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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 9, 2012

Date published:
September 09, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Clarke: I'm not a climber, I'm an opportunist

    Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium with his polka dot jersey
    Article published:
    September 09, 2012, 6:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian secures mountains classification at Vuelta a España

    Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) created history on Saturday becoming the second Australian in history to win a mountains classification in a grand tour, when he secured the jersey on stage 20 of the Vuelta a España.

    Countryman Matthew Lloyd previously won the mountains classification at the Giro d'Italia in 2010.

    Clarke, 26, held a two-point margin over his rivals for the polka dot jersey heading into la Vuelta's penultimate stage, 170.7km from La Faisanera to Bola del Mundo where points would be up for grabs in the classification for the final time. Clarke made it into the 20-man breakaway and went on the attack, earning himself the prize for the stage's most combative rider.

    "It went better than expected," Clarke said following the stage. "I needed luck to get all possible points in the mountain climbs."

    The stars aligned for Clarke and he took maximum points on the first three climbs to wrap up the competition.

    "I took advantage of every opportunity I had," he continued. "I was very nervous about trying going into the break, because it had been so difficult to form in other stages. I thought it was going to be almost impossible."

    Clarke, riding in his grand tour debut and having won Stage 4 earlier, was focused only on his own race but admitted he kept it in the back of his mind that Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) would collect points at the finish.

    "Ultimately, the strategy worked, but it was a great effort," Clarke said. "I am not a climber, I'm an opportunist and I had to use every opportunity I could."


  • Boonen continues Worlds build-up with Paris-Brussels win

    For the first time in his career Tom Boonen gets to raise his arms aloft as Paris-Brussels champion.
    Article published:
    September 09, 2012, 10:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian takes aim at Valkenburg

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) continued his build-up to the world championships with victory at Paris-Brussels on Saturday. The Belgian champion proved too quick for Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) and Oscar Freire (Katusha) in the sprint to take his first-ever win in the event.

    Boonen’s victory came one week after he triumphed in the inaugural World Ports Classics and suggests that he is returning to form just in time to play a leading role at the Worlds in Valkenburg on September 23.

    “I knew that I was in form,” Boonen told La Dernière Heure after his Paris-Brussels win. “I’m not 100 percent yet, but there are still two weeks to Valkenburg. On Wednesday, I’ll ride the GP de Wallonie and next Sunday, I’ll do the world team time trial championships. But this Paris-Brussels victory is pleasing and it shows me that I’ve recovered well from a week of intensive training.”

    That intensive training included riding the entire route of the world championships road race on Wednesday afternoon. Boonen previously competed on the Valkenburg circuit in the junior road race at the 1998 Worlds, but he would abandon on a day that saw Ireland’s Mark Scanlon outsprint Filippo Pozzato for the rainbow jersey. Boonen went the full distance on Wednesday.

    “I rode it behind a scooter, in a race simulation but at an average of 41kph,” Boonen said. “On the ten laps of the circuit, I went hard up the Cauberg every time, so that I would realise what awaits us in the race.”

    Boonen’s return to winning form after his resoundingly successful spring campaign comes just as Philippe Gilbert (BMC) has...

  • Garmin-Sharp extends contract with Dekker

    Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    September 09, 2012, 11:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutchman to ride for US team for two more years

    Thomas Dekker will continue with Garmin-Sharp for another two years. The Dutch rider announced the contact extension in his website, saying, “I not only have faith in the future but the people around me too.”

    Dekker, who just turned 28, served a two-year suspension for EPO doping. He returned in August of last year with the team's related Chipotle Developmental team, before moving up to the WorldTour team this year.

    He is currently riding the Vuelta a Espana, his first grand tour since 2007. His next race will be the team trial at the World Championships next Sunday in Valkenburg.

    "We, my management, Jonathan Vaughters and me, assessed the comeback so far and we made new plans for the future. I am very happy that we share the same vision and that I can keep working with these people in this team,” Dekker said.

    “Garmin-Sharp gave me the opportunity to return in a good way to the highest level of cycling and I will be eternally grateful for that. Garmin-Sharp is all about clean cycling and I am very much aware of my specific role in that respect. The team supports me and I support the team and Jonathan Vaughters in their fight against doping.”

    Speaking openly on the Cyclingnews forum last week, Vaughters had said that "Thomas is an arrogant prick. Or was. hugely insecure guy. It's been a lot of work with him. A lot...." He further indicated that he wasn't sure whether Dekker would be able to successfully ride again, but has evidently decided to give Dekker a further chance.

    “Jonathan had already predicted that my first season would include ups and downs. I won a race (stage 5 in the Circuit de la Sarthe) but I also had to abandon races like...

  • Basso won’t back up Hamilton’s Fuentes claims

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Cannondale)
    Article published:
    September 09, 2012, 12:15 BST
    Daniel Friebe

    Italian refuses to incriminate former boss Bjarne Riis

    Ivan Basso has declined to follow Tyler Hamilton’s lead in naming former CSC boss Bjarne Riis as the man who pointed him towards Operacion Puerto doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews at a pre-Tour of Britain press event on Saturday, Basso wouldn’t reveal precise details of how he contacted Fuentes with a view to blood doping during his time at CSC. The Italian, now at Liquigas-Cannondale, also said that the version of events put forward by Hamilton his autobiography, 'The Secret Race', “bears no relation to what I saw in my years at CSC.”

    In the book, Hamilton claims that, within days of joining Riis’s team in 2002, the Dane recommended a doping regimen of blood transfusions administered by Fuentes. Riis has emphatically rejected the claims. “I can absolutely deny that this is the case. It is simply not true,” the current Saxo Bank chief told the Ritzau news agency this week. “I do not know Fuentes. I have never met him. I will not say more about this case.”

    Basso said yesterday that he has nothing to add to his confidential statement before an Italian Olympic Committee magistrate in 2007. Asked directly who put him in contact with Fuentes, and whether it was Riis, he said: ‘I told the Italian Olympic Committee how I contacted Fuentes, and I told the truth. A person of 27 or 28 years of age can find things out for himself…”

    Basso went on to claim that Hamilton’s accusations hold no interest for him.

    “I can’t speak for Hamilton. I...

  • No decision yet on Armstrong's 2000 Olympic medal

    Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration
    Article published:
    September 09, 2012, 13:02 BST
    Cycling News

    IOC member says American might – or might not – be able to keep honour

    Lance Armstrong may or may not be able to keep the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, according to an IOC official who said that the situation was unclear. Another situation is clearer, however, as the Chicago marathon said that Armstrong would not be able to participate in the race.

    "It's an interesting case on a legal point of view," said Denis Oswald, a member of the IOC's legal commission, told the AP, noting that a lot would depend on the interpretation of the statute of limitations as set out in the World Anti-Doping Code.

    "It is in the World Anti-Doping Code, and what is older than eight years you can't review," Oswald said.

    However, since the Code was not in effect in 2000, that might suggest the IOC was free to strip Armstrong of the medal. "Is there reasoning to say it didn't exist when the violation was committed and therefore we are not bound?"

    The USADA ruled two weeks ago that Armstong should lose all his titles and results since August 1998, and be banned for life.

    The IOC is still awaiting information in what it calls an “unusual” case. "We haven't been notified of anything, not even from USADA and not from UCI," Oswald said. "For the time being, we are not asked to take a position."

    Marathons included in ban

    The Chicago Marathon has ruled that Armstrong will not be able to participate in their race on October 7. He was not yet officially registered, but had considered entering it.

    The marathon is held under the auspices of USA Track and Field, which is bound by the WADA rules.  The USADA ban prohibits him from participating in any event in any sport bound by the WADA rules.

    "The code is very clear regarding the ineligibility of sanctioned athletes to compete in other sports," USATF spokeswoman Jill...

  • Rodríguez: the time trial was the key

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) put time into Valverde and Contador on the Bola del Mundo, but not enough to change the general classification.
    Article published:
    September 09, 2012, 15:34 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    'Purito' only rider to take two podium finishes in 2012 Grand Tours

    Joaquím Rodriguez (Katusha) could have won the Vuelta a España and finally concluded the race in third place, but the Catalan all-rounder says he is still satisfied with a season which is far from over and in which he’s been the only rider to take two podium finishes in grand tours.

    Second in the Giro behind Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and third in Madrid behind Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Rodríguez says he can only be satisfied with a season in which he’s also taken the Flèche Wallone, five Grand Tour stages (three in the Vuelta and two in the Giro) and stages in both Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Basque Country.

    “I raced calmly and didn’t get too rash in any of my attacks because I was trying to win [overall],” Rodriguez told the newspaper AS on Sunday, “and it was never too easy to follow Alberto because he would wear you out with those attacks.”

    “Still, just as I’d gone for it in Barcelona (stage nine), the Gallina (stage eight) and on the Mirador de Ezaro, I went for it on the Bola del Mundo. I wanted to finish second but it didn’t work out.”

    He said it was only right that Contador had won. “There’s no doubt he was the best. We have to congratulate him for the whole three weeks. He tried [to get the lead] every day and he pushed me to the limit. Then at Fuente Dé [stage 17] we couldn’t follow him. He deserves the win.”

    The day which marked a turning point for Rodríguez was, he told AS, “the time trial [stage 11], but it was a good moment. When you’ve had such a miserable time as I have had in...

  • Contador: Winning gives me an enormous sense of liberation

    Alberto Contador salutes the crowd in Madrid having sealed his second Vuelta win
    Article published:
    September 09, 2012, 17:50 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard reflects on fifth Grand Tour triumph

    Following the completion of his two year ban on August 6th, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) has described his overall victory in the Vuelta a España on Sunday as giving him “an enormous sense of liberation.”

    “I put myself under so much pressure that right now I feel as if I was set free,” Contador said.

    “I’m very pleased both for myself and for the people who are thanking me for this spectacle, when in fact it’s me that should be thanking them.”

    This is the 16th time that there has been an all-Spanish podium at the Vuelta and the first since 2004. For Contador, even discounting the Tour and Giro titles he lost as a result of his ban, he is one of just ten riders with five Grand Tours in his palmares, and one of five to have won the ‘Grand Slam’ of Giro, Tour and Vuelta.

    The build-up for this fifth Grand Tour win of Contador’s career, however, started well before his ban ended on August 5th. After checking out all of the summit stage finishes of the Vuelta during the Tour, for the week before the Eneco Tour he and four key team-mates - Jesus Hernandez, Benjamin Noval, Dani Navarro and Bruno Pires - stayed at the foot of the Madrid climbs, training every day on the climbs that formed the Bola del Mundo stage: Navafria, Canencia, Morcuera, Cotos and the Bola itself.

    After finishing fourth overall at the Eneco Tour, Contador headed directly to the Vuelta, his first Grand Tour since the end of his suspension. “Finishing second would be no disgrace,” he told reporters before the race, but it was clear from the way he personally dragged his Saxo Bank team-mates across the pave of Pamplona’s city centre at the end of the...

  • Rodriguez challenges Wiggins for WorldTour lead

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) held onto the leader's jersey in Ancares
    Article published:
    September 09, 2012, 19:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky, Great Britain top minor rankings

    After two heartbreaking near-victories in Grand Tours this season, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) is closing in on the top of the WorldTour individual rankings. After placing third overall in the Vuelta a España, the Spaniard sits just nine points behind leader and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky).

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) is a distant third, nearly 200 points behind Wiggins, following his victory in Paris-Brussels on Saturday. Giro di Padania winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is a further ten points behind in fourth.

    The biggest movers of the week were Vuelta champion Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), who rocketed up the standings to 10th overall with 280 points.

    Also rising fast was Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), who surged to 29th from 53rd thanks to his seventh place overall in the Vuelta.

    Christopher Froome (Sky) finished just off the podium in the Vuelta, but his fourth place overall helped to move Great Britain into the second spot in the nations rankings over Italy. Spain still leads by a large margin. In the team rankings, Sky is head and shoulders above the rest, a whopping 491 points ahead of Katusha, with Liquigas-Cannondale next in line.

    Other movers include two riders whose Vuelta results pushed them up 82 places: Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-ISD), who finished in 15th overall and to 135th and sprinter Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) who failed to finish the race but placed well in a number of sprint stages. He now sits in 142nd place.

    Benat Intxausti (Movistar) narrowly made the top 10 in the Vuelta, and moved up 75 places into 79th overall in the WorldTour rankings.

    WorldTour standings as of September 9, 2012