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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, September 28, 2013

Date published:
September 28, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Winning the Worlds is a long shot, says Froome

    Chris Froome (Sky) speaks to the press
    Article published:
    September 28, 2013, 10:51 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Briton hoping for aggressive race

    Chris Froome lines up as leader of the British team at Sunday’s world championships road race, but the Sky rider has admitted that it has been harder to motivate himself for the event than it was for the Tour de France.

    “I haven’t felt quite the same way about it as I have about the Tour. It hasn’t been as big a goal as the Tour and I think given also that it is a one-day race, it’s quite a gamble, it is a bit of a long shot to go for the win there,” Froome said.

    “It does make it a lot harder in many respects but having said that, I’m up for it. I know I’ve done the training. I think a lot of the guys are tired at this time of year and I think anyone who wins on Sunday will need a little bit of luck in their favour. But I’m definitely up for it and giving it the best shot possible.”

    With Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), Peter Sagan (Slovakia) and Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) lining up as favourites to take the rainbow jersey on Sunday, Froome believes that Britain can find common cause with Spain, Italy and Colombia is seeking to make the race as demanding as possible on the repeated climbs of Fiesole and Via Salviati.

    “I think taking on the race and trying to make it the hardest race possible and try to isolate the other sprinters and make it more of a climber’s race is the way we’ll push for it,” Froome said. “If I look at the other teams, none of whom I’ve spoken to, but I’d imagine the Spanish would want a very hard race, the Colombians, the Italians, basically anyone who doesn’t have that kind of punchy sprinter like Sagan or Gilbert.”

    Froome is well aware that if he is to win, he will need to distance the likes of Sagan...

  • Thieves steal Russian bikes at the world championships

    Alexandr Kolobnev helped to set up Rodriguez
    Article published:
    September 28, 2013, 12:14 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Katusha scrambling to build new bikes for Sunday's road race

    The Russian Elite men were unable to go for one last training ride on the eve of Sunday's road race after thieves stole their bikes from the mechanic's truck parked in the hotel in Prato.

    Alexandr Kolobnev tweeted a photo of Italian police studying the empty Katusha team truck from where 16 bikes and other equipment were stolen.

    "Police at work... Stolen ALL the bikes last night. No start tomorrow," Kolobnev wrote on his Twitter feed.

    However it seems that Kolobnev and all the other riders will be able to race in the Elite men's road race. The Katusha service course is in Brescia, just two hour north of Florence. The Russian team is already building new bikes for the riders and they are expected to arrive in Florence later on Saturday.

    It is not the first time that ladri di bicicletta (bicycle thieves) have targeted teams before major races.

    In February thieves cleaned out the Garmin-Sharp team during the Tour Mediterranean in France, stealing 17 bikes, 60 sets of wheels and other equipment worth a total of 250,000 Euro.
     

  • Quintana aiming for a medal in Worlds road race

    Nairo Quintana with fans
    Article published:
    September 28, 2013, 13:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Difficult to maintain Tour form, says Colombian

    Nairo Quintana is looking to round off his impressive 2013 season with a medal at the elite men’s road race at the world championships in Florence on Sunday. The Movistar rider lines up at the head of a strong Colombian team that also includes Carlos Betancur and London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Rigoberto Uran.

    “I’m aiming for a medal,” Quintana told Biciciclismo. “If I don’t manage that, then at least I want to put on a good showing.”

    While Peter Sagan (Slovakia), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) and Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) have been touted as the pre-race favourites by many observers, Quintana believes that his Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde is the man to beat in Florence.

    “For me, the main rivals are the Spaniards. The first favourite is Alejandro [Valverde], then Purito [Joaquim Rodriguez],” Quintana said. “There’s also [Vincenzo] Nibali for Italy, [Chris] Froome and, depending on how it’s raced, Sagan. We mightn’t see Cancellara so much, but I wouldn’t rule him out either.”

    Like Chris Froome, Quintana is aware that the race needs to be made difficult from the outset if he is to triumph ahead of the likes of Sagan. After building for the Worlds at a rainy Tour of Britain, Quintana is not perturbed by the weather forecast for Sunday, and believes it could even help his chances.

    “It’s a race for climbers or for classics riders, depending on how fast it is. If it’s very tough, then a climber can win,” Quintana said. “You have to take the weather into consideration too. I think it will rain, and that will eliminate some riders. Fortunately, it hasn’t...

  • Sagan ready to live up to world championship favourite status

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) pulls his wheelie for the fans
    Article published:
    September 28, 2013, 17:40 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Lombardi: Peter can win the sprint or alone

    Peter Sagan is arguably the favourite for Sunday's Elite men's road race at the UCI Road World Championships but as usual, the Slovakian prefers to play down his chances, shrugging off any pressure and expectations.

    "We'll see what happens in the race. If I'm riding well I'll be up there if not I'll climb off and call it a day," he told Cyclingnews in Florence.

    His agent, close friend and confidant Giovanni Lombardi was Mario Cipollini's lead-out man and the brains behind Cipo's world title win in 2002. He convinced Sagan to train alone at altitude in Colorado for much of August and September rather than in Europe. He is convinced that Sagan will have the form to survive on the tough Fiesole circuit and win, be it in a sprint finish or even alone.

    "He can win either way, so he'll be the one to decide how to move in the finale," Lombardi told Cyclingnews.

    "Peter's got to have good legs, which I think he's got, and then play a smart race. I hope he'll win and I'm sure he'll be in the thick of the action."

    Slovakia has six riders in the road race, compared to the major nations who have nine riders. Slovakia has selected Sagan, his brother Juraj, Peter Velits, Martin Velits, Matej Jurco and Patrik Tybor. The whole team will work for Sagan in the hope of winning the rainbow jersey.

    The lack of race radios will help reduce the strength of the bigger teams but Sagan knows he will be alone in the finale of the race.

    "The Worlds are a totally different race to every other race we do, you can never use other races as an example. I'm racing with the Slovakia team and that will change things," Sagan said in his final pre-race press conference on Friday.

    "I feel ready. This is...

  • Ratto continues Italy's run of world championship medals

    Rossella Ratto (Italy) won the bronze medal in the elite women's road race
    Article published:
    September 28, 2013, 18:56 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    19-year-old takes bronze after strong ride

    Elisa Ratto is the youngest rider of the Italian women's team but proved to be the best of the azzurre on home roads by taking the bronze medal in the elite women's road at the world championships at the age of just 19.

    She finished sixth in the 2012 road race, in her first year as a senior, and stepped up to lead the Italian team in the finale of this year's race after Tatiana Guderzo was hit by cramp and sprinter Giorgia Bronzini was dropped.

    When Marianne Vos attacked on the steep Via Salviati - the second climb on each circuit - Ratto and Emma Johansson were the only riders able to limit their losses and mount any kind of chase. Vos eventually rode away to victory, with Johansson beating Ratto to take silver.

    "Being on the podium again is like a dream come true," Ratto said.

    "It was a fantastic day, there were a lot of people cheering for me along the course, so I told myself to do something and give it everything. It's difficult to explain how I feel today.

    "On the final lap we decided who to mark. I was to stay on Marianne's all the way to the finish, while the other two were to attack. I think we did our best."

    Ratto has a promising future but just wanted to celebrate another Italian medal in the women's road race.

    "I want to enjoy today but after the last two years I'm full of hope for the future. But first I want to celebrate this medal with my teammates," she said.

    "It's not easy to make step up from the junior ranks. In Italy the junior races are mostly on circuits with short climbs. But in the Elite class, there are hardly any flat races. It's important to train well and keep trying even when you don’t get any results. You can slowly reach the top."
     

  • Video: Stevens shy of world championship medal

    Evelyn Stevens (USA) en route to a 5th place finish in the 2013 road race world championship
    Article published:
    September 28, 2013, 19:45 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    American fifth in elite women's road race

    The American women put on a show of defiance and strength in the face of the big favourites at the UCI elite women's road race championship, storming into Florence on the front of the peloton and hammering into the five 16km circuits. Even eventual winner Marianne Vos noted the display put on by the stars and stripes squad, but ultimately the team needed one more rider in the finale to have a chance.

    Evelyn Stevens finished fifth after putting in two last-lap attacks despite being isolated in a group which contained three top-notch Italians: Tatiana Guderzo, Elisa Longo Borghini and bronze medalist Rosella Ratto - two Dutch riders Vos and Anna van der Breggen, and eventual silver medalist Sweden's Emma Johansson.

    "It was hard. I was outnumbered," Stevens told Cyclingnews. "The Americans did a great job - Jade [Wilcoxson] and Carmen [Small] did brilliantly bringing us into the circuits and we set pace.

    "Once I was outnumbered, I was trying to cover what I needed to and be smart," Stevens said, adding that after attacking on the steep climb with 5km to go, her legs cramped.

    "I can't make excuses, that's just your body failing. On the long climb I was feeling it, then I went on that steep climb and it was just ... I've never cramped in my whole life."

    Stevens regretted the absence of Mara Abbott, who climbed brilliantly in the Giro Donne this year en route to her overall victory, but was left behind on the second to last lap.

    "You can't always have a great day. It's hard to time [form for] one days. I've definitely had days that didn't go as I wanted them to. That's bike racing. you can have a plan, but shit happens."

    On how to beat Marianne Vos, who has dominated the women's peloton with such veracity in recent years that it was...

  • Cancellara ready for a showdown at the world championships

    Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) earned the bronze medal at the 2013 time trial Worlds
    Article published:
    September 28, 2013, 21:45 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    "It'll be like racing on a roller coaster"

    Fabian Cancellara knows he will be closely marked during the Elite men's road race at the world championships but he is determined to target the rainbow jersey, perhaps the only major success still missing from his palmares.

    The Swiss rider won a bronze medal in the individual time trial event on Wednesday and told Swiss television during a final pre-race press conference that the medal has taken the pressure off his shoulders. Switzerland has a solid-nine rider team for the road race but is not considered one of the major nations that will be expected to try to control the race.

    "A lot of people will be watching me, I know, but I'm not the only rider in the race. We're going to play our cards as we want to play them. We've been training together as a team in the last few days and so we're united and focused on doing well. We're a team and a nation, and we'll be riding for national pride," Cancellara told RSI.ch.

    "I believe we've got a good team. We know how strong we are and what our goals and strategy are. Everything else doesn't matter. I've recovered well from Sunday's team time trial and Wednesday's individual time trial. I've already got a medal, which I'm proud of, so I'm relaxed. I've got nothing to lose."

    Mind games, big-name favourites and a roller coaster route

    Cancellara is one of standout favourites along with 2012 world champion Philippe Gilbert of Belgium, Peter Sagan of Slovakia, and Alejandro Valverde of Spain. Outsiders include Filippo Pozzato and Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), Dan Martin (Ireland), Chris Froome (Great Britain) and Carlos Betancur (Colombia).

    "There are four or five riders who are the favourites and its difficult to say who has an edge. Everyone...

  • Horner, van Garderen co-leaders for Worlds

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) crosses the finish line in Madrid
    Article published:
    September 28, 2013, 22:50 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Team USA backed Vuelta winner's decision to stay Stateside

    Team USA has not won an elite men's world road race championship since Lance Armstrong in 1993, and is looking to turn things around in Florence, Italy on Sunday. Team manager Mike Sayers, formerly a directeur for BMC and now with USA Cycling, has named Tejay van Garderen and Chris Horner as co-leaders for the race.

    While van Garderen has been in Italy since coming back to Europe after winning the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, Horner only arrived in Florence on Friday with a lengthy flight from Oregon and nine hours of jetlag in his legs, but Sayers says he respected Horner's decision to take his post-Vuelta weeks at home.

    "It's hard to say how it will affect him, but Chris has a lot of experience and knows himself well," Sayers told Cyclingnews. "I don't second guess him. People have second-guessed his decisions [to fly back and forth from Europe] for years, but he always comes through in the clutch. He's never let me down yet.

    "He decided to take those two weeks at home, and we were supportive of that decision."

    Horner will have plenty of time to shake the jetlag out of his legs: the race heads off from Lucca at 10:10am (1:10am Oregon time), but there is 106.6km before the peloton enters the critical finishing circuit, which they tackle ten times.

    Sayers, who also directs Team USA's U23 squad, said he was the only pro team director who was in the caravan for the U23 race, and that there were some things he noticed that could help his riders - but he wasn't giving anything away. With Spain as the team with the most strength and depth, the Italians as the most...