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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, August 16, 2012

Date published:
August 16, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Lampre-ISD send climber-stacked team to Vuelta

    Morris Possoni (Lampre-ISD) drives on the front.
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 6:23 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cunego to lead as he prepares for World Championships

    Damiano Cunego will line up for his second grand tour of the year after riding the Giro d'Italia and sitting out the Tour de France to prepare himself for the Vuelta a España. Cunego has raced a limited schedule since his 6th place overall at this year’s Giro and with a mediocre Tour de Suisse and a DNF registered at the recent Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, his ability to race with the general classification contenders seems uncertain.

    Cunego outlined his plans earlier in the year to skip the Tour and focus on the Vuelta as preparation for the World Championships. He may be specifically timing his form for the race that comes just two weeks after the grand tour. He’s shown his ability to target and deliver results in one-day races in the past so his plans for the Vuelta may be initially based around stage wins rather than the general classification.

    The team has outlined five riders suitable for the seven classified mountain stages, all of which are summit finishes. The absence of Alessandro Petacchi means that Davide Cimolai and Davide Viganò will play their hand in the limited sprint opportunities.

    Andrew Anacona, Marco Marzano, Przemyslaw Niemiec and Morris Possoni will look to support the leader Cunego during the many mountainous stages whilst seeking their own opportunities when they arise. These four riders come to Spain without a victory this season and will be keen to impress if the chance reveals itself. Cunego is the only rider from the Vuelta squad with a victory this year and he will look for another to boost his confidence ahead of the road world championships. The UCI Road...

  • Hushovd out for the season

    Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 8:11 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    BMC waiting on more results after tests run in US

    Last week, former world champion Thor Hushovd was in the United States for further tests regarding the prolonged effects of a virus which has resulted in the BMC rider missing much of this season.

    According to Hushovd's coach Atle Kvålsvoll, the Norwegian will not return to the peloton in season 2012.

    "He has received some answers, but they are waiting for more results," he said in the Fædrelandsvennen. "BMC must respond to the information."

    Hushovd abandoned the Giro d'Italia on Stage 6 citing fatigue that kept him from performing to his level of expectation in the opening week of the race.

    On June 4, BMC announced that they had ordered some tests at the Mapei Sport Center after the Giro and found that Hushovd had signs of a viral infection from earlier in the year, according to team doctor Max Testa.

    It was then announced that Hushovd would skip the Tour de France and instead race at the Tour of Poland which he abandoned. The next blow was that Hushovd was unable to take his place as road captain for Norway at the Olympic Games in the men's road race.

    Hushovd is now back at home in Monaco to recover.

     

  • Vanmarcke leaving Garmin-Sharp

    Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Barracuda) celebrates his victory
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 8:59 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian leaves American team

    Sep Vanmarcke has publicly announced that he will leave Garmin-Sharp at the end of the season.

    Vanmarcke, who won the Omloop Het Nieuwblad, had hoped to ride the Vuelta a Espana but was not selected. His contact expires at the end of the season and despite an offer from Garmin he has decided to move on.

    He has not yet announced where he will be riding in 2013, but it will not be a Belgian team, although Lotto-Belisol had expressed interest  earlier this year. “I've made my choice, but not signed yet,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

    Vanmarcke announced several days ago that he would not ride the Vuelta. His programme for the remainder of the season include the Vattenfalls Cyclassic and the Tour of Britain.

  • Lund fears loss of Saxo Bank contract due to lack of points

    Anders Lund
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 10:29 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Danish team still struggling with UCI points for coming year

    Anders Lund may have to leave Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank after only one year, a victim of the UCI points system.The domestique has not brought in any of the points needed to help the team retain its WorldTour licences, and he worries that it might spell the end of his time with the team.

    After having ridden the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, Lund felt confident with the team, although he had only a one-year contract.

    But now he is uncertain. “There's nothing new about a contract yet. I have not renewed yet, unfortunately. But I hope soon to get a clarification. I am quite confident about that coming soon. I really hope so. But I also read mathematics out of the points stuff. There's some riders that he (Riis, ed.) wants, and they have shown more than I have,” he told ekstrabladet.dk.

    A rider takes his points with him to a new team, where they are used toward the team's WorldTour licence. The system is seen to discriminate against domestiques, who rarely win and therefore cannot garner the points the team needs, although their work is also necessary.

    Riis' team was dealt a major blow, points-wise, when Alberto Contador was given a doping-related suspension, as he was their major points winner. Although the Spaniard has now returned to racing, any points he wins over the next two years will not count for the team, under UCI rules. Riis has indicated he will challenge this ruling in court.

    The team is consistently at the bottom of the points-ranking list, and Riis is feeling the pressure to hire riders with points.

    “It is clear that the points are the sticking point,” Lund said.”Otherwise I feel that I...

  • Fuglsang to sign with Astana for three years

    Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan) soloed to the stage win and race lead
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 11:47 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dane expected to lead team in either Tour de France or Vuelta a Espana

    Jakob Fuglsang will sign a three-year contract with Astana today, according to the Danish media.

    Ekstrabladet.dk reported Thursday afternoon that the Dane had settled on the Kazakh team. He is said to have been entertaining offers from Astana, Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank.

    Fuglsang rode for Saxo Bank in 2009 and 2010, for Leopard Trek in 2011 and RadioShack-Nissan this year. He was to be RadioShack's captain at the Giro d'Italia but was unable to ride due to a knee injury.  When he was not selected to ride the Tour de France, he announced he would leave the team.

    Astana's other big signing for the coming year is Vincenzo Nibali, who will lead the team in the Giro, leaving Fuglsang his choice of the other two grand tours. Ekstrabladet reported that the team “so to speak will be divided into two, so that Nibali and Fuglsang will each have their own team of riders to work with.”

  • Gilbert missing the winning feeling

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 13:52 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian "not offended" by federation president's comments

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) failed in his second attempt this year to retain a national jersey, this time at the Belgian Time Trial Championships on Wednesday. In June he also failed to defend his title of Belgian road champion.

    Kristof Vandewalle (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) took out the title with Ben Hermans (Radioshack-Nissan) second and Gilbert third. It's now almost a year since Gilbert has won a race, with the GP de Wallonie the last of 18 victories during a phenomenal 2011 season.

    "I have not yet made an impact on this season and I miss the victory," Gilbert told dhnet.be. "I was also coming to the Belgian Championship to win, I had made the trip to keep my title. But for the second time this year, I lose my tricolor jersey ... I'm a little disappointed.

    "Vandewalle has made a good time. He went very quickly and held to the end ".

    Gilbert will now move on to the Vuelta a España which begins Saturday in Pamplona. With Wednesday's podium the Walloon is confident that his form is building leading up to the world championships and also Il Lombardia.

    The 30-year-old also had the opportunity to speak with the president of the Royale Ligue Velocipedique Belge, Tom Van Damme, who was quoted as saying that Gilbert had been a "selfish" rider in several races and failed to give proper support to his Belgian teammates during the Olympic Games and also the world championships last season.

    "My remarks were misinterpreted," said Van Damme on Wednesday.

    "I'm not offended because I know the media loves scandals and it can...

  • No Wiggins in Tour of Denmark

    Bradley Wiggins came out to watch a day of track racing, which he used to do
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 16:59 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tour de France, Olympic champion taking extra rest

    Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins will not be joining Team Sky for the Tour of Denmark as planned, the BBC reported today. Following his gold medal performance in the 2012 Olympic Games time trial, Wiggins went on holiday with his family to Mallorca.

    Wiggins was due to join world champion Mark Cavendish in the Danish tour, set for August 22-26, but has been given additional time off. It is not known when he will return to competition.

    Cavendish will be returning to Denmark, the country in which he won his rainbow jersey. He will be joined by two Olympic team pursuit gold medalists, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas, along with Luke Rowe, Bernhard Eisel, Davide Martinelli, Lars-Peter Nordhaug and Michael Rogers.

  • Froome prepares to do battle in Vuelta a España

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished second in GC
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 17:38 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Sky rider sole leader for first time in three week stage race

    Vuelta a España contender Chris Froome expects cycling's third Grand Tour of 2012 to be an open, hard race with major general classification battles almost as soon as it gets underway on Saturday.

    "We hit the mountains in the second or third stage, and there's no let-up from there on," Froome said in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

    "The last climb is the day before we reach Madrid, so the race is still 'on' right up until that point. There will be everything to race for right up until then."

    "I don't know any of the climbs, so I'll be taking it on the day by day, seeing how it goes."

    "It's been a long season, but I feel like I'm in good physical condition. More importantly I have a strong team behind me, there are several riders in the team that could be in the top 10 in Madrid."

    Froome finished second in last year's Vuelta and second in the Tour de France, both times racing alongside Bradley Wiggins. The Vuelta 2012 is the first time he will be the sole leader of Sky.

    "Leading is a new experience for me but at the end of the day, it's the same job, you've still got to pedal. I'm more in the limelight but I've got the team and the ability to carry this all through."

    "This race is definitely a great opportunity for me, I will do my part and I know the rest of the team is ready."

    "We've been really successful so far and hopefully we can carry on with the same momentum. The goal has to be to do the best we can on GC and if we can pick up a few stages with Swifty [sprinter Ben Swift] then that would be ideal for us."

    Tipped as the 'only rider who can beat Contador in the Vuelta' by many members of the media, Froome responds, "I can't...