Tour de France experience a boost for Dutchman's career
Kenny van Hummel is looking forward to making his return to the peloton on Thursday for the first time since being forced to abandon his debut Tour de France last month. The Skil-Shimano sprinter told Cyclingnews that his recovery from the crash has been slow, but he expects the experience gained at the Grand Tour will provide the next big step in his career.
"Normally I recover from injuries really fast, but at the moment it's going slow," said van Hummel. "But now I can start my training again and today I will do my first criterium since the Tour."
Van Hummel suffered a severe laceration to his knee on July 22 after a crash on the Col de Saises that required nine stitches. He said he expects to race in the Profronde van Oostvoorne, a Dutch criterium, on Thursday afternoon.
During the Tour de France van Hummel became a hero for spectators. In particular, it was the traditionally Rabobank-oriented Dutch fans getting behind the 26-year-old. While he hasn't raced since the Tour, his new found celebrity status has seen van Hummel involved with the traditional post-Tour criteriums.
"I did fire the gun for the guys at some criteriums," he said. "A lot of people know me now in Holland. So when I came back to the airport in Amsterdam after the Tour there were a lot of cameras, journalists and fans. That was all new for me. That all changed [during the Tour]."
Van Hummel's daily battles with the Tour's daily time cuts in the mountain stages were one of the most endearing images of the race. He says climbing at the Tour was a completely new experience for him, but one that he was grateful for.
"I missed some horsepower this year. I know what I have to do for next year. It was the first time for me that I was riding in the real hills so it was a new experience, it was heavy, but I was fighting every day and made it to the finish inside the time limit every time. I know that I have to do some more climbing on the...
Gert Steegmans looks set to find a new team quickly following the dissolution of his contract with Russian ProTour team, Katusha, on Wednesday. Belgian media sources have reported that Steegmans is in talks with a number of teams, with French squad BBox Bouygues Telecom being suggested as a likely destination.
Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported on Thursday that Steegmans may sign with Bouygues Telecom as team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau looks to improve the squad's chances for next year's Spring Classics.
Bouygues Telecom has traditionally taken a back seat to Belgian and Dutch squads in the first part of the season, but the addition of Steegmans would provide valuable experience for the northern Classics. Currently, there are no Belgian riders on the team's predominantly French 27-man roster
Despite a strong performance at last month's Tour de France, where the team won two stages, Bernaudeau will be looking to secure his team's future over the next twelve months.
The French telecommunications company, Bouygues Telecom, announced on July 15 that it would support the team until the end of next year. The ProTour squad announced at the same time that it would look for a co-sponsor for next season, capable of assuming full sponsorship in 2011.
Team Columbia-HTC is planning to bring its prolific champion Mark Cavendish to lead the squad at the Tour of Missouri next month. The winner of six stages at this year's Tour de France will bring his top lead-out men to the American race, but it is uncertain whether George Hincapie will be included in the team's line-up. Still recovering from a broken collarbone, Hincapie is expected to confirm his participation within the next three weeks.
If Hincapie is able to start in Missouri, Cavendish will be joined by three teammates from this year's Tour de France. Australians Michael Rogers and Mark Renshaw are both scheduled to race. Michael Barry and Marco Pinotti complete the six-man line up.
"We're pleased to be able to bring a top roster to the Missouri in the hope of repeating our success of last year and to be a part of a great spectacle for the fans of cycling in America," said Columbia manager Bob Stapleton.
Columbia performed strongly at last year's race with Rogers claiming second in the general classification behind Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream), while Cavendish won three stages and the points classification. The latter has been racing extensively in the European post-Tour criterium circuit and should be in good form when the race starts on September 7.
"It is a very important part of our mission to contribute to the growth of racing in the US. The Tour of Missouri is a very well-run and promoted race that is attracting top teams from around the globe and is increasingly recognized as a top international event," said Stapleton.
The announcement of the Columbia team was welcome news for race organisers. Threats of budget cuts by the Missouri state government had put the race's future into question in July. The matter was resolved the same month and the race continues this year with its third edition.
"To have the world's top sprinter, second place overall finisher from last year's race,...
The women's Cervélo TestTeam squad has topped the latest International Cycling Union's (UCI) World rankings, published by cycling's governing body this week. Dutchwoman Marianne Vos continues to lead the individual standings by a considerable margin.
Claudia Häusler's recent win in the Giro Donne helped the German registered Cervélo squad move to the top of the rankings. Cervélo now holds a six point lead over Team Columbia-HTC. Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung is in third, 423 points further back.
Despite trailing Emma Johansson in the Women's World Cup standings, Marianne Vos has extended her lead over the Swede in the World rankings. Vos won her third World Cup round of the season on Sunday at the Open de Suède Vargarda. She has 1336 points to Johansson's 1022. Olympic, World and Great Britain Champion Nicole Cooke is in third place with 777 points.
The lists below detail the full team and individual UCI World rankings for women:
Skil-Shimano bolster squad ahead of ProTour application
Skil-Shimano announced on Thursday that they have secured contract extensions with three of its current riders. Dutchmen Tom Veelers and Roy Curvers will stay with the team until 2011, while German Robert Wagner has agreed to an option in his current contract to stay until the end of 2010.
Both Veelers, 24, and Wagner, 26, have claimed victories for the team this season. Veelers won the final stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake last month and Wagner won stage two of the Delta Tour Zeeland in June.
In his second season with the team Curvers, 29, has been a key lead-out man for both Veelers and Kenny van Hummel, who currently leads the International Cycling Union's (UCI) Europe Tour.
The announcement of the latest contract extensions comes as Skil-Shimano prepares to secure ProTour status for 2010. Team management have met with the UCI to begin the process of applying for the licence.
Last month the team announced that six members of their Tour de France team had agreed to continue with the squad.
Alessandro Ballan finally gets a win as World Champion by winning stage in Tour de Pologne
It takes rain to make a rainbow, and it took a torrential downpour to lift the curse of the rainbow bands from the shoulders of World Champion Alessandro Ballan.
The Tour of Poland had been enjoying unusually nice weather and a series of bunch sprints in the first four stages this week. But that all changed Thursday as race punished the riders with eight relatively short but sharp climbs in the second half of the 163km fifth stage, and rain pounded down as they neared the finish.
As the riders headed to the penultimate summit with 10km to go, Ballan rocketed out of the peloton and powered over the top. Only a few attentive riders were quick enough to catch the flying Italian, but none were a match the power of the winner of the 2007 Tour of Flanders in a sprint.
For Ballan, the win helped rescue a season that has been hampered by illness. He began to show some form in the Tour de France, where he went on the attack on stage 19 only to be hunted down by the Columbia-HTC team who set up the win for its sprinter Mark Cavendish.
"I knew my form was good after the Tour de France and I said my aim was to win in Poland," said Ballan, thanking his teammates who set up his winning move with a succession of attacks.
The victory will also help in Ballan's job search after he announced his departure from the Lampre team, which was only offering him a one-year contract.
Franco Pellizotti and Vincenzo Nibali commenced anti-defamation action on Thursday after the publication of an article by Italian newspaper La Repubblica accusing the two riders of training with controversial Italian physician, Michele Ferrari prior to this year's Tour de France.
Italian website Tuttobiciweb reported on Thursday that both Pellizotti and Nibali denied having worked with Ferrari, with Nibali denying having ever met Ferrari. According to Tuttobiciweb, Pellizotti has asked lawyer Alessandra Rech to commence anti-defamation proceedings, while Nibali was reported to have engaged law firm Maluccio & Baldi in action against the authors of the alleged defamatory article.
The article, published in La Repubblica on Wednesday, featured quotes from Ivano Fanini, president of Continental squad Amore & Vita-McDonald. Fanini alleged that Pellizotti and Nibali had been training with Ferrari in Livigno before this year's Tour de France.
"There is evidence that Dr. Ferrari, in the weeks preceding the Tour de France, rode on a scooter between Livigno and Saint Morritz following a number of riders, including Nibali and Pellizotti, with a stopwatch in hand," said Fanini, according to La Repubblica.
Pellizotti won the mountains classification and the overall combativity prize at the French Grand Tour, while Nibali finished seventh in the general classification.
The La Repubblica article also alleged that two riders had worked with Ferrari in Livigno in 2007. Fanini said that, at the time, he had advised Liquigas manager, Robert Amadio, who confirmed to him that Nibali and Pellizotti were in Livigno. However, he said Amadio denied that the riders were training with Ferrari.
In 2004, Ferrari was convicted of sporting fraud and abusing his medical license to write prescriptions. He was sentenced by Judge Maurizio Passarini to suspend his medical license for one...
Stuart O'Grady will lead a strong Saxo Bank team for this year's Tour of Ireland, which commences on August 21. He will be joined by Tour of Denmark and Tour of Slovenia winner Jakob Fugslang as well as Denmark stage winner Matti Breschel, Briton Jonny Bellis, Karsten Kroon, Kurth Asle Arvesen and Alexander Kolobnev.
The 35-year-old O'Grady was winner of the 2007 Paris-Roubaix, won the Olympic gold medal in the men's Madison in 2004 and has spent nine days in the yellow jersey in the Tour de France (three days in 1998 and six in 2001).
The Cervélo TestTeam has confirmed Irishman Philip Deignan as part of its seven man team. The 25-year-old from Letterkenny is a talented climber with two top 10 finishes in stages of the Vuelta España. He rode the Giro d'Italia for the second time this year. Deignan is joined by Dan Fleeman, Daniel Lloyd, Roger Hammond, Martin Reimer, Jeremy Hunt and Davide Appollonio.
Hunt showed his form last week when he took his first win of the season in stage four of the Tour of Denmark with Hammond finishing on the podium in third place overall.