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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, June 24, 2012

Date published:
June 24, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Jan Ullrich: "I would have acted differently"

    Jan Ullrich is once again looking to the future
    Article published:
    June 24, 2012, 1:48 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    38-year-old German says he has served his time

    Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich hasn't raced professionally since his removal from the Tour 2006 and seems to have finally moved on from the difficult years which followed his dramatic exit from the sport. The German is currently ‘serving’ a two year suspension for his involvement in Operacion Puerto while he has no intension of returning to the sport.

    Ullirch may have no desire to race again but believes he should have been honest when his case first came to light: "I wanted to protect my family and was advised not to express myself. In hindsight I would have acted differently" he told Bild am Sonntag (bild.de).

    He still remains coy about the exact details in relation to the doping case and said that "the issue was closed with the court’s verdict". Ullrich is disappointed about the length of time it took for his case to be resolved, rather than the verdict itself. He did however admit "I’m partially to blame". All of his results from May 2005 have since been stripped but he has tried to move on with his life. He has been riding his bike, clocking more than 10,000km this year. "Since I am active again, the head is clear again. I am much more energetic" he said.

    Ullrich was asked if he had considered the possibility of being awarded the winner of a few more Tours de France - if Lance Armstrong was found guilty and stripped of his titles - but instead hoped for a faster resolution to the case and not necessarily the outcome: "I get the developments but do not follow it" he said.

    In the meantime Ullrich keeps himself busy running a number of businesses including cycling camps and promoting an anti-hair-loss shampoo. He also contributes to a blog on eurosport.
     

  • Rabobank looking for national championship success

    Niki Terpstra (Milram) in his new national champion's jersey
    Article published:
    June 24, 2012, 7:11 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Final chance for Dutch team

    Rabobank may be the largest Dutch team in the WorldTour but that hasn’t always brought success at the national championships. In fact, it’s been three years since a Rabobank rider has claimed the title when Koos Moerenhout won the race. The 2010 edition spelled the end of a four-year winning streak when Niki Terpstra overpowered a 19-rider Rabobank line up to beat Pieter Weening and Lars Boom.

    Last year it was Pim Ligthart (Vanconsoleil - DCM) who crossed the line in first place when again, a Rabobank rider was relegated to the second step on the podium.

    This time they seek to win the title with Robert Gesink, Steven Kruijswijk and Bauke Mollema seemingly in great form following their rides in last week’s Tour de Suisse. The three will also ride the Tour with Gesink and Mollema looking for a high place finish and supported by Kruijswijk, who poses a hidden threat "to surprise everyone with a good final GC placement and thereby take a shot at the white jersey" according to rabobsport.com.

    The Netherlands road championships will be held over 22 laps of a 10.3km circuit for a total of 228.8km.
     

  • Joe Lewis makes a successful return to Australia

    Joe Lewis (RBS Morgans - ATS Pro Cycling) warms up before the race
    Article published:
    June 24, 2012, 10:06 BST
    By:
    Alex Malone

    Looking for growth through the National Road Series

    Joe Lewis may only be 24-years-old but it feels like he has been around for much longer. The Gloucester-born rider spent the most part of last season with the Trek - Livestrong U23 development team (now Bontrager - Livestrong), riding under the guidance of team director Axel Merckx. The team is designed as a feeder to the RadioShack team but unfortunately Lewis missed out on a stagiare position with the ProTour team midway through last year.

    It was a disappointment but there was more racing to come. However, when the biggest races of their season, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge were on the horizon the team was told they could not attend because of their affiliation to the ProTour squad - under Article 2.2.001 of the UCI’s regulations. Riders were told they could return home, even though it was only July.

    Lewis returned to Australia and raced the remainder of the NRS series with Trent Wilson’s BikeBug.com (GPM - Wilson Racing) team and assisted the NSW-based squad to a number of wins throughout the season. Things were looking up for Lewis when he signed with the New Zealand Pure Black Racing Team for 2012. He would be back racing in the US and Europe and looked set for another year being paid to do what he loves. But just before Christmas he got the news his new team would be folding.

    "It was about 20th of December that I got an email at the coffee shop, at about 8am in the morning. I went straight home and starting sending emails and got on the phone. Initially I just didn't know what I was going to do. I was worried what I was going to do for money, I wasn't studying at the time so you obviously think about your...

  • Barta delighted with Czech time trial title

    Jan Barta (Team NetApp) finished second on the stage
    Article published:
    June 24, 2012, 10:14 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Fourth individual win for NetApp rider in 2012

    Jan Barta continued his breakthrough year, as the Team NetApp rider won the Czech time trial  title for this fourth individual victory of the season. He said he was “delighted” to have taken the title after finishing second in the last two years.

    “My first thought was, I’ve finally done it. After coming second twice in a row, I was desperate to win,” he said on the team's website. “My legs felt good, I felt good. I fought as I always do, because I really wanted to bag this victory. Now I am delighted!”

    Barta covered the 39km in 47:49, 26 seconds faster than Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Zdenek Stybar. And that despite a mechanical problem during the race.  The chain came off when he hit a bump. “I had to get off quickly and put the chain back on by hand. This took about 15 seconds.”'

    Another difficulty he faced was the recovery from the Giro d'Italia, his first three-week tour. “After a grand tour it is very difficult to say how much training and how much regeneration is necessary in order to be perfectly prepared for the championship.” But he was glad to have found “just the right mix.”

    The 27-year-old won the individual time trial at the Settimana Coppi e Bartoli in March, on his way to the overall title. Shortly thereafter he won Rund um Köln, and also took second on the 14th stage of the Giro d'Italia.

  • Eisel and Schorn for Austria in 2012 London Olympics

    Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    June 24, 2012, 11:56 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Three mountain bikers also on their way to the Games

    Austria has named its team for the 2012 London Olympics. Bernhard Eisel will lead the two-man road team, and three riders will compete in mountain biking. The nation did not qualify for track spots.

    Bernhard Eisel of Team Sky will be in his second Olympics, having previously ridden in 2004. Best-known lately as Mark Cavendish's lead out man, the 31-year-old will now have the chance to challenge his friend and Sky teammate.

    The other rider on the road team is Daniel Schorn of Team NetApp. The 23-year-old sprinter made his grand tour debut this year in the Giro d'Italia, where he brought in two top ten stage finishes.

    They will ride only the road race and not the time trial.

    Thomas Rohregger (RadioShack-Nissan) and Matthias Brändle (Team NetApp) are the two reserves.

    The Alpine nation is sending three riders to the cross country mountain biking events: Lisi Osl, Alexander Gehbauer and Karl Markt. Osl is reigning national champion. The reserve riders are Lisa Mitterbauer, Christoph Soukup and Uwe Hochenwarter.

  • Vos satisfied with second place for a change

    Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) opens a gap on a descent
    Article published:
    June 24, 2012, 17:31 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Finished behind teammate Van Vleuten in Dutch womens' road race

    Marianne Vos was satisfied on Saturday with her second-place finish – which she usually is not. She finished behind teammate Annemiek Van Vleuten in the womens' Dutch national road race, her first race back after breaking a collarbone nearly a month ago.

    "I knew I was fit enough to race, but of course not whether I could cope with the intensity of competition,” she said on the Rabobank team website. “When Annemiek got away in the first round by pulling on a steep climb, I had a lot of difficulty and I knew immediately that Annemiek would be the leading contender for the gold.

    “I still tried to come back in the final, but today she was just the strongest. I'm not often happy with second place, but this time I was.”

    Vos crashed during the Parkhotel Valkenburg Classic on May 25, and went on to finish second. The fractured collarbone was diagnosed after the race. It did not require surgery.

  • Martin looking only for time trial stage wins in Tour de France

    World champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) gets ready to take off for the prologue
    Article published:
    June 24, 2012, 18:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    GC plays no role for Omega Pharma-QuickStep German

    Tony Martin is going into the Tour de France at less than full form, and his eye will be on not only the two difficult time trials but also the prologue in Liège. The World and German national time trial champion is looking for stage wins, with the overall ranking “not playing any role” for him.

    “I am going into the Tour with 95 percent,” he told the dpa news agency. “In the best case scenario I can still improve three, four or even five percent.”

    He is looking only to do well at the time trials. “The important thing for me is a stage win. If the yellow jersey comes with it, then is that all the better.”

    The German is not looking to the overall ranking, and sees Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans as top favourites. He doesn't count out one of his countrymen, though. Andreas Klöden of RadioShack-Nissan “is one of the dark horses for me.  Andreas is also a very strong time triallist. And he always manages to come out of nowhere and do well in the highlights.”

    Right after the Tour he will head to the 2012 London Olympics, but looks to reduce the pressure he is under. “My goal is quite clearly a medal. But whether I can get gold again like at the 2011 Worlds, will not depend upon the Tour de France.”

  • Goss a focus in Orica-GreenEdge Tour de France squad

    _V6O7031 - Yellow jersey for Hossein Alizadeh of Tabriz
    Article published:
    June 24, 2012, 19:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Nine riders in hunt for stage wins in July

    The Orica-GreenEdge team has chosen nine riders with the goal of netting stage wins to the Tour de France, rather than invest in a focus on the overall classification, the team announced today.

    An obvious focus for the team will be the bunch sprints, where Matthew Goss will be the protected sprinter. He will be aided by Baden Cooke, Brett Lancaster, Daryl Impey, Michael Albasini, Pieter Weening, Sebastian Langeveld, Simon Gerrans and Stuart O'Grady.

    "It was difficult to select the final nine," said Sports Director Matt White. "We have more than nine riders that are ready for the Tour de France. It's a good problem to have. When picking the team, we have to identify the team goals and pick the best riders to achieve those goals over the three weeks. I'm confident with the selection we've made that we can meet the objectives we set for July."

    Rather than try for a high overall classification, White says the team was picked to win stages. "We have a lot of opportunists in the team of nine. We've said from the start that the overall is not a goal. We're on the hunt for stage wins, and we have a lot of winners in those eight other riders."

    Another top pick for stage wins is Albasini, who already has three stage wins (two at Volta a Catalunya and one in Tour de Suisse), an overall race victory in Catalunya and second-place at Flèche Wallone under his belt this year, as well a stage of the 2011 Vuelta a España in his palmares.

    "Michael is having the best season of his 11-year career," said White. "We've seen his aggressive style of racing net him stage wins in Spain and Switzerland and the overall victory at the Volta a Catalunya. Michael will...