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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, September 26, 2009

Date published:
September 26, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Cantele celebrates winning two medals at worlds in Mendrisio

    Noemi Cantele (Italy) during the road race.
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 14:56 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Italy's Cantele takes second World Championship medal in four days

    Italy's Noemi Cantele won her second medal in four days at the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, on Sunday. She finished third behind teammate and winner Tatiana Guderzo in the elite women's road race, following up on her surprise silver medal in Wednesday's time trial.

    "It is incredible, and I am very satisfied with what I did," Cantele, 28, said. "It's always important to go well at the worlds, and a win is perfection. The perfection came from the team and Tatiana today. My day will come. I am still young."

    Cantele made the winning move with teammate Guderzo, Kristin Armstrong (USA) and Marianne Vos (Netherlands) on the final lap. She watched her rivals while her teammate escaped over the course's first climb, Acqua Fresca.

    The performance complimented her second place ride behind Armstrong in the time trial earlier in the week - her first participation in the worlds time trial. The silver in the race against the clock was unexpected and made her wonder about how she would ride in the road race.

    "Considering how I raced, I don't think I lacked force. It was the other way around, it gave me strength," she said.

    "I did not sleep because of the adrenalin on Wednesday night, but I slept very well last night. I woke up this morning and said, 'Girls, don't worry about the rain, we will shine in the last lap.' In fact, we were there the last lap and the sun came out."

    Cantele knows the area well. She lives 20 kilometres away in Varese, Italy. Last year, racing on home roads, she finished 37th. Her best previous finish was fourth, in both 2006 and 2007. A crash ended her first World Championship raod race early in 2002 in Zolder, Belgium.

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  • Fresh doubts surround Astana's ProTour status

    The entire Astana team on the podium at the sign.
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 15:07 BST
    By:
    Richard Moore

    Astana management given deadline for providing necessary information

    UCI President Pat McQuaid cast fresh doubt on the future of the Astana team on Saturday. Speaking at the World Championship road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland, McQuaid said, "There is still every possibility the [ProTour] licence could be taken from Astana."

    McQuaid revealed that he had travelled to Kazakhstan three weeks ago and received assurances from the Kazakh government that the team will continue. But a meeting at the UCI's headquarters in Aigle on Thursday afternoon proved to be less positive.

    "Representatives of the team met the UCI on Thursday, and the UCI will make a report to the licence commission on that," said McQuaid, who was not at the meeting. "From what I can gather, it doesn't sound very positive, or very convincing, that they have a structure together that would be satisfactory for a UCI ProTour team.

    "We started a process [against Astana] in May or June and then suspended it when payments came through," said McQuaid. "That process is still suspended and can be reactivated. The file is still there, and it, plus new elements that might come in about the administration of team, would go to the [UCI licence] commission [for review].

    "We have given them deadlines to come up with information for us and we have to allow time for that to pass."

    Of his visit to Kazakhstan, McQuaid said, "I went there about three weeks ago, and met the minister for tourism and sport. We discussed the Astana team, and I explained that it is a very delicate situation and the [ProTour] licence could be withdrawn.

    "He assured me it is a project of the president of the country, Mr [Nursultan] Nazarbayev. Mr Nazarbayev has appointed a very eminent, senior businessman in Kazakhstan to oversee and secure the future of the team. In the coming days, I hope to make contact with some of these people to explain to them that at this moment in time, if what I hear from the meeting on Thursday is correct, we are not confident [about]...

  • Armstrong's legacy consolation for fourth place finish

    Kristin Armstrong (USA) before her final race as a professional.
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 15:25 BST
    By:
    Daniel Friebe

    American closes eight-year career in World Championship road race

    Kristin Armstrong said that her consolation for a fourth place finish in the women’s World Championship road race in Mendrisio on Saturday afternoon would be her lasting legacy to women’s cycling in the United States.

    Having taken her second World time trial title on Wednesday, the 36-year-old from Idaho announced that she would retire after today’s road race. She signed off on Saturday with a brave but luckless display, eventually trailing home at the back of the three-strong group that chased in vain behind the Italian Tatiana Guderzo on the final lap.

    Speaking as she made her way to a post-race doping control for the final time, a smiling Armstrong revealed that the outcome might have been different had it not been for two slices of misfortune.

    "I crashed on a wet corner, about two kilometres before the second climb, at about the halfway point in the race," Armstrong explained. "My teammate Amber [Neben] also got taken out with me. I had to chase back on, did one lap with the front group, then my derailleur broke off going into the first climb with three laps to go. I’m sure it had been broken in the first crash. I got a bike change and managed to chase back on again, but it took a lot of energy, even with my teammates bringing me back. In a road race, you need a bit of luck. That’s what was missing today."

    In spite of the two, costly efforts she made to rejoin the leaders, Armstrong still looked strong as she and Marianne Vos gave chase behind Guderzo on the final lap. On the final ascent of the race, the climb to Novezzano, Armstrong accelerated and briefly looked capable of threatening Guderzo. With only another Italian and the flagging Vos for company, alas, she wasn’t to end her career with a second gold medal of these championships. .

    "I felt really good today," she said this afternoon. "The problem was that Vos is a power climber and so is Cantele. If the climb had been a...

  • Valverde free to start elite men's worlds road race on Sunday

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Eparnge)
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 18:04 BST
    By:
    Richard Moore

    UCI awaits two decisions from CAS involving the Spanish racer

    UCI President Pat McQuaid hinted on Saturday that he is opposed to the participation of Spain's Alejandro Valverde in Sunday's elite men's road race World Championship in Mendrisio, Switzerland. But the Irishman added that the governing body is powerless to prevent Valverde from starting the title race while two appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) are pending.

    One is the appeal by Valverde against the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI)'s two-year ban on racing in Italy, imposed earlier this year because CONI believes it has evidence linking Valverde to the Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation.

    The other is an appeal by the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the Spanish authorities' decision not to open proceedings against Valverde for his alleged involvement in the 2006 investigation. McQuaid said that he expects both cases to be resolved before the end of the year, but not before Sunday's road race.

    "We make the rules and we have to follow the rules and, for the moment, Alejandro Valverde can race tomorrow," said McQuaid. "If he wins the race, I will give him the medal and the rainbow jersey."

    Two years ago, on the eve of the World Championships in Stuttgart, the UCI tried unsuccessfully to prevent Valverde from starting, again for his alleged links to Puerto - specifically, the claim that a bag of blood uncovered in the investigation, labelled "valv.piti" and identified by the number '18', belonged to the Spaniard (who, coincidentally, has been allocated number 18 for Sunday's road race).

    "We've always stated that blood bag number 18 belonged to Valverde," said McQuaid. "But I don't want to give my personal opinion." The UCI president added, however, that "You can imagine what my feelings will be if [Valverde] wins."

    Asked why the UCI had not followed CONI's lead, and applied a worldwide ban on the Spaniard, who last week claimed his first Grand Tour by winning the...

  • Cunego watches weather forecast for worlds

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC)
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 18:54 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Ballerini makes final selection for nine-man Italian team

    Italy's Damiano Cunego has been watching the weather forecasts closely for the World Championships on Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The forecast predicts a chance of rain for Sunday and a high of 23 degrees Celsius. Rain could force an early decision on the climbing intensive course.

    "The worlds course is very hard this year. If there is good weather it will be hard. If it rains it will be even worse," said Cunego.

    It rained on Friday night, and the women's race started on a wet circuit on Saturday morning. Four riders crashed in the beginning of the race, which Italy's Tatiana Guderzo eventually won.

    Cunego and Italian national team director Franco Ballerini gave their thoughts yesterday at a team press conference in Gazzada, Italy. Ballerini complained about the race organiser's inability to close the course completely yesterday for training. He also named Italy's final nine-man team.

    Damiano Cunego, Ivan Basso, Alessandro Ballan, Filippo Pozzato, Stefano Garzelli, Luca Paolini, Michele Scarponi, Giovanni Visconti and Marzio Bruseghin will represent Italy. Ballerini said Matteo Tosatto and Mauro Santambrogio, who Ballerini had as reserves, would sit out.

    "It was a difficult decision," said Ballerini. "For this course, Bruseghin is more convincing [than Tosatto]. In the GP Prato, he really showed me that he was in top condition."

    Ballerini said his nine-man Italian team will be one of the strongest along with teams from Spain and Australia.

    "The other teams can cause problems, but not as much as us. It will be a hard course for any team to control."

    Ballerini said Cunego showed great condition at the Vuelta a España with his two stage wins and will lead the team. But, Ballerini will be attentive to the race's development and shift his plan accordingly.

    "We have a strong option with Damiano, but we have to react to any breaks. I remember Lugano in 1996. There, an...

  • Kennaugh: Mixed feelings after fourth at Worlds

    Peter Kennaugh (Great Britain) finishes fourth in the Under-23 World Championship road race.
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 19:10 BST
    By:
    Daniel Friebe

    U23 World Championship youngster's last race before start with Team Sky

    Great Britain's Peter Kennaugh admitted that he had mixed feelings after finishing fourth in the men's Under 23 World Championship road race in Mendrisio on Saturday. The event was his last major race before turning pro with Team Sky in 2010.

    Kennaugh made a brave bid for a medal on the final climb to Novezzano, but came home 22 seconds behind silver medallist Colombian Carlos Betancur and Russia's Egor Silin. That pair, in turn, had crossed the line 27 seconds behind solo winner Romain Sicard of France.

    "I just stuck to the plan really," said Kennaugh, moments after crossing the line and collapsing onto the tarmac in exhaustion. "Being young, it's sometimes quite hard to hold back in races. You just want to attack all the time, so we've been working on staying patient. It's all about discipline. That's what I did today."

    Kennaugh's satisfaction with his performance was tempered with regret. A costly effort at the start of the last lap to join the group that eventually yielded the silver and bronze medallists may have been the difference between him following Silin and Bencantur on the Novezzano. "I lost a lot of energy on the first climb on the last lap to get across," the 20-year-old from the Isle of Man admitted. "I'm disappointed about that, but pleased to have targeted this race and got here with good form. It's hard to do that as an amateur. You see the pros do that year in, year out, but it's not easy."

    On Silin and Bencantur's decisive move on the Novezzano, Kennaugh said, "I just couldn't follow Silin there. I had to go at my own pace. Silin's got some acceleration on the climbs. He's a classy rider."

    The Russian may have outgunned Kennaugh today, but both riders' gutsy, aggressive performances exemplified the approach needed on terrain as difficult as the 13.7km circuit around Mendrisio. The fourth-place finisher in Saturday morning's women's race, Kristin Armstrong, spoke of a war of attrition.

    Kennaugh...

  • Stetina looks ahead to next season with Garmin after his final Under 23 race

    Peter Stetina (Garmin) will be another rider to watch for on the mountain days.
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 19:14 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    American wraps up his season with Worlds

    American Peter Stetina is looking ahead to the 2010 season, which he will race with elite Garmin-Slipstream, after Saturday's Under 23 World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. He expects his ability to suffer at the top-level races will be to his advantage, even more so than his experience in the tactic-driven Under 23 races.

    "I can go to a dark place and stay there for a while. That's my one quality as a bike racer," Stetina said to Cyclingnews.

    Stetina's season and career as an Under 23 rider ended with the 179.4-kilometre World Championship road race, won by Frenchman Romain Sicard. Stetina, 22, benefited from the earlier work of American teammates Alex Howes and Tejay Van Garderen to be the only finisher of the five-man squad.

    The elite men will race six laps and 82.8 kilometres more than the Under 23 riders tomorrow. Stetina's future Garmin teammate, Tom Danielson, will lead the American squad then.

    "I would tell him to relax, but stay close to the front," said Stetina. "Everyone gets keyed up, but it's a long way to race. We did 26 climbs today, they do 38. Tommy D[anielson] should bide his time and rip it only once."

    The Mendrisio course is a technical 13.8-kilometre circuit, with two climbs: Acqua Fresca and Novazzano. The winners in both the elite women's and the under 23 men's races started their ultimately successful moves on the 1.6-kilometre Acqua Fresca.

    Stetina covered several key moves and ended the race in 19th with a group of 19 riders at 1:40 behind Sicard.

    "It was a hard race for me, I could tell it had been a long season," said Stetina. "I was sitting a little too far back and relaxing multiple times. I had to come around some gaps, and there were no big crashes, but there was a lot of stupid stuff: guys clipping corners. I did not go down, but I paid with each re-acceleration."

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  • Corti abandons search for Barloworld replacement

    Team Barloworld general manager Claudio Corti
    Article published:
    September 26, 2009, 20:00 BST
    By:
    Daniel Friebe

    Barloworld team to fold as principal steps away for 2010

    Barloworld chief Claudio Corti appeared to put an end to speculation on Saturday that his team will continue in another guise in 2010. With main sponsors Barloworld pulling out of professional cycling at the end of the year, Corti was rumoured to be sizing up potential new backers, but indicated at the World Championships in Mendrisio on Saturday that he had abandoned his efforts to revive the team.

    "I've been trying to set something up and had made some progress, but it looks most likely that next year will be a bit of sabbatical for me," Corti said. "There was interest in sponsorship. I certainly could have got a small team off the ground, but I'm not interested in that. When I do something, I want it to be at the highest level."

    Recent reports in the Italian press had suggested that two companies with a history of supporting cycling were interested in joining forces with Corti. One of those companies, Caffita, was a co-sponsor of the Lampre team in 2005. The other is the wardrobe accessory manufacturer Servetto, who are currently associated with the struggling Fuji-Servetto outfit. That team is another, like Barloworld, which looks set to disappear at the end of the 2009.

    Speaking in Mendrisio today, Corti declined to mention either Servetto or Caffita, but did make it clear that any bid to rescue his team has now ended. "It's not that it's too late. It's more that I don't have the right motivation [to keep looking] at this point. I'm happy taking a year off," Corti said.

    Of Barloworld's illustrious current riders, several have already secured contracts for 2010. John-Lee Augustyn, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Steve Cummings will all ride for the newly-formed Team Sky, while 2007 Tour de France King of the Mountains Mauricio Soler has signed for Caisse d'Epargne. Another rider who excelled in the 2007 Tour, sprinter Robbie Hunter, has penned a deal to race for Garmin-Slipstream.

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