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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 29, 2012

Date published:
July 29, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Neo-professional Démare experiences first Olympic road race

    Arnaud Demare (FDJ-BigMat) still leads the young riders classification of the Coupe De France.
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 6:34 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    20-year-old finishes just behind Cavendish

    The French men’s team for the Olympic road race lacked a true favourite for Saturday’s 250km road race but with the young neo-professional Arnaud Démare selected for the four-man national team, they were quietly confident of a result if the finale came down to a bunch sprint.

    Without a sprinter like Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) or André Greipel (Germany) who have proven themselves at events like the world championships, the French were happy to send riders into the breakaway and leave Démare to wait for the assumed bunch sprint.

    French national time trial champion Sylvain Chavanel infiltrated the late breakaway however, lacking the sprinting prowess to compete with Alexander Kristoff (Norway) and Taylor Phinney (USA) to name a few, he would end the day in 20th place.

    Back in the main field and still nearly one minute behind with less than 10km to go, Démare was left to sprint for 27th place – at best. His overall result would not seem impressive on paper but considering his relative position, he can leave London proudly. Démare finished fourth in the bunch sprint, led by André Greipel (Germany), Tom Boonen (Belgium) and Mark Cavendish (Great Britain).

    “It is not the same when you sprint for a place of honor,” he told L’Equipe regarding his performance. “However, this is a great experience. I got chills throughout the race.”

    The young Frenchman and last year’s U23 world champion felt the result could have been a little...

  • Jack Bauer happy with top-ten at London Olympics

    Jack Bauer (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 7:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Henderson left disappointed after early retirement

    New Zealand’s Jack Bauer was just one of two Kiwi riders included in the men’s Olympic road race on Saturday and he was pleased to be able to walk away from the race with a 10th-place finish. Bauer was chosen amongst a group of experienced professionals for his ability against the clock in the time trial and also his strength in breakaway situations.

    "I’m really happy to get inside the top-ten," he told Fairfax NZ. "It was great to wear to the New Zealand colours, [and] have such support from a lot of Kiwi’s out on the course," he said.

    The Kiwi team was limited in being able to influence the race due to their two-rider squad but with the power of Bauer and the speed of his compatriot Greg Henderson, they had the ability to cope with various situations.

    "We had the same game plan, myself and Hendy [Henderson] but on the other hand we had that option B, that with my strengths if a break went, we needed someone in it," he said.

    Bauer was not in the initial breakaway but when the pressure started to show towards the last of the finishing circuits around Box Hill, he was able to go with the attacks and ultimately found himself in the front group challenging for a medal. Unfortunately for Bauer, despite his desire to stand on the podium, he began to struggled toward the end.

    "I spoke with him [Henderson] and he said he wasn’t feeling awesome and would try and hang in there and see if it all came back together at the end but I felt good and I told him that."

    "I was really struggling with 20km to go. I just started cramping up really badly and the weather was a bit warmer than I expected. Hydration is always hard and I started cramping pretty bad. I'm happy."

    ...
  • Danish team left disappointed and lucky in London

    Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 8:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Fuglsang wanted more while Breschel almost loses finger

    It was a race of mixed emotions for the Danish men’s team at the completion of the 250km Olympic road race. Jakob Fuglsang was part of the 26-rider front group who raced for the medals while Matti Breschel was back in the peloton, nursing a finger which was lucky to remain attached to his hand.

    “I am afraid that it will be sewn,” he told Sporten.dk. “It does not look good, the finger. Right now the doctor will take a look at it and we must take him to the hospital in the city to get it checked,” said Danish coach Lars Bonde.

    Breschel crashed in the early part of the race and did serious damage to the tip of his middle finger on his right hand. He was able to remount and rejoin the peloton but his injury essentially doomed him to remain in the stranglehold of the Great Britain-led peloton, sprinting to the line 40 seconds behind the race winner to finish in 41st place.

    It could have been a different result for Fuglsang and his four-man Danish team if the front group had been more selective. Fuglsang’s sprinting ability was never going to be up to speed of his fellow breakaway companions and at the finish of the race, stated that he had aimed for more.

    “It was not good for me with a sprint, but you want more, we are here of course to win. It was close and I am perhaps a little annoyed that it wasn't more in the end,” Fuglsang said.

    The Danish national time trial champion will hope for a better result when he rides the Olympic time trial on Wednesday.

  • Olympic Shorts: Australian aggression angers British

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) celebrates victory in the 2012 Olympic road race
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 9:42 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Landis on Vinokourov's win

    Australian aggression angers British

    Matthew Goss saw his Olympic chances disappear as a break containing teammate Stuart O'Grady stayed off the front. At the finish Mark Cavendish criticised the Australian team's tactics, saying they had raced negatively.

    "We had a tactic to put guys in the break and we did that, we put Stuey [Stuart O'Grady] up the road, he was in prime position, he had a really tough day though. That took the pressure off us all day and the part that didn't work out was out of our control," Goss said.

    "We wanted it to come back together, but unfortunately - not through lack of trying - the break stayed away, it was such a strong bunch of riders. Obviously I would have loved to have been right up there and given it a go myself."

    Nibali active on Box Hill

    Vincenzo Nibali was one of the most active riders in the mid section of the race. The Italian all rounder attacked on several occasions over Box Hill. Italy placed several riders in moves but had to settle for ninth through Luca Paolini.

    "In the final part of the race I chased two attacks as I was afraid the chasing group could come back. We did everything we could to get a medal. We tried hard alongside the other teams, like Belgium, to make the race tougher," Nibalia said at the finish.

    Super Schar

    Want to know why the underrated Michael Schär has made the last two BMC Tour squads? Then look no further than his Olympics ride. Off the front in the first main move, Schar was put to work again when Fabian Cancellara bridged up after the final climb. Schar didn't hesitate to put the boot in at the finish when it came to criticizing the home nation's tactics.

    "I was really motivated at the beginning. We just kept going and the gap became bigger and bigger. That's when we saw that we are stronger than the British."

    Germany's alliance with Britain...

  • No broken bones for Fabian Cancellara after crash

    Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 10:21 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Reigning Olympic champion will make decision to start TT in coming days

    It was a bizarre scene watching Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), arguably one of the best bike handlers in the professional ranks, crash for no apparent reason in the closing kilometers of the men’s Olympic road race. The Swiss star was hoping to improve on his third place finish from the previous Games in Beijing – later elevated to second after Davide Rebellin's positive test – but the fall ruled him out of contention for the gold medal.

    Cancellara had made an impressive return to form at the Tour de France when he won the opening prologue and wore the maillot jaune for a week following his crash and broken collarbone in the early part of the year at Tour of Flanders. Watching Cancellara nurse his same right shoulder was a worrying sight, but he was able to remount and finish the race, albeit without a medal.

    The reigning Olympic time trial champion praised his team for all their hard work throughout the day but ultimately he was unable to repay them with a result. If Cancellara had not crashed, the result would most likely have been very different.

    “The team showed a perfect race and I thank my teammates for the work they have done and their support. Today we were clearly the strongest team. That's why I'm doubly disappointed and annoyed that I crashed in this way,” said Cancellara.

    Crossing the finish line, a clearly upset Cancellara was embraced by his national coach, as he perhaps saw the chance of a repeat time trial victory disappearing along with his road race hopes. An x-ray on Saturday evening revealed no fracture to Cancellara's shoulder, although he did sustain deep bruising in the fall.

    “Looks like a hard night with lots of pain. Happy [nothing] is broken...

  • Evans uncertain to start Olympic time trial on Wednesday

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 11:33 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Updated: Decision made to withdraw from TT

    The London Olympic road course was never going to suit Cadel Evans’ strengths. Last year's Tour de France champion was not heading to London in search of a personal result, and instead, his role was to ride the 250km race in support of his team. After a disappointing end to his Tour title defence, Evans was almost a late withdrawal from the Games. He had appeared to be struggling with some form of illness toward the end of the Tour but the true extent is not known.  This weekend, he decided, with input from doctors, to sit out the Olympic time trial.

    "This year hasn't gone as we had anticipated, as I wanted," Evans told The Age.

    "A few things have happened with my health this year that put me back before the Tour, which put me back during the Tour and put me back coming into here," he said.

    In the end, Evans arrived in London with the plan of riding both the road race and the following Wednesday’s time trial. He lined up in the road race in support of the team’s best medal hope, Matt Goss. With a planned bunch sprint, Evans was charged with looking after the sprinter throughout the race, while Simon Gerrans was to look for opportunities toward the last of the Box Hill circuits.

    Unfortunately for the Australians, neither of these plans came to fruition. Stuart O’Grady saved the day by entering the early break and rode for more than 230km off the front of the peloton to a fine sixth place. It is to be his final Olympic participation.

    With...

  • O'Grady rises to Olympic challenge

    Stuart O'Grady (Australia)
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 12:20 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Australian 6th in London

    Competing in his sixth and final Olympic Games, Australia's Stuart O'Grady capped off a long day in the saddle with 6th place in the men's road race.

    The 38-year-old formed part of a 12-man break in the opening stages of the 250 kilometre race, and despite the group swelling to 33 before the finish, the Australian ended the day as his country's top finisher.

    O'Grady's hope of a gold or silver medal were cut short when Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) and Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) escaped from the field within the final 5 kilometres, leaving O'Grady to scrap for the bronze medal.

    "I could see Vino go and the head was saying 'go' but the legs were saying ‘mate, you've done 220 kilometres out here’ and I was on the verge of cramping with every pedal stroke. I just had to put everything in the final sprint," he said at the finish.

    "Obviously, from the team point of view we've not come here to get a top ten but personally that was one of the rides of my life. I knew today was going to be my last Olympic appearance and I wanted to go all in. The people of London out there today, that was the most incredible moment I've ever had in my life," O'Grady added.

    Australia came into the race promising to race aggressively. With O'Grady in the break Michael Rogers attempted to bridge across. The move failed with Rogers drawn back by a persistent chase led from Great Britain. In the closing stages, Australia were either unwilling or unable to help lead the chase, something Matthew Goss attributed to O'Grady's presence in the break. Michael Rogers told Cyclingnews at the finish that there was little chase Australia chasing when they had their second fastest sprinter on the attack.

    "We had a little...

  • Gallery: On the start line of the women's Olympic road race

    Ah Reum Nah (South Korea) and Emile Moberg (Norway) ahead of the London 2012 Olympics road race.
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 13:36 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cooke looks to defend title on home soil

    After yesterday’s tense affair in the men’s Olympic cycling road race it was the turn of the women to take centre stage on the Mall in central London. Competing over a shorter 140 kilometre course, with two ascents of Box Hill, a super competitive field lined up under thunderous skies at the start of the race.

    Defending champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) was a dark horse to repeat her win from Beijing, while strong teams from the Netherlands, Sweden, USA, Canada, Italy and Australia also had plenty of options for either a break or a mass bunch sprint.