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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 14, 2009

Date published:
September 14, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Velits looking forward to move

    Martin Velits (Team Milram) also made the break
    Article published:
    September 14, 2009, 2:30 BST
    By:
    Shane Stoke

    Happy to go to Columbia HTC

    Slovakian road race champion Martin Velits is competing in one of his final races for the Milram team prior to starting a two year contract with the Columbia HTC squad. Velits will move to the squad together with twin brother Peter, the 2007 Under 23 World Road Champion.

    “We are really happy,” he said. “It is a new challenge for us, for me and my brother. I think it is the best step for us to take for our careers.”

    He said that they haven’t yet had a chance discuss their likely programme with the team management, but anticipated that they will get to ride some important races. “Peter had a good Tour de France so I think we will be there for the stage races,” he said. “And I will try to do well in the Classics. We will see what the season brings next year.”

    Velits would like to have finished up his Milram contract with a strong ride in the Vuelta a España but it has been more a case of survival after a mishap earlier in the race. “I had a crash in Liège and since then my ribs have been sore, although they are not fractured,” he said. “I was struggling a bit for a few days because of that. It is getting slowly better but the doctor said it will take two to three weeks.

    “The physiotherapist is working with me every day to loosen the muscle out; it should be okay.”

    He said that his plan was to get through the mountain stages and then to see if he could slip into a break at some point before the race enters Madrid next Sunday.

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  • Planet Energy beats ProTour teams in Missouri

    Martin Gilbert (Planet Energy) was the only domestic rider to claim a stage victory.
    Article published:
    September 14, 2009, 3:38 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Team ready for two Canadian ProTour races in 2010

    French Canadian Martin Gilbert won the biggest race of his career in the seventh and final stage of the Tour of Missouri. The win came at the expense of seven ProTour teams in what Gilbert describes as preparation for his team Planet Energy’s debut at the two ProTour races set to take place in his home province of Quebec, Canada next September.

    “I think this year we had two good chances to race with the ProTour teams,” Gilbert said. “The first was at Philadelphia and we had a sixth place. Our second big chance was here with a lot of top five positions and now a stage win. I think it was a good experience for us, now we know what it is to race with ProTour guys and we have a year to grow and get bigger as a team, try to work better together and improve all of our qualities. We know what it is now and that we have to work harder for next year.”

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) secured two Canadian ProTour races for five years, set to start in 2010 on September 10 in Quebec City and September 12 in Montreal. All ProTour teams are obliged to send a seven-rider team to the races and there will be the addition four wild card spots available, according to race promoter Serge Arsenault.

    The wild card teams will include the Canadian-based Planet Energy team, one Canadian national team, one US national team and one Continental or Professional Continental team based in the USA, to be decided at a later date.

    “A team like this is governed by Steve Bauer, who has a lot of experience racing in all the big races, so I think it is good for us because we can learn a lot from his input,” Gilbert said regarding his squad’s manager Bauer, a highly decorated Canadian cyclist. “In the future the team will grow as fast as we can make it grow by competing well and showing ourselves and trying to do big wins. Yes, I think we have all the support from our sponsors who are excited and love bicycles...

  • Zabriskie captures first stage race win in Missouri

    Dave Zabriski (Garmin-Slipstream) will have the weight of the overall on him for the next couple of days.
    Article published:
    September 14, 2009, 3:50 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Voigt says Garmin good for former team-mate

    David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) has claimed his first stage race victory at the Tour of Missouri, following0 nine years of professional bike racing. The Salt Lake City, Utah native was presented with his first yellow jersey on podium following the seventh and final stage in Kansas City on Sunday.

    “I’ve had some very good victories and some good success but never an overall win,” Zabriskie said. “So this is a first one of those, so that’s nice. It feels very gratifying.”

    Zabriskie took the overall lead following a blistering performance in the stage five time trial, held in Sedalia. He rode in with a best time of 36:30 besting runner up Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank) by 30 seconds and third placed Tom Zirbel (Bissell) by 44 seconds.

    “I know that when I’m in good shape, I’m capable of those kind of rides,” said Zabriskie. “I don’t think [the time gaps] are going to blow my mind.”

    Zabriskie won his fourth consecutive USPro Time Trial Championships in Greenville, South Carolina two weeks ago. Despite holding the leader’s jersey on many occasions around the world, Zabriskie said it’s simply never worked out over an entire event before now.

    “I have the capabilities but it’s never really panned out for me,” Zabriskie said. “This one looks pretty good so far. A time trial win is nice and those have been the majority of my wins I’d say. But that’s something that is a physical attribute that I know that I have and I know I can do. This [an overall title] is something that’s always been out there, like ‘maybe I can do it’, but it’s never happened.”

    His palmers includes second place in the 2006 UCI World Time Trial Championships, followed by a third place last year. He has won stages in all three Grand Tours. Arguably, his most notable result came when he won the opening...

  • Reus takes first win in Britain after horrific crash

    Kai Reus (Rabobank) crosses the line in Newcastle Gateshead
    Article published:
    September 14, 2009, 11:40 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Kai Reus fights back, wins stage and takes overall lead in Tour of Britain

    Winning a stage at the Tour of Britain to take the overall lead would be an accomplishment for any young rider, but it is especially meaningful to Kai Reus, 24. He said that he was "in a daze" after his first win since a training crash in July 2007 left him an induced coma for 11 days with a brain haemorrhage.

    Reus was at a team Rabobank training camp in France when on July 12, he went off alone, without a helmet. He has no idea how the accident happened, but it left him with three broken ribs, a broken collarbone and the brain haemorrhage. By September of that year he had started riding again. In 2008 he trained the whole year with his previous team, the Rabobank Continental team, and rode two races the end of the season.

    Reus returned to the ProTour team this season and has been riding since the Tour Down Under in January.

    "What a day, what a day," Reus said on his website yesterday. "I live in a daze, my phone is not quiet, the e-mails are streaming in, too many to mention."

    Once considered one of the best young Dutch prospects, Reus had been showing his good form again lately. In Sunday's Tour of Britain stage, he was part of a three-man break which went clear after 40 kilometres, and he was the only one to stay away until the end.

    "What a moment, what a fantastic moment," he continued.

    "It's obviously a great story, as every cycling enthusiast knows," said Rabobank Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker. "This is truly a special moment for him and of course everyone around him."

    Dekker also confirmed that Reus is now living up to his earlier potential. "I was finally seeing him at the highest level with my own eyes. Sitting in the car, I just could not believe my eyes."

    The team will do its best to help the young Dutch rider defend the leader's jersey, even if they admit the odds are against them. "In the worst case, at least Kai has won the second stage and worn the Tour of Britain leader's...

  • Basso's Vuelta a España battle continues

    Italy's Ivan Basso (Liquigas) in Vuelta a España's stage to La Pandera
    Article published:
    September 14, 2009, 11:43 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Ivan Basso's chances of Vuelta win slim, but good jersey battle continues

    Italy's Ivan Basso (Liquigas) will continue to battle for the Vuelta a España's gold jersey in the race's final week. He lost time in yesterday's stage to La Pandera, but endangered Alejandro Valverde's race lead.

    "I am convinced the battle for the gold jersey will continue considering there are six riders within two minutes on the general classification," Basso said.

    He distanced Valverde with four kilometres to race in yesterday's mountaintop finish to La Pandera. Basso, Cadel Evans, Robert Gesink and Ezequiel Mosquera rode away from Spain's Samuel Sánchez and Valverde. The Spanish duo came back after one kilometre and then both gained time on Basso in the final kilometre.

    Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) leads the race by 31 seconds on Gesink, 1:10 on Sánchez, 1:28 on Basso, 1:51 on Evans and 1:54 on Mosquera.

    The stages Thursday through Saturday will reshape this overall classification. Thursday's stage to Ávila and Friday's to La Granja Real Fábrica de Cristales are both medium mountain stages that will give Valverde's rivals a chance to attack. The final decisive stage is Saturday's 27.8-kilometre time trial in Toledo.

    "The stages, even without mountaintop finishes, will be made difficult by those who want to beat Valverde. Then there are the precious bonus seconds available for the win.

    "My racing attitude, like I've shown up until now, will not be conservative: I want to give it all and fight to the end to obtain the best possible result."

    It is Basso's first time to race the Vuelta a España, but he's finished well in other Grand Tours. He finished fifth in this year's Giro d'Italia and won the 2006 edition. He placed second in the 2005 Tour de France.

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  • Ciolek sees sprints on the Vuelta horizon

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    Article published:
    September 14, 2009, 13:07 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    German sprinter Gerald Ciolek will seize his chance in Vuelta's final week

    With the last summit finish over, Team Milram's Gerald Ciolek is hopeful that he will get a chance to use his sprinting powers in the final week of the Vuelta a España. The stage two victor was 138th on yesterday's stage to La Pandera, but the final week could be a bit more conducive to bunch sprints and breakaway groups.

    "There are two or three stages where it might be possible, where it comes back for a bunch sprint, but it is never certain," he told Cyclingnews. "It is difficult to say because many sprinters went home and there are not so many teams left who are very much interested in having a bunch sprint. So that makes it more difficult."

    Ciolek spoke before the start of the stage to La Pandera and, like many in the race, has been feeling very tired as a hard Vuelta continued. "My goal is to go all the way to Madrid, but it will be a tough race in the next days. We have passed the hardest point but you never know. Some days, you don't expect it but it can be really hard."

    If things work out, he would like to see Milram land another stage victory. He feels they have a couple of options. "Some riders from our team went home but there are also some good riders left here," he said. "We have two choices, we can be in the breakaways or we are happy too with the bunch sprints. Both are good for us and that is how we want to go on, trying to win another stage."

    Today's race takes the riders to Cordoba and includes two ascents of the category two Alto de San Jerónimo before swooping down to the finish. Ciolek rides well on shorter climbs, winning stage five of last year's Deutschland Tour which finished atop the category three Winterberg. The final 60 kilometres also included a category three and a category two ascent.

    The fact that sprinters Tyler Farrar (Garmin Slipstream), Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) have left the race could also make things more straightforward in the...

  • Bakelants joins Silence-Lotto for 2010

    Jan Bakelants (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator) out the back after some mechenical problems.
    Article published:
    September 14, 2009, 13:17 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Young Classics specialist Jan Bakelants leaves Topsport-Vlaanderen for ProTour

    Belgium's Jan Bakelants step up to top-level ProTour team, Silence-Lotto, next season.

    Bakelants, 23 started with Topsport-Vlaanderen as a stagiaire in August 2008, and went on to win the Tour de l'Avenir that year. This season he lacked wins, but did bring in a number of top ten finishes, including eighth overall at the Eneco Tour.

    He won Liège-Bastogne-Liège for espoirs and the Circuit des Ardennes in 2008, before joining Topsport-Vlaanderen.

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  • Ballerini names Italy's Worlds team

    National director Franco Ballerini with Damiano Cunego at the Vuelta a España
    Article published:
    September 14, 2009, 13:39 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Defending champion Ballan, Cunego, Pozzato highlight Italy's nine-man Worlds team

    Alessandro Ballan, Damiano Cunego and Filippo Pozzato will form part of Italy's nine-man team for the World championships, September 27. National director Franco Ballerini announced the team members today in Milano.

    "The difficulty was to understand what type of team to assemble," Ballerini told Tuttobiciweb. "I think I've put together a team with different options."

    Nine man team and two reserves
    • Damiano Cunego
    • Ivan Basso
    • Alessandro Ballan
    • Filippo Pozzato
    • Stefano Garzelli
    • Luca Paolini
    • Michele Scarponi
    • Giovanni Visconti
    • Marzio Bruseghin
    • Matteo Tosatto
    • Mauro Santambrogio

    Ballerini will select the nine-man team and two reserve riders from these 11 two days before the race.

    Ballan won the Worlds title last year in Varese, Italy, and heads the squad with Cunego. Cunego finished second last year and won two stages of this year's Vuelta a España, including yesterday's stage to La Pandera. He is the Italian favourite this year given the Mendrisio, Switzerland, course will have more climbing, 4655 metres.

    "These guys are going well in the Vuelta, but its another thing when the race is over 200 kilometres," Cunego told Cyclingnews of his rivals.

    This year's circuit in Mendrisio is shorter than last year's 17.35-kilometre circuit. It has two climbs, Acqua Fresca and Novazzano, in 13.8 kilometres, repeated 19 times at 262.2 kilometres.

    Pozzato is the current Italian champion and won the Giro del Veneto last month. Ivan Basso will arrive at the Worlds with a likely top-five place at the Vuelta a España. Visconti will race his first Worlds backed by wins in Melinda and Agostoni last month.

    Stefano Garzelli and Luca Paolini will likely be second tier leaders. They will also help the main leaders, with Marzio Bruseghin and...