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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, August 4, 2011

Date published:
August 04, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Merckx talks about coming to the Tour Down Under in 2012

    Eddy Merckx was on hand to congratulate Andy Schleck.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 3:54 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian looking forward to exciting racing

    Belgian icon Eddy Merckx will attend the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under as a special guest of the race organisation. Merckx will be joined by Patrick Sercu, a legend in his own right, with the two set to attend the full week of racing as well as the annual ‘Legends’ Night Dinner.

    The Tour Down Under was the first WorldTour event to take place outside of Europe and has attracted a number of big names in the past including Tour winners Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong. Organisers are hopeful that Merckx, arguably the biggest identity in professional cycling, will help make the 2012 edition bigger than ever.

    "We’ve spoken to Eddy a number of times in the past few years and it never worked out," said Race Director Mike Turtur to Cyclingnews. "In 2012 we approached him to come out with Patrick Sercu, a great friend of his, and he agreed."

    "I think it’s going to be terrific for people in Australia to have a chance to meet Eddy, to sit down with him while he’s in Adelaide. For me personally and the race I think it’s a big honour and I think it’ll be a big success."

    For his part Merckx is looking forward to visiting South Australia for the first time.

    "I’ve heard it’s [the Santos Tour Down Under] amazing, [there are] a lot of people there, they like very much their cycling and also the weather is very nice," Merckx said.

    The presence of the two cycling greats adds to the announcement on Wednesday by the UCI that the race will continue to be a WorldTour event until at least 2015.

    For the full interview with Merckx watch the video below.

    Video credit - Tour Down Under

  • Bouet cleared of fracture after crash in Poland

    Maxime Bouet (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 5:41 BST
    Cycling News

    AG2R rider recovering slowly after deep contusions and bruising

    Maxime Bouet's (AG2R La Mondiale) crash on the first stage of the Tour de Pologne was not as bad as first feared with doctors confirming overnight that the Frenchman's injuries were limited to bruising and flesh wounds. Radiologist Dr. Jean Ravey at the University Hospital of Grenoble, confirmed that he had suffered no fracture after consulting scans taken on Tuesday.

    The Frenchman was caught in a crash in the closing kilometres of the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne, and despite finishing was clearly suffering from his injuries. He abandoned the race before the start of stage two on Monday and was taken to Grenoble University Hospital in the company of team physician, Eric Bouvat.

    Bouet will now require several days of rest before continuing training.

  • Danielson motivated to win USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Tom Danielson (Garmin-Cervelo) seals his top 10 finish.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 9:14 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Focused Grand Tour contender outlines two key ascents

    Tom Danielson (Garmin-Cervelo) is motivated to compete on his home ground at the inaugural UCI 2.1 USA Pro Cycling Challenge held from August 22-28 in Colorado. The American is unsure of how his body will recover from a recent 9th place overall at his first Tour de France, but his head is in the game as one of the favourites to try and win the overall title.

    “I’m very motivated for the race,” Danielson said. “Just finishing my first Tour de France, I couldn’t tell you exactly how I am going to feel in the race. I don’t know physiologically what will be going on with my body in August. Mentally, I am fired up and motivated. I love racing in Colorado and in the US. To be called one of the favourites is an honour and I hope that I can put that weight on my shoulders and perform highly in my home state.

    “When I heard the announcement of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, immediately it was on the back of my head and I got so excited,” he continued. “Here I am in my cycling career and I always dreamed of doing a hometown race, a big race. The feeling that I get from competing on my home roads, on the terrain that I am built for, high-altitude climbing, I love it. When we started talking about it over the winter and fall I made it a target on my calendar. I didn’t know what path I would take to get to the race but I wanted to make sure that I arrived in the best possible condition.”

    Danielson is in proven top shape having placed as the best American rider at this year’s Tour de France in July, where he was a part of the winning team time trial squad during stage two. His career has seen ample success as a stage racer as his palmares also includes a stage victory at...

  • Vannoppen involved in doping case?

    Belgian Tom Vannoppen
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 10:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Cyclo-cross rider reported to be given two-year suspension

    Cyclo-cross rider Tom Vannoppen may be involved in a doping case, Belgian newspaper Concentra reported. According to the paper, the Belgian has been handed a two-year suspension following a positive test for cocaine after the Belgacom GP in Averbode on June 2. However, no official source has yet confirmed the news.

    According to the Gazet van Antwerpen, the amount of the recreational drug found in Vannoppen’s body was so small that he will be banned from sanctioned competitions but could still take part in criteriums or other unoffical races in Belgium in the future.

    The 32-year-old has been racing as an Elite without contract since 2008, when he was released from his last professional team Sunweb-Pro Job. He was then already under investigation for private cocaine use.

    Vannoppen placed second at the Belgian cyclo-cross championships in 2010. His greatest victories include the 2001 Overijse Druivencross and a second placing in the 2002 world championships.

  • Save the Children and Tour de France stars team up for Somalia

    Score one for Norway! Edvald Boasson Hagen wins his first-ever Tour de France stage.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 11:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Win signed jerseys from this year's race to help starving children

    Save the Children Norway is holding an online auction with several signed cycling jerseys from this year’s Tour de France in order to raise funds for the Horn of Africa, where the worst drought in 60 years has led to an acute lack of food and water. The signed jerseys come from HTC, Sky, Liquigas, and one especially signed by Edvald Boasson Hagen.

    “Any children fleeing hunger and war in Somalia are arriving at the camp exhausted and clinging to life. It's having a huge impact on children. After the trauma of walking for weeks with very little food, they need to settle and get some routine back into their lives.” said Prasant Naik, head of Save the Children in Kenya.

    Ten million people, including millions of children, in the affected regions are thirsty, hungry and desperate. They are in acute danger of malnutrition and without help, many will die. Families flee from their homes, only to arrive in already overcrowded refugee camps.

    You can bid for one of the jerseys below in an online auction, which ends on August 14.

    These are the items:

    Team Sky Special Edition Tour de France 2011 jersey – signed by the Tour de France team: Edvald Boasson Hagen, Geraint Thomas, Ben Swift, Christian Knees, Rigoberto Urán, Xabier Zandio, Juan Antonio Flecha and Simon Gerrans.

    Edvald Boasson Hagen’s Special Edition Team Sky TdF 2011 jersey – signed by Edvald Boasson Hagen.

    Liquigas-Cannondale jersey signed by the Tour de France team: Ivan Basso, Maciej Bodnar, Kristian Koren, Paolo Longo Borghini, Daniel Oss, Maciej Paterski, Fabio Sabatini, Sylwester Szmyd and Alessandro Vanotti.

    HTC-Highroad jersey signed by the Tour de France team: Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, Lars...

  • Modolo aiming for world championships berth

    Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) wins stage 1
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 11:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian hopes Denmark is a sign of things to come

    Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) is hopeful that his victory on the opening stage of the Tour of Denmark can help him earn a spot in the Italian team for the world championships in Copenhagen in September.

    After a stage that saw the peloton split by crosswinds in the final 40km, Modolo impressed in seeing off the challenge of home favourite Matt Breschel (Rabobank) in the uphill sprint finish at Esbjerg. Given that the Copenhagen circuit has a similar sting in the tail, Modolo was particularly keen to showcase his talents on Wednesday afternoon.

    “It was a good test because the finish was similar to the one that will decide the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen: 600 metres of climbing at 6%. I really wanted to do well,” Modolo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    While Paolo Bettini has suggested that Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek) will lead the Italian squad in Copenhagen, he will not name his Worlds line-up until September. In the meantime, Modolo will have a chance to make his case in person at the Olympic test event in London on August 14, as he is part of the youthful five-man Italian selection for the 140km London Surrey Cycle Classic over the 2012 course.

    “I’ll enjoy the call-up for test event in London, I want to do well,” Modolo said. “Then I’ll prepare myself to be in form for September 25 [the world championships – ed]. If Bettini calls me, I have to be ready. If he doesn’t, my mind will be at peace, as I’ll be happy to have done everything possible.”

    Although only 24 years of age, Modolo demonstrated his potential to last the distance over world championships distance with 4th place in his debut...

  • Disappointment for Breschel on opening day in Denmark

    Matti Breschel (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 12:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Dane just misses out on first win for Rabobank

    Plagued by injury since he made the switch from Saxo Bank to Rabobank in the off-season, Matti Breschel came close to his first win in almost twelve months on the opening stage of the Tour of Denmark.

    The Dane has not tasted victory since stage three of the same race in 2010, and in spite of a lead-out from teammate Oscar Freire, he was edged out by Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) in the uphill sprint in Esbjerg on Wednesday.

    “I would have liked to have won today,” Breschel told “I lost the sprint, and it’s my own fault. I made a small mistake in the end, which was costly.”

    In spite of his disappointment, Breschel was keen to pay tribute to the support he received from his Rabobank squad.

    “I had all the help I needed from the team, who rode all day, with Oscar Freire leading out the sprint for me,” he said. “So naturally, I am a little sad that I couldn’t get my first win for the team.”

    While Breschel will be smarting to have missed out on the first yellow jersey of his home tour, he gained ground on some of the other contenders for overall victory in the finale. Chief among them was triple champion Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek). With a crosswind splitting the peloton in the final 40km, he suffered a puncture at the most inopportune moment and came home 1:34 behind.

    “This is certainly a good start,” Breschel admitted, but warned that those early gains could just as easily be wiped out. “There is a still a long way to go and there may also be side winds on Thursday, and a hundred thousand things could happen. I think Jakob had a puncture, but that could happen to me or to anyone.”


  • Coppel hopes for further progress in stage races

    Jerome Coppel (Saur - Sojasun).
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 13:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Saur-Sojasun rider builds on Tour de France 14th overall

    Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) achieved his stated objective at this year’s Tour de France: a top 15 finish on general classification. His final placing of 14th saw him achieve that goal, but even though the Frenchman had been recruited to the team as a stage race leader in 2010, he was still surprised to find himself fighting for a top placing in the Tour as soon as this year.

    “I didn’t expect to be a team leader at the Tour de France at only 24 years of age," Coppel told Velochrono.

    “We had it in our minds to target week-long races first. Then, we thought that it would be good to ride a Grand Tour in the second year, just for learning, before trying to go for a top 15 or top 10 placing in the third year,” he said.

    Coppel is thus one year ahead of the team’s initial plan, and hopes to take his performances further in the coming seasons. “Stage races are really my thing, they are what I love and what attracts me. I don't perform too badly in the time trial as well as in the mountains.”

    The French rider may have been somewhat overlooked at the Tour because of the displays of his countrymen Thomas Voeckler, fourth in Paris, and best young rider Pierre Rolland, but he learned much from his experience.

    After crashing hard in stage seven to Chateauroux, Coppel experienced “one of the worst days ever spent on a bike” on stage nine to Saint-Flour. But his team manager Stéphane Heulot, a former rider with Banesto in the nineties, helped him to continue. “Stéphane told me that Indurain also...