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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 2, 2013

Date published:
September 02, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Sánchez: Last Vuelta with Euskaltel like any other race

    Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) finished 40 seconds down on stage winner Leopold Konig
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 5:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Veteran focused only on the race

    Samuel Sánchez admits he has no idea what his future holds.

    The 35-year-old is currently riding the last hurrah for Euskaltel Euskadi at the Vuelta a España. After nine stages, he sits 4:30 behind general classification leader Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and his fifth placing on Sunday's stage was his best result of the grand tour so far.

    "I'm trying to live through this one like it was just another race," Sánchez told Reuters.

    "We're riders for Euskaltel-Euskadi until December 31st and we have to be professional right up until the last day.

    "But what's clear is this team has been a reference point in the history of cycling and it is going to be remembered as one of the most important the sport has ever had."

    Euskaltel Euskadi remains the only team that Sanchez has ridden for since turning professional in 2000.

    "I've always defended the orange colours and I'd like to have retired with them too," the 35 year-old said. "But if I'm worried about the future, what we have to do is worry about the Vuelta for now.

    "We can't let the situation affect us, that's why we're paid to race."

    The final grand tour of 2013 marks the team's final attempt at winning a three week stage race with the sponsor set to end their long association with the professional ranks at the end of the season. A poor second stage likely robbed Sánchez, the team's leader, of reaching the top of the podium.

  • Atapuma to BMC: report

    Darwin Atapuma (Columbia) gets flagged on by a countryman near the finish.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 7:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Twenty-five-year-old Colombian to step up to WorldTour?

    Darwin Atapuma (Colombia) has signed with BMC Racing Team for 2014. A report by website Mundo Ciclisto suggests the 25-year-old Colombian is set to join Tejay van Garderen and Cadel Evans at the American team.

    Atapuma has been one of the stand-out riders for Claudio Corti's Team Colombia this season turning in consistently-strong climbing performances whenever the road spiralled upwards. Atapuma confirmed his worth last month when he when he won a gruelling sixth stage at the Tour of Poland in August, his best result to date. Having also finished 18th overall and fourth in the young rider classification in his maiden Grand Tour at the Giro d'Italia earlier in the year, Atapuma appears ready to make the next step.

    BMC has been busy since the conclusion of the Tour de France in their attempts to re-structure their rider and staff roster. John Lelangue left the team immediately following the Tour citing personal reasons, with Allan Peiper stepping in to fill the void as a temporary DS.

    On the road, Peter Stetina and Peter Velits have both joined the team in recent weeks and in combination with Atapuma should provide strong support for Van Garderen and Evans. Rick Zabel has also signed on as a neo pro for BMC for 2014 and will be an exciting future talent.


  • Valverde: It was impossible to get on Moreno's wheel

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the white combination classification jersey.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 9:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Movistar rider up to fourth overall after ninth stage

    Movistar team leader Alejandro Valverde moved up to fourth overall at the Vuelta a España with his second place on stage nine behind winner Daniel Moreno (Katusha) on Sunday.

    Moreno finished four seconds clear of Valverde, with the Movistar rider unable to shake off Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). The result moves Valverde up from seventh overall where he started the day. Moreno holds a 22 second advantage over the 33-year-old, but Valverde believes the battle for the podium is truly coming into focus.

    "It seems like it will come down to the two of them [Moreno and Rodriguez] and myself in these uphill sprints, but there's still a long way to go in the race," he explained. "Even though Dani is also gaining time, we get some seconds day after day and we're happy with that. The real mountains will start tomorrow - it will be quite a harder stage than the previous ones and we'll see how we really feel."

    Sunday's stage was the second time this Grand Tour that Valverde has finished as runner-up, with Chris Horner prevailing on Stage 3 to Mirador de Lobeira. Valverde said he believed stage nine was all about having the right timing.

    "The team worked hard into the penultimate climb to keep all the attacks close, and Katusha also put some riders at the front to complete the chase," he said. "Dani went really strong, I hesitated for a bit, and when I wanted to react, it was impossible to get up to his wheel. Dani is, together with Purito, the best rider in such finishes, an amazing rider - hats off to him, they proved to be in really great condition."

  • Pozzato outlines Worlds credentials with GP Ouest-France win

    2013 GP Ouest France-Plouay podium (L-R): Giacomo Nizzolo, Filippo Pozzato and Samuel Dumoulin
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 10:35 BST
    Barry Ryan

    It's a pity he doesn't always go like that, says Nibali

    Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) claimed his first victory outside of Italy for over four years at the Grand Prix Ouest-France on Sunday and the Italian’s thoughts quickly turned to home roads and the world championships in Tuscany at the end of the month.

    After a listless spring campaign, Pozzato has enjoyed a solid run of late-summer form, and he followed up his recent Coppa Agostoni win with a well-timed sprint in Plouay to take his third victory of the season and stake his claim for a place on the squadra azzurra at the Worlds.

    “It was a period of doubt, I didn’t know what was wrong,” Pozzato told L’Équipe of his disappointing spring. “It was only later that I found the reason – I was hindered by a virus. That reassured me and motivated me for a big finish to the season.”

    Like at the Coppa Agostoni ten days ago, Pozzato relied on his sprint to land the win in Plouay ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard), although he admitted that he had expected a more selective race. Instead, a 70-rider peloton contested the finale, where Pozzato’s prior knowledge of the slightly downhill finishing straight proved decisive.

    “I came here as a neo-pro in 2000 to help Paolo Bettini, who was preparing for the Worlds,” said Pozzato, although it was their Mapei teammate Michele Bartoli who won on that occasion. “I haven’t forgotten that it’s a race that has gone well for the Italians.”

    Bettini is now the Italian national coach and the man Pozzato must impress if he is to earn a Worlds berth for the first time since he finished fourth in Geelong in...

  • F1 star Fernando Alonso to take over Euskaltel

    An Euskaltel rider signs autographs
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 12:11 BST
    Jose Been & Peter Cossins

    Samuel Sánchez to lead team that will have a new name and base in Asturias

    The Euskaltel-Euskadi team has confirmed reports that have appeared in the Spanish press this morning saying that Ferrari’s Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso has reached an agreement to take over the team. In a press release, the Basque squad said that negotiations have been ongoing for some time and are set to be concluded today (Monday).

    According to El Periodico, Alonso and his sponsors bought the WorldTour license for 6 million Euro and plan to build a team around Samuel Sanchez. The Beijing Olympic Champion is one of the 14 riders on the 28-rider roster who have a contract for the next season. In the case of Sanchez he also has a contract with the team for 2015.

    The new Euskaltel team will be based in the Asturias region, where Alonso himself is from. It will focus on regional riders too, next to the big names from Euskaltel like Samuel Sanchez, Igor Antón, Mikel Nieve and the Izaguirre brothers.

    Euskaltel announced that it wouldn’t be able to contribute to the team in 2014, even though the Basque telecommunications company planned on a multiple year sponsorship. The Basque team relies on funds from Euskaltel as well as the regional government and other institutions. Due to the economic crisis in Spain the budgets for sport sponsorships have faded.

    Taking over the Euskaltel WorldTour license supposedly costs around six million Euros, a figure Alonso’s sponsors will pay. Alonso has been an avid cycling supporter and bike rider himself for years. He is also close friends with Alberto Contador.

    Alonso press release

    In his own press release, Alonso has confirmed that he is in negotiations with the team for the purchase of their WorldTour licence and that the riders who have contracts with the squad’s owners, Basque Pro...

  • USA Cycling calls for CAS ruling on McQuaid nomination before election

    UCI President Pat McQuaid was on hand to see the riders off
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 13:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Five federations ask UCI "to forego the spectre of any post-election litigation"

    The cycling federations of the USA, Russia, Canada, Algeria and Finland have written to UCI president Pat McQuaid requesting that the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules on the validity of his nomination for re-election in advance of the election, which takes place at the UCI congress in Florence later this month.

    McQuaid’s bid for a third term as president suffered twin blows when both Cycling Ireland, his home federation, and Swiss Cycling, the federation of his country of residence, opted not to back his candidacy, but the Irishman is attempting to stand for election on the back of nominations from the Moroccan and Thai federations.

    However, these nominations will only be valid if an amendment to article 51 of the UCI Constitution proposed by the Asian Cycling Confederation and the Malaysian federation is passed at UCI congress. The proposed amendment would allow a candidate to be nominated by multiple federations instead of by his home federation.

    The only other candidate for election is British Cycling president Brian Cookson, and he would run unopposed if the amendment to article 51 is not passed at UCI congress.

    USA Cycling and the federations of Russia, Canada, Algeria and Finland have called for a resolution to the impasse to be reached before delegates convene in Florence, proposing that CAS make a binding ruling on the matter in advance of the election.

    “At this point, USA Cycling and many other federations believe the answer is neither to sweep all the procedural challenges under the carpet nor to leave these questions open, but rather to obtain a final, incontestable decision in advance...

  • Piva joins BMC as directeur sportif

    Valerio Piva finds a home after HTC-Highroad ended
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 16:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian leaves Katusha after two seasons

    BMC Racing has confirmed that Valerio Piva will join the team as sport director in 2014. The Italian arrives after spending two seasons at Katusha and he fills the place vacated by John Lelangue’s departure from BMC’s management staff immediately after the Tour de France.

    A vastly experienced directeur sportif, Piva will be reunited with his former HTC-Highroad colleague Allan Peiper, who is performance director at BMC, as well as former Highroad riders Tejay van Garderen and Marco Pinotti.

    Piva said that his decision to swap Katusha for BMC is due in part to the fact that his new team’s future is secure, with backer Andy Rihs already having promised backing until the end of the 2016 campaign.

    “For me, it is more interesting to have a long-term project," Piva said. "The last two years I worked for Katusha, where I had a very good experience and result. But I want to be in a team which has the same vision as me.

    “In the BMC Racing Team, you also have very strong and very nice riders. I know a lot of these guys. For example, I worked with Tejay van Garderen at HTC. So for me, it's very exciting to work with a top team."

    Although Bobby Julich, signed as a consultant by BMC in March, was recently confirmed as a full-time trainer, manager Jim Ochowicz told Cyclingnews last month that the team was still searching for a directeur sportif to replace the departed Lelangue. Last week Gazzetta dello Sport linked Piva with the vacant position and on Monday, Ochowicz confirmed the news on Monday.

    “We are excited to have Valerio joining our group of directeurs sportifs for next season," Ochowicz said. "His many years in the sport will add another layer of expertise to the team that will be a direct benefit to our riders."





  • Horner back for second stage win and lead in Vuelta a España

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) comes in for a landing, winning stage 10 of the Vuelta a Espana
    Article published:
    September 02, 2013, 18:09 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    American expects to lose the jersey to Nibali in time trial

    American veteran Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) is back on top in the Vuelta a España, with a second stage win and a second spell in the overall lead. If the early stage win was more of a skirmish in terms of the general classification, though, this time around Horner has made it clear that he is an overall contender for real by winning atop the Alto Hazallanas.

    Taking 48 seconds on Nibali, on paper the top favourite, puts Horner into the top spot by 43 seconds. It’s the first serious gap at the top end of the Vuelta’s GC, and leaves perhaps seven or eight riders at the very most in a position to fight for the overall victory in Madrid.

    The 41-year-old’s second stage victory came after an attack four kilometres from the line made when, as he put it, “the others were playing games. I wasn’t surprised about the time gap, I thought if I got 10 or 15 seconds, the rest would start looking at each other because they didn’t have any teammates [to close down the gap].

    “Nibali had just attacked, and I knew that he was the strongest of the three [sic] behind. I know Joaquim [Rodriguez] likes to stay on wheels until the very last moment, and I thought, for sure he’ll follow Nibali now and then maybe accelerate late on.”

    As it was, NIbali took part in an all-out lone chase, but by then, that was hardly Horner’s concern: when he attacked, he read the race perfectly, to the point where his own most optimistic prediction – “I thought I’d get 30 or 40 seconds” – fell a little short of reality.

    Horner said that Movistar had made much of the running earlier on, but that then “[Fabian] Cancellara worked hard for me” and...