stage to Swansea.

    Hoogerland won the combativity prize for being the last rider to get across to the key break during stage two to Stoke on Trent on Sunday and then finished eighth, three seconds behind Henderson along side teammates Michael Golas and Borut Bozic. Golas is now sixth overall at 18 seconds, Bozic is eighth at 20 seconds and Hoogerland is 12th at 23 seconds.

    “I think it’s very difficult for Henderson to keep the jersey. He is good on the hills, but we are getting to a few hilly stages, so I think it is difficult for him,” Hoogerland predicted.

    “We are not satisfied with sixth place on the general classification, so we are going to try and win the overall. We had three in the first group and we have Wout (Poels) and (Matteo) Carrara in the peloton. They are also in very good condition, so I think we can make it pretty hard for Sky.”

    Hoogerland seemed to be enjoying his first ever ride at the Tour of Britain. He was overlooked for a place in the Dutch squad for the world championships and Vacansoleil was snubbed for a place in the Vuelta a Espana.

    “I’ve never been to England before, I was only one night in Heathrow, but that’s all. The mountains are steep; it’s totally different to Belgium or France. It’s steep, a little bit flat, steep and a lot...

  • Hunt confident of finding new team

    Jeremey Hunt (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    September 13, 2010, 12:54 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Cervélo sprinter is weighing up a number of offers

    Cervélo TestTeam sprinter Jeremy Hunt has said that he is confident of finding a place with a new team following Cervélo’s recent announcement that they are merging with Garmin in 2011. The 36 year-old Briton was not among the Cervélo riders who are to join the new set-up with Garmin, but admitted "I’m just waiting on a few things at the moment," when he spoke to Cyclingnews at the Tour of Britain.

    Hunt, who has had a strong season particularly when riding in support of Thor Hushovd at the Tour de France, indicated that there are two or three teams interested in signing him for 2011.

    Asked about Cervélo’s announcement of their radical change of plans, Hunt said: "It was fine the way they told us about it, although it was a bit of a surprise. We didn’t expect the team to stop but that’s life and that’s cycling. That’s the way it goes."

    Hunt said he was going into the Tour of Britain with his focus on winning a stage. "That’s my plan," he said. "I’m going pretty well at the moment and have had a good season all round." He is sure to be targeting stages four and five of the race, which take place mostly within the borders of his home county of Devon.

  • Gesink and Hesjedal climb UCI world rankings

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) celebrates his win in Montreal
    Article published:
    September 13, 2010, 14:01 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Contador and Astana still lead before Vuelta points are included

    Strong performances in the two new ProTour races in Canada have lifted Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) in the UCI’s latest world rankings, with the Dutchman now a possible contender for overall success in the season-long ranking.

    Gesink’s lone victory in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday moved him to fourth overall in the individual classification. He has a total of 369 points, just 21 points behind third-placed Cadel Evans (BMC).

    Alberto Contador (Astana) remains top-ranked rider with 482 points, but he is unlikely to score any more points this season and so second-placed Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), who has 428 points and is currently riding strongly in the Vuelta, is also a real contender to move past Contador, after points scored in the Vuelta are included in the ranking next Monday.

    Hesjedal narrowly missed out on two chances to take a big win on home soil in Canada, but he has rocketed up through the UCI’s ProTour rankings, from twelfth to sixth and now has a total of 307 points.

    Promising young rider Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) also continued his rapid progress through the ranks with a second place behind Gesink in Montreal, where Hesjedal finished third. The talented Slovakian moved up from 78th to 37th place and has a total of 111 points.

    Astana lead team ranking

    Astana remains in control in the team ranking, although the results from Canada have sparked some major shifts below them in the ranking.

    Gesink’s Rabobank team is now second overall, overtaking Team Saxo Bank and simultaneously whittling down the gap between Astana and their closest pursuer to 82 points. Astana has 980 points, Rabobank has 898 and Saxo Bank has 851.

    Team Katusha and Liquigas-Doimo dropped down the rankings to sixth and seventh but both squads have riders well-placed overall in the Vuelta and so could well reverse their...

  • Velits twins come of age at the Vuelta

    Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) has been consistent to date
    Article published:
    September 13, 2010, 14:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Peter in contention for final podium

    With one week to go at the Vuelta a España, former U23 road race world champion Peter Velits holds fourth on general classification in what is perhaps the best performance of his career thus far. At the top of the Lagos de Covadonga on Sunday, Peter was overjoyed by the performance of his twin brother Martin who was part of the breakaway and finished third behind Carlos Barredo and Nico Sijmens in stage 15.

    "Those two guys were just stronger on the climb, so I can only be happy with my result," said Martin Velits, the current Slovakian time trial champion. "Last year, I took part in a breakaway at the Vuelta, too, but I only finished sixth, so I'm improving."

    The HTC-Columbia team had several aims when they came to Spain. "We came here for winning stages with Mark Cavendish but also to prepare the for future and build up riders like Peter Velits and Tejay Van Garderen as GC riders," said directeur sportif Tristan Hoffman.

    Despite the loss of Bernhard Eisel and Hayden Roulston, two experienced and powerful drivers for the HTC-Columbia lead-out train, the American outfit has reached its first goal with two stage wins by the Mark Cavendish, who also leads the points classification, but the second goal is looking very good too.

    "I've managed to stay with the best climbers: Nibali and Rodriguez," said a tired but delighted Peter Velits at the Lagos de Covadonga. "I moved up again on GC [to fourth], it's great! It couldn't be a better Vuelta for me so far.

    "To profit from Igor Anton's crash and other injured riders like Bruseghin is not the way I wanted to move up on GC, but I guess this is cycling. I've missed the Tour de France because of a crash as well this year."

    After the Vuelta, the Velits brothers will head to Australia for the world championships where they intend to ride in support of their country's rising star Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo), who finished second to Robert Gesink (Rabobank) at the Grand...

  • Geox announce four more signings

    Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Rabobank) climbs well
    Article published:
    September 13, 2010, 17:49 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Two Rabobank riders set to support Menchov and Sastre

    The new Geox team that that is set to emerge from the Footon-Servetto set-up has announced four more signings to follow those of Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov. Colombian Mauricio Ardila and Russia’s Dimitriy Kozontchuk have been brought in from Rabobank. Also joining are David Blanco, who is currently with Portuguese team Palmeiras, and Flaminia’s Daniele Colli.

    Ardila has spent the past five seasons with Rabobank, where he has gained a reputation as a strong support rider in the mountains. Now 31, the Colombian finished 15th at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year and is sure to be used to back up Menchov and Sastre in key events next season.

    Kozontchuk, 26, has spent all of his six-year pro career with Rabobank, firstly with their continental feeder team and for the last four seasons in their ProTour set-up. Like Ardila, the Russian is currently riding the Vuelta a España in support of Menchov.

    Former Comunitat Valenciana rider Blanco gets another chance at the top level after spending the past four seasons racing for teams in Portugal. Winner of the Tour of Portugal in four of the past five seasons, the 35-year-old Spaniard is another dependable stage race performer.

    Former Liquigas rider Colli, 28, is a dependable domestique who has a decent turn of pace in a sprint.

    Geox team boss Mauro Gianetti has said that since he announced news of the new backing from Geox, he has been inundated with the details of interested riders. Speaking at the Vuelta, Gianetti described the new set-up as a long-term project of “at least five years”.

    “It’s a totally new team that is being put together from scratch with a new structure but with all the support staff from Footon, which I am particularly satisfied with and relieved by,” Gianetti told the Biciciclismo website.

    Talking about his new backer, Gianetti explained: “It’s a company that’s only 15...