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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 24, 2013

Date published:
August 24, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Mueller resigns from Cycling Australia presidency

    Cadel Evans with Gerry Ryan and Klaus Mueller
    Article published:
    August 24, 2013, 8:37 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Barrister proud of policy reform

    Klaus Mueller has stepped down from his role as president of Cycling Australia, with the decision announced at the organisation's two-day board meeting in Sydney.

    Mueller has held the role since December 2009 having previously been vice president for six years prior. The barrister said the time was right to resign from his position given the increasing demands of what is a voluntary, un-paid role.

    "It's been an honour to lead Cycling Australia through many highs and lows. In recent times the position has grown into almost a full time role, which I can simply no longer manage. Given the challenges the sport is currently facing the timing is right to hand the reigns over to a new leader with a different skill set to enable the sport to realise its enormous commercial potential."

    A nominations committee has been appointed to oversee the candidates for the role, with Mueller to vacate his position at the end of September. Cycling Australia will work with the Australian Sports Commission during the process, with the governing body working through a governance overhaul as recommended by former New South Wales Supreme Court chief judge James Wood due by the end of this year under the threat of funding cuts.

    Mueller said that policy reform over his tenure was something that he was particularly proud of.

    "I have and will continue to push for change within the UCI to ensure that the tarnished international reputation of the sport is restored," he explained. "I've spent the past eight years lobbying for expanded powers for ASADA and I'm particularly proud of the fact that CA's High Performance program has continued to be run ethically and successfully."

    Mueller came under fire in the wake of the USADA report into Lance Armstrong and his associates which claimed the scalp of Australian national elite...

  • Van Garderen extends USA Pro Challenge lead in Vail

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) focused on the ITT win at the USA Pro Challenge
    Article published:
    August 24, 2013, 9:28 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    BMC rider nears California/Colorado double

    Tejay van Garderen is one step closer to an unprecedented American stage racing double after winning the Vail time trial on Friday at the USA Pro Challenge. With an overall Amgen Tour of California victory in the books in May, van Garderen is on the verge of adding the USA Pro Challenge title to his palmares - a sweep of the USA's two premier stage races, both ranked 2.HC, and heretofore never won by one rider in the same year.

    Prior to 2013 van Garderen had never won a stage race as a professional, but the 25-year-old American has showed maturity, tactical acumen and confidence this season which culminated first with overall victory at the Amgen Tour of California.

    Van Garderen made a critical split on the fifth stage to Avila Beach that earned the BMC rider the leader's jersey, and the following day a time trial victory further consolidated his hold on the general classification.

    Three months later at Colorado's USA Pro Challenge, van Garderen withstood an assault by Garmin-Sharp up the Bachelor Gulch ascent in the finale of stage 4, then escaped with Janier Acevedo to both put time into his biggest rival, Tom Danielson, and remove the yellow leader's jersey from the back of Danielson's teammate Lachlan Morton.

    The following day on a Vail time trial course which delivered heartbreak for van Garderen in 2011, the BMC American again scored a decisive victory against the clock, this time with an effort that set a new course record of 25:01.94. Van Garderen dished out his own heartbreak to Garmin-Sharp's Andrew Talansky, who was ignominiously booted from the hot seat after a scorching 25:05.70 time of his own, and added more than one minute to...

  • Urán assumes GC targets in Vuelta alongside Sky leader Henao

    Rigoberto Uran (Sky) sets the pace in the day's final climb
    Article published:
    August 24, 2013, 10:31 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Giro 2013 runner-up says will play the same role as with Wiggins in Italy

    Rigoberto Urán says that he will not be taking part in the Vuelta a España in a pure support role for Sergio Henao - named by Team Sky as their leader for the race – but will be prepared to strike a blow for his own general classification options, too.

    Urán took a breakthrough result in the 2013 Giro d'Italia, securing Colombia's first ever podium finish in the Italian Grand Tour and his best-ever GC result, as well as a mountain-top stage win. Together with Nibali and Joaquim Rodriguez, he is the third rider already with a top three Grand Tour podium finish in 2013 present in La Vuelta 2013.

    In Sky's press release for the Vuelta, Urán's mission goals are described as "riding in support of Henao this time around, but [he] is more than capable of challenging for top honours again, should the need arise."

    Second only to Vincenzo Nibali in the Giro, Urán certainly doesn't seem prepared to see those potential opportunities pass him by, telling Cyclingnews, "I had a good rest after the Giro and now I'm here, in good shape. I'm no fan of doing the Tour and Vuelta, but this Giro-Vuelta double" - which he already did in 2012, when he finished as Best Young Rider in Italy then worked for Froome in the Vuelta - "is a combination I like."

    "We've got Sergio Henao as race leader, but I think it's better to have two riders for the general classification, that way we've got more options when it comes to attacking and so on.

    "The second stage [with the mountain top finish of Monte da Groba] will show clearly who the riders are who are in contention."

    "I respect him and I will help and support him. But I'll be there, close to him,...

  • Rui Costa signs for Lampre-Merida

    Even heavy rain couldn't stop Rui Costa from taking his second stage
    Article published:
    August 24, 2013, 11:28 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Portuguese leaves Movistar for one-year deal with new team

    Rui Costa will ride for Lampre-Merida in 2014 after agreeing to join the Italian squad from Movistar. The 26-year-old Portuguese rider arrives at the team with the stated aim of making an impact on the general classification in the Grand Tours.

    Winner of the past two editions of the Tour de Suisse and three Tour de France stages in the last three years, Rui Costa adds considerable firepower to the Lampre line-up and brings a considerable haul of WorldTour points with him.

    “In the last few years, I have been constantly improving and that has carried me to some top-level successes,” Rui Costa said. “I think that I have reached a point in my career where I can aim at an important result in the general classification of a big stage race like the Tour de France.”

    Rui Costa’s best overall finish in a grand tour to date is 18th at the 2012 Tour de France, but with Nairo Quintana and Alejando Valverde ahead of him in the pecking order at Movistar, his opportunities to improve on that display appeared restricted.

    He was forced to sacrifice his own overall ambitions at this year’s Tour when he waited for Valverde when he suffered mechanical problems on the road to Saint-Amand Montrond on stage 13. In spite of that disappointment, Rui Costa bounced back to solo to stage victories at Gap and Le Grand-Bornand in the final week.

    “I see Lampre-Merida as the ideal environment and the place with the right conditions for laying the foundations of my ambitious plans. I’m convinced that I’ve made the best choice,” Rui Costa said.

    Interestingly, Rui Costa has opted to...

  • Vuelta team time trial a stage of two halves

    Jonathan Castroviejo leads his Movistar team across the finish line for a stage 1 TTT win.
    Article published:
    August 24, 2013, 12:31 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    First section of course highly technical, second part straightforward

    For the fourth year running, the Vuelta a España will kick off with a team time trial. And while the 2010 team time trial in Seville was challenging for its ultra-late night-time schedule, 2011‘s in Benidorm had a long climb and some tricky corners (which wreaked havoc amongst Team Sky and cost both Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome significant amounts of time), and 2012 was remarkable for the temperatures of nearly 40 degrees, the Vuelta 2013 opening test’s most memorable feature – at least initially – is that it starts not on land, but on water.

    Galicia’s bateas – giant rafts with underwater cages used for growing seafood, particularly mussels – are dotted across the water in the region’s numerous sea inlets like giant black insects, and are one of this region’s best-known features. And in a nod towards the importance of the seafood industry and how closely it is identified with Galicia, the Vuelta organisers have decided to use a batea for their start.

    Fortunately, this isn’t some wobbly little craft that will see the riders get seasick or their bikes topple into the brine at the first gust of wind. Normally bateas are around 20 metres long, ample space for nine riders to line up for the Vuelta’s first day of racing. An unusual start, and the first ever for a Grand Tour on water.

    Once the riders hit solid ground in the tiny town of Vilanova de Arousa, though, the first segment of the 27.4 kilometre team time trial is anything but straightforward. For the next ten kilometres, as far as the village of Cambados (where fans may recall last year’s very technical individual team time trial of the Vuelta started) the race dives and...

  • Pinot looks to forget Tour de France in Spain

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
    Article published:
    August 24, 2013, 13:47 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman lines up for Vuelta a España debut

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) is looking to put his Tour de France disappointment behind him when he lines up at the Vuelta a España, which gets underway in Galicia with a team time trial on Saturday evening.

    After a sparkling Tour debut in 2012 that saw him claim a stage victory and finish 10th overall, Pinot’s second tilt at La Grande Boucle unraveled on the descent of the Porte de Pailhères on the opening stage in the Pyrenees, and he abandoned through illness in the final week of the race.

    Pinot returned to action with a solid showing at the Tour de l’Ain, finishing 6th overall, and after his difficult July, the Frenchman believes that he will enjoy racing away from the spotlight in Spain on a parcours well-suited to his climbing abilities.

    “One thing is certain, I don’t want to live another day with my disappointment from the Tour,” Pinot told L’Équipe. “In the Vuelta, I want to rediscover the pleasure of racing and finding myself among the best climbers on terrain that suits me well.”

    Pinot is making his Vuelta debut, although he was initially slated to take part in last year's race only to be fast-tracked into the Tour de France team on the back of a series of fine displays at the Tour de Suisse. He was keen to downplay expectations ahead of this Vuelta, however, pointing out that the level of opposition in Spain would be much higher than it was at the recent Tour de l’Ain.

    “If that had been a WorldTour race, I wouldn’t have been at the level required,” said Pinot, who finished 4th overall at the Tour...

  • Bos pulled from Vuelta a España due to low cortisol levels

    Theo Bos (Belkin)
    Article published:
    August 24, 2013, 14:45 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Belkin sends Dutchman home in keeping with MPCC rules

    Theo Bos (Belkin) took part in the Vuelta a España team presentation on Friday evening but the Dutch sprinter and former track star will not be present in the race after a UCI test revealed what his team called “sub-optimal health conditions.”

    Standard health checks by the UCI prior to the Vuelta, Belkin said, had shown up low cortisol levels in the 30-year-old sprinter, who was informed about it in an email this morning. The UCI allow riders with such low levels to start WorldTour races, Belkin said in a press release, but Belkin is part of the MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible), whose rules state that riders cannot take part in races until cortisol levels have “returned to normal.”

    Cortisol hit the headlines in June when it emerged that Europcar, also an MPCC member, had allowed Pierre Rolland to take part in a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné (from which he later withdrew) despite low levels of the hormone in his body, which is usually boosted by racing and training.

    Bos, though, will not even take part in the Vuelta, Belkin said “because of low cortisol levels that appeared in a regular pre-race UCI test, which is an indication of sub-optimal health conditions.” In a joint decision, Bos has now been sent home.

    This year Bos, who switched being a top track racer to a sprinter in 2009, has won six races, including stages of the Criterium International and Tour of the Algarve.
     

  • Omega Pharma-Quick-Step favourites for Vuelta's TTT

    Omega Pharma Quick step team time trials
    Article published:
    August 24, 2013, 15:59 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Start times as Martin, Nibali and Valverde offer their thoughts on the stage

    Reigning World Champions Omega Pharma-Quick-Step head into Saturday's opening stage of the Vuelta a España as favourites for the 27km Team Time Trial.

    The Belgian-based outfit, which includes individual World Champion Tony Martin, did a recon of the flat, but testing course on Friday in the build up to the final grand tour of the year with the German powerhouse warning that the profile could offer a false sense of security given the three hilly weeks ahead.

    "First of all, I'm happy that it's a little bit longer than normal," Martin said of the course between Vilanova de Arousa and Sanxenxo. "Usually they are shorter than individual time trials, but this year it's 27 kilometers. So, not long but it is a nice distance. However, it is not an easy course. There are not really any climbs, but it's always up and down. It's really hard to find a good rhythm. It's not easy anyway to do that in a team time trial, but with small hills it is even harder. So, I think that is a challenge; to find a really nice rhythm and a nice speed where everybody can survive and still be fast.

    "I think we will see a lot of destroyed teams. One strong guy can put the power on in the hills, and some guys in the end will be unable to follow. For sure, it will be a challenge for everyone. The wind is one direction from A to B, so a team that starts early and has less wind than those that start later has a big, big advantage. I hope for everyone it will be the same circumstances and the wind won't change throughout the day."

    First out of the start house at 6:48pm local time will be NetApp-Endura while last-up winners in the discipline in a Grand Tour, Orica GreenEdge...