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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, August 27, 2009

Date published:
August 27, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Voigt to return at Tour of Missouri

    Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) will help lead Saxo Bank in Missouri, 7 weeks after Tour de France crash
    Article published:
    August 27, 2009, 13:04 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Voigt will help lead Saxo Bank seven weeks after horror crash

    German Jens Voigt will return to racing at the Tour of Missouri, seven weeks after he crashed in the Tour de France. He will co-captain Denmark's team Saxo Bank with Swede Gustav Erik Larsson.

    "It is not going to be like the Tour de France, you have big, wide American roads. There is plenty of space," Voigt told Cyclingnews.

    "I expect with the moderate condition that I have, I can finish the race in a decent way. I want to find my rhythm, come back to racing and show myself and the world that I can still function [as a bike racer]."

    Voigt crashed in the final kilometres of the Tour de France's stage 16 to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, on July 16. He fractured his cheekbone and jaw.

    He passed a month without riding his bike, but now is riding three hours a day and gradually building the intensity level.

    "It was hard to see the races go on without me, I tried to enjoy the time off the bike with my kids and with my parents," said Voigt. "I went to see the team in Hamburg [Vattenfall Cyclassics - ed.] to show them I am still here and my face is no longer swollen."

    Voigt ruled out being in sufficient form to race the World Championships, September 27. He said he will consider racing one-day classics Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours in October, depending on how he feels after Missouri.

    USA's Jason McCartney, Swede Marcus Ljungqvist, Argentinean Juan José Haedo, Denmark's Chris Anker Sørensen, Nicki Sørensen Sorensen and Lars Bak will join Voigt and Larsson at the Tour of Missouri. Saxo Bank has yet to name the rider to complete eight-man team.

    The 3rd Tour of Missouri stars September 7 in St. Louis and ends September 13 in Kansas City. USA's Christian Vande Velde won the race in 2008.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed

  • Vinokourov rules out Vuelta overall, aims for stage win

    Alexander Vinokourov back on the podium after a two-year absence.
    Article published:
    August 27, 2009, 14:58 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Worlds the goal for Vinokourov as he returns to Spain with Astana

    Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov says will fight for a stage win in the Vuelta a España, August 29 to September 20. He has ruled out victory in the overall classification, citing a lack of fitness after a return from his two-year doping suspension.

    "I have to be realistic, I think that aiming for the overall victory is impossible," he told De Telegraaf.

    Vinokourov completed last month a suspension for blood doping at the 2007 Tour de France. He won the time trial of the Tour de l'Ain and the Asian Championships this month.

    "I did not expect those wins, but the Vuelta's level will a lot higher," he said. "I don't know if I can hold that same level for three weeks. For that reason I am pointing towards a stage win in a time trial or in the mountains."

    Vinokourov won three stages and the overall classification of the Vuelta a España in 2006. He won one other stage, to Ciudad Rodrigo, in 2000.

    He will try to win the World Championships time trial and road race this year, he said. The respective championships are will be held on September 24 and 27 in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The road course will be one of the hardest since 2003 in Hamilton, Canada.

    The Vuelta is Vinokourov's first race back with team Astana, the team he helped form in 2006. Team Manager Johan Bruyneel initially had problems with Vinokourov joining the team at the conclusion of his suspension. Bruyneel will not be present at the Vuelta, with Sean Yates and Alexandr Shefer to act as Astana's directors for the race.

    Vinokourov raced the Tour de l'Ain and Asian championships as part of the Kazakh national team.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed

  • Sassi tips Basso, Evans for Vuelta glory

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas) grabs a drink.
    Article published:
    August 27, 2009, 16:05 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Riders' coach confident that both riders will be strong in Vuelta's final week

    Dr Aldo Sassi, coach to Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans, believes that both riders will be in peak condition during the final week of Vuelta a España and are capable of winning the race.

    Both Basso and Evans will compete in the Vuelta a España, which starts Saturday, and are amongst the favourites to win. "Maybe Ivan will be better in the first week as he will be able to react to the changes in pace in the race due to the nature of his training since the Giro. Cadel may take some time to settle in during the first few stages and he could suffer then because he has not raced since the Tour. However after the first week both should be at their best," Sassi told Cyclingnews.

    Sassi, a coach at the Mapei centre in Italy and a well-recognised figure in cycling, trained Paolo Bettini and the other Mapei cyclists during the team's heyday. He has worked with Evans since the beginning of the 2002 season, when the Australian signed with the now defunct Mapei team as a first-year professional. Sassi agreed to work with Basso at the start of the 2008 season, after the now-Liquigas rider asked him to post his blood profile and test results online in order to show complete transparency.

    For Sassi, training two of the most successful riders in the peloton holds no problems, despite their competing ambitions in the Grand Tours. "For me it’s not difficult. I had this at the Mapei team where there were several riders trying to peak for one race like Paris-Roubaix. It might have been difficult for them, but not for me. I am a trainer, so when a race starts my job is finished. I try to do my best for every athlete and in this case it’s Cadel and Ivan, but they’re very different riders, both in character and physiological profiles."

    Evans will enter the Vuelta after a poor showing in this year's Tour de France. The Silence-Lotto captain had been billed as potential winner after finishing second in 2007 and...

  • Cunego ready to lead Italy's Worlds team

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) ready to lead Italy's Worlds team, September 27
    Article published:
    August 27, 2009, 16:20 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Italian Damiano Cunego faces his last test prior to a possible leadership role at Worlds

    Damiano Cunego is ready for his chance to lead Italy's World Championship team. He starts the Vuelta a España this Saturday, his last race prior to the World Championships, September 27.

    "Up until now there was Paolo Bettini and he was the guiding light. I could have been considered the penultimate man, and that was already a serious role. I can now make a step forward," Cunego told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    There are others, like World Champion Alessandro Ballan, who can also step forward into the captain's role, he said. National director Franco Ballerini will decide the team on September 14, but Cunego said it will be the race that decides the team's leader.

    Cunego won the Junior World Championships 10 years ago and finished second in the elite race last year in Varese, Italy.

    He is ready to accept the role if Ballerini selects him to be one of the captains of the nine-man team. "These types of responsibilities don't scare me," he said.

    The 64th Vuelta a España, August 29 to September 20, starts with four stages in The Netherlands before it transfers to Spain. Cunego's mind is on a stage win and he plans to pull out before the race's end, he told Cyclingnews two weeks ago.

    "I know that I have to give him [Ballerini] signals, but when you feel good they come as a consequence," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Cunego won two stages and the overall classification of the Coppi e Bartali and finished in the top 10 of all three Ardennes Classics this spring. He finished second in the Italian Championships, attacked near the end of San Sebastián and rode strongly in the Vuelta a Portugal, but is without a win in the second half of the year.

    Defending champion Ballan is the only rider who's secured a position on the team. In addition, Cunego, Ivan Basso and Stefano Garzelli could be possible captains.

    Italy has won the Worlds for the...

  • Zwizanski chases US pro time trial title

    The Kelly Benefits Strategy team led up until a couple laps to go.
    Article published:
    August 27, 2009, 16:48 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Kelly Benefit Strategies sends strong squad to pro championship weekend

    Kelly Benefit Strategies' Scott Zwizanski is looking to extend his streak of time trial successes at the US National Professional Time Trial Championships on Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina. Zwizanski has taken time trial stage wins at the Tour de Beauce and Tour of Uruguay so far this season.

    Jonas Carney, Performance Director of the Kelly Benefit Strategies team predicted an interesting race. "Zwizanski has surprised a lot of people with his time trialing this season, and yet people continue to underestimate him. He is a contender for the title."

    Zwizanski will be joined by one other teammate for the time trial, Reid Mumford. The time trialists will race three laps of a 6.9-mile course.

    One day later, on Sunday, the squad will field eight riders for the road race championships. Mumford and Zwizanski will race along with Neil Shirley, who was third two years ago and Andrew Bajadali, who finished seventh last year. Dan Bowman, new addition to the team Matt Busche, Alex Candelario and Cheyne Hoag will also take the start.

    "This is the strongest squad we have ever started for the USPRO Road Race," said Carney. "It's a very difficult course and that can make it tough to have many riders left when the smack goes down. But Baj and Shirley have both been close in the past, and we are hoping that the depth of our 2009 roster will make the difference."

    The 110-mile road race marks the the 25th anniversary of the one-day championship event.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed.

  • Farrar dreams of Vuelta gold

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) shortly after his win in the 2009 Vattenfall Cyclassics
    Article published:
    August 27, 2009, 17:43 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    American sprinter Tyler Farrar favourite for Vuelta's golden jersey and stage wins

    American Tyler Farrar is a favourite to win the Vuelta a España's opening stage on Saturday and wear the gold race leader's jersey. The race starts with a 4.8-kilometre time trial in Assen, Netherlands, similar to the one he won in the Delta Tour Zeeland.

    "I won't be easy, but I am hopeful and I am certainly going to try," Farrar (Garmin) said to Cyclingnews. "I had a good prologue at the Eneco Tour last week. I was second by three-tenths of a second."

    After previewing the flat stage on Thursday with his teammates, Farrar said he likes it. He believes that he has a chance to win if the time trial is less than five kilometres, and anything more is territory for the time trial specialists.

    He won the 2.7-kilometre time trial and took the leader's jersey in the Delta Tour Zeeland in June on his way to an overall race win two days later.

    Farrar's form is where it needs to be as he has demonstrated by winning four races in the last two weeks. He was unable to win stages in his first two Grand Tours, this year's Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, but he is more confident for his third Grand Tour.

    "I am able to come in more relaxed than the other Grand Tours," he said. "Plus, for the Vuelta, I am coming off the best 10 days I have ever had."

    Farrar won one of the biggest one-day races for a sprinter, the Vattenfall Cyclassics, two weeks ago. His good form continued in the Eneco Tour, where he won three stages.

    He predicts that five stages in the Vuelta's first half will end in a sprint. Although Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Cavendish will miss the Vuelta, Farrar looks to Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire, Daniele Bennati and André Greipel as the obstacles between him and his first Grand Tour stage win.

    "There is also Matti Breschel, second in Vattenfall, and my training partner, Wouter Weylandt. But if everything comes together, I will be capable of winning one."

    The 64th...

  • Fuglsang eyes Vuelta's overall

    Jakob Fuglsang (Team Saxo Bank) won the Tour of Denmark for the second straight year.
    Article published:
    August 27, 2009, 17:45 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    Saxo Bank's Danish star ready for first Grand Tour

    After a series of strong performances in his first full season on the road, Jakob Fuglsang will start the Vuelta a España on Saturday with the intent of riding for a high position on general classification. The 24-year-old Saxo Bank rider's performances in the first half of the season have so impressed team management that Fuglsang's been given the green light - in his first Grand Tour  - to see how he can perform over three weeks against the likes of Alejandro Valverde, Cadel Evans and Ivan Basso.

    The young Dane has earned the confidence of Saxo Bank's directors through what has been a consistent and successful debut season. In June he finished sixth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré after climbing strongly to the mountain-top finishes at Mont Ventoux and Saint-François-Longchamp. His accomplishments in France were mimicked soon afterwards with a stage and general classification win at the Tour of Slovenia, before a second consecutive overall win at his home Tour of Denmark, where he also claimed a stage victory.

    "We talked about it from the beginning of the season that I would maybe do the Vuelta, but then maybe only do the first two weeks and then quit to prepare for the Worlds and for the last races of the season in Italy," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews. "But now that it went so well in the first part of the year, we decided that, if I wanted to, I could try to go for the overall [at the Vuelta] and see what I could do for the whole race. That's at least my goal for now, I want to do the whole race see if I can get a good result there. Maybe it will change during the race."

    Fuglsang's pre-Vuelta preparation included training in Italy at his Lake Garda home, followed by the three-day Tour of Ireland where he finished in 10th place on general classification. He told Cyclingnews that he hasn't prepared any differently for his first Grand Tour as compared to his...

  • Jones, Creed, Milne lead Team Type 1 at US pro championships

    Mike Creed (Team Type 1) starts to back off in the break.
    Article published:
    August 27, 2009, 22:47 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    TT1 looks to past top-ten finishers for success

    Team Type 1 is fielding a team for this weekend's US Professional Championships that includes a pair of past top-10 finishers, Chris Jones and Michael Creed.

    Jones was eighth in the road race last year and ninth in 2007. He is coming off a solid performance at the Tour of Utah, where he helped teammate Darren Lill earn second place. Creed was sixth in last year's time trial and seventh in 2007. After joining Team Type 1 in mid-season, he has been one of the team's most consistent placers in the US National Racing Calendar (NRC) stage races.

    Creed is the squad's only entrant in the time trial on Saturday, when he'll be competing against defending champion David Zabriskie. In the road race, Creed will have assistance from Joe Eldridge, Jones, Ken Hanson, Dan Holt, Ian MacGregor and Shawn Milne. Eldridge is the only athlete with Type 1 diabetes who will be racing this weekend.

    Team Type 1 Director Sportif Vassili Davidenko said Creed, Jones and Milne will be the team's protected riders in the road race. "They are all on good form," Davidenko said. "After racing at the Tour of Ireland, Shawn in particular has great leg speed and European-level endurance, which should really help."

    Past winners of the road race include speed skating Olympic champion Eric Heiden (1985), Lance Armstrong (1993) and Team Type 1 General Manager Tom Schuler (1987). Last year's champion, Tyler Hamilton, has retired and will not be in Greenville.

    The championship is only open to American members of UCI-registered trade teams.

    Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for coverage of the US Professional Championships, including live coverage of Sunday's road race.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed.