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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, September 7, 2013

Date published:
September 07, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • King without a contract for 2014

    A disappointed Ted King (Cannondale) during the morning of stage 5 at the Tour de France
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 1:24 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Cannondale rider optimistic about finding a team

    Cannondale's Ted King told Cyclingnews on Friday that he is currently without a contract for next season.

    "I'm still in the contract hunt," the 30-year-old US rider said before the start of stage 3 at the Tour of Alberta in Canada. "It's a tough year. It's nice to see things like [Formula 1 star Fernando] Alonso coming in and salvaging a team, but there's a lot of talk of a few teams folding and a lot of teams shrinking. So that certainly puts a lot of people out on the market."

    King has proved himself a valuable domestique during his three years with Cannondale and its predecessor, Liquigas; he is often seen on the front of the peloton chasing down breakaways to set up teammate Peter Sagan for the bunch sprint. King started his pro career in 2008 with Bissell Pro Cycling before moving to the Cervelo Test Team for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He moved to Liquigas in 2011.

    King has ridden three Grand Tours, including this year's Tour de France, where he famously was time cut from the race after the stage 4 team time trial because injuries suffered on stage 1 prevented him from keeping pace with his team. King was five seconds short of making the cut, but the commissaires showed no mercy and cut him from the race just as his family arrived in France to watch him compete in the French race for the first time.

    The rider from New Hampshire said he has "not heard much" from Cannondale about next year, but he appeared confident he will find a team for 2014.

    "I have the right people working for me to find me a contract for next year," he said. "But as of now, no."
     

  • Pim Ligthart signs for Lotto Belisol

    Stage 5 winner Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) on the podium
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 5:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Vacansoleil rider joins Belgian team

    Lotto Belisol has signed Pim Ligthart from Vacansoleil on a two-year contract. The Dutch rider, 25, turned professional with Vacansoleil in 2011 and won his national road race that year. However with his current team set to fold at the end of the season, Lotto has jumped in to bring the rider to their squad.

    “I will ride for the first time in a complete Belgian team, in my current team there is a partly Belgian staff. I love racing in Belgium, cycling really lives there. It’s exciting to get to know new people, it will be my second pro team and I’m looking forward to it,” Ligthart said in a press release.

    “I have already proven that when I get to the finish in a select group, I can finish the job. In the future I’d like to play a role in the spring and in smaller stage races, like Tour of Denmark, Ster ZLM Toer or Tour de Wallonie, where I became 3rd in GC in 2012. My favourite races are the championships, I’m always performing well at the Dutch one. I have already been Dutch national champion once and I’d like to repeat that.”

    Lotto have been one of the most active teams in the transfer market this season. Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson and Lars Bak all signed contract extensions, while Tony Gallopin and Maxime Monfort both join from RadioShack .

    “I’m also looking forward to contribute to the successes of riders like Tony Gallopin and Jürgen Roelandts in the spring classics or the sprints of André Greipel,” added Ligthart.

     

  • Nibali "not worried" by imminent worsening in weather in Vuelta a España

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) retained the race lead
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 7:20 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Rain and attacks by Rodriguez forecast for Pyrenean showdown

    After nearly two weeks of sunshine, heavy rain and attacks by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) are forecast for the Pyrenees as the Vuelta a España tackles three days in the mountains.

    The race starts with an assault on the lung-burstingly steep Collada de la Gallina climb in Andorra, on the south side of Purito's country of adoption, a climb where Rodriguez finished second in the 2012 Vuelta and an ascent he tackles regularly in training. "We know it almost too well," says Dani Moreno, his Katusha teammate who also lives in the Pyrenean mini-state, with a smile.

    However, race leader Vincenzo Nibali refuses to be worried by the prospect of precipitation or Rodriguez - already bouncing off the front on the Rat Penat climb today - going on the rampage in the Pyrenees.

    "I'm sure he will do something," Nibali said, being able to face television interviewers without dark glasses for the first time since his close encounter with a wasp on Tuesday. Friday's stage showed Rodriguez form may be coming good just in time for the mountains.

    "His condition is very good, you could tell today. But he's not the only rider I need to watch."

    "It was a tough stage [on Friday], hard and very fast in the last part and with some nasty crashes early on."

    Nibali sounded less confident when asked about the Collado climb, which he said he only knew "a little." It was first tackled in last year's Vuelta, so will be new to the Italian.

    However, he was positively bullish when asked if the rain could be a problem - and given the way he performed in wet weather earlier this season - that was understandable.

    "I'm sure it'll be okay for me, I did all right when it rained in Tirreno and the Giro," Nibali said, "It's not...

  • Gretsch excited about move to Ag2r-La Mondiale

    Patrick Gretsch (Team Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 9:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German looking for "more freedom" with new team

    Patrick Gretsch, who will move from Argos-Shimano to Ag2r-La Mondiale next season, told Cyclingnews on Friday that he is very excited about the move and is hoping to find more opportunities for himself with the French team.

    "I had two really awesome years with Argos-Shimano," Gretcsh said before the start of stage 3 at the Tour of Alberta in Canada. "But I also wanted to develop as a rider. I think the Argos-Shimano team is well supported with a lot of riders for the sprint train, and we showed this year at the Tour that they are really strong. But I also want to pursue a little bit my own ambitions, and I'll get a bit more freedom with Ag2r, and I also can support this team as well."

    Gretsch, 26, medaled twice in the U23 world championship time trial before entering the WorldTour with HTC-Highroad in 2010. He has five professional wins, including prologues at Ster ZLM Toer (2011), the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (2011) and the Ruta del Sol (2012).

    Grestch finished second behind Tony Martin in this year’s German national time trial championships. As an amateur, Gretsch raced for the same Thüringer Energie Team as Martin, Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.

    Gretsch said it's likely he will continue in a support role at Ag2r but could find his own chances in breakaways.

    "We didn't talk about a specific program yet, but we talked about the main targets," he said. "I will support the guys before the climbs and also in the Grand Tours, and I think I can also play an important role in the sprint preparation."

    Aside from having more of his own chances, Gretsch said he is excited about moving to a French squad from his current Dutch...

  • Mixed fortunes for Belkin on Vuelta's 13th stage

    Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R) comes in for second ahead of Bauke Molleman (Belkin)
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 10:29 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mollema on the way to redemption

    Bauke Mollema capitalised on his breakaway ride on stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana on Friday, sprinting to the podium.  However the day did not go as well for his Belkin teammates Laurens ten Dam and Stef Clement who were both forced to abandon the final grand tour of 2013.

    Mollema was forced to hose down any GC hopes he had for the Vuelta after some disappointing performances in the first week but Friday's result showed that the Dutchman may have the form to post some solid stage results. He finished third behind stage winner Warren Barguil (Team Argos-Shimano) and Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale) - Barguil with a seven second advantage over the pair of chasers.

    "Everybody was attacking each other in the end," explained Mollema of the finale. "Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) rode away in the last K, and it's like that, no one wanted to chase, and he won. At the start, I was feeling really good, but on the last steep climb, I was not feeling really good anymore. I got third. I was close to victory.

    "I will go for the breaks," the Belkin rider continued. "I am more than 30 minutes back on GC, so hopefully I can win a stage in the next week."

    Clement meanwhile crashed on a high-speed decent midway through the 169km stage. Misjudging a corner, Clement collided with a guardrail and landed with his back and hip taking the brunt of the impact. While initially attempting to re-join the race with a new bike, the 30-year-old found he could not continue. He has since been cleared of serious injury with no broken bones and hopes to make the Belkin squad for the team time trial at the world championships.

    "I regained contact at the base of the climb, but it was impossible," Clement...

  • Bettini with selection dilemma for the Tuscany world championships

    National coach Paolo Bettini says hello
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 11:10 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian national coach to name the squadra on September 16

    Italian national coach Paolo Bettini is close to selecting the riders who will make up the 'squadra azzurra' for the professional world road race championships in Tuscany but is still undecided on the final nine riders as he juggles tactical options and studies riders' fitness.

    The former double world champion is due to talk to Filippo Pozzato today after the Lampre-Merida rider studies the circuit in Florence, after spending three days at the Vuelta a Espana.

    Vuelta leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is expected to be the Italian team leader but Bettini faces a tough task in deciding other possible team leaders and deciding who will have to do work. Italy is hoping to win the world title on home roads to give Italian cycling a boost after a poor season of results.

    The 272km road race starts in Lucca and covers a 106km section before covering the hilly Florence circuit ten times. Each lap includes the 4.3km climb up to Fiesole and a 600m section at 10% in Via Salviati on each lap. As a result the race is expected to be very selective with the climbers and hilly classics riders best suited to the course.

    "The (Italian) riders have been good because they've made my life difficult," Bettini admitted to Gazzetta dello Sport from Spain, admitting he still has to decide the final names for the Italian team.

    Gazzetta predicts that Nibali, his domestique Alessandro Vanotti and road captain Luca Paolini all have secure places in the Italian team.

    Bettini has to decide who has the form and the right characteristics to complete the team. Probable names include Tour of Poland winner Diego Ulissi, Rinaldo Nocentini who was second behind Warren Barguil a the Vuelta on Friday, Italian national champion Ivan Santaromita, Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi,...

  • Acevedo headlines field at Bucks County Classic

    Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) wins stage 4 of the USA Pro Challenge over Tejay van Garderen (BMC).
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 14:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Final event of UCI America Tour today in Pennsylvania

    Janier Acevedo of Jamis-Hagens Berman headlines the New Hope to Doylestown road race today at the Thompson Bucks County Classic.

    The Colombian is the current leader of the UCI America Tour, which crowns the top racer of the North, South and Central American racing circuits. Acevedo has enjoyed a stellar season, with third overall at the Amgen Tour of California and the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah plus stage wins in both California and Colorado's USA Pro Challenge.

    Race Director John Eustice says the 27-year-old arrives in Pennsylvania with the capability of dominating a challenging Bucks County race course - a 166km parcours starting in New Hope at 10:30am on Saturday and finishing in Doylestown later in the day.

    "Acevedo will certainly be in the Tour de France next year," Eustice said. "So it will be a rare treat for racing fans to see a ProTour-level Colombian ripping it up on our Pennsylvania climbs."

    A peloton full of challengers will also take the start, including 2010 Thompson Criterium of Doylestown winner Jesse Anthony of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team - with its stable of future stars - and the Pro Continental UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, led by another Colombian, Carlos Alzate.

    The New Hope to Doylestown road race is one of only seven UCI-ranked road races for men in the United States and one of only three that have additionally been awarded the highest-level National Racing Calendar (NRC) ranking by USA...

  • Hushovd, Boasson Hagen and Nordhaug for Norway at Worlds

    Thor Hushovd came through for his home fans on stage 2
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 16:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kristoff named as reserve rider

    Thor Hushovd, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Lars Petter Nordhaug will represent Norway at the world championships in Florence the end of this month. This selection covers all the possibilities, the national coach said, with Boasson Hagen as the best climber, Nordhaug for a break group, and Hushovd for a possible sprint finish.

    Ironically, the nation's best rider, Alexander Kristoff, will be attending only as a reserve. He provided 161 points for the country, which helped give Norway three starting places. In contrast, Hushovd has 45 points and Boasson Hagen only 29.

    “That was not an easy choice,” said coach Stig Kristiansen. “Alexander has performed well all season, and taken every chance he could. It is not so long ago that he was third in Hamburg. But I think he has the best part of his season behind him and the course profile is not to his advantage this time.”

    Boasson Hagen is the one “we are most excited about. If  he comes back into shape after the injury in the Tour de France.”  He broke his right shoulder blade in a crash during the 12th stage of the Tour, and has only returned to racing at the Vuelta a Espana. He has brought in four top ten stage finishes so far, including second in Thursday's 12th stage, when world champion Philippe Gilbert pipped him at the finish line.

    Hushovd was an “obvious” selection, Kristiansen said. After a virus and muscle infection limited him to only 28 racing days in 2012, the former world champion...